Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E08 – Flesh and Bone

In the eighth episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck is ordered to interrogate a suspected Cylon captured aboard the fleet, but her thick skin is slowly cracked by the Cylon’s behavior. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica. 

Well. This isn’t slowing down any time soon, is it?

There’s a lot that I want to discuss about “Flesh and Bone,” especially the concept of a physical identity inside of a Cylon body, but I must say this first: Clearly, had I just waited one day, I would have seen that this show is going to deal with various facets of religion in the lives of both Cylons and humans. I don’t really think I spoke prematurely. As far as I do know, “Six Degrees of Separation” is still using the Hollywood Athiest strawman, but now I feel it’ll be for some other end I’ve yet to see. Here in “Flesh and Bone,” Roslin and Starbuck are both faced with deeply spiritual experiences, and they act them out in parallel to one another.

I think that the overarching theme of this story is one of uncertainty, and it’s the answer that lurks just around a corner, but never reached, that propels much of the action we see. Even when we get confirmations and concrete information (as in the case of Galactica Boomer), we’re still left wondering the next step, more intrigued by that than a revelation. Roslin’s uncertain, eerie dream is what comprises the cold open, and we have no idea why Conoy is here, especially since Roslin never met him. Why is he trying to save her from oncoming human soliders? And why is he mysteriously sucked out into the forest?

We get confirmation that Roslin is getting chamalla as treatment for her cancer when she wakes up, writing off the dream as a mere side affect of the drug. Unfortunately, though, she receives word that another ship has captured a Cylon, one we come to discover is copy of Conoy. We’re told at the beginning of each episode that the Cylons have a “plan,” and, going along with the theme of uncertainty, it’s nearly impossible at this point to figure out what it is.

I mean…what was the point of Shelly Godfrey’s appearance? Did she honestly exist to merely provide the opportunity for Baltar to gain faith and to earn the trust of his fellow shipmates? Why would Conoy appear in Roslin’s dream as if the whole thing were a prophecy? The biggest question, of course, concerns Conoy’s appearance on Gemenon Traveler. Why?

Even from the first moment Starbuck looks at Conoy, it’s clear to me that confusion is going to reign over all of this. Starbuck comments to a fellow officer about the existence of sweat on Conoy’s face. It’s now obvious just how much these Cylons can mimic human behavior, but for Starbuck, it’s not enough for her to forget that these are machines. In fact, for much of the session she spends with Conoy, she makes it clear that she knows that Conoy is, at heart, a machine, and only chooses to act out the human parts of his biology in order to continue to manipulate those around him.

I wasn’t terribly interested in the two trading psychological jabs at one another, and I think it’s because we’ve all seen this quite a bit before. It all borrows heavily from The Silence of the Lambs, which sort of sets the bar (very high, I might add) for this type of interaction. But, again, things don’t go as planned because Conoy, while aiming to get “inside” Starbucks head, is actually far more concerned with confusing her. (And me. I’ll admit it. A lot of what he says is baffling to me.)

Why does he choose to focus on her name? Why, when learning it, is he so ecstatic about it? Why does he tell her that he hid a nuclear warhead when he could avoid doing so and succeed without suspicion? Is he here specifically to make people question themselves, to sow them with paranoia and fear? If so, why even bring up his God and challenge Starbuck’s belief in the Lords of Kobol?

Out of everything, that detail perplexes Starbuck, and it’s something she chooses to focus on throughout “Flesh and Bone.” Personally, I think it’s the most fascinating thing about the Cylons: How can machines (self-aware ones, at that) believe in a God? Starbuck guesses that they are programmed to. What is more human than religious belief? And so she acts on this assumption: the Cylons are programmed in every way to have human reactions, so it stands to reason that eventually they’d have to react to torture in human ways. I won’t lie: the torture scenes are incredibly hard to watch, even if we think about Conoy as a Cylon. He can still clearly experience pain and it’s not easy for me to disassociate from the idea. Granted, my whole race wasn’t the victim of brutal genocide. Starbuck even points that out when Conoy tries to rebuke her for humanity’s problems, making sure to outline just how evil it was for the Cylon’s to wipe out humans.

The confusion is not confined just to Conoy, either. Boomer (both versions, by the way) are acting out rather bewildering story lines as well. On Caprica, Boomer visits with Six and Doral, and it’s now totally obvious by Doral’s use of the term “love nest” that they are trying to get Helo to impregnate Boomer. I still don’t know why, though. (Seriously, do I know anything about this series? I AM SO HOPELESS LOST AND I LOVE IT.) yet when Six gives Boomer an ultimatum–succeed with Helo or kill him–she reacts in a surprising way: she appears to disobey them. She pulls Helo away and tells them they need to escape. Now, I could be wrong, and this could be a ploy to get him into the “love nest” (oh god I hate that word), but given the flashes she had of how well Helo had treated since she “found” him, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. So…is it now possible for Cylons to resist their programming? Can Cylons develop their own personalities and feelings and emotions independent of their Cylon nature?


