Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E10 – The Hand of God

In the tenth episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, dwindling fuel reserves inspire the Galactica crew to make a risky (and potentially disastrous) decision to go after the Cylons directly. In the process, Baltar and Roslin unknowingly become at odds with one another. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

Well, all that well-placed humor is gone, and in its place is one goddamn tense forty-five minutes. Even before the bulk of the story is underway, we’re giving a cold open that is remarkably frightening. (And I imagine if you have a deep fear or phobia of snakes, you probably sobbed yourself to sleep that night you first watched this.) Roslin is now experiencing hallucinations, much like Baltar (OH GOD I LOVE THE PARALLELS ALREADY), that are incredibly distracting to her present state. While trying to update the fleet’s remaining journalists/officials on the state of the fuel reserves, she begins to see snakes covering her podium. The image is creepy enough, and it’s even more uncomfortable because no one else can see them. But now Roslin freezes, like Baltar does, and the crowd stares on in confusion. It’s a disaster, to put it lightly, and it’s only a matter of time before someone starts to spread the idea that Roslin is sick with something. Also, seriously? That part where she has to slowly remove her hands from under the snakes made me want to curl in a ball in bed and never come out. Good god.

While Vipers are out scanning for any possible tylium to process for fuel, Roslin, on the other hand, goes to see the fleet’s priest, Elosha. I’m getting the sense that Roslin might be spiritual or religious in some part, as I’m not sure why she’d choose a priest to speak to about her chamalla hallucinations over her doctor. Unless, that is, she believes that this sort of counsel will help her.

I’m ready to state that I’m endlessly excited for the way that this show is portraying religion, too. (I’ll get to Baltar towards the end.) We have two known faiths, and I also think that there are probably some non-believers on board who haven’t once said anything about the gods or God. (Adama, Gaeta, Dualla, and Lee all come to mind, and Adama in particular doesn’t strike me as a very spiritual person.) Yet just the existence of the religions is interesting enough, and that’s why I was totally blown away by Elosha’s reveal: Roslin’s life appears to match an ancient Pythian prophecy regarding the exodus mankind. Hell, even I can’t ignore how well it fits. Roslin saw two and ten snakes, is leading the remaining survivors to earth, and–most crucial of them all–is herself dying.

To be honest, I’m generally not a fan of the concept of prophecy being used in fiction all that much. I don’t dislike it, but it generally pigeonholes stories into this weird, deterministic character arc. (It’s actually why I like the use of this in the Harry Potter books because the main prophecy involves a choice on the part of one villain who…oh, I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it. But you get what I mean!) So I was surprised by how much I liked the idea that this Secretary of Education came upon the job as president, and is now possibly part of something larger. It’s scary to think that she might not survive the trip, but could it be that the prophecy is just mere coincidence? Will Roslin choose to act on it anyway?

Given those kind of questions (and given how massively huge this reveal is), I was then a bit bewildered that it’s seemingly not brought up again. We spend no time with Roslin as she contemplates what this means to her life, and the episode begins to focus on other characters, especially Lee and Baltar. Starbuck, still in rehabilitation for her leg, assists Tigh, Lee, and Adama with plans to steal tylium from under a Cylon base that Boomer and Crashdown discovered on a floating asteroid. In a way, I almost feel that there’s a meta subtext to “The Hand of God,” in that the writers are acknowledging that the fleet cannot simply be written as constantly fleeing forever, that the concept could become distractingly stale rather quickly. For the characters, Adama vocalizes the need to confront the Cylons plainly: it’s time that they finally stood up the schoolyard bullying who is tormenting them every day.

In addition to this, the story between Helo and Boomer on Caprica is rapidly progressing towards a point that also needs to be acknowledged: Helo has to figure out that Boomer is a Cylon. There’s only so much the writers can do to drag out the story, so it’s nice to see that they’re taking steps to bring the issue up. First of all, clearly Boomer is pregant. Why else would a Cylon human throw up? GREAT. Cylon babies are on their way!

I didn’t find this as pressing as Helo’s discovery that the woman Boomer clearly killed is now leading a group of Cylons. We know that Caprica Boomer is self-aware of who she is, so is she finally just going to tell him what’s going on? I actually think she’ll find a way to tell him that Cylons look like human, but she’ll keep her own identity a secret and try to keep her relationship with Helo. Which….is going to be a problem, I imagine.

Back on the Galactica, the fuel raiding plan presents problems for Baltar, Lee, and Starbuck, though for entirely different reasons. Starbuck, on the one hand, is not used to being left behind, to submitting her ego to commanding a fleet from the CIC. Adama prevents her from taking flight, despite her dogged insistence, in a particularly agonizing scene in which he uses a leg press machine to demonstrate that she’s not ready for flight. Even Starbuck has to admit that the Commander is correct, but you can see how much it pains her. Yet it’s not just about being in pain, either; she is simply inexperienced at leading from a distance, and throughout “The Hand of God,” we see just how awkward everything is for her. She’s physically uncomfortable, shuffling about the room as if she has no purpose.

Lee himself is not the least bit excited to be taking command, knowing that if there is any pilot who could lead a suicide mission to destroy a Cylon base, it’s Starbuck who has the creative talent, not him. He is just out of his element as she is, confused as to how he’s supposed to step into her shoes when everyone around him suggests that Starbuck is the best pilot for the job, not him. I was happy to see Adama step up to comfort his son, and in a way that is genuine and affectionate. It may seem like nothing to have Adama state so directly that he believes in Lee simply because his son, but you have to remember how distant they were for two years, and how Adama took that fact for granted. Sometimes, acknowledging things outright can be more powerful than flowery statements of love.

