Battlestar Galactica: Sacrifice

Knowledge of the presence of a Cylon aboard Galactica is leaked to the fleet, and leads to a group taking hostages on Cloud Nine, demanding the Cylon in exchange for the hostages’ lives.

Cast

James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama
Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
Michael Hogan as Col. Tigh
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Grace Park as Sharon “Boomer” Valerii

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Aaron Douglas as CPO Galen Tyrol
Paul Campbell as Billy Keikeya
Kandyse McClure as Petty Officer 2nd Anastasia ‘Dee’ Dualla
Dana Delany as Sesha Abinell

Synopsis

Knowledge of the presence of a Cylon aboard Galactica is leaked to the fleet, and leads to a group taking hostages on Cloud Nine, demanding the Cylon in exchange for the hostages’ lives.

High Point

‘It was a calculated risk.’

Low Point

Come on Starbuck, that was never going to work.

The Scores

Well it’s not the most original premise in the world, but it’s beautifully done. We all know that hostage situations usually lead to people getting shot. The big questions are: who gets shot, who do they get shot by, and why? Five out of six.

A slight departure from the normal effects line this week, but still wonderfully done. Five out of six.

The story is nicely loaded with twists, turns and climaxes, gradually building up to the ultimate ending. Perhaps what happens is something we could see coming, but not necessarily something we believe they’re going to do (not that surprise is always good, and this doesn’t come anywhere near predictability). It also gives us some good character development. Six out of six.

This week we were treated to a strong ensemble performance, displaying everyone’s acting talents. As the major guest star this week, Delany deserves a mention for a strong and convincing portrayal of a woman with some deep emotional issues. Other notable performances from McClure, Sackhoff and McDonnell in particular, although that is not to say that anybody was lacking. This is what we’ve come to expect, and although nobody slipped up, nobody did anything spectacular either. Five out of six.

Strong emotional response gives this episode a lot of its lure. It’s a heart-in-mouth journey through the story, but it doesn’t feel deliberate, it’s just a natural consequence of the events portrayed. This is good: I don’t particularly like being beaten over the head with the things I’m supposed to be feeling. Five out of six.

The production was superb. Direction, camera work, everything drew together to make a tight and cohesive whole. Six out of six.

Overall I give this episode six out of six. Definitely a high point of the season, and it leaves me wondering what we’re in store for in the run up to the finalé. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be excellent.

So after that, Sacrifice receives a total score of thirty-eight out of forty-two.

21 replies on “Battlestar Galactica: Sacrifice”

  1. dan_k says:

    Windows?!
    Ok, good review, I only disagree with the low point. Mine is, why does a freighter have windows and passage ways that follow the outside of the ship?

  2. Antti Helin says:

    Do I need to write something here?
    I’ll just slap everything within spoiler tags:


    No "X hours earlier" in the beginning. That set me in a good mood right away.

    I think the high point for me was Roslin sitting next to Billy’s body and almost falling apart. It was a very emotional moment for me, and that was when Billy’s death really hit me. Roslin really considered Billy the closest thing to family, and with the cancer thing, she had probably not even dreamed of having to see him die.

    Btw, I thought it was a huge cliché to have Billy propose, get turned down, enter a crisis and then get killed protecting his love. I mean, come on, I’ve seen this before, and it all happened within an episode. It felt really rushed when I stopped to think about it properly. In fact, that’s why Billy’s demise surprised me, because I was really not expecting it to happen now that he had proposed, because it’d be such a huge cliché to have him die soon afterwards. Proposing or getting married seems to be a death sentence on TV.

    I wonder what effect this will have on Roslin on the long run. It’d be an interesting twist if this caused Roslin to harbor similar feelings of revenge like Abinell but on the civvies of the Fleet. Perhaps a long shot. OTOH, she’s been through rough stuff before, maybe she’ll be able to shrug it off, but this got very personal for her, plus it was by human hands.

