Jammer's Review

Battlestar Galactica

"Home, Part 2"

****

Air date: 8/26/2005
Written by David Eick & Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Jeff Woolnough

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The message of "Home, Part 2" is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. After all that has happened — the betrayals and the philosophical divides — the simple fact of the matter is that these people need each other too much to let these differences keep them apart.

The episode is a rich, fully satisfying hour that provides some noteworthy resolution to the series' mythological elements while also establishing new questions for the characters. Thematically, this marks the end of season one, a full seven episodes into season two. It's like a bookend that resonates all the way back to the miniseries. At the end of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2," I wondered how — or even if — things could ever be repaired between these characters. This opening arc for season two has managed to show just how bad things can get and yet how wounds can indeed be repaired. This is done about as plausibly as possible under the circumstances. The writers have permitted many of these characters to forgive. My one hope, however, would be that that they do not forget.

The opening sequence echoes the brilliant opening from "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1," where the perspective cuts between characters as a musical piece provides the emotional backdrop. Adama makes plans to travel to Kobol as Roslin's party traverses the rainy terrain, with Sharon as their guide. ("We know more about your religion than you do," she notes of the Cylons.)

Surprisingly, "Home, Part 2" tackles even more character threads than I might've expected given that the plot must answer the question of what lies within the Tomb of Athena. This episode is even more character-oriented than part one.

For example: Baltar. As is the case much of the time, while the other characters are off discovering ancient tombs and repairing relationships, Baltar is off in his own little self-obsessed world with Six. In this particular case, in what is a fascinating scene, Baltar's hallucinations take a particularly sharp left turn that threatens to eject him from the vehicle. After appearing to him naked and being (rightfully) mocked for it, Six appears as a sweatshirt-and-ponytail version of herself, who laughs hysterically. The moment of transformation has an effectively jarring effect, as if Baltar's already-screwed-up reality has further shattered into something entirely unexpected and, thus, frightening.

The transformation goes beyond Six's look and also into her personality. Tricia Helfer performs this version of Six a little closer to ground level (although still exaggerated); instead of cooing in his ear, she laughs in his face and tells him that he is indeed quite crazy. She tells him she is in fact not a chip in his head, and dares him to have Dr. Cottle do a brain scan to settle the matter. As always, James Callis is amusing to watch squirm under these bizarre circumstances; it's funny to see Six back him into a corner, at which point Baltar turns 90 degrees and keeps on backing up.

Frankly, Six as a character is in need of a shake-up. (Even Baltar is noticing: "Do you have any notion of how ridiculous you've become? Prattling on about this mythical baby of ours?") It might be interesting, for example, to see various permutations of Six at war in Baltar's mind. Whether something like that will happen remains to be seen, but I for one hope this is not the last we see of ponytailed Six. The mystery of what exactly Six is (or whether Baltar is simply nuts) is still far from solved, but the writers at least seem to quell the notion of her being Cylon-installed technology. The writers also finally confirm that the Baltar/Six child isn't literally theirs but actually the Sharon/Helo child. I must also point out the harbinger of having Baltar identifying the Sharon/Helo child as his own.

On Kobol, the characters camp in tents as they make their journey toward the tomb. In a particularly good example of this series' commitment to characters, there's a sequence where we hear conversations going on in these various tents. Many conversations are commentaries on the other characters. Roslin sits alone, poring over scriptures. Zarek comments to Meier about how "losing that priest really frakked her up." They discuss a possible plot involving Lee's assassination, and Meier suggests a plan that recruits Sharon. Helo and Sharon sit together, trying to imagine some sense of normalcy to their relationship, which may be an exercise in hopeful thinking. Sharon has memories from the other Sharon, and feels a sense of family with people that she never actually met. Lee expresses to Kara his distaste about Helo and Sharon: "Gives me the creeps — seeing him acting like that with her." Surprising, how much ground this scene covers, demonstrating all the fragile relationships and hints of collision courses.

Adama, Tyrol, and Billy arrive on Kobol. The need for reunifying the fleet is demonstrated vividly via microcosm by the level of emotion played in the scene where Adama is reunited with his son and with Kara. That these scenes don't shy away from the emotional angle is an example of how this is more than simply a plot point but a character arc about abandonment and reconciliation. Similarly, Roslin is reunited with Billy.