Baltar, out of everyone who suddenly is conflicted by the plan to attack the Cylon base, has the most precarious position. It seems his “conversion” isn’t quite complete, and when he’s called on to give the fighters the best location to bomb, he doesn’t know. Worse, Six doesn’t know either, telling him to open his heart to God, and God will give the answer. I don’t think that Baltar believed the concept at all, despite that giving in to God had worked so well for him. Taking a step back from this, it is kind of an absurd notion: God has the power to give Baltar the right location, but he’s just going to wait until Baltar gives him something back? So the entirety of the human race depends on this one dude, and that’s a totally fair thing for the rest of humanity? Sorry, I’d be pretty pissed if I died, went to the pearly gates, and discovered that I died because some other dude failed one of God’s tests. You can see that even Baltar thinks this is a bit much, but he gives it a try. He names a place, but does so at random. God said nothing to him. Six assures him that God speaks through other means.

YEAH, OKAY, COULD HE JUST SPEAK UP? I’d be a lot more comforted by that.

But there’s nothing here to comfort us! Because the second that this mission is put into motion, we are given about fifteen minutes straight of nail-biting terror. Starbucks plan to use decoys to draw the Cylons away from their base is good, but it’s not fantastic, especially since there’s no real recourse if the plan is spotted. And good fucking god, everything goes to shit so fast. The Cylons do take the bait, but this was under the hope that the Cylons would send the bulk of their ships to go after the mining ships. Unfortunately, the base releases reserve ships–FIFTY OF THEM–towards the Galactica, which now has nothing to protect itself. All the Vipers have been deployed.

God, it is just so awful. The writers do not avoid this, as the screams of dying pilots fill the room, and Starbuck, Baltar, and Roslin are all clearly upset by this. Starbuck feels responsible, since she devised the plan. Baltar is terrified that even if the plan does work, he provided the wrong information. Roslin has never properly experienced a mission like this, and the fate of the rest of the survivors will be decided in the next few minutes.

And in the face of imminent doom, Adama instructs Dualla to relay a message to Lee: the back door is open. Revealing that they did have a contingent plan, we find out that the decoys are anything but: they’re hiding another fleet of Viper fighters. OH SHIT YEAH. Oh, misdirection, I never saw you.

I don’t even really have anything insightful to say about Lee’s flight down to the asteroid. It’s frightening, especially as pilots begin to perish, but mostly it’s just FUCKING COOL. From the visual reference to Star Wars when Lee enters the mining tunnels (IT TOTALLY IS, RIGHT???), to the magnificent special effects that make this all look so real, it’s just fun to watch. I don’t need to say anything deep about it, do I?

Well, I suppose there is a huge point to be made here, one I’m glad that appears. The humans have finally won a battle. Starbuck and Lee are both relieved that they could actually pull this whole thing off. Baltar is happy to find out his guess was right, and Roslin is overjoyed that they are alive and with fuel. Honestly, this group just hasn’t had a victory like this against the Cylons, and it was something they truly needed. I know that I love the doom and gloom more than most things, but every so often, I’m perfectly fine with a little bit of joy, too!

Yet I couldn’t ignore the fact that I had no idea why this episode was called, “The Hand of God.” There was a bit of talk of God earlier, but, like the Roslin plot, it seemed to be left to the side. In truth, I was merely unprepared until the end of time. Spawned by a conversation with Six about the logistics of how he pulled off guessing the correct location, Baltar comes to realize his life fits the prophecy of Pythia. The very same prophecy that fits Roslin’s life. The once-atheist Baltar now declares himself an instrument of God and, unknowing to him, sets himself up against President Roslin, who may very well be the hand of God as well.

UM FUCK YES. THIS IS AWESOME. oh my god are these two going to come into conflict soon???? OH THIS IS JUST SPECTACULAR I LOVE THIS TWIST FOREVER.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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117 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E10 – The Hand of God

  1. You know what this show needs more of? FUCKING SPACESHIPS BLOWING UP OTHER SPACESHIPS AND POSSIBLY OTHER THINGS AS WELL. There will be more of that in the future, thankfully.

    Oh, sorry, was that a spoiler?

    Spoiler Alert: Stories Are Not Spoiled by 'Spoilers'


    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I MEAN LIKE

        JUST NO.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:


          • Heh. Yeah, basically. I'm very confused by that study and its findings. Maybe they just picked the wrong test subjects. I did find this bit interesting:

            “So it could be,” said Leavitt, a psychology doctoral student at UC San Diego, “that once you know how it turns out, it’s cognitively easier – you’re more comfortable processing the information – and can focus on a deeper understanding of the story.”

            Also, I love that there is a graph of "Hedonic Rating."

            • notemily says:

              That's why I like rereads better than first reads sometimes. For example, the first time I read the His Dark Materials series I was natel gung Jvyy naq Ylen qvqa'g trg gb or gbtrgure va gur raq; fb natel gung vg fcbvyrq gur raqvat bs gur obbx sbe zr (VEBAVPNYYL). Ohg abj, jura V er-ernq, xabjvat jung'f pbzvat znxrf vg rnfvre gb frr ubj gur raqvat svgf jvgu gur birenyy fgbel, naq nanylmr vg sebz gung crefcrpgvir.

            • Noybusiness says:

              I find that to be true with rereads/rewatches, but not spoilers.

              • who_cares86 says:

                Spoilers suck but rewatching knowing what happens can be a lot of fun. Especially on a show like this where there's the major mystery regarding the rest of the humanoid Cylons who haven't been revealed yet. Obviously knowing the answer completely alters your perspective rewatching this show.

                • hpfish13 says:

                  It can be fun, but difficult when you are sharing that experience (of re-experiencing) with someone who hasn't seen or read whatever it is before. Especially when, you're watching something together and you have no poker face when people ask you questions.

                • Noybusiness says:

                  I think the difference is that with spoilers you never had that fresh experience.

                  • Hamnoo says:

                    I was spoiled for Obbzre fubbgvat Nqnzn va 1k12. Fb fnqyl, gur vzcnpg jnf arire ernyyl gurer.