    The situation will probably lead either into far more disintegration among the Fleet, or Roslin will try even harder to keep the humans from infighting. The Cylons lost their Rez Ship, but they can just follow the Fleet and wait for it to destroy itself at this rate. The military has just cracked on violently on a bunch of people that wanted the Cylon dead; this probably will not do much to help the animosity against the military, or Boomer for that matter, unless they can use the cadaver to convince the Fleet that the Cylon is dead. This ep also sow the seeds of suspicion into Adama’s mind wrt. Boomer; this will hopefully be brought up later, and Adama has by now realised that maybe they’re relying too much on Boomer for intel.

    He may have kept Boomer around because he’s being nagged by something, deep, as is evident from the discussion Adama had with her. He wants to figure out, why, and he sees Boomer (or her child) as a possible answer. Or was Boomer’s reply enough?

    The hostage situation brought up qualities that kind of surprised me, as well. Roslin was very adamant on not caving in to the terrorists, which is what I’d expect from her. Tigh’s reaction was really mixed; on the other hand, his wife, on the other hand, his superiors calling the shots. Adama, I think, was very troubled when he heard Apollo was there, came from the left to me, because I fully expected him to be ready to sacrifice Apollo if need be to keep the authority of the gov’t intact. I guess their relationship is really starting to heal after Kobol and "you should have told me about her".

    I wonder how messed up Starbuck will be after this. First Kat got Scar right under her nose, and although she knows she did the right thing, it must be irking her. The friendly fire was a complete surprise, and I really wonder what it’ll do to Starbuck. Will it set off a breakdown? Will Admiral Adama trust her from now on as much as he has before?

    Things were slowing down with "Epiphanies", "Black Market" and "Scar", but now they’re picking up pace again and I hope the culmination of the season at the end of it will be intense.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: Do I need to write something here?

      I’ll just slap everything within spoiler tags:

      I wonder how messed up Starbuck will be after this. First Kat got Scar right under her nose, and although she knows she did the right thing, it must be irking her. The friendly fire was a complete surprise, and I really wonder what it’ll do to Starbuck. Will it set off a breakdown? Will Admiral Adama trust her from now on as much as he has before?

      If they continue to make Starbuck as self-doubting, self-loathing, self-destructive character, then they might as well just kill her off. Last seasons Starbuck was a bold, brash, survivor, and rebellious to boot.

      Starbuck lately has been lame. Not just in some episodes, but now frakking up in many episodes this season. Sorry I just don’t like where they’re going with her character.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: Do I need to write something here?

        If they continue to make Starbuck as self-doubting, self-loathing, self-destructive character, then they might as well just kill her off. Last seasons Starbuck was a bold, brash, survivor, and rebellious to boot.

        Starbuck lately has been lame. Not just in some episodes, but now frakking up in many episodes this season. Sorry I just don’t like where they’re going with her character.

        Agreed. A little angst is one thing, all of this self doubt is *not* Starbuck. At least, it’s not the Starbuck we’ve been familiar with, and it certainly isn’t a Starbuck I’d be as fond of.

        If this keeps up they’d better add a ship’s counselor …

        -Joe

        • y42 says:

          Re: Do I need to write something here?

          If they continue to make Starbuck as self-doubting, self-loathing, self-destructive character, then they might as well just kill her off. Last seasons Starbuck was a bold, brash, survivor, and rebellious to boot.

          Starbuck lately has been lame. Not just in some episodes, but now frakking up in many episodes this season. Sorry I just don’t like where they’re going with her character.

          Agreed. A little angst is one thing, all of this self doubt is *not* Starbuck. At least, it’s not the Starbuck we’ve been familiar with, and it certainly isn’t a Starbuck I’d be as fond of.

          I like it. I kept hopelessly wishing she’d die in the first season, I’m glad to see that she can’t keep it up without a price. She busted her knee: She’s not the hotshot she once was. That’s hard on her. She got over Lee with a guy she thought was doomed, and she’s hung up on him, like people do. She’s over confident, and makes mistakes, and she feels bad about it afterwards. It’s neat!

    • Maggard says:

      Re: Do I need to write something here?