Guess what makes that worse? Galactica Boomer. Humming to the Cylon Raider is not helping your appearance, dear, and neither is making a joke to Tyrol about being a Cylon. PROBABLY A BAD THING TO JOKE ABOUT. So when she goes to Baltar, it feels like yet another REALLY BAD DECISION, but I’m beginning to think that Boomer is evidence of a Cylon having their own distinct identity. She is clearly not aware of who she is, and she’s only fueled by her own suspicions. Even stranger, why is it that Six, Doral, and Conoy never once seem to reference the fact that they have a Cylon agent unidentified and fully integrated on board the Galactica?

So now the secret is out: Baltar knows that Boomer is a Cylon, which…christ, THAT IS SO AWKWARD. I laughed at Six’s lines acknowledging the same thing. God, it’s going to be heartbreaking when Boomer discovers that Baltar lied to her. How is that going to be dealt with?

Meanwhile, Starbuck is becoming less certain in dealing with Conoy. He demonstrates his horrifying strength by ripping away his restraints, throwing aside a table, and grabbing Starbuck by the throat. Then he utters a cryptic line: he has a surprise for her. UM WHAT. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, SIR. This is not the only thing he tells her that is FUCKING WEIRD. Why is he so obsessed with streams and water? Why does he insist that she has some greater destiny? Starbuck begins to believe he is merely stalling because he is actually filled with fear. She suspects he’s worried his consciousness won’t transfer as it is supposed to, and she tries to act on this, repeatedly having Conoy’s head dunked in a large bucket of water, threatening him with drowning.

And really, it was obvious at this point that Conoy would never tell Starbuck where the bomb was. Why delay this whole time to just reveal it at the end? Instead, he reveals a much more surprising fact: he has seen the future, and the humans will not only find Kobol, but Kobol will lead them to earth. EXCUSE ME, WHAT????? This does not fit the pattern of everything else Conoy has shared, because it causes no chaos, no paranoia, no fear. It is a message of hope. So WHY THE HELL ARE YOU SHARING THAT? He even tells Starbuck that it is her “destiny” to deliver his soul to God.

I think what touches Starbuck (and is the reason why she later puts her hand up to the glass) is that the arrival of Roslin triggered the rush of thoughts she’d been ignoring. In the midst of torturing Conoy, she couldn’t ignore that there was something to him that was human, that something about him proved he wasn’t 100% Cylon. It’s the only thing that I could think of that would explain why Starbuck would feel anything for someone who contributed to the destruction of the human race.

Roslin, on the other hand, seems to start from this place at the outset, doing what absolutely no one had done up until this point: treat the man with respect. That’s what makes Roslin such a good leader. She has this ability to be empathetic and understanding, even to a Cylon or, in the case of “Six Degrees of Separation,” the man who apparently betrayed all of humankind. So she tries to reason with him, and, almost like magic, he admits there never was a bomb in the first place. It was all a lie. It’s eerie how emotional and kind this scene is, given the context of what had happened over the course of the episode, and the “hug” that occurs only makes it weirder. I thought at first that it was a genuine display of affection, but then Conoy whispers those dreaded words: Commander Adama is a Cylon.

NO. NOPE. NO. HE CAN’T BE. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT. It shocks Roslin so badly that she immediately pulls away. She refuses to believe this, so much so that she does what she should have done eight hours earlier: she has him ejected out into space. I can’t claim to understand how the very image of him being sucked out into the black of space was in her dream, but there it is. Conoy is gone, and we have no idea what he said was the truth, or what was a lie, just as Adama had told Starbuck. Shaken by the thought that Conoy was right, Starbuck silently prays to the lords of Kobol that his soul make it to God. Roslin, on the other hand, is not as hopeful. When she meets with Adama at the end of the episode, that same mixture of truth and lies swirls in her head. She tells Adama she is fine, but it’s clear she’s not. She can’t get the thought out of her head.

So Adama isn’t a Cylon, right? RIGHT???? OH GOD.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Battlestar Galactica and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

142 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E08 – Flesh and Bone

  1. enigmaticagentscully says:

    And the moral of this story? Don’t fuck around with Madame President.
    I’m sorry, but my love for Laura Roslin increased by so much upon watching the end of this episode. And I didn’t even think that was possible.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  2. it’s now totally obvious by Doral’s use of the term “love nest” that they are trying to get Helo to impregnate Boomer. I still don’t know why, though.
    Well, have you seen those two? They would make one hot-ass baby.

    Conoy whispers those dreaded words: Commander Adama is a Cylon.
    Don't you think he looks tired?

  3. Albion19 says:

    Oh Kara/Leoben, so wrong and yet…

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      They do have a weird kind of chemistry. I don't ship them at all, but the scenes between them are riveting. That's why I really like this episode even though not a whole lot happens.

    • cait0716 says:

      Seriously. I can't get over their chemistry. It's a weird case of me shipping two characters without ever wanting them to actually get together. I'm so confused by my feelings.

