Battlestar Galactica: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part Two

The review of this most difficult of episodes lies within. Unfortunately some minor spoilers have crept into it; I couldn’t do it justice any other way.

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

Spoiler Warning

I’ve tried, but I’ve found it very difficult to write a review of this episode in my normal format which doesn’t have any spoilers in it. If you’ve not seen it yet, the final score is thirty-eight out of forty-two. Now please do not read any further.

Synopsis

Starbuck’s rescue mission is trapped on Caprica. In the fleet, the Presidential election results come in.

High Points

  • The cut between the two Brother Cavells praying
  • Starbuck: ‘We do the same thing we always do. Fight ’em ’til we can’t.’
  • Roslin and Baltar’s little chat in the Admiral’s quarters.
  • The loss of her baby has sent Sharon into a deep crisis, and this is shown well. Why should she trust them now?
  • Although they know the consequences, Adama and Roslin eventually uphold their principles.
  • Best high point: the moment Baltar realises he’s betrayed humanity again.

Low Point

  • Why didn’t Starbuck put her helmet back on before going out scouting? That’s an elementary mistake.
  • The swearing-in ceremony was irritating. I think I didn’t like the priest.
  • The Baltar/Six scene on Cloud Nine was a bit drawn out.

The Scores

Well. Originality. I certainlly don’t think anybody expected much of what happened this week. Five out of six.

The effects this week were generally excellent. I still don’t think the robot Cylons really fit into their environment properly, which feels like a recent thing, but we were treated to a stupendously good large explosion. Five out of six.

Last week I suspected that the story would turn out to be more than a two-parter, and I was right, as we again end on a cliffhanger. Where the story takes us between the two cliffhangers is quite unexpected. We’re seeing here a big shift in the Galactica story, and a radical departure from the old series. The perfect thing is that it’s all plausible and a natural outgrowth of what was already happening. Some people are bound to be upset by it, but I doubt we can get more than five episodes into season three without the situation changing again. Six out of six.

The emotional response wasn’t as high as I might have expected given the events and the characters. Perhaps I’m just getting numb. Five out of six.

A long episode is tough on the acting as well as the story, but everyone held together. Particular mentions for Dean Stockwell perfectly pulling off a monologue delivered by two of himself, James Callis for the perfectly decadent, despairing and utterly, utterly self-serving portrayal of Gaius Baltar, and Aaron Douglas, for showing where Tyrol’s real strength lies. We may also pause for a moment to contemplate how Tricia Helfer can show you which particular Six she is playing before she even says anything. Six out of six.

The production team had their work cut out again this week, but they did very well. Where they need crowding, they did it, and where they need squalor, there’s plenty of it. Five out of six.

Overall, six out of six. This will shift the direction of the show for the third season, and things are never quite going to be the same again.

And so the end of season two of Battlestar Galactica receives a grand total of thirty-eight out of forty-two.

17 replies on “Battlestar Galactica: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part Two”

  1. pythor says:

    As they say in Mainframe…
    Reboot!

    Let’s see… Off the top of my head, similarities between the current situation and the begining of the series:
    * Cylons come back, when no one is expecting them.
    * Something Baltar gives to a Six gives them their way in.
    * Nuclear explosion involved.
    * Run-down Battlestar has to run away.
    * Survivors left behind on the Cylon-occupied planet.

    I’m sure others can find more. The only big change is that we know a lot about these people now, so the whole thing has a lot more impact.

  2. pelogrande says:

    Stockwell?
    Out of curiosity, do we know Dean Stockwell’s number?

    Sharon’s Four, Tricia Helfer is Six, Lucy Lawless is Three(?). I’ve got no idea about the other two male Cylons, but the way the dark-haired one seems to lead most things I’m inclined to guess he’s One or Two. One might be saved for a special class, though.

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: Stockwell?

      Sharon’s Four…

      Actually Sharon’s an Eight. It seems the lower the number, the more authority they possess. Based on the lack of influence Dean Stockwell’s cylon seemed to have, I’d say he was higher up. But that’s just my theory. My guess is Moore and company are keeping #1 and 2 in their pocket until just the right moment.

