Episode Review: “The Ties That Bind”

April 20, 2008

by millari

So, this week’s episode was one where a lot of secondary characters got to come out and play, and wow, did they ever! Even though I’ll admit to have heard some rumors about this episode, those rumors did not begin to address the surprise we got at episode’s end! I’ll say no more spoilery outside the cut, but even kind of knowing what was coming, I was left gaping in the last 60 seconds. But remember, behind the cut, MAJOR SPOILERS…

Cally’s Death
Well, obviously, this was the big one this episode. This weekend, I was sitting in a darkened auditorium at New York Comic Con for this, in an auditorium full of rowdy BSG fans, mind you. Believe me, you could have heard a pin drop when Tory pushed that airlock button. (I heard one guy’s hushed, “Holy sh**t” and that was about it.) I said it last week, but now I feel it has been confirmed: Whatever else you want to say about Tory, she is HARDCORE, man. How long you think she’s been watching Roslin operating that airlock, taking notes?

Seriously though, in a show that likes to tell us that morality is often relative, and that the polarization of one’s beliefs is a really bad thing, Cally Tyrol has been one of those characters that really polarizes fans. I’ve very rarely run into people who are not either Cally lovers or Cally haters. I must admit that I myself have not been a big fan of Cally ever since she shot Boomer (although I quite liked her in the Miniseries, and thought she had some moments on Kobol). Nicki Clyne tends to make Cally a screeching and/or raging, and/or blubbering character, to the point where sometimes I want to shoot her out an airlock myself, admittedly. YET, I felt disturbed at the idea of cheering her death. I almost wonder if the writers took a look at that, at all the Cally-hate out there on the net, and decided when they needed to kill someone to ratchet up the tension, that they would play around with this.

Because on a gut level, I sympathize with Tory’s decision. Cally has always been a ticking time bomb of fury, and given a bit more time, she would have either killed Tyrol or her hybrid baby, or at the very least, exposed the Dylan Four. (In fact, why she didn’t just go straight to Adama and expose them all, I feel was not adequately explained.) And it’s not the Final Four’s fault what they are, and Cally irrationally hates them. This puts us the audience into the polarizing position of either hating Tory for killing Cally (which if some of the fans at the BSG panel at NYCC the next day were any evidence, some of them do now) or cheering her on for having ice in her veins and doing what needed to be done. It’s a strange and rather uncomfortable position to be in as a viewer, but not one we haven’t been placed in before many times by now – when Tigh killed Ellen, when Gina killed Cain, when Baltar killed Crashdown, and when Six killed Boomer on the basestar, just to take a few examples. I appreciate that if the writers were going to kill someone on the show to heighten the tension, they chose an interesting way to do it. And wow, the implications for Tory are stunning, to say the least. If I correctly understood the implications of the promo for next week, Tory is starting to embrace her inner robot, and she’s going to give the Sixes (no slouches in the badass department) a run for their money.

Get Your Revolution On

Speaking of cold, calculated murder, let’s talk about the no-longer brewing, but totally brewed and poured into pint glasses Cylon civil war, shall we?

So this week, Cavil decided to play Josef Stalin to Natalie!Six’s Lenin, huh? And while the results were left dangling for us until next week, it was clear that no matter the details of the outcome, there’ll be no turning back from this. We are going to be bogged down in a ugly quagmire of a robot civil war for the rest of the season, kids. I don’t see how after Cavil’s play to completely eliminate the Twos (Leobens), Sixes and Eights (Sharons) can lead to anything else.

Moral of the Story: Never trust a Cavil. The man’s very name refers to two-faced diplomacy and negotiation. The Sixes, Eights and Twos (who were strangely absent from the negotiations this week – I guess Callum Keith Rennie is an expensive bit player) have always been a bit naive in their own ways, but really, shouldn’t they have been a teensy more suspicious when Cavil suddenly reversed his position on lobotomizing the Raiders? I know I was. And then he agreed to unboxing the D’Annas. Putting that on the table was the final red flag. I think virtually everyone watching was like, “This can not end well.” And um, anyone else noticing that everyone (including Natalie) still talks about the Centurions like they can’t understand what they’re saying while they’re right there in the room? You know that Centurion cleaning up from last week’s bloodbath was thinking, “What am I doing over here? YOU’RE the motherfrakkers who should be on brain detail!”

The Demetrius

So we’ve got Kara, Sam, Helo, Sharon, Seelix, Gaeta and Red Shirt on a sekrit mission? Okay. (Btw, I irrationally love that the dateline on the screen said, “Mission: Find Earth”) What I’m wondering is who’s piloting the ship? Everyone one of them is qualified, although some of them can’t be very good at it – like Sam for instance, or like Gaeta.

Poor Gaeta. Yet again, he’s dealing with another figure of authority whose job he would be better at – Tigh, Baltar… Kara should let Gaeta plot those jumps. I mean, why else did they send him? What else is he there for otherwise? And what the hell is up with putting poor Gaeta in closed quarters with three people involved in The Circle, anyway? My show is so cruel to him.