    • innocentsmith says:

      I'm not even ashamed of my Kara/Leoben love. They are so frakked up and scary and interesting together, and there's all of this mythical/mystical stuff and emotional/mental damage underpinning their interactions. And Sackhoff and CKR obviously enjoy working together so much – all their scenes just crackle with intensity.

  4. Jenny_M says:

    My go-to response when someone is pissing me off: "I will airlock the shit out of you, my friend."

    Luckily, most of my friends are nerds, so they get it.

  5. Maya says:

    This isn't my favorite episode of Season 1, but I do like how it goes into the humanity of the Cylons. How human are they, really? Why, if they are machines, do they still feel pain and joy and fear? Instead of handwaving everything away, I love that BSG confronts it head on through not one but three separate stories.

    I'm having trouble saying, well, much of anything about the show due to spoilers (DAMN YOU SPOILERS!!!!!), but man, Katee Sackhoff is FIERCE. Such great acting from her in this episode, and I especially love the little moment of her praying over her figurines of the Lords of Kobol. I don't know why, but I've always found it to be interesting that Starbuck is so religious compared to most of the others on the show in this first season.

  6. echinodermata says:

    Poor Boomer. I think Grace Park knocks it out of the park, cause I just feel so horribly for Boomer and what she's going through and I'm totally sold that she doesn't know what's happening to her for the most part.

    Okay, so the whole thing about human versus machine in this episode is one big false dichotomy imo, and it bores me to have to watch characters (mostly Starbuck) struggling with this idea that they don't have to be mutually exclusive. People already have pacemakers or complex prosthetic limbs, where synthetic products have already been integrated into biology quite well already. We now have computers that can print tissue. And I've had my mind made up for a while now that life forms can be described as machines, and that machines can be natural or biological. To be honest, I feel like I've kind of lost some of the fun of the show since it wants to explore these questions and whether or not the human versus machine thing is indeed a false dichotomy, but it's already a done deal for me. Yup, it's false. Cylons are people. They're alive, they're sentient, they have their own civilization. They cannot simply be thought of as cold calculating machines, just as we are not simply squishy talking meat. Done.

    • Geolojazz says:

      I think it's examining the struggle of humans vs. machines, but even moreso the struggle of oppressed and oppressor: It'd be so much easier for all the humans to think of the Cylons as personality-less, feeling-less machines who have committed genocide against humanity. Being confronted with the fact that the Cylons might, in fact, be truly alive beings, unable to be shunted away as completely evil and soulless, goes to the heart of any war/conflict. If you can sympathize with your enemy, war gets much harder…

    • psycicflower says:

      Cylons are people. They're alive, they're sentient, they have their own civilization. They cannot simply be thought of as cold calculating machines, just as we are not simply squishy talking meat. Done.

      I have to agree about Cylons being human. It's not really a question for me either, they just are.

      • echinodermata says:

        Ah, I actually stayed away from calling them humans, but that's in part because I don't think the question of whether or not they're specifically human is that important. What matters is that they are intelligent life forms imo.

        But if apparently a medical exam isn't enough to tell them apart, then yeah, if pressed I'd call them human too. And if Mark is right in that the plan is to make a little cylon-human hybrid baby, and if they're successful, well then they're human enough to count, surely? I mean, lack of interbreeding is the main biological standard of separating species.

        • psycicflower says:

          I probably should've phrased that better but yes, they're intelligent, sentient life forms and that's what matters. That's a really interesting point about a cylon-human hybrid baby.

  7. monkeybutter says:

    The old ticking time bomb. Pardon me while I bash my head against the keyboard. Actually, the whole torture plot wasn't as bad as many, many discussions I've seen or been a part of. And yeah, it's hard to top the intense psychological play between Hannibal and Clarice, but I think Starbuck and Leoben did a good job. I still have a lot of questions about the Cylon god, but I'm glad everything is developing quickly. So, God is in all of them, and he's worried that his soul won't be returned to God? I'm probably misinterpreting that scene, oh well.

    Sooo, does chamalla give you prescient dreams, because that was weird. I refuse to believe that Adama is a Cylon. No. Leoben screws with people, and sowing dissension between the two leaders is just what he'd love to do. I look forward to seeing how Roslin reacts! I also want to see how Baltar deals with the knowledge that Boomer is a Cylon. They haven't interacted much, but there's definitely the potential for awkwardness! It's also interesting how Sharon has supposedly changed, according to Six and Doral. I like the idea that their experiences can shape Cylon behavior and personality.

    Oh, and I forgot: I can buy that he overheard Starbuck's name on the wireless, but how the hell did he know that she prays to Aphrodite and Artemis? Weird.

    • cait0716 says:

      Goddesses of War and the Hunt? Seems perfectly logical that's who Starbuck would pray to, so that could be an educated guess. Unless Leoben really is psychic…

      • monkeybutter says:

        I agree that those are logical, but Athena is war, Aphrodite is love. I mean, Starbuck probably cares about love and sexuality, but those two exact goddesses that she has icons of are one hell of a lucky guess.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Oh, and I forgot: I can buy that he overheard Starbuck's name on the wireless, but how the hell did he know that she prays to Aphrodite and Artemis? Weird.

