"This time, it’s personal." That’s been a running joke ever since I can remember, and probably predates the infamous Jaws III poster, but sometimes, the biggest events happen just because somebody got their feelings hurt.
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once famously said, "all politics is local," but I don’t think he got specific enough, because, really, all politics is personal. And sometimes people in power don’t care if they turn the entire world upside down in order to get atonement, or revenge, or maybe just an apology.
Sometimes, lots and lots of people die as a result.
Previously, on Battlestar Galactica, Saul Tigh tells us, the last episode. Also: the entire run of the series.
Remember that Ice-T song, "Midnight?" The one where they sampled both "Black Sabbath" and "When The Levee Breaks," while Ice rapped about a particularly messed-up evening, all the while returning to what time it was? The structure of this episode reminds me of that song.
It’s 0620, three days after they went out and resecured the Tylium ship, and Tigh is expositing to Adama over a couple of cups of Algae’s Crystals coffee that they’re still having a hell of a time getting any ships to upgrade to the Cylon FTL. As they’re having the discussion, Roslin does the — what’s the opposite of walk of shame? — saunter of satisfaction right from Adama’s bed into the room. Tigh’s eye widens with the realization, but all he does is try to convince Bill that perhaps a known Cylon isn’t the best person to convince the other captains.
It’s 0632, and in the Galactica Brig, Mr. Felix Gaeta waltzes right in and springs Tom Zarek, who has been there since Adama arrested him for, well, fomenting revolution, but really because Adama really doesn’t like Zarek all that much. It’s personal. And Zarek figures that perhaps — with the plan that he and Gaeta have put into place — it’s time for the tables to turn. Their biggest worry: getting political backing from the Quorum. But really, the biggest worry is Lee Adama, who has the nasty habit of doing the right thing, even if he personally believes that it’s the wrong thing.
Back at Adama’s quarters, Rosin and Adama are cute. My wife, Roxanne, squees. Adama keeps trying to draw Roslin back into the game, and she keeps saying, "I’ve seen The Godfather III, and I’m not going to be dragged back into this crap. I’m out, and I’m staying out. Let’s go have some more sex, instead." Of course, she can’t help herself, and starts to give him advice, and then catches herself.
Gaeta & Zarek made it all the way to the hangar deck, and in order to clear it, Racetrack fakes a fuel leak emergency, which scatters the assorted civilians, including one of Baltar’s groupies. Who’s there, why? Oh, I know: to tell Baltar what happens next. Which is that Laird, a Pegasus crewmember who is now the Deck Chief, is all WTF with Zarek, I didn’t know anything about this. All he wants to do is call CIC and clear it, so Zarek kills him with a wrench, because that’s what you do to the people you do desperately want to lead. Kill them with a blunt instrument.
Or bore them to death, because as they drag Laird away, he blowhards about how Larid won’t be the last person to die and blah blah blah revolution cakes, and even Gaeta is over it, because, for Gaeta, the Revolution is just the means for him to exact his own personal revenge against the Cylons. So Gaeta hustles Zarek into his shuttle.
Opening credits. 39,643 survivors looking for a home.
The poundy-drum spoiler montage: now with extra spoilers!! Including the image at the top of this recap. Avert your eyes!
It’s 0704, and Zarek’s shuttle is on its way to Colonial One. Gaeta, moving way fast for a gimp, is already back in CIC, where his ex — Mr. Hoshi — notices the Zarek’s shuttle. But Gaeta is all, shuttle? What shuttle? It’s probably just a ghost or mirage. And because they all trust him despite the fact that he’s been borderline insubordinate since he got back from my disastrous R&R, Tigh & Adama agree.
It’s 0741, and on Colonial One, the Quorum is all talking at the same time. Whining and bitching while Lee, for the zillionth time, ineffectually tries to convince them that the Cylon FTL upgrades are a good thing. Just then, Zarek walks in and lies to Lee that Adama let him go.
Back on Galactica, Anders is throwing a pyramid ball against a wall with increasing amounts of frustration. His old resistance buddy, Seelix, walks in, and she starts distracting him with talks of old times and how she used to be into him, but then she found out he was a disgusting Cylon. It’s personal. Before he can say, "Well, as a Cylon, I’m fully in to free love," he is assaulted and abducted.
On CIC, an alarm goes off: there is a fire on Deck C, and Mr. Gaeta uses The Force to convince Adama & Tigh to evacuate all personnel from the deck. That way, it will be easier for Gaeta’s Revolutionaries to loot the Small Arms locker. Of course, he leaves that part out, for now.
It’s 0812, and in the Jr. Officers quarters, Kara Thrace is reading a book (!) and teasing Hot Dog about his newfound parenthood when the evac alarm goes off. Rushing out into the corridor, she runs into a pilot who claims he is in charge of the evac, and when she points out that’s somewhat irregular, he non-sequiturs "No one even knows who you are anymore." That’s enough for Kara, who immediately turns into Starbuck, and susses the situation, and heads off to the Small Arms locker, where she witnesses large amounts of small arms acquistion by various marines.