We get a significant scene of resolution between Adama and Roslin that hearkens all the way back to the debate they had in the miniseries, where Roslin convinced Adama to flee rather than stand and fight. With news now that there are resistance movements on the Colonies, Roslin wonders if it was the right decision. Adama believes that it was, and that every day of life since they decided to flee is a gift. I liked the story's notion of having these two reanalyze their original differences of opinion in its larger goal of bringing about this reconciliation.

Then there's the whole Sharon issue, one of enormous multidimensional complexity. As an attempt to draw her into his plot to assassinate Lee, Meier tells Sharon how the other Sharon was killed in cold blood, and how "everyone just let it happen." Sharon's subsequent conversations with Helo reveal her distrust in anyone's ability to see her as anything but a toaster. The fact that Adama gave Cally only 30 days in the brig for killing the other Sharon is a point Sharon specifically cites as his belief that Cylons are merely toasters. The irony, of course, is that she was not privy to the soul-searching Adama had in coming to that punishment (see his scene with Tyrol in "The Farm"), and his acknowledgement that Sharon was indeed more than just a machine.

And how about the scene where Tyrol tries to talk to this new Sharon? Talk about your awkward situations complicated by sci-fi circumstances. There's the issue of what exactly Sharon does and doesn't remember from her other self, and the presence of Helo makes this into the most bizarre of would-be love triangles; I liked Helo's subtle observation in this scene, as if he's sizing up all the possible angles.

And there's also the intriguing ambivalence in the scene where Adama first sees Sharon and reacts viscerally, throwing her to the ground and choking her. He intends at first to kill her, but then releases her and clutches his chest. What does this mean? Is it the rage he feels in his chest that he spoke of bursting in "Home, Part 1"? Is there something else going on here? What about the fact that Sharon seems to know that he stood over the other Sharon's corpse and asked "Why?" This scene supplies hints but gives no specific answers. It does seem possible, however, that Sharon may remember more than she is letting on.

After three-fourths of an episode filled with character development, we finally get to the Tomb of Athena, where Sharon makes a very deliberate choice of turning Meier's assassination plot against him in a way that she hopes will earn her some trust in everyone else's eyes. She shoots Meier when she easily could've shot Adama, and then hands the gun to him. As trust goes, I suppose this is a start, although I was glad to see that by the end of the episode Sharon is still not considered a friend and is locked up. Her future is still very much in question.

The big payoff in the Tomb of Athena is itself depicted fairly straightforwardly, and the Arrow of Apollo shows the characters a map room of constellations as seen from Earth. In terms of tone, visuals, and atmosphere, this scene is just about perfect in its simple, low-key way, supplying the necessary sense of emotion and awe as our characters figure out what they are seeing. It's a payoff worthy of what has been set up in this arc; it definitively ties the BSG mythos into the Earth's zodiac. (Whether this was already done in the original series I don't know, but it works here.) The only thing I continue not to understand (and this goes all the way back to the miniseries) is exactly how the 12 Colonies were spatially arranged. I'd previously thought the suggestion was that they were all in the same star system (impossible as that may be), but the suggestion here is that they lie in completely different constellations.

The episode ends with a big speech by Adama and a slowly building applause for Roslin's reinstatement. It's a cliche of sorts, but one that this arc has earned with its depiction of struggle and hardship and gradual realizations. The feeling is that some semblance of normalcy can now resume. "Home, Part 2" is a stellar resolution to a stellar story arc.

Previous episode: Home, Part 1
Next episode: Final Cut

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18 comments on this review

Stef - Wed, Jan 23, 2008 - 8:37am (USA Central)
"Ponytailed Six" was supposed to be Starbuck. Six is wearing Starbucks cloths, has her haircut, and pulls the same faces as she speaks. Baltar had a Starbuck fixation at the time, so Six 'appeared' as Starbuck.
Jammer - Wed, Jan 23, 2008 - 9:02am (USA Central)
You know, I never thought about that before. Very interesting theory.
Grumpy - Tue, Sep 30, 2008 - 7:47pm (USA Central)
I disagree with Stef. Ponytailed Six was simply Tricia Hilfer (confirmed by the DVD commentary). The mask was off, at least for as long as Six wanted Baltar to think that the mask was off.
Jason K - Mon, Jan 19, 2009 - 10:15am (USA Central)
Hard to say what she was supposed to represent. She sure SOUNDED like Starbuck, and the facial expressions seemed to support that. It even sounded like Katee Sackhoff overdubbing the lines. Who knows.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - 6:23pm (USA Central)
Grat point Jammer about the misportrayal of the colonie. IF they truly are so distant from one another - they could not have had a meaningflu economic relationships, nor could the Cylons have been able to attack them all at the same time. This totally jumped the shark for me as I could no longer perceive the BSG universe as being credible. Seeing the colonies from Earth was a touching effect.
Daniel - Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - 10:04am (USA Central)
[Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS of the BSG SERIES FINALE. Do not highlight this text unless you want to be spoiled.]

