Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E05 – You Can’t Go Home Again

In the fifth episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck is determined to find a way home after crashing on an oxygen-less moon. Meanwhile, the search party (led by Adama and Lee) comes into conflict with the greater needs of the entire fleet. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

It’s like this show is just one giant book, and we’re just being given the various chapters, one at a time. I don’t think that’s solely because of how serialized the show is, but so much of what we’re seeing here is intensely personal. Amidst all of the action and suspense, these are uniquely intimate character studies on the screen. They’re padded in a rapidly-progressing plot, but it’s right there.

After Adama and Starbuck’s relationship deteriorates quickly upon her reveal about Zak near the end of “Act of Contrition,” I came to adore how much the story in “You Can’t Go Home Again,” also represented the struggle for Starbuck to find her place again, both literally and figuratively. In addition to that, contrary to what I anticipated, this is also a great chance for us to see sets that aren’t inside of spaceships. To be honest, I thought a lot of the show would exist solely on board the Galactica, yet the Caprica and windy moon sets add a much-appreciated variance to the story.

Picking up right from the end of “Act of Contrition,” there are three stories intertwined in the narrative. It wasn’t spelled out for us, and I enjoyed the parallel between Helo and Starbuck. Both of them are stranded on celestial bodies, seemingly alone when it comes to other humans, but threatened by the presence of Cylons. Even more fascinating is the fact that Starbuck is on a moon that’s unfamiliar to her, yet Helo is just as terrified, and he’s on a very familiar planet that suddenly feels strange and bizarre.

The similarities do end there, though, because faces a very real and horrifying Cylon attack. And seriously, never in my entire life have I ever thought a toaster could be used as a method to generate terror, but THERE IT IS. A toaster!!!!! I made toast for breakfast this morning, and all I could think about was a Cylon lurking around the corner. But I unfortunately must continue to confess my confusion. I don’t get what the Cylons are doing with Helo. Are they just playing mind games with him? Why go after him and take CylonBoomer away from him? Why even keep him alive? I’m sure there are clues that I’m not seeing, but I can’t figure them out at all. I’m beginning to think I’m simply being deceived, that Helo possesses something the Cylons want, but I just don’t know what it is yet. WHY DO THEY KEEP TEASING HIM SO.

Back on the Galactica, Adama and Lee leapt into action to set forth a plan to try and locate Starbuck, who is busy struggling to survive on the moon’s surface. What starts off as a normal–if intensive–process quickly becomes something else, though. It seemed obvious that the structure of this episode would involve Starbuck’s difficulty in getting off of that moon, and the scramble to locate her on the part of the fleet. The fleet hadn’t even determined that she’d crashed, let alone was crawling in the dirt after busting her knee. (I KNOW IT’S ACTING BUT THAT LOOKED SO PAINFUL!!!!) Instead, what unfolds on screen is a combination of guilt and duty colliding in a disturbing manifestation.

But before I get into the heavy emotional toll of Adama and Lee’s actions, I really just want to talk about how cool “You Can’t Go Home Again” is. I suppose that there was nothing preventing me from thinking otherwise, but I’d just assumed that the Cylon raiders were flown by Cylons. RIGHT? I mean, what other evidence did I have to the contrary? I didn’t even think it was the Cylon humans, just the robotic-like forms of those beings piloting the ships, simply not giving a fuck because they’re Cylons. They’re the honey badgers of space, basically.

My first clue that something was wrong about this pre-conceived notion was when Starbuck walked up to the crashed Raider ship and saw the hole that she blasted in the hull…and there was blood coming out of it. Oh. Okay. So….it was a human Cylon inside? Oh god WHAT IS GOING ON. And when she finally finds the button that opens the ship from the bottom….wait a second. Why is there a button on the outside? So that Cylons can….release waste? Do Cylons poop?

Clearly I am asking the right questions.

So let’s just discuss the bio-mechanical nature of the Cylon raider ship. It feels very Alien to me, which is about the best compliment I could give to whomever designed this and made it happen. Of course, other ships are probably flown by pilots who aren’t biologically wired into the entire thing, but I don’t care. This was fantastic. The inherent grossness of it all isn’t ignored either. As Starbuck climbs into the ship, we hear the sounds of flesh being torn apart, and see unknown bodily fluids that look like a mixture of blood and mucus. I love that the Cylon being inside is so destroyed that you can’t even picture what it originally looked like.

For Starbuck, this is really about adapting herself to a strange situation and doing what she can to survive. From trying to locate some source of oxygen, to using her training as a pilot to find the very basic flight tools to get the raider off of the ground, Starbuck doesn’t concern herself with being comfortable in the slightest. She knows she doesn’t have much time left before she either stops breathing (in the case of finding an oxygen line) or she is left behind or lost.

As joyous as Starbuck’s escape is (and it really is a treat to watch it), the entire story is contrasted with the unfortunately decisions the fleet has to make in their search for Starbuck. I mentioned before that Adama orders the Vipers out to search for Starbuck, and even Roslin offers up the rest of the fleet to search space for her. I was shocked by how quickly this all fell apart, though. The Viper ships are first unable to stand the atmosphere of the moon they believed Starbuck was on, and because so many of them are damaged due to mechanical problems, the area that’s been searched is frighteningly small. On top of that, because the nature of the fleet being essentially “stranded” in space, they’re restricted by logistics: the fuel reserves for the fighters are being drained.

I’m impressed just how present this concept is, by the way, and I think that it’s at heart about why “You Can’t Go Home Again” works so well. The various writers who have penned all of the episodes of season one so far have not let us forget that these people are floating in the middle of nowhere. They have no home. They have nowhere to set their feet down. They have limited supplies. (Some of those were just destroyed in “Water,” too.) So while the story of Adama and Lee’s dedication to finding Starbuck has a very real emotional base to it, we are not allowed to ignore that there are just over 47,000 humans left in all existence. In order to survive, they have to ration everything, and they have to keep these numbers in their minds. It’s not a matter of risking a few to save one. By risking the fleet in any way, they are risking the continuation of their species.

