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Worst vacation ever

December 13, 2008
In the webisode series "The Face of the Enemy" Alessandro Juliani as Lt. Felix Gaeta looks a lot less tidy than shown here.

Alessandro Juliani as Lt. Felix Gaeta in the webisode series "The Face of the Enemy", which premiered Dec. 12. In part one, he already looks a lot less tidy than seen here.

So for those of us who have been dying for even some scraps of BSG goodness, our wishes  came true with the premiere of “The Face of the Enemy,” ten short “webisodes” that focus on one storyline starring Alessandro Juliani and featuring Grace Park.

The webisodes’ storyline is supposed to bridge the space between Season 4.0 and Season 4.5, setting up themes and context for elements of Season 4.5, which premieres on January 16. It’s the first time an episode has starred Canadian actor Juliani, and he certainly has his work cut out for him, having not only to carry a tightly-told  storyline, but also having to act with a CGI prosthetic leg, which Felix Gaeta has apparently received since we last saw him at the end of Season 4.5.

However, it does look like he will get a lot of intense, interesting material to work with, if the flashbacks the webisodes opened up with are any indication. In the first of these ten webisodes, we get to see what happens when poor, beleagured Lt. Felix Gaeta tries to take a vacation. He really should have known better.

Right from the beginning, we see that the overworked Felix- who has been pretty much forced into taking a week off on the Zephyr at Col. Tigh’s order –  is going to have a real ugly time of it. To leave us with our jaws hanging open in anticipation of the next one, the first webisode begins by telling us that “nine days after the discovery of a devastated Earth, Lt. Felix Gaeta will find himself here,” and then flashes through an incredibly quick succession of traumatic, violent images, that according to webisodes co-writer Jane Espenson (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame), are Felix’s memories of the last few days on a shuttle Raptor to the Zephyr that never reaches its destination.

Among other images, we see the Raptor drifting aimlessly in space, Felix in a disheveled pilot’s suit, drenched from head to toe in blood (not clear if it’s his own), a timeclock counting down hours (perhaps how much oxygen they have left?), a pair of similarly blood-drenched hands and some other hands injecting a dose of something into someone’s neck, and yet another pair of hands cutting into their own palm with a scalpel. We also see Felix struggling to write down a list of names and numbers (perhaps the Colonial version of government i.d. numbers?).

What the hell has happened here?

Well, before we get to find that all out, we find out another surprise revelation as we first go back three days in the timeline to see a very reluctant Felix Gaeta hobbling from the CIC in his duty uniform, off to the hangar deck and to his enforced vacation. He is wearing a newly-acquired, ill-fitting prosthetic leg and walking with a crutch.

Lt. Hoshi, Pegasus‘ former communications officer who has been serving on the Galactica since mid-Season 3 thanks to Lee blowing up the Pegasus in the New Caprica rescue, catches up with Felix in the hallways of Galactica just before Felix is about to go meet his shuttle to the Zephyr. Hoshi gives Felix some hard-to-get morpha doses and tells him to enjoy his week off.

“Go,” he tells him. “Feel better. I’ll be waiting.”  The two of them then share a brief, comfortable kiss, making it clear that these two have been a couple for some time now.

That’s right. Felix Gaeta is totally getting some. Finally. After three and a half seasons of watching practically every one of his colleagues frak like bunnies. I, for one, am pleased.

Now, I personally would love to know when in the Galactica timeline this happened, but this is a four-minute webisode, so we’ve got ground to cover. And so with that quick reveal, Felix is off to the hangar deck, where to his dismay, he is boarding this Raptor shuttle with a variety of passengers that includes two Cylons – a pair of non-descript Eights to be exact.

Their outfits make it clear that one of the Eights is a pilot. The other one is dressed in fashionable casual wear, and frankly, looks and acts a lot like that stalkery Eight that was on the basestar in “The Hub,” – the one who revealed to Helo that she had downloaded Athena’s memories as her own and thus had intimate knowledge of him and Hera. But time will tell if this is actually her.

Nevertheless, something strange is going on, for Felix stares at the two of them for quite a bit longer than necessary as they approach. Then, once they reach him, he seems to resolutely ignore them. Meanwhile, the casually-dressed Eight also seems to be watching Felix intently, and immediately jumps to his aid when Felix attempts to board the Raptor and pitches forward clumsily on his prosthetic leg and crutch, almost falling. Felix looks annoyed and embarrassed at needing help, but maybe also angry that this unknown Cylon is the one to help him. His vitriol may just be your run-of-the-mill Cylon hatred, or perhaps a holdover hatred from his New Caprica days, but definitely the camera work is trying to suggest that there’s something intensely personal going on here.

Once on the Raptor, we see that the casually-dressed Eight is still stealing long glances at Felix, despite the fact that he is not looking at her at all (either through obliviousness or stubborn determination). We also meet two previously unknown pilots – Shark (whose call sign I’ve seen before on pilot rosters, but I’m pretty sure we’ve never seen an actor associated with that name) and an unknown female ECO. The trip is supposed to take 15 minutes from the Galactica to the Zephyr, but this routine journey is stymied by the sudden appearance of hostile Cylons in the air, and Galactica orders everyone in the Fleet to jump. Along with everyone else, the Raptor jumps, but on the other end, it finds itself all alone in the wrong part of space.

Staring at an empty DRADIS screen in shock, Gaeta gets up, in quite a lot of obvious discomfort, and asks the obvious question no one can quite yet formulate:

“Where’s the Fleet?”

Tune in next week folks, for more fun and excitement (oh yeah, right. It’s probably not going to be any fun for our heroes, actually) as Felix’s raptor continues to drift through space with time running out and people dying mysteriously. Will Galactica try and mount a search-and-rescue, or are they too busy fighting the Cylon Fleet? Will Hoshi and Felix ever get to see each other again? Why does the mysterious Eight keep staring at Felix? Will we ever find out Hoshi’s first name?

See you here again next week.

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