Battlestar Galactica season 1 episode 11 review: Colonial Day

Review Simon Brew 19 Aug 2009 - 06:20
Battlestar Galactica: Colonial Day

As Battlestar Galactica closes in on the end of its first season, Tom Zarek makes a reappearance...

11. Colonial Day

We've had religion in the last episode, and in Colonial Day, the emphasis moves back to politics. It's also a chance to reacquaint ourselves with Tom Zarek, whom we met earlier in the series and discovered was widely regarded as a terrorist.

The setting is the luxury liner Cloud 9, and it's here where President Roslin has tried to reintroduce further elements of democracy. She wants to set up a Quorum Of Twelve, with a representative from each of the colonies. Caprica finds itself represented by Dr Baltar, genius that he is, while Sagittaron nominates Zarek, to the disdain of Roslin and Commander Adama.

But the problems don't stop there. As Roslin opens the quorum, and attempts to get the agenda ratified, Zarek argues that this is the perfect time to nominate a vice president, reasoning that one is needed in case anything should happen to Roslin. This is an inspired narrative move, given that we know Roslin has months to live, and that, effectively, we could be looking at the election of the next president. By this stage, too, we've also seen that there's a shooter on Cloud 9, which adds to the mix.

Zarek wins the argument for a vice president to be considered, and his name is nominated. With 72 hours for other candidates to step forward, Roslin hunts for one of her own, and comes up with Wallace Grey. He initially has some support, but it soon becomes clear that it's dwindling in favour of Zarek. Eventually, she dumps Gray, and - on the back of an eloquent radio interview - opts for Baltar instead. This may prove to be a move she regrets, and not just because Baltar has Number 6 in his head, but he scrapes through on Roslin's casting vote. As Zarek notes, however, the presidential elections are but six months away, and if that means we've not seen the back of actor Richard Hatch, then all the better.

Tensions are high on Cloud 9 throughout, however, with the shooter eventually caught after a scuffle. Had Zarek won the vice presidential election, then it's all but certain that an attempt would have been made on Roslin's life. Baltar's victory has held that threat at arm's length for now, but Zarek is clearly a character with a lot more menace - and reason - to come. We can expect further political shenanigans, too, I'd wager.

Arguably the big moment of Colonial Day, however, takes place on Caprica, because this is the bit where Helo finally twigs. Firstly, he works out that the Cylons seem able to clone or replicate humans in some form. And then, just as he and Caprica Boomer arrive at Delphi, he sees another copy of her walking around. The penny loudly drops, and Helo is quickly off.

With something to say about how easily the media can be manipulated, the games that go on behind the scenes in politics, and how even an outright criminal can be presented in such reasonable light, Galactica continues to work on a number of levels with some skill.

Next, we start the descent to the season's close, with part one of the season finale, Kobol's Last Gleaming...

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