Battlestar Galactica: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part One

Roslin and Baltar face off in the final debates of the Presidential campaign, and Starbuck leads a mission to Caprica.

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
Dean Stockwell as Brother Cavell

Premise

Roslin and Baltar face off in the final debates of the Presidential campaign, and Starbuck leads a mission to Caprica.

High Points

  • The end of the final Presidential debate
  • Tyrol’s conversation with the priest

Low Point

Baltar’s meetings with Zarek felt at times a little too obvious. I find it hard to believe that they’ve been campaigning for a month, but haven’t had any more ideas than this yet.

The Scores

We’re seeing a lot of new things this week, although they’re not really very original. Four out of six.

Nothing spectacular about this week’s effects, although they’re of a kind that we’ve not seen for a while. Nothing wrong with them either, though. Five out of six.

This week’s story is obviously aimed directly at bringing us to the season finalé next week (don’t panic, season three is coming). Introducing a number of new situations, and continuing some which we’ve already encountered, it’s a story that doesn’t really resolve, but then it’s not supposed to — this is a two-parter after all, and may well turn out to be more than that. Six out of six.

The emotional response isn’t enormous, but it’s definitely there. We’re tied into these characters now, we care about what happens to them, and these are significant events. Five out of six.

The stand-out acting for me this week came from Dean Stockwell, but upon reflection this is really because I’m so used to the regular cast turning in excellent performances. Stockwell had a difficult role to pull off, but he managed it superbly, and without behaving like Al Calavicci. We were also treated to some wonderful moments from Mary McDonnell. Unfortunately Grace Park didn’t quite do what I was hoping this week. Five out of six.

Another tricky episode for production, as the locations diversify once more (is this going to be a regular end of season theme?). Fortunately they pull off an excellent job, and I was particularly impressed by the camerawork during the dream sequence. Five out of six.

Overall, another six out of six. Not quite a landmark like last week, but one which has truly reminded us that yes, this is the penultimate episode of the season. And a worthy end to the season it will be.

Which gives a grand total of thirty-six out of forty-two.

31 replies on “Battlestar Galactica: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part One”

  1. octa says:

    .
    I disagree with your assessment of the effects this week; they were pretty amazing. That part where the ships jumped into the atmosphere of the planet was beautifully done and a highpoint for me.

    I can’t wait for the finale, I have a feeling the Cylon defectors are going to play a big part in this rescue mission.

    Does anyone know if the next episode is a 2 hour special?

    • rfs says:

      Re: .

      Does anyone know if the next episode is a 2 hour special?

      It’s going to be 90 minutes.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: .

      I disagree with your assessment of the effects this week; they were pretty amazing. That part where the ships jumped into the atmosphere of the planet was beautifully done and a highpoint for me.

      I can’t wait for the finale, I have a feeling the Cylon defectors are going to play a big part in this rescue mission.

      Oh the effects were good, but I didn’t think they were particularly special, by the standards of the series.

      And next week’s is going to be fantastic! I have a horrible feeling it’ll be a cliffhanger again though.

      • Tekzel says:

        Re: .

        And next week’s is going to be fantastic! I have a horrible feeling it’ll be a cliffhanger again though.

        Arent all season finales cliffhangers though? Isnt that part of the fun, waiting for the next season to start so you can see what happened?

        This episode, for me, was at the average level for this show. Which is heads and shoulders above anything else on television. They can’t all be the best though, or the standout ones wouldnt.. stand out.

  2. J_W_W says:

    Waiting
    I just felt like we’re waiting for next week. They moved stuff along and got things started, but all the punch of the finale is going to be in next weeks episode. That said, I’m sure it’ll be a hell of an episode.

    I know there was a big dustup over spoilers last week, but I’ll put this in spoilers since I know some here specifically don’t watch the next week preview. WHY did they have to make it so obvious that Baltar will win the election. I mean its the only way he will look at Adama and say "Thats an order!". It ruins the suspense for next week. Of course I always expected Baltar to win, but I hope his presidency is short, since to stick with the story, he will betray all of humanity to the cylons. I know we’re supposed to _feel_ conflicted about Baltar, as he has done some good things, but hes a traitor and needs to find an airlock. If he’s president for more than 3 or 4 episodes, I’ll have a hard time watching it (but somewhat because McDonnell has played the president so well that I feel she owns the office). I really don’t know how they’d handle "citizen" Roslyn.

