Battlestar Galactica: Daybreak, Part 1

Anders: "Find the perfect world. The end of Kara Thrace. End of line."

I swear, I honestly didn't think the end was getting to me. But when Roslin, barely able to walk, crossed that red line, I started to cry. All of the characters I care about are planning to take a disintegrating ship on a suicide mission. If Ron Moore stays true to form, there could be a Shakespearean bloodbath.

There was a real bookend-y feel to this one, a return to the pilot episode with flashbacks to Caprica City before the fall. It felt so strange, going back, like we were seeing an alternate universe; our characters are such different people now. And some of it was satisfying. Lee meeting Starbuck for the first time. Gaius' first date with Caprica Six.

But so much of it was about death and loss. Starbuck was with Zak, who was soon to die. And Laura Roslin lost her entire family in a car accident. Numb with grief, she walked into a fountain in her pajamas and let the fountain cry for her. In the present, seeing the stripped memorial wall and abandoned photographs of the forgotten dead pushed Adama over the edge and into what may be his final command decision.

The red line scene was powerful, probably because they didn't do anything as hokey or unrealistic as having everyone volunteer. (And it again echoed that "So say we all" moment in the pilot.) Adama wants to go down with his ship, doesn't he? I don't think he's consciously planning to die – his son and "daughter" are going along, too – but I think he truly needs Galactica's death to mean something. What a way for Galactica to go out.



Gaius was the only major character who didn't go, obviously because he wants political power. And he's going to get it, because no one is left to oppose him. Harvey Six told Gaius that he was going to write humanity's last chapter. And there was a lot said about Gaius never doing anything truly selfless. All set up for the finale, I assume.

There were images interspersed with the action. The episode began with an expanding galaxy, a bird, a planet, rain. Many shots of water, which is life, but we saw them in relation to death. That scene in the fountain, Roslin's IV drip, Hoshi's spilled coffee. Lots of alcohol, too. In the flashbacks, Roslin, Lee, and Gaius were all drunk. There was the trapped bird in Lee's apartment, too, and broken glass.

This was the penultimate episode. No real reason for pointing that out; I just like to use the word "penultimate" in a sentence, and I don't get to do it very often. It was a heavy one, too. Next week's series finale is going to be intense, I can tell.

About the flashbacks:

— So Gaius really did grow up poor and on a farm. Caprica Six gave Gaius exactly what he needed most: a solution to his parental problem. Are we finally going to learn how much Gaius knew when he gave Caprica Six the codes? Next week, I assume, since this is frakking it?

— On their first date, Gaius was all in white and Caprica Six in black. Just saying. Writers and directors make choices like this for a reason. Gaius mentioned that he couldn't remember Six's name. Will they tie up that loose end, too?

— Roslin fell into a new career for herself with Adar's campaign on the phone while eating sushi. You don't often see actors eating sushi in a scene. Who is Sean Ellison, the younger guy she agreed to go on a blind date with? I hadn't heard that name before.

— Adama appeared to be interviewing for something that would only take an hour of his life.

— Anders, as a professional athlete, was only interested in achieving perfection, not winning. His true nature as a scientist expressing itself. His present self was also talking about perfection. I think that means he's regaining consciousness. Or maybe not. I bet his hybrid state and connection to the ship is going to be important in the finale.

Bits and pieces:

— This week's survivor number: 39,516. No battle drum preview this time.

— Cottle volunteered, and Adama wouldn't let him. That was touching.

— Lee looked so right back in his uniform. And was Harvey Six in "the" red dress? All we saw were the straps.

— Tyrol had an interesting debate with Helo about the nature of the Eights. I was on Helo's side this time. Maybe Boomer will ultimately jump the right way in the end.

— Has Hot Dog ever had a scene with Adama? Did they want to get one in there before the series ended? (Hot Dog is played by Edward James Olmos' son.)

— Doral and Simon were back, along with Cavil. Will we get to see Leoben one more time in the series finale?

Quotes:

Helo: "My wife, Athena, is a person."
Tyrol: "She's a blow-up doll, Karl. They all are."

Cavil: "Dots. Lots and lots and lots of... dots. She's clearly very gifted."

