Battlestar Galactica

Season 1 Episode 6

Litmus

5
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 2005 on Syfy
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

8.6
out of 10
Average
794 votes
  • 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.
  • 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!!!!!!!!!
  • 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!

  • "This was definitely the first episode where my heart was racing for nearly the entire episode." SPOILERS.

    9.0
    The idea of a suicide bomber just seems so real in an utterly fantasy-like world. I was very intrigued from the beginning.

    So the turning point of season one seems to be here. I've been waiting for this since the beginning. Everyone know knows that the cylons appear as human and the witch hunt has begun. I immediately hated the woman that was in charge of the tribunal and the writing in those scenes was really well done. I feel like this is just the first step for the crew and the people in the fleet dealing with the idea of the "witch hunt". I DO think chaos is going to in sue and I DO think it was bad idea to let everyone know about this highly guarded information. It might just cause some serious problems in the future. This was definitely the first episode where my heart was racing for nearly the entire episode. One thing that keeps striking me is during the previouslys when they say "and they have a plan." Was the whole "plan" with the suicide bomber involved with starting chaos on the ship and making the fleet start to suspect each other as a bomber? There is definitely more to Baltar's storyline than we are being told and I can't wait to find out what that is. Good episode! 9/10.
  • The next step.

    7.0
    Baltar finding out he was working without a Cylon safety net was an interesting reveal and as Starbuck put it, "Kinda hits you where you live, huh?" Could have done without The Hulk line(Don't make me angry...) from Six when she and Baltar are in the hallway though.

    I thought revealing the news to the public that Cylons look human now would've had a much bigger impact, even if the rumors did soften the blow. Now's the time that speculation and heresay become as good as hard evidence when the accusations start flying. But it seemed to be all contained within the tribunal. Which if I'm honest, didn't do much for me. Seemed a little predictable that the Commander was going to get questioned before it was all said and done. However, it did lead to a great scene between Cdr. Adama and Chief, when Adama explained the price that Chief would have to pay.

    The scenes on Caprica were my favorite moments, the three Cylons(Sharon, Six, and Darol?) comments as they watch Helo were well written and their attitude, as if watching a lab rat and wondering if it's gonna go for the cheese or if they are going to have to find another one, was creepy to say the least.

    Wasn't a fan of everything but what I did like went far in making up for the rest.
  • An ugly portrayal of Adama ruins what could have been a good episode

    5.5
    Up until now I've found Adama likeable, but this episode seems to really turn that on its head.

    Taking a quick step aside, the Caprica story was excellent and continues to pick up pace. It's interesting watch them play games with Helo. Also does Sharon switch in and out of Cylon mode, or is does she always know what she's doing?

    But back to the main story, the episode gets off to a thrilling start, with Doral exploding himself. However it goes downhill after that.

    With the water explosions, explosion in the hangar deck and now a 'suicide' bombing by a Cylon you'd be forgiven for thinking that things are pretty badly run on the Galactica. It's not wrong to ask what the frak is going on, and that's why the setting up of a tribunal seems like a good idea.

    But while court-room style episodes of TV can be good if the drama is there, for this episode it is not.

    What I dislike most is Adama's portrayal. He thinks the tribunal is a sham, but he can stand up and say it's over. The young crewman however can't, so even if he did lie in the tribunal for whatever reason -- Adama should consider the pressure he was under.

    But Adama isn't interested in hearing the truth. Despite people leaving their posts, people engaging in sexual relations and different witness reports -- all of which would lead you to believe of chronic mismanagement -- Adama shuts it all down.

    Why is there this lack of discipline? Who is the chief's boss? Is it the XO, what's he up to in all this? How can all this occur?

    How can Adama think it's okay to shut down an independant tribunal, but not for a young pilot to lie on the stand?

    I think Hadrian obviously had an axe to grind, because she felt under-informed, but she had valid points. Why weren't the pictures sent to the ships and security? They didn't have to explain they were Cylons, just to say be on the lookout for them. But Adama and co. did nothing.

