The Ties That Bind
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- Kara Thrace leads a ship in her search for Earth, while Galactica's crew deals with political and marital issues. On the Cylon side, the Significant Seven's solidarity is challenged.
On Galactica and the Colonial Fleet
- Cally Tyrol, waking from her son's cries, has dreams recalling arguments with her husband, Galen, of apparently finding herself spending more time alone with her child and Galen avoiding her through work or other activity. In one scene she is taking medication, perhaps to help her sleep, or to fight depression.
- The dark room is unkempt, and medication and baby formula bottles are stacked on a table.
- When Cally Tyrol realizes that Nicky is actually crying, she comforts him and returns him to his crib. She calls Dualla, apparently to try to find her husband with no luck. She finds a napkin for Joe's bar in his clothing.
- At the bar, Galen Tyrol and Tory Foster are drinking ambrosia and other spirits. Galen laments that, before their revelation, he knew what he was: husband, crew chief, and father. Now, his identity is taking a beating.
- Foster flirts with Galen as Cally walks holding her son in a dreamy state (presumably drug related) to Joe's Bar. Cally's distorted vision believes she sees Foster touching Galen's arm seductively. Entering the bar, Cally angrily yells at Galen as he tries to explain. Angry and hurt, Cally takes her son and leaves the bar as Foster looks on, still drinking and not the least upset that she might have caused the Tyrol's strife.
- In sickbay, Dr. Cottle administers to Laura Roslin another Doloxan treatment, noting that the drug's nausea should go away in an hour.
- As Roslin tries to relax on the bed, William Adama sits by her bedside and begins to read from a book to her, Love and Bullets by Nick Taylo, apparently a detective mystery novel.
- The book's passages of a character's lost love appear to reflect through Adama as he gazes at Roslin while he completes the passage: "From the moment I open my eyes, she's in my blood, bittersweet, tinged with regret. I'll never be free of her, nor do I want to be. For she is what I am, all that is, should always be."
- The scene shifts to a press conference on Colonial One where Lee Adama accepts appointment to the Caprican seat to the Quorum. Vice President Tom Zarek is also in attendance.
- The press asks about questions of loyalty between Lee Adama and his role in the Gaius Baltar trial, which Roslin dismisses.
- Reporter Playa Palacios asks about the whereabouts of the Demetrius, missing now three weeks, Roslin defers the question to Admiral Adama, who cryptically explains that the ship is on a military mission. When Sekou Hamilton asks if Kara Thrace was made captain of that ship, Adama dismisses that as rumor.
- Roslin quickly ends the press conference. In her office, Roslin tells Adama she is surprised that the press took as long to ask about the Demetrius as they did. When Adama tells Roslin he think the issue will "blow over," Roslin disagrees. Not told of the mission, Roslin is angered that she may have to help Adama cover the true mission of the ship for a long time. Adama explains that he had to give Thrace a chance and himself a chance to believe in the presumed-dead pilot, but Roslin only says, "Apparently." Adama leaves her office in silence.
- Galen Tyrol tries to explain to Cally that he and Tory Foster aren't having an affair, but Cally all but ignores him, telling him to drop their son off to the day care area and to ask the caregivers not to feed Nicky any of the algae mash as she thinks Nicky is allergic. Frustrated by Cally's avoidance of the subject, he slams his fist down on the table, upsetting his son, and tries to comfort him.
- On Colonial One, Lee Adama is in a conference room for the Quorum meeting. Spotting the nameplate for Caprica, he tentatively sits down. Tom Zarek arrives, his mood dark. When Adama tells Zarek that he wanted to see Roslin to discuss some projects that Cowen, his predecessor as Caprican delegate, had before she died, Zarek counters, explaining that, like himself, Roslin is keeping Adama on the sidelines. Zarek believes that Roslin does not forgive and forget easily. When Adama asks Zarek why he nominated him for the Quorum's side, Zarek tells him that it was because Adama stood up to defend Baltar and confront Roslin, he believed Adama would make an effective ally.