    Ok, so how many hear believe that Dean Stockwell’s character is a cylon. I mean if hes not a cylon, I’d be shocked. He just sounded so much like one when he was talking to the cheif. Also, I just loved the line "I know you’re not a cylon because I’m a cylon and I haven’t seen you at the meetings." I know it was supposed to be a joke, but with the way it was delivered, it just struck me as truth.

    • Dave says:

      Re: Waiting

      Ok, so how many hear believe that Dean Stockwell’s character is a cylon. I mean if hes not a cylon, I’d be shocked. He just sounded so much like one when he was talking to the cheif. Also, I just loved the line "I know you’re not a cylon because I’m a cylon and I haven’t seen you at the meetings." I know it was supposed to be a joke, but with the way it was delivered, it just struck me as truth.

      I really think it was just the line of a bitter, somewhat cynical priest. If you want something to use to condemn Brother Al, note that late in the episode, he was talking to Tyrol and referred to the gods as "YOUR gods" (emphasis mine).

      Besides, we all really know the next Cylon to be unmasked is Mr. Gaeta…

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: Waiting

        Ok, so how many hear believe that Dean Stockwell’s character is a cylon. I mean if hes not a cylon, I’d be shocked. He just sounded so much like one when he was talking to the cheif. Also, I just loved the line "I know you’re not a cylon because I’m a cylon and I haven’t seen you at the meetings." I know it was supposed to be a joke, but with the way it was delivered, it just struck me as truth.

        I really think it was just the line of a bitter, somewhat cynical priest. If you want something to use to condemn Brother Al, note that late in the episode, he was talking to Tyrol and referred to the gods as "YOUR gods" (emphasis mine).

        Besides, we all really know the next Cylon to be unmasked is Mr. Gaeta…

        Nice catch on the YOUR gods part. I got the feeling that his explaination of religion sounded more cylon than colonial, I just didn’t notice that line, just the feel of what he was saying.

        You’re right about Geata, but maybe they’ll give us TWO cylons in the finale. There are many hints about Geata, but I still think the tell on him being a cylon was the gratuitous camera move when he shook hands with Boomer on the season finale last year. It really looked to me that it indicated that "this handshake is important" (ie. this triggers Boomer).

        • obscurion says:

          Re: Waiting

          You’re right about Geata, but maybe they’ll give us TWO cylons in the finale. There are many hints about Geata, but I still think the tell on him being a cylon was the gratuitous camera move when he shook hands with Boomer on the season finale last year. It really looked to me that it indicated that "this handshake is important" (ie. this triggers Boomer).

          I agree, but the oops-I-screwed-up-navigation" now we have to go back and get virused by the cylons so the centurions can kick ass thing is a close second. Especially when combined with Six’s "bad things are going to happen" bit.

          I suspect Gaeta was delivering the gun during the "dip." This would ensure Boomer could walk past the many marines. Personally, I think Boomer got the program while on the Basestar. Removing her helmet may have removed shielding.

          I think Gaeta will remain in the closet for quite a while longer.

          • Nickvotrobeck says:

            Re: Waiting

            You’re right about Geata, but maybe they’ll give us TWO cylons in the finale. There are many hints about Geata, but I still think the tell on him being a cylon was the gratuitous camera move when he shook hands with Boomer on the season finale last year. It really looked to me that it indicated that "this handshake is important" (ie. this triggers Boomer).

            I agree, but the oops-I-screwed-up-navigation" now we have to go back and get virused by the cylons so the centurions can kick ass thing is a close second. Especially when combined with Six’s "bad things are going to happen" bit.

            I suspect Gaeta was delivering the gun during the "dip." This would ensure Boomer could walk past the many marines. Personally, I think Boomer got the program while on the Basestar. Removing her helmet may have removed shielding.

            I think Gaeta will remain in the closet for quite a while longer.

            If Starbuck manages to get the Caprican survivors back to Galactica we may get a few cylon reveals.

            In "Downloaded" we saw the survivors survealing the cylons’ operations. We only saw those cylons which we’ve already seen before but it’s doubtful that they would be the only ones on Caprica. If there are other cylons on Galactica it seems reasonable to assume that Anders would have a good chance of recognizing them.

            • fontosaurus says:

              Re: Waiting

              If there are other cylons on Galactica it seems reasonable to assume that Anders would have a good chance of recognizing them.

              Provided Anders isn’t a Cylon, of course.

              • y42 says:

                Re: Waiting

                If there are other cylons on Galactica it seems reasonable to assume that Anders would have a good chance of recognizing them.

                Provided Anders isn’t a Cylon, of course.