    In the end by shutting down the tribunal Adama washes his hands of the situation. People are dead, but he doesn't seem to give a damn about the causes. There is zero accountability in this episode. Instead he lets a kid rot in jail, and for what? He wanted the chief to remain because he needs him to fix ships? Really not a nice portrayal of Adama, and thankfully a rare one in the show.
  • Doral's back and it's going to be a blast.

    9.0
    There is quite a bit going on here:

    The rest of the fleet learns the cylons look human now. Tyrol and Boomer's relationship is public rather than the worst kep secret on the ship. Tyrol makes an important choice about Boomer when one of his"kids" ends up in the brig for covering for him.

    Love the scene with Adama in front of the tribunal. When he ends it and tells the marine"make your choice son" it's classic. I like that Roslin tries explaining the political reality of holding a tribunal to Adama. This marks a fork in the road, the military code Adama is used to isn't always going to be the best way to go.
  • Witch hunt...

    8.5
    This episode shows a different point of view to everything and some really new turns on story - first the tribunal thing and how Adama gives their a free pass to everywhere until it is ok with him and in the end, he just overpowers it - it does show that even if they try to look they are accepting freedoms, they have limits and I like where it all is going.

    And the whole storyline with Boomer and .. (bad name memory..) chief.. They way their relationship went, how deckhands felt like they have to step in and protect the chief and how it all turns.. Intriquing
  • This episode raised my hopes about the quality that this show can deliver.

    8.5
    ***This review details –» this is a "I" perspective, based in what I like and recognize to be good or interesting, this is not a "god" where the guy thinks what he thinks is the true or the "you" perspective where I know what you will like and what you don´t.***

    Presentation Phase - » (8/10) interesting beginning,
    Complication Phase - » (8/10) all about accusations, was interesting,
    Climax Phase - » (8/10) the resolution of the conflict was well done,
    Ending - » (8/10) very good closure,

    Details/Progress (To point A to B) -» (8/10) a relationship ended,
    Time and Scene Management - » (9/10) hard to say what was filler, well explored
    Plot Details/Holes- » (10/10) fine,
    Storyline -» (9/10) great,

    Drama - » (8/10) nice drama, an innocent pays for it,
    Suspense/Tension - » (9/10) high tension, rare in BG

    This episode raised my hopes about the quality that this show can deliver.
  • Doral returns, with a vengeance, as he blows himself up in the hallways of Galactica. This act creates a domino effect....starting with the announcement that Cylons look like humans. A witch hunt ensues.

    4.5
    The second dud of the series, unfortunately. Luckily for us, there are only 3 duds in the first season. Let's get this one out of the way. This episode does many things right, but does many things WRONG, too. The good? First off, Caprica! For the second episode in a row, Caprica is being awesome. I love that everything seems to be coming together, and Doral, Six, and Athena looking down on Helo was really, really cool, in my opinion. The idea for this episode, too, was very good. The teaser was very, very awesome, and the announcement was unexpected! After that, however, the episode goes downhill. The witch hunt was extremely disturbing, and I hated it. I mean, the interviews were laughable in this episode. I was staring at my TV in disbelief. And the end was incredibly anticlimactic. Adama ends the witch hunt. What a fantastic end to the storyline. *sigh* In this episode, I expected the reactions of the other crew mates more. See how it affects the citizens of Galactica, as opposed to watching a crazy freak interrogate people. The end, however, was very good. Tyrol screaming at Boomer that it's done? Incredibly well done and emotional.

    So, good start, but goes downhill. Two out of three duds outa the way. This episode gets a measly 4.5/10, or a C-. Next one's better, thank god.
  • One of the best Episodes of season I if not the best of this season!!! Works in the right way with everything, characters, revelations, creation of doubt to the viewer, has agony and a great closing scene.