Adama: (to Starbuck) "I know what you are. You're my daughter. Don't forget it."

Anders: "Perfection. It's what it's about. It's about those moments when you can feel the perfection, the creation, the beauty of physics, the wonder of mathematics, you know, the elation of action and reaction. And that is the kind of perfection I want to be connected to." What an interesting glimpse of Anders' buried personality controlling his programmed one.

Any episode that makes me cry gets four stars,

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

10 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Good review, Billie. I don't really have an overall opinion for the episode, since it was clearly just laying the ground work for what's to come. But I, too, cried in that moment when Laura came to join Adama's last mission. Something about seeing how physically difficult it was for her and hearing the beautiful, melancholy Adama-Roslin theme playing over it.

I also wondered if the Hot Dog-Adama scene was the only one they'd ever done together. I knew Hot Dog was played by Eddie's son, but I don't remember them ever having a scene together.

No matter how they end this series, next Friday around 11:00 is going to be rough. I want to know how it all ends, but I'm going to be so sad when its done. Like that moment when you close the last book at the end of a long and enjoyable series. I just hope it is a satisfying send off, even if everyone doesn't get a traditional 'happy ending.'

Iberostar said...

You made me cry all over again reading your review. Wasn't it the best ever moment when Adama told Kara she was his daughter? Sigh.
End of Kara Thrace? I can't bear it. Thanks for a great review.

Paul Kelly said...

Hi Billie,

What a bunch of softies we all are! I wasn't quite blubbing, but that was only because I was round my friend house. My bottom lip was wobbling bravely though. And I noticed the Hot Dog/Adama thing too. Man, those guys look so alike!

Thankfully, I'll be watching the finale on my own, so I can bawl like a baby if need be.

I'm supposed to be a damned man! I have hairy legs and like mans things! I have no idea where the TV induced emotional fragility come from. I think maybe my Dad. He used to have a sneaky sob at the Wonder Years.

PK

Lucifuge5 said...

Hey, Billie, this was a gorgeous review! I think as the first part of the series finale, "Daybreak, Part 1" set an amazing groundwork for what will be (imho) a finale to remember.

I too lost it when I saw Roslin make her way towards the volunteers' side. Two things made the tears flow even heavier. O

One when Ellen looks at Roslin and gives her a quick smile (which makes me feel a bit funny since I have grown to really like Ellen as the Final Cylon. It's almost as if learning her true nature has self-actualized her much more than any other of the Final Five.

The second one was when Starbuck supported her and held Roslin's hand. It touched me since they had been at odds ever since Starbuck came back earlier in the season.

I'll have a Kleenex box by my side come next Friday.

Mark Greig said...

A lot of critics have complained lately about the lack of action. Well, sod that! Give me Adama on a ladder any time. I love it whenever Edward James Olmos goes full force and rallies the crew, really going to miss that.

I did like that they showed us that the majority chose to stay. A nice reminder that at the end of the day (and series) people are still just people, we’re not eager to jump off the cliff, no matter the cause.

Next week should be a massive blubfest, I’m still not ready to say goodbye or see anyone I care about die.

And I just want to say thank you, Billie, for reviewing the show over the years. Cheers.

MBenzN said...

Great revies, Billie, but that goes without saying. (Doesn't mean we shouldn't!)

Disagree about Baltar, though. I think the man's finally picked a side and stuck to it, and he's picked his harem. In refusing to cross that line, he refused to leave them again. That was pretty good of him, I thought.

Baz said...

So that was where the Chief was, I was wondering who the new guys was and why he was on deck...

I hope Gaius does do something selfless in the finale, he needs the redemption and I actually want to see him do good some time.

The red line scene is one of my favourites of the series I hope at least some of them survive the mission - having our entire cast dead would be so depressing.

Onwards to the last episode proper of BSG!

Baz said...

Billie!!! Help! The last episode won't let me post a comment - says it has been disabled by a blog admin. Any help? It's going to drive me nuts if I can't post on that last ep! :)

Billie Doux said...

Baz, I think we were getting a lot of spam comments on that review awhile back, so I closed it down. I just brought it back up, so comment away.

Baz said...

Thanks Billie :)