Battlestar Galactica Revisited: 2.07 Home Part 2
Ronald D Moore's re imagining of the 1970's sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica set a gold standard, both for sci-fi and TV reboots. The darker, grittier re imagining, that saw a fleet of human ships fleeing the dreaded Cylons in search of Earth, won a whole host of awards and critical acclaims over its seven-year run. With the series looking to go through another quasi-reboot under show runner Michael Lesslie, we look back at the first reboot that defined the early days of twenty-first century television. Next up is Home Part 2, a significant turning point in the show's history...
Home Part 2 is the end of a chapter. Not only does it resolve all the plot threads running through the civil conflict arc between Adama and Roslin, it also gives the series a renewed sense of direction, directly addressing a number of plot points begun way back on the 2003 mini series. The episode gives the series a fresh purpose, most notably in the change of dynamic between the commander and president. And for the first time, the dream of Earth is not just a myth, but a tangible possibility.
The arrival of Adama on Kobol is a significant and emotional step forward. For Apollo and his father, it is a fond hug, past betrayals and animosities forgotten in light of bigger events. Starbuck is forgiven for abandoning her mission with a soft look. Most importantly, there is a sense of respect between Adama and Roslin that has never been seen on screen before. Edward James Olmos gives a softer, more mature performance in this episode; Adama is charged with fixing his mistakes, putting past conflicts to bed. It's a wonderful side to the commander that makes him more endearing.
But there is still plenty of tension, most significantly in Adama's encounter with Sharon. While we see a warmer side to his relationship with Roslin, his reaction to the Cylon duplicate is one of rage; she betrayed him, shooting him in the chest and here she walks free. While his attack on Sharon is shocking to watch, it is understandable too. To him, she is not a human, but a machine.
If Part 2 acts as something of a redemptive arc for Adama, Sharon's journey is just as significant this episode. Having already worked hard to gain the trust of Starbuck and Roslin, Adama is something of an insurmountable task. Her desperate move, pretending to ally with the deceitful Meier, there is genuine tension as she turns on Adama during the stand off outside the cave, before switching again on the enemy and saving both Apollo and his father. It's a bold move, and one that endears her to the audience. While she might end up in a cell by the episode's end, there is hope that she has truly moved beyond her Cylon programming to help save humanity.
While Home Part 2 wraps up Sharon and Helo's journey from Cylon-occupied Caprica and the conflict between Adama and Roslin, another significant step is in how the episode addresses the BIG question surrounding Six; is she a chip in Baltar's head? There's plenty of fun to be had between Baltar and Six, Tricia Helfer having fun flitting between sexy femme fatale and messing with his mind by pretending to be nothing more than his imagination. Dressing like Starbuck is not lost on Baltar and the audience. James Callis once again has plenty of great comic timing; the scene where he is in the scanner, reacting to a teasing Six while Doc Cottle examines him, is another funny sequence.
In true Battlestar Galactica fashion, the mystery of what Six is, is both answered while remaining a true mystery. The episode confirms that she is definitely not a chip, but remains something more than a delusion. There is no way Baltar could ever have learned the things he did if Six was just a figment of his imagination; having her revealed as an angel of God is something poetic and suitably ambiguous. As the show leans into the religious mythology, this feels like a significant first step. It's another end point to the mystery running from the mini series.
The lie concerning Earth is another key plot point addressed by this episode. Up to now, there is a sense of desperation; the fleet is running from the Cylons, but they don't really have a destination, just an idea of where they might go. The revelations of the Temple of Athena gives everyone a concrete sense of purpose. It might be a long, long way, but there is a path to Earth shared by all. Of course, the revelations of season four with offer plenty of surprises before the end, but at this point in the show's history, it is a significant step forward.
There is a real sense of hope and joy as Roslin faces the applause of the crew of Galactica at the episode's end. She has earned her place and the respect of Adama. A path to Earth has been found. Cylon Sharon has proved herself and the mysteries surrounding Six and Baltar have been answered. After so many struggles, there is the real sense that humanity might survive, that a new home might be found. But of course, fans of the show will know that there will be plenty of stumbling blocks along the way...
The civil conflict that begun with season one two-part finale Kobol's Last Gleaming is the most ambitious arc on the show yet. After the largely episodic exploits of the fleet as they escape the Cylons in season one, the rich character-driven drama and opportunity to explore a different side to the show gave season two an incredibly strong start. But it also feels good to have ended; there has been little movement since the discovery of Kobol. Now the journey can finally begin again...