Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S02E09 – Flight of the Phoenix

In the ninth episode of the second season of Battlestar Galactica, morale aboard the ship sinks to an all time low as Tyrol takes on a pet project to deal with his despair, and Gaeta discovers the Cylon virus still hasn’t left the ship’s system. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

How was this show not watched by like a trillion people? I understand that SciFi (REFUSE TO SPELL IT THAT RIDICULOUS WAY) had a limited scope in terms of audience, especially since it wasn’t available to the general cable-having public. I also don’t think they would have gotten away with as much as they have so far in terms of violence and themes, so I do appreciate that the show appears to have had a lot of freedom from the network.

Still, I am only vaguely aware of the show’s popularity in retrospect. I had a few friends who watched it when it was airing. They all spoke highly of it, all suggested I’d love it, and all were gutted when it was over. But it’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve had the time or the means to start catching up on all of the television I’d missed. When I ran away from home at sixteen to support myself, one of the “luxuries” I gave up was having cable television. I put that in quotes because even while I had cable in the house I grew up in, I was restricted in watching many channels or staying up past 8pm on any day that wasn’t Saturday. I had hundreds of channels and I was allowed to watch maybe twenty of them. Everything else was off-limits to me for a myriad of reasons: it was too distracting; I wouldn’t get my homework done; I wasn’t old enough to watch that; that network is nothing but filth; and so on and so forth.

I was a professional couch surfer for two years, lived in the dorms at Cal State Long Beach for one year, and then returned to couch surfing again for a long time. All this time, I had no access to regular television broadcasting. This is why, unlike books, I’ve apparently seen nothing. It’s why I missed pretty much everything, and why in the last three years, since I finally got a Netflix account, I’ve been binge watching everything I’ve missed out on.

But Battlestar was never a part of that, and now I’m just flabbergasted at myself that I never made this a part of my life. Just like with Avatar: The Last Airbender, I now know why so many of you fiercely recommended I spend time with this show. There are certainly many things about it that are perfect for my tastes: it’s serial in nature; it is full of SHIT JUST GOT REAL moments; it has an ensemble cast; it seamlessly is able to make social commentary that is not distracting and is actually entertaining; HOLY SHIT IT IS SO GOOD.

I’m also aware at how much I sound like a broken record at times. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve stated disbelief at how intense this show is, and yet I feel like I need to say it again. There has not been one dull, poor, or mediocre episode yet. Not one. That means if you count the miniseries as two episodes, that’s twenty-four straight without a single dud. How many shows do that? Even with shows I adored like LOST or The X-Files, they both had episodes in their first run that weren’t all that great. (Only Breaking Bad and The Wire really compare in my opinion.)

There’s a combination here that works superbly, and it’s why I’m so drawn into this show. The hyper-realism, matched with believable character growth and an unpredictable plot, make Battlestar Galactica addicting as television possibly can be. I always seem to reach a point in a series I’m reading or a show I’m watching where I become annoyed that I chose to consume it in the way that I do, one-at-a-time, stopping to compose my thoughts in a coherent way after each episode. I have come to love it, as it allows me to have a deeper appreciation for what I’m doing, but at times like these, when this show has me completely trapped in its snares, I wish I could just take a week off and watch everything left.

“Flight of the Phoenix” in general deals with two of those techniques I brought up: hyper-realism and plotting. We start things out with the writers acknowledging a grim reality: it is beginning to be more difficult to do every day tasks aboard the Galactica. We saw a little of this in Gaeta in the previous episode, but here he has a very public breakdown on the CIC. Helo and Tyrol fight each other over Sharon, coming to blows in a matter of minutes. Even Roslin herself, who discovers she has about a month to live, is close to some sort of breaking point.

It’s part of an idea that was floating around in my head. I began to wonder what this was like, to constantly be on the run, to constantly have to worry about Cylons attacking you and trying to kill you, to repeat the same things for weeks on end, with no ultimate goal in sight. “Flight of the Phoenix” answers that by showing how morale has disappeared and been replace by a futile, grim reality.

But there are two signs of hope in this story, though one is entirely unexpected. For Tyrol, all of the guilt, fear, pain, and stress of his life on Galactica is reaching a nadir, and he finally decides to do something about it. That “something” is foolish, of course, but sometimes the most foolish things can both distract us and heal us.

He starts building a new fighter out of scrap parts. The visual metaphor is not lost on me. His own life has fallen apart, so why not repair it from the broken pieces? Unsurprisingly, the crew is quick to tell him he’s wasting his time, that there are more important things to worry about, and, in the case of Colonel Tigh, that this is a case of grand delusion. Dude, Tigh, shut it. You were probably the kid who told others it was impossible to build those alternate models on the back of the LEGO box because you don’t know what happiness is.

I was happy to see that Adama allowed it to happen, and I think he knew that this was one of the few things Tyrol had to keep his own morale up. Maybe he even knew Tyrol would help the whole crew out, too, but that’s just a guess of mine. I also think the issue with the Cylon virus bomb also held most of Adama’s attention, and the existence of a pet project was hardly his main concern. Right? I mean THERE IS A CYLON VIRUS ON THE SHIP. Oh, and it nearly suffocated Lee, Starbuck, and Hot Dog. Also, who knew that Starbuck would turn into a giggling mess without air? If it wasn’t so painful and didn’t nearly kill her, I’d want it to happen more. Hell, that whole scene is so strange because I’m smiling ear-to-ear at Katee Sackhoff’s acting and simultaneously thinking JESUS CHRIST PLEASE DO NOT DIE WHAT THE FUCK.

