Once upon a time, the monsters came, and they were gods and men and robots; masters and slaves; prey and predator. They were good and evil and neither and both, and they fought each other across the stars and the emptiness, warring paradoxes at the end (and the beginning) of everything in a blur of light and dark and the stickiness in between.
When we left our heroes, things were not going so well. Colonial One, with both newly anointed President Roslin and Captain Eye Candy Apollo on board, is presumed nuked, the crew of Galactica is about to risk using untested technology to twist the laws of physics and the fabric of space and time in lieu of the alternative – certain death – and Hot, Hot Helo is stuck on radioactive Caprica with
zombies angry survivors. The sentient Cylon trinity (that we know of) of hot lady, suit-of-armor-and-destruction and flying red-eyed, cyclops death machine models are at a clear advantage, with a kill ratio of roughly 1,000,000,000:1 (figuring for immortality-via-downloaded-consciousness factor).
On Galactica, there’s a moment of shock as everyone processes what’s happened to Colonial One. Colonel Tigh breaks the silence to get everyone back on task in preparation for bending time and space. Boomer’s flying to safety, with her co-pilot, the wide-eyed, Dickensian moppet, Boxy. Boxy becomes the one thing everyone in the BSG fandom can agree on, as he is universally despised. Boxy is later kidnapped by Chuck Cunningham, and is never heard from again. (I recognize roughly four readers will be old enough to get this joke.)
Starbuck learns that the mechanic she’s railing about is dead, and Chief Tyrol tells her, indirectly, that Lee is gone as well. She’s shaken, but she sucks it up before storming off.
On Boomer’s Raptor, Gaius sees a vision of Number Six, in a slinky red dress. She’s only somewhat real.
Meanwhile, the Galactica crew gets its first real win by successfully jumping into orbit over Ragnar, as Lt. Gaeta is the man.
On Colonial One, it tuns out Captain Eye Candy is also the man, because he tried a trick he and his chums played with in War College, and put his flux capacitor into the hyperdrive and haxxored the Cylon’s radar. Or something. Anyway, everyone’s alive and President Roslin’s on board with a GTFO plan, RFN.
As the Galactica eases in to dock at Ragnar, we see scenes of bodies being laid out in a hangar bay cut with scenes of Starbuck praying to the Lords of Kobol for the souls which were lost. She pulls a picture from the mirror in her locker, of her smiling with her arm around a handsome fella we’re to presume is Zak. She unfolds the edge to reveal Lee was in the shot, too, giving us a hint into their complicated history, and foreshadowing a bit to their complicated future.
Chief Tyrol leads the mission to get some bullets from Ragnar, and he and his team quickly meet the above Attractive Canadian with a Gun, who is pointing said gun right at the Chief.
Meanwhile, Boomer’s Raptor has found Colonial One, and her passengers are safely brought on board the larger ship. She and Baltar are brought before Roslin, who quickly makes Baltar her chief science officer and assigns Boomer to use the Raptor’s FTL capabilities to jump away to find surviving ships and bring them back. When they’ve collected all the survivors they can, they’ll convoy to meet with Galactica at Ragnar. And a ragtag fleet is born.
At Ragnar, Attractive Canadian is trying to convince Tyrol he doesn’t want any trouble. Tyrol disarms him after letting him know there’s a war on, and they go about their business.
On Colonial One, InvisiSix is fucking with Baltar.
Attractive Canadian is showing Adama and the team where to find the good bullets, using the story of being an arms dealer to explain why he’s being so attractively Canadian on a giant space station full of guns and bullets and things that go BOOM.
The Attractive Canadian is smug, then a deckhand drops a box and the room explodes, trapping him behind a whole bunch of shit with Adama. Chief mobilizes the crew to rescue them, Adama tells him to get the bullets and plots an alternative exit with Attractive Canadian. They head off through a dark passage.
Roslin is touring a beautiful ship with a series of glass domes over indoor forests. She stops to chat with a little girl, who’s supposed to be on her way to eat chicken pie in Caprica City with her parents.
Captain Apollo tells Roslin that Boomer was able to fine a refining ship filled with tilium, which is what fuels the fleet. In a few hours, they’ve managed to bring roughly 60 ships to rendezvous with Colonial One, but Apollo informs Roslin that only about 2/3 of those ships have FTL capabilities. They’re about to start transferring the passengers from those ships to the ships which can jump, when Boomer detects a Cylon Raider as it jumps into their little wagon train. The Raider jumps away just as quickly, and the humans realize it’s leapt away to bring back a bunch of its friends. Lee convinces the team to jump RFN, which means leaving behind the ships which can’t jump.