I mean, the number 47,000 is inconceivable to me. I live in a city with a population of 390,000 people. (As of last year.) I can’t imagine that number comprising every human being ever. That’s what makes this so difficult to watch. Once Roslin learns just how much is being “wasted” (in her opinion) in order to locate Starbuck, how could she continue to allow Adama and Lee to risk the entire fleet for one soldier?

Given what happened between Starbuck and Adama at the end of “Act of Contrition,” and knowing that Lee might also feel guilt at revealing what Starbuck had done for Zak two years earlier, it’s easy to paint both of these men’s actions as uniquely personal, especially in a distracting way. Even Roslin is able to point this out: They left behind over 1,300 people before, so why can’t they leave one soldier behind this time? When Tigh questions the point of searching for Starbuck after her air has clearly run out, both Lee and Adama overreact to having their decisions called into legitimacy. And I’m sure that’s something all of you have experienced at one point, especially when you truly believe that you are right about something. It hurts to be told you are wrong, and it hurts to have to cast aside one’s pride, especially if it concerns a loved one.

God, it is just gutting to have to watch these characters not only admit defeat, but face the fact that this defeat means losing someone they deeply care about. And seriously, what were Adama’s last words to Starbuck? A thinly-veiled threat at violence, and a rejection of everything she’d done for that man since joining the Galactica. It’s a testament to how well this is written AND acted that even though we know that Starbuck is alive, I couldn’t help but feel dejected as the crew prepared to make the jump and leave her behind.

To be fair, though, I worried that the episode title was ultimately a reference to the end of this episode, that as Starbuck brilliantly learned how to fly the raider, she would be unable to return home in the current state that she was in. Without a method to communicate with the Galactica, how on earth could she approach them without being blown to pieces? For an episode so intense and dark, I gotta say: I love how victorious the ending to “You Can’t Go Home Again” feels. I don’t feel ashamed for feeling that way, either. Starbuck just went through arguably one of the most difficult experiences of her entire life (AND EW SHE GOT CYLON GUNK IN HER MOUTH FROM THE OXYGEN TUBE EW) and it only fits that her return home is through a method that is boisterous, ridiculous, and over-the-top.

For me, though, my favorite moment is right at the end, and this story was inevitably leading to the second half of the confrontation between Adama and Starbuck. Injured and bed-ridden, she looks upon Adama not with a look of fury or fear, but of vulnerable desire, hoping so dearly that this man’s previous parting words were not meant truthfully. Unlike Starbuck, Commander Adama is much more reserved about how he expresses himself, which is why his actions are so jarring in this episode. So while he doesn’t come right out and say it, I felt there was an implicit acceptance (and maybe a smidgeon of an apology) in his congratulation of her performance that day. And even if it is a happy moment, it broke my heart to see Starbuck’s face curl up with tears. Maybe it’s because she genuinely thought she was going to die that day, or, even worse, she’d survive it all and still not have the love of Adama on her side. Her character was written in “You Can’t Go Home Again” to expose a remarkably tender and insecure side to her, which also didn’t ignore how tough she is as a person. It’s my hope that the three people most affected by Zak can begin to truly heal after all of this.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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116 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E05 – You Can’t Go Home Again

  1. I didn’t even think it was the Cylon humans, just the robotic-like forms of those beings piloting the ships, simply not giving a fuck because they’re Cylons. They’re the honey badgers of space, basically.







  2. Jenny_M says:

    This episode is badass. Who knew that you, too, can facilitate space flight with only a piece of kevlar!

    My theory on Helo (keeping in mind that I can't remember anything about the rest of this season apparently since I am forgetting that all of these plot things EVER HAPPENED) is that the Cylons are letting him live in the hopes that if he does find a ship that can get him off-world, he will lead them to the Colonial fleet. Somehow. Magically.

  3. cait0716 says:

    Um…I don't think the Cylon being inside has really been destroyed. The ship is a Cylon. The Cylon is a ship. This is something entirely different from the humanoid Cylons or the Centurions. Sorry, your review confused me as to whether you got that or not.

    I really love this episode. Roslin laying it out for Adama and son is just a brilliant scene. I don't know that anyone else would have been able to make them see the futility and ultimate danger of their actions. She balances it so well, too, giving them the time and supplies and support they need while Starbuck might conceivably be alive and then recognizing when they need to move on. I still always have a little moment of fear that they are going to leave Starbuck behind.

    When Lee says "this thing is flying with some serious attitude" there's something in the way he says "attitude" that just cracks me up every time. It's like he slips out of accent for a second or something.

    • monkeybutter says:

      The ship is a Cylon. The Cylon is a ship. This is something entirely different from the humanoid Cylons or the Centurions.

      Okay, that's what I thought, but Mark's review had me questioning myself. Thanks for clearing that up!

    • Dani says:

      I was confused about that, too xD Thanks for pointing it out.

    • notemily says:

      I love that line for some reason too! It sounds so genuine. Love Jamie Bamber.

  4. redheadedgirl says:

    I love how Tyrol is all excited to have a new toy. I love the little wing-waggle Apollo and Starbuck do (which according to the TWoP recap is a reference to the original show? Can anyone confirm or deny?).

    I'm almost afraid to say anything else- I've seen the entire show, and I can't always tell what is reaction to the current episode and what is me knowing the larger pictures. I've self-edited about 8 things out of this comment alone.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      The wing-waggle! This is the first time I noticed it! So adorable.

    • evocativecomma says:

      Yes, the wiggle-waggle waving at one another in their ships is a direct visual quote from the original series.

  5. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    There's nothing funny about Cylon toast.
    <img src=""&gt;

  6. Weston says:

    The wing-waggle that Starbuck uses to try to identify herself to Apollo is a reference to an original BSG episode.

  7. psycicflower says:

    Starbuck is clearly the best pilot in existence. Stranded on an alien planet, no problem, she'll just figure out a completely alien ship she's never seen the inside of before and fly it expertly to safety.
    Inside the Raider is so interesting. I don’t know what I expected Starbuck to find inside, maybe just more mechanics, but definitely not anything organic and yet it seems like the whole inner workings are like that. I really want to know more about how it works.