Faced with Cylons threatening their lives EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE PROBABLY A BAJILLION MILES AWAY, it’s easy to see why Gaeta cracks when he’s asked to go through every line of code to find out how to break the virus. Even if his scene in D’anna’s documentary is humorous, it’s clear now that he really is frustrated by what his life has become. But if that is upsetting, the prospect of their immediate future is made worse when Baltar gets involved with helping Gaeta root out the virus. In order to properly rid the ship of the virus, which is learning the ship’s system and adapting to it, they have to erase their hard drives. Leaving them vulnerable. FOR A REALLY LONG TIME.

oh god Cylons just leave them alone okay gosh you are such meanies why are you so mean and full of douche

I think that this episode gives me the chance to talk about my first genuine shipping experience that may or may not be canon by the end of the series (DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME). As I’ve said in many reviews in the past, but most especially during Avatar: The Last Airbender, my brain just doesn’t really do the shipping thing, and even if it does, it’s usually just accepted canon. (Well, with the exception of self-ships, which I do a lot because I just want characters to hug me.) But I am SO ENAMORED with every scene between Commander Adama and President Roslin. When he goes to visit her and ask her advice, my heart swelled with joy and anticipation. He trusts her, I thought, so much so that he wants her advice and HE NEVER ASKS FOR ADVICE. You want to know what I was doing during this scene?

Do you realize that this never happens to me???? I blame that mostly on the fact that my romantic and sexual development didn’t even happen until I was in college and I’d sort of resigned myself to not being romantic or anything. Which is silly, sure, but HEY I AM LEARNING. But my god, they just get along so well. Well, when they’re not fighting, of course, but WHY DO I FEEL THIS THINGS? IS THIS WHAT SHIPPING IS LIKE? IS THIS WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING ALL OF THESE YEARS?

So my brain was in this weird, confusing cloud of puppy dog feelings and sensations of hope, and then…oh my god. oh my god. Why is Sharon being brought out with that bizarre looking device? (Seriously, it is so creepy.) Why is she on the CIC? What did she tell Adama after she met with him? I really love the sweeping shots to show us the shock and confusion of the entire crew of the CIC, who can’t understand why she’s even being allowed here at all.

I have to say: not only was there not a single clue to what happens next, but I don’t think this show has ever shocked me more than by the scene with Sharon helping break the Cylon virus. She seemed to be standing there for so long, the Cylon ships advancing, trying to activate the virus. How is this going to be resolved? Why isn’t she doing anything?

And then she cuts open her palm. And then she starts to insert the fiber optic cable INTO HER FUCKING ARM. And I squirm and shriek at my computer and WHAT THE HOLY FUCK IS SHE DOING. I seriously LOVE how everything just breaks into pure hell right then. Tigh is convinced that Sharon set them up, and Adama takes a sidearm from one of the Marines and puts it to Sharon’s head and Tigh asks him what he’s waiting for but Sharon answers and SHE REVERSES THE VERY SIGNAL USED IN THE MINISERIES TO DISARM THE COLONISTS.

how how how how HOW? OH MY GOD. The Vipers get a moment of gory celebration when they set out to destroy every Cylon ship now left floating hopelessly through space. And Adama looks at Sharon, and there is the most subtle smile on his face, a look of thanks and appreciation, and I think that it’s finally time for Adama to admit that Sharon is on his side. As I said earlier, there were two signs of hope in this episode, and this is the one that’s not acknowledged by anyone other than Adama. Sharon saved them. She enabled the death of hundreds of Cylon Raiders. She told the truth and allowed the Galactica to survive their inevitable destruction. If she wanted to destroy them, she could have at that very moment, but chose not to.

Unfortunately, Adama refers to Sharon as a “thing” and orders her locked up. There is no celebration for her. She’s returned to the brig and she remains a prisoner.

For Tyrol, though, his validation is far more public. The Blackbird is taken on its test run and proves to be more than just a success. It’s hope. It’s hope that they can break routine, that creativity is still alive, and that they now have a new weapon against the Cylon threat. In the ceremony to celebrate Tyrol’s success, though, there’s one last secret, one that brought me to tears. Through all of this, and even though Tyrol was the one who made this shape happen, he has something to give back: he reveals that the ship is named “Laura.” Roslin, facing her possible death in a month, is absolutely overwhelmed, as was I, by this act of kindness. And in a rare moment for this show (at least for my experience watching it), I suddenly felt like everything was going to be okay.

I think that’s a pretty good way to go out on “Flight of the Pegasus.” I like feeling hope.

Note: So when I wrote this, I did not even know the next episode is called “Pegasus,” nor did I know it existed. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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151 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S02E09 – Flight of the Phoenix

  1. My Thoughts on This Episode on September 16, 2005

    The words "I love this show I love this show I love this show" keep echoing in my head.

    Okay, I'll try to keep this short. Because first, as usual, let's start with the bad. OH WAIT THERE WAS NO BAD.

    Maybe there was but it was nothing worth complaining about.

    Instead, let's begin with the continuitygasms. The Cylon virus coming back to haunt them. The love triangle of Boomer coming back to haunt them. Tyrol's still. The book Adama lent Roslin. Dualla's mention of the oxygen system last week. Boomer's use of the "roll a hard six" line. Probably a whole lot more. And did everyone catch Tigh's "godsdamn"? Cause, heh.

    Okay, wait, I just thought of something. That whole Apollo/Dualla practice scene with the random appearance of Billy at the end was completely pointless, except to stir up Apollo/Dualla 'shippers.

    But everything else…just so fucking tense. Loved the continual cuts to the Cylon Convoy of Dooooom, and I don't care that there's no sound in space because they sound so fucking cool. Loved the running-out-of-oxygen scene. Loved the Helo/Tyrol testosterumble. Loved the subtle/anvilicious cuts to Sharon memories as Tyrol caresses the dead Viper. Loved Gaeta cursing out Tigh. Loved Baltar getting to be himself, Sixless.

    Sharon's sending the virus back to the Cylons was a neat idea, and getting to blow the crap out of a bunch of Raiders was a good morale boost. But interestingly, Adama still refers to her as "that thing" afterwards. I think I'm finding this Sharon more interesting these days. Because in order to prove that she can be trusted, that she is, in fact, "one of them," she has to help them in a way that she can only do because she is not one of them. It's her Cylon-ness that's keeping her alive, even though it's also her Cylon-ness that's keeping her caged.

    It should be noted that the perfectly valid theory has been put forth that the Cylons staged this whole thing, sacrificing however many ships, in order to secure Adama's trust in Sharon, thus keeping her and her baby alive.

