Battlestar Galactica: “Daybreak”

by | March 14, 2009 at 7:20 AM | battlestar galactica, Recap

The episode begins in a shiny, intact, pre-nuke city. “Caprica City – Before the Fall,” to be specific, according to the caption. Adama sits in an office with a man who is trying to convince him that an apparently undesirable task of some sort will only take an hour or so out of his schedule. Yeah, yeah, yeah – just like the harbor master probably assured Gilligan and the Skipper that it’s just some measly three hour tour……

Cut to Baltar’s first date with Caprica Six in the back of a limo – because Baltar’s nothing if not classy a smooth operator. You can’t blame him for forgetting her name. I mean, his brain is stuffed to capacity with important, classified scientific information. There are only so many spare gray cells to go around, and why squander them on trivial details? Even if this girl’s name will be forever linked to the downfall of all habitable planets in the universe. He couldn’t possibly be expected to anticipate that.

Ah, but it’s coitus interuptus as the phone rings (the one right next to the open bar). We quickly learn that Baltar is not the only ladykiller in the family. His aging, senile father just attempted to stab his nurse. Baltar must rush to the scene and attempt to convince the nurse to not only (a) refrain from pressing charges, but also (b) stick around and suffer through some more verbal and physical abuse. Field trip!

Baltar Senior is a feisty, foul-mouthed sort who alternately accuses both Caprica Six and Baltar Junior of being whores. The accusations against Six are pretty straightforward. In Baltar’s case, Dad seems to think that sonny boy sold out and betrayed his modest, farm family roots in exchange for all that book learnin’ – why, he even acquired a fake snooty English accent in the process.

There are additional and equally auspicious introductions underway. Lee shows up at Starbuck’s apartment, bearing flowers. Wha……? Oh, right. Zak was still alive back then. Little brother warns Lee against stealing his gal. That’ll really only seem awkward in hindsight.

And still elsewhere, Roslin’s thrown a hell of a shindig – the baby shower kind – for one of her two younger sisters. There’s champagne and presents and laughing over old stories……..it’s good for the audience to enjoy a retroactive reprieve from Laura suffering the soul-sucking agony of post-nuclear devastation and cancer! Ah, but the retroactive reprieve is about 30 seconds long. By morning, the police are at Roslin’s doorstep, informing her that both sisters and her father were killed in a car accident.

She wanders outside in a daze in her PJs and eventually goes swimming in a park fountain. The water splashing down upon her face merges with her tears and quickly morphs into the slow single drop of a morphine drip as she lies dying of cancer in the present. Hopefully you haven’t hit your tragedy threshold just yet, because the episode isn’t even half over.

Enough of this cheerful stroll down memory lane! We’re back to the present on the Galactica, now reminded that life apparently sucks on either side of the apocalypse.

Apollo is trying to maintain order as everything not bolted down on the Galactica, and even some stuff that is, becomes fair game in the space equivalent of a total liquidation sale.

Baltar and Paula are walking and talking. They discuss how their numbers (the cult, that is) are strong amidst the survivors. Imaginary Six chimes in by telling Baltar that he’ll be the author of humanity’s final chapter. Yikes. Can’t help but wonder which poor sucker he’ll con into ghost-writing it for him.

Flashback to Caprica City. Baltar’s brought a new conquest home, and he’s not the sort of womanizer to let some silly detail – like the fact that Six has broken into his home and is waiting for him there – get in his way. He threatens to call the police. She agrees to leave – after informing him that she’s found a fancy retirement home for his dad, where that poor old man can even return to his modest farming roots and plant a vegetable garden. She just wanted to make sure his dad was happy, she tells him, as she shows herself to the door. Yeah, go ahead and enjoy your meaningless little tryst now, you jerk-off! Actually, he probably will…..

Tyrol and Helo are talking with some bars between them. Tyrol’s on the wrong side, presumably because he accidentally helped Boomer abscond with the sole hope of the Cylon race. Tyrol at least realizes he’s a sucker for a cute skin job, even though they’re all the same heartless machines beneath it all. Whereas Helo insists that Athena is nothing like Boomer, who is nothing like Sharon, who is nothing like Eight……we’ll have to take his word for it.

Starbuck is still sticking close to her beloved comatose robot husband. She’s scrawled out musical notes and mathematical formula in an attempt to figure out what the frak is up with that song.

Whereas Cavil doesn’t make the connection between those silly dots that Hera is now drawing, and how they might possibly have anything to do with the salvation of their people. If anything, he’s concluded that she has a kind of Rain Man thing going on. If you ask him, Hera would be a hell of a lot more useful to them if they could just suck the DNA out of her bone marrow already. Simon and Eight have a slightly improved bedside manner.