      I think that was more a general comment. As in, he asked her if she was religious, and since she was, it just follows that she would pray to them as they are part of the pantheon.
      Actually, at the end it looked as if her figurines were of Artemis and Athena. Which would make sense, since as the goddesses of hunting and war, they would have special significance to her.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Oops, did I mishear him then? I could only discern Artemis, my mistake!

        ETA: I swear, the one that wasn't Artemis was holding a heart, but that could have been anything.

        • The Athena statue is holding an owl, as seen here. A friend of mine bought that statue for me (because my friend is awesome).

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          No, you're right, he did say Aphrodite, but I think he was wrong – the figurines at the end definitely looked like Artemis (with the bow) and Athena (with the helmet and spear). And, as I mentioned, those two would make sense considering Starbuck's personality.
          So he did get it partly wrong, but I think he was just using those two as examples rather than meaning she literally only prayed to them. Sort of like how you might say: 'So you eat at McDonalds? You have chicken nuggets and fries and stuff?' I assume if she's very religious she would believe in all the Gods.

          • monkeybutter says:

            Ah, okay. I was perhaps being too literal, haha.

            • I always figured he was making an educated guess based on the Colonials' religion (about which we know so little!). Like, maybe most women worship those goddesses in particular, the way most men might worship two or three. So he would probably be right for most people he encountered.

              • monkeybutter says:

                That's a good point. And now that I think about it, I'd choose to Athena and Artemis out of the Greek pantheon, as well, so I don't exactly disprove the logic behind his guess, haha.

                • enigmaticagentscully says:

                  Me too! I have a statue of Athena on my desk that I got in Greece. 🙂
                  I don't pray to her though. Maybe it's worth a shot? I wish people did still believe in the ancient Greek gods, they were fracking awesome.

                  • I'm an atheist, but if I prayed to anyone, it'd be to Athena. Girlfriend was A-OK.

                  • monkeybutter says:

                    Actually, there are modern people who worship the Greek gods! I don't think they do blood sacrifice, and they're more humanistic, but they worship them.

                    I'm looking forward to Mark reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so that I can fangirl about Greek gods (and talk about the things that I hate, of course).

    • NB2000 says:

      Oh, and I forgot: I can buy that he overheard Starbuck's name on the wireless, but how the hell did he know that she prays to Aphrodite and Artemis? Weird.

      Incredibly lucky guess?

  8. cait0716 says:

    I've been waiting for you to get to this episode because it does address so much of the human/Cylon similarities. Though I suppose you just ended up more confused than before, thanks to Leoben's lies. I do love how much they're trying to be human, and how much Leoben wants to be human.

    I just love the line "All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again."

  9. NB2000 says:

    Well. This isn’t slowing down any time soon, is it?


    As I'm slightly sleepy from overindulging on birthday cake I'm going to take the slightly easy route in commenting and avoid the heavy subjects of torture and faith and what it means to be a human. They're there and make this one hell of a heavy episode to sit through.

    humming to the Cylon Raider is not helping your appearance, dear

    THIS. Possibly even creepier than her monologue about its nature in the last episode. Got to give her credit for getting Gaius to test her by reminding him that she saved his life.

    I have to admit, Leoben's moment of grabbing Kara by the throat is somewhat less scary to me because I'm just left asking "But two seconds later IS the time for you to do that? …oookay".

    "All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again." "Don't quote scripture" …Peter Pan is part of Colonial scripture? Interesting.

  10. Noybusiness says:

    Fun fact: the tune that Boomer hums to the Raider is an actual Korean lullaby that Grace Park put in.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Oh that's cool! I just wrote above about how catchy I found it before I read this! Okay, I don't feel quite so cylon-esque now.

  11. Kaci says:

    The noises I made during every single scene Starbuck was in are quite frankly RIDICULOUS. I am so in love with her as a character that I want to run around screaming about it to the rooftops. And then I want to tie every single showrunner in Hollywood to a chair and make them watch a highlight reel of her scenes and then yell at them, "THIS! DO THINGS LIKE THIS! IF BSG CAN, THEN SO CAN YOU!" until they listen.

    And, you know, the more I think about your review yesterday, the more I've come to a realization. You talked about the poor representation of atheism through Baltar's "conversion", and that's true, but I'd like to point out that no one really wins with that trope, not even people of faith. You did a great job explaining the atheist side, and I don't know that I can do that great of a job of explaining the other, but I'll try. The way his "conversion" happens, it basically says that people who DO have this faith (if we're to believe that Baltar actually has it now) only do so because they're getting something out of it, or only pray when they need something, or only turn to their religion when they want help. So not only is this insulting to atheists, but it's insulting to people of faith, too. No one wins with this trope. I'm a person of faith and at no point while watching that episode did I think, "Oh, good, what a great representation of religion." I thought, "Wow, Six is being super-manipulative and Baltar isn't praying because he actually believes, he's praying because he's screwed and he just wants to appease the higher power (in this case, Six) in order to get out of trouble." So why continue to perpetuate this trope, Hollywood? It's insulting to everyone. No one is winning with it, not atheists, not people of faith, and not anyone in between.