                    V jnf nyfb snxr-fcbvyrq sbe gur Qbpgbe orvat bar bs gur svany svir, fb gung ernyyl guerj zr – rfcrpvnyyl orpnhfr vg znqr fb zhpu frafr gb zr!

                    Bu, naq V xarj nobhg Fgneohpx svaqvat ure bja obql va frnfba 4 orpnhfr V jnf ernqvat gur Jvxvcrqvn ragel nobhg Yrbora gb svaq bhg jura ur jbhyq znxr na nccrnenapr ntnva. Naq gung znqr zr ernyyl natel (ng zlfrys).

                    –> So in conclusion: Sometimes I stumble upon spoilers, either by accident or because I'm nosy and can't frakking control myself, but I never like the outcome. Unspoiled is always better.

    • cait0716 says:

      I thought of Mark immediately when I saw this article.

      In all honesty, I mostly don't mind being spoiled. I am someone who enjoys the journey as much as the destination. Sometimes I avoid spoilers, sometimes I don't. I did manage to accidentally spoil myself for a death in A Song of Ice and Fire that hasn't happened yet (I'm near the beginning of the third book) and I'm just an endless ball of tension waiting for it to happen. I think it's making me pay closer attention to some things more as I look for the foreshadowing

    • echinodermata says:

      Eh, apparently people reading specific short stories they're not familiar with appreciate the story better with spoilers. But I absolutely believe there is a fundamental difference in how I approach a tv show I am already a fan of versus being randomly being given a short story to read.

      I figure this is another example of science journalism generalizing to make big headlines out of pretty specific contextual results. (I'm way too lazy to figure out if I can find the actual scientific paper online to check their conclusions.)

      EDIT: (how many of us already saw this on the DW tumblr?)

    • hpfish13 says:

      Clearly these people don't like being surprised. Personally I like reading (or experiencing) unspoiled because, then when you re-read, you get to have a whole new take on the story. If you know the answers ahead of time, you lose that first experience and then the re-read is less enjoyable. I love that this site is spoiler free!

    • elusivebreath says:

      I read that yesterday, and I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Or as Mark says, NO. I personally have come to things spoiled vs. unspoiled and unspoiled is better EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

    • Maya says:

      I love the research that come out of my school.

      I promise to ask Chrsitenfeld and Leavitt about it if I ever run into them somewhere.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I don't mind spoilers, but with the caveat that I seek them out myself and they aren't forced on me. I understand why people might like to have all of their surprising twists unrevealed, but it's fun to pick out the set up to the eventual ending. I like this part of the article:

      “Plots are just excuses for great writing. What the plot is is (almost) irrelevant. The pleasure is in the writing,” said Christenfeld, a UC San Diego professor of social psychology.

      And I agree. I can appreciate the writing more when I'm not in a panic over what's going to happen next. For the purposes of this series, though, I'm staying spoiler free so that I can actually follow along with Mark and enjoy the rollercoaster. I think the same is true of good movies. For instance, the Star Wars reference in this episode predates my birth by about 7 years, and I knew all of the plot points of the films, and had seen clips and parodies of them, before I ever sat down and watched them in their entirety. And I still loved them. I think as long as you get more than explosions and surprises out of media, then spoilers aren't bad if you want them.

      • cait0716 says:

        Neil Gaiman has a quote/philsophy similar to that quote that I agree with. Basically, there are only so many stories and you've probably already heard them all. What matters is how the story is told. And knowing the ending doesn't change the delivery

      • notemily says:

        Ha, yeah, who doesn't grow up already knowing "LUKE… I AM YOUR FATHER"? I didn't see Star Wars until I was 14 years old (the year they released the "enhanced" versions in theaters), but knowing the twist didn't keep me from enjoying it.

        • ambyrglow says:

          Ha, yeah, who doesn't grow up already knowing "LUKE… I AM YOUR FATHER"?

          A friend of mine, who I once forced to sit down and watch all the Star Wars movies in succession. The revelation made her jaw drop, though not as much as the sibling reveal. (I think she'd been shipping them up to that point. Whoops.)

          I don't even like the movies all that much, but watching her watch them unspoiled was pure entertainment.

      • Arione says:

        I agree. I don’t mind spoilers as long as I chose to be spoiled, which sometimes I do. This may be because I read a lot of epic fantasy as a teenager, and sometimes when Sir So and So has been missing for half the book, and Lady Assasin McCoolsten has been poisoned and has been torturously dying for nine chapters, you just want to know if the story will ever go anywhere. Also I apologise if there are any spoilers for Sword of Epic Socery in this post I know no-one has read it yet.

        However, when someone spoiled the end of Order of the Phoenix for, when they hadn’t even read the books, I was heartbroken. Spoilers must be consensual!

    • shoroko says:

      I actually agree that sometimes spoilers can be helpful in understanding a piece of media, though I also think that can depend on the media. For instance, I really had trouble following the narrative of Watchmen the first time I read it, but the second time – once I knew what this was all leading toward – I actually understood everything much better and really enjoyed it a lot more. But then, in that case, Alan Moore had a specific overall plan worked out. That's not necessarily going to be the case for something like a television show.

      But either way, I get why people don't like spoilers. Sometimes I seek them out, and sometimes I don't. My rule tends to be if I really care about something, and I'm not worried about it (e.g., I love Harry Potter, but I read every spoiler I could find for Deathly Hallows 2 because I knew I'd rather know about changes I wouldn't like beforehand than be disappointed in the theatre), then I won't read the spoilers. But if I don't care that much, or I do care and am worried, I do read them and haven't regretted it. But I don't expect anyone to follow that approach, and I try not to spoil people (within reason – if it's recent or I know something is reading/watching something for the first time, I won't spoil. But come on, I may mention the end of 1984 in casual conversation at some point). I think it's perfectly cool to be spoilerphobic – as long as others in turn realize that I'm not necessarily "ruining" a piece of media for myself if I do choose to read spoilers.