                Good one : )

                Though I think they filed their quota of caucasian Cylons (what’s the Galactica way of saying that? I think they sometimes use Gemenon to mean ‘black’… anyhoo), we have Sharon, and the womb-obsessed doctor for a bit of variety, but I sure hope they have a wider spectrum than that in the 12 models.

                • J_W_W says:

                  Re: Waiting

                  If there are other cylons on Galactica it seems reasonable to assume that Anders would have a good chance of recognizing them.

                  Provided Anders isn’t a Cylon, of course.

                  Good one : )

                  Though I think they filed their quota of caucasian Cylons (what’s the Galactica way of saying that? I think they sometimes use Gemenon to mean ‘black’… anyhoo), we have Sharon, and the womb-obsessed doctor for a bit of variety, but I sure hope they have a wider spectrum than that in the 12 models.

                  The other issue is that if Anders is a cylon, then the reation of the cylons to him in downloaded was completely wrong. The writers could do this, but I think that would be a total and complete copout. All three cylons saw Anders as human in downloaded and 3 was very ready to kill him (showing the cylons full contempt of humans).

            • pdavis says:

              Re: Waiting

              In "Downloaded" we saw the survivors survealing the cylons’ operations. We only saw those cylons which we’ve already seen before but it’s doubtful that they would be the only ones on Caprica.

              Or, maybe we only saw those cylons which we’ve already seen before because the cylons only use cylon models openly that have already been identified by humanity! Cylon models that have yet to be outed by humans are used only under cover.

              Is it just me or doesn’t anyone else think there would be more than a handful of survivors on the entire planet?

              Also, is anyone else curious about what is going on in the other colonies?

              • joe__gee says:

                Re: Waiting

                Also, is anyone else curious about what is going on in the other colonies?

                I’d love to see what’s been happening on the other colonies, but the show seems to be Caprica-centric.

                -Joe

              • shadowfax says:

                Re: Waiting

                In "Downloaded" we saw the survivors survealing the cylons’ operations. We only saw those cylons which we’ve already seen before but it’s doubtful that they would be the only ones on Caprica.

                Or, maybe we only saw those cylons which we’ve already seen before because the cylons only use cylon models openly that have already been identified by humanity! Cylon models that have yet to be outed by humans are used only under cover.

                Is it just me or doesn’t anyone else think there would be more than a handful of survivors on the entire planet?

                Also, is anyone else curious about what is going on in the other colonies?

                There would probably be more than a handful, except for a couple factors. One, after the attack, there was planetwide massive radiological contamination which didn’t affect the Cylons but did affect humans. Anders and crew were at extremely high altitude training for Pyramid and hence weren’t as affected. Some few had antirad meds; they made getting hold of those a priority.

                Transport across a Cylon-held, nuked Caprica would be incredibly difficult, so even knowing how to locate other survivors, or that there *were* other survivors (for either Anders’ crew or the rescue flight) would be a non-starter. The Cylons sure wouldn’t be in the mood to spread the news.

                Finally, as for the other colonies, they never showed them to us even before the war…which makes me less curious. Galactica was being decommed in orbit over Caprica; her crew was mostly stationed on Caprica, etc. Plus, the odds that more than one planet looks like Vancouver? Heh.

                -my callsign is Pedant.

          • joe__gee says:

            Re: Waiting

            I agree, but the oops-I-screwed-up-navigation" now we have to go back and get virused by the cylons so the centurions can kick ass thing is a close second. Especially when combined with Six’s "bad things are going to happen" bit.

            Preggers Sharon was the navigator. I believe the discovery of the "habitable" world is another Cylon tactic meant to divide the fleet. It’s interesting enough to entice some of the humans, but still not enough enough to make them all stop. Divide and conquer.

            One president, a few colonists, and one battlestar stay to defend the "new" world, read: Cylon trap. The other president, along with Galactica continue to flee Cylon pursuit.

            -Joe

            • obscurion says:

              Re: Waiting

              I agree, but the oops-I-screwed-up-navigation" now we have to go back and get virused by the cylons so the centurions can kick ass thing is a close second. Especially when combined with Six’s "bad things are going to happen" bit.

              Preggers Sharon was the navigator. I believe the discovery of the "habitable" world is another Cylon tactic meant to divide the fleet. It’s interesting enough to entice some of the humans, but still not enough enough to make them all stop. Divide and conquer.

              One president, a few colonists, and one battlestar stay to defend the "new" world, read: Cylon trap. The other president, along with Galactica continue to flee Cylon pursuit.

              -Joe

              Preggers wasn’t on board Galactica yet. This was when Tie was still in control. Otherwise, I agree.