    All right… it's military, fine. And you're both officers and you're both honourable men and you're both perfectly aware that you are putting the lives of over 45,000 people and the future of this civilization at risk, for your personal feelings. Now, if the two of you, of all people, can live with that, then the human race doesn't stand a chance. Clear your heads.
    *draws hearts around Roslin’s name* Laura Roslin, a woman, tells two men that they’re too emotionally and personally involved and it’s affecting their decisions. Love you Roslin. I really like how after she leaves Adama and Lee share a well we just got told look. I also love how Starbuck showing up in the Cylon Raider shows exactly how unprepared Galactica was and how much trouble Adama and Lee’s decisions would have left them in had the Cylons turned up.

    Randomly I really love the touch of how Roslin doesn’t know who Starbuck is. You kind of expect all the main characters in a show to know each other in some way but they’ve never actually met, just happen to know some of the same people, so of course she shouldn't know who Starbuck is.

    EDIT: …simply not giving a fuck because they’re Cylons. They’re the honey badgers of space, basically.
    Laughed out loud and got funny looks.

    • cait0716 says:

      Re: Starbuck being able to figure out how to fly the ship. I love what that says about her as a pilot. She has a very deep understanding of how mechanized flight works. She knows the basics of what to expect, what kind of control she needs, and set about figuring it out. I love that she's not just a great viper pilot, she's a great pilot period.

      • psycicflower says:

        I love that she's not just a great viper pilot, she's a great pilot period.

        Quoted for truth.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I just love Roslin in this episode (well actually I love her in all the things but you know what I mean).
      I love how she's completely sympathetic, and lends her support to the search when it makes sense. She even lets it slide when Adama withdraws the CAP leaving the fleet defenceless, because she hears in Lee's voice that Starbuck obviously means a lot to them.
      But when they cross the line, she knows exactly the right things to say to get them to see reason.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      Laura Roslin, a woman, tells two men that they’re too emotionally and personally involved and it’s affecting their decisions. Love you Roslin.

      I don't think I can really explain how much this means to me.

    • notemily says:

      Ha, when Roslin tells Lee and Adama off, I was like "who's saying a schoolteacher can't be President NOW, Adama?"

  8. monkeybutter says:

    Why even keep him alive?

    Because Tahmoh Penikett is hot as hell, that's why. Even Cylons gotta appreciate that.

    Mark (or Lord NimbusQuest), I thought that the entire raider was a Cylon, not that there was a Cylon inside of it, and it wasn't splatted, just that Starbuck was mucking around in its innards and ripped out its brain or thinkpan or whatever to operate it. Or maybe it was all jumbled up! Whatever, Starbuck, you just keep getting more amazing. She can fly cylons. It's like when Toph learned metalbending: Starrbuck is the greatest pilot or all time! Lee's joy at realizing it was her, and her reunion with Adama warmed my heart. I really hope that they'll all start healing over the Zak thing, but the episode title implies to me that even though Adama is her family, their relationship will be a little different now. She seemed really happy, but there was a tinge of melancholy on her face at the end. Maybe it was just residual guilt, though. I dunno. I can't wait to see more!

    • redheadedgirl says:

      Because Tahmoh Penikett is hot as hell, that's why. Even Cylons gotta appreciate that.

      Oh my god, yes.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Maybe the cylons are just voyeurs –

        "Hey, we've got this abandoned planet now. What do you wanna do with it?"
        "Let's shove two extremely attractive people together down there, with no-one else to interact with, and watch what happens."

        It's like Cylon reality TV.

    • who_cares86 says:

      Well they just nuked the planet.

      Cylon 1: Wasn't that fun we killed nearly all our parents
      Cylon 2: Yeah that totally awesome, except now what?
      Cylon 1: Wait I think I just saw a human survivor, let's just keep following him and scare the crap out of him for the rest of his life.
      Cylon 2: Alright it's not like we have anything better to do on this godforsaken rock.

  9. enigmaticagentscully says:

    You know what I love about this show? How it can make me hate a character one minute and love them the next. Case in point – so far, watching the show I thought Tigh was just a drunken asshole, but in this episode he was awesome – standing up to Adama, and filling in Madame Prez on what she needed to know. It showed he really IS good at his job, and he isn’t afraid to act as the second in commend should do, even if it means going up against his friend.
    In fact, I think that happens to every character at some point in the show. Everyone has moments I hate and moments I love.
    It's a huge testament to the writing and the acting that they can make these people so flawed, so arrogant, hypocritical, unreasonable or selfish, and still end up being totally believable and totally relatable.

  10. NB2000 says:

    They’re the honey badgers of space, basically.

    ROFL, Mark wins the internet.

    This episode strikes the perfect balance between giving us important information about how the Cylon Raiders operate (and I have to say, EWWWWW the insides, eewwww) and still providing us with a satsifying follow-up to the previous episode.

    Bill and Lee's conversation before the final jump: "If it were you…we'd never leave" I have something in my eye okay! *wibbles*

    The scenes of Kara's raider meeting Lee, and how she identifies herself are so awesome and lulsy. The little wing-shaking…thing (I don't know how to properly describe it) that they do with the Viper and Raider once Kara's been identified is unbelievably cute. The "Like my new toy?" conversation in the hangar is a nice little continuation of their dynamic from the beginning of the last episode. Basically, they're being kids again, and it's lovely to see.

    Go Laura smacking Bill and Lee's heads together and getting them to see sense. Love her demanding Tigh fill in the backstory about Zak as quickly as he possibly can.

    I don't think I'd even noticed it until I was watching the episode again while waiting for this post but towards the end Bill and Tigh say "This'll be over in 45 seconds" (or whatever the line was). Tigh says it very quietly but he's definitely echoing Bill in that moment.

    Final shallow note: Grace Park why you so pretty? Lounging in the hammock and just looking gorgeous for someone who's supposed to be waking up.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I always shudder when she has to put the O2 tube on her mouth I mean, I know just being able to breathe must be at the top of her mind then, but MAN that thing looks nasty. Blerg.

