Battlestar Galactica season 1 episode 10 review: The Hand Of God

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Review Simon Brew 18 Aug 2009 - 15:40
Battlestar Galactica: The Hand Of God

The tactics of Starbuck are called upon, as the search for tylium keeps the crew of Battlestar Galactica occupied...

10. The Hand Of God

Earlier in the series, we had a shortage of water. In The Hand Of God, it's the search for more fuel that's firmly on the radar, when we learn that there's barely enough in the tank for another jump or two. It's, once more, a stark choice that Galactica faces: find some fuel, or risk being sitting ducks when the Cylons once more come a-visiting.

Adama, therefore, sends out the Raptors to try and hunt down some tylium, and its Boomer once again who strikes gold, as she and Crashdown find an asteroid that's brimming with the stuff. Yet there's a problem: the Cylons are already there in numbers, both needing the fuel themselves, and surely anticipating that Galactica would be along to find some too. Tigh and Adama briefly consider jumping elsewhere and starting a search again, but the hopelessness of the cause is quickly assessed by Tigh when he reasons that the chances are the Cylons would be there too were they do find another batch of tylium.

So the conundrum is clear: here is the fuel that Galactica needs for the next couple of years, but you have to get past shitloads of Cylons to get to it. Nobody said this was going to be easy.

As it happens, Adama calls for Starbuck when it's time to plan the assault. Starbuck's knee, we later learn, isn't strong enough to let her fly herself, and thus she has to watch this one from Galactica. And she clearly doesn't like doing so. That said, Tigh doesn't like having Starbuck around either, especially when she quickly tears apart the textbook tactics that are presented. She, instead, comes up with something far more radical and dangerous, involving two Colonial ships as decoys.

When it comes to the action itself, it seems that the plan is failing. The Cylons don't buy the decoy, and instead take on the Vipers and start heading for Galactica. And yet there's a double bluff here, one that Adama, interestingly, has kept from President Roslin, among others. There's always been a simmering mistrust between the pair, albeit tinged with respect, but the friction seems to be growing episode by episode. Adama's decision here clearly doesn't help matters.

As it turns out, the double bluff sees the deployment of Vipers that are hidden away on one of the decoy vessels, and after a tricky assault, it's Apollo who - after doubts from some as to whether he'd be up to the job - emerges the hero, after some very risky flying.

That's the core of the episode, but it's the bits and pieces around the edges that continue to really intrigue. Primarily, it's the increasing complexity of Roslin, who is now getting more and more dreams and visions, which she talks to Priestess Elosha about. The Priestess relates these, with some shock, to the sacred scrolls of the oracle Pythia, and the prophecies contained within. These prophecies tell of the ultimate rebirth after exile of humanity, led by a leader who happens to be dying. Roslin certainly fits the bill there.

Religion is a theme that's been bubbling away throughout the series to date, with the Cylons worshipping a single God while the colonists follow several. Could that be coming to a head, and could Roslin be pivotal there? There are certainly many layers that seem to be being put in place.

There was still room to squeeze in a glimpse down at the Caprica surface, with Helo and the Caprica Boomer still on the run. But the reappearance of Number Six causes Helo alarm, given that he'd seen her die before (and, of course, he doesn't have the same information on Cylons as those on Galactica), but it's the squadron of Centurions she's leading that probably tip him over the edge.

Again, I really enjoyed this episode. The strategy of the battle itself, primarily relayed by pushing model ships around a board (and there's a lesson there: flashy effects aren't always necessary), was very well implemented, and the threads it leaves to pick up in future episodes are potentially very, very interesting. Next up? It's Colonial Day...

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