    Okay. I seriously have to stop off-topic brain-vomiting in your comments, Mark. Sorry!

  12. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    I'm not sure what to make of Roslin's sudden precognition abilities but the rest of the episode was very good.

    I think Conoy's death due to exposure to vacuum was handled in a relatively realistic fashion. Many sci-fi films depict similar sequences where people freeze instantly or even explode when exposed to vacuum.
    Humans have been exposed to near-vacuum conditons for up to thirty seconds without permanent injury. A person would get colder but would not freeze immediately in space.

    Conoy: Each of us plays a role; each time a different role. Maybe the last time I was the interrogator and you were the prisoner. The players change, the story remains the same. And this time – this time – your role is to deliver my soul unto God. Do it for me. It’s your destiny. And mine. And I told you I had a surprise for you. Are you ready? You are going to find Kobol, birthplace of us all. Kobol will lead you to Earth. This is my gift to you, Kara.

  13. pica_scribit says:

    This may be a dumb question, but if Cylons are able to mimic/experience human emotion and biological processes, and a complex test is required to differentiate between a Cylon and a living, breathing human, are they not essentially almost the same thing as clones with chips in their heads? I guess this is probably a question which will be answered later on. We will probably find out how Cylons developed the technology to grow/build human Cylons (and the "living" ships). I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they did it by manipulating human DNA.

    • cait0716 says:

      I think one of the key differences comes down to life span. Humans live for a few decades and then die. Cylons are, for all intents and purposes, immortal. If one body dies they just download the memories into a new body, assuming they aren't too far away for that downloading to work of course. Leoben wasn't afraid of death, because he it wasn't really an end for him. They might still be essentially human in most or all other ways, but without the reality of death, there's a very different approach to everything.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Yup, I think that's really the thing that sets them apart. We've also seen that they're exceptionally strong, and quite possibly have a different sense of morality than most humans do (though so far we've really only experienced that from human bias)

    • LucyGoosey says:

      Vgf nyjnlf orra n snajnax bs zvar gung gur bayl erny qvssrerapr orgjrra gur uhznaf naq plybaf urer vf gur qvivqr orgjrra n purzvpny if ryrpgebavp (urapr, cebtenzznoyr) oenva naq areibhf flfgrz

  14. who_cares86 says:

    "So Adama isn’t a Cylon, right? RIGHT???? OH GOD."

    It's not just Adama you should be worried about, every single character could potentially be a Cylon sleeperagent.

    So when did they identify Leoben again? Because I don't remember when they first identified him. I know they had his picture in the last episode but when was it?

    • @LarrikJ says:

      Do you mean when Adama met him on the station in the miniseries?

      • who_cares86 says:

        I'm confusing Doral and Leobon. Adama met Leobon in Ragnar and was arrested in this episode. Doral was suspected by Baltar to be Cylon and left behind on Ragnar, he's revealed to be a Cylon at the end of the mini-series and a later copy acts as a suicide bomber.

    • It's not just Adama you should be worried about, every single character could potentially be a Cylon sleeperagent.
      Well, not every single character. There are only 12 Cylon models. Unless, I don't know, 12 is actually in base 50,000.

      • cait0716 says:

        Yeah, but they only know who two of them are (right? we know 4, they know 2). So until they identify those last ten, they really do need to worry about everyone. At least Baltar finally got his cylon detector working

  15. psycicflower says:

    ‘We had sex’ ‘Congratulations’
    I'd congratulate them too.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    Not shifty at all there Boomer. I feel so sorry for Boomer though. She was clearly so happy to hear she wasn't a Cylon and she's had this huge weight lifted off her shoulders but we know it's not true so I doubt she can live that lie forever.

    Leoben creeps me out but I'm not exactly sure I can put my finger on why. Maybe its because he seems to know so much without actually clearly saying what it is and uses truth and lies so well to disorientate Starbuck.

    Adama can't be a Cylon. He just can't. I refuse to accept this.

  16. psycicflower says:

    ‘We had sex’ ‘Congratulations’
    I'd congratulate them too.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    Not shifty at all there Boomer. I feel so sorry for Boomer though. She was clearly so happy to hear she wasn't a Cylon and she's had this huge weight lifted off her shoulders but we know it's not true so I doubt she can live that lie forever.

    Leoben creeps me out but I'm not exactly sure I can put my finger on why. Maybe its because he seems to know so much without actually clearly saying what it is and uses truth and lies so well to disorientate Starbuck.

    Adama can't be a Cylon. He just can't. I refuse to accept this.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I sort of expected Doral to say 'Congratulations. Do you want a cookie for that?'

    • NB2000 says:

      Nice gif, her hand brushing against the Raider before she turns away just makes the moment even creepier. She's petting it!

      • psycicflower says:

        I love how she's all nothing to see here, I'm not creepily singing to the Cylon raider, move along.