One thing that has had me confused since the finale is with these constellations. These were meant to be the constellations as seen from the 13th Tribe's Earth and Gaeta in Revelations even stated that they were a match when they arrived there.

How then can we have these same constellations on Earth 2?

Nitpicking I know but it's been on my mind for a while now.
Pol30 - Tue, Oct 13, 2009 - 1:10am (USA Central)
The linguistic phenomena they ignore, listed in section 2, are among the phenomena also set aside in the overall vision of the MP, listed in this section. ,
Nick - Fri, Nov 6, 2009 - 9:25am (USA Central)
I agree with Stef. I just rewatched last night and from vocal inflection to the way Six sits in the chair with one leg propped on the bed, it screamed Starbuck to me.
Matrix - Tue, Jan 18, 2011 - 3:24am (USA Central)
I really liked the scene in the tomb of athena but thinking back on it now I keep wondering what actually happened in there! When I originally watched it I kept thinking that they had really been transported to Earth, even though that doesn't make a lot of sense looking back on it. I thought they went...somewhere at least! Any one else get that vibe? No matter what actually happened, that was a great scene and like the scenes where they lost power in the nebula, it really gave a sense of a bigger world out there for the colonials!
Erick - Sat, Feb 12, 2011 - 3:19am (USA Central)
SPOILERS:

I think the Tomb of Athena provided 2 clues.
1) What the constellations would look like at the final destination (Earth 2), and
2) The next clue (head towards the nebula)

I am re-watching the whole series again, and the continuity has been pretty good so far. Catching a lot more of the layers of the show. Fun to see the Final Five in action!
Nic - Sun, Mar 13, 2011 - 9:38pm (USA Central)
I think this was the best episode since "33". It took a long time to get here, but as you say the "reunited" scene is VERY moving and rings true exactly because the characters have been through so many rough patches in so little time (about two weeks, according to Moore). The pseudo-religious elements (i.e. seeing the constellatins from Earth's perspective when NOT on Earth + Six's claim to be an "Angel from God") bother me a bit. I am not against portraying characters who are religious, but showing events that CANNOT be explained in non-spiritual terms is crossing the line. Which reminds me, in a deleted scene, Billy reveals to Roslin that he is an atheist, but that he still believes in HER and Adama. A great scene, too bad it was cut.
Sanagi - Wed, Apr 6, 2011 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
The one issue I had with this episode is Meier. He's a foil for Zarek, because Zarek has too much at stake right now to play his usual troublemaker role. The problem is that Meier makes Zarek seem boringly reasonable by comparison without being interesting himself.
Nic - Tue, Apr 26, 2011 - 10:17am (USA Central)
It would have been nice to have a musical montage at the end of the episode to see everyone really coming together again - the conclusion to such a long arc felt a little rushed. It would also be truly coming full circle, as there was a montage at the beginning of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1".
Nick Poliskey - Tue, May 3, 2011 - 10:26am (USA Central)
I didn't like this one. I wanted to. But it just felt flat for some reason. And the show has been running on 8-10 straight amazing episodes, I felt this really didn't live up to what we were being set up for. I think maybe it felt a little to expected. Like, they basically find the way back to Earth, and there was not a single, "hey you were right", just a lets be back on ship and have a hug...

Plus, I watched a few episodes down the line, and I found that I enjoyed them all (except the video camera one, cluncker).

There were certainly aspects I like, Sharons arc being foremost, but Starbuck I am growing fond of also. It really felt like they found what should have been awe-inspiring, and it was "Oh-well, onto the next adventure". It almost seemed to Star Trek!!!

