Battlestar Galactica

Season 1 Episode 6

Litmus

8
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 2005 on Syfy
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
804 votes
21

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
After a suicide attack by a humanoid Cylon, the general populace of the fleet learn of the existence of these Cylons. A tribunal is convened to determine if any more of them are hiding among the crew of the Galactica.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I'm a soft touch.

    7.5
    This was probably the most complicated BSG episode out of all of the ones we've seen so far, and it moved the plot forward probably more than any of them since "Water", both on Caprica and on Galactica. Unfortunately, that also means that it occasionally sacrifices the huge emotional impacts that put all of the previous epsiodes into the 8.0-10 range, but even still it manages to be hugely entertaining and give a lot of development to a previously kind of one-note character: Chief Tyrol.



    To kick the plot off this episode, a Cylon suicide bomber sneaks onto Galactica in a civilian party and blows himself up, in easily one of the most tense, genuinely scary opening sequences the show has had. There's some really awesome camera work in those first few minutes, as we see the faces of all of the other civilians boarding Galactica but only the feet of our culprit. It's not necessarily subtle, but it keeps the viewer intrigued all the way up until he turns around and promptly blows himself up. The smile that the bomber gives before he detonates makes perfect sense: even though he's not going to accomplish his actual goal of blowing up Baltar's work on the detector, he's still going to cause some serious chaos aboard the ship. And what does it matter to him? After all, he'll just wake up somewhere in a new body anyway!



    I really like this aspect of the Cylons as villains. When I watched the miniseries I was sort of worried - was this series really going to be about a bunch of robots that go around blowing up planets? Luckily, it absolutely wasn't. Instead, the Cylons are here playing on the very base of human emotion - even if the bomber had succeeded in killing no one at all, it would still be a successful mission because now everyone in the entire fleet (the entire human race!) will be in a paranoid uproar for days and weeks to come. And that's a hell of a lot more interesting to watch than a bunch of big robots shooting things with guns.



    After that though, the actual witch hunt sequence is good, but not as great as previous plots have been. Hidden within it is a rather deep study of the relationship that Tyrol and Sharon have (or don't have). By the end, the sequence manages to make you dislike Tyrol just about as much as he dislikes himself, having just got a man incarcerated (probably for the rest of his life) because of his selfish relationship with Sharon. Adama's sentence to Tyrol is shockingly cold, and as usual Olmos sells it by being, quite frankly, terrifying. You can't help but feel bad for Sharon though - assuming that she doesn't know she's a Cylon, none of this is really her fault! But the sequences in between are less interesting, with a lot of usage of "The hatch combing on causeway C" and some legal stuff. Meh.



    For the first time, I was really invested in the plot unfolding on Caprica though. It seems like that storyline is finally picking up now, and while we still see only five minutes or so of those scenes at the beginning of the episode they manage for the first time to conjure up a genuine sense of mystery. What could the Cylons possibly have in store for Helo? And more importantly, how does "capturing" Sharon and sending her back to Helo a day or so later play into that plan? There's no way to know, and the completely natural sense of mystery can keep you coming back episode after episode.moreless
  • Not Bad

    6.0
    Not a bad episode, but I liked it better the first time when it was called The Drumhead.
  • A witch hunt!

    9.0
    In this episode a tribunal breaks into a witch hunt as they try to allocate blame for a Cylon suicide bomb attack. The master-of-arms gets a little carried away with her role, and pretty much what the President warned them would happen, does happen. The deck crews attempts to cover up a love affair, leads to one of the ground crew losing his job. In al,l it has you wondering if Sharon, is a Cylon, or if they have some control over her. Again this is excellent stuff, and leaves you wanting to know more.moreless
  • Litmus

    10
    Litmus was a perfect episode of Battlestar Galactica and I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was more development for the Helo and Sharon on Caprica story line which was awesome. The Cylons really seem to have human characteristics and it's scary how ruthless and cold they can be. Helo has proven to be quite the hero. After a Cylon Human model commits a suicide bombing all types of political and moral dilemmas break out and there was some intriguing drama and character development in this regard. I enjoyed the way every thing intertwined. The best part about each episode including this one are the small character moments like Baltar visiting Starbuck and giving her a cigar he bought for her. These moments are brief yet impact the whole story in a major way. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The one where it's: Law and Order: BSG.

