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Battlestar Galactica: The Woman King

Helo: "I keep doing it. I keep ending up on the wrong side of everything."

There was a lot I liked about this episode. And then there was the other stuff.

Having an episode almost entirely about Helo? Fine with me. He's a fascinating character, constantly straddling both sides of the fence and facing difficult choices that his crewmates don't have to make. (Plus he looks terrific without a shirt.) It made sense that Adama wasn't completely trusting him, what with the Athena suicide download and the suspicious failure of the Cylon virus. And yet, Helo's strong moral compass and loyalty to Adama and his shipmates has always been pretty much front and center. Like I said, he's kind of fascinating.

And this was also a strong episode with something important to say. Examination of social issues from a new perspective is something science fiction does particularly well. I'm all for a serious exploration of the consequences of prejudice, as well as the painful issue of religious beliefs trumping the benefits of science and medicine. (I was raised a Christian Scientist, so this is actually something I know about, and no, I'm not one now.) I was also taken in and fooled by the possibility of losing Dualla. They do kill off characters on this show with alarming frequency, after all.

But where exactly did the Sagittaron refugees come from, and why did they suddenly end up in Dogtown? Their position as the religious shmoes of the Galactica universe has indeed been previously established, but the whole situation just wasn't adequately explained as far as I was concerned. And the new doctor Robert felt wrong almost immediately; he practically had a sign on him that said, "Me, me, me! I'm a bad guy!" Even though this episode got to me, I wonder if episodes like this one just aren't what they do best.

Finally, I'd like to add that those "bonus scenes" are annoying the crap out of me. We got a scene that was pretty important – Helo confessing to Adama that he saved the Cylons from the virus. And like last week, I wanted more, and I resented being told I had to go online to see it. I vote that the producers start rethinking this "bonus scene" crap. So there.

Bits and pieces:

— This week's survivor number: 41,401. And again, I'm confused. Who died? Did episodes air out of order?

— A high point for me was the return of Harvey Gaius, and a brief glimpse of Caprica Six in her cell making out with him. (With Roslin watching, even.) How wonderful. I wanted more, and didn't get it. Harvey Gaius appears to think that Caprica Six came to Galactica to save Gaius. Did she?

— The "woman king," or the woman named King who lost her son, floated around in the background motivating Helo. It reminded me of something literary, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was.

— Helo and Athena appear to have bigger quarters than Lee and Dualla. Why? Is it because of the baby?

— Speaking of which, Hera is awfully sickly for a miracle hybrid baby that cured cancer, isn't she?

— Doc Cottle lied to protect a colleague. Which makes him like a lot of other doctors. But it was still disappointing coming from someone who is usually on the side of the angels.

— Roslin kept Tom Zarek as her vice president, after all. And he is fulfilling his best possible role by giving her the extreme other viewpoint. Like, Baltar's trial is going to bring down a political firestorm that will disrupt the fleet. You'd think a guy with Zarek's past would enjoy a little anarchy.

— It was great to see James Callis without the chin shrubbery. His hair was shorter, too. I wonder how they're going to cover that with the real Baltar?

— Harvey Gaius: "There's a trick to being human. You have to think only about yourself." That's exactly the opposite of what Helo did.

I sort of want to give this episode two stars. I also sort of want to give it three. I'm terrible at this rating thing, aren't I?

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


  1. I don't like including new footage in the previouslies. But other then that and the situations out of left field, the episode was enjoyable.

    The focus on one character is always welcome.

    Also of course the guest star was guilty. :)

    It's probably a 2,5 star episode.

  2. Filler, but Helo based filler so not too bad! Interesting theme, but a bit too obvious. If Cottle had been the bad doc the ep would have had weight, but as it was the new doc was so obviously bad there wasn't any suspense really.

    Currently I wouldn't mind it if the series finished with Helo and Athena on a planet with all the hybrid babies raising them as a new civilisation.... He's got such a good moral compass :)

  3. Nice for Helo to be something, as he says, besides just the guy married to a Ceylon.

    Agree Hera gets sick way too often. And she cries a lot too. Hmm, how do they get baby actors to cry?


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