    I wonder if the Blackbird is an X-Men shout-out. It's probably completely implausible that they could build a functional ship in such a short time, but I don't care, because godsdammit, it's inspirational and shit. Humanity doesn't completely suck.

    Cally is back, yay!

    BSG is currently the best show on television. I love it so much. I feel my loyalty to Veronica Mars being tested.

    • notemily says:

      Hee, I remember when those were my two favorite shows. Looking forward to Mark watching VM.

      Gurl obgu unir gur ceboyrz bs tbvat qbjauvyy yngre, gubhtu.

  2. echinodermata says:

    Ooh, Tyrol and Helo are fighting over Sharon…two different Sharons, really, making it a silly, if understandable, fight. Everyone's reaching a breaking point, include Gaeta – Gaeta who's always been pretty damn resourceful and reliable. When he's ready to break, and one of the happiest moments is borne because Starbuck and Lee are dying of oxygen deprivation, then clearly this is the time to figure out how to boost morale.

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/9umb6u.gif&quot; alt="Starbuck grinning very happily.">

    So good on the Chief for his project. It's not like one should expect a single viper to be the key to defeating the cylons or anything, but the hope is enough. Hell, he even got Tigh to be fairly decent.

    And I'm glad Adama is willing to take the leap and trust that Sharon can and will help them on this. Moreover, I'm glad Sharon gets the opportunity to show that she can help them. She's proving she's worth saving, and it's nice to see some progress in getting Galatica to accept her. For now, she has Helo, and maybe Starbuck, on her side. It'd be nice to see others coming around too. At least they accept Helo? At this point, I'll be happy with any heartfelt moments we get.

    So yeah, this is one of my favorite episodes. It's just nice and mostly happy and there was important shit worked out in terms of Helo and Sharon in relation to the rest of Galactica. Everything's still up in the air, but there's hope.

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/2m6x54m.gif&quot; alt="The new viper is revealed to be named Laura, and Roslin stands there overwhelmed with emotion and says thank you.">

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/e98yty.gif&quot; alt="Roslin pops the cork on the champagne bottle and hands it to Tyrol, with the rest of the Galactica crew applauding around them.">

    Since I enjoy this episode a lot (it might even be my favorite), I kind of went on a giffing spree. To spare everyone's bandwith, I'm placing the rest of the gifs in a reply to this comment.

    • echinodermata says:

      <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/1054ec7.gif&quot; alt="Starbuck angrily turns around and slams someone's face into the table.">

      <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/2924jea.gif&quot; alt="Lee and Dualla are on the floor face to face and look about to kiss until Dee turns to respond to Billy who just arrived; the moment is broken.">

      <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/11r6m2x.gif&quot; alt="Roslin looks at the champagne bootle then jokingly moves to pretend-slam the bottle against the new viper, to the horror of everyone, especially Tyrol.">

      <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/4kfckm.gif&quot; alt="Commander Adama turns to look at Tigh behind him, who gives Adama a knowing smile.">

      • psycicflower says:

        I really love stories with hope and it's nice that BSG isn't completely doom and gloom all the time.

        (I swear we are like brain twins when it comes to gifs, I made about half of these as well)

        • echinodermata says:

          Can't we all just be happy???

          • psycicflower says:

            Next episode the Cylons realise they did a bad thing, magically fix the colonies to be good as new with no more radiation, humans and Cylons make up, they all move back to the colonies and everyone has happy adventures through space while continuing to be BAMFs, HBICs and badasses and Lee only wears a towel.

            • echinodermata says:

              I'd watch it.

              And I tried writing more in response but each time I kept going to a Hitchhiker's Guide reference. So rot13 it is because it's kind of an obligatory joke.

              Ng yrnfg ur'q nyjnlf xabj jurer uvf gbjry vf.

      • cait0716 says:

        Oh Dualla/Apollo. I just don't know how I feel. Though Apollo is certainly getting turned down quite a bit. He strikes out with Starbuck. He strikes out with Dee. Will the guy ever catch a break?

        I also love the moment where Roslin threatens to smash the champagne bottle on the ship. Excellent gif.

        • echinodermata says:

          I don't really ship it, I just enjoyed that moment. (I think it mostly comes down to 'it was hot.')

          Love the bottle gag too.

      • notemily says:

        THAT LAST ONE. One of my favorite moments from this ep.

  3. I think that’s a pretty good way to go out on “Flight of the Pegasus.”
    THAT'S TOMORROW DUDE.

  4. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/i3w3es.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> ’You know what? I don't care who or what he fraks. He saved my ass down there, all right?’
    Where is my Starbuck and Helo as BFFs show?

    I understand why everyone finds it hard to trust Sharon but it doesn’t stop me wishing that they just would already. Not only did she get rid of the Cylon virus but she turned it back against them. And she’s saved them and helped them in the past on numerous occasions so it’s hard to see her still being referred to as a thing. (god I squirmed so much when Sharon was putting that cable up her arm)

    My heart with Roslin in this episode. Her reactions during her conversation with Doc Cottle were heart breaking, especially her complete look of shocked please don’t go there when he mentions the possibility of the cancer spreading to her brain. It’s also so Roslin that her main concern is for how much longer she can work. She makes it hard for me to live in denial about her approaching death when she starts doing things like returning Adama’s book. It’s too much like putting her final affairs in order and I just don’t want her to die.

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/29uun49.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    ’Oh, you're much too modest. After what we've been through, it would be very easy to give up, to lose hope. But not here. Not today. This is more than a ship, Chief. This is an act of faith. It is proof that despite all we've lost, we keep trying. And we will get through this, all of us, together. I promise.’

    I love Chief in this episode giving the crew hope and something to work towards while working out his personal issues about Boomer/Sharon.

    • echinodermata says:

      "Where is my Starbuck and Helo as BFFs show?"

