Now that's how you do a stand-alone episode that doesn't feel like filler. A run-in with a Raptor puts Colonial One in the shop, leading to yet more flirting between Laura and Bill and also exposing the first thread in a whole messy sweater of civil rights, eminent domain, child labor, Marxist bloviations, and anger management. It is Chief who unravels the sweater, at his wife's behest, but it turns out she's been reading Gaius Baltar's new book, Fomenting Civil Unrest Among Dirty Poor People, which it turns out is easy as pie. Chief finds himself informally returning to his New Caprica role head of the Fleet's labor unions, with the glares of Madame President and William Adama making for some pretty awkward dinner conversation. At one point, for example, Adama goes all Helena Cain and threatens to line Cally up against the bulkhead and shoot her; even worse, he doesn't follow through. He kind of has a point, which is scary but involves how you deal with labor concerns during wartime: tricky, for obvious reasons. Roslin invents both prior restraint and book-burning, so she's still on her awesome trajectory. Chief gets his work-sharing system in place, and is granted official labor leadership by the President, who gets everything she wants without really giving up any ground at all. Meanwhile, Seelix is the victim of a glass-ceiling mentality that says only Capricans and the upper classes are allowed to be Viper pilots, but later on she becomes the newest nugget. She's not as annoying as Kat, but I think she's a worse person, so we'll see how that works out. She's pretty awesome in this episode, anyway. The trial inches forward after a really excellent scene between Tyrol and Gaius in which Baltar admits that his Caprican poshness is just an affectation, and he's really Aerolon, like Boomer was. Then they go to the races, and he embarrasses the Chief with a long, drawn-out story about how his auntie was burglarized while on her death-bed, claiming that "them as pinched it done her in," but Chief's too busy noticing that Gaius is right about everything, again, some more, and leading to the destruction of humanity in a whole new labor union-based way, and also adding some weird Hitler shades to his Jesusness. Next week, we meet an up-and-coming pilot named Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, who may well have a destiny of some kind. You might remember her from a long time ago on this show.
Previously, Roslin fully scoffed when Gaius begged for legal representation and due process, but then she kicked off her shoes and took the Admiral's bed for a spin before realizing she totally actually has to give him a lawyer and a trial. Chief Tyrol told somebody that his family was Geminon priesthood, and that he's been serving on "the Battlestar" since he was eighteen. Which goes a whole other place in this episode. Then on New Caprica, he became the president of the union, and gave a speech from Earth history, and there was a strike we never saw. He was totally awesome. Then a while back, Cally got after him about how he still wants to be like they were "before" they were on New Caprica, but I disagreed with her logic: I think he wants everything to be like it was on NC, with I guess the exception of being in a concentration camp run by robots. This is the best previously in a while, because the poundy drums go insane at the exact second that he goes, "What if rough patches are all we have left?"
Now, in the hangar bay, we've got some visual stuff going on that is beautiful and kind of on the nose. The episode is called "Dirty Hands," so get ready for some hands. Chief orders the usual orders while a thousand sets of hands do machinery things. Also, crazy music plays. I just this week finished my essay for a book about Firefly/Serenity, so the music kind of reminded me of that. It's like if you...oh, shit. I was going to say, "it's like if you took the music from 'Pegasus' and turned it sideways,' but that's not really a funny joke this week, and it occurs to me that that is the entire point for this weird music. This episode really got to me; I don't know if it's because I haven't slept in two weeks or what, but I was crying like the entire time. I think there are lots of reasons. Here's one more:
"I only knew Admiral Cain for a short time, so what I have to say about her will be short. She faced things. She looked them right in the eye and she didn't flinch. That's something that we do a lot around here. We second-guess. We worry. When I think about what she went through after the attack -- all alone, one ship, no help, no hope -- she didn't give up. She didn't worry. She didn't second-guess. She acted. She did what she thought needed to be done, and the Pegasus survived. Might be hard to admit, or hard to hear, but I think that we were safer with her than we are without."