Whoooo boy, pilots! I'm still reeling... Am I surprised they've been cheating? Not entirely. I wasn't sure the show would go there, but the boxing took the UST to such heights that I can believe that they would fall into bed with each other in its aftermath, if not immediately, certainly as they started to connect as friends again. And the fact that they're fighting side by side for survival can only have added to that. I would have had a lot of issues had their feelings about the cheating not surfaced so quickly. Throughout the scene when Kara arrives on the Algae Planet, I was mumbling 'oh no, Lee, oh no, you didn't...' His guilt seeped off him around Dee. And he's lying to her--he put Kara on the donut runs, not a coin flip, and Kara sure as hell doesn't think it's a run of bad luck!
Kara's joy in their circumstance was both abhorrent and moving--I love that she's so delighted in Lee (her smile on arrival, her glowy smirking while they kiss), but oh, Kara, what are you DOING? You're willing to jump into marriage out of fear, then cheat, but not to divorce? Why does that NOT surprise me? Arrrrghhhhh!! Yes, you like it 'insane', this plays right into your behaviour pattern template. But not into Lee's. I found their argument on that score perfect. Lee's very far from being a saint, and I believed that his addictive need for Kara could drive him to cheat. The joy in having her, at long long last, is not something Lee could easily turn his back on. But, as this scene demonstrated so clearly, it causes a major crack in Lee's self-identity. He knows he's doing a horrible thing and he can't live with it (or without it). Where Kara was all squeeful about their kissing, Lee was just determined and driven and magneticly drawn to her--not happy about it.
One thing I loved about their kissage-conversation was that they were still so completely at odds and driving each other crazy. They were just milder than usual in expressing it. Kara went all frowny when Lee said he couldn't look Dee in the eye. Clearly it pissed her off a great deal that he would interrupt their pash-fest with this, but rather than flying into a rage, she tries to let Lee talk about it. And while she cracks it with him for making a big deal out of it, she's still there recognising that it is a big deal to Lee. And Lee listens to Kara's speech about marriage being a sacrament and knows he can't change her. It frustrates them, they frustrate each other, but it frustrates them together this time, and for the dysfunctional pilots that's a huge leap forward and one I loved seeing. The heartbreak is mutual--they both looked on the verge of tears by the end of that. Trapped is just what they are--between desire/lust/love and their personal principles.
I don't even know where to start with the Lee/Anders confrontation and the defence of the Temple... it was just such an insane (but brilliant) twist! I loved Lee's 'do you ever make any other kind' retort to Kara's suggestion to use her husband to command the civilians. But he does it, because she's got a good case. And it created the wonderful 'major's in charge' moment, which made me squee for joy. Kara stepping in to defend her man makes me very happy. And there was something so horribly sickly great about the Battle of the Couples that ensued, especially because I felt both wronged parties--Dee and Sam--acquitted themselves extremely well in this ep.
I really liked seeing Dee's level-headed composure in the face of Kara's snarking. It can't be easy to brief your husband's mistress, especially when she's the fleet's best pilot. But Dee held her head high, and I like that. She didn't bring up the personal matters, she was all about the job at hand. I respect that. I'm also continuing to see the ways in which Dee and Sam reflect aspects of Lee and Kara and the differences between them. Where Dee was matter-of-fact, Sam was busy bringing up the personal conflict and being confrontational.
I loved that Anders was straight with Lee about knowing what was going on, and from Anders's perspective his calls about Lee were all absolutely fair. However, they were also somewhat off the mark. Sam responds to the surface level of what he sees.
I think Sam's call about Lee not being the 'first' may or may not be true. We know that Sam's the sort of guy who will be there when Kara is ready--he's not a doormat but in the fallout after Leoben we saw Sam wait silently for Kara to come to him rather than demand answers about what had happened. So I can buy Sam as the sort of guy who would tolerate his wife straying, knowing she'll come back to him. However, it could just also have been a pointed retort to Lee as revenge for 'good luck--you'll need it'. Because it was the perfect blow to wind Lee with. It works on two levels--first, because Lee is painfully aware that he is not Kara's first anything, and secondly because despite that he believes in the 'specialness' of their connection, and the idea that he could just be one other notch on her bedpost really scares him. So Sam did well with that call.
Lee's response ('I'm fighting a war') sets the ground for his later determination to defend their position--his commitment all the more poignant because he doesn't personally believe in the signficance of what they are defending. Likewise, his later decision not to form a search party is all the more poignant for the fact that we know Kara's loss is tearing him up inside. And once Sam started yelling at him, I was itching for Lee to scream 'yeah, I KNOW, ok! I have endangered the fleet for her before now! And she nearly married my brother, ok, and she drives me mad, and I still love her! And we just had a fight and I may never see her again and that will kill me, so don't YOU act the heroic lover with ME!' So I actually felt he was quite restrained when he finally lost it with Sam. ;-) Their sweaty stare-off really delivered. *loved*
And I'm actually really proud that Lee did stick with the plan. He's got renewed commitment and determination as a soldier and I don't see him throwing that away. Also, he knows that if anyone can survive on her own, it's Kara. On the other hand, it's interesting that there are emotional undercurrents that may have strengthened Lee's resolve: Sam's rebelliousness can only have made Lee more determined, because he's stubborn like that.
Unity versus disunity
When I could tear my mind away from the Pilots, Adama and Roslin were fascinating in this episode. It was quite frightening to watch their unified approach to leadership unfurl. There's been a false sense of unity this season because the circumstances have been such that Adama and Roslin have agreed on a collective direction. While they still argue with each other and challenge each other, there's been nothing to completely split them or the fleet apart. Until now, potentially.
