The things that make us human: emotions, the capacity for love, as well as the capacity for suspicion, play an important role in this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, “Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down.”
1. The power of suggestion
The repercussions of events that took place in the prior episode, “Flesh and Bone,” are playing out in a major why here in this character driven episode. We open in the CIC, with President Roslin, literally, watching over Commander Adama from above. The interaction between the two most powerful people in the fleet is tense and uncomfortable, as Roslin insists Adama be the first to submit to the Cylon test. It’s obvious she has given into Leo Conoy’s suggestion that Adama is a Cylon. Adama warned her that he would place insidious thoughts into people’s minds, but she has fallen prey to Conoy’s prediction. Roslin even enlists her aide, Billy, as a spy. Poor Billy is finally on a date with Dee, and he’s forced to ask her some probing questions about the Commander. Dee is too smart for his shenanigans, and says she won’t reveal any more info, but this is after she informs Billy that Adama has left Galactica, under the cloak of secrecy, more than once in the past few weeks. Conoy’s suggestion is so powerful, Roslin even confides in Colonel Tigh regarding her suspicions. He, obviously, becomes irate and denies the accusations that Adama is a Cylon. All of this just goes to show how one, seemingly small, suggestion can wreak havoc on otherwise sensible, rational individuals.
It will tear us apart. And the Cylons know this. I forgot about this “Adama is a Cylon” storyline, but it’s an effective one. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies, and this is one of those times. Adama has given Roslin no reason to be suspicious of him; in fact, they’ve been close allies, even when they disagree. By the end of the episode, all parties are most interested in testing Ellen Tigh’s blood (more on her later), and Roslin is faced with confronting Adama regarding her suspicions. There is no way to describe their argument, other than one between a couple, perhaps even a fight between a married couple. I love it. “What, do you think I’m a Cylon? Me? Have you been spying on me on my own ship?” There is some levity within this interaction, and all seem to recognize the fact that they can’t harbor suspicious such as these, or it will tear them apart. But, they can’t kick that feeling of suspicion that easily.
3. The influence of others
Turns out, Saul Tigh’s wife is alive. Remember the photograph he burned? The one with his wife. The one he crumpled and threw in the garbage. Well, that’s a picture of her, and she’s back. And she’s terrible. Adama doesn’t like her, Roslin doesn’t like her, Apollo is shocked by her, I don’t like her, but Baltar is fascinated by her. Of course he is. She’s a good looking woman that uses her sexuality to get what she wants, and she’s not shy about it. It is obvious that Ellen Tigh brings out the worst in Saul. She convinces him to drink while he’s still on duty; they act like 16 year olds in love when he should be the one setting an example during a time of war that occured after the genocide of the human race. Adama recognizes this influence, which is why he was hesitant to bring her back to the Galactica. He knows of the influence she has on Tigh, and it’s not a good one. But, despite this, he brings her back. Because she’s Tigh’s wife and because Tigh is his friend. Adama strongly believes she could be a Cylon based on her loose story of rescue, and now she’s on Galactica and she can be tested. Not only does Ellen wield influence over Tigh, she also influences the actions of Adama, and those directly around her. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
4. What’s love got to do with it?
Well, everything, for Saul Tigh. We learn it’s rumored that in the past Ellen slept with half the fleet while her husband was away on assignment, but it’s glaringly obvious to Roslin, who just met Ellen, that Tigh loves her deeply. Adama knows his friend and XO loves Ellen blindly, and that she brings out Tigh’s self-destructive tendencies. We haven’t seen too much romantic love in this series; maybe the Chief and Boomer, but that’s over now. Billy and Dee are just embarking on their romance, but here we have old, seasoned, established love, and it’s powerful. We see Ellen immediately create a rift between Adama and Tigh; a rift between old friends. On the Cylon side of love, we briefly see a copy of Six and Doral on Cylon-occupied Caprica. Sharon has run off with Helo; she’s run off with him because she loves him. Are Cylons capable of love? Doral, and particularly Six, are struck by this, maybe even jealous of this, as love is an emotion neither has experienced. Do we all just want to be loved? Cylons included?Continued below
5. Assigned power
No one seems to realize how much power Giaus Baltar has been given. A man the President and Commander don’t really trust, has been given the power to declare one person or another a Cylon, based on a test no one else really understands, or knows how to operate. After Ellen’s test comes back, Baltar declares she’s not a Cylon; she’s passed the test. But it is revealed, through Six, that everyone passes. Baltar simply declares everyone a human. Why? Is he scared? Is he that unhinged? Is he a Cylon? We don’t know yet, but the audience does know that Balar has the power to decide a person’s fate.
Another quality that makes us human is the power to forgive, but is forgiveness enough when the stakes are this high?