Battlestar Galactica season 2 episode 16 review: Sacrifice

We're heading to the end of season two of Battlestar Galactica. But what's Sacrifice all about?

2.16 Sacrifice

When the episode name of a television show is called Sacrifice, particularly when the show is on similar subject ground as Battlestar Galactica, then it’s time to lay down your best on just who isn’t going to make it to the end of the episode. That said, Battlestar Galactica being Battlestar Galactica, just because you’re dead it doesn’t mean you’re dead, given that there are still a good number of Cylons we don’t know anything about. But will Roslin’s Presidential aide Billy turn out to be one of them? Not sure, but I’d wager against at the moment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This episode picks up the theme of dissatisfaction within the fleet, only this time, instead of Cylon sympathisers, it’s protests at the harbouring of a Cylon captive. The Cylon captive, of course, is Sharon/Boomer, but news that she’s being held hasn’t been officially released. I wonder which of the crew has been letting slip such information? My Cylon sensor is a-tingling…

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It all starts quite quietly this time round, anyway, as some of the crew are having some recreational downtime. Among them are Dualla, Billy and Apollo, who have headed off to Cloud 9, where Ellen Tigh can also be found enjoying a few beverages. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m convinced that she’s a Cylon, and she’s the only one I’d put money on right now. But the show is in no hurry to tell me whether I’m right or wrong. Bah.

Anyway, into the midst of Cloud 9 comes Sesha Abinell, who – with the help of a few people armed with guns – walks into the bar at Cloud 9 and promptly takes everyone hostage. Her demands? She wants Sharon handed over, or everyone is going to die. You know the drill by now.

Over on Galactica, they quickly load up their equivalent of Wikipedia and discover that Abinell’s husband died in one of the recent Cylon attacks, and this hardens Adama’s stance against her. Both he and Roslin are firm that there’s no negotiating with terrorists. This strategy, however, is then altered to there’s no negotiation with terrorists unless they’re holding my son, as Adama learns that Apollo is also in the bar. Apollo, however, had spotted that trouble was arising, and thus dragged Ellen Tigh off to the bog. She thinks her luck’s in, he just wants her dry-ice laden drink, which he uses to fool the oxygen sensor into reporting that there’s too much CO2 in the atmosphere.

Fortunately, Starbuck happens to be on Cloud 9 too, and thus when Abinell demands that someone comes along to sort out the oxygen, she dons the overalls, takes in the tools, and looks the least likely oxygen repair person I could possibly imagine as she’s allowed into the bar. This being Galactica, though, if your bullshit radar is bleeping, then some character in there is likely to feel the same, and one of the gunmen quickly twigs that Starbuck isn’t who she’s proclaiming to be. This then cues up a gunfight where, just to add to emotional angst all round, Starbuck manages to shoot Apollo. The same Apollo who Billy realises has beaten him to the heart of Dualla. Things are never simple round here…

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Thus, we’re left with a failed rescue, and Lee dying in the bar. Therefore, Adama agrees to hand over Sharon, but fails to specify which one he’s planning to hand over. A quick trip to the morgue later, and the Sharon who shot Adama – you following this? – is delivered to Cloud 9. Again, they don’t buy it, and this allows for the sacrifice of the title to take place.

It didn’t take much to work out who was doomed. As soon as it became clear that Billy wasn’t going to win over Dualla, and as soon as he stropped off, his purpose in this episode was to take a bullet, and that’s what he does, although not before taking out the guy who was about to shoot Dualla. Phew.

Roslin is devastated at the death of Billy, although it looks like a gunshot wound is mere piffle to Apollo. And another relatively self-contained episode, that adds a few mental and physical scars to all concerned, wraps up its business. There’s not too much else to say about it, short of to say that it was good telly, but the show has inevitably struggled to recapture the flat-out brilliance of the middle of the season.

Which all leads us onto the next episode, The Captain’s Hand…