        (I may have gone over board doing gifs I'll probably never even need over the weekend)

  17. elusivebreath says:

    I'm barely ahead of you in this series, Mark, and while I don't think Adama is a Cylon (I'll need more evidence before I subscribe to that theory lol), I do think that by the end of the series at least one character that we love will end up being a Cylon. PLEASE DON'T LET IT BE STARBUCK!! But I can just imagine the mind-blowing revelation, lol.

  18. innocentsmith says:

    Oh, I 100% think you're supposed to be uncomfortable with the torture scenes. It's a much darker view of Starbuck, and of the Colonials, than we've gotten before, and together with the scenes of Caprica!Sharon rebelling against her programming I think the episode is all about, okay, wait, what ARE the Cylons? Are they capable of feeling, and free will? Are they something like human, and does that mean they should have human rights? Did they have a point in rebelling against humanity, if not in the way they did it?

    And then, it's the torturer who ends up seeing Leoben as possibly-human, and at least worth praying for, while Roslin, who was more rational and at least gave the appearance of being more compassionate, is the one who calls him a faulty machine and chucks him out an airlock. It's a nice dichotomy there.

    Of course, I may be biased in my love for this episode. Leoben Conoy is played by Callum Keith Rennie, a great and wonderful character actor who has appeared in lots of indie movies and also as a guest star in, seriously, EVERY TV SHOW EVER FILMED in Vancouver. (If you watched The X-Files? He was the original choice for Krycek. He turned down the part in favor of something else, but ended up being in the second movie.) It's kind of hilarious if you look at his imdb page: he's always the easiest square to fill in playing Canadian Actor Bingo.

    It's tough being a CKR fan, because, despite being lovely on the rare occasions when he gets to play a good guy, 98% of the time he gets cast as a creepy creepy creeper, who usually gets tortured and/or killed. So as a fan, I'm like, "Noooo, don't hurt Callum! Oh wait. He's a serial killer/terrorist/psychotic mutant/genocidal robot. Right, well. Carry on, then, I guess. *sulks*"

    …And then, of course, my friends go, "Wait, that guy is the guy you like?" HE IS A GREAT ACTOR OKAY.

    Anyway. I love all the Kara/Leoben stuff – all their interactions are so twisted and enigmatic and interesting. And I love this episode for that, and for the Helo/Sharon, and the Boomer-getting-tested, and the Roslin-being-a-BAMF. It's pretty much all my favorite parts of the show rolled into one episode.

    • LucyGoosey says:

      Its like being a Garrett Dillahunt fan.

      The rationale behind the torture always made me uncomfortable- while I can understand them rationalizing "its a machine, you can't hurt a machine" I always wonder what my laptop would say about my keymashing, rough and frequent hard boots and missing keys.

    • CKR = the better of the two Rays on Due South, and I will fight over that.

      It's tough being a CKR fan, because, despite being lovely on the rare occasions when he gets to play a good guy, 98% of the time he gets cast as a creepy creepy creeper, who usually gets tortured and/or killed.

      Yessss. I love to watch him work. I feel so comfortable, knowing he'll handle his part well and I'll enjoy it … and then Leoben is all creepy mystic dude, and I get conflicted. Why, CKR? Why?

      • innocentsmith says:

        OH GOD DON'T START THE RAY WARS UP. That wank gets uglier than Rose vs. Martha in Doctor Who fandom. Both Rays are excellent! Fraser loves both of them!

        …That said, yes, CKR as Ray Kowalski is an incredible, adorable hotass.

        Honestly, though? I even like Leoben. I think he's an interesting character, and I love the show's crazy mysticism and he's a part of that. (There are points in the series where I stop the DVD and go, "You know what would make this scene/conflict better? MOAR LEOBEN. Why isn't he involved here, RDM?")

        But mostly I'm just annoyed that they keep putting him in horrible shirts and clammy makeup and spritzing him with water so he looks sweaty and unpleasant, while the girl Cylons get all hyper-sexualized and glam and have light-up spines and romances as part of the main plot. Boo to that.

        • I would like to propose to your final paragraph. In a non-creepy way.

        • notemily says:

          Both Rays are excellent, but only one spawned legions of slashfic writers. (Well, I'm sure there is Fraser/RayV out there somewhere, but you get my point.)

          • innocentsmith says:

            Haha. I am in Due South fandom, actually. We got your Fraser/Kowalski, your Fraser/Vecchio, your Ray/Ray, your F/K/V. Plus all the het pairings, the femmeslash pairings, the threesomes and moresomes, the crossovers with other Canadian Six Degrees fandoms (including that one really heartbreaking crossover with BSG, oh my GODS. *weeps*).

            I'm mostly an F/K girl myself, and it is definitely trufax that there are tons of amazingly talented people who've written for that pairing. But there are some great F/V or otherwise Vecchio-focused writers out there, some of whom are my buddies. So, again, can we…not do the Ray Wars thing? It makes the baby Diefenbaker cry.