    8.0
    A lot of goodies in this episode. Tension is sky high as Adama allows the Commander of Arms an independent tribunal to investigate the dents in Galactica's security, with Roslin having released the knowledge of human looking cylons to the public. Chaos ensues.

    A lot of the episode is built up of several characters, including Tyrol, taking the hit for what Boomer did way back in ''Water''. It really is edge-of-your-seat stuff watching various deckhands lie as to Tyrol's whereabouts during the recent explosion, to cover up his relationship with Boomer. Acting kudos to Jill Teed as the power hungry Sgt., the amount of complicated dialogue she's given doesn't seem to phase her in the slightest. She also reminds me a hell of a lot of Michelle Forbes. The final stand-off with Adama was just such a treat to watch. I love how he just blows her entire investigation to the wind once her accusations seem more like a mad witch-hunt.

    Meanwhile on Caprica, things start to heat up a little, though I'm still not quite sure what the hell is meant to be happening here. Are they testing the limits of love, or something? Six gives Sharon a right 'ol beating to the face; the sibling rivalry between Six and Sharon could come back to bite the bimbo in the ass.

    And another thing, why doesn't the Galactica ship have any digital security? A few cameras here and there would save a hell of a lot guessing work. Just sayin'.

    Spoilerish Title Sequence: 4mins and 2 secs into the episode.

    Frak-O-Meter: Only 2 fraks this week!Cylon Sex: Where has all of the sex gone?! Spot the six: Head-Six teases/threatens/seduces Baltar about being a target for the Cylons. She's also, once again, kinda scary here. Caprica-Six has a blast kicking the crap out of Sharon.

    Death/Injuries: 3 dead and 13 injured this week. Dropping like flies, this lot.

    Boomer or Sharon?: Boomer, me thinks. I really liked how she evaded Tyrol's question. It was kind of badass. But poor Sharon's face... I didn't like seeing her like that. Even if she is evil!Ships Lost: I really am just counting down the days until I can fill this gap with all sorts of explody goodness.

    Battlestar Bleakness: Where to start? Suicide bombers start us off this week. We see another man completely burned head to toe, too. And how cold was it for Adama to sentence that poor guy to the brigg JUST to prove a point to the Chief. Very harsh.Lots of stuff happening this week, all really watchable. Gods, this show is good!moreless
Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos

William Adama

Grace Park

Grace Park

Sharon "Boomer" Valerii

James Callis

James Callis

Gaius Baltar

Jamie Bamber

Jamie Bamber

Lee "Apollo" Adama

Katee Sackhoff

Katee Sackhoff

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace

Mary McDonnell

Mary McDonnell

Laura Roslin

Raahul Singh

Raahul Singh

Kimmit

Guest Star

Shaw Madson

Shaw Madson

Marine Corporal

Guest Star

Nimet Kanji

Nimet Kanji

Candace Myson

Guest Star

Nicki Clyne

Nicki Clyne

Cally Henderson

Recurring Role

Christina Schild

Christina Schild

Playa Palacios

Recurring Role

Biski Gugushe

Biski Gugushe

Sekou Hamilton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • One of the buildings on Caprica has a very large and very obvious Scotiabank symbol on it. As it was a white building, it should have been easy to remove.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Adama: You've lost your way, Sergeant. You've lost sight of the purpose of the law--to protect its citizens, not persecute them. Whatever we are, whatever is left of us, we're better than that.

    • Number Six: Don't make me angry, Gaius. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

    • (before the tribunal)
      Sgt. Hadrian: Why did you allow the relationship [between Sharon and Chief Tyrol] to continue, knowing it was against regulations?
      Adama: I'm a soft touch.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The name of Christina Schild's character is listed as "Playa Kohn" in this episode and in the next two episodes. However, she states her name as "Playa Palacios" in the episode "The Hand of God."

    • Biski Gugushe was credited with playing a reporter named "Eick" in the episode. In later episodes, he played a television journalist named Sekou Hamilton. It's unclear whether these are the same character. The name "Eick" is a reference to David Eick, who serves as executive producer of the series, along with Ronald D. Moore.

    • This episode first aired in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2004, on Sky One. Sky One co-financed the first season of the show.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Number Six: Don't make me angry, Gaius. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

      This is an allusion to the 70s television series The Incredible Hulk (1978). David Banner uttered a similar version of these lines in many episodes, including the series pilot.

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