Billy, Roslin’s adorable assistant, pauses to tell her something and she says, “I have cancer.” Billy says, “I know.” Then he tells her the cute little orphan is on a ship that can’t jump. Roslin says, “I know.” We hear the radio chatter as the doomed ships realize what’s happening, and they beg for mercy as the FTL ships disappear one by one. The Cylons appear on radar just as Colonial One leaps away.
Adama and Attractive Cylon are hoofing it through the guts and underbelly of Ragnar, talkin’ philosophy. Adama puts two and two together. Up above, Gaeta gets a bunch of signals on the DRADIS, and assumes they’re under attack. Communications Officer Dee quickly assesses that the ships are friendly, and sending Colonial signals. They receive word that the President of the Colonies is on board, and Tigh invites her aboard. Roslin, Tigh and Lee get into a spat about surviving vs. staying in a fight they already lost, and get him to relent into giving them two first-aid pods for the survivors. He tells them they’ll be on their own when they jump away from Ragnar, and tells Lee he’s been promoted to Captain of the Air Group.
We get a nice moment when we see people reunite, including Communications Officer Dee and Adorable Billy, Chief and Boomer…
… and Starbuck and Apollo.
Who say this:
Starbuck: I thought you were dead.
Apollo: I thought you were in hack.
Starbuck: It’s good to be wrong.
Apollo: You should be used to it by now.
Aw. They almost kiss like the other reunitees, but Lee talks about engines instead. They joke a bit about his promotion, and the whole time they’re grinning at each other in a goofy way that made many classic BSG fans feel funny enough to rage on the Internet.
Classic BSG’r: STARBUCK WOMAN BAD. STARBUCK MAN GOOD. RAGE SMASH FLOUNCE.
Under Ragnar, Attractive Canadian is looking pretty gray. Adama calls off the bullshit and calls him a Cylon, the Attractive Canadian doesn’t see the point in denying it and tells Adama that if he’s killed, he’ll just transfer his consciousness to a new body, which will tell all the other Cylons where the humans are. Adama argues that if Attractive Canadian could have jumped, he would have already, and beats the shit out of him. Don’t try and monologue Adama. He’ll hit you with a pipe.
Baltar is telling Gaeta how the Cylons used his work against him to gain control of the defense network. They’re going to work together to work against the Cylons. InvisiSix appears as Gaeta is asking him about guilt, which it’s clear Baltar hadn’t really considered before now. Gaeta and Six both give him an out, and he bumbles on. Six points him towards a device hidden under a console in Galactica‘s CIC, which he recognizes as a Cylon nuclear device. She tells him she didn’t do it, which leads him to realize there are other hidden Cylons on the ship. Baltar wants to warn the humans, but InvisiSix reminds him that he probably shouldn’t know what any Cylon devices look like if he wants his new shipmates to trust him. It’s always best to appeal to Dr. Baltar’s sense of self-preservation if one wants him to act. He decides to blame the device on Aaron Doral, the poor man’s Kevin Spacey, since Doral the reporter is an outsider and will be an easy target. InvisiSix tells him she doesn’t think Doral is a Cylon (“He doesn’t look the type, and I’ve never seen him at any of the Cylon parties…”)
Tigh tells Adama, who’s back in CIC, that Lee isn’t dead after all. Lee and his dad have a nice reunion in Commander Adama’s quarters. Lee tries to be a hardass, but his dad gives him a big hug and they get emotional for a brief moment. Then they both hardass up and walk away.
Tigh meets with Commander Adama and Baltar in a private corner of the ship, where he reveals that Leoben’s (nÃ©e Attractive Canadian) autopsy revealed nothing that would differentiate him from a human. Baltar is tasked with creating a Cylon detector.
Starbuck is about to fly above the station to assess how many Cylons have assembled to kill them all. She takes a moment before she goes to tell Lee she’s the reason his brother, Zak, passed Basic Flight, not his father. Lee turns slightly purple with rage.
Baltar has Doral locked up, by lying his ass off to Tigh. Doral is in his cell screaming that he isn’t a Cylon while Baltar weaves his web of bullshit. Baltar claims Doral has failed his Cylon detection test, and then throws him under the bus by telling Tigh that Baltar saw Doral plant the mystery device in CIC. Tigh and Gaeta investigate and kick themselves for not spotting it earlier. Tigh calls for a search of the whole ship.