Starbuck calls CIC, but Gaeta answers, and cock-blocks her from talking to Adama.
Back on Colonial One, Lee, still confused by Zarek’s sudden presence, calls Galactica, but he’s cock-blocked by Gaeta, as well. Gaeta tells Lee that the Admiral is dealing with a situation. BTW, in both of these scenes, you can hilariously see Adama standing around in the background, doing absolutely nothing.
Not doing nothing is Tom Zarek, who walks in and tries to convince Lee that Adama is on the verge declaring Martial Law once again. None of this makes sense to Lee Adama, so he’s off to Galactica — where it turns out that ship-wide communication is now down – to see for himself.
On Galactica, Lee walks off of his shuttle and directly into an ass-kicking on the hangar deck. The leader of the ass-kickers, Connor, last seen trying to kill Gaius Baltar because Connor’s son was killed on New Caprica, makes a snarky reference to Lee’s helping to get Baltar off in last season’s trial. For Connor, it’s personal. He then has a Marine put a gun right at Lee’s temple, and then blam!! Only, it’s the Marine who was shot. By Starbuck, who quips: "Take it from someone who died once, it’s no fun."
Another of the ass-kickers — Skulls — tries to join in with the always witty: "Frak you." Blam!! "I could do this all day," thrills Starbuck, "who’s next?" Lee is let go, and they skedaddle from the hanger deck. "Follow me," Starbuck dares the former-ass-kickers, who don’t take her up on the offer.
After burying her own burnt body on Earth, Starbuck had temporarily forgotten that she had superpowers. Now she remembers, and she is fully and totally wired on the fact that she can now use them with impunity. One of the many, many reasons that Kara "Starbuck" Thrace is my favorite TV character ever (with the possible exception of Special Agent Dale Cooper) is that it’s never not personal with her: she wears her heart on her sleeve, which helps to make her fearless and quite possibly invulnerable.
Hey look! Athena and Helo are playing with Hera again, totally oblivious to the chaos clearly going on in the corridors all around them. But not for long. There’s a pounding at the door, and Athena and Hera are swiftly hustled from the room, but before they take Helo, the leader of the abducters wants to have a quick conversation with Helo. Remember those fun-loving guys on Pegasus who kept raping the Six they’d captured? Until Helo & Tyrol killed their leader? This guy was one of them, and he just wanted to let Helo know that this was personal. And that the raping was going to resume, starting with his wife.
It’s 0902, and Lee & Starbuck have stopped in an abandoned room to let each other know they’ve figured it all out. It’s mutiny! With a side order of coup d’état! And the mutineers have a shitload of firepower. Lee says: "You know, we can’t do this alone." Starbuck grabs him by the head, kisses him hard and tells him that it’s personal for him, too: "Right now, all we can count on is you and me." And right then and there? Lee Adama turns back into Apollo for the first time in ages.
It’s 0908, and Helo and the captured Cylons are all tossed into a cell. Caprica — captured off screen, and secretly (probably) pregnant with the first Cylon-Cylon baby — is all "the chilllldrenn, what about the chilldreeennn?" As usual.
It’s 0922, and a private that Adama sent to find out what was really going on reports that the fire was a fake, Gaeta makes his move. Mutiny! Adama, Tigh and the private have about a dozen guns pointed at them, when one of the Marines has a nervous (or Zarek-inspired) trigger finger and all hell breaks loose. The private pushes Adama & Tigh to the ground and take the brunt of the gunfire, while Gaeta screams for them to stop it already! You’re ruining his moment!!
Finally, Gaeta gets to formally charge Admiral William Adama with treason. Adama wants to know why Gaeta broke his oath to defend the ship. C’mon Bill, haven’t you paid attention? It’s personal! Because a Cylon shot his leg off during a previous, much smaller, mutiny! Because Adama let him down. Because, Admiral Adama, "You are not the leader you were when we started."
Before he and Tigh get led off of CIC, Adama tells everybody on CIC that it’s personal. When it’s all said and done, there will be no amnesty. No forgiveness. But right now? Mr. Gaeta has the ship.
It’s 0925, and Apollo & Starbuck have been slowly making their way through all of the chaos and gunfire to Adama’s quarters, where they find an unguarded Laura Roslin. Which is kind of weird, because you’d think that she’d be one of the first targets. But maybe since she’d pretty much publicly given up, Zarek figured that she wouldn’t be any trouble. Also, it’s not really personal with Zarek & Roslin, not since the moment the shared when they almost died on New Caprica.