    • I was watching this ep and my mom was lurking behind me (this is how she watched almost all of Buffy when it was on; "doing stuff" but really just standing behind us tutting about Buffy being mean to Spike) and she said at that moment "Ew, but sensible. Wait, how is the Robot Bat thing suppose to breath?" She makes a good point. How do the Raiders make their O2, and if Kara cuts the tube to give her air, how is it still function? I think it's still alive, just lobotomized. Otherwise it wouldn't be able to fly right?

  11. echinodermata says:

    Uh, the raiders are the Cylons themselves, yes? The ship itself is cybernetic, and is piloting itself. If not, the rest of my comment is pointless.

    Somehow I'm more interested in the raider ships than the actual humanoid cylons. (Or centurions, but I don't really care about them.) I feel kinda bad for the raiders, actually: they don't seem sentient in the way the other cylons are, even the centurions, and they're space ships so they're only meant for space, not for on-planet dealings I presume. I kinda feel like what the centurions originally were to humans, so the raiders are to the other cylons.

    That and I'm going ooh, how does the biology work? Why are they biological in the first place? And how sentient are they, exactly? Humanoid cylons seem essentially human if someone like Boomer wasn't even aware she was one, and the centurions just seem like robots. But the raiders pose real interest to me biologically.

    I think it's that the raider basically bleeding creeps me out in a way normal Cylons don't. Robots? Fine. Robots that look human? Fine. Ships that bleed? Crosses a line. So the raiders seem much more alien, meaning I want to spend more time thinking about them and how they would work and how they fit into my sense of ethics.

    (But I take issue with the fact that since they're biological, then of course they would require oxygen. Acually, no. Plenty of life forms don't require O2. Sometimes it's very detrimental to a species. C'mon Starbuck! Give the anaerobes some love! (Okay, I do get that since Cylons came from humans, and humans breathe oxygen, that it's not much of a jump to think the Cylon-created bioships would use aerobic systems. And there's some pros to utilizing O2. But still, I'm happiest believing the raiders are facultative anaerobes.))


    Anyway, we can ignore my geeking out and instead reflect on this cute moment:
    <img src=""&gt;

    • cait0716 says:

      The Cylon raiders are fascinating. I love the marriage of biological and mechanical to tap into a completely new kind of technology. And I do wonder just how sentient the ships are. I mean, they have to be able to maneuver and aim and shoot. That takes a basic intelligence, if not exactly sentience. I wonder if you can really consider it alive (I, for one, definitely consider the humanoid Cylons alive, whether or not Six agrees with me).

      I want more about the raiders!

    • psycicflower says:

      I had wondered the same thing about the raiders using oxygen but I suppose it is the main form of organic life they're used to.

      Just watching that gif I love that you can see the thrusters(?) on the nose of Apollo's viper working so he can wiggle along with Starbuck.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I have to say, the bit where Starbuck touches it with her knife and it sort of quivers…urg. The ships really skeeve me out. I mean, it was probably dead from all her shooting, but when she just rips it open like that I can't help but wonder if it feels pain…

    • monkeybutter says:

      Hm, the ethics of this. Yeah, it's funny how the blood signifies that it's a living thing and not just a machine. I suppose I could think of the blood as hydraulic fluid, and go back to thinking of it as a drone. If I don't, Starbuck tore its (non-functioning?) brain out and used it like a puppet. But it was incapacitated, and would have died on that planet, too. And how sentient are they? Are they biological because that would give the ships better processing speed? Judgment?

      That scene is adorable. <3

    • Meenalives says:

      What bothered me was not the Cylons requiring oxygen (after all, oxygen is common, most multicellular lifeforms use it, and why reinvent the wheel?) but them apparently requiring the exact same oxygen/nitrogen combination as humans (you DO NOT want to try breathing pure oxygen). Since you're building a space-based lifeform from the ground up, why not design one that can use pure O2 and not have to bother carrying all that nitrogen around?

      • echinodermata says:

        Good point! I forget about nitrogen a lot.

        One of my issues with sci fi is that the writers never seem to nerd out about biology. You get a fair amount of physics and engineering stuff, but the biology is always on the backburner.

        (I just figure oxygen is something of a rarity in space, so couldn't cylons be equipped to handle low-/no-oxygen environments? That's what I'd do if I were designing myself as a megalomaniacal species committing genocide in space.)

      • notemily says:

        Maybe it's something to do with the humanoid Cylons. Like, they have to be able to get in there and make repairs, or whatever? Look I don't know.

    • Gillyweed says:

      Also, they're so pretty. I completely agree with you. They're the most fascinating things. Where does mechanical part stops and biological begins? Are they simply programmed to destroy everything in site or do they have some level of conciousness? bs pbhefr fbzr bs gung vf pynevsvrq yngre va gur frevrf. It's something I was always fascinated about, where is the threshold of life and living beings.
      As a soon to be soon-to-be Microbiologist, all my love to anaerobes 🙂

    • hassibah says:

      Oh hell to the yes, when we find out the Cylon ship needed oxygen I thought that was pretty convenient, but I couldn't see any other way that she could have survived. Anyways, the fleshy ship was way too cool to not look past it (on the scale of most movies I watch I have a pretty good tolerance for gore these days, even though I don't watch torture porn.)

    • @LarrikJ says:

      Re: O2.

      Anaerobic respiration is notoriously inefficient, and the brain is a serious energy hog. Therefore, O2 is most certainly required for something so advanced. (And even then, have you noticed how poor the raiders are against the humans? Obviously their sabotage in the miniseries wasn't just for lulz)

      Re: Nitrogen.

      I figured that the Raider's brain chemistry would be based on human's, since humans have by far the most advanced brain, and why go through your own evolution scenarios to find something "better"? Besides, it didn't need to be an exact match for perfect air, it just needed to keep her alive long enough to get home.

      • echinodermata says:

        Well, part of my issue is that in television and movies, I've never seen any scifi that goes into the nitty gritty on the fact that life doesn't have to look like earth life. I just get bored when there's no push to think past the obvious and well-trod. Yeah, aerobic respiration is more efficient, but there's also the issue of oxidative damage and again, the fact that they're in space. Obligate aerobic life is by no means perfect, so I'm not willing to concede to it so easily when we're talking fiction.

