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Battlestar Galactica: Litmus

Sergeant Hadrian: "Why did you allow the relationship to continue, knowing it was against regulations?"
Adama: "I'm a soft touch."

Ah, a litmus test. Whose? Chief Tyrol's? Adama's? I wonder. Because, despite the fact that she went about it the wrong way, Sergeant Hadrian was right on target: Chief was indeed aiding and abetting a Cylon, whether he knew it or not.

Chief Tyrol is an endearing character (I like him a lot), and his people would do anything for him, including assist him in breaking regulations. After all, what could be wrong with a little romance? But I was surprised that everyone didn't just come clean early on: they certainly didn't know Sharon was a Cylon, and having illicit sex with an officer wasn't exactly treason. And then I was even more surprised that Specialist Socinus risked court martial to back up his second lie. Why? It didn't make sense.

Adama had a couple of wonderful scenes. I particularly liked the way he refused to let Hadrian continue questioning him. ("We're done here.") It's nice to be all powerful, isn't it? And I also liked the way he ripped into the Chief at the end about keeping it in his pants. Adama knows when to compromise. He really does need Chief; there aren't a dozen replacements in training back on Caprica, after all.

Meanwhile back on Caprica, we got several eerie rooftop scenes of Six, Doral, and Sharon devising a "love" test for Helo. Would he risk death to save Sharon? Of course, he would. He's Helo, isn't he, the guy who gave up his seat on the ship for the sake of humanity? I don't know why, but I found the scene where Six beat up Sharon to be a little shocking. It was too immediate and violent, and felt more like genuine hatred than a set-up to me.

What was Doral after? Was it indeed Gaius' Cylon detector? Will we ever know?

Bits and pieces:

— Colonel Tigh proved again that he's not a complete waste of space by saving Adama's life.

— This episode probably should have been called, "The hatch combing on causeway C."

— The woman who played Sergeant Hadrian was insufferable. She was supposed to be. Good job.

— We learned that Adama's father was a civil liberties lawyer.

— Doral arrived on a ship called Scorpia Traveler.

— "Article 23" appears to be BSG for the Fifth Amendment.

— This week's amazing outfit: Six was wearing a champagne-colored sheath almost the color of her hair.

— Number Six actually quoted the Incredible Hulk. "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Loved the Caprica segments, but the witch hunt mostly made me uncomfortable. Two out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. The title mislead me. I thought it will be the episode where Baltar completes his Cylon detector and that will be the Litmus test. Red you're a Cylon, green you're human. But no and now i don't know who was being tested.

    Sharon's Cylon programming made another sabotage. This time subtler. If i were chief Tyrol i would seriously reconsider all the evidence. I know he loves Boomer, but come on, she can't be any more obvious. Especially now that they know Cylons look like humans.

  2. Best part of the episode was Adama's handling of the witch-hunt the tribunal turned into. Worst part was just how contrived it was that they got to that point.
    I realize that they wanted to protect their chief, but I can't see how any of them thought it would be so bad if the affair came to light that they would admit treason? Not my favourite episode, but still has it's moments!

  3. I thought what Socinus did was understandable. At one point the other deck hand said "it's every man for himself" but Socinus and Cally seemed to feel the opposite. Like they had their crew, their gang, whatever. When the chief offered to help them with the still, for instance, that kind of thing just cemented the camaraderie.

    So then Hadrian comes in, an outsider, threatening to bust up their crew. She challenged them individually, and by threatening the chief, she implicitly threatened to bust up the whole team. I don't find it at all surprising that one of them was willing to take the fall in order to keep the gang together.

    Socinus also wasn't really given the time to think it through -- Hadrian put him on the spot and asked him to make a snap decision -- either implicate the chief and cut off the head of the group, or take it on himself. With the suggestion that whoever left the hatch coaming open had aided the cylons, admitting that the chief and Sharon were meeting in the area accessed by the coaming probably wouldn't have sounded that much better ("Sure they were in there but I swear, they were just making out!" "Oh yeah? Were you inside? Do you really know what they were doing?")

    Anyway, while the witch hunt was uncomfortable, I think it gave Adama a big moment to shine, advanced the Boomer plot (will she be less sympathetic to humans if cut off from her relationship with the chief?), and gave a bunch of insight into the chief. I guess I don't know for sure that the chief knew Boomer was ordered to break it off, but I assume he knew since they got still more secretive. And he was willing to ignore that order, and also to lie to Hadrian. But he wasn't willing to stand by and watch Socinus go down, he wasn't willing to lie to Adama, and he wasn't willing to risk further similar consequences. Compare him to Baltar, who betrayed the human race to get a roll in the sack, and from the look of it, will cheerfully continue to do so just to get laid in his fantasies (a nuclear warhead, huh? What could possibly go wrong). The chief is looking both more noble and more tragic.

  4. >>"I don't know why, but I found the scene where Six beat up Sharon to be a little shocking. It was too immediate and violent, and felt more like genuine hatred than a set-up to me."
    I wanna think it's because Six is a true romantic and has hidden reservations about doing a Love test, taking it out 'discreetly' against the object of love.

    >>"What was Doral after?"
    Maybe he thinks forcing Roslin/Adama's hand in revealing to the public about the existence of skinjobs will work in the cylons' favour?

    >>"Colonel Tigh proved again that he's not a complete waste of space by saving Adama's life."
    Lmao aw leave him alone, I liked him ever since he admitted being on the run's made him feel more alive than he had in years (which is admittedly how I felt at the beginning of this pandemic until I realized nobody forced to do time-out is actually going to do any real self-reflection). But also when he didn't go along with the Adamas's fixation with getting Starbuck back. But then I have mixed feelings about her at best. She's the life of the party but she also bugs the shit out of me. I was hoping for more of a tomboy like Grace Park manages to do. Charming actress though, love Sackhoff.

    @Patryk: "The title mislead me. I thought it will be the episode where Baltar completes his Cylon detector and that will be the Litmus test."
    SO DID I! I honestly remembered nothing about this episode, though vague deja vu from the Tyrol subplot makes it clear I saw it at least once. But it's so strange, I feel like I've accidentally skipped it on the last rewatch or two. So much of it felt new. I didn't remember the 'spoiler' sequence in the opening credits for sure... Six beating the crap out of Sharon. And definitely not uh... what'shisface, the skinny Kevin Spacey cylon. It's good to know he does appear again after the miniseries.

    Count me among the Socinus Did Nothing Wrong camp... I mean I wish he copped to the truth, it's not worth it for what he's covering for, but I understand the pathological need to, without knowing the context at all, protect someone's secret. It's such a shame though. Poor Tyrol already has weight to carry...


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