And I have to spoil a couple episodes ahead, but how come they seem to have found Earth, and than no one mentions it for the next 4 episodes????? HUH????
Michael - Tue, Nov 15, 2011 - 4:28pm (USA Central)
Mmm, no, this show didn't do it for me. Too much spiritual/mystical nonsense, which I don't go in for. Adama really went down in my esteem; hope he redeems himself in future episodes.

A few desultory thoughts:
Adama and Apollo's reunification scene was really touching, even if I think Apollo should have his ass thrown in jail, if not shot, for desertion.

Roslin display amazing hubris. "I did not ask for your forgiveness." The silly old crone, wading through mud looking for some tomb... - and THAT's the "president," worthy of applause and adulation upon return to Galactica!!? That scene was not uplifting at all; it was corny, fake and flat.

The x-ray scans are not octagonal ;) :D

I'd also subscribe to Stef's interpretation: The transformed Six had Starbuck written all over her.
Ryan - Sun, Feb 12, 2012 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
>"Ponytailed Six" was supposed to be Starbuck.

Nah.

>IF they truly are so distant from one another - they could not have had a meaningflu economic relationships, nor could the Cylons have been able to attack them all at the same time.

FTL drives, how do they work?
Dork Knight - Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - 8:06am (USA Central)
Regarding the constellations -

I didn't take it to mean that the colonies were LOCATED in the twelve separate constellations (this would've, as you've all pointed out, made intercolonial commerce impossible, or at the very least problematic).

The way I understood it was that the 12 tribes that left Kobol - an obviously religious people whose faith was heavily imbued by some form of astrology - CHOSE as their respective flag symbols recognizable constellations from the Zodiac. Over the intervening two millennia (or however long it was), these symbols changed slightly (as did their names: Taurus to Tauron, Capricorn to Caprica, etc). So when the 13th tribe on Earth was "looking up at their brethren" or whatever the exact quote was, it wasn't meant literally. It was just that Earth was the one place where all 12 of the colonies' REPRESENTATIVE Zodiac constellations could be seen in the night sky.

As for the layout of the 12 colonies themselves, I always understood that they were all meant to be in the same solar system (as impossible as that would actually be). This is backed up by the fact that when Galactica fired up her FTL Drive in the miniseries for the first time, everyone acted like this was the first major jump in YEARS. Look at all of the intercolonial traffic that didn't even HAVE FTL Drives (the ones that Roslin was forced to abandon). It seems as if no one besides the military has been using FTLs for quite some time.

By the time the ragtag fleet settles into their game of cat & mouse, FTL Jumps become old hat, but the miniseries strongly indicates that it's a novel experience at first. If this is, in fact, the case, then the 12 colonies would HAVE to be in very close proximity to one another for so much trade, traffic, and immigration to be conducted at sub-light speeds.

As to Ryan's question about FTL drives -

It's my understanding - and please understand that I could be talking completely out of my arse here - that it's essentially from the wormhole(ish) school of sci-fi space travel. Since you can't break the Einstein rule regarding light speed (although current scientific theory seems to suggest that Warp Drive is a lot less implausible than we originally thought), the FTL is essentially creating a temporary, ship-specific Einstein-Rosen bridge to connect two distant points of space, which allows the ship to "Jump" from one to the other. It's sort of like "Event Horizon", except without the detour through Hell.

Again, that's how I understood it, but I fully acknowledge that I could be dead, dumb wrong.
Cureboy - Sun, Dec 22, 2013 - 2:05pm (USA Central)
Just finished this one. Oh I wish I had somebody to talk about this show with. That's what I get for coming late to the party.

I'm glad the fleet is back together. It was a tiny bit too tidy. Wish there were some warning from Roslin to Adama about removing her from power. She can't be worrying about Adama pulling this every time she makes a decision. At the end of the day, I would think she is in charge. Hmmmmm.

The religion thing doesn't seem like any religion in our world, where scriptures are sometimes vague, open to interpretation and debate. Here it seems more like a written mythology which people fully believe in or fully dismiss. In our world, religion isn't so cut and dry with written clues to follow. Maybe that will be more fleshed out down the line. At any rate it is refreshing.

I never considered the geography of the twelve colonies. I just kinda figured they were within traveling distance and that's it. Never really thought twice about it until reading these reviews. It doesn't really matter to me. The show is more about where they are going.

So the cylons need love to reproduce? I'm now going to be suspicious of any love story. Could be a setup like Helo and Planet Caprica Sharon.

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