Hmmm…speaking of our unhappy crew on the Demetrius, I sense a mutiny in the making. In fact, I hope Gaeta’s the one leading it. He’d make a hysterically efficient pirate, with checklists and stuff. He’d find Earth in under two weeks, and be back with pie.

But on to Kara: I was really intrigued by what she was saying to Sam about feeling detached from her body, how it doesn’t feel like she’s living her life. She almost makes it sound like she’s a spirit or ghost, or something. I was also reminded of “Solaris”, and wondered briefly at the possibility of Kara Thrace, Configuration of Molecules. As much as it would sadden me, I’m starting to become convinced that Kara Thrace is no longer human.

Not that would stop Sam Anders. His love for her. Watching her and Sam together, my friend and I were talking back to the screen the whole time, “Don’t do it, Sam, don’t do it…” Does he ever listen to reason where Kara is concerned? Ever? Just say no, Anders. Kara needs to hear that from you way more often.

At this weekend’s Comic Con, though, actor Michael Trucco had an interesting thing to say about why Anders sticks with Starbuck so hard, though. He sees Anders’ behavior as one part love, one part attraction to the volatility of their relationship, but also, on a less conscious level, one part survival instinct. Starbuck is a powerful woman, perhaps the strongest, most powerful human left alive, he pointed out, and Anders knows that.

Mr. Adama goes to Washington

Besides the “A” story of Cally’s discovery of the Final Four, this week’s episode was full of a lot of setup, and I feel this week’s stuff with Lee getting his feet wet in the Quorum was the most obvious example of that. Not a whole lot is happening with this yet, and I have to admit, I’m not sure I care that much yet what Executive Order 112 is, but it sure did seem to piss off Roslin when he brought it up. But I still don’t trust Zarek not to make a tempest in a teapot just to subvert Roslin, so we’ll have to see where that goes.

However, I did want to point out one character moment that made me go, “huh?” When Lee turned to Zarek and said something on the order of, “Sometimes what’s needed is a benevolent tyrant?” Did those words just come out of your mouth, Lee? This, from the man who defended Baltar? Who put a gun to Tigh’s head because Adama wanted to oust the president when she wanted to divert the resources of the Fleet based on a drug-induced vision? This is not the Lee Adama I know and enjoy. I hope this was just a momentary writer’s flub, and not a sign of what’s to come with Lee’s character.

But all in all, for an episode so full of setup, “The Ties That Bind” still had some undeniable excitement, and I’m already wondering if they’re going to show us a Cally funeral. (I really wish we’d gotten to see what Adama was saying to Tyrol at the end of the episode, but I’m optimistic that the reason we didn’t get to hear that this week is because we’re going to get to see the consequences of Cally’s death unfold in next week’s episode.)

Will Adama think Cally killed herself? That someone else killed her? What is Tory going to do with Nicky? Will Tyrol know what she did? Last week, I complained that the Dylan Four didn’t seem to have much of an agenda, but I think I will be proved wrong next week. Certainly, the Cylon support group will have plenty to talk about now…


  1. Thanks millari! Interesting to hear what Trucco had to say about Anders, since those of us watching here just cringed when he gave in to Starbuck. Strange that I even find myself sympathizing more with him than her at the moment.

    I’m learning my lesson with spoilers…I knew Cally’s death was coming months ago, though not the exact nature of it. Really took the punch out of that scene. I’m pretty spoiled for the next 7 episodes, but I’m trying to cure myself before it is too late.

    Interesting tidbit I can’t take credit for….if you look carefully at the painting Starbuck did on the wall above her bunk…it appears there is a ship shaped like a cross…very much like the Ship of Lights from the original series.

  2. Great review. I cracked up at your line re: Gaeta leading a possible mutiny, “He’d find Earth in under two weeks, and be back with pie.” It’s funny because it’s true. Good stuff.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Morgan!

    I noticed that next week’s promo showed a few shots of folks on the Demetrius. There seemed to be a lot of people saying “no” to Starbuck. I think some of my pirate dreams may be coming true!!

    I am totally, unabashedly, unobjectively a Gaeta booster, as you’ll soon notice if you read any more of my posts here. Glad to see others appreciate him too!

  4. Spacepug,

    I *noticed* that cross in the painting. It was very distinctive!

    Interesting. I have never seen the Ship of Lights episode, but I’ve seen metas bring it up before in reference to Starbuck’s story arc, as soon as “Maelstrom” came out. I’ll be curious to see if they go for a recreation of that old school BSG storyline whole hog, like they did with the Pegasus.

    I too have been trying to learn to be patient about spoilers. I remember when we came to visit you in Vancouver, and we went to the film studio, we talked for a while with a security guard there, who said that working there has kind of ruined the magic for him of the show. He was a huge fan before he worked there. Even the call sheets have spoiled storylines a bit for him. I remember him saying, “I just kind of don’t want to know anymore.”

    Cally’s death still had an impact for me, because for one sec, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen, and I thought “oh, it was a fake spoiler after all.” But then it wasn’t! So it kind of worked out for me after all, but yeah, since then I’ve kind of sworn off spoilers. I know what you mean….

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