          • tortiecat says:

            Many of the F/K slash writers were probably brainwashed into that pairing because RayK is "prettier" than RayV – of course, YMMV; I think RayV is very attractive too.

            The truth is – there are just as many Fraser-RayV moments on the show that can be considered slashy as Fraser-RayK moments – and, IMO, RayV was the much better friend to Fraser. But you need to watch the entire series of dS to understand that, instead of just the so-called "slashy" seasons with RayK and no RayV.

            • notemily says:

              Yeah, I haven't seen the whole show so I really shouldn't be talking about this anyway 🙂 I only know most of this stuff via friends who are huge fans.

              • tortiecat says:

                The Fraser/RayK fans tend to skew the DS fandom in their favor. But RayV does have his fans – he is a wonderful character – and Fraser/RayV slash was the original slash of the fandom. I just wish people would watch the entire series before they make up their minds about a pairing, instead of skipping the RayV seasons and going right to the so-called "slashy" seasons.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      If you watched The X-Files? He was the original choice for Krycek.

      *mind blown*

    • lyvanna says:

      The torture stuff does really bother me. I mean I get it, they destroyed almost the entire human race and are now trying to finish the job, plus Leoben says there is a bomb waiting to go off so time is an issue… and yet the whole 'what does it mean to be human' thing is raised again by just the use of torture, regardless of whether it is against another 'human', what does it do to our souls (for want of a better word) to commit those acts.

    • The torture makes me uncomfortable as well. He feels pain. It is irrelevant whether his feelings of pain from physical abuse are programmed into his brain digitally or biologically. If he feels pain, then it's torture, and it's wrong.

      The Cylons committed genocide. Their crime is unfathomably evil. But humans cannot restore balance by torturing individual Cylons . . . all that does is make the humans beasts.

  19. Albion19 says:

    I have a soul. I see patterns. I know you, you're damaged. You were born to a woman who believed that suffering was good for the soul, so you suffered. Your life is a testament to pain. Injuries. Accidents. Some inflicted upon others, others inflicted upon yourself. It surrounds you like a bubble. But it's not real, it's just… It's just something she put in your head. It's something that you want to believe because it means you're the problem, not the world that you live in. You want to believe it because it means that you're bad luck. You're like a cancer that needs to be removed. Because you hear her voice every day and you want her to be right.

    I thought you'd mention this part, how strange it is how it seems to effect Kara.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      It's 'affect', not 'effect'. 😛

      But yeah, that was a shocking little moment that was over in a flash. It's interesting that something so potentially important to Starbuck's character is done in a kind of 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' few seconds. I like how BSG doesn't patronise it's audience by spelling everything out – a lot of that scene was conveyed in just a few significant looks and what Leoben said is pretty vague but very sinister.
      And you can see that it really gets to her.

    • lyvanna says:

      Yeah, these little tidbits about Starbuck (which I suppose we have to assume are at least partly true due to their affect on her) are very interesting. And sad.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Ah, I totally forgot to comment on this. It IS strange, too, because she's aware he specifically is playing mind games, yet it STILL hits too close to home.

  20. notemily says:

    "I've dealt with this model before." What? How do you even know what traits are common between models? Answer: YOU DON'T. This Leoben could be completely different from the one you met on Ragnar. Sorry, that bugs me.

    I like how Leoben makes a point of showing Starbuck how helpless he is in the handcuffs, so it just makes it more shocking when he shows they're useless on him.

    "What's different?" "Everything."

    This is one of my favorite scenes with Sharon-on-Caprica. I found it interesting that you didn't mention that the Six and Doral keep asking if Helo LOVES her. And then the scene of her running through the forest, thinking about him and his kindness. Does SHE love HIM? Can Cylons love? Can they love the people who are supposed to be their enemy?

    I don't like the torture. I just don't like it. It makes me think of all the other times people have categorized other people as less than human, as THINGS, and then tortured them with that justification. Yes, it's war. Yes, it's genocide. But torture still isn't okay in my book.

    And the fact that these scenes of torture of a "thing" are coupled with scenes of one of these "things" having the capacity to love and to act on that love, to go against her allies in order to protect the man she loves… I think Cylons are people, even if they're not human people. And it's not okay to torture people.

    As for Cylons going against their programming, I think only the "sleeper Cylons" have hidden programming that makes them do shit they don't consciously want to do. It seems that the ones on Caprica, at least, have free will. And now Sharon is using that free will to choose not to obey the others' orders, and that's fascinating.

    Leoben is so weird. He's either psychic/prophetic, or just really perceptive, with his knowledge about Starbuck and his predictions about the future and APPEARING IN ROSLIN'S DREAMS. It's impossible to pin down his motivation for predicting that they'll find Earth. I see him as kind of a trickster, saying things like that just to fuck with people and stir shit up.

    For example, I like the idea that Leoben, by telling Roslin that Adama's a Cylon, is doing the same thing he did all episode–spreading them out, weakening the connections between them. He made the ships spread out with the threat of the bomb (leaving them defenseless), and now he knows that Roslin won't be able to fully trust Adama, because she'll always have that doubt in her mind. And since those two are a powerful alliance, breaking the trust between them could be catastrophic.