        I did say facultative anaerobe, the point being yeah, they might use O2, but couldn't they just not require it? (And I did make sure to say facultative and not aerotolerant, because I do acknowledge the efficiency issue.)

        why go through your own evolution scenarios to find something "better"?
        …to be better? I mean, apparently they don't die. They've made it a point to be better on the whole dying front. I imagine being better is actually something the cylons would be very much interested in.

        Basically, I would love for some sci-fi that really gets into the fact that we're not on earth, and that we shouldn't just expect life to look like what we know all across the universe. I love biology. I would love to see that the writers do too. I'm sorry if any of this comment reads as overly defensive, but it's just that I want to speculate on what life could look like, and I don't just want to go back to the same old earth life that we know well.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I didn't explicitly say it in my first comment, but I like that you're interested in the biology, and obviously the Cylons are doing something differently, so why not speculate? I remember doing assignments about astrobiology or exobiology in intro to bio and lower-level microbiology, and they were fun ways to make us think about life outside of earth (or that of extremophiles). If you're going to play around with physics and math, why not bio and chem?

          And I liked your alternative idea of the raiders being facultative anaerobes, because fermentation can be more efficient, and when they're flying around in space, that's exactly when they'd need more energy. Maybe their blood is syrup, lol. Or maybe they can use lactic acid fermentation better than we can. In any case, your first geeky comment was good, and you should feel good.

    • Tilja says:

      I've seen too much anime to find the biological machines surprising anymore. Don't get me wrong, they are interesting biological units to study, but I've seen so many variations of the sentient and slave kinds in different attires that I can't find anything new to add from this. I think I can guess on how the raiders can live and work because of the many times I've seen the likes. It's also portrayed enough of other kinds of metabolisms for living in empty space, so I'm with you on your conclusions.

      I don't think Starbuck ever knew any anaerobic life form bigger than a bacteria so she jumped straight to thinking big flesh = O2 supply. Human sized forms are all oxigenated for her apparently; bigger than that even more so. But consider this: if it had been an anaerobic life form, there wouldn't be a happy ending story for our favourite badass pilot. Even if it makes more sense the other way.

  12. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    Btw have you guys registered on Pottermore yet?
    <img src=""&gt;

    • monkeybutter says:

      Of course! And during an early one when most of the US was asleep, so I wasn't haunted by that reloading screen! Did you get in?

    • NB2000 says:

      I have! I managed to get in on day 2. AsphodelPatronus26 is my username. My best friend texted me to wake me up so I could get in. I did have to sit through the "Please wait while refresh" page for a minute or two but I didn't get that "overwhelmed" one, I might have thrown things if I had.

    • who_cares86 says:

      Got in on the first day. Didn't particularly care to get in but someone gave the clue away on twitter and when it's handed to you on a silver platter….

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      KeyStorm27 at your service!

    • NopeJustMe says:

      The entire Pottermore thing really confuses me. I can't imagine what it's going to be like.

      • echinodermata says:

        I actually skimmed the terms and conditions trying to figure out just what's gonna be available.

    • cait0716 says:

      I'm in! I timed it well and didn't have to deal with refreshing the page.

    • hassibah says:

      I managed to sleep through the first three days but I finally made it. No problems for me. My username is so goth >:(((

    • katherinemh says:

      My cat woke me up at 5am on the first day, and I thought, Eh, what the hell, I'll just see if the clue's up, AND IT WAS.

      But the past couple of days, you've had to do, like, little… game type things to get to the registration, right? I saw the one today, where it took you to the Scholastic page and you had to click on the quill in the ad? I just punched in the answer to the clue and it said "Congratulations, you found the quill!" and took me straight to registration. If I would've had to figure out the ad thing at 5am, I wouldn't have been a happy camper.

    • karate0kat says:

      I feel like I'm the only person not obsessed with getting on Pottermore. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm excited. I just don't feel the need to jump through hoops to get on a few months early. I'm happy to let you all take your places and be the beta users and deal with all the kinks as they're worked out. I'll join you later.

      Yes, I am a square. I'm sorry.

    • Coughdrop01 says:

      I got in the first night! I'm BloodWild54 and you can not convince me that I did not get the best username that pottermore had to offer, haha

    • Crackers says:

      Yes! The clue stays up for about an hour and a bit, so if anyone's checking every hour on the hour or can make an educated guess about approx. when in the day it might show up, it should work.

  13. Sadie says:

    I had some complex reactions to the Adama/Lee/Starbuck relationship in this episode; first of all, I greatly appreciated Roslin's blunt observation that their frantic concern over Kara, their willingness to risk everything for her safety, stems not simply from their own personal feelings for her but from a (perhaps subconscious) attempt to hold on to Zak. It keeps the focus of the episode balanced by partially diverting attention away from Starbuck as a person and rendering the plot an extension of the still-unresolved tension between herself, Lee, and Adama over Zak's death. They each blame themselves and, in some measure, the other two, and despite their deep affection for one another, retain some serious personal issues which they will need to work through in the future. I'm a sucker for familial relationships on TV, and I find this situation intriguing, touching, and heart-wrenching in equal measures. However, that said, I can't help feeling that the more they explore this aspect of their dynamic, the more squicky I find the sexual tension between Starbuck and Lee. They are definitely compatible on certain levels; but the fact that she was nearly his sister-in-law and the fact that she looks on his father as her own gives the dynamic a slightly incest-y vibe, and the residual angst over Zak's death just muddies the waters even more. This episode stated outright that, on some level, and despite their genuine love for her, Adama and Lee both view Starbuck as a sort of retroactive representation of Zak, and I am certain that Zak's memory tinges all of Starbuck's interactions with his family, which, again, makes any potential romantic relationships somewhat ooky in my eyes. I can't help feeling that, were Starbuck and Lee to hook up without some major emotion cleanup for both of them, they would both sort of be sleeping with Zak by proxy, which, again, ew.

    So, people, keep it nice and platonic and familial for now, okay?

