Ladyghosts of TV Past: Battlestar Galactica, Episode 2.14, “Black Market”

In this week’s recap of Battlestar Galactica, I get a little angry. I don’t like this week’s episode, at all, for a lot of reasons. You shall find out what they are below the jump!

Previously, Colonel Fisk is the new Pegasus commander, Sharon’s baby cures cancer, President Roslin saw Baltar making out with Six before the attacks, Lee flirts with Dualla, making Billy jealous, a lot of the ships are short on rations, and Lee floated in space and nearly died. Lee didn’t want to make it back alive.

Whoa, now Lee’s in a bar, pointing a gun at an kingpin-sort-of man, who says that Lee’s not going to shoot him. We jump back, 49 hours earlier.

Lee’s on Cloud Nine, in bed with a woman. What? Who? Oh dear.

President Roslin is back in the game; her recovery is remarkable. And now she’s concerned about food shortages and the growing black market. She’s implementing a new fleet-wide supply chain policy. Fisk doesn’t think that this is going to work, and he’s buddying up to Baltar.

One-eyed dolls are not going to win you any friends, Lee Adama.

Lee is having flashbacks to his time floating in space and also apparently his girlfriend? Fiancée? Wife? Who looks a lot like the woman he’s with now, but clearly isn’t. This current woman has a daughter, Paya, who Lee is clearly trying hard to be nice to. He gives her a doll, except it’s only got one eye? Also, we have learned that this woman (have a name, please!) is a sex worker, as Lee pays her.

On Pegasus, the guy that Lee was pointing a gun at shows up, and someone else in the room kills Fisk! With piano wire!

Credits!

Lee’s on a raptor back to Galactica, and, again, thinking of both his near brush with death and a woman he knew on Caprica. I’m going to assume she was his girlfriend, as we currently have too many unnamed women in Lee’s life.

Doc Cottle performs an autopsy on Fisk, and it turns out that there’s a coin of some sort shoved down his throat. Tigh and Adama debate whether this was done by a Cylon or Colonial. Adama puts Lee in charge of the investigation into Fisk’s death. Lee is not himself. He heads over to Pegasus to investigate the crime scene, and while he’s there, finds a cache of goods: cigars, jewelry and drugs, that would fetch a high price on the black market. He also finds a bracelet engraved with “ET” – Ellen TIgh, perhaps? Lee pockets it, right before Baltar shows up for a meeting with Fisk, unaware that he’s been killed. Lee questions Baltar, and Head Six shows up to stroke Baltar’s ego and prop him up against Lee.

Lee reports to Tigh and Adama that Fisk has been working the black market, to the point where he was getting greedy. Adama posits that Fisk’s involvement in the black market is what got him killed. Lee then has a flashback to a visit to his professional friend, who needs medicine for her daughter. He’s clearly fallen for her at least a little.

Lee goes to visit Tigh, and returns the E.T. bracelet he found in Fisk’s quarters. Tigh claims Ellen lost the bracelet. Lee implies that Tigh’s involved in the black market, and Tigh owns up to it, but doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with doing so.

Lee Adama's arms are pretty much the only redeeming aspect of this entire episode.

In the gym, Lee’s working out his glorious arms when Dee comes in and asks if there’s anything going on between them. Lee says he doesn’t know what to say. Way to wimp out, Lee.

Shevon! Lee’s professional lady friend is named Shevon, and she’s been beaten up pretty badly.  He tells her that he’s taking her and her daughter back to Galactica, to keep them safe. Which, I’m sure, he would have done, except then an armed goon bursts into the room.  While Lee could have beat Goon #1 prety soundly, when Goon #2 shows up and attempts to garrote him (with the same wire-holder-on-wrist thing that was used to kill Fisk!), Lee is clearly overmatched. As Lee is slowly being choked to death, the guy from the opening scene, who was in charge when Fisk was killed, shows up and tells Lee to lay off the investigation into Fisk’s death, otherwise horrible things will happen to Shevon and Paya.

Unconscious on the floor, Lee remembers telling Shevon about his girlfriend before the attacks–he loved her, but hurt her.

Baltar goes to see the president, where Roslin questions him about his meeting with Fisk. Roslin suggests that Baltar resign, and all of a sudden, Baltar wants to be VP very badly.