      I would watch the hell out of that.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I understand why everyone finds it hard to trust Sharon but it doesn’t stop me wishing that they just would already. Not only did she get rid of the Cylon virus but she turned it back against them. And she’s saved them and helped them in the past on numerous occasions so it’s hard to see her still being referred to as a thing. (god I squirmed so much when Sharon was putting that cable up her arm)

      Cosigned. Especially the arm thing. I don't like seeing things inserted under the skin, and when I was a kid I fell and cut open my palm deeply in the same spot she slices, so I caught myself rubbing my scar during the scene. Bah.

    • NB2000 says:

      Where is my Starbuck and Helo as BFFs show?

      Airing in the same alternate universe as the "Bill Adama and Laura Roslin drink tea, talk about books and hug" show.

      I understand why everyone finds it hard to trust Sharon but it doesn’t stop me wishing that they just would already

      I'll just say THIS! Because THIS!

    • klmnumbers says:

      I legit got teary eyed when I realized what they named the ship. I WON'T LIE.

    • notemily says:

      What I wonder, in terms of affairs getting in order, is why Roslin isn't more worried about the idea of Baltar becoming President when she dies.

  5. psycicflower says:

    WHY DO I FEEL THIS THINGS? IS THIS WHAT SHIPPING IS LIKE? IS THIS WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING ALL OF THESE YEARS?

    ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

  6. redheadedgirl says:

    I loved the moment when Laura goes to smash the champagne on the Laura's nose, and everyone is like "OMGWTFRUDOIN" and she's like "KIDDING" but I'm pretty sure she didn't know she wasn't supposed to do that.

  7. cait0716 says:

    Tyrol's pet project is great, though for some reason I thought it stretched out over more than one episode. I do love how it slowly goes from him working on it by himself to practically the whole crew chipping in. With Dee doing communications and Helo recommending the carbon compound. My favorite part is Tigh suggesting a way to get engines and then taking his payment.

    Sharon's scene in the CIC is pretty awesome, too. From the way she knows that Dee carries around her father's pocketknife to her line to Adama that "sometimes you have to roll a hard six" She KNOWS these people. And she still feels like part of the crew, the family, even though they rejected her.

    Speaking of that pocketknife, it's such a perfect little character moment. Just last week we learned that Dee's and her father had a falling out when she signed up for the military and weren't even on speaking terms when the cylons attacked. Now we learn that she still carries around a memento from him. It makes my heart ache.

  8. monkeybutter says:

    Ugh, Sharon and Chief, you're breaking my heart.

    I'm glad Tyrol was successful in building the ship, aside from the obvious Starbuck-had-a-new-toy reason, because he was productive and useful, and like you said, it gave everyone hope. It was nice to have the fleet finally be successful, just once. I wonder if this is a turning point, or an omen that everything is going to swing back to being even worse. I hope it's the former.

    Tigh still hasn't learned to think before speaking. I'm so used to his hardheadedness that it doesn't even bother me that he doesn't learn.

    And most importantly, I agree about being blown away by the quality of BSG, and I feel bad about avoiding it until now (thanks irl friends and Mark people who suggested it!) I've enjoyed every episode so far, and I trust that the writers are going to do wonderful things with the story. They're just consistently good, and I've been absorbed by it since the miniseries.

    As for shipping, I pretty much just go along with what the writer does, and I love Roslin/Adama, so I'm gonna consider that proof enough that it's canon!

  9. NB2000 says:

    Sharon Valerii > EVERYONE, I will keep saying this as long as she continues to do awesome things like turning the virus on the Cylons and saving Galactica and possibly all of humanity in the process. It's a tiny moment but Gaeta referring to her as Sharon when he hands her the cable fills me with such joy. Yay SOMEONE is being nice to her (y'know, besides Helo) for once.

    Mary McDonnell plays the scene where Laura gets her new diagnosis beautifully but, if I'm honest, Cottle's reaction is what really breaks me in that moment. You KNOW things are bad when even Cottle can't bring himself to be crotchety about it. It just drives home how bad things are for Laura. The naming ceremony, particularly Bill's line about the crew wanting to do it for her is so lovely. The kids all love Space Mommy and wanted to do something nice for her.

    IS THIS WHAT SHIPPING IS LIKE? IS THIS WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING ALL OF THESE YEARS?

    Yes it is Mark, give in to the wonderful cuteness that is Bill/Laura!

    The test flight of the Blackbird, aside from possibly the scariest launch of Starbuck's life is really fun and a nice beat for Kara and Lee. His reaction when he can't find her on DRADIS, the concern when he asks "Kara are you okay" and then her laughing at him is so much fun, they're being friendly again! The last shot of the two ships nose to nose among the fleet is beautiful and one of my favourites.

    • cait0716 says:

      Lee just loves Kara so much. The fear in his voice when she isn't responding is painful. And then she's just trolling him. I love that scene.

      • plunderb says:

        "Lee just loves Kara so much."

        When he calls out to "Kara" instead of "Starbuck" — so sad! And I don't even like Lee.

        • hamnoo says:

          Same here. Well, I do like Lee – but sometimes I cannot stand him. Still, those two – as well as Starbuck/anyone – I love. It's easy: People love Kara –> I love them.

    • Crackers says:

      YES MARK YOU'RE A SHIPPER NOW!!!!!!!!! SPACE MOMMY+SPACE DADDY 4EVA!!!!!!!!!

      And so, so agreed on the Lee/Kara moment, the fear in his voice when he can't find her had me desperately hoping she wasn't really hurt or dead because quite apart from the fact that I love Starbuck and don't want her hurt, it would be painful to watch Lee go through losing her. That, and Hot Space Pilots are really cute in buddymode.

      And writers, please stop teasing viewers by doing things like have her cuddle up with him in the Firing Range of Oxygen Deprivation or have their ships – their damn ships! – be nose-kissing. PLEASE. (I say this despite having watched the entire series)

  10. @BklynBruzer says:

    Around October of last year, I started watching Doctor Who. Until then, BSG had been my favorite show of all time, but then Who came along and practically swept BSG out of my life to the point that I hadn't even really watched any episodes until Mark started watching it, and now I'm being reminded of how much I love Galactica. Because I really fucking love this show, and it's my personal opinion that they never made a bad episode.

