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[BSG] Jammer's Review: "Resurrection Ship, Part 1"

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  • Jamahl Epsicokhan
    Note: This review contains significant spoilers. ... Battlestar Galactica: Resurrection Ship, Part 1 Adama and Cain face off over the fates of Helo and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2006
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      Note: This review contains significant spoilers.

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      Battlestar Galactica: "Resurrection Ship, Part 1"

      Adama and Cain face off over the fates of Helo and Tyrol, whom Cain has
      sentenced to death for the killing of one of her officers.

      Air date: 1/6/2006 (USA)
      Teleplay by Michael Rymer
      Story by Anne Cofell Saunders
      Directed by Michael Rymer

      Rating out of 4: ***

      Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
      -----

      Much like "Scattered" was the logical but -- by design -- non-definitive
      continuation of "Kobol's Last Gleaming," then so is "Resurrection Ship, Part
      1" the logical and non-definitive continuation of "Pegasus." As a middle
      chapter that contains no resolution, it's not completely satisfying, but I
      suppose that's not its job. Its job is to provide more setup, ask more
      questions, and end with more suspense. It does that. How it will all play
      out is a question for another day, but what's notable about this episode is
      how it puts new weights on its characters.

      Scaled back in this show is the grand melodrama and epic tone apparent in
      "Pegasus." In its place is sensible characterization and a few new plot
      revelations.

      It may not come as a huge surprise that Adama's and Cain's alert fighters,
      launched at the end of "Pegasus," do not open fire on each other as we
      resume the story. Instead they fly about, nearly ramming into each other as
      the pilots play a breakneck-speed game of chicken while awaiting orders.
      Meanwhile, Starbuck -- who has taken the stealth Blackbird without
      authorization -- jumps into the middle of the Cylon fleet and photographs a
      mysterious and previously unseen Cylon vessel, which looks like something
      out of the video game "Doom." Kudos to the CG model designers for coming up
      with something that looks truly ominous and different.

      Cain and Adama call off the hostilities long enough to examine this new
      intelligence. They meet on Colonial One to hash out a (temporary) agreement
      to put aside their differences. Cain postpones Helo's and Tyrol's
      executions, but the agreement between Adama and Cain isn't a friendly one,
      and Cain hates the idea of having to discuss the finer points of military
      authority to President Roslin. "We're at war," she says angrily. "We don't
      have the luxury of academic debate." Cain's mission of survival at all costs
      has blinded her to what her unflinching hardness has cost her people in
      their humanity.

      Is Cain crazy? No. She is, however, quite amoral, and very accustomed to
      getting what she wants and not having her authority challenged. (She built
      that authority on the threat of severe consequences, like shooting her XO in
      front of her own crew, as explained by Colonel Fisk in "Pegasus.") There's
      an intriguing scene where Cain calls Starbuck into her cabin for taking the
      Blackbird on an unauthorized mission. The mission had a positive net effect,
      so rather than castigating Starbuck, Cain praises her for having guts, and
      promotes her to Pegasus CAG. You get the sense that Cain sees a little of
      herself in Kara and perhaps is tapping her as a protege. You also get the
      sense that if Kara's recon mission had gone south and resulted in something
      negative, she would've been immediately thrown in the brig.

      So just what is this mysterious Cylon vessel, then? Baltar's interrogation
      sessions with Pegasus' prisoner copy of Six might provide the answer. What's
      crucial about the Baltar/Six scenes is that they are not about Baltar
      getting information, but about the complicated (and often imagined)
      relationship between these two characters, and about this shattered woman
      who has been beaten, abused, raped, and tortured. "I want to die," she says.

      Death for the Cylons is typically not feared, because the consciousness of a
      dead Cylon is simply transferred into another body, where it can resume its
      life. That concept takes on a new dimension here; we learn that the process
      for "Cylon resurrection" requires being within a certain vicinity of the
      Cylon homeworld -- which the pursuing Cylon fleet currently is not. Instead,
      the mystery vessel is actually their "resurrection ship," which contains the
      necessary apparatus to recycle dead Cylons' memories into new bodies.
      Destroy that ship, and the game radically changes.

      The interesting twist here is that this broken and tortured shell of Six
      does not simply want to die and wake up in another body, but wants to die
      and be *actually gone*. Apparently her ordeal on the Pegasus has been more
      than she cares to take with her into a new body. So Six gives Baltar the
      information about the resurrection ship out of the purely self-interested
      motive of wanting to die. What does this say about the Cylons and their
      loyalty to their own race? Has this particular Cylon simply been through so
      much pain that she no longer cares about anything but dying?

      Kara and Lee devise a battle plan to take on the Cylon fleet and destroy the
      resurrection ship. Meanwhile, under all this, the tensions between Adama and
      Cain are very much alive. We learn still more alarming things about Cain
      when the question arises as to the fate of the Pegasus' civilian fleet.
      There's another ominous scene of Tigh and Fisk drinking and sharing stories,
      where Fisk reveals that Cain ordered the civilian ships stripped for
      supplies and the useful members of their crews drafted into the military
      while their families were held at gunpoint. When there was resistance, the
      families were actually shot. Fisk does *not* punctuate this story with a
      manic, just-kidding laugh. We're way past that point.

      Roslin suspects that it's only a matter of time before Cain stages a power
      play to take Adama out. In one of the show's more surprising moments, she
      tells Adama, "We have to kill her." It's a moment arrived at by way of
      logical conclusions reached because of the lack of available options:
      Certainly Cain does not share Adama's and Roslin's world view, in which
      certain values must outweigh rampant militarism, and only by eschewing that
      world view long enough to take Cain out can those values survive. "How did
      you get so bloody-minded?" Adama asks Roslin. It's a good question -- one
      which I suspect has an equally good answer, steeped in simple pragmatism. We
      must preserve our way of life.

      Other characters have their own personal crises. Helo and Tyrol are sitting
      in the brig awaiting execution, and their conversations turn to what landed
      them there -- their need to protect Sharon. They don't regret that decision,
      but I like that they both take a hard look at this messed-up relationship.
      Tyrol wants to extricate himself from the whole affair. Helo also has
      serious second thoughts ("I'm in love with someone who isn't even a woman")
      but can't deny the truth of his feelings.

      The episode cliffhangs us with Adama and Cain plotting coups against each
      other with their most trusted officers. Adama puts Kara on a mission to
      shoot Cain in the head when he gives the order after the attack on the Cylon
      fleet. Cain does the same, putting Fisk in a position to take marines into
      Galactica's CIC to "terminate Adama's command." For Kara, this will have
      severe personal consequences. Not only might she die, but she's been
      recruited to carry out an assassination of Adama's superior officer --
      someone that she shows signs of developing a certain level of respect for.
      Can she do something like that?

      To quote Adama from earlier in the show: "Has the whole world gone mad?"
      Yes, perhaps it has. But it hasn't gone mad without some very extreme
      reasons. It could be rightly said that the world came to an end first, then
      went mad.

      -----
      Copyright 2006, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
      Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is prohibited.

      Star Trek: Hypertext - http://www.st-hypertext.com/
      Jamahl Epsicokhan - jammer@...
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