BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - 'The Ties That Bind'

SkyHD - 22nd April 2008 - 9.00pm

Now that one crept up on me.

Quite honestly I was half dozing through that episode until probably the last 20 minutes or so. I was prepared to write it off as one of the dullest episodes to date when all of a sudden all the plot threads drew together and I was left sitting on the edge of my seat.

Just when you think the writers aren't going to bother moving the plot forward, the rug gets pulled! Let's have a little look then. You've got the Four, hidden away on Galactica, meeting in secret; Anders, Helo and Starbuck getting cabin fever on the shit ship looking for Earth (when they get there no one will talk to them anyway as they'll stink to high heaven); machinations back on the Cylon basestars between Six and Cavill; and then Apollo throwing a few punches to Roslin during an executive meeting. Keep up at the back!

So...Cavill gets reborn and a big snog from a Boomer model and then starts plotting against the Sixes. Boomer's hots for Cavill does seem to indicate why she's supporting the Cylon Lobotomy Plan (CLP to us). Dean Stockwell is superb as the scheming Cavill and we're hoodwinked into believing he's acceeded to the Six demands. This plot line saunters along nicely and then....twist!....Cavill simply bombs the Base Stars loyal to Six in a gob-smacking denouement full of spectacle and tense hand-wringing from Cavill and Boomer. Oh, I say. American War Of Independence, anyone?

Unfortunately, the Four on Galactica plotline is rather spoiled by a screaming baby and an equally traumatised Cally (the superb Nicki Clyne). I didn't know if Clyne was upset because she had a wailing child in her arms for 40 odd minutes or she'd seen the end of the script and was worried for her career. Poor old Cally. You do have to feel sorry for her. Lumbered with a whingeing child, and that's just the Chief, and half-breed baby (oh, that's the Chief and his kid). It all gets a bit much for her and she ends up spying on the Four in a very tense little scene, gets that the Four are Cylons, and as a result scuttles off to throw herself out of the nearest airlock. I felt very guilty as I chanted 'Do it! Do it!' during that scene. Clyne was seriously channelling Shelley Duvall's Wendy from 'The Shining' at that point too so I would have been quite happy to see her and the baby go tumbling into space. Naughty Francis! Anyhow, Tory shows up, belts her about a bit, snaps up the nipper and sends Cally off into the void even after promising the Four weren't 'evil'. Pretty bloody evil to me, darlin'. It's a stunning, shocking end to the episode and kudos to Clyne for a fine performance.

The weakest part of the episode is the sub-plot with Anders, Helo and Starbuck as they dick about looking for Earth. Kara comes on like Jackson Pollock and starts painting the ship and Anders slips in a quick bonk whilst they try to piece together their relationship. Yawn. Something needs to happen here or the viewers will get as frustrated as Gaeta, Athena and co with the navel gazing that's going on.

Meanwhile, Lee Apollo joins civvy street and gets tangled with Roslin in the first Quorum meeting with a helping hand from Richard Hatch's Tom Zarek. There's a great Homeland Security 'rule by fear' subtext playing out here as he reveals Roslin's plans to go all Guantanamo Bay on the fleet. And Zarek's obviously manipulating it all to get his feet under the table.

Cally getting spaced, Apollo trouncing Roslin and Cavill bombing the other Cylons all neatly fold around each other whilst the 'Earth' search plot is left flapping in the wind. For about 20 minutes it is a bit heavy going what with screaming babies, crying Cally, Tory and the Chief chatting each other up in a bar, Anders and Starbuck raking over the ashes of their marriage. All personal storylines that then climax in big plot twists (a different sort of climax for Anders I suspect) and that save the episode from being rather dull. Good stuff and can't wait for the repercussions from Cally's death. Unless, of course, she's a Cylon too and gets reborn! Nah, they wouldn't, would they?

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