      • cait0716 says:

        I agree. And I definitely think that once something's been out for long enough (a week for TV shows, a month for a movie, a year or so for a book) it's completely fair game and it becomes the responsibility of the person who doesn't want to be spoiled to make that known and take steps to protect themselves.

        Watchmen was a case where I was really glad I had read the book first. Also, it should win an award for worst use of "Hallelujah"

      • echinodermata says:

        I agree in that I'm more inclined to read spoilers if I don't care as much. However, I still try to avoid spoilers when I'm worried about the outcome, which sucks cause the temptation is high and I don't like it that I want to know, but I want to avoid spoilers all the same. Curse you!

        (And then there's also the randomness of worrying about getting spoiled accidentally and whether or not it'd be better to just decide to read the spoilers on your own terms rather than dealing with the situation of avoiding spoilers and therefore worrying about getting spoiled.)

        And no arguments from me on the fact that I don't really care whether or not someone else seeks out spoilers or not so long as they're not spoiling others.

        • shoroko says:

          Yeah – I should clarify that when I say "worried," I usually mean worried on a meta-level about whatever I'm watching/reading. Like – TOTALLY HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO – if I'm watching a show and, let's say, there's a strong possibility my favorite character, Character A, is going to die. If all I'm worried about is Character A dying because I love Character A, I'll generally try to avoid spoilers. However, if it's that I love Character A but also that I'll be angry at the show as a whole if Character A dies (usually because Character A may be the only woman and/or Not White character on the show), then I will read spoilers. I'm really not going to get much out of being surprised!angry about that, I've done that enough.

          Or because it's Harry Potter and I might as well get my way-too-in-love-with-the-books hissy fit out of the way beforehand >_>

          • echinodermata says:

            Yeah, I was actually going on the meta-worried thing too. Apparently there are Doctor Who spoilers floating around discussing the end of the current season/series, and I had this major temptation to read because I'm gonna be angry if x characters don't get a happy ending. So it's this trouble of wanting to know in advance if I'm gonna be disappointed on a more meta/Doylist level, and that if there is disappoint in the direction it's gonna go, I'd handle it better knowing it in advance, I think.

            Which is to say I understand exactly the desire to seek those spoilers, even if I still try not to give in myself.

            Admittedly, I do find myself willing to see casting spoilers, but that's about the only type of spoilers I generally end up reading for shows I care about a lot.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Knowing ahead of time that Poirot will discover that the apparent target of attempted murder is, in fact, the perpetrator not only didn’t hurt enjoyment of the story but actually improved it."

      God fucking damn it there's even a spoiler in the gorram article!

      • Be glad I didn't link to the Jezebel article that spoiled Fight Club in the first paragraph.

        Luckily, I didn't look too closely at the titles, so I don't know which Poirot book they spoiled. When I was a teenager, I read a bunch of Poirot books; that's pretty much all the Agatha Christie I read. I love that guy.

        • hpfish13 says:

          I know which book it is, and it's an amazing Christie novel! And now I can't recommend it because it would spoil the ending….Curses!!

          • I will purge this information from my memory, and by the time I decide that is time to read Agatha Christie again (honestly, I am way overdue; I have not read her since I was a teenager! Although I did see The Mousetrap in London), I will have forgotten the spoiler!

            The article also spoils "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," but I think pretty much everyone's spoiled for that one.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I used to religiously watch Mystery! with my mom when I was a kid, and Poirot was always my favorite. His moustache and fastidiousness warm my heart. But I became more of a fan of Miss Marple as I got older, and somehow her books are the only ones I've read.

        • elusivebreath says:

          SAME. OMG, Agatha Christie is the master of PUNCHING YOU IN THE FACE WITH SURPRISE. Which I love, actually, another reason I hate spoilers!!

      • kristinc says:

        Once I read an Illustrated Guide sort of book to Agatha Christie novels. (It was geared toward the Agatha Christie fan, and it discussed when each novel or story was written, the synopsis, anything Christie herself had said about it, how it was received and so on.) In the preface this book specifically assured the reader that it wouldn't give away the conclusions to any of the mysteries. Then, when it discussed The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, IT STRAIGHT UP GAVE IT AWAY. Just right out of the gate. THANK YOU SO MUCH, BOOK. I was seriously pissed because I hadn't read that one yet, I knew it was one of her most famous, and I know that ending would have fucking blown my mind if I hadn't been spoiled.

    • notemily says:

      Oh dude I just heard about that study from a friend of mine who was at APA. I can usually enjoy a book or movie or TV show while knowing some of what's coming, because the joy for me is in watching the characters react to what happens, not the plot itself necessarily. However, some stories DO rely on the reader/viewer not knowing what's coming next–I'm specifically thinking of Megan Whalen Turner's "Queen's Thief" series (WHICH MARK SHOULD TOTALLY READ, AHEM). Although, it's nice to go back and REread those books knowing what's going to happen, because then you can see the clues and foreshadowing–just like I get something new out of every reread of Harry Potter, because JKR put so many little things in there that hint at what's to come. In fact I often enjoy REreads better than first reads, for that reason.

      In other words, I don't actively seek out spoilers, but if I am accidentally spoiled for a plot point it's usually okay. USUALLY. (*glares at person who spoiled the major death at the end of Harry Potter 5*)

      • cait0716 says:

        I spoiled Harry Potter 5 for myself just by reading the book jacket. Or, I guess I made an extremely accurate guess that was completely confirmed. I definitely knew that death was coming though

      • notemily says:

        I should also say that I think being spoiled for deaths is what annoys me the most, because then when the death actually happens, I'm not as sad about it as I feel I should be. I feel like I've been robbed of my chance to properly feel the emotional impact of that death, if that makes sense. I was also spoiled for the death in Serenity (by my own foolishness; I clicked on a link to a spoilery review without realizing it) and then when watching the movie, I felt sort of detached, instead of HORRIBLY SAD like everyone else.

