We love just about everything Edward James Olmos does on Battlestar: his stirring speeches, his cool authority in a crisis, his gentlemanly courting of Laura Roslin. But please, Eddie, don’t direct any more episodes. “Escape Velocity” was the third one he’s helmed, and once again, the characters seemed a little off, and the show’s finely calibrated tension gave way to melodramatic hysteria.
Or maybe it was just the overheated story lines: Baltar tried to prove himself a prophet by freaking out and breaking stuff; Tigh exorcised his lingering guilt over his wife’s murder by letting the imprisoned Number Six wail on him; and Chief coped with Cally’s death by getting into a screaming match with Adama. We know that finding Earth is stressful, people, but, seriously, simmer down!
They Have a Plan
Baltar’s conversion into an official mouthpiece for the Cylons’ “one God” theory is now complete. And thank God that’s over: While this plotline is certainly going to have major significance in the near future, right now it feels like a lot of rigmarole for little payoff. And, honestly, we’re kinda over Baltar. Where once he was a lovable heel, callously playing on the fleet’s basest fears, it now seems as he's being pushed around by the show’s writers (just like that imaginary Number Six in his head). He's being positioned as a Christ figure, but really he’s become an interstellar Forrest Gump, sitting around and waiting for remarkable events to happen to him.
We Are at War
The episode’s best moments were in watching how differently Tigh, Chief, and Tory are handling their Cylon-ness. And although they’re each responding precisely as we would expect, that doesn’t make it any less tragic. Tigh is manfully soldiering on the best he can, even if it means he gets himself killed in the process. Softhearted Chief is falling apart, unable to handle the emotional strain. Meanwhile, Tory couldn’t be happier. Always a bit of a cipher, she represents every unhappy person who willingly falls under the sway of a dangerous cult leader (or, if you’ve seen Standard Operating Procedure, manipulative superior officer) to finally feel like a part of something. Roslin learned to distrust Baltar a while ago, but that image of born-again Tory soaking in his every word at the end of Friday’s episode suggests that she should be the one Laura ought to worry about. Cally isn’t the last person she’s gonna send out an airlock, that’s for sure. —Tim Grierson