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BSG Season 1: Litmus Ep. 6 May 18, 2008

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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Doral:  Shows Up and Blows Up

Doral’s Not-So-Hidden Cylon Identity is the Least of Galactica’s Problems

You want to know what sucks, my friend?  It’s when your 5-year old picks up your computer and drops it on the ground…and it doesn’t work anymore. That’s what sucks!

Anyways, this episode reinvigorates a few themes that went fallow for a bit.  In particular, the concern about Cylons in the fleet returns and snowballs into a McCarthy/Salem Witch Trial type-thing.  Word that they now come in Human form sends shock waves through the fleet.  And get this:  Adama addresses it by appointing a head of inquiry…someone with “a free hand…the authority to follow evidence, wherever it might lead…without command review…”  He appoints a Sargent…hmmm….doesn’t that strike a little odd?  That he would appoint a non-commissioned officer to lead such a sensitive investigation?  I can tell you that it does to me.  And while it’s certainly not a death-blow of a critique, to be sure, it did register on the old B.S.-o-meter.  Oh, I know…nit-picky.  No doubt, no doubt.

Onward.  The theme associating Boomer’s fractured emotional life with water pops up again.  Just as a copy of the Cylon Doral appears on Galactica with an explosive vest that he detonates, Boomer meets with Chief Tyrol for a triste in the ship’s water storrage tank rooms.  The water is placid in this episode, suggesting that her Cylon identity is submerged for the moment.  But like a full resevoir, Boomer’s Cylon identity is only placid in appearance.  The potential energy waiting to be released (or harnessed) represents considerable force — both in physical and metaphorical terms. 

But perhaps the irony of this meeting place — a place to make love and, in a sense, engage in this most human of acts — speaks the loudest.  It is where they both betrayed Humanity, or what remains of it.  This, afterall, is the place where Boomer, in a fugue state, planted explosives of her own and blew up the fleet’s water supply in Episode 2, and the place where Tyrol tried to cover for her.  So it’s ironic that they would choose this place to make love and even more so, the fact that Boomer (unconsiously?) leaves a hatch door open on her way there allowing Doral to break into Galactica’s secure areas before he blows himself up.  Thematically and practically, it’s Boomer’s fractured emotional landscape that allows and propels these things to happen, and it’s Tyrol’s love for her that keeps it all under wraps.

Interestingly, love’s betrayal takes place in those same water tank rooms when Tyrol breaks off his relationship with Boomer and all but flat-out accuses her of being a Cylon.  So the betrayal of Humanity, each other, themselves, and perhaps the very concept of love itself all take place in this area of the ship that stores the very source of survival itself — water.

Meanwhile, Helo back on Caprica is on his own again after Sharon fakes her capture by the Cylons.  He’s faced with the decision of either searching for her or saving himself.  Now again, love conquers all and it would seem, in the worst way.  His affections for her drive him to choose the search despite the dangers — more tragic love (or so it appears), since she is a Cylon and one that knows she is.  But this facade covering her true identity and motives starts to show cracks.  In seeing Helo choose love and death for the slim chance of rescuing her, she starts to feel for him as well.  Perhaps this is love’s saving grace in this series.  Are these the seeds of love’s redemption in the eyes of the show’s creators?

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Comments»

1. Kym - May 19, 2008

I loved your reiteration of the water theme.

The appointment of a sargant didn’t bother me. I figured there weren’t a whole lot of people with any sort of experience left alive anymore. Odama had to take what he could get. Her character is echoed in the Captain of Pegasus and I didn’t much care for that surely the writers’ could be more creative.

(sorry the diesel spill is taking up all my extra time. But It is fun to slip over here and just enjoy a good read.)

2. Chris - June 3, 2008

Boy, I’ve let this one go for a long time. Sorry I didn’t respond earlier.

My feeling is that since there are plenty of times when Adama uses an officer/pilot to handle serious political or administrative issues, he would naturally use an officer/pilot to do the same here. Let’s face it, the military is a hierarchical system in which officers are assumed to be superior in virtually every respect to non-officers. I can hardly imagine that he would give this important job to a non-officer when he has plenty of officers around. Anyways, I fully admit it’s not an important point, but if it bugs me, even a little bit, I feel the urge to blog it.


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