    • cait0716 says:

      Though I do have to say that I actually yelled at my TV when Britta spoiled the ending of Catfish in one episode of Community. And then I laughed because it was kind of funny and, in retrospect, obvious.

      • Ha ha ha, when that happened, I was like, damn, good thing I already saw that movie! (But in that case, really, it's not so much the twist but what comes after that's important. Because the twist is, well, obvious.)

  2. echinodermata says:

    Oh look a prophecy that seems to be coming true. Definitely not my favorite plot either. And I'd rather it not be Roslin specifically who's caught up in it, just cause I like her and I'd rather all her decisions be guided by her own agency and not any sort of pre-destination issues or even self-fulfilling prophecy issues. Can't we just let Roslin be Roslin?

    Otherwise, I thought this was a pretty decent episode. Vaguely memorable in a 'yay Starbuck gets to have an awesome plan' way in my mind (vaguely memorable since I didn't know what the ep was about by title alone, and I don't remember the details very well, but I remember the premise).

    <img src=""&gt;

    And a moment of happiness that goes at the end and is therefore unsullied by bombs going off accidentally or whatever it was in that one previous episode. Yay! (And I will just pretend the ending with Gaius and Six didn't happen.)

    <img src=""&gt;

    One thing that I just have to point out, though it goes for basically every episode: it kills me to see the music summarized on the captions as just "suspenseful" or "heroic" or (lol) "pounding." I kind of love BSG's music, so it's hard to see the music skimmed over like that. This is not a criticism of the captioning itself, mind, just that it sucks to not be able to give the music the credit it derserves (though I still want to acknowledge that I fully understand the context is such that would make a vast description of the music out of place).

    • Pseudonymph says:

      That hug. So good.

      I am also not a fan of prophecy, predestination, "it is written" type story lines. I find coincidences so much more engaging. A bunch of human choices with various motivations behind them all colliding in ways that can't be predicted? Gorgeous. This is the main reason Slumdog Millionaire didn't work for me. I also loved how Rowling used the prophecy in her series in a way that didn't remove agency from any of the characters.

      I'm interested in people/characters, their motivations, hopes, fears and how they deal with those things. The idea that we're all pawns for more powerful beings (or fate) is just boring to me. To me, that's a situation when you might as well just read spoilers.

      Can't we just let Roslin be Roslin?

      Yes! I want to see what Roslin thinks and what Roslin is capable of. I don't want her to be a puppet.

      • That hug. So good.

        So, so good. Everyone wants a Roslin hug! As the TWoP recapper said once, a hug from Roslin is like a hug from your momma.

        To the larger point: I have faith (heh) that Roslin won't be a puppet to fate. I can't see the actor agreeing to go along with that, and is Ron Moore that kind of show-runner?

  3. monkeybutter says:

    Okay, morning sickness already? Really?

    It's hard seeing Starbuck in uniform and walking around stiffly, when before she was so gleeful while flying. It was nice to see her joyous at the end when it turns out that yes, she is good at strategery. So in the end, it was cool to see her out of her preferred element and adapting pretty damn well.

    If Roslin is the foretold leader, is she going to have to start writing vague shit down so when this happens again, the next foretold leader will be aware? Or does someone else get to do that? Roslin and Baltar, instruments of God. The Olympic Carrier (ha! I just realized that Olympus = home of the gods. Well done, self) is in for a helluva good time.

    • The Olympic Carrier (ha! I just realized that Olympus = home of the gods. Well done, self)
      Oh gods, I don't think I ever put that together either.

    • plunderb says:

      "Okay, morning sickness already? Really?"

      Yeah, no kidding. They had sex like two days ago. As a recently pregnant person currently surrounded by many other pregnant and recently pregnant people, I call bullshit on the pre-implantation puking. I guess it's a familiar way to signal "pregnancy" to the audience, but I rolled my eyes hard.

      Or maybe Cylon gestation is really accelerated or something.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Just like vampire pregnancies?

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I don't know though, did they only have sex a few days ago? Do we even know how long they've been down there? I assumed the fact that she was already throwing up meant it had been at least a month or so since they first slept together.
        I'm also not sure if the timeline of events on Caprica are parallel to those in the fleet.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I actually went back and looked at the Helo date after she puked because I wondered if there had been a huge time skip, and it said 37 days, and "We had sex" "Congratulations" happened on the 25th day. That's less than two weeks.

        • cait0716 says:

          Every time it switches to them, it tells us how long they've been on Caprica. I haven't been paying attention though, so I have no idea how long it's been since they had sex.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Women on television can only throw up if they're drunk or pregnant. So say we all.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Ha! That's a good point, I probably shouldn't assume it's morning sickness just because it's a woman who's puking. But I reserve the right to side-eye if it turns out that she is pregnant.

    • notemily says:

      Morning sickness apparently takes about a month post-conception to show up. But maybe Cylon babies grow TEN TIMES AS FAST.

  4. NB2000 says:

    Frak yeah Colonial Fleet pwning the Cylons for once! The celebratory music playing when everyone returns to Galactica is awesome, all hail Bear McCreary!

    My favourite moment has to be Kara hugging Laura after the mission succeeds, and then Laura hugging her back a few seconds later. Just, AWWW <3<3

    No seriously, it's time to find someone to act as Press Secretary for this administration.

    I'm ever so slightly distracted by scenes around the map in the war room because those little models of all the ships look so cool and I want to play around with them. Yes I'm very strange.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      No I totally want to get me some of those model ships too! And then have a war room to play with them in.
      If I ever win the lottery…

    • cait0716 says:

      No seriously, it's time to find someone to act as Press Secretary for this administration.

      How do they even have so much press? Did that many journalists and reporters really survive the holocaust? It seems like a disproportionally large number to me.