Lee’s conscious again, and it turns out the goon with the garroting wire is dead, and Shevon and Paya are gone. Then, because this episode isn’t random enough, Zarek shows up! Lee questions Zarek about the black market. Zarek tells him that Fisk was running the black market, and he refused to help him. Zarek tells Lee that there’s a ship called the Prometheus that seems to be the center of the black market and that deals are brokered by a former mercenary named Phalen, who I’m going to assume is the scary-looking dude we’ve met already.

More Lee flashbacks to the girlfriend on Caprica, whom he apparently made cry and run away from him. Lee goes to Prometheus, where he is immediately offered cigarettes and antibiotics. Behind a locked door with a tiny grated window, Lee spies Paya. He promises he’s going to come back and get her out of there. Can we talk for a moment about how creepy/horrible it is that, in this ship full of things illegally for sale, there is a locked room of children? They know what they’re implying, right? It’s a little bit too much horrible reality for my sci-fi show, thank you very much. I watch this stuff to escape, not to be reminded of the horrors of child trafficking.

Phalen doesn't want to hear my digressions into economic theory either.

Lee finally finds Phalen, who lets Lee know that Shevon works for him. He also informs him that the fleet needs the black market when supplies don’t come through. (There is an interesting argument to be made in terms of the utility of informal economies during times of economic hardship, but I just want this horrible episode to be over, so we’ll save it for another day.) Lee wisely asks how the locked-up children are helping the fleet. Phalen replies that “everyone has needs” which is the creepiest/most horrible thing ever. He claims there’s no moral highground, but basically, that’s bullshit.

Lee tries to negotiate, saying he wants Shevon and her daughter, and the entire market shut down in exchange for not, you know, blowing the entire ship up. Phalen says that the daughter’s already been paid for, which, EW EW EW WHY WOULD YOU MAKE THIS A PLOTLINE!? We already had the rapey episode a few weeks ago, now you’re going to insinuate child sex slaves? What the hell? What is the point of that?! (The point, of course, is to make Lee very, very angry, and to convince the viewer that Phalen is a Very Bad Guy. A point we could have gotten without this particular plot element, in my opinion.)

Lee disarms the guy who’s been pointing a gun at him this whole time and instead takes aim at Phalen. He then explains that the black market needs limits. Phalen says that Lee’s not going to shoot him, and then Lee shoots him.

To the two guys remaining, Lee makes a deal. They can have their black market, but there will be no more killings, no more stockpiling medicines, and no more child trafficking.

Who are you, woman who was important to Lee? And why are all the pre-war flashbacks so overexposed?

Lee goes over to comfort Shevon, who has the unfortunate task of reminding him that she’s not his ex-whatever from Caprica, and she can’t be her. Apparently “she” was pregnant, and Lee wasn’t ready for that, so they left on bad terms, and then the planet was nuked. Shevon explains that Paya is not his child, and she is not his girlfriend.

Adama and Lee report to President Roslin, explaining how and why Fisk was killed. Lee explains to President Roslin that Prometheus needs to be allowed to exist. Roslin clearly doesn’t like it, but accepts it. We go back to Prometheus for a moment and there’s Tom Zarek with Goon #1.

In Galactica’s gym, Dee is working out with Billy, and they’re flirting like mad. Lee watches them before walking away. No one loves Lee, it seems.

Your father's worried about you, Lee.

Except his father, of course, who has picked up on the fact that Lee’s been different since the Blackbird blew up. (Possibly also Starbuck loves Lee, but as WE DID NOT SEE HER AT ALL THIS EPISODE, I guess we’ll never know.)

As always, thanks to MonChiChi for the screencaps!

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CherriSpryte

CherriSpryte wants you to know that The Great Pumpkin loves you.

3 thoughts on “Ladyghosts of TV Past: Battlestar Galactica, Episode 2.14, “Black Market””

  1. I completely agree with you, Cherri. I thought this episode mostly sucked and didn’t really do anything to advance the plot. The woman from the past seemed like she was just dropped in from nowhere. Shevon was a drag; Firefly’s spacehooker was so much better. Large parts of this episode didn’t even make sense, and the other parts were just icky. Sadly, there was a dearth of patented Tigh Stinkeye.

    As much as Lee is pretty to look at, he can’t really carry a whole episode. Thank the gods that one is over.

     

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