Slightly.

Roslin flashes back again to her not-totally-much-more-awesome pre-nuke life on Caprica. She’s engaged in a phone conversation with a friend who is evidently nagging her about carrying out this whole mourning thing for a ridiculous three months already. This “friend” tries to push her into both politics and a blind date in the same phone call. Feh! Politics is for suckers. But she’ll consider the blind date…..

Adama is wandering around the Galactica morosely. He bumps into Hot Dog, who is carrying his newly discovered progeny in one hand, and a bunch of pictures from the Wall in the other. Hot Dog is sentimental, and doesn’t think the dead should be left behind and forgotten. Well, not the important dead people, like the pilots. There are some other pictures still on the Wall…….pictures of less useful, more anonymous saps. Adama goes to take a look. He finds a picture of Hera still hanging by a lonely pushpin. He starts to walk away, then reconsiders, and takes the photograph with him.

He finds Starbuck still hanging out with Anders. He broaches the awkward subject of her death. She admits she doesn’t know what the frak she is. Well, as far as Adama is concerned, she’s his daughter, for all intents and purposes, and that’s all he needs to know! Awwwww. Only, that’s not really all he needs to know. He needs to know where Hera is, too. So Starbuck fires up the magic goo Jacuzzi so he can ask Anders. Which provides another opportunity to use more water-as-symbolic-rebirth-symbol-or-whatever imagery as we flashback to Anders soaking in a tub and being interviewed by a sports journalist after a big game. He talks about the physics of the perfect throw, which in retrospect is suspiciously nerd-like talk for a jock. At least a human jock.

Baltar approaches Apollo. He wants his flock to have representation in the new quorum. It’s not about him, see – it’s about his people. He cares about them. Deeply. He might even stick around for a while to prove it this time. Apollo takes a wild guess that maybe there is some self-serving reason behind Baltar’s revived interest in politics. He basically tells Baltar to go frak himself. Baltar has all sorts of lady admirers to tend to that sort of thing, thank you very much, but he does sadly concur that, “I wouldn’t trust me either.”

Elsewhere, Adama and Starbuck march into the hangar deck, and they come bearing red duct tape!

The ship is soon abuzz over Adama’s suicide mission plan to rescue Hera from the Cylon Colony. Ellen informs Tory that the Final Five will be joining him. Tory whines a bit about the fact that Ellen is making decisions for the group now.

Adama addresses what’s left of humanity, and explains that this “Free Hera!” gig is a volunteer mission, which is lucky, because in the same speech, he also explains that it’s probably gonna be a one-way ticket. He asks those who are willing to join him to stand on one side of the red tape. And those who want to continue to live – at least an extra couple of weeks, anyway, before what’s left of all known food and water and fuel rations in the entire universe are finally depleted – can stand on the other side.

Helo informs Athena that Adama is finally getting serious about rescuing Hera. Athena isn’t overjoyed, because she’s too busy picturing her daughter already dissected and scattered in various petri dishes as Cavil stands over the remnants and arches his cold, calculating eyebrow in triumph. With that sort of mental picture weighing a girl down, it’s hard to conjure up the energy for cartwheels.

After Adama’s moving speech has concluded, there are a lot more people on one side of the red tape than the other. You can pretty much guess which side. But Apollo and Starbuck and Six and the rest of the Cylon gang are up to the task. So is Roslin, who has hobbled out of her hospital bed to join them. Baltar stares longingly at Six and seems torn. Probably not torn enough to step over the red tape, though she was one hot piece of Cylon backside…….

So Adama and Apollo and Starbuck and others from the kamikaze posse are plotting their descent into Cylon central. Just in case the tension hasn’t already been cranked up enough for you already, there’s yet another twist. The Cylon Colony just happens to be situated in the middle of an asteroid belt. And the asteroid belt is situated just a gnat’s ass away from a black hole. In layman’s terms, this basically translates as: there’s one parking spot outside Cylon Central that isn’t being inundated with asteroids or the gravitational pull of a big honking gap in the universe where the scary sucking sound is coming from. Yes, it will be a little bit like trying to find a parking spot at the mall on Christmas eve outside Best Buy while a 50% off sale is underway, and yes, the Cylons will know exactly where to be pointing their guns should a Galactica-shaped vessel suddenly attempt to parallel park there.

But what the frak.

One episode left. That’s it. That’s all we get. But you can offset the gravitational pull of a soon-to-be-BSG-free black hole in the viewing landscape by watching this Battlestar episode, and more, right here on Fancast.