- Zarek feels that Roslin's increasingly secretive nature, by refusing to allow meetings to be recorded, is a sign of a larger issue, despite claiming to Adama that he remains loyal to Roslin. When Adama tells Zarek that he won't be giving a repeat of his work in Baltar's trial to undermine Roslin, saying that having a "benevolent tyrant" is better than the opposite, Zarek strongly disagrees. He asks Adama to trust him to aid in his fight to uncover the secrets that Roslin hides. He leaves a classified folder with Adama and leaves.
- In sickbay, Cally Tyrol asks for another sedative and for sleep, but Cottle objects, not wanting to turn his sickbay into an "opium den." He asks about her family life, which Cally tells all is not well since reaching the Ionian Nebula.
- Cottle does side with Cally about her husband's problems, asking her to bring him in for examination. Cally smiles at Cottle's "tough love" stance but Cottle warns that she might actually be imagining things as her fatigue and drug use could be influencing her thoughts. Cally counters that she might, indeed be crazy, considering she married a man who once broke her jaw. When Cottle asks if that was the last time that Galen had attacked Cally, she responds that she'd wished that he'd do so again (taking Cottle's cigarette from his hand and taking a drag), if only for her to gauge what Galen really felt about her. Cottle tells her to get some rest.
- On Colonial One, the Quorum meeting continues. Sagittaron Quorum delegate Jacob Cantrell strongly questions Roslin about the Demetrius mission, which she defers to answer out of matters of security. Others are visibly upset with Roslin's answer and of each other when Roslin tries to steer the meeting back to other matters of the floor while Zarek, acting as the chair of the meeting, tries to establish order.
- Lee Adama speaks out, trying to calm the others through inferring, based on his own military experience, that the president and Admiral Adama are exploring all possible routes to Earth. The Quorum audibly relaxes at Adama's words, but Roslin sees Adama as trying to be her "spokesperson" and chastises him. She directs Cantrell to continue with his discussion on medical supplies.
- Lee Adama calls a point of order, which Zarek uses to compel Cantrell to yield the floor for Adama to speak. Adama brings up Executive Order 112, which would concentrate more executive power. The Quorum angrily erupts when Roslin tries to bury the issue.
- On Galactica, Cally Tyrol sadly recalls her good times with her husband. She kisses her son and goes to close a door when she sees a note stuck in the door that tells her to meet at Weapons Locker 1701D.
- When Cally arrives, she finds her husband, Saul Tigh and Tory Foster entering. She opens a maintenance panel, tiny and dangerous, and enters to listen in on the conversation.
- What Cally hears shocks her more than the suggestion that her husband is having an affair. Tigh had left the note to meet at the weapons locker for Galen, and suddenly realizes that Cally could have intercepted the note. Tigh warns of the complications if Cally discovered that her husband was a Cylon.
- Cally's shock knocks a metal plate, which tumbles noisily down the ship's interior, a series of pipes and conduits that run dangerously deep from where Cally is standing. The others in the room halt their discussion for a moment before leaving. Cally escapes the tunnel and runs back to her quarters, but Foster leaves and notices that the maintenance panel was ajar.
- Cally is back in her quarters, visibly upset, when her husband returns.
- He tries to apologize, tell Cally that the affair never happened, and that his commitment to his family is paramount. But Cally believes that Galen used her to have a hybrid child and strikes him with a wrench, knocking him unconscious. She takes her son and leaves but not before taking a key from Galen's pocket.
- Walking through the corridors to the hangar deck, Cally (still holding Nicky) enters a launch tube. She looks at the stars through a window, then opens a maintenance door. Inserting the key she took from Galen, Cally activates the launch tube airlock. Tory Foster arrives, and approaches Cally and Nicky.
- Cally closes the launch tube airlock door, sealing them inside. Foster tries to reason with Cally, asking her to think about what she's about to do to herself and to her child. Foster explains that they only recently found out they were Cylons, and that they are still the same people, and that they are as scared and confused as everyone else. Cally breaks down and collapses on her knees, apologizing to Nicky for what she was about to do to him. Foster comforts Cally and takes Nicky in her arms, then suddenly strikes Cally with surprising strength, knocking her to the deck and putting her in a daze.
- Foster retrieves the launch tube key and exits the launch tube, Nicky in her arms. When Cally comes to, she finds herself alone trapped in the airlock, and Tory inside the launch control booth. Tory uses the key to activate the launch controls and opens the outer airlock door, sending Cally to her death in open space.
