It’s been my lucky week, I’ve gotten to write about one of my favorite episodes of The West Wing, and now I get to write about one of my favorite episodes of BSG. “Valley of Darkness” is BSG at its finest, with some of the tightest plot development, action, and production values of the series. Oh, and Apollo shoots a Centurion as it is flying over his head.
Previously, Boomer shot Adama, Tigh was a shitty leader, Roslin and Apollo were jailbirds, Starbuck was a cowgirl, Baltar, Six, Sharon and Hot Hot Helo are going to be parents, and Tarn got red-shirted on Kobol. A lot is happening for our 50k ragtag survivors, and “Valley of Darkness” propels the actions further with 44 minutes of delicious, ‘splodey robot storytelling.
At the end of the previous episode, a new type of Cylon Raider crashed into Galactica, breaching the hull and unleashing a band of super-Cylons onto the ship. CAG Apollo and three of his nuggets open this episode on the hangar deck, celebrating what they think is a victory over the latest Cylon attack. The lights flicker and go out, and Apollo is unable to reach CIC by phone. The flight crew heads off to investigate, still jolly, until one of the super-Centurions appears from nowhere and slices clean through one of the nuggets. Apollo and the two remaining nuggets, Hot Dog and Kat, make a break for it. The Centurion catches up, and is about to kill Apollo when its head is dispatched by a Space Marine with explosive rounds. Space Marine explains to Apollo that explosive rounds are the only ammo that will kill this type of Centurion. I’m pretty sure we’ve never seen this type before, nor will we ever see it again, but it does add to the tension of the episode, so I’ll give it a pass. Maybe they were prototypes? After learning the Marines just used their last explosive round, Apollo and Kat join them on a reloading mission to the arms locker, after sending Hot Dog to CIC with a note.
Speaking of the CIC, they’re just beginning to figure out the ship has been boarded, and realize the Centurions are headed to the front of the ship and Aft Damage Control, which will allow them to cut off all the primary systems and generally fuck things up. This is apparently an old tactic from the First Cylon War, and Tigh has seen it before.
On Kobol, Baltar has a dream in which Adama drowns his imaginary Cylon baby in the lake. It’s pretty creepy, and it freaks Baltar out quite a bit. He wakes up bloody, in a patch of tall grass, and Lt. Crashdown pulls him up and tells him to get moving. Tyrol and Cally, meanwhile, are on their way back from collecting the other med kit, and Cally calls Tyrol a motherfrakker to snap him out of his funk so they can get back to give Soccinus the meds he needs.
On Caprica, Starbuck takes Helo to her old apartment and we learn her dad is Philip Glass. We also might suspect that Starbuck did a shitton of Colonial acid, because her walls are covered in terrible paintings and poetry written in Sharpie. She tells Helo she’d never gotten attached to her stuff, belying her actions of playing a recording of her dad, finding her hidden stogie stash and sliding into a well-worn leather jacket, and that while everyone she knows is fighting for what they lost, she’s fighting because it’s all she knows how to do.
Back on Galactica, Apollo and the nuggets (great band name, btw) have made it to the arms locker, where they find knuckledragger Jammer hiding. Continuing their luck, they only find six explosive rounds, so everyone but Apollo gets one bullet, he gets two.
As the corridors are filling with gunfire and screaming, Roslin demands to be let out of her cell. She, Bill,y and her guard are trying to figure out a way to escape when Apollo’s team bursts in. Apollo gives Billy a gun (presumably without explosive rounds, sorry, Billy) and tries to give Roslin one as well, but she refuses. He gives them a Space Marine and instructs them to make their way to sick bay, which should be safe, and to run away from the gunfire. He and his team will be running towards the gunfire, because they’re big damn heroes, and also because they have weapons that will actually kill the Cylons. Roslin’s team head off, and they run into Dee, who’s shell-shocked and surrounded by corpses. Billy brings her around, and she joins their team, after telling Billy he should turn on the safety on the gun he’s stuck in his pants.
On Kobol, Tyrol and Cally make their way back to the rest of the group and explain that Tarn isn’t coming. The medic tending to Soccinus tells them Soccinus isn’t going to make it, even if they give him the meds. Tyrol is pissed. The medic tells him that if they give Soccinus the morpha in her kit and the morpha in the kit Tyrol brought back, they can spare him a really long, miserable death. Tyrol relents and gives Soccinus the drugs, and tells him that Galactica is rescuing them as he dies.
On Caprica, Starbuck finds a set of keys in the pocket of her jacket and grins at Helo, asking if he’s tired of walking. She’s got a giant military vehicle full of guns parked in the garage, see, so they drive off in it.
On Galactica, they’re down to two Centurions, both of which are leaving a trail of corpses on their way to Aft Damage Control. Roslin’s party is thwarted by attacks, and decide on a new route to sick bay, right through (you guessed it!) Aft Damage Control. Apollo manages to get there first, and sets up his team behind a few barriers and tells them all to make sure they get headshots. Poor Jammer is about to shake his gun clean out of his hand, so Apollo gives him a pep talk, telling Jammer that sometimes “you have to roll the hard six.” Jammer, like the rest of us, doesn’t know what this means, and Apollo explains that it’s something his dad says.
Roslin’s team is nearly at Aft Damage Control, and a few meters away from Apollo’s blockade when the Billy gets spooked and shoots off his gun, drawing the attention of the Centurions, who open fire. Her whole team hits the deck, and Apollo’s team starts shooting. Kat and Jammer blow one away, the second takes out the space marine and dives at Apollo, who blows off its head mid-leap, like a motherfrakking boss.
Later, Apollo is standing by his father’s bed before being taken back to hack, when Tigh comes in. Tigh tells him that he isn’t fit to wear the uniform, and Apollo agrees with him, but adds that Tigh isn’t any more fit than he is.
And so ends another exciting episode of Battlestar Galactica. Join Cherri here next week when she talks about “Fragged.”