Battlestar Galactica – 2×07

Yet again, I was unable to see this episode in the UK, but the bees in my garden were able to communicate most of the episode through the medium of waggledance.

Battlestar Galactica – 2×07 – Home (Part 2)

I was critical of part one of this two parter, which seemed devoid of any subtlety or ambiguity, and (as we’re reminded this week) featured two-dimensional villains scheming about an accident befalling “a certain Captain Apollo”. Wince. Thankfully part 2 is a big improvement. Although it certainly shares some of the flaws of part 1, the visual flair is back, the character interation crackles and the ideas are intriguing.

A reborn Adama continues his push to bring the “family” back together, and the re-integration of the two groups brings many issues to a boil which there simply isn’t time to deal with here; an entire episode of talking heads would have trouble unravelling all the complexities of Boomer #2’s reintroduction to the fleet, the situation back on Caprica, the reconciliation of Adama and Roslin, and the reinstatement of the President. To its credit, the episode manages to nod in the right direction of all of these issues without undue exposition, leaving plenty of room for further development.

Adama himself showcases the way that the writers like to find unusual angles on the characters: his attack on Boomer is completely at odds with him weeping over ‘her’ corpse, and yet makes absolute psychological sense. Likewise his “forgiveness” of Roslin is fascinating for its combination of selfessness and egotism (her reply is perfect), and their confict is resolved not by reference to recent events, but to the bedrock of their relationship in the original cylon attack. His slow hand-clap at the end is also a lovely reminder of “So Say We All” from the pilot. I found this very convincing, even if it’s a temporary truce at best.

Boomer meanwhile is the centre of a complex web of relationships: she’s caught between roles of enemy, double-agent and ally; she’s in a love triangle, yet we’re not even certain she’s aware of it; and she fears for her life even as the humans fear her. Sadly her bid to “prove” herself is somewhat transparent, and if I were Adama I wouldn’t believe a word of it. Which he probably doesn’t. The most interesting part of this storyline is her heat-of-the-moment accusation that “You have to ask why?”, which appears to defend and justify Boomer #1’s assassination attempt.

The series continues to walk the tightrope between religious and secular viewpoints. Adama never accepts Roslin’s beliefs, yet studies the same religious texts in attempt to understand her motivations. Baltar doubts the Word of God, and is punished with a cylon crisis of faith. While the outcome of this is never in doubt, it’s interesting that he’s far better off pyschologically believing that he’s a pawn of cylon prophecy than that he’s a nobody who betrayed the entire human race.

The episode ends, predictably, with the revelation of a clue to finding Earth. We’re still no closer to knowing whether the colonial gods are real, but the Chariots of the Gods overtones which hamstrung the original show are uncomfortably close to the surface here. This is by far the weakest aspect of the show, and yet the way religion is tackled raises so many interesting issues that it’s hard to imagine the programme without it. I’m nervously hoping that the writers realise that constellations are line-of-sight effects, not true star clusters.

Effectively this episode resolves what might have been the entire second season of the series had further episodes not been ordered. It’s a slightly disappointing conclusion given the strength of what came before, and it’s noticeable that we’re back to something approaching the status quo. Nonetheless, any programme which takes seven episodes to deal with the ramifications of the season finale can hardly be accused of pressing the Big Red Reset Button; there are plenty of unresolved issues from this mini-arc which promise to cast a shadow over the rest of the season.

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