Adama's main concern is getting his people back off the planet. Roslin challenges this priority ('how many are down there?'), but then points out that the Eye of Jupiter should be protected from the Cylons, and though he's not a believer, Adama agrees. They may have different priorities, but they lead to the same decision to defend their position. And there are therefore two questions about the bluff: would they destroy the key to finding Earth? would the Admiral sacrifice his son? (And his daughter-in-law, his surrogate daughter, his Chief Engineer and a score of other useful staff!) So both human and spiritual connections are tested, as well as their drive to find Earth for long-term survival. The Cylons would have to be pretty confident that that was just a bluff.
Gaius once again managed to span hilarity and pathos for me. His grief about never being able to return to the humans was fascinating--because the fear of being all alone without his kind is overwhelming, but he's not sure in which direction it flows--is he Cylon or human? Returning to Galactica was deeply moving for him, despite the incredibly frosty return.
I adored Laura's response to seeing Gaius again (her expression: heee!) and Gaius's flip out where he started screaming that he'd saved their lives, but I think it was a great pity that she left the room. I don't think she would have expected the way the negotiations went after that, for Adama had said it would just be a matter of letting them talk. It was interesting that the Cylons misread their reason for not cutting their losses. They didn't factor in personal attachment, which is odd for several reasons: first, they should know humans better than that by now, second they could logically guess that some key personnel would be on the planet, and thirdly Gaius could have predicted it for them, even have guessed that it might be the Admiral's son on the planet. Still, it was interesting to see how the Cylons played their cards, with Cavil throwing in Gaius. (Do the humans really care?!)
When Adama tells Laura that Hera is still alive, her first reaction is joy. She confesses that she's gone behind Adama's back, but she doesn't acknowledge the profound significance of this for him. For Athena and Adama have trusted each other, and he must break the most terrible news to her and Helo. In Laura's defense, Adama walks out on her before hearing the rest of her story, however the miscalculation is a terrible one, for she is not in his confidence from that point on. In desperation to read him, she appeals to Adama's love for his son--are we prepared to sacrifice Lee? It's a good play because Adama's shown he will not leave his son (or Kara!) behind, but Adama remains resolved. Brilliant cliffhanger! Though clearly the planet is not going to get nuked before at least SOME of the regular cast get off it! ;-)
Overall, what I loved about this episode was the way that motivations were layered. On the surface everyone was making very logical, rational decisions, but there were also emotional undercurrents strengthening their motivation. Adama's rift with Roslin drives him to push things to the brink. Lee's confrontation with Sam strengthens his resolve to stick to his plan. And equally, several characters had internal conflicts with themselves: the Chief's scepticism at war with his awe, Lee's atheism at war with his commitment to following orders, Kara's piety at war with her behaviour (heh), Lee's morality at war with his behaviour (heh), Helo and Athena's commitment to the fleet tested by betrayal, Adama's love for his son and Kara (and others) at stake because of the conflict with the Cylons... these characters really are 'trapped' or 'stuck' between two options, neither of them bearable.
What I didn't like so much about the ep
The Chief's one of the most 'blah' characters on BSG for me. I recognise he's not inherently blah (he's my bf's favourite character) but both the actor and the character do nothing for me, I fail to connect with him. So I struggled with having the Chief carry the discovery of the Temple. I was very 'meh' about it. And it annoyed me that Cally had to articulate something which presumably was meant to be obvious to the audience--that the Chief feels reverence despite himself. It wasn't obvious to me, but then I'm not tuned to the Chief. But I'll accept that line for the sake of the plot. But did his trudge up the mountain have to be QUITE so long?
What more than made up for that
Arm!porn!! Seriously! Thank you, thank you, BSG for the insane arm!porn in this ep, as well as hot pilot kissage. :-) And wow, does Lee look good when he's hot and flustered! And BONUS arm!porn: Dee really levelled up in those stakes this ep. I had to rewind her briefing I was so distracted.
Other things I loved
- Gaeta: he's always so understated, but I loved that it was him that discovered the planet was about to go supernova, and I couldn't help but wonder what his thoughts were on seeing Gaius again. And on Dee being stuck on the planet.
- Gaius's continued pretence that he's defining the rules where D'Anna and Caprica are concerned. It was so funny to see D'Anna cut him off with 'We're finished'! Three seems to be staging a personal coup and I kind of hope her belief in her own special status will be shattered.
Where does it go from here?! Eeeeek, I do not know! I'm going to try and tough it out spoiler-free until the show's return, but it's not going to be easy. It seems like the rescue, or lack of, will tear Lee and Kara apart again. Perhaps Anders will get to play hero and win Kara back? And if so, will Lee turn to Dee only to see her falling into Gaeta's arms? *HEE* But how will they get off the planet? *furrowed brow* 'Tis most perplexing. But I'm just thankful that Lee's at the centre of this conflict and not sidelined
ETA: Apparently there is a preview that is causing much flapping in fandom. I haven't seen it. I cannot comment. Though I will track it down and may possibly rant in due course...
wisteria_ has a wonderful defence of Kara's 'marriage is a sacrament' line (as well as the delightful Starbuck Gossip Blog the other day if you missed it).
hollywoodgrrl picked up that Kara painted the Eye of Jupiter which makes me really wonder more about Kara's feelings during the phonecall with Laura and Adama when they were instructed to destroy the Temple if necessary. Lee was all 'sure!', but he glanced at Kara as if it might mean a lot more to her.
Oh, and marenfic has an interesting question about Sam's thoughts on what happened with Leoben.