Things are getting awesomely ugly on Battlestar Galactica, with the humans squabbling over sex and the justice system while their arch-enemies the Cylons march towards all-out bot-on-bot civil war. One of the more stylized, surreal episodes of BSG, last night's "The Ties that Bind" was full of weird camera angles and blurred-out backgrounds that perfectly capture the mental disintegration of several major characters. And one person's life takes a seriously unexpected turn in a scene that had me yelling "HOLY CRAP!" at my monitor. You guessed it: spoilers lie ahead.
We begin with Cavil's resurrection in the Cylon goo chamber, where a bunch of his buddies (including the "swing vote" Sharon) are toweling him off and getting seriously grumpy about how the Six models got the Centurions to blast the shit out of them. Turns out "swing vote" Sharon is doing the nasty with Cavil, and they start making out even before he's scraped all the rebirth sludge off his face. Nice.
Sharon calls the Six rebellion a form of "ethnic cleansing" because it eliminated all the Cavils and Simons from one of the Cylon ships. We know something bad is going to happen when Cavil grins evilly and replies, "Teach me to trust a democracy." I love the idea that Cylon society is based on democracy, but one that's being destroyed by the religious mania of the Sixes. Later in the episode, that point is driven home when Cavil and his buddies trick the Sixes and Sharons into an ambush. Out of range of the Resurrection Ship, they begin bombing the shit out of the Sixes, "really killing them" as a Sharon puts it.
"They will have their god to look after their immortal souls," observes Cavil.
"What about ours?" asks swing-vote Sharon.
"We don't have souls — we're machines, remember?" he replies tartly.
Atheist robots against evangelical robots in deep space! Now we're cooking with gas.
Meanwhile, on Starbuck's secret mission to scout for Earth based on her visions, things aren't going so well. Starbuck is sweaty most of the time, totally doesn't know where she's going, and keeps painting pictures of Earth's solar system on the ceiling of her cabin. I like macho Starbuck, but weird art girl Starbuck not so much. Luckily, her angst explodes into some seriously rough, angry sex with Anders.
It may be all nookie and art projects for Starbuck and Co., but back on Galactica the press corps are starting to ask questions. Why are Starbuck and a bunch of the crew gone for three weeks on a classified mission? In one of those oddly West Wing moments in this show, we are treated to a fairly lengthy meeting of the quorum — with Lee Adama sitting in as the most junior member — where the action gets explosive when Lee points out in front of the press that the president has a secret "executive order 112" to create puppet courts whose judges are all appointed by her. BSG creators Ron Moore and David Eick are not afraid to get wonky, you know what I mean? This is practically an ACLU press release about the Patriot Act.
So Lee is standing up to Roslin, which is awesome. But he's being coached behind the scenes by Zarek, which is not so awesome. On the bright side, Roslin is dying and we get to watch Admiral Adama reading to her in the hospital from a Dashiell Hammett-sounding novel about a detective in Caprica City called Love and Bullets. I hope the author of said novel shows up in spinoff show Caprica. I've always wanted to find out what it would be like to write hard boiled fiction on another planet.
The best subplot by far in this episode, however, is Cally's discovery that hubby Tyrol is a skinjob. She's been snot-nosed and depressed as usual, screaming at Tyrol about not spending enough time with her. In between popping space valiums, she decides to find Tyrol when he's late getting back to their cabin — and discovers him in the bar with Foster, who is talking in her newfound Creepy Voice about how great it is to be "open to changes" as a Cylon. While inappropriately stroking Tyrol's elbow.
It all looks very bad, so you can understand when Cally flips out and then follows Tyrol on a different night, only to discover the real reason he's been hanging out with Foster. She eavesdrops on a meeting of the sleeper agents, figures out that there's a skinjob conspiracy, and goes completely batshit. After braining Tyrol with a wrench (not fatally), she tries to suck herself and her hybrid baby out the airlock.
And here's the awesome dose of awesome: Foster comes into the airlock in the nick of time and talks Cally down in a hazy scene of tearful bonding and "yes we're Cylon but we're not evil" PSA messages. Just as Cally is coming around and deciding not to commit suicide, Foster punches her in the face, steals her baby, and sets the airlock to "kill Cally." Holy crap! I am liking this new evil Foster a lot.
By the way? I am so glad Cally is dead. She was a whiny bitch who never did anything but cry.