    Lrf, V'z vapyhqvat Rcvcunavrf. Lrf, V'z vapyhqvat Oynpx Znexrg. Lrf, V'z vapyhqvat gur svanyr. Nyy bs gur "fho-cne" rcvfbqrf bs guvf fubj. V ybir gurz nyy.

    PBZR NG ZR, OEB.

    • @BklynBruzer says:

      Also, THANK YOU MARK for making me realize that there are other people who don't "get" shipping. Sure, there are characters whom I'd love to see get together, but I don't have personal headcanon, and I'm never like "OH MY GOD WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE NOT TOGETHER?!"

      • Crackers says:

        I used to be one of those people who didn't really care about shipping either, but BSG was the show that turned me.

        Which is a horrific, cruel joke considering just what a world the writers created, and what has happened to the established couples on the show so far.

    • cait0716 says:

      I agree with you. I like some episodes better than others, but I think pretty much every episode has at least a few scenes that I love and that redeem it for me. I don't think there's an episode where I just hate the whole thing. I just love these characters and this world so much.

    • Rob Grebel says:

      V'z nofbyhgryl fubpxrq gung ab bar unf zragvbarq Gur Jbzna Xvat va guvf guernq. Gur thl jub jebgr gur Gryrivfvba Jvgubhg Cvgl erivrjf pnyyrq vg "gur Uryb fhvg". Gur punenpgref jrer pbzcyrgryl haernyvfgvp tvira cnfg qrirybczragf, naq gur fgbel jnf abg punyyratvat be vagrerfgvat.

      V nz bcra gb urnevat nethzragf va snibe bs guvf rcvfbqr, orpnhfr V'ir yvirq va n ovg bs na rpub punzore gur ragver gvzr V jngpurq Onggyrfgne (juvpu V ybir birenyy), ohg V'ir lrg gb urne nal qrsrafr bs gung rcvfbqr.

  11. Jenny_M says:

    I am a lifelong shipper of many things that are to be shipped. I have the unfortunate ability to become IRRATIONALLY INVESTED in my 'ships. Then, when they break up, I feel like my heart has been broken and I doodle in notebooks about how they are really, secretly in love FOREVER.

    Basically, if my life were all happy endings, I would be okay with it. There is a reason I stop watching Romeo & Juliet right after they get married, and turn off Moulin Rouge when the Duke gets a swift kick up the arse. Titanic? I haven't even seen past the car scene.

    • @BklynBruzer says:

      Wow, you've never watched the best part of Titanic? The ship sinking is awesome!

      • @BklynBruzer says:

        I guess technically this comment is a spoiler for Titanic, but if someone out there DOESN'T know that the ship sinks at the end, I don't give a damn about spoiling or offending them.

        • redheadedgirl says:

          At 97 years, I think the statute for limitations on spoilers for that one has expired.

          It is an EX-SPOILER. IT IS NOT PINING FOR THE FJORDS.

          • @BklynBruzer says:

            THIS SPOILER IS NO MORE! IT HAS CEASED TO BE! IT HAS SHUFFLED OFF THIS MORTAL COIL! IF I HADN'T POSTED IT HERE, IT WOULD BE PUSHING UP THE DAISIES!

            • xpanasonicyouthx says:

              True story: I saw The Passion of the Christ (don't ask) and it was a packed house and while waiting in line, someone got mad that they got spoiled for Jesus's death.

              WHAT.

              Then someone else afterwards said the story was too sad. Where was the happy ending?

              who are you people

              • redheadedgirl says:

                OKay, if 97 years is beyond the statute if imitations for spoilers, TWO THOUSAND YEARS (give or take a century or three for publication timing) certainly is.

              • Crackers says:

                I guess that person should also never watch a single World War-era movie, ever, because – spoiler!- the Allies win! Both times!

      • Jenny_M says:

        Aww, yes, I've seen it. I was mostly being sarcastic, but I have been known to turn off movies before the sad part kicks in if I've seen them before.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I do this sometimes with The Sound of Music. I stop watching after the wedding.

    • notemily says:

      I'm one of the first-half-of-Titanic-is-better people, too. I think it's one of those "there are two kinds of people in the world…" things. Everyone seems to have a favorite half.

      ETA: The best part of Moulin Rouge is also the first half. First three-quarters? The non-depressing bits.

  12. shoroko says:

    "Flight of the Phoenix" is one of my favorite episodes of the series, I love it so much every time I watch it. I know some things, like Tyrol actually managing to build the stealth fighter, are a bit rushed – but shut up it makes me happy I need that once in a while on this show. I feel like overall it's well constructed and manages to do a whole lot without feeling overcrowded, and… yes, sorry, I love it.

    But as for individual things I will mention:

    – I love Helo's face so much. He shoves Tyrol and then immediately checks to see that he's all right. It's so fucking adorable. Oh, Helo.

    – My feelings on Tyrol tend to swing like a pendulum, but he really hit into my good graces in this episode.

    – Adama did call Sharon a thing (and also used the pronoun "it"), though it's important to remember that while she did just help them and save all their lives, she did it through a very mechanical way. She literally stuck a computer cord in her arm and acted like a part of the computer itself. To a group of people fighting sentient robots, I have to imagine that'd be even more unnerving than it was to us as an audience. It doesn't seem very human (though I could sadly write a thesis disputing that), and Adama was likely reacting to that.

    – Dude, I have watched this episode more times than I can count and I still cry at the end every. damn. time.

    • psycicflower says:

      Helo is the nicest person in existence, he can't even get into a fight properly.

      • shoroko says:

        Seriously. It makes me so sad to see anyone being mean to him ever. I just want to hug him!

        • lyvanna says:

          Totally agree with both these comments. I mean even when Tyrol is picking up a weapon to smack him in the head with he's not fighting back properly. Oh, Helo <3

          • hamnoo says:

            Seriously, if I could pick one of the characters to exist in my real life, I would pick Helo always. Despite the fact that I love Kara more than anything, as well as so many many other characters of the show.

      • notemily says:

        He's the [spoilers for future Mark Reads project] Pncgnva Pneebg of Battlestar Galactica. Or maybe the [I don't think Mark is watching this one] Benton Fraser.