      • shadowfax says:

        Re: Stockwell?

        Sharon’s Four…

        Actually Sharon’s an Eight. It seems the lower the number, the more authority they possess. Based on the lack of influence Dean Stockwell’s cylon seemed to have, I’d say he was higher up. But that’s just my theory. My guess is Moore and company are keeping #1 and 2 in their pocket until just the right moment.

        I can’t resist.

        "Who are you?"

        "The new Number Two."

        "Who is Number One?"

        "You are Number Six."

        • Cerberus7 says:

          Now you did it…
          “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own.”

        • kokopelli says:

          Re: Stockwell?

          "You are Number Six."

          I was just thinking that that may be why we don’t know Six’s name. (Come to think of it I don’t think we know number six’s name either.)

          • shadowfax says:

            Re: Stockwell?

            "You are Number Six."

            I was just thinking that that may be why we don’t know Six’s name. (Come to think of it I don’t think we know number six’s name either.)

            Yeah. I was resisting because I’m pretty new here and I’m sure the whole Prisoner thing has been done to death re: Galactica, and I don’t listen to the podcasts so it’s quite possible Moore has explicitly mentioned it. I brought it up here because of two relatively recent points.

            One, as is mentioned, we *don’t* know Six’s name (or, rather, no Six we’ve met was ever forced to ‘take’ a human name). Furthermore, of the Cylons we’ve seen, she was the first (chronologically) to undergo longterm contact with a human that caused her to start taking actions which betrayed her ‘individuality’ in a conscious (i.e. not ‘programmed to think she’s a human’) manner. I’m thinking specifically of the incident where she kills the infant on Caprica before the attack so it won’t suffer, and walks away with what is almost a tormented look on her face. In other words, "Number Six" is an individual among faceless replicas/members of a group *first*, trapped somewhere (the village/Caprica) trying to break its defenses, albeit for a slightly different purpose.

            The question of the value of individuality (soul?) vs. group coordinated action/identity does seem central, here, and of course was central to the Prisoner as well.

            Man, I wish JMS had managed to get Patrick McGoohan onto Babylon 5 as a guest, as he stated he’d wanted to. :-( That would have ruled.

            If someone on Galactica (a Cylon, perhaps) says "Be seeing you!" like the Psicorps/shadow agent did on B5 to Garibaldi & Sinclair(Sheridan?) I’m gonna just plotz.

            • Pii says:

              Re: Stockwell?

              I’m thinking specifically of the incident where she kills the infant on Caprica before the attack so it won’t suffer, and walks away with what is almost a tormented look on her face.

              Is that how most people view that event? Because I don’t.

              I have always viewed that scene as Capica Six’s first exposure to a child… We know that the Cylons are preoccupied with procreation. I don’t think she meant to harm the infant. Rather, I think she was shocked at how fragile the child was, and was geniunely upset at having killed the baby.

              • TwistyHat says:

                Re: Stockwell?
                Yeah i agree with you, clearly that is what they portraied, she snapped its neck while it wasn’t looking ;)

            • TechnoGirl says:

              Re: Stockwell?

              (Come to think of it I don’t think we know number six’s name either.)

              Ohh come on now…everyone knows that Number Six’s name was John Drake, right? Well everyone who’s a technonerdgirl like me right?

              And as to this epusode…just absolutely brilliant. Wonderful television drama let alone science fiction. Best cliffhanger since Data ended up meeting Mark Twain IMHO.

              • cirra says:

                Re: Stockwell?

                (Come to think of it I don’t think we know number six’s name either.)

                Ohh come on now…everyone knows that Number Six’s name was John Drake, right? Well everyone who’s a technonerdgirl like me right?

                No. Number Six’s name was never mentioned in The Prisoner, the only name he used was ‘Peter Smith’ (once) which may have been false. Any apparent connection with John Drake of Danger Man was never confirmed.

                So the similarity between Number Six of The Prisoner and Cylon #6 remains intact in this respect.

  3. kokopelli says:

    Cloud 9 scene was necessary
    After rewatching it on Monday, I think that the Cloud 9 scene was as brief as possible… and it foreshadows some huge shocks next season.