              • joe__gee says:

                Re: Waiting

                Preggers wasn’t on board Galactica yet. This was when Tie was still in control. Otherwise, I agree.

                I gotcha, I was referencing the current episode, where the ex-preggers Sharon was interfaced with the "brain" from the captured Cylon fighter. That’s the "Sharon navigating" that I was talking about. And you know, I am now no longer sure which navigation error JWW was talking about. I thought he was referencing the current episode, but he wasn’t?

                Too tired to go back and re-read. Thank you for the catch. %)

                -Joe

                • J_W_W says:

                  Re: Waiting

                  Preggers wasn’t on board Galactica yet. This was when Tie was still in control. Otherwise, I agree.

                  I gotcha, I was referencing the current episode, where the ex-preggers Sharon was interfaced with the "brain" from the captured Cylon fighter. That’s the "Sharon navigating" that I was talking about. And you know, I am now no longer sure which navigation error JWW was talking about. I thought he was referencing the current episode, but he wasn’t?

                  Too tired to go back and re-read. Thank you for the catch. %)

                  -Joe

                  I didn’t mention the navigation error. Someone else did in response to one of my posts, but yes I assumed it was Gaeta using the wrong coordinates and its implication that he may be a cylon.

                  My big point is that the camera move in the finale last season was so gratuitious that it just HAS to mean something, really it does right????

                  Anyway, the jump from Scattered is Gatea’s fault too, and is damning evidence that he may be a cylon.

          • y42 says:

            Re: Waiting

            I think Boomer got the program while on the Basestar. Removing her helmet may have removed shielding.

            She was activated as soon as Starbuck saw Boomer-2 on Caprica. They knew the game was up, so now was the time to pull the ace out of her sleeve.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Waiting

        Brother Al, note that late in the episode, he was talking to Tyrol and referred to the gods as "YOUR gods" (emphasis mine).

        The colonials do not worship all 12 lords of Kobol at once. For instance, Starbuck prays to Athena and Diana (godesses of war and hunting). "His" gods are the gods, amongts the choice, which he likes.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Waiting

      Also, I just loved the line "I know you’re not a cylon because I’m a cylon and I haven’t seen you at the meetings." I know it was supposed to be a joke, but with the way it was delivered, it just struck me as truth.

      That line is also quite similar to the line from Six-in-Baltar’s head from the miniseries when Baltar is getting ready to implicate the nosy reporter as the Cylon that put the mystery device on the Draedis console …

      "I don’t remember seeing him at any of the Cylon parties."

      -Joe

    • Dark Nexus says:

      Re: Waiting

      Ok, so how many hear believe that Dean Stockwell’s character is a cylon. I mean if hes not a cylon, I’d be shocked. He just sounded so much like one when he was talking to the cheif. Also, I just loved the line "I know you’re not a cylon because I’m a cylon and I haven’t seen you at the meetings." I know it was supposed to be a joke, but with the way it was delivered, it just struck me as truth.

      Wouldn’t shock me, but I wouldn’t say he’s a cylon if I had to choose just yet. I was waiting for him to slip up and refer to God instead of the Gods, like Baltar did earlier in the episode.

  3. nkuzmik says:

    Just me…
    Me, personally… I really like the difference in the pre-debate strategies of the 2 candidates. It’s a clue how that person will do when things get real, but it was also good drama.

  4. valen1260 says:

    disappointed
    Actually, I was pretty disappointed in this episode, especially after the momentum established by "Downloaded". It seemed very erratic. I know it’s really just a setup, but I think they tried to do too much.

    We hadn’t heard much from the Chief in a while, only to now find that he’s having nightmares and sleeping in the hangar. I think the whole, "You might be a Cylon. I might be a Cylon." bit was too overplayed. Stockwell seemed like such an obvious Cylon, that at first I thought the Chief was hallucinating him. If the Chief is a Cylon, it leads credence to Baltar being one, as they would both be "support" or "redundant" agents to Sharon or Six.

    Also, can someone explain how putting one Cylon jump engine/computer in one Raptor lets a whole fleet jump to Caprica? And, yes, she’s proven she will save the fleet, but why do they trust Sharon with something as critical (and as prone to ambush) as jump coordinates? It’s obvious she’s not always in control of her actions.

    Also, if a ship jumping into a mountain is still transmitting a beacon, that means the ship is not "fused" with the mountain, but intact. There would be survivors, and it theoretically could jump back out (as long as they don’t need to reach 88mph to jump ;).

    I was actually pretty surprised Anders didn’t get killed the moment he reunited with Starbuck. It seemed the episode was going downhill in that direction.