    On another note, I'd just like to say that I ABSOLUTELY ADORE the fact that the entire fleet is put on standstill to save Starbuck and guess who saves her. Yeah, that's right, Starbuck. First of all, because it shows off how freaking awesome she is, and secondly, because it allows Lee and Adama to make the hard decision to lose someone they love for the good of the fleet. The way they played it allows all of the characters to grow from the experience, while keeping Starbuck clear of the dreaded Damsel in Distress role. How awesome is this show?

    • evocativecomma says:

      I'd just like to say that I ABSOLUTELY ADORE the fact that the entire fleet is put on standstill to save Starbuck and guess who saves her. Yeah, that's right, Starbuck.


    • Crackers says:

      re: Lee and Kara and potential complications involving Zak, I think they were attracted to each other – possibly in a very, very repressed way – while Zak was still alive, but never acted on it. That's the implication I took away from the scene in the miniseries where she finds out he's NOT actually dead, combined with the knowledge that they haven't seen each other since Zak's funeral. There's definitely history there and they're clearly good friends and were that way even before Zak died – but the UST is there, and as these things go it's going to complicate things.

      There's also obvious tension between them about his dad, whom she treats as her own father figure and Adama sees her as a daughter in return. I think that's part of why Apollo and Starbuck feel so different from any other couple I've encountered on TV so far – they're tangled on so many levels, as friends, colleagues, teammates, family, and (since the UST exists) lovers, they're fascinating to watch.

    • Tess says:

      Hm, I don't see it. Despite the fact that they're "family," they weren't raised together as children and thus have no familial revulsion at the thought of hooking up. It's like any situation where a group of unrelated people start to consider one another family — you'll kill and die for one another, but labeling it "family" doesn't mean you wouldn't hop in each other's beds (which is maybe why we should find a different term for it).

      Also, while a daughter or son in-law can represent a surviving piece of the deceased to parents or siblings, I don't think that translates to "they would both sort of be sleeping with Zak by proxy." It's more of a "you help keep Zak's memory alive" then a "you remind me of Zak" thing. In any case, Starbuck is such a strong personality, that I don't think "representation of Zak" is accurate anyway. She's a living reminder that Zak was loved, but she's not Zak's avatar.

  14. who_cares86 says:

    Even a show that's known for it's great visual effects screws up sometimes. Seriously some of the Apollo shots early in the episode reminded me of some of the extremely unconvincing moments onboard the millennium falcon in the first star wars movie.

    I do love the fact that the humans now have their hands a cylon raider, which they can research and strip down.

    And now for something completely different.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • ldwy says:

      I'm way behind, but leaving a comment anyway. I'm torn about the raider being on the ship now.
      First idea-if they can gain a better understanding of cylon technology/biology, it may give them a little advantage. But I can't help thinking WHAT IF THERE IS A WAY FOR THE CYLONS TO FOLLOW OR TRACK OR RECALL THIS SHIP!!?? Maybe they just need to drop it into space, as sad as that may be. I think carrying it with them is going to be like leaving a giant neon trial through the sky.

  15. Ryan Lohner says:

    So, no comment on how Baltar's interactions with Head Six are getting more awkward by the episode? I was really cringing when he started openly talking to her right in front of Roslin, but luckily she was apparently too wrapped up in her paperwork to notice.

    • Jenny_M says:

      And then he pretended he was doing hand stretchy warmup things. OH GAIUS. NEVER CHANGE.

    • redheadedgirl says:

      "I guess now you'll never know if she's a real blonde or not." Holy awkward when your imaginary robot girlfriend starts mocking you for the road not taken. HAWKWARD.

    • cait0716 says:

      I was too focused on Head Six's dress.

    • NopeJustMe says:

      Sometimes I think Baltar is talking to her in his head, so only random words and gestures really are seen. Otherwise he's walking around talking to himself, LOUDLY about cylons and betraying humanity, which somehow on a ship that size, I don't think would go unnoticed.

  16. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I always remember this as the episode I realised that everyone can see 6. By which I mean…obviously there's that scene in Roslin's office where she's doing the paperwork and 6 is all over Baltar and Roslin can't see her. But for some reason, it was only at this scene in this episode that I suddenly realised that while Roslin can't see 6, Mary McDonnell most certainly can. And that must be soooo distracting.

    The actors are all so brilliant at acting like they don't notice she's there that I completely believe it. And re-watching some of the scenes with Baltar and 6 just makes me marvel at how they kept a straight face, let alone consistently ignored her every move.

    I think it just hit me because 6 was sitting right on Roslin's desk and I realised how difficult it must be to act like there's just the two people there. Anyway, just a cool part of the show that I rarely appreciate.

    • hpfish13 says:

      This is neat! I never thought about this before. As an aspiring actress, I always find it fascinating to look at things from an acting point of view because you notice things the typical viewer doesn't.

    • I had this thought when Six blew up in Baltar's face in Adama's quarters! She stalks right past EJO, who's just sittin' there, doin' his Adama thing, and does not break character when a volubly pissed-off human being practically stomps across his toes. Now, that's acting.

  17. hassibah says:

    I still can't get over that the Caprica storyline just exists so that people can see more of Helo's fine azz. I almost wish this was a less serious show so they could have done some rediculous twist like the crew would run into his lost twin brother a year or so from now or just like cast a totally unrelated character with the same actor and have none of the other characters notice. I don't get what Boomer is trying to accomplish by spying on him though. Why not just leave a working ship somewhere and then track him? I have a slight hunch about where this is all going but it's not all that original.

    'Wanna give me a bath' made me lol.

    I like that there was another opening for another alliance and that we had Tigh and Roslin teaming up. It would have been way unrealistic for all that tension not to go anywhere and luckily nothing got to sappy for me. Most of the time when Tigh was in the shot I was thinking about what the show would be like if he was Mr. Leahy from trailer park boys, and then I start thinking about who would be everybody else. Anybody know what I'm talking about? No? Okay.

    • Karen says:

      I still can't get over that the Caprica storyline just exists so that people can see more of Helo's fine azz.


  18. akacj18 says:

    "do cylons poop?"

    you know, i never even thought about that. maybe they are also the seagulls of space. inconveniently pooping on your heads in the middle of a battle.