    9.2
    What anyone can say about this episode??
    All the main characters have their part in this episode, they have to pass hard tests and all show their real character as characters on a sci-fi series that takes no s-h-i-t

    Adama, that's how a commander must be...
    Cylons, that's how merciless beast-robots, that are out to get humanity, ought to be...
    Starbuck, although on bed suffering and having a half crazy man throwing his moves on her, although she likes the second part, has her mind concentrated on more import things... we are at war kiddo!
    I don't want to say more, every character is well written on this episode and well played out.

    Fast pace, revelations, doubts, doubts created for the viewer, love, passion, war, determination, loyalty, leadership, uncertainty, politics, exaggeration, professionalism, extreme diligence that goes beyond reason, everything!

    On of my faves ;)
  • Cat's out of the bag.

    9.0
    While not by any means a terrible episode, I do think it suffered from a serious flaw in logic in it's plot. Let's start the dominant factor, in that this was, for the most part and engaging hour that keeps the viewer interested. One of the Doral model Cylons comes aboard, is able to gain entrance to a wepons locker and blow himself up, killing three and maiming several others..not to mention taking out a large part of the deck. It is determined that he could not have gotten this far without inside confederates. Adama has had enough of the many security lapses on his ship, and grants the Sgt. of arms not only a full investigation without command interference, but an independent tribunal to prosecute and judge defendents. Paging Joe McCarthy. He and the President also decide to confirm the rumours, and announce that the Cylons look like humans now. Cheif Tyrol has been carrying on an affair with Boomer in secret (not really, because the entire crew knows about it)..but a forbidden one because Sharon was ordered to put a stop to it. But Sharon left a hatchway open in her lust, which allowed the Cylon access to the explosives. Or, was it intentional. Sgt Hadrian has a prime suspect. Tyrol, based on his discovery of all past explosives, and his covert affairs. Tyrols crew cover for him out of love, which only hurts the cheif's cause. One of his men take the fall, and get jailed to keep Tyrol safe. Tyrol decides that because of this, he and Sharon should end the affair finally. The story has been heard before, and is as old as the hills. Witch hunts. Inquisitions. McCarthy-ism. And on and on. And the drama works well on this episode. The line between legitimate suspicion and rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think. People who gain power, take far too much glee in using emotion and panic to further their cause, blurring the line between allies and enemies. Who needs Cylons? Adama's speech about Tyrol's man in the brig, because Tyrol couldn't keep his fly zipped is awesome, and drives the chief to realize that the ship has sailed for him and Sharon. A very wise choice. Ultimately, I have to go with a few other reviewers on the logic flaw here. Even counting the rumors, the announcment about the cylons should have generated enough anarchy to keep this plot backstory going for at least a few episodes. I can almost overlook it, because it's the first year, and a lot of ironing's going on..but it was a foolish thing to overlook on the writer's part. Otherwise, a very interesting and powerful episode.
  • Entertainment at is best.

    9.0
    Fear, the fear of the unknown is the greatest asset one can have over another. Not know who to trust creates a lot of fear and the writers did an excellent job of using the fear factor in this episode. They have the whole fleet in an uproar over the one suicide attack of the cylons. The crackdown to who’s responsible is almost like a dictatorship where anything that can be used against you will. This is certainly the case where one given complete authority usually abuses it. And the words of Adama, carefully written in hit the message clearly. This is a Witch-hunt. Another great suspenseful episode.
  • One of the episodes that stands out from Season 1 even though in my opinion there were no bad episodes in season 1 this one stands out from a lot of the others.

    9.5
    Its another example of why Battle Scenes and Fight Scenes arn't nessacary for a TV show to be gripping viewing. It was similar to Bastille Day but improved on the minor flaus that episode had. I think the two Actors who play Boomer and Chief Tyrol play well together and there scenes are very believable. I also liked how the relation ship between Comander Adama and President Roslin had grown and showed how they looked to each other for help. I think this episode was the start of a chain of episodes that were all great viewing defently one of my Favourites.
  • One of the first episodes of the series that feels very flawed.

