Battlestar Galactica Review: "Someone to Watch Over Me" (Episode 4.19)

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With three episodes until the finale, “Someone to Watch Over Me” was another exercise in building tension through omission. We don’t learn any more about the show’s prehistory, or of Cavil’s machinations. Instead, we’re treated to another bout of character drama vis-à-vis Starbuck and Tyrol. The show’s Starbuck-centric episodes have been almost universally weak, making this already excellent episode even stronger by comparison.

The Cylons, newly added to the Quorum, demand that Boomer stand trial for her collaboration with Cavil. Roslin remains impervious to Tyrol’s pleas to keep Boomer locked up in the brig, and arranges for her extradition while delivering some icy (and prescient) words about Boomer’s knack for manipulating people. The rest of the Five refuse to intervene on Boomer’s behalf either - this is strictly between her and the exiled Cylons.

Starbuck meets the show’s version of Thom Yorke in the bar - a scruffy musician with a propensity for ambient downtempo piano. We get to see a side of Kara Thrace in this episode that’s usually veiled by her ace pilot-swagger, as she spills intimate details about her deadbeat pianist father. “How is it possible that I found my body and I’m still here? Am I a demon?” And Yorke-lite, for his part, is happy to plunk out a few tunes and offer some sage advice to an aimless Starbuck: “Just because you don’t know your direction doesn’t mean you don’t have one.”

Meanwhile, Boomer deploys some Cylon software when a pining Tyrol comes to visit her in the brig - the same image projection Caprica Six used on Baltar. In this fantasy world, Boomer and Tyrol are happily married and living in a house on Pikon with their daughter. It’s the paradise lost implicit in Tyrol’s lament: “How many of us ended up with the people we really wanted to be with?”

With Tyrol’s help, Boomer escapes and knocks out two different Eights, eventually disguising herself as Athena. As if to erase any doubts about her role as femme fatale, she then gets frisky with Helo while the real Athena, hanging beaten, gagged and bloody in a nearby closet, watches. Boomer stops by the daycare and snatches Hera, and then hightails it to a Raptor and narrowly manages to jump away, with Hera stowed in a crate. Her jump is so close to the Galactica that it tears a hole in the side of the ship - the ships last hours seem to be fast approaching.

As Boomer escapes, Roslin says the name “Hera!” and collapses, perhaps dead. A guard rushes to check her pulse, and Adama begins looking around the Bridge like he’s been sucker punched. And Tyrol, desperately dashing back through his dream world, finds his daughter’s room empty and collapses in anguish.

Boomer’s flight from the Cylons must have been orchestrated by Cavil, Ellen Tigh muses. The only reason she was able to escape back to Galactica was so Boomer could steal Hera. Starbuck is pounding the keys with her piano buddy when he triggers memories of her playing piano with her father. When she awakes, the man is gone. And as she looks at a painting Hera did for her, she realizes the painting matches up with the notes to a song: “All Along the Watchtower” - the song that ‘woke up’ the final Five (the “what the fuck” look on Tigh’s face when he heard Kara playing the song was priceless.)

Starbuck’s resurrection is still a mystery at this point, and we don’t actually learn why Hera was able to compose a Bob Dylan cover, but that wasn’t the point. This was a story about people, and the mythology once again took a back seat. The Galactica is a sitting duck right now, meaning a showdown with Cavil’s fleet is nigh inevitable. And the anticipation will make the coming resolution that much sweeter.

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