  19. Karen says:

    My two main reactions to this episode were 1) "OH MY GOD GROSS" when the Cylon Raider was like… fleshy and had muscle and bodily fluids and 2) "KARA HAS TO LIVE SO SHE AND ADAMA CAN KISS AND MAKE UP!". But I'm mostly going to talk about that 2nd bit.

    For me the best part of the episode was definitely the complexity of the relationships between Lee, Adama, Roslin and Kara. I loved that this episode saw Adama and Lee working together again after a few episodes ago where Adama felt like Lee was choosing Roslin over him. But it seems like they've either gotten over it or could put it aside in order to try to help the other member of their little family. It was really good to see father and son on the same side. I LOVED that moment at the end where Adama tells Lee that if Lee were down there, they'd never stop looking. Awwww… FAMILY!

    And then you have the way that Adama is so determined to find Kara. He obviously cares a lot about her and in spite of their fight in the previous episode, he still views her as a daughter. I think the fight makes him even more determined to find her. I think it's probably killing him inside that their last interaction might have been that fight.

    Then you throw Roslin into the mix. She's not heartless, but as an outsider she can see the futility of what Lee and Adama are trying to do. Even though Lee respects her and likes her, it's clear that Kara is the priority in his mind. So Roslin has to come in and shut it down for the good of the fleet.

    Idk. There are just a lot of great character moments here. LOVE IT.

  20. Arione says:

    So I’m a little bit too in love with Kara Thrace, but here’s why. She’s an action girl yes, but she also has a very believable action body. She’s strongly built with broad shoulders, and her whole body language speaks of toughness. She’s also still curvy and extremely female, and freaking, gosh dern sexy. I buy her as a tough lady, and as someone with a complex and complicated personality. Sigh… I need a girlfriend.

    • hpfish13 says:

      Someone mentioned the other day that she used to be a competitive swimmer. If so, that would explain the broad shoulders, it's funny how long-time swimmers don't tend to lose the swimmer shoulders. I swam for 11 years, but haven't really swam in the last four years and I still have rather muscular shoulders for someone who doesn't work out (except for by opening and closing filing cabinet all day).

      So, it wouldn't take nearly as much time spent to maintain her stronger looking physique and, additionally, she could still maintain her curves (unlike many actresses who have to lose lots and lots of weight for their muscles to show).

    • Crackers says:

      I love her body because it looks believable, like a body you'd have to work out to get, not starve yourself into, and it also gives her a vitality and this amazing presence on screen – it suits who Starbuck is.

      And here's the amazing thing about it: no one questions the fact that she's sexy as hell despite not being built like a twig. Girl has swagger, and unlike most action heroines you can actually believe that this one could take someone down in a fight without being supernaturally enhanced.

  21. karate0kat says:

    They joy of seeing Star Buck on the under side of those wings gets to me every damn time. AND EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY! FOR ONCE! FOR A LITTLE BIT ANYWAY!

    What we continue to see in this episode is the idea that the people in this situation can no longer afford to hold on to ideals. Leave no man behind. It's such an honorable stance. But they have left so many people behind. They have to, and they have to again. Starbuck is no different just because she's loved by the Adama men (or because she's a main character). They push the limits, but in the end they have to admit, she's not worth risking the rest of the fleet. Kara Thrace is one woman, and she is not the most important thing in the universe.

    But that's OK, because it turns out Kara is really, really good at rescuing herself. She knows what to do, and she figures out how to get it done, despite being in horrible pain and suffering, at least at one point, with near oxygen starvation. Because she is a badass mutherfraker.

    And finally, Helo. What do the Cylons want with Helo? Work out tips? Perhaps? I'm just guessing…

    And now we come to the music of the episode. First, Starbuck on the Red Moon. I always love McCreary's use of percussion and drums (Taiko drums, if you were interested…get used to 'em), but I also really love the more melodic Starbuck Theme that he layers in towards the end (he uses lots of character themes…see if you can start to pick them out)

    [youtube Ymo88bXnQUo youtube]

    And we also have Forgiveness. This isn't one of the flashier pieces. It's not one that makes you sit up and take notice right away. But it's so achingly beautiful and it perfectly captures that moment of reconciliation between father and daughter. It's not sad, exactly, but it still has a haunting quality to it.

    [youtube zmc4-Fi3NxY youtube]

  22. Kaci says:

    You know what I love most about this episode? And about Starbuck in general?

    She defies the trope of the damsel in distress. She's not a princess to be rescued. She'll rescue herself, thank you very much. For awhile, I worried that the show would fall into the trope of Starbuck is lost and hurt and Lee would fly in and save the day and, don't get me wrong, I love Lee, a LOT, but I was worried that the show would fall into that trope.

    But no. In the end, it's not their efforts that save her (although the delay in their jumping IS a contributing factor), it's Starbuck herself who finds the ship and gets inside and finds air and figures out how to fly and how to alert them not to fire on her. And who knows, maybe they can study the ship and find out more about the Cylons. She saved herself while also showing true vulnerability and it makes her such a complex, three dimensional character who is at once vulnerable in her need for Adama's love and at the same time, badass because she fought the Cylons quite nearly single handedly (and would've done it all on her own if Hot Dog hadn't came back in the last episode) and then saved herself when things went south. THAT'S the kind of female character I want more of on my screen. HELL TO THE YES. FOUR FOR YOU, STARBUCK. <3

  23. Noybusiness says:

    When the Vipers from Galactica engaged the Raiders and were disabled by Six's virus and destroyed in the Miniseries (as Boomer and Helo looked on helpless), the CAG said "There's no cockpits. Nobody's flying these things."

  24. doesntsparkle says:

    Why is there a button on the outside? So that Cylons can….release waste? Do Cylons poop?

    According to a very good book, everyone poops. I guess that includes Cylons.

    Damn, the Cylon raiders were gross.

  25. fantasylover120 says:

    Man, I promised myself I wouldn't start getting super attached to characters till at least the end of the first season but already Starbuck and Roslin have become my two favorites.

  26. notemily says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes.