Starbuck finds thousands of Cylon Raiders, as well as a few Basestars, floating in orbit above Ragnar.
Adama walks in on a meeting between Billy and Roslin, and Roslin makes Adama wait until Billy is finished with his report before she’ll talk to him. Her motivation is two-fold. She has to establish herself as a person of authority if Adama is even going to acknowledge her, and she needed him to hear how dire things are for the people on the non-military ships. Adama wants to fix the ship and keep fighting, Roslin tells him the war is over, they lost, and they need to get on with the business of running and surviving.
After hearing Starbuck’s report and weighing Roslin’s words, Adama decides they’re going to have to jump from where they are to get away. Lee is there to speak for the civilians, Tigh is against taking them, Lee says they need a common jump spot for all the ships to escape to. Adama makes the call to run, and suggests the full fleet jump to the Promar sector. Gaeta is sent off to plot the jump, Adama spells out the rest of the plan. Galactica will stick her nose out first and start blowing shit up. The rest of the ships will jump to safety with Galactica and the Viper squadron giving cover, then the Vipers will be recalled and Galactica will jump and join the rest of the fleet.
They dump Doral, still protesting, at Ragnar and prepare to swing into action. We see the ships rise through the atmosphere of Ragnar, and Galactica‘s guns are revealed as they pop out from practically everywhere on the surface. Thousands of Raiders are flying in, and the tension builds before the money scene begins.
And it is MAGNIFICENT.
Apollo leads the Vipers to face a wall of Raiders, and nearly has himself blown to bits. Starbuck swoops in and intercepts the missile with one of her own, while giving him shit about breaking his ship. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet has jumped away. Galactica calls all her birds home, and one by one they make MIND-BLOWING combat landings in the hangar. Except, of course, our badass protagonist pilots, Starbuck and Apollo.
Starbuck is in the zone, blowing lots of Raiders into space dust, when Adama comes over her comm.
Adama: Starbuck, what do you hear?
Adama: Starbuck! What do you hear?
Starbuck: (pausing to listen to the Raider bits hitting the canopy of her fighter.) Nothing but the rain!
Adama: Then grab your gun and bring in the cat.
Aw. So Starbuck flies her Viper right at Lee’s Viper, they scream at each other, she hooks her ship to his and flies them both into a (understandably rough) combat landing when they stop inches short of smashing into a bulkhead. As soon as they do, Adama makes the call and the Galactica jumps away. So say we fucking all.
*phew* That was some intense shit.
Not one to let us catch our breath, the show drops us in on the funeral of all the fallen from Galactica. Prophet Eloysia is leading the service, but Adama interrupts her to tell the fleet they’re going to haul ass to the mythical thirteenth colony they’ve all heard about in scriptures, because Adama knows where Earth is, and he’s going to take them there. Soon, the entire room is shouting SO SAY WE ALL! and cheering, ready for a new life out in the stars.
Tigh tries to make peace with Starbuck, but it doesn’t work. They end up yelling at each other instead.
Roslin confronts Adama in his quarters, which are filled with books.
Hell yeah, Adama is bookish and clever. And he’s Edward James Motherfucking Olmos. Roslin calls him out for lying about Earth, and he gives up pretty quickly. He wants the ragtag fleet to have something to live for, and he earns Roslin’s begrudging respect. It’s their first secret, and Roslin agrees to keep it as long as Adama lets the people have a government. Adama is not tickled, but as long as Roslin stays out of military business, he’ll think about it. As Roslin leaves, Adama gets this message:
Life starts to go on aboard Galactica. Ships are getting fixed, card games started, cigars lighted, old grudges let go. We enjoy the moment of peace with Kara, lying on her bunk blowing smoke rings, and with Lee, finally starting to forgive his father and seeing him for who he really is.
Back at Ragnar, we learn that Baltar is a lucky sumbitch, because Doral really is a Cylon. His buddies, a handful of other Dorals, some Sixes, some Leobens and some Centurians come to rescue him. As they’re planning how to best track down the last of the humans, who should turn the corner but Boomer, who is confident the humans will be found.
Six: By your command.
At the end (and the beginning) of everything, the monsters came. And we built ourselves in their image.
Next week at this time you’ll find Anna H.’s take on “33,” the first episode in Battlestar Galactica’s first official season, which aired nearly a year after Skiffy showed the pilot. I’m not sure if the wait was brilliant or cruel or both.
Extra big thanks to Screenshot Goddess Monchichi for the pictures breaking up the text above.