    We’ve seen almost no interaction between Baltar and a Six. We’ve seen his interaction with his subconscious idealization of her, but a few episodes ago we saw how ‘off’ Caprica Six’s idealization of Baltar was. Given everything else we know about Baltar, do we have any reason to expect his Six to be anything like a real Six?

    So what have we really seen? The pilot. The episode where she accused him of being a traitor (public). Some scenes in the Pegasus brig (public). One (or two?) scenes on Cloud 9 — scenes that we need to re-examine. I thought others were around, but I’m not sure.

    And this episode. It starts with her on her knees before him, on the other side of a table. Why? She’s always been so dominant in his imagination. She was dominant on Caprica, both before and after the bombs started dropping. So why is she so submissive here? Esp. since he’s losing it?

    When he’s at the door, she manipulates him. The emotional plea fails — that would require him to have empathy for a woman he seems to love. The sexual plea succeeds — he only sees what’s in it for him, he totally misses how difficult it is for her. (Exactly what happened on the Pegasus?)

    Baltar is the emotionless machine, Six appears to be the emotional one even as she’s manipulating him.

    The timing of the detonation was also manipulative. After the earlier scene she knew that he would soon have doubts again. He undoubtably told her that Rosalyn knew about them (on Caprica, not Cloud Nine). He might change his mind about New Caprica, she might be caught and linked to him. Detonating the bomb when she did, right after he signed his presidental order, would ensure that he couldn’t backtrack. Most people would find it difficult after losing a loved one violently and unexpectedly, Baltar would also realize he needed to divert attention from the obvious questions about how a bomb got from his lab on Galactica to Cloud Nine. Don’t they have radiological monitors on Galactica? (We’ve repeatedly seen them identify incoming nukes at some disance.)

    Yet she seemed relunctant to do it. Were those flashback Baltar’s? Or were they her’s? Would that question even occur to us without the earlier scene?

    Finally, remember how dominant Six has been with him… and how he tried to dominate the union and council by incarcerating leaders who resist him? He only knows two ways of interacting with other people. He’s obviously not going to dominate the Cylons, yet he’s still the president of the colonies and the humans should defer to him….

    The humans don’t need to fear the Cylons. They need to fear Baltar under the Cylons.

  4. quantaman says:

    Emotional Response
    I have noticed I’ve personally had a lower emotional response the past few weeks. I think the reason is that ever since they killed off Billy the show has been moving way too quickly. Billy was forgotten by the next episode, only a single throwaway line, and Dualla doesn’t mourn him in the slightest. Apollo rapidly develops a relationship with Dualla and then in the same ep is promoted to XO, than Commander. Starbuck becomes Galactica CAG and we don’t get to see her in the same planning situations that Lee was always in or even butt heads with Tigh.

    I really think they’re evolving the characters too quickly and not allowing the audience to keep pace. The Apollo commanding Pegasus isn’t the same Apollo who was Galactica’s CAG but we never got a chance to really meet the new Apollo. I know that I’ve kept a greater emotional attachment to Adama, Rosylin, and Baltar than any of the rest simply because I still know who those characters are. I think they may have been better off moving this New Caprica storyline further into the 3rd, or even 4th season, and taking their time getting there, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to make the change midseason and thought 4th was too long.

    • Nakhti says:

      Re: Emotional Response

      I have noticed I’ve personally had a lower emotional response the past few weeks. I think the reason is that ever since they killed off Billy the show has been moving way too quickly. Billy was forgotten by the next episode, only a single throwaway line, and Dualla doesn’t mourn him in the slightest. Apollo rapidly develops a relationship with Dualla and then in the same ep is promoted to XO, than Commander. Starbuck becomes Galactica CAG and we don’t get to see her in the same planning situations that Lee was always in or even butt heads with Tigh.

      I really think they’re evolving the characters too quickly and not allowing the audience to keep pace. The Apollo commanding Pegasus isn’t the same Apollo who was Galactica’s CAG but we never got a chance to really meet the new Apollo. I know that I’ve kept a greater emotional attachment to Adama, Rosylin, and Baltar than any of the rest simply because I still know who those characters are. I think they may have been better off moving this New Caprica storyline further into the 3rd, or even 4th season, and taking their time getting there, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to make the change midseason and thought 4th was too long.

