"Battlestar Galactica: The Woman King" - Mania.com



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  • Stars: Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff, James Callis, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park
  • Directed by: Michael Rymer
  • Created by: Ron Moore

"Battlestar Galactica: The Woman King"

By STEPHEN LACKEY     February 13, 2007


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Flesh and Bone
© Sci-Fi Channel

It’s good to have a solid director back in the Captain’s Chair of this series.  Whether you liked the episode or not, you have to admit that the assembly and overall presentation is a great improvement of the previous episode.  We are in filler mode now, as a handful of stories that are episode specific and don’t have much of an overreaching effect on the mythos of the series. This can be frustrating for me because I’m so hooked on the wider story arc.  It’s not all bad though, because we’ve been given some fantastic single story episodes, one of my favorites being “Scar”.  While this episode won’t go down in history as one of my favorite episodes, it is a solid entry and a welcome recovery from the mess that the previous episode was. 

In “The Woman King”, Helo is ordered to deal with an influx of refugees coming to Galactica.  He must find them places to stay and get them medical care if necessary.  It’s unsaid but I like to think its punishment for his actions in recent episodes of the series, most recently killing his Cylon wife so she would awaken on a Cylon base ship and grab her daughter and hightail it back to Galactica.  Anyway, the biggest problem is a group called Sagitarans who don’t believe in the use of modern medicine are appearing to be spreading a disease that if un-medicated will kill them and anyone they spread it too.  A civilian doctor that is respected by the military staff is put in charge of administering a vaccine that will cure the disease before it becomes lethal.   

After the death of one of the Sagitarans who had supposedly been medicated Helo begins an investigation because he believes the doctor may be a racist.  This is an interesting place for Helo to be character-wise because he is married to a Cylon, someone that many people in the fleet still hate just because of what she is regardless of what she’s done to help them.  You’d think Sharon would support him in his cause because of what happened to her and how hard it was for her to become a part of the Galatica crew.  But, in a very human move, she wants him to drop it, not wanting any more attention brought to her leaving Helo in the same position he was when he tried to help her, alone in his crusade. 

There are just a few scenes in this episode that attempt to tie it into the coming larger story, that of Baltar’s trial.  In an impassioned bit of classic sci-fi scene chewing Vice President Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) warns the President that Baltar’s trial will cause civil unrest and assignation attempts.  That’s really about all we get on this storyline.  It really just felt like it was stuck in there to prepare us for a larger story to come (During sweeps?).  There is however one great scene with Caprica seeing her imaginary Baltar that brings the fantasy elements back to a fairly grounded episode.  The theme music for these two is fantastic; it really makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. 

The producers have warned us to be ready for a pretty wild ride and not to be surprised to see a main character get killed off during this season.  Many fans believed it was D’Anna but I didn’t because I feel like she’ll be “unboxed” when the time is right.  I almost believed last night that it was going to be Dualla when she got sick and had to get medication.  She also is a Sagitaran.  Alas, that wasn’t the case but it would’ve been really dramatic and something that would have affected the series dramatically in the long run.   

