‘Battlestar Galactica’: A Reminder of Why We’re Such Nerds for This Show

Mr. and Mrs. Roboto. Photo: Courtesy of Sci Fi

It took nearly three episodes, but the last fifteen minutes of “The Ties That Bind” reminded us of the main reason we love Battlestar: the show’s willingness to set us up for something dark … and then go even darker than we’d imagined. There are plenty of questions about how the series will wrap up, but it’s clear that those who survive this season won’t be left with their souls intact.

They Have a Plan
Cally has always been a whiner, pining for Chief Tyrol until she finally landed him as her husband, but even she didn’t deserve the end that came her way. Tweaked out on antidepressants and lack of sleep, she was prepared to kill herself and her baby after discovering that Tyrol is a Cylon. But just before she opened the airlock, Tory — the very woman she thought was having an affair with Tyrol — arrived and pleaded with her not to go through with it. It seemed to be one of those heartrending near-miss moments the show executes so well — but once Cally lowered her guard, Tory snatched the baby and launched Cally into outer space. The other Cylons in the human fleet are grappling with their new identity; Tory has chosen to pursue pure evil.

Meanwhile, the Cylons, divided into two bitter factions — the hawkish Dean Stockwells and the dovish Tricia Helfers — had just reached a tentative truce when the Stockwells lead the Helfers’ ships into a trap, practically guaranteeing their doom. Stockwell’s a bit of a scene-chewer on Battlestar — he overdoes his character’s sarcastic flippancy — but he was utterly chilling Friday night, serving notice that no matter how human some Cylon models appear, they’re still cold-blooded machines out to do us harm.

Love Boat Galactica
Anders and Starbuck continued their hopeless charade of a marriage — he, the patient, supportive partner; she, the emotionally abusive spouse. You would think that Anders would be the ideal man for a woman like her: macho and heroic and sensitive all in one hunky bundle. But instead, the increasingly unhinged Starbuck is using him for a punching bag and joyless frak buddy. Battered wife that he is, he puts up with it. Still, this is one of the more stable marriages on the show.

We Are at War
Does anyone remember when Laura Roslin was likable? A great development in this final season is that the writers are turning our affection for her against us. Considering her insistence on secrecy and her dwindling group of close advisers, Roslin is lately giving off seriously unsettling Nixon-Bush vibes. Gone is her simple decency and soft touch — her fight to survive cancer and defeat the Cylons has drained the humanity right out of her. At the rate she’s going, Roslin may have more in common with the Dean Stockwells than she’d care to admit. —Tim Grierson