    Otherwise, I agree that the atmo jump was a great effect. I think the debate storyline was the better (best) of those presented. I agree that Earth2 smells very much like a trap, and that if some want to stay, that doesn’t mean Roslin and Galactica have to stay with them.

    However, if the 90-minute finale doesn’t resolve at least a few things (or, worse, casts out even more lines), I’ll feel very used as a fan.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: disappointed

      However, if the 90-minute finale doesn’t resolve at least a few things (or, worse, casts out even more lines), I’ll feel very used as a fan.

      I too worry about this weeks episode. I don’t trust Ron Moore not to try and do something shocking and "tricky". In fact in the podcast he mentions a great shock in this weeks episode and that people won’t be happy. I think sometimes he like to pull the strings just to do it.

      I truly hope that whatever happens, it isn’t one of the things on my "things that will make me stop watching Battlestar Galactica list". And that is not unprecedented, there are many shows I’ve watched where the writers made the fatal mistake that stopped me from watching. Moonlighting, and more recently NCIS come to mind, both had seasons that ended with episodes and conclusions that made me not want to watch anymore, and also the last episode of Twin Peaks left me so cold that I would have stopped watching anyway, even if it wasn’t the last episode.

      I don’t know what it is, but I really worry about this series, I don’t know if its nostalgia for the original or if its that I really want it to be almost as good as Babylon 5 by the time its done.

      On that note, I really feel that Ron Moore is just a learner, but JMS is the master (oh Joss is one too BTW). I want to see him get the the next level, but I don’t know if it will happen.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: disappointed

        On that note, I really feel that Ron Moore is just a learner, but JMS is the master (oh Joss is one too BTW). I want to see him get the the next level, but I don’t know if it will happen.

        I don’t know enough about Moore, but you’ve definitely nailed my pantheon of television with Joe and Joss. It would be perfection if BG could fill the void left by B5, but it still has a long way to go.

    • obscurion says:

      Re: disappointed

      Also, can someone explain how putting one Cylon jump engine/computer in one Raptor lets a whole fleet jump to Caprica?

      I’ve had the impression that the problem with long jumps is the calculation not the physical ability. The Cylon jump computer may be able to make a more accurate calculation. The Colonials seem to do it by hand.

    • y42 says:

      Re: disappointed

      Also, if a ship jumping into a mountain is still transmitting a beacon, that means the ship is not "fused" with the mountain, but intact. There would be survivors, and it theoretically could jump back out (as long as they don’t need to reach 88mph to jump ;).

      They didn’t fuse with it, but they hit the bit in front of them head on at full speed. The black box transponder is still functional, but you’d need a sponge to gather up what’s left of the folks inside.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: disappointed

        They didn’t fuse with it, but they hit the bit in front of them head on at full speed. The black box transponder is still functional, but you’d need a sponge to gather up what’s left of the folks inside.

        That makes far more sense. Thank you.

    • syagrius says:

      Re: disappointed

      We hadn’t heard much from the Chief in a while, only to now find that he’s having nightmares and sleeping in the hangar. I think the whole, "You might be a Cylon. I might be a Cylon." bit was too overplayed. Stockwell seemed like such an obvious Cylon, that at first I thought the Chief was hallucinating him. If the Chief is a Cylon, it leads credence to Baltar being one, as they would both be "support" or "redundant" agents to Sharon or Six.

      I’ve given up on trying to figure out who is and is not a Cylon but the situation with the Chief backs up one of my many, many, mnay conflicting theories about Baltar/Six.

      The theory it helps is the one where the "chip" that controls Baltar is really an infection of Cylon nanobots. These chip/nanobots can only be transmitted by continued repeated sexual contact or blood transfusion like an viral STD (HIV,Hepatitis-C, etc.) The nanobots build up in the system and start to have an affect after a long period of time. All the lovers of the Cylons will start to experience mental effects a certain period of time after they started affairs with Cylons. Baltar and Six had been dating for a long time before the attack. Chief/Sharon were dating before the attack and the Chief is just now showing symptoms. Caprica-Preggers Sharon and what’s-his-name only had sex after the attack. What’s-his-name (the baby’s daddy) might not show mental problems for a few months. Then President Roslyn should show problems but her exposure was by blood transfusion so it might be accelerated. On the other hand it was a one shot deal, not repeated exposure over time like the 3 guys so she might never show symptoms.

      Of course this could be completely wrong and the mental problems are just caused by the stress of having a relationship with the enemy.

      If it does turn out to be nanobots I can’t say "look I was right" because I’ve spouted about 39 different theories. I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

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