      I agree. I don’t like the fact that they’re skipping one year ahead when we’ve only known the characters for nine months.

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: Emotional Response

        I have noticed I’ve personally had a lower emotional response the past few weeks. I think the reason is that ever since they killed off Billy the show has been moving way too quickly. Billy was forgotten by the next episode, only a single throwaway line, and Dualla doesn’t mourn him in the slightest. Apollo rapidly develops a relationship with Dualla and then in the same ep is promoted to XO, than Commander. Starbuck becomes Galactica CAG and we don’t get to see her in the same planning situations that Lee was always in or even butt heads with Tigh.

        I really think they’re evolving the characters too quickly and not allowing the audience to keep pace. The Apollo commanding Pegasus isn’t the same Apollo who was Galactica’s CAG but we never got a chance to really meet the new Apollo. I know that I’ve kept a greater emotional attachment to Adama, Rosylin, and Baltar than any of the rest simply because I still know who those characters are. I think they may have been better off moving this New Caprica storyline further into the 3rd, or even 4th season, and taking their time getting there, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to make the change midseason and thought 4th was too long.

        I agree. I don’t like the fact that they’re skipping one year ahead when we’ve only known the characters for nine months.

        But considering where they are one year later, it may very well have really sucked to watch that all play out. The other thing is that it ads weight to their settling on the planet. If the Cylons had shown up three weeks later or something like that, and they end up leaving at most a few months later, the planet was just a small distraction. However, if its been a year, many things change and it will cause more tension and have more impact to get off the planet now.

        • quantaman says:

          Re: Emotional Response

          I have noticed I’ve personally had a lower emotional response the past few weeks. I think the reason is that ever since they killed off Billy the show has been moving way too quickly. Billy was forgotten by the next episode, only a single throwaway line, and Dualla doesn’t mourn him in the slightest. Apollo rapidly develops a relationship with Dualla and then in the same ep is promoted to XO, than Commander. Starbuck becomes Galactica CAG and we don’t get to see her in the same planning situations that Lee was always in or even butt heads with Tigh.

          I really think they’re evolving the characters too quickly and not allowing the audience to keep pace. The Apollo commanding Pegasus isn’t the same Apollo who was Galactica’s CAG but we never got a chance to really meet the new Apollo. I know that I’ve kept a greater emotional attachment to Adama, Rosylin, and Baltar than any of the rest simply because I still know who those characters are. I think they may have been better off moving this New Caprica storyline further into the 3rd, or even 4th season, and taking their time getting there, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to make the change midseason and thought 4th was too long.

          I agree. I don’t like the fact that they’re skipping one year ahead when we’ve only known the characters for nine months.

          But considering where they are one year later, it may very well have really sucked to watch that all play out. The other thing is that it ads weight to their settling on the planet. If the Cylons had shown up three weeks later or something like that, and they end up leaving at most a few months later, the planet was just a small distraction. However, if its been a year, many things change and it will cause more tension and have more impact to get off the planet now.

          Though consider if we had a two or three episodes to watch them settle the planet, struggle to build it up and feel at home, then maybe skip several months of static character development only to see the Cylons come in and take it over. We never really learned about Caprica before the attack so we couldn’t really share in their pain at leaving it nor understand their desire to win it back. We had that chance to connect to New Caprica but now the audience will never see it as anything except a prison and wants nothing but for the Colonians to get off, again we miss the opportunity to share in the Colonians loss of their home and desire to get it back.

          Not to mention we missed things like Kara adapting to her new life as tentwife, Baltar’s actions as president, and the uphevals as the fleet stopped running.

          • daveparker42 says:

            Re: Emotional Response

            Not to mention we missed things like Kara adapting to her new life as tentwife, Baltar’s actions as president, and the uphevals as the fleet stopped running.

            I wouldn’t be too surprised if the first few episodes of the next season flashed back to fill out the more interesting parts of the year we missed.

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