    3.8
    This could have been a terrific episode if it was setup as a long and tenacious story arch. Unfortunately, this is setup as a single storyline and too much is jammed into too little time. Imagine if you will the ramifications of revealing to the entire fleet the idea that the enemy is not visibly seen among the general populous. Of course that's relavent to the current world situation but it has been told over and over again through time from the crusades to the present 9/11 situation with the usual regrets when it is all over. Great idea for BSG to explore this. Sadly, they wrap it up in one episode with astounding problems.
    1) Our chief of the military isn't aware of the problems of independent councils.
    2) Our chief of the military has that much respect that he can terminate the 'witch hunt' or, as in more recent memory the 'communist hunt'
    3) the public has no reaction. They don't riot, they don't panic and neither does the military!
    4) A mechanic takes the fall for the entire situation and the chief mechanic is terrified of revealing his love affair vs. being labeled a cylon spy? This needed a few rewrites to make work and could have been a long and fasinating story but sadly it is a crippled draft that makes it to the screen. Too bad.
  • The Mythology goes on...

    10
    One excellt example of good and inteligent home entertainment. One Cylon attack endangers not only the physical wealth of the fleet, the integrity of all humans, but also democracy itself. After a few episodes without a real threat from the Cylons, they once again strike... the mood on the fleet changes... and becomes more interesting for the viewer. Adama has to anounce to the public that the enemy is most probably amoung us, he has to face accusations from the tribune... and he walks out of this victorious... There is no doubt, who is the man in charge. Democracy may be important, but here we see a sitution, where the will of the people has to be bend to the needs of the military (Maybe Bush has Cylon Nightmares... and he seems to believe they are in Irak, Afghanistan... start worry when he comes to your neighbourhood). And finaly the Helo-Boomer plot gets more interesting!
  • Let the nice lady do her job.

    8.8
    Ah, so the hardened military commander is the son of a civil liberties lawyer. Must have been a fun childhood. But, hey, I guess the two occupations aren't completely antithetical. I mean, you have to believe in freedom in order to protect it , don't you? Or do you merely need a proclivity for blowing stuff up? Pick one, I guess. So Adama likes tribunals, so long as they behave exactly as he wants them to. Too bad he didn't listen to Roslin. That woman has a very annoying habit of always being right. Don't fight the Cylons, don't toss the prisoners out into space, don't call an indepedent tribunal. Not a bad call yet. You know, it's kind of hard to pull for the Chief in this one. I mean, if I was sticking it to Grace Park, I wouldn't lie to cover it up. Whatever punishment he received, it would be worth it. I mean, just LOOK at that. Yum. Just tell the nice master-at-arms what she wants to know, Chief. The ship will be safer, and you'll be even better known as the guy who nailed Boomer. Everybody wins. Instead, you let your buddy take the fall to cover up your little sortee deep into enemy territory. Disgraceful.

    Anyway, I felt that a lot of the conflict in this episode was being manufactured. Gaius decides that he's going to destroy his Cylon detector. The deck crew lies (poorly) to protect the Chief. A bit of a stretch, mostly. But we got to see Doral doing his evil thing again, and that's always a plus. Priceless moment: Adama: "I'm a soft touch."
  • Good, but could have been better.

    10
    This episode was good but it could have been so much better.

    The tribunal I thought became a bit of a running joke. It left fact behind quite quickly and and began just playing on peoples fears. Im sure this was intended by the writers however I felt it was done poorly.

    Over all a good episode with plenty of character development. Which is an integral part of the show as the action. And this also pushed the story along so that the public now know that cylons can look like humans.

    Not the best episode of sci-fi but certainly not the worse.
  • “The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they have abolished all lawyers”

    5.3
    Since they've wasted the effects budget on the last two episodes it time for some cheap bottle shows to make sure there is enough money for the season finale. And so we get a very talkie drama about a Cylon suicide bomber on the Galactica and the investigation that follows.