      • Coughdrop01 says:

        I feel like this thread is a good place to reveal a secret ambition of mine which is: to somehow get a golden retriever puppy and to name it Helo.

    • Cosigning this entire comment. "Flight of the Phoenix" isn't the best episode, IMO, but it's one of the ones I like the most. I could watch it on an endless loop and be endlessly happy.

      • shoroko says:

        Yeah, there are some episodes that I think are amazing, but are the type where I really need to hunker down and prepare to be miserable the whole time through. It's a relief to have episodes like this that are still good, and still not totally light fare (after all, a strong strand of the emotion in the final scene comes from what's going on with Roslin, which is decidedly not happy), but are still ultimately uplifting and not depressing and sadness forever.

  13. Becka says:

    This is one of my favorites. I adore the small, subtle moments of acting:

    -Doc Cottle's sadface trying to remain grumpyface while he gives Roslin her prognoses (OH GOD NOT LAURA ROSLIN NOOOOOOOO)
    -Helo's loneliness after being rejected by the other pilots… I hate seeing him sitting in Sharon's old raptor with that liquor bottle. I WILL HUG YOU, HELO.
    -Felix Gaeta saying, "Right here, Sharon." HE IS THE ONLY ONE on that CIC to use her name, to show her kindness. Look at her face! She thanks him so sweetly. I LOVE YOU FELIX.
    -Adama's small concession of a smile after Sharon helps them, returning to hardness as he calls her a "thing"
    -And last of all, WHERE I CRY ALL OF THE TEARS… Laura's expression after the Blackbird is revealed, her namesake. I cry every time, people. Every. Frakking. Time. Mary McDonnell uses body language so effectively here: swinging her arms, straightening her spine after collapsing a bit… it is very beautiful.

    So, I love this episode!

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Ahhhh, the one undeniable truth of Battlestar Galactica – when Laura Roslin cries, I cry.

      I just can't bear to watch it…

    • hamnoo says:

      Yes, this is one of the episodes where Roslin always makes me cry too. And I'm amazed for the same reasons that you just described, in fact, I sat down and studied exactly what she was doing to remember it. As I do sometimes with her other scenes.

  14. plunderb says:

    Three trophies for the Chief!

  15. chichichimaera says:

    I seriously love, love, love Tyrol putting together the Blackbird. It's just such a cool ship, and it really is nice to get a bit of hope for once.

    SPOILERS: Xabjvat gung ur'f frpergyl n Plyba, V jnf xvaq bs ybyvat gb zlfrys jura ur'f fgebxvat gur Ivcre, whfg orpnhfr vg erzvaqf zr fb zhpu bs Funeba fgebxvat gur Envqre. Gurl'er obgu gurve crgf, njjjjjj.

    Nyfb, xabjvat gung Znex fuvcf Ovyy/Ynhen, V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb uvf ernpgvba va Rcvcunavrf(?) jura gurl unir gurve svefg xvff.

  16. John Small Berries says:

    I'm not wired that way either. Actually, I tend to be more of an anti-shipper (e.g. "Why on Kobol are you still married to Ellen, Tigh? She's frakking your entire life up!")

  17. guest_age says:

    Welcome to the world of shipping, Mark! Sort of. I totally got tears in my eyes at the end when they christen the ship. I'm a sap when it comes to happy stuff.

    Also, I share your ship and it breaks my heart because I keep reminding myself that Roslin only has one month to live.

  18. who_cares86 says:

    Battlestar Galactica sure takes it's time getting to it's first "bad" episode. Go show.

    Naming the ship Laura is a crowning moment of heartwarming if I ever saw one.

    I'm glad I'm rewatching the show with you lot. You always plan to rewatch something but it's hard to keep it up. Most of the time you get to episode 3 and figure what the hell. So you guys are my lifeline or the KRWBGYFA* (Keep ReWatching Battlestar Galactica You Frakker Association).

  19. feminerdist says:

    Today while rewatching this episode, I kept imagining that the cylon formation when they all show up actually spells out something, like FRAK. Just cause, I'm a tool.

    Also, my face when Sharon put the thing into her arm was pretty much Baltar's face during that whole sequence. The acting in this show. Jesus. Perfection.

  20. enigmaticagentscully says:

    This is one episode that I completely, unashamedly love.
    And the first episode of BSG to make me cry! oh my god that ending so beautiful it hurts

    Also, I feel like I have to say how UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY I am that Mark ships Adama/Roslin so much? Because they're pretty much one of my favourite ships ever and it makes me full of glee to see other people squeeing over a pairing too. Seriously, HOW CUTE ARE THEY IN THIS EPISODE?? <3<3<3

    My next thought, however, is spoilery…

    Bu zl tbq, vs Nqnzn naq Ebfyva vf Znex'f svefg erny fuvc gura gur svanyr bs OFT vf tbvat gb shpxvat QRFGEBL uvz.

    • who_cares86 says:

      Vs nalguvat V srry fbeel sbe uvz gung vg'f fgvyy gjb naq n unys frnfbaf hagvy vg orpbzrf pnaba.

  21. Michelle says:

    Giggle-fits are a common side effect of hypoxia, and I'm glad they put that in there, instead of just, "OMG WE CAN'T BREATHE." Probably confused some people, though.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Like me! I had to look this up!

      • hamnoo says:

        I love(d) this scene: At first I was … not confused, but weirded out at how weird everything was getting, and I think my brain went split second from "why are they writing so badl -" to "wait my back is tingling with bad and please don't get killed"
        The best kind of horror is the one that creeps up on you like that.

  22. lyvanna says:

    Dammit, even though I understand why they do it, it really hurts seeing Sharon basically on a leash being dragged around. She saves them. Again. And gets called a thing and chucked back in the brig. It's so confusing emotionally because it's hard not to like and feel for Sharon but at the same time can you blame them when Cylons wiped out almost all their race and keep trying to kill them? I don't know, but the longer they go on treating her like this the less sympathy I'm going to have for them… how many times over would you all be dead now if it wasn't for her?