      He may have kept Boomer around because he’s being nagged by something, deep, as is evident from the discussion Adama had with her. He wants to figure out, why, and he sees Boomer (or her child) as a possible answer. Or was Boomer’s reply enough?

      Adama’s nagging concern? Are the Cylons automation run amuck or are they also thinking feeling living beings? Ethically are he and his command turning off machinery or are they killing other ‘living’ beings (admittedly in self-defense.)

      Adama has been shown to be a deeply moral man, and I expect he sees this is an issue he has to resolve, for himself and one eventually humanity will need to confront.

      Why are the Cylons attacking? What do they want? Is is extermination of humanity, subjugation of humanity, or assimilation of humanity? Can they be negotiated with? Is there an entity or structure to negotiate with? How are they organized? Are there any ‘rules’ in this war? Can the Cylon grudge with humanity be assuaged? How far will they pursue the fleet, how important to them is it? Is a lasting peace possible? What do the Cylons know in regards to the prophecies?

      Boomer is a Cylon, the only one Adama knows of willing to give any information to the humans. He needs her for any insight he can gain into this enemy, to understand what he is up against and what his possible options are. Thus she is invaluable; effectively the only ongoing intelligence asset they have other then the captured Cylon fighter (and it doesn’t talk).

      Outside of what they observe in attacks, Starbuck’s report from Caprica, and the remains of the warriors & humanifoms they’ve captured, they’re operating in the dark with an enemy they hardly understand, know the capabilities of, perceive the motivations of. That’s a very uncomfortable place for a military commander to be.

      And, will ‘killing’, or allowing Boomer to be ‘killed’, be a confirmation of what the Cylons hold against humanity?

  3. shadowfax says:

    Flipflop

    I must say, I agree with the comment re: Billy proposing then dying. I have to add that I came away with a bad taste in my mouth from seeing that, then Starbuck leave sickbay, and seeing Dee sitting there…I kept feeling like "Man, we lost Billy just to ensure Lee gets a steady girlfriend? Screw that."

    I mean, after the ep where Lee leaves the gym (which this one showed in ‘earlier on Galactica’) it looked pretty clear that she and Billy were an Item and he’d decided that they shouldn’t be involved. Okay. What the flipflop?

    Descent into soap.

    On the other hand, yes, the standoff was well done. And damn it, when they threatened Ellen, they were just *teasing* us.

  4. Damien says:

    Missing line?
    I half expected the Admiral to say to Starbuck: "Stop trying to kill my sons, damnit!" ;-)

    Damien

  5. joe__gee says:

    There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
    Billy getting offed was an unpleasant shock (unpleasant, in that I liked the character.) That’s not a bad thing for this show, sometimes the nasty surprises beget the most delicious twists. This episode was back on par with the higher moments of this series.

    My personal high point: the fact that Billy’s death wasn’t telegraphed in the previews, on the web, anywhere. How refreshing.

    My one thought: the actor continues to be listed in the cast. Billy was/is a Cylon? Wouldn’t that be a hoot? :)

    -Joe

    • Radish03 says:

      Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
      I must agree with your first statement. I definitely felt a lot of anger over his death, in addition to some sadness, but mostly anger. I also really liked his character, and moreso after the first few segments of this episode where he was much more assertive that I recall him usually being. It had me hoping to see him more often, but alas. Unless he is a cylon, which I hope he isn’t, but the writers haven’t thrown us any "This established character is really a cylon!" curve balls yet, so I really don’t know what the first one is going to look like. And on the off chance that he is a cylon, we shouldn’t ever see Billy again with the Ressurection Ship destroyed.

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

        Unless he is a cylon, which I hope he isn’t, but the writers haven’t thrown us any "This established character is really a cylon!" curve balls yet, so I really don’t know what the first one is going to look like. And on the off chance that he is a cylon, we shouldn’t ever see Billy again with the Ressurection Ship destroyed.

        They haven’t thrown us any curveballs since the end of the miniseries. Boomer was a established character from that viewpoint. There is a cylon centered episode called "Download" coming later this year, who knows what they will do with that one.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
      Well I made sure he was in the cast list for this episode because it was silly to have left him out before, and this is after all his last chance. I imagine he’s still in the cast lists released for future episodes because it helps preserve the surprise.