    Courtroom dramas are a tricky beast to pull off and unfortunately this episode fails to be either thrilling or even that interesting. Firstly there are the actions of Sgt. Hadrian, which are somewhat confusing. Her job is to find out how a Cylon got onboard the Galactica with a bomb and so she puts Adama on trail. Do she have some kind of grudge against him, did he piss her off at some point before the war because her whole excuse for putting Adama on the stand was simple payback for being kept in the dark ("you didn't tell me about the Cylons, you naughty boy"). Granted Adama should have informed his security about the threat of Cylon/human infiltrators but there have been rumours of Cylons that look like human since the start of the season that you would expect security to be at least on alert. Heck everyone even knows that Baltar is building a Cylon detector so how come Sgt. Hadrian is the only one who doesn't seem to know a thing about Cylon/human agents. Any since security was her job how come none of the civilians who boarded Galactica given proper identity checks or at least escorted at all times. Dorel is just allowed to wonder off on his own and no one seems to notice or care. Sgt. Hadrian is supposed to discover what happened and who was responsible but after she is done with Boomer and Tyrol she decides to but the head of the military on trail. Did she honestly think she would get away with that? Adama is the most powerful man in the fleet no way is he going to just sit there while some Sgt. with a Cylon up her ass goes on a power trip.

    Boomer and Tyrol's actions are also stupid and idiotic. They are both willing to be convicted as traitors and sent to the brig rather than face the slap on the wrist they would most likely get for just admitting they were doing it in the water tank (I bet that would put everyone of their water for a few days). She a pilot, something the Galactica is short of, and he is the one that keeps the Raptors and Vipers (the first line of defences) flying. If they had just told the truth it's unlikely that either of them would have faced any serious punishment for their actions. And yet they both lie and start digging a deeper hole for themselves.

    Meanwhile back on Caprica (could they go at least one episode with out a visit to Caprica, just one please) Helo is considering whether or not he should try to rescue Sharon. Unknown to him (because he's too stupid) the Boomer, Six and the Other Guy are watching his ever move saying that if he fleas he'll die. Clearly the Cylons have some plan for Helo, which is clear to me now since I'm writing this review after seeing the whole season but at this point in the story it just seems like filler material. Helo comes across as think, the Cylons are too cryptic and Boomer's too cute. This could have worked better if the story had not been stretched to be included in every episode. Most episode all Boomer and Helo do is wonder around abandoned cites of forest doing nothing only occasionally getting to do something interesting like the Cylon shootout in "You Can't Go Home Again" or Six bitch slapping Boomer followed Helo's rescue in this episode. I don't have a problem with where this is going I just wish the writers hadn't dragged it out over thirteen episodes.

    And then we come to Baltar and Number Six. I wonder did she have a name when she was on Caprica before the attack, I doubt she just went without a name and why is it that Baltar never mention it. She is always calling him by his name but he never does the same. And why is it that no one questions him about his constant talking to himself. He wonders down the corridor talking to someone whose not there with everyone watching and still Adama and Roslin haven't sat him down and tell him to see a shrink.

    Overall this was the show at it's weakest slow, dull and going nowhere slowly, luckily there was some great Cylon action.

    Good Bits
    -Adama. Don't put him on the stand and expect to get away with it.

    -Boomer. Blooded and beaten yet still cute.

    -Cylon go boom.

    -Helo vs. Cylon rematch.

    -Number Six: "Don't make me angry"

    -Adama again. Telling Tyrol like it is. "I can't let someone who wares this uniform, get on a witness stand and lie under oath. And that's what your man did. He either lied the first time, or he lied the second time, and it doesn't matter. He's guilty! And he'll pay the price. You, you'll have to pay a different price. You'll have to walk out onto that hanger deck everyday, knowing that one of your men is in the brig, because you couldn't keep your fly zipped!"

    Bad Bits
    -Talking, talking and surprise, surprise some more talking.

    -Have the Glactica crew even heard of security checks.

    -The Helo/Cylon fight loses points due to the obvious fact the Cylon's let the wookie win.

    -Helo. All that radiation must have gone to his eyes as well as his head. They're right in front of you man, look up she just there hanging out with her Cylon buddies. Ah…moron.
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