    (It's kind of funny to me that a couple of episodes ago we had Apollo II interacting with Apollo I, and now we have Edward James Olmos's fake son interacting with Edward James Olmos's real son.)

    Who's Mark One Eyeball? I bet he's not prepared either.

    When Six made the crack about Baltar wanting to sleep with Starbuck, I had this vision of Six sitting there watching them have sex and commenting on Baltar's performance. I'd watch that.

    The shot of the actual red-lit toaster cracks me up, and then it pops up and alerts the Centurions to Helo's whereabouts. TOASTER OF BETRAYAL! It's obviously in collusion with the Cylons.

    I love Starbuck's "friendship" with the Raider, the way she talks to it like it's a horse she's trying to ride or something. So weird to me that it's a LIVING THING. But with a… hollow space inside? Why? For convenient plot purposes? Also, OUCH CUTTING BRAIN OUT.

    I have to say that if I were anyone on this show, I would agree with everyone who's saying GET OUT OF THERE. But I love Starbuck, so I'm like "stay!"

    "And if it was me down there instead?" AW LEE 🙁 YOU GUYS SHOULD JUST HUG

    "Galactica, the Cylon is now flying in formation with me." Hee hee hee! "This thing is flying with some serious attitude." I love Jamie Bamber.

    And then everyone starts clapping for Starbuck. CROWNING MOMENT OF HEARTWARMING Y/Y

    And then STARBUCK DON'T CRY I CAN'T DILL WITH IT. Hang on, there's something in my eye. I think it's a Cylon raider.

    Wikipedia says:

    The Cylon theme was first introduced when Karl "Helo" Agathon ran from the Cylon centurions in "33", then later throughout the first season [spoilerish]. Performed on taiko drums and augmented with metallic sounds (including pots, pans and toasters — "toaster" on the show being an epithet for "Cylon").

    • IrohKingofPop says:

      "Who's Mark One Eyeball? "

      Thats just an old military pilots term for looking with your eye's and not your radar. The original Star Wars had a similar line during the attack run on the Death Star.

      Luke – "My scope's negative. I don't see anything"
      Uptight squadron leader – "Pick your visual scanning"

    • Crackers says:

      "Mark One eyeball" is what pilots say when they can see something with their own eyes and don't have to rely on radar (DRADIS in this case) to see what it is.

      And yeah, lol at the reflection of the Toaster in the toaster! I love this show.

  27. Dru says:

    May the gods (like, 12 Colonies gods) bless all the people who recced BSG to you in the first place, because – and I’m probably the 10,000th person to say this – you’re in for a treat. (and Katee Sackhoff’s performance becomes even MORE amazing when you realize that Ron Moore originally wrote Starbuck as a thirtysomething woman – Katee was 22 when she got the part).

    And no spoilers here, but I guess you can already figure out, this series isn’t classic feel-good material. It’s brutal and bleak and FRAKKING DEVASTATING sometimes, but you’ll love it even as it rips your heart out and leaves you sobbing all over your screen. Or maybe that’s just me.

    I’m so looking forward to your reaction to what they do with Starbuck and Apollo. Those two looked like they were obviously good friends before that scene in the brig in the miniseries, and it’s blindingly obvious there’s some EPIC (as in actually epic, major love-story kind of way) levels of mutual attraction there – his return from the dead and his pure joy on seeing HER return from the dead left me with the conclusion that they’re crazy for each other and have been for a while but won’t do anything about it because of Zak and also because they’re afraid of screwing up the friendship.

  28. StatSig says:

    Her tape on the wings method of identifying herself totally solidified Starbuck's BAMF status, though it really wasn't in question ever since she punched Tigh IN THE FIRST FREAKING EPISODE.

    Even though we as the viewers are put in the position of thinking Roslin is "wrong" (in that we care about Starbuck, know she's alive, and want her to return), I love love love her for calling out the Adamas on this. She's right. Roslin has to make awful decisions constantly, and while it hurts and is awful sometimes, I love her for her pragmatism. Seriously, they are all that is left. I can't even imagine the responsibility inherent in that. Roslin doesn't let herself forget it for a moment. And you know if they left Starbuck behind, she'd mourn quietly about losing another person, but she knows that protecting the fleet is the only option, even if it hurts. Heart Roslin forever and ever.

  29. Crackers says:

    It's funny, but when Roslin tells Adama and Lee that they're only so frantic about her because it feels like losing Zak all over again, my immediate reaction was "OH NO, NOT FOR ONE OF THEM THAT'S NOT ALL SHE IS!".

    The miniseries kind of makes it blindingly clear there is EPIC SEXUAL TENSION between Lee Adama and Kara Thrace, and that it's been there for a while -possibly even predating Zak's death, maybe, since it's implied they haven't seen each other since his funeral.

    And most shows would resolve this eventually in the feel-good way, but this is BSG. BSG hardly ever gives us feel-good. And dead little brothers/fiances plus associated guilt are kind of a big obstacle to get past, but after this episode they're SO DAMN CUTE together I really, really badly want them to.

    PS: May all the gods of the 12 Colonies bless whoever recced this to you. It is a treat. A devastating, heartbreaking, treat that will leave you GUTTED sometimes, but I really, really hope you'll like it.

  30. Minish says:

    I was looking for a reason to rewatch Battlestar Galactica. I thought I might as well watch it along with you.

    Brb, finishing season 2.

  31. Christian says:

    God this episode is another amazing one. The soundtrack is pretty amazing, too. In [youtube o1VoGjmplHg youtube] (Forgiven) you can really feel the emotion of the moment. The somberness of the piece ties the entire scene together for me.

    Ps NifflerAuror155! <3

  32. lyvanna says:

    I love the look on Lee's face when he sees it's Starbuck, don't care if it's a bit cheesy, just makes me grin from ear-to-ear.

    And I agree that despite the fact that we know Starbuck is ok there is still a huge amount of urgency and tension watching the Galactica set plot. When Roslin eventually shuts down Adama and Apollo (just after they've had their little chat about not backing down) for good reasons I still find myself wanting them to keep going… it's Starbuck!!

  33. daisysparrow says:

    Basically, she is my new hero. My god, what a badass.

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