There’s not much surprising about this episode, in fact it’s about the most predictable one we’ve seen but it’s not meant to be surprising in the typical plot twist way.  This episode is supposed to deepen Helo’s character and show us what makes him tick and why he makes the decisions he makes.  Helo is someone I was really starting to hate, someone that felt like more of a plot device than a person, so he needed this development and it works well adding meaning to the decisions he’s made in previous episodes.  His interactions with his superiors show them realizing more about Helo too and respecting it.  The drama and character development is solid and the social commentary and timeliness of the episode are examples of what makes BSG one of the best series on television.  It looks like next week is going to be filler too.  If it’s as solid as this episode was then it’ll make the wait for the major stories to kick in a little easier to bear.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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browbeat 2/13/2007 4:02:23 AM
Oh my guess isn't on Dualla biting the bullet. It's someone that'll have fans ticked. I have my guesses (and they don't include Baltar, Adama, or Roselyn). We'll see what happens.
snallygaster 2/13/2007 8:43:38 AM
I thought it was a nice change of pace to have a medical episode. It's always great to see Dr. Cottle - he's such a cantankerous bastard. He's easily my favorite starship medical doctor since McCoy. Bruce Davison is also always a treat to see appear in anything. He's a terrific character actor, a soft-spoken actor who can play understated SOBs like Dr. Richard.
bdd 2/13/2007 12:02:00 PM
I thought this episode was simply horrible. Sure last week's episode had some bad editing and they edited out important parts but this episode was shit! The charaters were all against Helo for no reason, they all believe the doctor. Instead of it ending in some twist that the stress made Helo insane or that it was a coverup by higher commanders we get the Star Trek ending wher Helo is right and it means nothing. This is up there with one of my least favorite episodes ever of this show. I can't stand this episode, it's as bad or worse than the season 2.5 episodes. I will never watch this shit episode again.
MrKeith 2/13/2007 12:25:55 PM
As much as I love big, giant, sweeping, serial story arcs that turn a TV show into an epic saga, I have to admit that a "filler" episode shows a true test of any series. Especially when they they have an episode so succinct you can show it to your friend without making them wade through either backstory, or several hours of episodes before something happens. I liked this episode. I was hoping for it to deal with Baltar. But if that's an overall story arc, I can't complain.
Skoora_home 2/13/2007 12:51:32 PM
You might want to use spellcheck. There's a big difference between assignation and assassination and not just in spelling. I like Helo's character, I just think they could develop characters and excite us at the same time which they failed to do on this one. This show hasn't made me go wow in quite a while...and that used to happen quite a lot in Season 2. I miss it. At this rate this show will be cancelled before they make any real progress. Which is a bummer.
jetpackjesus 2/13/2007 3:47:25 PM
What I liked about this episode was that it was nothing more than filler, yet still addressed a real social issue - prejudice. They looked at different levels of the issues, which is what made the episode work for me. The civilian doctor was a blatant racist while much of the crew was more than willing to simply ignore what was really happening. You also get the actions of Dualla making prejudiced comments about her own race and Sharon being unwilling to help those in a similar plight to one she experienced (and still does). Racism is a complex thing and I think the episode did a decent job showing that. It was also nice to see Helo's character developed a little bit. He's made some bad decisions with regard to the safety of the fleet, and it was nice to see his awareness of the fact. To me, however, his actions seem to be demonstrating the most humanity of anyone on the Galactica. I think Helo and Baltar are representing two ends of a humanity spectrum. Helo is compassionate to a fault and unwilling to compromise his morality to do what others might want or expect. Baltar, however, will do whatever it takes to protect or help himself. Everyone else appears to be somewhere in between. I'd say this was a pretty average episode. It wasn't great, but I think it was still better than most other stuff on television.
bdd 2/13/2007 6:25:56 PM
skoora the show has already been picked up for a 13 episode 4th season so there should be less crap and more goodness.
TheRage 2/13/2007 6:44:34 PM
My speculation on who get's killed this season is Baltar! His trial will be an allegory of Saddam's trial and we will see him executed and resurrected as a Cylon!
Captmathman 2/13/2007 8:58:02 PM
Not a bad episode. It dealt with more than race, too; religion vs. science was a major theme. Pretty deft way of handling the issue, too. Rage: If Baltar is executed and resurrected as a Cylon, that wouldn't really count. If it did, Sharon's death, as part of her plot to recover Hera, could just as easily have been THE death. Nope. Katie's gone, say bye-bye to Starbuck. Probably sacrificing herself to save Lee.
TheRage 2/13/2007 9:21:48 PM
Captmathman: I get what you are saying but if it was done at the season finale and we don't see the good Doctor until some climatic point well into season 4 it would work well. If Baltar finally learns he is a Cylon he could become a real badass in season 4. Starbuck is a good guess too considering her talk with Hilo about destiny and the painting of the supernova she painted on Caprica
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