As Apollo & Starbuck fill her in on all of the troubles, and all she can think is this: "Oh my gods, Bill." Threaten the government, whatever. Threaten the Fleet, whatever. Threaten Bill, and now it’s personal. And just like that, Laura Roslin adds "President" back to her name. Apollo suggests that maybe she can finally do what she should have done ages ago: address the Fleet about the Cylon upgrades. Sway some hearts and minds. Be Mommy. Mommy? Mommy? Are you my Mommy?
Now, if only someone aboard had a secret wireless that they can use to address the fleet.
It’s 0942, and Gaius Baltar is getting the hell out. What’s the point in being surrounded by a bunch of hot, willing groupies when you’re also dead? His groupies kinda sorta understand this logic, but not really, and they’re all wandering around in a bit of a daze. Except for Galen Tyrol, who is on a walkie-talkie coordinating Baltar’s escape from Galactica, as well as getting exposition as to what has been going on all morning. Who he is actually talking to is a bit of a mystery, and also a plot hole. Maybe the writer of the episode, Mark Verheiden?
In any event, Apollo, Starbuck & Roslin show up, and she wants to use Baltar’s wireless to address the Fleet, but, they hate each other. And not in the sexual tension way, but rather in the Yankess-Red Sox way, so Baltar is going to need bit of convincing that this is in his self-interest, which is the only thing that trumps his hatred for Laura Roslin.
Meanwhile, Verheiden has gotten back on Galen’s magical walkie-talkie and told him that Adama’s being taken to the Brig, and he tells Apollo & Starbuck that if they can all get to the "Secondary Storage Bay," a magical place just retconned so they can all get off of the ship. Apollo & Starbuck scurry off towards the Brig to rescue Adama.
It’s 0947, and William Adama really doesn’t any rescuing. Because he’s had just about enough of this shit. He and Tigh are being escorted by a couple of Marines, no leg irons, no handcuffs. Just a couple of nervous kids who are probably somewhat ambivalent about arresting Daddy in the first place.
Adama stops, turns and faces his Marine escort, and says: "Be dammed if I’m going to let a guy like you run me off my own ship." Both Marines now have their guns trained on him as he calmly tells his Marine that he’s going to have to shoot him right then and there. Naturally, the Marine is shocked, and Adama and Tigh use that moment of distraction to attack and disarm them.
Back on CIC, the fact that Galactica has gone silent is freaking out all of the other ships’ captains. Imagine when they find out about the mutiny! They may hate Adama, but the guess here is that they also think that they kinda, you know, need him.
Gaeta calls Zarek to give the sitrep and ask what to do next, but all Zarek can concentrate on is the fact that Adama is still alive. Because Tom Zarek’s big revolution? Is against William Adama. It’s personal. Before they can get any further, Roslin starts addressing the Fleet via Baltar’s wireless. Mommy! And you can see people start to actually listen to her, but only for a few moments, because Gaeta has it cut off.
It’s 1017, and Adama, Tigh, Apollo & Starbuck are all found each other and are now all kicking it together in perfect harmony. Except for the part where Apollo tells Tigh that Zarek was kinda right about the whole not trusting the Cylons bit. C’mon humanity, when are you going to get over the whole near-extermination thing! Can’t we move on, already?!?
It’s 1021, and President Roslin & Gaius Baltar have made it to the Secondary Storage Bay. While they are wondering where everybody else is so that the final scene can happen already and I can stop writing, Roslin marvels at the fact that Gaeta has anything to do with this, but Baltar isn’t that surprised..
It’s 1027, and Baltar is bored — nobody has paid attention to him for a few minutes — so he decides to call Gaeta and reason with him. Hey Gaius, let us know how that works out! Oh right, poorly. However, here comes Adama, Tigh, Apollo and Starbuck, so our main characters are together for the final scene, where everybody but Tigh & Adama make their escape from Galactica on a Cylon-piloted raptor.
But first, Roslin & Adama need to smooch. And smooch. And smooch. And make everybody else uncomfortable. Get a room! Oh wait, it’s probably been stormed by Marines at this point. And speaking of which, here come the Marines, so it really is time for the kissing to stop and the panic-stricken escape to start. Everybody but Tigh and Adama board the waiting raptor, because they’re going to stall the Marines to make sure it gets off of Galactica.
Which it does, and, naturally it immediately shows up on dradis, and Gaeta orders it destroyed. Oops. Did anybody take that into account when they made their escape plan?!? Because the fact that Galactica can just blow it out of the sky seems like a tiny flaw.
On the bright side, at least the folks on the raptor had an escape plan. For Admiral William Adama and Col. Saul Tigh, their escape plan involves shooting machine guns at a bunch of Marines, and looking fully badass while they do it. As the Marines cut a hole in the door, and over the machine gun fire, Adama says — for possibly the last time — "it’s been an honor to have served with you, my friend." Tigh doesn’t say anything. He already knows: it’s personal.
The marines toss a grenade through the hole. From outside of the Secondary Storage Bay, we see an explosion inside.
To be continued.
You can find more of Jim Connelly’s crazy writings at Medialoper.