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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Battlestar Galactica’ blogging: “Sine Qua Non”

(lots of spoilers! assumes you’ve seen the episode!)

(previous: “Guess What’s Coming…”)

Okay, so Lee Adama is now president of the colonists, the entire fleet is in the hands of the Cylon skinjob Tigh, and Adama has gone off in search of Laura Roslin. These are some fairly dramatic developments, and yet what sticks with me most is in this episode is the cat.
Oh, poor Badger with his dead cat! (Yes, I know his name is Lampkin, but I when I look at actor Mark Sheppard, I see Badger, the awesome character he played in Firefly — sorry). It’s not only all so poignant, it’s a little touch of what I’ve been talking about recently: it seems to me that these people, these few survivors of the near destruction of humanity, and certainly of the destruction of human civilization, should be way more traumatized than they seem to be. And here we have Badger with his cat, whom he doesn’t even like and yet can’t let go of. Very sad, and exactly the kind of thing we should expect from people who’ve been through pretty much the worst thing that could happen.

Everybody was acting particularly human — in the way we use that word when we mean it as a synonym for “weak” or “flawed” — in this episode, actually. I mean, geez, what has Tigh been getting up to with the prisoner Six? Holy crap, she’s pregnant? Has Tigh finally gone round the bend? “She has been more cooperative,” he tells Adama — oh crap, he’s not raping her, is he? Or is she the one manipulating and using and abusing him? That does seem more likely, but still… And hey, if she is pregnant and Tigh is the father, that would make for a fully Cylon baby, wouldn’t it? A model that doesn’t already exist, right? Maybe the baby is the missing Cylon…

And ya gotta love, in that boys-will-be-boys way, Adama and Tigh’s argument:

“You’re risking all our lives, for what? Our missing pilots? Nooo. For a woman! For a frakkin’ woman!”

“You watch what you frakkin’ say about that woman! She’s the president, not some frakkin’ skinjob that I’ve been banging.”

Yoikes. And then comes the “you motherfrakker!” and the fisticuffs. Men. Do they ever grow up?

Interesting, though, that Adama, in his questioning of Sharon, says “you murdered an unarmed woman,” meaning the Six. Adama is concerned about ruining the truce — I don’t think he genuinely cares about the Six beyond that — but he and Sharon are in private, and yet even here, where diplomacy is not an issue, instead of calling the dead Cylon a “skinjob” or “the Six,” he grants her the status of “woman”… of human. Very interesting indeed…

(next: “The Hub”)

(Watch full episodes and get recaps at Sci Fi’s official site for the show.)



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  • Amazingly good episode last night. I am home visiting my Mom for the weekend, and she has never watched BSG, so we watched the show together and I explained who’s who and what’s what. She thought Mark Sheppard was *great* as Lampkin… it was truly sad to see him prepared to give up on humanity as a species because someone killed Lance. Romo is obviously intelligent as hell, but what would it take for someone like him to talk to his dead cat for WEEKS? Lee’s elevation to the Presidency is hardly surprising, but the irony of it is that the reason for it (Adama wouldn’t recognize Zarek) is now moot, as Adama has stepped down from command. Gain an Adama, lose an Adama.

    And some people thought this episode was going to be boring…

  • Ryan

    I liked the episode…although it seemed they used it to rewrite Lamkin’s character to some extent…and I now believe there is a fair chance he is the final Cylon. Either that, or with his constant white-boarding he is House’s long lost brother.

  • boz

    clay, this episode leaked to net on wednesday. I knew it was boring. I watched it. I don’t usually guess while I am watching BSG but everything was so easy.

    president Lee was the easiest one and the moment quorum member said “will Adama support” reason became clear.

    Lampkin’s threat to lee was obvious, there had to be a twist. Either Zarek would attack Lee (and he wouldn’t) or Lampkin. I genuinely suprised at the cat though.

    I expect an Adama – Tigh face-off since Tigh first stopped cameras while interrogating Caprica.

    Adama’s request for Sharon and baby was a given.

    I still think this episode is boring, I yawned! If it wasn’t for Lampkin I wouldn’t bother watching just ff’d to end.

  • boz

    now, speculations.
    we talked about quantum theory before so I won’t repeat it. There’s something bothering me about number 8s(boomer/athena). I don’t have my BSG dvds around so I am trusting my memory here, correct me if I am wrong.

    in second season adama talked with sharon’s dead body in a scene where athena and adama are talking, athena says almost exact same thing back to adama.

    in this season when athena comes to the rebel ship, other 8s talked about her memories.

    Question is: Do numbers (or spesifically number 8s) have some sort of collective memory?

    I missed these on previous post:
    I should give credit, pregnancy was a real suprise for me.

    “It’s Husker” was cool.

  • Jester

    In the opening minutes, I actually yelled at my TV, “She’s not dead?! Inconceivable!” ;-)

  • doc

    hey this is doc from the itunes podcast: Heroes of Science Fiction and Fantasy, you mention “traumatized.” I love this show first off- but one thing gets me. If the cylons destroyed 12 planets and some or most of my family, a cylon could not get in range of me. The people on any ‘one’ of these ships would be ravenous with revenge and destroy any cylon they come across-matter what their intentions. I would be- maybe i am different. How many others faced ‘the cat’ scenario? website http://www.heroesofsciencefictionandfantasy.com voicemail 1-206-333-1297

  • MaryAnn

    Do numbers (or spesifically number 8s) have some sort of collective memory?