      • octa says:

        Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
        Or he’s filmed some flashback stuff with the cast. Maybe even dream sequences? LOST did it with Boon :P

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

        Well I made sure he was in the cast list for this episode because it was silly to have left him out before, and this is after all his last chance. I imagine he’s still in the cast lists released for future episodes because it helps preserve the surprise.

        For me, it was a beautifully done surprise, and again NOTHING RUINED IT AHEAD OF TIME. <— High point. :)

        -Joe

    • TomSwiss says:

      Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

      My one thought: the actor continues to be listed in the cast.

      I beleive there’s something in SAG rules that if an actor appears in a certain number of episodes per season they’re listed in the credits all season, even if they’re not in each episode.

    • Jethro says:

      Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

      My one thought: the actor continues to be listed in the cast.

      SAG rules say that an actor must receive opening credit for then ENTIRE season if he or she appears in more than (I think?) 12 episodes of a season.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

      [spoilerMy personal high point: the fact that Billy’s death wasn’t telegraphed in the previews, on the web, anywhere. How refreshing.

      Actually, it was on inviso text on aintitcool.com and I was thoroughly pissed I read it. I submitted a ‘don’t go there!’ article to here but it didn’t get posted. most ‘spoilers’ aren’t plot punches like that so i don’t mind reading em, but that one just said something like BILLY DIES!!! right up front which really ticked me off.

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
        damn, where’s the edit button when you need it. sorry for goofing the tag.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …

        My personal high point: the fact that Billy’s death wasn’t telegraphed in the previews, on the web, anywhere. How refreshing.

        Actually, it was on inviso text on aintitcool.com and I was thoroughly pissed I read it. I submitted a ‘don’t go there!’ article to here but it didn’t get posted. most ‘spoilers’ aren’t plot punches like that so i don’t mind reading em, but that one just said something like BILLY DIES!!! right up front which really ticked me off.

        This one really took me by surprise. I was shocked, upset, and in retrospect thoroughly pleased that for once a plot twist was kept from being telegraphed all over the net. :) I didn’t want or expect to see that character killed off, don’t get me wrong, but I was pleased that it was generally kept so quiet, which made it all the more shocking, just because it was unexpected.

        Hopefully one of the B42 Powers That Be will correct your above honest mistake so this is blacked out for any Canadian or English viewers who want to be surprised. But it was/is an honest mistake, and they do happen, so no biggie. :)

        -Joe

        • Espy says:

          Re: There was an unwelcome shock in here for me …
          There was an episode of David Eick’s video blog about Billy, focusing on this episode. It was pretty amusing, I enjoyed it. At one point, a crew member’s talking to Paul Campbell, and says something like, "We’ll miss you, Paul," and Campbell replies, "… but… but I’m not going anywhere!" That kind of ruined the surprise for me (serves me right for watching the spoilerific video blog), but it was subtle enough that I didn’t know if Billy was actually going to die.

          Speaking of blogs, in Ronald Moore’s commentary he points out that it happened because Paul Campbell was getting offers for other productions, and they didn’t want to hold his career back. The most sensible way to free him to do other work was to kill his character. Keeping him out of the story in some other way would have been awkward at best.

          SP

  6. karchie says:

    It didn’t do much for me
    Since I didn’t remember or notice that it was
    Billie with Dee in the gym, the proposal seemed to come out of nowhere.
    And when the violence started

    I didn’t buy it at all. There were 4 bad guys with guns. There was nothing to indicate that any of them had fired a gun before, shot at a person or engaged in close order combat.
    And yet, we are to believe that they killed 2 highly trained Marines and only one or two of them got killed?
    The result of the attack should have been 4 dead bad guys, maybe a wounded Marine and maybe a couple of civilian causualties.

    And the plot convenience of just exactly the right people being in the bar to put maximum emotional pressure on the powers that be.
    So all together, not one of my favorites.

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