      • NB2000 says:

        I guess they were the ones that were attending the Galactica's decomissioning and possibly a few others who were able to survive on other ships? Seems like a lot to report on the ceremony but they do have to cover twelve planets and god knows how many news outlets that involves.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Maybe just a lot of people have just now decided to go into journalism since there was bugger all else to do. Hey, if it gets you a free trip to Colonial One every now and again…
        I doubt all those people were press before this started.

    • echinodermata says:

      The wiki asks "Does someone have time on their hands to build miniatures of the new Cylon Raiders for the Situation Room?"

      Made me lol.

  5. LucyGoosey says:

    Yet another episode demonstrating an absolute truth- Boomer and Crashdown? Clearly Hufflepuffs

    The leg press bit made me cringe beyond all belief. I've done a little work in physical therapy, and I know I couldn't handle it as a career because so many of the early points involve so much pain. And then Adama telling her that he actually put on LESS weight than required? Heartbreaking for Starbuck no doubt.

    And I imagine if you have a deep fear or phobia of snakes, you probably sobbed yourself to sleep that night you first watched this
    Yes. Yes I did. :shudders and runs from the room:

  6. enigmaticagentscully says:

    LOVE THIS EPISODE. I don't care how cheesy the end is, it makes me weep with joy.

    And this right here, is the point where I think Baltar finally starts to believe. Before it's always been a convenience for him, but now…you can just see the moment in that final scene where he gives in and actually accepts that, for him, there is no other explanation. The coincidences have stacked up too high. He can't deny it any longer. He is an instrument of God.
    And the look of pure joy on Six's face when she realises that he finally believes her is so weirdly chilling.

  7. Ryan Lohner says:

    Ron Moore calls this episode a "Big Mac," just providing some fairly mindless action to try to lesson the unrelentingly grim premise. And yet it's still tied in to the precarious situation the fleet is in, with their fuel about to run out.

    Love Baltar's douchey little pose at the end, and so does Moore if you listen to the commentary.

    • Listening to Moore crack up at the end at how much of a narcissist Baltar is always cracks me up. As does whenever he wryly comments on the environmental distractions of the podcast recording (this time, the airplane that droned overhead).

      • cait0716 says:

        There's one podcast where his phone starts ringing and it sounds exactly like the ring to my phone. So it happens and I paused and grabbed my phone. But there was no one there. So I rewound a bit and hit play and the phone rang again! So I paused and grabbed my phone. Again, no one there. The third time I figured out what was going on. I forget which episode it was.

  8. cait0716 says:

    Ok, so this episode is really the heart of why I don't mind the Gaius conversion story-line. Twice now his life has been in danger and he turned to God in a moment of desperation, but it never really stuck. And I think Six finally picked up on that. Because this time she appeals to his ego with the prophecy (more thoughts on that in a second). As soon as Gaius thinks he's important and sees an opportunity to gain power and prestige he is all in. I really don't see him as a true believer, this is just more fuel for his ego. Meanwhile, I do think Roslin is a true believer.

    As to the prophecy, personally I think it has a better chance of being about Roslin than Baltar. Six seemed to stretch the metaphor to make it fit Baltar's situation (Vipers are totally the same as snakes!) and Baltar isn't dying. But the pieces match up fairly well with Roslin's experience. I like the ambiguity a lot, though.

    Starbuck is a complete BAMF. Her transition from pilot to commanding officer is a beautiful thing to see. I love when Adama reassures her that it isn't easy for anyone. And her hug with Roslin at the end makes me smile.

    It's so nice to see an episode go out on a moment of triumph and celebration!

    • elusivebreath says:

      I agree, I think Baltar's conversion is really more about his ego than anything else. Sure, he wanted to save his skin, but when things are framed in terms of his being an "Instrument of God" he is way more interested. I think it definitely fits in with his personality.

      And does anyone else just LOVE the Greek mythology references?? <3

  9. enigmaticagentscully says:

    That scene with the snakes on the podium…URG it's so hard to watch.
    Not because of the snakes (I actually quite like snakes? I think they're cute) but because of the second hand embarrassment. I just can't stand watching Roslin give a conference and being all Madame-President-y and then just dissolving into a nervous twitchy wreck with the press looking on. It triggers all my public speaking fears.

  10. Jenny_M says:

    Gaius Baltar is the most amazing Hollywood Atheist ever. He can't just come to God, he has to come to God and then find himself to be something akin to the HAND OF GOD. Like, try not to be too modest, Gaius. I think that's why I don't mind the trope being employed here: it's subverted by the fact that Baltar is literally like…the most self-centered person ever and, of course, would believe that God is using him specifically for a higher purpose.

  11. Maya says:

    The lyrics to "Wander My Friends" aka the gorgeous Irish song played in this episode

    Wander my friends, wander with me

    Like the mist on the green mountain, moving eternally
    Despite our weariness
    we'll follow the road
    Over hill and and valleys
    to the end of the journey

    Come on my friends and sing with me
    Fill the night with joy and sport
    Here's a toast to the friends who have gone from us
    Like the mist of the green mountain,
    gone forever

    Gaaaaaah the music in this shooooooow

    • plunderb says:

      I don't know — I found the deployment of celtic-y music in this episode to be a little over the top. That sort of Braveheart shorthand for stirring victory by the loveable underdog against the heartless, imperial foe rubs me the wrong way because it relies so heavily on our romantic/nostalgic attitude toward Ireland and Scotland. I usually love the BSG music, but this didn't sit well with me.

      I do love to see that trope exploited for laughs, though, like in the scene in Harry Potter 6 (movie) where they play the bagpipes over Aragog's burial. Makes me laugh every time.