    Yeah, that’s the whole point of the resurrection ships. If a skinjob is within range of a resurrection ship when it is killed, its consciousness and memory is downloaded and made available to the next instance of that model that is “born.” So all the Eights, for instance, share all the memories and emotions and experiences of all the previous Eights who were able to download as they died.

  • boz

    I didn’t mean the download process. What if any online (alive) cylon is already connected to a main cylon network. let’s say there is a number 8 network group and every number 8 is connected to it. when a designated number 8 “x” feels something, (if they want to) all other number 8’s feel that thing simultaneously, while “x” in question is still alive.

  • They seem to share *some* memories, but that may be something other than the resurrection ship. Probably is. Could be something like the FOE (friend or enemy) transponder they found on the Galactica early-on. Maybe this other device sends some of their thoughts to a central computer somewhere.

  • Jester

    There’s definitely something along those lines going on because the very first time Tyrol meets Athena (long before she *was* Athena, when Helo first brought her back to Galactica), he asked her, “Do you remember us?” and she said “yes.”

    Athena also said she remembers a lot of past details about Boomer’s life, including flight training and all the time Boomer spent on Galactica (she said that to Starbuck).

  • Jester

    Oh, and one other thing. A lot of people had eliminated Cally from the “final Cylon” list because she and Tyrol had a baby, two Cylons can’t reproduce, and therefore, Cally can’t be a Cylon.

    This episode would seem to blow that theory right out of the water, wouldn’t it? Apparently, the same rules don’t apply to the “missing four” that apply to the other skinjobs.

  • Wow. A lot to take in, but at least now we know that Lee’s real name is Leland (Yikes!) and Jake the dog survived the exodus from New Caprica (Yay!) Hearing Tigh identify himself as Galactica Actual, and Adama use his callsign, Husker, was at once cool and terrifying. I bet when the President comes back Lee won’t give up the reins very easily…

  • MaryAnn

    Who said two Cylons can’t reproduce?

  • Roisred

    They did say, at the beginning of the series, that two Cylons had never been able to reproduce (hence the rape farms, Helo seduction, ect). But, as you suggested MaryAnn, from this point on all bets are off, and we have no idea what old beliefs we have to throw out. The same rules may not apply to Final Fivers, or the whole Cylon species may have changed.

  • Ryan

    That was Lamkin’s whole point, Gail. Lee was being disingenuous with the whole ‘search for a president’ he wanted that power, and he knew that the fracture between Zarek and his father would allow him to seize it.

    Lee has a strong ethical code, but it’s combined with a very egocentric righteousness. He feels that he is ‘needed’ to reshape the fleet for the better. If Roslin comes back, and Lee hasn’t seriously f’d things up, I would anticipate a fight over the presidency…unless she chooses not to fight. Zarek and Bill would be wild-cards in that scenario, however.

  • But was Lee really being disingenuous? It seemed to me that he really never did consider himself a candidate.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. The person who reluctantly accepts the position is often the best one for the job. Lee does seem to be an ideal candidate, with his blend of military service, civilian service, charisma, even-handedness (see: his negotiation with Zarek back in season one), etc.

    The person who pathologically pursues power (see: virtually any 21st century American politician) is the one you need to be scared of.

  • I don’t think Lee was being disingenuous. I think he is reluctantly accepting the position, but, like Roslyn, will be just as reluctant to give it up once he gets comfortable in the position.

  • Jester

    Yeah, “Cylons can’t reproduce on their own” is one of the driving premises the series is based on, all the way back to early season 1 when Six tells Baltar this. They’ve tried to reproduce on their own, and failed. The Sixes have a theory that the missing element is love, which is why Six asks Baltar if he loves her in the mini and why she asked Tigh the same question this past week.

    This is also why Hera is so important to the Sixes and the Threes, and why the Sixes are always referring to Hera as “the first of God’s new generation.” Presumably, Nicholas is important for the same reason, though the Sixes have no way of knowing about Nicki yet.

    The Simons and the Leobens apparently have a different theory, and believe that test-tube babies are good enough, thus “The Farm” and Starbuck’s missing ovary.

    ::grins:: Final point: if Ron Moore and Co. go fully spiritual on us, it’d be amusing as hell if only two humans make it to Earth: Hera and Nicki… or as they come down to us in our own mythology…

    Eve and Adam. ;-)

    That’d be one way for the series to end.

  • MaryAnn

    Yes, I’ve made that point before too, that our Adam and Eve may turn out to be Cylon-human hybrids.

    I’d forgotten all about the Cylons-can’t-reproduce thing. But if that’s still true, then someone else beside Tigh made the prisoner Six pregnant. Of course, he did deny it, didn’t he…

  • My money is still on Tigh. The final five certainly seem to be different than the others, so maybe they can reproduce with other cylons.

    Also, I’m thinking it’s Baltar who Deanna is talking to in the teaser for next week. It always seemed to me that her apology in “Rapture” would only make sense if the final cylon was Baltar. Who else would she feel the need to apologize to?

  • Nate

    What ever happened to cylon spines lighting up? Whose have we seen light up/not light up?

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