    Helo being shunned by the rest of the crew (bar Starbuck) is painful. And unlike with the situation above, far less understandable. I suppose the issue they have is not that he got fooled by a Cylon but that he continues to be the only person who treats the Cylon well. But after surviving almost alone on Caprica for months how horrible to finally get back with the fleet only to be shunned by almost everyone. I hate the fight between him and Tyrol, although it is pretty one sided as Helo doesn't seem that interested in hitting back. But I think I'll take it as a sign of just how badly morale has fallen. And Helo makes friends eventually and I feel like a proud mama Umbridge.

    I love how this episode subverts your expectations for a traditional BSG episode. Usually they seem to start bad and get worse and worse but this one ends with a lovely non-cheesy message of hope.

    • Crackers says:

      I know it hurts, but it'd be unrealistic if it were any different. I mean, think about it – someone who was basically her in a different body very nearly killed the Commander and seduced one of their shipmates (who was willing and is now being equally criticised for being willing).

      Sharon Valerii mk.I might have been the one to pull the trigger, but before it she'd also pulled off an act that saved the entire Fleet. They have no way of knowing that this one isn't also going to turn on them, and in show terms they've been back on the ship for less than a month. It's not enough time for them to trust her again, yet.

      But yes, this is one of my favourite episodes. Every moment is perfect.

      • lyvanna says:

        I have this problem where I always trust people (and so always fall for their sudden-but-inevitable betrayals!) so Sharon trying to show that she's changed really sucks me in and I have no problem believing that she has. I do understand the fleet's position though. They're coming from a place of anger, grief, pain, suspicion, confusion…if I was in their positon I doubt I'd trust her either. I suppose thats the comfortable separation I can have because this is fiction, IRL I'd be on the side of the fleet (actually I'd be on the civilian fleet with no idea what was going on) but with the benefit of being removed and of seeing all the story and events I fall down on the side of the outsider, Sharon.

  23. hamnoo says:

    Mark, I read before that you consider watching the longer version of 2×10 before the aired cut and I strongly urge you against it.
    Both versions are good, and the longer version has some seriously awesome moments and characterizations, but nothing beats the fast-paced cut of the regular 45 minute episode.
    Trust me.
    The first time, you're going to want to watch this "normally".

  24. Maya says:

    As per the mods suggestion, I'm letting people know that the next episode or two has triggers for encr naq gbegher (rot13 if you want to know what). I don't want anyone to go in not knowing, but I also don't want to spoil people.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Just an FYI to the community, I sanctioned this. If you don't mind a thematic spoilings (no plot stuff), you can check out the trigger warning.

  25. nitrospira says:

    This is one of the episodes that I love to go back and re-watch. I don't know how many times I've seen it but Laura Roslin reduces me to tears every single time.

  26. doesntsparkle says:

    Mark's ship is my ship. This makes me happy. Adama and Roslin are just so damned cute together.

    I know that Sharon's a Cylon and no one trusts her, but having her picture on the targets is just cold. It's just so complicated and there's no real answer to the issues around having a copy of the same Cylon model that tried to assassinate Adama. They all have good reasons not to trust her, but she did just save the whole damn ship.

  27. Crackers says:

    Mark, you are a lucky, lucky sod for getting to be new to this. How on earth are you staying spoiler-free, though? There's a ton of people posting (scrambled) spoilers in the comments, do you actually scramble them all yourself (seeing the spoilers in the process, unless you squint REALLY hard) or is there another mod who does it so you're spared?

    This episode is just so much love, from the big moments (the building of the Blackbird, Sharon's reversing the virus, Laura's diagnosis) to the littler ones (Bill and Laura, poor Helo getting shunned by his mates at first, Dee and Gaeta's reactions to Sharon mk.II in the CIC, Apollo and Starbuck's ships nose-kissing after his freakout over the comms).

    AND YESSSSSSS YOU ARE A SHIPPER NOW!!!!!!!!! SPACE PARENTS ARE AWESOME.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      We all scramble our spoileriffic comments ourselves! By using Rot 13…
      http://www.rot13.com/index.php

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Yep! On top of that, I have a friend read any BSG summary pages when I write reviews so I don't spoil myself, and thankfully BSG doesn't take up Tumblr. So I put myself INTO A BUBBLE.

        • BATTLESTAR BUBBLACTICA.

        • BUBBLESTAR GALACTICA.

        • Crackers says:

          Good thing you don't hang out on livejournal, that is where the fandom is and there is no way you'd be unspoiled if you went there. (my undoing was fanfic. I went around like a dodo accidentally getting spoiled by the summaries before I had the self-control to JUST STOP).

          And again – YESSSSS YOU SHIP SPACE MOMMY AND SPACE DADDY!!!!!!! I love elder statesman romance.

          PS: Other things that contain spoilers: track listings on the soundtracks (some of them refer to specific events within episodes, and it's quite obvious that they're spoilers). Bear McCreary is frakking genius, but do try not to check out a season's soundtrack until after you've watched it. If you were planning to get the soundtracks, that is.

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          This is kind of hilarious to me, because basically half my dash on Tumblr is made up of Battlestar Galactica. πŸ˜›

    • evocativecomma says:

      The posters post the spoilers in ROT13. They're already scrambled when they're posted.

  28. fantasylover120 says:

    True story: I sniffed when they revealed the name of the ship.
    I also admit to becoming a rather diehard Bill/Laura shipper since starting this show. Though I'm basically just a fan of the relationship in general be it friendship or romantic. Basically I love whenever they interact because it's just so interesting to watch.

  29. ChronicReader91 says:

    Were certain parts of this episode, like Tyrol’s new Viper becoming a kind of a Galactica community project, and naming it after Roslin, kind of cheesy? Yes. Do I care? HELL NO. Fun fact: this is the third episode in a row where I’ve gotten misty-eyed at the end. WHY YES, I’M A TOTAL SAP, THANKS FOR ASKING.

    It’s understandable that Adama wouldn’t be too keen to trust Sharon or want be her bestest friend ever, but calling her a “Thing” right after she SLICES INTO HER OWN FRAKKING ARM and manages save your entire fleet? Just a liiittttlllee harsh.

