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BSG 4.04: "Escape Velocity"

I'm still digesting last night's episode.

I can't quite decide how I feel about it.  The following is my initial thoughts:

I was at first baffled by the title.

Last week was "The Tie That  Binds", and it was mostly Cally's story.  I guess the tie it "spoke" of could be family, marriage, or love.  Cally discovered the truth about her husband.  But it was too late for her, because she was already "tied" to Tyrol.  Deep down, Cally loved her husband, and she couldn't bring herself to betray his secret.  She thought death was her only way out.  And she was killed to keep her silence...

This week, the A story line involves how one (particularly Tyrol and Tigh) deals with the pain and despair of losing a loved one, I think.

But why call it "Escape Velocity"?  I thought it was a strange title until hubby helpfully pointed out I should think physics.

I suck at physics.

So he reminded me -- in physics, escape velocity describes the speed needed to break free from a gravitational field.

Then it began to make a little sense -- It's a metaphor!

The pain Tyrol and Tigh felt at losing their respective wives weighed on them like gravity.  It pulled them toward its center and "imprisoned" them.  In order to break free from it, both Tyrol and Tigh took extreme actions in their own ways.

Tyrol felt immensely guilty about Cally's death.  I don't believe he knew Cally was onto his secret.  But he thought she killed herself because he gave her reasons to think he was having an affair.  He knew ultimately she died because of him.  Thus, he wanted to be punished.  But he couldn't get the punishment he so sought after -- not without revealing his secret.

Everyone walked gingerly around him, treated him with kid-glove, even when he royally screwed up.  So Tyrol "blew up".  In front of the Admiral.  The very person who could mete out the punishment he wanted.  For Tyrol, that is the "escape velocity".

I think Tyrol's angry words to Adama were only half-truth.  I believe he truely regreted not being able to be with Boomer.  But I don't believe he hated Cally.  I think he had grown to love her, and care about her.  The tenderness he exhibited while watching his wife asleep (in "The Tie That Binds") was real in my opinion.  Tyrol might resent Cally for dying.  But deep down, I think he hated himself more.  Of who he is, and who he has been, Tyrol can no longer be sure.  Thus, he wanted to be locked up behind the bars, to atone his guilt.  But at the same time, Tyrol couldn't exactly give himself away by saying what truely troubled him, so he ended up spewing a bunch of crazy things (my favorite is his words to Adama:  "You say you care, but you never ask the right question")... 

Like Tyrol, Tigh also felt extremely guilty about Ellen's death.  This guilt was intensified after he discovered himself was a Cylon.  His fascination with Six started with him thinking she had the ability to "turn off" her emotions (including pain).  Since they are of the same kind, Tigh wanted to learn how she did it.  But Six could no more cut off her emotions than he could.  The more she talked about her love for Baltar, how it pained her, and empowered her at the same time, the more Six reminded Tigh the Ellen in his mind, of how she "sacrificed" herself for the man she loved (him).  So for Tigh, his "escape velocity" became seeking absolution from his dead wife, through the hands of Six.

There was one particular exchange between Tigh and Six that I liked:  Tigh was envisioning Ellen again through Six.  When Six was speaking of her love for her man, Tigh's eye literally lit up.  He was hearing his Ellen speaking to him.  However, Six brought up Baltar's name, then the glow went out immediately, and Tigh became jealous.  This scene recalled the irony of their relationship for me -- despite her love for the man she married, Ellen was hugely unfaithful; and because of it, Tigh both loved and hated his wife at the same time.

This week's B story line involves the political, and social ramification of how the fleet's government deals with Baltar, and his cult.

By far, this one captured most of my attention.

Lee's scenes were too scarce for sure.  It's the reason why I don't *love* this episode.  But what few scenes Lee had were really good in my opinion.

It was fantastic to see Lee stood his ground against Roslin.  Even faced with her impassioned speech (and threat), he did not back down from what he believed in.  Like Roslin said, he's Lee!

I applaud what Lee did here.  Yes, Baltar and his cult were a thorn in the government's side.  But Roslin's measure was a quick and easy fix that if implemented, could do far more lasting harm to the fleet in the long run.  Mdm Prez's objective was to keep her people safe, a benign and honorable goal.  But does sacrificing people's rights make their lives any safer?  Lee didn't think so.

As Roslin's cancer further progresses, she becomes more emboldened.  This was evident in her personally delivered threat to Baltar.  It's almost like she's in a time crunch, she wants to make sure she fulfills her part as prophesied, and she really doesn't care what happens after she dies.  Unfortunately, her position doesn't afford her the luxury of disregarding rules though.  Whatever she does now will leave a legacy long after she passes through "this" life.

It was wonderful to see Lee, in his white shirt (a white knight, perhaps?) came to save the day for Baltar, and his pathetic little cult.  This could only mean that Lee's argument won the vote.  Majority of the Quorum agreed with him, as they should.  Yay!

That little exchange between Lee and Baltar was interesting.  I'm not sure I heard it correctly, I thought they said:
Baltar: "Thanks!"
Lee: "I don't do these things for you."
Baltar: "You do them because your god compels you!"
My heart did a little flip-flop after I heard this.  As someone who strongly hoping Lee isn't the final cylon, I get a little worried if TPTB isn't setting him up to be exactly that!  I don't see how Lee could be a cylon without some major retcon.  But this exchange is a little peculiar to me.

And putting Lee in the audience while Baltar delivered "you are perfect" (a sentiment echoes Cylons' view of themselves) speech didn't help either.

ETA:  I've watched this episode a second time.  This time, I paid special attention to the talk between Roslin and Adama toward the end:
Roslin: "Lee has no idea.  He really has no idea..."
Adama: "Have you heard anything else..."
Roslin: "There are pragmatic realities he refuses to face."
Adama: "Well, that's a problem of course. He says what he thinks is right."
Roslin: "Oh yeah, he's Lee!"
Roslin: "The thing is this probably is the right thing, but..."
Roslin: "Sometimes the right thing is a luxury, and it can have profound and dangerous consequences."
Roslin: "It's almost as if he doesn't want that to be true. Okay, okay, I must stop this. I'm not suppose to get upset during the treatment..."
I can't describe how happy it makes me to hear these two discuss Lee like that!  Looks like Papadama and Mdm Prez started to understand Lee a little better these days. *g*

I'm heartened that they both realized Lee stays true to his principals.  Always.

So is Lee a pragmatic realist, or a quixotic idealist?  The argument can be a mile long, I think.  But one thing is for sure:  he doesn't take the *easy* way just because it's neat and convenient!
 

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