- Admiral Adama breaks the news of Cally's death to a motionless, silent Tyrol.
- On day 22 of the mission, Demetrius continues on its mission to find Earth, with as many as four Viper Mark II fighters magnetically locked onto its top hull.
- Inside, Kara Thrace appears frustrated as she pores through star charts and other navigation data, trying to gain her fix on the direction of Earth. Felix Gaeta enters the room as Thrace tells him of a decision.
- In a mess hall on the dark, dirty ship, Diana Seelix asks in frustration what they are looking for in deep space. A pilot named Pike, looking at the centerfold of Nymph magazine, explains that they are searching for a gas giant with rings orbiting a trinary star cluster with a comet. Seelix angrily retorts that the search is more like a "cluster-frak" to her when Helo admonishes her.
- Sharon Agathon and Samuel Anders are also in the room.
- Some of the group complains that Thrace's repeated course corrections are pointless. When Pike says that he thinks Galactica is hounding them in secret, waiting for Thrace to show her "true colors" as a Cylon, Anders defends her. When the mood darkens more, Helo orders everyone to be quiet.
- Thrace is quietly approaching, listening to the conversation from above the mess hall deck, and soon yells for Helo to talk to him. Anders looks above him to Thrace (standing on steel mesh decking) and asks if there is more that she can tell them about their destination, but Thrace coldly admonishes him by rank for asking. Thrace gives Helo new FTL coordinates.
- Anders meets with Thrace, as she paints what she has seen on a bulkhead. Anders complains that she needs to open up more about the mission with the rest of the crew, but Thrace disagrees. Reminding her that some of them volunteered for the mission, Thrace steers Anders's concerns to that of their failed marriage. Anders joins their marital arm tattoos, trying to remind her of what is real. Thrace angrily tells Anders that she married him only because he was a safe choice and he was naive enough to do so.
- The two exchange more words. Thrace explains to Anders that she's not the same woman he married. He pushes her into a bunk as their anger dissolves into sex.
- After sex, Thrace questions that she and Anders's marriage was real. She questions how her feelings, her perceptions of her past, as if she were watching it from another "alien" body far away. Ander's face suggests comprehension about feeling unsure of identity.
- On a Resurrection Ship, a Number One is resurrected. Another One tells his confused brother that he was shot by one of their own Cylon Centurions. Boomer is there with him.
- The first Number One wants to return to his baseship, but the second One tells him that he has been effectively kicked off from his own ship in a type of coup. Boomer apologizes that her swing vote to enforce the Raider "reconfiguration" failed, and kisses him deeply.
- On the same baseship where the Centurions shot several humanoid Cylons for their part in the Raider reconfiguration, a Number One returns to the conference room where a Centurion is busily cleaning up the mess caused by their shootout.
- The Number One tries to understand why Natalie shifted power, suggesting to reunify the group. Natalie explains that the Raiders were only a symptom of a larger problem: Cavil's earlier pressure on the group to box all Number Threes. Natalie says that mere unification of the seven is not enough. She and the Eights at the table tell Number One that unification with the Final Five is the desired goal. Natalie wants all the Threes unboxed and work on unifying with the Five to begin.
- Cavil dislikes the idea of resuming the D'Anna's "messianic quest" that seemed to lead the remaining Cylons to this juncture, but agrees to bring Natalie's case to the other models. Natalie orders a Centurion to escort Cavil off the ship, but it hesitates until she says, "please." Cavil warns her that removing the inhibitors from the Centurions has caused a bigger problem than Natalie realizes.
- Later, two Number Ones tell Natalie and two Number Eights the result of the vote: The consensus is to unbox the Threes, although Cavil/One remains against the idea.
- An Eight tries to solicit the Ones' support since his side was outvoted, but Natalie agrees with the Ones that the vote does not give Natalie's side the right to change the feelings of the Ones and create more discord.
- Cavil/One tells Natalie that the Threes' consciousness is being downloaded at the central Resurrection Hub and can be resurrected at a server node six jumps away. Still harboring bad feelings about the decision, the two sides agree to stay on different baseships as they make their way back to hear of the Threes' discovery on the algae planet.
