In the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, Tyrol and Kara struggle with their identity post-Earth and then SHIT GETS SO GODDAMN REAL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
I haven’t commented on it in a while, but it bears repeating that the people who ran Battlestar Galactica had a penchant for using the medium of television to compose a visual poetry that is rare for TV. The opening minutes of “Someone To Watch Over Me” tell us of the repetitive and vacant nature of Starbuck’s routine; they communicate a senseless portrait of mere cause and effect. She moves from one thing to another, her entire pattern memorized and repeated. Even see glimpses of her own corpse are common these days, and in the weeks after discovering this, she’s no closer to finding out who or what she is. The fleet is no closer to find earth. Tyrol is no closer to feeling comfortable with himself.
The story is split pretty evenly between Tyrol and Starbuck, and it traces how the two of them try to find ways to move beyond what has left them feeling listless and motionless. For Tyrol, it’s the appointment of Sonja, a new Six we’d not seen before, to the Quorum that provides his motivation: the Cylons’ first request will be to transfer Boomer to them so they can hold a trial for her. With the loss of resurrection, the Cylons can actually use capital punishment.
If there’s one thing I did not like about “Someone To Watch Over Me,” though, it was the very quick jump that Tyrol made from feeling hopeless to feeling a connection to Boomer without once really acknowledging Cally. What’s strange about it is that I actually do understand a marked detachment on Tyrol’s part. He does seem to have accepted her death. If the handling of Nicky was a bit sloppy, at least it’s there. But to not acknowledge even once that the two were together and had a kid? It’s weird, and it feels dismissive of a really important character to the show’s history.
Otherwise, though, I am completely enamored with Tyrol’s story. It is flawed in that respect, but I was overwhelmed by how touching and emotional it was for Tyrol to not only see Boomer after all that time, but cope with the fact that he’d never really stopped thinking of her. That is something that’s believable to me, and the flashback to when he once said, “How many of us ended up with the people we really wanted to be with?” confirms it. Tyrol is haunted by possibility: What might his life be like if he had stayed with Boomer? What if they’d both known they were Cylons long ago? What if neither one of them were a Cylon?
That’s why I think he’s so revolted and triggered when Boomer projects for him. I’d forgotten that was a thing, and now I feel a bit silly about my speculation about it in the last review. I think that most of the Head characters and visions could be explained by projecting, though some are more like…hallucinations? Given what happens to Starbuck at the end of the episode, though, there must be a connection between Cylon projection and non-Cylon characters, though I imagine I’m going to have to wait for it.
Anyway, can I just…can I just gush at how beautiful the scenes in the projected Picon house are? I mean, JESUS here come the waterworks. The place was gorgeous enough, but when Tyrol’s gaze fell on the hand-drawn size chart on the wall…IT’S JUST TOO MUCH Y’ALL. Boomer created a cute-as-hell daughter in her mind for her and Tyrol.
What, am I crying? No, no, of course not. Of course not. There’s just a lot of dust in the air, right? Just a whole lot blowing around and stuff. No, I’m just rubbing my eyes a lot that’s all.
There’s a part of me that feels like Bear McCreary snuck in a lot of lines about music because…y’all, music is my lifeblood. It’s what keeps me going. When Starbuck’s projected father says that the best songs make you “happy and sad at the same time,” I just wanted to reach into the screen and hug him. Which is really weird when you think about it because he’s double fake! Because even if I could touch things on TV shows (THAT’S A WEIRD FUCKING SENTENCE STARTER), he still wouldn’t be there.
So it made me incredibly happy that music is what helped Starbuck move closer to finding herself and her identity. That did mean that the second Hera handed her the drawing, I yelled THOSE ARE MUSICAL NOTES, STARBUCK, once again proving that I continually forget that the stuff on my fancy screen isn’t real at all. Regardless, that wasn’t the surprise. Starbuck repeatedly met with the man at Joe’s Bar because he was the first person she connected with at any level in a long time. (Well…she thought she was. THIS IS SO STRANGE TO WRITE ABOUT.) Of course, there were weird coincidences with her past, so I started to assume this would have something to do with her in a uniquely personal way. The revelation that he was her father, or at least a projection of him at some point in time, was a nice touch to things.
But honestly. HONESTLY. Let’s just talk about what we need to discuss. HOW THE FUCK DOES STARBUCK (and her father, technically) KNOW ABOUT “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER”??? I’ll just be completely honest here: I don’t have a single goddamn clue as to what Starbuck is or what she’s supposed to represent. How is she tied to the Final Five and Earth? The worst thing about this is that I feel like the answer is sitting right in front of my face and I’m going to facepalm once it’s revealed. So…she had to have come from Earth, but…she’s not a Cylon. There’s only one model left and we know he’s called Daniel, so….OH GOD I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL.
It is just as agonizing (and maybe more so) to watch Tyrol’s story as well. It’s like the project that Boomer showed him is a drug; so enamored with the idea of a possible future that really isn’t all that possible anymore, he begs Roslin not to send Boomer to the Cylons. Oh god, THE WORST PART IS THAT ROSLIN WAS RIGHT. ahhhhhhhhhhhh my goddamn emotions. She even says that Boomer preys on personal feelings THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH FOR ME TO HANDLE.
Once Tyrol set out to free Boomer and replace her with a different Eight, I thought I knew where this was headed, but as soon as Boomer showed up in the locker room, it was clear this episode wasn’t going where I thought it was. I just…she did this on purpose. She used Tyrol on purpose. Maybe she didn’t go to Galactica to steal Hera in the first place, as Ellen suggests. How could she have known that would happen? Instead, I think she saw Tyrol’s vulnerability and she went after it. She beat up Athena, she had sex with her husband, and she stole their child. (AHHH GOD, HELO EVEN SAID SHE SMELLED DIFFERENT. HE WAS SO CLOSE.)
It seems that Cavil finally got to her. I feared the many things that could have happened as Boomer basically smuggled Hera out in that box. Would she allow herself to be shot down? Would she purposely crash and kill them both just so that the humans wouldn’t have Hera? I still don’t understand the importance of Hera, but suddenly, inexplicably, Roslin knows that Hera is gone. Well, holy shit, her visions of her were important, but why? What is so special about that child?
The escape of Boomer has horrific consequences. It’s an emotional blow to Tyrol, and bravo to Aaron Douglas for his heartbreaking reaction to the knews. And the same goes for Grace Park, who played THREE versions of herself in this episode, all of them completely different. WHERE ARE THE EMMYS. WHERE ARE THEY. Oh god they got airlocked didn’t they DAMN IT.
But the most shocking thing about it all is that we get to see what happens when someone jumps so close to another ship. All the work Tyrol and Adama have ordered and done on Galactica might very well be worthless. The Galactica is falling apart, and the effects of Boomer’s jump ripped a hole in the ship. It’s a telling and depressing sign that we are rapidly approaching the end of this all. The day when Galactica is no more is coming a lot sooner than I’d like.
I’m left with a lot of questions at the end of “Someone To Watch Over Me,” and I’m left feeling, once again, immensely satisfied with the complex and emotional stories that Battlestar Galactica gives me. Still!!! Oh god, only one more episode before the finale. hold me.
(PS: Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it!)