    Mark, you should seriously consider breaking the rules just once and doing two episodes on Friday. Or one on Saturday. Because I think the way the schedule is now, you have the weekend dividing the two halves of a two-parter. And I want to see your reactions to everything, because I’m greedy and I don’t want to have to wait.

  30. Crackers says:

    oh god Cylons just leave them alone okay gosh you are such meanies why are you so mean and full of douche

    Because they're dicks! They ruin everyone's lives!! INCLUDING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ALSO CYLONS KEYSMASHWHYCOULDNTYOUJUSTLEAVEBOOMERALONE??!!!!!

  31. Crackers says:

    Seriously, this ep made me so happy when I first watched it. Space Mommy and Space Daddy properly making up after the getting shot/mutiny/jail!

    New stealthy ship! Chief with a new project! Helo getting accepted back! All those dickweed Cylon raiders getting picked off like a turkey shoot! Hot Space Pilots in nose-kissing ships! And awwww, Laura gets a ship named after her! I have so much love for all these characters πŸ™‚

  32. notemily says:

    Flight of the Phoenix thoughts:

    SERIOUSLY, red-headed guy? You're not even going to shake Helo's hand? COLD.

    "Cylon-lover" sounds like such a slur. I can't help comparing it to a racial slur in my mind. Even though the Cylons are the ones who committed genocide, all the talk about how they're "all the same" makes me think of race relations between humans, and it's depressing.

    Chief, stop having sex with the Viper.

    Oooh, the Sharon boyfriends talk.

    Hee, when Racetrack made the "Cylon whore" comment, I was like PUNCH HER IN THE FACE. Slamming her into a table works too.

    No, Sharon boyfriends, don't fight!

    You can really see the whole "nobody backing you up, nobody coming in to take your shift, no relief" thing getting to everyone here.

    I think it's time for Sharon to hang out with everyone and show them how awesome she is. She can pull that gun-trick again. With EVERYONE.

    Chieeeef! PROJECT!

    Weeks?! A month?! Lauraaaa

    I don't know what I'd even do if I had a month to live. I can waste that much time playing Solitaire and watching Netflix! what is my life

    You KNOW Starbuck will fly that thing, dude.

    Oh god what's wrong with Hotdog and why are they laughing oh god they're laughing because they're OUT OF OXYGEN what

    DUDE YOU HAVE GUNS SHOOT THE WINDOW! SHOOT IT!

    Oho, a little tension going on there between Lee and Dee. I wonder if she saw all those towel gifs. …OH HI BILLY.

    At first I thought Sharon had been somehow affected by the Cylon virus, that just READING it had done something in her head and now she was going to shut down or kill everyone or something. Yes, I have seen the show before. No, I don't have a very good memory.

    Awww now Tigh is helping too πŸ˜€ getting Chief engines and stuff! LOL HE TAKES A BOTTLE OF BOOZE.

    Hee, so Gaeta wants to reinstall the operating system? I kinda wish it had made the "happy Mac" noise when it started up again. Like in Wall-E.

    "Can they really be that different from one another?" Racist!

    Aw–Gaeta calls her Sharon.

    I don't even get how this works, with Sharon being DIRECTLY wired in to the system. AARGH. CAN'T WATCH CAN'T WATCH.

    NO KILLING SHARON. KILLING SHARON NOT ALLOWED.

    HA! She shut the raiders DOWN. Just like in the miniseries only in reverse! Payback indeed!

    Sharon looks at Adama like HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAVE YOUR ASS BEFORE YOU STOP CALLING ME A THING AND LOCKING ME UP.

    Yay for the Blackbird! OMG THEY NAMED IT LAURA. TEARS.

    I love that look Tigh gives Adama right after Laura pretends to be about to break the bottle.

    Aw, everyone will shake Helo's hand now.

    Sad Tyrol/Sharon music πŸ™

    I like that Sharon, when Helo asks her if she still loves Tyrol, says "you're first in my heart." Of course she's not going to stop caring about Tyrol, but she's with Helo now. It's her choice. This Sharon is ALL ABOUT choices.

    From the wiki, a bunch of firsts in this episode:

    – Population count is 47,853. This is the first time this season that there has been no net change in the count from the previous episode (Final Cut).
    – This is the first episode without an appearance by Number Six.
    – This is the first episode of the Re-imagined Series that does not involve any characters appearing on a planet. Further, "Flight of the Phoenix" is the first episode whose story is contained entirely on Galactica (or its Vipers) and doesn't even visit another ship in the civilian Fleet, such as Colonial One.

  33. @msshelly02 says:

    How much do I love the scene in the shooting range? V. V. MUCH indeed! It is just so wonderful. Especially at the end, when they are lying on the floor dying, and Lee can't raise his arm to shoot out the window, and Kara has to help him hold up his arm so he can save their lives. TEAMWORK y'all. So, so cute. Love them forever.

  34. akacj18 says:

    every time i see this episode i think: WHY DON'T THEY CAPTURE SOME OF THESE RAIDERS?!!! #1 they can further study the enemy now that the raider starbuck spirited away to caprica is no more. #2 HELLOOOO, the fact that they are running out of birds and parts is addressed in this very episode! why not find a way to utilize the parts of the raiders, maybe hang on to a couple for some recon missions or something?? i guess i understand that their hate for the cylons is so strong they might think of taking in more raiders for study or incorporation as contamination, or they just really wanna blow some shit up, but it seems like a tactical whoopsie not to take advantage of THAT MANY enemy fighters floating around defenseless.

  35. Noybusiness says:

    Say Mark, speaking of the show's popularity, did you hear about the UN discussion of Battlestar Galactica: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=3021

    (no spoilers in the article)

  36. Tilja says:

    "Note: So when I wrote this, I did not even know the next episode is called “Pegasus,” nor did I know it existed. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS."

    You may not have known the name of the next episode (I still don't know it myself, just watched this one right now and haven't gone to the next one) but you may actually know more than you think on Greek mythology and that's what triggered your mind into that connection. πŸ™‚

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