  12. Suzannezibar says:


  13. Kaci says:

    The more I think about why the Cylons would want Caprica!Boomer to get pregnant, the more I wonder if that's how they make more models of the human-looking Cylons? Maybe they either get pregnant by or impregnate humans and then those offspring are the human-looking Cylons? But then, I guess that would have the huge problem of the fact that, well, it's easy for Six to seduce Baltar–she looks human. How the hell did a non-human-looking Cylon seduce a human, if that were the actual truth of why they're doing this?

    NO IDEA. I'm just throwing things out here because that's part of the fun.

    Also, re: the above thread about that study that said people enjoy things more if they're spoiled, for me, at least, that's true (although I'm doing my best to avoid spoilers for this show so that I can watch it along with you). I think my reasoning is that…let's say someone told me right now that Starbuck will make it out of this series alive (for the record, no one has, I have no idea, I'm making this up, etc etc). Then from now on, any time she's in danger, I wouldn't have to worry. I would be a lot less stressed. I don't particularly enjoy being stressed (which is why for the most part, I avoid drama and stick to comedy), so for me, that's a bonus. I think it's a personality thing–people who have that trait in common with me might like knowing the outcome, where as people who don't have that trait enjoy the suspense. Just a thought.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "How the hell did a non-human-looking Cylon seduce a human?"

      OH GOD HORRIFIC MENTAL IMAGE. Do the Centurions even have…? No. NO.
      Please pass the brain bleach, someone.

      • Sean Murphy says:

        Well Six's dress could TOTALLY be a hand me down from a sexy Centurion from way back when……
        (Damn I'm now imagining that scene on the armistice station with a centurion instead of sex.. "ARE. YOU. ALIIIIIVE?!")

    • cait0716 says:

      On the flip side, if I were to tell you that Starbuck definitely dies (just an extension of the metaphor here, not saying she does or doesn't), you'd be completely stressed every time she gets put in danger. Maybe some of it depends on the type of spoiler, as well as the person being spoiled.

      • Kaci says:

        Not really. If that were the case, I'd stop myself from growing attached, and resign myself to her fate. Not knowing is the hard part for me.

      • TyBlack says:

        Or if you know that she gets sick (example not even related to this show). I got a spoiler like that once and was freaking out until the reveal. I knew that they couldnt die but there are sooo many plot twists that you can draw out of an illness.

  14. Ryan Lohner says:

    This episode also continues our look at what Ron Moore learned from what happened to the Borg on Voyager (he never wrote for the show, but did a lot on TNG and DS9 so obviously he paid close attention to it). As soon as they started showing up every week and being defeated, they lost all sense of threat. So on this show, the Cylons rarely appear as a direct threat to the heroes, and whenever they do they extract some kind of price. Despite the victorious denoument, several pilots died to achieve it, most notably Chuckles after he'd gotten a fair amount of screentime in "Contrition." And so we're able to keep seeing the Cylons as a force to be reckoned with.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Poor Chuckles.


    • cait0716 says:

      I love his whole dialogue on this during in the podcast. Because, yeah, the Borg stopped being scary long before Seven of Nine showed up. That's part of the reason the last series was a prequel to everything, so they could attempt to make some of the threats scary again.

      Poor Chuckles. 🙁 We hardly knew him

      • I learned so much from the podcasts: about storytelling, editing, dealing with the network and other business realities…. It's practically Making TV 101 (with Scotch and cigarettes). He sounds like a cool person to hang out and argue with, if a little intimidating.

  15. lyvanna says:

    I like this episode, the crew needed a win, but I was eyerolling hard at Adama's 'I routinely restrict tactical details so that the viewers will be surprised' line. Hmmm.

    Love the Starbuck/Roslin hug.

    As someone who has has knee injuries in the past, the scene where Adama is testing Starbuck's knee is almost unbearable to me.

    Oh, Gaius. And for that matter, oh Helo too.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Well, it made sense with the distrust between them in the last episode. That's what I thought was the impetus.

  16. notemily says:

    Standing up to the schoolyard bully: does that actually work? I always HEAR that, but when I imagine trying it, I then imagine getting beat up, because I can't fight for shit.

    Really, the thruster pedal requires that ridiculous amount of force? Seems unnecessary, but I don't know much about flying a very small spacecraft.

    Anyone else hear the Titanic music when Lee and his dad are talking about the lighter? I think Titanic has just ruined whatever instrument that is forever. /musicallyclueless

    I have to LOL when Adama says "Gaeta, launch strike force one" and he immediately says "Dee, launch strike force one." I know that's How Things Are Done, but seriously?

    I think Adama's response to Roslin asking why he didn't tell her about the other fighters should have been "oh, you know, dramatic irony."

    Gaeta HUGS BALTAR. Aw.

    Vg'f fb fnq gb frr Tnrgn ybbxvat fb UNCCL, xabjvat jung sngr unf va fgber sbe uvz.

    James Callis's hair is looking particularly awesome in that last scene.

    Caprica plot:

    I hate vomit scenes. Hate them. This is why I will never be able to re-read a certain Neil Gaiman book which Mark may or may not decide to read in the future so I will not name it. It pretty much ruined the book for me.

    At any rate, Sharon's not going to be able to hide everything she knows from Helo for much longer, and after that it won't take long for him to realize what she is. *bites nails*

    Katee Sackhoff apparently hated the scenes where she had to be in the Viper, so she loved having her knee broken for a lot of season 1. Supposedly it's so hot inside the Viper/spacesuit rig that you get sleepy, which explains why Hotdog always looks like he's about to nod off.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      You can totally tell Gaeta just takes that as an excuse to hug Baltar.

      I ship it. ;P

      • notemily says:

        Oh, I totally ship it. Or at least, I'm convinced Gaeta is hopelessly in love with Baltar. And who knows, he'd probably be flattered.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          I think I'm going to start self-shipping me with Gaeta. THERE. I SAID IT.

          • Sara says:


            he is so dam cute. and the actor is classically trained as an opera singer i think? I LOVE IT.

