In the third episode of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, OH FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
The writers really aren’t waiting until mid-season (or the series finale) to ridiculous up the stakes of Battlestar Galactica, are they? I am just so fucked up right now, a hot mess of frustrations and emotions. AND THIS IS JUST THE THIRD FUCKING EPISODE.
The irony in the title of this episode, “The Ties That Bind,” is that once these ties are established, we seem them torn apart. Perhaps I spoke too soon when saying I think we will see more joyous moments in the future; this might be the bleakest episode I’ve seen yet. There is no good to be found in Roslin and Lee’s story. There’s not joy to be found with the Cylons. There is nothing even approaching fleeting happiness when it comes to Tyrol and Cally. If anything, we’re going to see an all-out war pretty damn soon, and if I thought that shit was real, I’m definitely unprepared for what is to come.
That “war” will probably encompass quite a few things. First and foremost, Lee’s public spur with Roslin during the Quorum meeting is a disaster. God, it’s so bad because the first time we see Roslin in “The Ties That Bind,” she’s being read a detective novel by Adama. THIS IS CUTER THAN FOURTEEN BASKETS OF PUPPIES. Fifteen? Okay, you’re pushing my sense of logic now. I am only one man! Don’t test me!
So, contrast this with the moment when Lee reveals that he knows what Executive Order 112 is. YEAH. WHAT IS THIS SHOW DOING TO ME. Look, Lee, Zarek reminded you of Roslin’s grudge for a reason: YOU EMBARRASSED HER IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE FLEET. What, did you think she would just put that behind her and start giving you high fives during the Quorum? I’m not sure I fully understand what the Executive Order actually is, but it seems to be something that would give Roslin more power than she has at the moment. I wish this episode would have dealt with this beyond the Quorum because I’m interested to see why Roslin would pursue something like this. Despite what Zarek says, she doesn’t seem like a power-hungry politician to me. I will admit that Zarek is right about her desire to “save” humanity, but I don’t think the situation is that simple. Plus, where did Zarek even get his information?
Starbuck’s “secret” mission on the Demetrius is another thorn in Roslin’s side, and “The Ties That Bind” gives us a chance to see how that’s going. Oh, right, it is also a frustrating disaster. I was pleasantly surprised to see who had joined Starbuck, and I certainly didn’t expect to see Gaeta, Seelix, Anders, or Athena on board. However, it’s not some sexy slumber party on board the Demetrius. Turns out that instinct isn’t helping Starbuck all that much. After twenty-two days on the mission, it seems that they’re no closer to finding the next path to earth as before, so much so that the crew that Helo assembled is now openly criticizing the point of the whole thing. CAN’T ONE THING GO RIGHT FOR STARBUCK.
Well, apparently her desire for sex can. Wow, there’s a whole lot of angry, awkward sex on this show when you think about it, isn’t there? I meanâ€¦when Anders and Starbuck started to have sex, all I could yell at the screen was, “PLEASE WATCH OUT FOR THE PAINT.” What is with Kara Thrace and sexy painting times? But awkwardness aside, I actually liked the final scene between these two. Is this setting up Starbuck to be revealed as the final Cylon? I hate that there is so much evidence to suggest that she is the fifth one because I am fighting it so hard. She can’t be, right? But I’m beginning to think that one of the remaining colonial citizens in the fleet is the final Cylon. It has to be. But can it really be Starbuck? It would explain her disappearance in “Maelstrom,” butâ€¦.OH GOD WHAT IS GOING ON.
I suppose the same can be said of the Cylons, because what the holy fuck is going on? Cavil wakes up on the Resurrection Ship to discover that the Sixes basically kicked all the other models who did not support them off their basestar. THAT’LL KEEP THE PEACE. Also, Boomer is in love with Cavil? Where the fuck did that come from?
Regardless, the negotiations begin between the two sides in what is basically amounting to a Cylon civil war. I was SO FUCKING EXCITED when Six demanded that the Threes be unboxed, stressing that the Cylons need to be unified, including the Final Five. I mean, yes, it would be exciting to see all twelve models together, but THEN LUCY FLAWLESS COULD COME BACK AND ALL WOULD BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD. Could this please happen?