    I will not say anything about who is or is not a Cylon, except to say that you are SO not prepared. 🙂

    • innocentsmith says:

      See, my take on Leoben, and the reason I think he's so interesting, is that I agree that he's definitely a trickster and a manipulator…but he's also simultaneously a true believer and prophet. I suspect he's got kind of a Cylon Who Cried Wolf thing going on with people listening to him, because he is untrustworthy, but that doesn't mean he's always lying. And he's weird, and may be misinterpreting things based on what he wants to believe, but that doesn't mean he's wrong, or that he doesn't see things others don't.

      • cait0716 says:

        oooh, Leoben = Loki. I like this and will have to look for more evidence to support (or possibly destroy) this new theory.

        • TyBlack says:

          Loki isnt the trickster that came to my mind (cause I dont like him that much) but I had basically the same idea. And then I realized that there are 12 cylon humans and now I am very intrigued.

  21. PeanutK says:

    This episode is so stressful and fascinating. Do Cylons have souls? Can they? They seem to be self-aware and fully conscious, but how much is programmed? How much of a cylon's behavior is programming, and how much is its identity? And if they do have a soul and have become more than machines, then that makes everything much more complex and confusing. And on that same train of thought, how much of humanity is simple genetic programming and how much is a matter of choice and identity?

    And it's stressful because OMG, WAS HE LYING? ADAMA CAN'T BE A CYLON, RIGHT???? I suspect there are other members of the crew that are cylons, and that this information will be revealed later, but Adama? How is that even possible? He has a son! Would that make Lee a Cylon too? And what's this about Starbuck's destiny? Why was he so excited to know it was her?
    (this is all speculation. I know just as little about this show and what happens as Mark does.)

  22. karate0kat says:

    The weird chemistry between Kara and Leoben never fails to make me confused. And I guess Clarice and Hannibal have the same kind of chemistry, so that's an apt comparison. Like, you would never want them together together, but you want them together in scenes because you can't really look away. It's a very compelling tension, and while certainly the writing is good, a lot of credit has to go to CKR and Katee. Their performances are remarkable.

    ADAMA IS A CYLON! I have to point out, though, that Leoben did not say Commander Adama. He just said Adama. How many Adama's in the fleet again? Hmmmm…..

    And finally, our song of the day, Flesh and Bone. The ever present Taikos are as intricate as always, but this one has some nice plucky strings too that gives it a slightly creepy feeling, until the Starbuck theme comes in towards the end and it all combines to resolve the tension into something that sounds almost…happy? Ish?

    [youtube U-jwoTgNGgM youtube]

  23. Brieana says:

    Now I remember. This is where I stopped watching. I lost interest as soon as Gaius told Boomer that she wasn't a Cylon. Balter worked so hard (and long!) on his detector thingy for nothing? Did not like.
    Anyway, I haven't really watched past this so for all I know that storyline might not be as pointless as it seemed.

    Also another reason why I lost interest was because everytime I get a bit interested in this show, I learn spoilers. It's fucking annoying. I suppose it's my fault since I listened to the commentaries and looked up a lot of the actors and so forth.

  24. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I just remembered, something I don't think anyone has mentioned yet – the first time I watched this episode my first thought was 'which Adama?' Because there are two currently on Galactica, and one more we know of who supposedly died…
    My friend and I spent ages arguing over this. 😛

    Also, I love the line Six says. "Well here's an interesting moment in the life of Gaius Baltar What will he do?." It's so very meta, it makes me giggle.

  25. @BklynBruzer says:

    Laura Roslin, airlocker extraordinaire.

  26. Stuart says:

    This episode!!…this whole series is beyond what I was expecting!….although, Conoy didn't say "commander" did he?, I thought he just said "Adama is a Clyon" and I've been trying to rack my brain trying to figure out which Adama is more likely to be one….William or Lee.

    IT'S ALL SO CONFUSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. StatSig says:

    ROSLIN BAMF FOREVER. Seriously. "Put him out the airlock." My jaw just dropped at that. I knew she could make hard decisions and also be kind, but I just never imagined her pulling that so handily. Love Roslin so much.

  28. If Adama is a Cylon, then I want the Cylons to be in charge.

  29. tethysdust says:

    I actually really did not like Roslin in this episode. I didn't see any of her treatment of the Cylon as 'sincere'. Starbuck, even though she tortured him and explicitly mocked his inhumanity (which was really uncomfortable to watch) seemed to almost instinctively interact with him as if he were a person. To Roslin, nothing she said or did to him mattered, because he was not human. She could do whatever she wanted and not feel bad about it later. It was easy and did not seem to trouble her conscience to lie to him, be kind to him to obtain the information she wanted, and then discard him as garbage. I know the Cylons wiped out most of humanity, and I'm not saying that I think Conoy should not have been executed. It's just the casual way Roslin treated him like an object to be disposed of… I think Roslin's actress does a fantastic job, I just can't stand the character.

Comments are closed.