Escape Velocity - Episode Review

Well, well, well. Finally the plot thickens. The story threads are beginning to come together and pay dramatic dividends. This was a trasformational episode - we begin to see the shape of what's to come. We begin the episode with Callie's funeral and Chief (Tryol) is beginning to lose it. [great set and production design this scene], Chief has a moment with Tory and Tigh where he senses something - suspicion - of their involvement? Tigh goes to visit Six in her cell and informs her that she cannot see the baby Hera (this line is a writers' contrivance because of course that would have been denied), and she tells him "You come here every day, but you don't even ask questions anymore." He sees Ellen's face in Six's and is baffled and disturbed and can't leave quick enough.

There is yet another secret meeting of TTT (no one notices?) where Tory let's Tyrol think that Callie killed herself and pushes the others to accept their new roles and their new powers, "We are stronger," and "Think about what we can do." Which largely falls on deaf ears because Tigh and Tyrol are consumed by their grief for lost lovers.

Tory visits Baltar again. She begins to explore her strength in the form of sexual domination and expounds about moral relativism. Suddenly a well-organized militia attacks the Baltar groupies' hideout - looking for Baltar - brutally attacking the women. A knowing look passes between Tory as she sees Baltar cowering behind a panel as if he were Claudius hiding from the Pretorian Guard. Later, Head-Six appears to Baltar and has him read the old text of the gods - graffitied onto the walls by the invading militia, and he is led to a woman among his throng by Head-Six who clings to the old beliefs. This spurs him to take his followers to a temple service of the old gods and defile their temple and cause a ruckus - this scene felt implausible and a misfire in the direction of the story and Baltar's character arc - until later in the episode.

We have some terrific scenes with Roslin and Adama, he is being sweet to her as she fades due to the cancer. She wears a wig now which looks much like her hair in the Opera House dream sequences. The lame subplot with Lee being righteous comes to fruition, with him leading the effort to override Roslin's limit on public assemblies and later to Adama privately she says, "That's Lee," with much respect for his moral certitude. Roslin had a great scene with Baltar where she laid down the law to him - wonderful writing and again superior acting by M
ary McDonnell - "Look at me," she says. Great great scene. Her fears are for the safety of the people that remain, she doesn't want religious conflict and warns the Quorum that if they override her it will blow up in all their faces. Lee intervenes as Baltar is being physically held by Head-Six (we see it - we see him without Head-Six as if he's being held up) as she compels him to take the punishment of a guard enforcing the assembly restrictons dishes out only to have Lee show up at the last second to offer the Quorum's reprieve. Beaten, Baltar delivers a worthy speech along the lines of early Christian monotheistic Jesus's sermon-on-the-mount - a "god is love, love yourself" kind of plea. Tory, Lee and Six watch discreetly from various vantage points. His followers are enthralled. This subplot is finally slipping into gear.

Concurrently, Tigh keeps going back to visit Six, and every time he sees Ell
en's face more and more - is this Cylon "projecting?" We don't yet know. He brings guards, he orders them to aim their weapons, he orders them out, until finally he even banishes the hidden guards and turns off the electronic monitoring and is totally alone with Six. In agony, he pleads to know how she deals with the guilt and pain of what she's done - he is obsessed with his own actions toward Ellen and Six proffers the notion that only through pain does a Cylon or human (she still thinks Tigh human) evolve past the gnawing emotions and despair. She knows he's tortured and in need and is compassionate - yet curious. She smacks him around, and he asks for more until she realizes it is love he needs and she kisses him. This is now very interesting. We get to see the wonderful Michael Hogan at his best.

Subplot with Racetrack's raptor having some serious trouble, and crashes - a favorite minor character survives unscratched despite a really bad crash (!?!) - we saw the craft nosedive and the windows break but the vacuum of space yet left them none the worse for wear. Later, upon investigation - Tyrol realizes, in front of everyone, that he forgot to change a large fuse. He cannot be certain if it was a mistake or sabotage he did not realize he did ... a la Boomer from Season 1.

Later there are scenes with Tyrol working to hard and pounding the algae booze at the bar. Adama shows up to the bar to offer a compassionate ear but Tyrol is out for bear and loses it - spewing all of his disappointments and contempt for Callie out loud and challenging Adama to demote him - which he does. A good scene - the words about "I settled," are chilling. Chief is getting much more interesting too.

The episode started out kinda weak and then the weaved together beautifully - the nuance to the writing and to the story choices really revealed themselves at last. I had almost lost faith, but this episode but BSG back on track.

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