Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 3

The Ties That Bind

3
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Apr 18, 2008 on Syfy
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

8.8
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573 votes
  • A few key decisions unravel a transitional episode

    6.0
    When a series is working towards a pre-determined end date, the production staff has a tendency to look towards less conventional storytelling. After all, the opportunities for creative expression are fewer and fewer with each passing week. Doing something unusual is pretty much a "now or never" proposition.

    This is mostly applicable to the scenes related to Cally and her state of mind. The camera work is designed to communicate her psychological state, particularly the mixture of antidepressants and sleep depravation. Because this dominates the episode, given her eventual death, the effectiveness of the unusual technique is tied directly to the success of the episode. For my part, I thought it was a bit forced.

    Similarly, I had some issue with Cally's mindset that it might be all right for Tyrol to hit her, because then at least she'd know that he felt something towards her. Even if it has already been established as something she might believe (after the events of "Crossroads", in particular), it's not something that necessarily needed to be reinforced. Tyrol's savage beating of Cally, followed by their relationship and marriage, was always a sore spot for me.

    It's troubling, then, to see similar logic now applied to the Sam/Kara relationship. Granted, Kara is in a deeply disturbing psychological state, but it's the effect of her status as visionary and prophet. Pushing Anders to his limits, hoping he'll lose control and take her along for the ride, just doesn't feel right. Then again, everything about Kara since her return has been confusing and contradictory.

    Speaking of Kara's current role, now that Kara's visions are emerging, other astronomical evidence is beginning to suggest that Earth is not far away at all. The gas giant in Kara's memory looked suspiciously like Jupiter (tying into the "Eye of Jupiter" reference rather nicely), and in two instances, the constellation of Orion was plainly visible in its familiar configuration, which is only visible from Earth's general location!

    So the fleet should actually be very close to the end goal now. In fact, based on the map acquired in "Home", they should be able to figure out the right coordinates. They know where the nebula in the Sagittarius Cluster is located on the "Home" map, and the star field probably included the constellation of Orion. All they should have to do now is find the Gemini part of the "Home" map and plot a course. It should be fairly easy.

    Of course, at the same time, ever since finding the Ionian Nebula, Roslin has been resisting a number of actions that could complete the exodus to Earth. Not only that, but as seen in the surprisingly entertaining Quorum scenes in this episode, Roslin has been slowly but surely consolidating power and authority. Zarek is concerned, despite feeling that Roslin has her heart in the right place.

    Lee might be advised to question both motives: Zarek could be supportive to Roslin in the hopes of taking her place when she dies. It certainly would make sense for Zarek to take Lee under his wing and secure a political ally. Roslin's motives, however, are more elusive. If the fleet is really as close to Earth as it seems, could she be subconsciously trying to point them in the wrong direction? I'm waiting for the one solid moment that will point to Roslin acting out of character.

    That moment came for Tory in this episode, and it has ruffled some feathers. The writers clearly had something in mind for each of the four new Cylons, in terms of how they would react. Tigh is still pushing for everyone to act normally, and Tyrol is trying to maintain a sense of balance (and clearly losing the battle). Anders is dealing more with his identity with his relationship to Kara to change in any other way.

    That leaves Tory, the one with the least complicated background, to be the recently-emergent Cylon with a calculated edge. In this episode, she seems to revel in the opportunity to be more than the simple aide to Roslin that she's been. She sees Cally as a problem, recognizes Nicky as something important, and she acts accordingly to resolve the issue. I wouldn't call it evil, but she's certainly no longer thinking and acting out of purely human concerns.

    If all characters are created equal, then it's not really a problem for Tory to take this direction. After all, she is the only one of the four newly-revealed Cylons without a massive history. But on top of Cally's death, this is another female character (and one of color, for that matter) to take a negative turn. And that's in addition to Kara's mental breakdown and Roslin's health issues. And of course, there's also the Cylon situation. In the latest round of the now heated Cylon Civil War, the male Cylons effectively wiped out a huge chunk of the female Cylons. The writers might consider striking a balance before much longer.

    The Cylon Civil War serves to keep the Cylon fleet away from the Colonial fleet for a time, but it also weakens the Cylons enough that their numbers might be too low to annihilate the Colonials. That, in conjunction with the intervention of the Final Five, could bring about the circumstances of the series' conclusion. Boomer is clearly an important part of the equation, and I suspect that the severity of the current conflict may be her doing.

    Ultimately, despite the high profile death at the end of the episode, this episode felt like it was missing something. Maybe it was my dissatisfaction with the style choice with Cally's perspective, or my distaste for some of the psychology at play. Generally speaking, I like where the story is heading, but this was not how I would have preferred to get there.
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