Of course, now I worry that it won’t. The end of the Cylon story is horrific. Just when I think that they will find a way to work together (WHY DID I HAVE HOPE ABOUT THIS SHOW FOR ONE GODDAMN SECOND), it’s revealed that the plan to unbox the Threes is a trap by the opposing Cylon force, who have left the Resurrection Ship behind to kill the other half of the Cylons. OKAY HOW. CAVIL. HOW CAN YOU DO THIS. Boomer openly questions him, and his words are haunting: it seems he doesn’t believe that the Cylons have souls at all. Does he not even believe in the Cylon God? Why is he so violently against anyone finding out who the Final Five are, going so far to box the Threes and now eliminate the Cylon models who want to know their identity too?
But the main focus of “The Ties That Bind” is about Cally. Out of all the characters who might be affected by the four Cylons in the fleet, the show deals with her discovery first. Now I can see why there was an emphasis on the marital problems between Tyrol and Cally in season three; it was setting up what we would see her. Cally had to be frustrated and exhausted with Tyrol in order to seek him out twice in the episode to find out what he’s doing. The truth is that his work, and then his obsession with his Cylon identity, has taken him away from raising Nicky. I’m glad that at no point does this episode ignore the fact that Tyrol is in the wrong here. Cally feels that she can’t get any assistance from her husband, and it fuels her depression, her terror, and her paranoia. But even her paranoia isn’t off the mark because it is true that her husband is not being truthful about where heads off to, leaving her behind to take care of her child.
I won’t deny that watching this downward spiral of fear and depression is really difficult. It’s uncomfortable and saddening because I like Cally and I wanted her to have some support from her husband or her friends, but her descent is a lonely one, only temporarily relieved when she meets with Doc Cottle. This episode is further proof that Cottle’s one of the most dependable characters on the show, and I think he showed us how much he genuinely cared for her well-being.
But it’s not necessarily enough, especially when Cally felt outright ignored. And after spotting Tory acting affectionate towards Tyrol (though possibly not for a romantic reason at all), it only sets up her later discovery while she is remembering all of the good times with her husband. When Cally finds the note meant for Tyrol, I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen. Then, every sixty seconds, I had to adjust that thought. I knew one thing for certain: This was an awfully early moment to deal with the fact that these people were Cylons, and as Cally climbed into maintenance panel, I worried that the shock of the discovery that her husband was a Cylon would send her tumbling into the shaft below her. It’s genuinely a terrifying moment that gets worse and worse.
I initially was confused as to why the camera was focused so oddly onto Cally’s face when Tyrol returns to their quarters, but it makes more sense to me now. In a way, this is like a dream state for Cally. It is so absurd and horrifying, that for a moment, she disconnects from the environment surrounding her. It cannot be real, and Tyrol’s words are distant, muddied, nightmarish. But when she comes to realize that it is entirely possible that she was used all along, that Nicky was merely the product of some Cylon desire for a hybrid child, she snaps out of this mode, and the camera returns to its proper focus.
I believed she would kill Tyrol and then everything would be fucked up on the Cylon Resurrection ship. But this doesn’t happen. Shocked, I then realized Cally stole Tyrol’s keys for a reason: she was going to access a launch tube and kill herself and Nicky. (Two quick things: How did no one on the ship respond to a launch tube being activated? And why didn’t Cally tell ONE OTHER SOUL that she knew the identity of three more Cylons? Well, to be fair, she was in a fucked up mental state, but now NO ONE KNOWS oh god)
I can’t rationalize what Tory Foster has done. When she struck Cally (WITH A SURPRISING AMOUNT OF STRENGTH GOOD GOD), I knew now what was really going to happen. For a moment, I thought that perhaps she appeared to save this woman and get her to keep their secret, but in hindsight, I suppose that must have been an impossible thing to do. Now I’m wondering if Tory somehow knows that a hybrid child is a sacred thing and it’s one of the reasons she took Nicky from Cally. Either way, Cally’s death is so horrific and senseless to me. It will be hard to forget the way she died, the imagery of her tiny body ejecting out into space, and to juxtapose this with the image of Tyrol sitting motionless as Adama informs him what happened to his wife.
This is beyond fucked up. If Cally can die–and in this manner–then things can certainly get so much worse from here. How is Tyrol going to deal with this? Will Tory admit to killing her? How is her death going to be explained to the crew anyway? Oh god, it hurts so bad, but I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
R.I.P. Cally. Son of a buffalo.