          • elusivebreath says:

            It's ok, Mark, I've been self-shipping myself and Starbuck since the first episode <3

    • who_cares86 says:

      "Standing up to the schoolyard bully: does that actually work? I always HEAR that, but when I imagine trying it, I then imagine getting beat up, because I can't fight for shit."

      I wouldn't know if fighting helps but people with the confidence to stand up for themselves don't tend to get bullied. It's always those who're unsure of themselves who become the victims. It's all about self-confidence.

      • breesquared says:

        Yeah, actually it doesn't work. I took martial arts specifically to get the confidence, and kicked a bully over a table at one point from frustration. But there were too numerous elementary school bullies in the bully pyramid for my bout of ~confidence to change the pecking order. [/experience]

        eta: at least it doesn't work often

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          Yeahhhh, 'just be confident' is right up there along with 'just tell a teacher' when it comes to stuff they tell you in school that's supposed to help with bullying but really doesn't.
          Who knows, maybe there are some bullies that wilt away when you stand up to them. But I had a couple of friends who were more confident than I and tried to stand up to the bullies. And they were tormented for years because of it.
          I've also seen a lot of victim blaming coming from that point of view; people saying that it's your fault you're being bullied because you're not self confident enough. I'm not accusing anyone here of that, just to be clear, but it's an easy trap to fall into.

    • echinodermata says:

      My guess on the instrument in the lighter scene is some sort of Tin whistle (link to wikipedia)

      EDIT: ooh, at the very end of the article it does say it's used in Titanic.

    • monkeybutter says:

      YES. I also heard Titanic music, and it made everything a little saccharine. The tin whistle really is ruined.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      James Callis's hair is looking particularly awesome in that last scene.

      Yep. I don't normally find him attractive but there were several moments during this episode when I was like, "Wow, Baltar's pretty." Then I realized it was just his hair.

      I thought you were referring to the bagpipes at the end which routinely remind me of both Titanic and Braveheart.

      • notemily says:

        I have a secret love for bagpipes. And their little-known cousin the bombarde. Basically any instrument that sounds like a swarm of musical bees…

        • Pseudonymph says:

          I love them too! And, omg, "a swarm of musical bees" is the perfect description! I always feel like bagpipes should be annoying but they're not, they're just so beautiful. They always manage to sound mournful and hopeful at the same time.

  17. who_cares86 says:

    That scene with Starbuck lifting those weights with her leg doesn't make any sense. It's supposed to be half the weight the leg receives while making an attack run. Lifting that amount of weight with your leg should be impossible for anyone without heavy training over an extended period of time. So how exactly could those amateurs they picked of the street three weeks ago even remotely control a viper? Their legs can't be much better than mine and I sure as hell wouldn't be able to lift that.

  18. karate0kat says:

    The hug between Kara and Roslin always makes me feel all squishy inside. The future is so bleak for these people, those moments of happiness and connection are so precious. Which is why I just love seeing everyone celebrating at the end. There was a price for their victory, and I have no doubt that they mourn their fallen comrades. But not just yet. They desperately needed a win, and they got it, and they deserve to savor that for a little bit.

    Roslin's visions – the issue of religion on this show is obviously important. What I love is that so far we don't have one belief system being validated over the other. Six says there is only one God and he certainly seems to be helping Gaius at times, but Pythia is from the polytheistic religion and now seems to have weight as well. I think that duality is part of why I never felt preached too. Certain characters on the show may be preachy, but the over all narrative is offering up something much more complex and twisty.

    For something a little different, have a live version of Wander My Friends, instead of the album version.

    [youtube KolccUy3fQw youtube]

    I absolutely adore this track and it's triumphant use of the Adama theme. But we also get another great piece of music this episode. Battle on the Asteroid. Action themes are usually the songs on soundtracks that just don't work as well for me on their own as they do in the context of the show/movie/whatever. But BSGs action scores are gorgeous. I love the mix of instruments Bear uses to give BSG's music a really unique sound.

    [youtube Vs5pI1gO37o youtube]

    • karate0kat says:

      Whoops! Let's try this again.

      [youtube Vs5pI1gO37o youtube]

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      " Six says there is only one God and he certainly seems to be helping Gaius at times, but Pythia is from the polytheistic religion and now seems to have weight as well"

      I think that's why the huge emphasis on religion didn't bother me in this show as it usually would. I'll probably talk more about this later too, but from what we've seen so far we can tell that both religions in BSG aren't just all talk – they seem to have a genuine real-world significance and effect on events. We've seen inexplicable things happen that are tied to prophecy and faith. And that allows me me to suspend my disbelief in the same way as I do for the existence of magic in Harry Potter.

    • MelvinFrakkingBaltar says:

      So say we all.

      I'd just like to add that, at least for me, this episode, and more specifically, the contrast between the tension-taikos and the wander-bagpipes was the thing that got me hooked on the series. I liked BSG from the moment I saw the mini, but this episode's score is what turned me into a real fan.

  19. Coughdrop01 says:

    I dunno if its the tension of the episode or the acting or what but I never fail to burst into tears when Apollo accomplishes his mission and everyone cheers. Stupid bagpipes don't help either. What can I say, I'm a crier.

  20. ChronicReader91 says:

    This, right here, is the episode that cemented my love for this series. Not that I haven’t loved most of the previous ones, but this just made it official. Mostly it has to do with that big victory at the end- seriously; I love stories that are dark and dismal, if only because on the occasion when things DO go right, it’s so much more rewarding. And if the story has been told well enough to make me care about the characters – and this one has– then it feels like a victory for me too. I’ll admit, I was pumping my fist into the air when Lee managed to blow up the base, and then had tears in my eyes for the rest of the celebrations.

    Also, THAT MUSIC. Holy frak that music. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Bear McCreary’s score yet, but yeah, I have a weakness for movie/TV scores anyway, and that is some of the most perfectly in tune with the mood of a show I’ve ever heard.

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