Season 1 Episode 5: You Can't Go Home Again

This entry will contain some spoilers for Season 1 Episode 5: You Can't Go Home Again, but I'll mark them where they occur, so scroll down slowly...

You'll have to excuse me because I am still a little weepy after watching this episode again for the *counting* 4th or 5th time. I was really choked up in a good way then a bad way, then good again, etc. This is quite possibly my favorite BSG episode of all time (with the exception of season 4 which hasn't come out yet). I guess I can't really pick one favorite, since different episodes have different elements in them. But You Can't Go Home Again has to be the one episode that really *moved* me. Maybe it has to do with the mood I am in now, or possibly having to do with just being engrossed in the story as I rewatch it all in order.

It's just that this episode is where the story *really* starts to evolve. Make that stories, plural. So much was introduced in the miniseries and the consecutive episodes of season 1 (episodes 1 through 4). We really got jolted right into the action with episode 1: 33. I think a lot of people really favor that episode, which I do as well. The next few episodes are also compelling, but mainly introduce some of the scenarios between different characters to us, and build the characters themselves a little more. But episode 5, the one I am speaking about today, this one brings you right inside the very souls of several of our main characters; primarily Will and Lee Adama and Kara Thrace. A second story is still evolving at this point, which is that of...

...Helo and Boomer/Sharon (wait... Boomer is back on the Galactica - right? LOL) who are still "stranded" (okay, I use that term loosely, since it is really just Helo who is stranded) down on Caprica, looking for a way out. Some of the really cool things about this side story are first, the visual reference of Helo putting bread in the toaster not seconds before the other toasters, the walking toasters with bullets, bust in. It may be trite and extremely obvious as an omen, but I just got a good chuckle with that. You've got to appreciate that little pun the writers threw in there. Secondly, the ensuing shootout scene is one of the most awesome shootouts I've seen in film or television. Keeping this as a spoiler only within this episode, I won't mention how Karl and Sharon's experience on Caprica now reverberates throughout the rest of the series.
Back to the matter at hand... Kara is also stranded; alone, with little oxygen on an uncharted gas planet. Everything about this part of the story is just gripping, both visually and emotionally. As unbelievable and unlikely as it might be that she would free herself from the parachute about to drag her over a cliff AND moments after praying to the Lords of Kobol for a break, lo and behold a downed Cylon Raider appears around the next corner... I just don't care that this is all too lucky (oh that destiny of Kara's!). My eyes and my emotions ate this whole episode up like Luke Skywalker craves that exotic hot chocolate drink. This series is all about Kara Thrace for me, so I admit I am a little bias as to why I favor this episode. She is just so frakking lucky, but at the same time, she is so real to me. She is me.

Back on the fleet, tempers flare and the true feelings of some of our other main characters are surfacing. Will Adama has to face his own heart. Tigh and Roslyn may be the level headed ones here, but really I was waiting for everyone to admit that aside from the family issues between Lee, Will and Kara, the real reason they should have ALL been so concerned with getting Starbuck back is because she is the best frakking pilot they got. They are extremely low on talented Viper pilots at this point. Losing Starbuck could be even more dangerous than taking a calculated risk at saving her. My opinion of course, but as conveyed by Lee when sent out solo to intervene the lone dradis: "This bastard is good!", this is obviously a known fact among the Galactica crew. Not to mention the fact that she was the only instructor available to teach the groms.

Everything about bringing Starbuck back in was awesome and too cool. Unbelievable, yes. But isn't this one of the things we love about sci-fi? We know this couldn't really happen, but my belief is suspended. My faith leaped. Add the human emotion to that, emotion we can really feel and relate to, and this made for the some of the most stellar moments in moving picture storytelling for me. The two moments at the end, when Kara speaks to Lee about her "new toy" and after when Kara is in the sick bay and Will comes to face her... I cried. I started to choke when in the beginning of the third act of this episode, Lee and his father had a little chat about what Will would have done if it were Lee stuck down there. "We would have never left" or something to that effect. *choke*

(unless you click on the links below)

All in all, this episode was so well constructed and so rich in story... it's no wonder people stick around to watch this thing. As cliche as some elements might be, the timing is so right on it makes the cliches more like integral parts of the story, rather than cliches. Almost every episode in BSG has some great quotables, but this one in particular had tons of them. More proof that the writing, directing, and acting are superb.

Here's some links to refreshers and references for this episode:

You Can't Go Home Again at scifi.com/battlestar (official site)

You Can't Go Home Again at battlestarwiki


RJ said...

That was a good one. When we first saw "Star Buck" written on the bottom of the Cylon ship, I turned to my wife and said: "That's awesome!". I wasn't as high on the next episode, the witch hunt one. It had some important stuff, but the episode itself was a little too rote for me. We should be watching episode 6 tonight.

jkthunder said...

hi rj!

starbuck's name written under the wings was absolutely fabulous to see, but talking about suspending my disbelief! WHEN the frak did she get a chance to do that between almost being out of oxygen, figuring out how to jumpstart the raider... and where'd she find the paint?? :p

i can just envision the producers biting their nails hoping the audience would buy that. maybe they just couldnt find another way to show apollo recognizing starbuck, even though i would have rather seen him figure it out by a completely unique flying configuration of starbuck's or something like that.

i was just writing another entry for episode 6: Litmus. btw - that's the "witch-hunt one". you must be about to watch episode 7 then.