Previously on Battlestar Galactica (hey, if every single episode opens with those words, I figure the recaps should as well!): Anyway, what we need to know for this episode: President Roslin, due to the advanced stage of her cancer, asks Doc Cottle about chamalla extract; the Caprica Cylons are going to get Sharon and Helo “in the end”; and Starbuck’s yelling at Lee, her knee is busted, and she’s training new recruits.
We begin with a Laura Roslin press conference about the fact that they’re almost out of fuel, called Tylium. During the conference, her lectern is suddenly covered with snakes. Roslin struggles to continue answering the press corps’ questions, despite the fact that her lectern is covered in snakes. She ends the press conference quickly.
Jump! We are with Boomer and Crashdown, looking for Tylium, and Boomer’s harassing Crashdown because a certain Ensign Davis seems to have a lil bit of a crush on him. But wait, because just like they’re searching for water all over again, they find a mountain of Tylium! Yay! But wait, Cylons are everywhere! Boo!
Cue the opening credits!
All right. We’re in the control room and learn that there’s enough Tylium there to last the fleet for several years ““ and that the Cylons are well entrenched. (Note: If your technology is so advanced that you’ve been able to create human copies virtually indistinguishable from real humans, why have you not figured out how to fuel your ships with, um, something far more common than this apparently incredibly rare Tylium?) Lee, Tigh and Geata are debating giving up on this Tylium and finding some that’s unoccupied, when Commander Adama breaks in, saying that they’ll take the Tylium from the Cylons. Drums! For this is the time to attack a superior force. All or nothing, and failure is not an option! ClichÃ©s for everyone!
Meanwhile, Starbuck is training the newbies. Adama comes in, telling Starbuck that he wants some serious out-of-the-box thinking, which, as we all know, is where Starbuck excels.
Now, we are with President Roslin, who is telling her priestess of the effects of the chamalla: her dreams and hallucinations. Namely, the dozen snakes on her lectern (she says podium, but the podium’s the platform one stands on, the lectern is “¦ well, where you hallucinate your snakes). The priestess claims that Roslin has read Pythia and is messing with her. Pythia was an oracle 3,600 years ago, who wrote about exactly what is happening at the moment. This is important, so I’m quoting it ““ “and the lords anointed a leader, to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland. And unto the leader they gave a vision of serpents, numbering two and ten, of a sign of things to come.” The priestess says that Pythia also writes that the leader is dying of a wasting disease, but that can’t be right, as there’s no way President Roslin would be suffering from some sort of illness and concealing it from the public, right? (Otherwise known as a “President Bartlet.”) Roslin says nothing.
Back on Galactica, Lee, Tigh, Commander Adama and Starbuck are planning their attack. Lee and Tigh have a textbook-perfect plan, which is no good, because it’s what the Cylons will be expecting, according to Starbuck. Tigh insults her lack of formal strategy training, but Adama thinks that’s an asset. They’re not as crazy as Starbuck is! (Adama, you have no idea. Spoilers!)
So Starbuck has a new plan, which she presents to President Roslin, explaining she needs three civilian ships as decoys. When the Cylon raiders attack the decoy ships, that will leave the Cylon base undefended against Colonial Vipers. Once the base has been destroyed, they can go in and get the Tylium. This is going to cost lives, and there’s nothing preventing the Cylons from coming back. However, Adama thinks this will teach the Cylons a lesson, an added benefit. Roslin approves the plan.
Gaius Baltar, Cylon expert, is consulted as to the best place to bomb the Cylon base. Gaius has no idea, so we cut to Head Six giving him a massage back in his apartment in Caprica, pre-explosion. And we have a discussion about God ““ if Gaius loves God and opens his heart to him, he will show him the way (or at least where to hit the base to make it explode). Gaius makes a totally random guess as to the correct location.
We then head down to Starbuck, who’s strengthening her knee in Galactica’s gym. Commander Adama comes down, and as she’s working out, proves to her that her knee isn’t strong enough yet for her to fly a Viper.
This is a scene that’s always stuck with me, because we all know Starbuck’s tough as nails. She’s just not physically strong enough right now, and it’s so painful to watch her come to that conclusion. So instead, she gives Lee tips on how to succeed at the mission ““ and he realizes she’s not confident in his ability to pull this all off.
Hey, look, Hot Hot Helo is back! On Caprica, Sharon and Helo have sought refuge in a stable. Sharon’s not feeling well, and she vomits. Helo worries about her anti-radiation meds, and they make plans to head for Delphi.
After just a moment with our friends on Caprica, its back to Galactica, where Lee and Commander Adama have a father-son moment. Adama gives Lee a good-luck piece, a lighter that belonged to his own father. Lee sees this as a sign that his father isn’t confident in his ability to succeed in tomorrow’s mission either. The bagpipes that have become BSG’s “Warning: Emotions Incoming!” music start to play, as Adama tells Lee that he’s his son, of course he’ll do well.
Back to Caprica, where Helo sees a Six, with a bunch of toaster Cylons behind her ““ he’s just beginning to understand that Cylons look like humans now, and there are copies. Sharon gets him on the move, quickly.
And now, for the Tylium mission. President Roslin and Gaius Baltar are gathered around the table-map-covered-in-models as all the pieces move into position. Once the decoys are in position, Cylon raiders come out to attack the three civilian ships, as expected. The first of the Vipers are launched, and Starbuck arrives, where she stresses about control and responsibility. She has not enough of the former and too much of the latter. The Cylons send out another bunch of raiders to meet the Vipers, and there are some Vipers exploding. Things are not looking good for our Colonial fleet, so the remaining Vipers return to Galactica, bringing with them ALL of the Cylon raiders, intent on attacking Galactica. So Starbuck has Dee send a message to Lee: “The back door is open.” Twelve-year olds in the audience, please giggle for no more than five seconds. Done? Okay.
So! Surprise! There are Vipers hiding in the civilian decoy ships!!! Laura Roslin is just as surprised as the rest of us that there were secrets kept from her. Down on the Tylium asteroid, it’s a scene straight from Star Wars, as the scrappy pilots navigate the red rocky terrain, all trying to get a shot in at a specific point. The Viper pilots are taking enemy fire, and then Lee breaks off from the group – he has an idea. Lee flies into the conveyor tunnel, assuming it will lead him to the refinery, which is what needs to be blown up to ensure the base’s destruction. Exactly 30 seconds of stressful computer-generated maneuvering later, Lee’s through the tunnel, and safe from Cylon fire ““ he’s inside the base. Lee drops his missiles, and hauls ass out of there. The base goes up like a firework, and Lee informs Galactica that it’s Mission Accomplished. There is much rejoicing and hand-shaking; Gaius is incredibly relieved; Starbuck hugs the president, apologizes for being forward, then gets hugged back. Cue the bagpipes again, and it’s a hero’s welcome for the returning pilots, as Crashdown gets a hug from Ensign Davis, and Lee gets booze and a cigar from Starbuck. He lights the cigar with his grandfather’s lighter, and then tosses the lighter back to Commander Adama. The bagpipes swell, because this show really is all about trust and family and possibly faith, and that is what the bagpipes want us to remember.
While that would have been a good note to end on, we’re back with Gaius and his Head Six, and she’s schooling him on the scrolls of Pythia; again repeating that he is part of God’s plan, and God guided his hand in pointing out where the base needed to be bombed. So Gaius, who is already ridiculously smug, self-assured and privileged, now also believes he is an instrument of God. Great.
And, again, thanks to monchichi for the absolutely perfect screencaps!