- Cylon baseships controlled by Cavil join the rest of the fleet at their destination, but without the Resurrection Ship. The newly-arrived baseships break formation and surround Natalie's baseships, then launch an attack.
- On Cavil's baseship, Boomer worries that murder, permanent killing of their own kind without chance of resurrection is wrong. Cavil says coldly that God will watch over the dying Cylons' immortal souls. When Boomer questions who will watch over their souls, Cavil says, "We're machines, dear. We don't have souls."
- This episode sees no net loss of life in the Fleet, with the exception of Cally Tyrol's death later in this episode, reducing the overall survivor count to 39,675.
- The alphanumeric designation of the weapons locker, 1701D, is a Star Trek: The Next Generation reference. 1701-D is the registry number for the USS Enterprise from that series, which Ronald D. Moore formerly worked on. Further, Michael Taylor did write for the Star Trek franchise alongside Moore on Deep Space Nine.
- Like "He That Believeth In Me" and "Valley of Darkness", this episode's title is derived from Christian traditions; Blessed Be the Tie that Binds is a Protestant hymn celebrating the unity that comes from love.
- Prior to the episode airing, Michael Taylor stated: "we say goodbye to another longtime character, though who that is and the manner of his or her departure should come as a surprise."
- The script was being written while "Razor" was still in pre-production.
- For the first time since the second season, the journalist Sekou Hamilton makes an appearance.
- The Fleet still subsists on the food collected on the algae planet, as evidenced by Cally Tyrol's suspicion that her son may be allergic to it.
- When Cally enters the launch tube 06, she looks a side window and sees stars where one would expect to see launch tube 07. This is inconsistent with the known layout of the flight pods. The launch tubes are internal and perpendicular to the length of the flight pods, so it would be impossible to see stars from a side portal in the tube. However, when she exits the tube, the scene shows open space to the right of the the launch tube.
- Thrace has the Aurora figure she gave to Adama in "Maelstrom" on her desk and plays with it in her frustration. According to the podcast for the episode, a scene where Adama gives her back the figurine in "Six of One" was cut for time. A scene where she and Gaeta discuss Aurora was also cut from this episode.
- Since a scene was deleted from "Six of One" in which this was indicated in dialogue, the scene in which Boomer kisses the revived Cavil is the first explicit indication that a romance exists between the two (explaining, in lieu of the deleted scene, why she broke ranks to vote with him). This is the first time two of the "Significant Seven" have been shown in such an embrace.
- A deleted scene (included on the DVD release of Season 4.0) shows Galen Tyrol strangling Cally to death in her bed. Snippets from the scene -- but not the strangling -- appear in the final episode. It's unclear whether this is a vision of Galen's (similar to Tigh imagining himself shooting Adama), or if this was considered as an alternate death for Cally. The scene, as shown, does not resolve the issue either way.
- The constellation Orion appears in this episode by mistake. It is clearly visible in the background of the basestars shortly before Cavil's ships begin to attack, and may be visible when Cally looks out the window in the launch tube shortly before she is confronted by Foster. This would indicate that both fleets are relatively close to Earth. However, for them to see Orion in the same two-dimensional configuration as from Earth, they would have to be within a few light years of Sol and in a relatively narrow corridor between it and Orion.
- The ringed gas giant Starbuck claims to have seen is shown in this episode, bearing a striking resemblance to Jupiter.
- Once again no one notices the use of a launch tube. It is hard to believe that such a critical system is not monitored, especially at night when the hangar deck is deserted.
- When learning that her husband is a Cylon, Cally remembers seeing him cutting his finger and licking off the blood. Tyrol may have done this to convince himself that he is human. The drop of blood hitting the floor is the same image used as a framing device in "Resistance" to signify the connection between Tyrol and Boomer.
- The scene with Adama sitting down next to Roslin and beginning to read a murder mystery to her is a throwback to their common love for the genre that was established back in "Water". In that particular episode, Adama gives Roslin the novel Dark Day as a gift because it was one of the novels that she had wanted to read but never found the time to. With Roslin's probable death looming in this particular season, it appears that Adama has determined to aid Roslin in reading her favorite genre before she passes away.
- Although in public Laura Roslin claims to have forgiven Lee Adama, and even to admire his convictions, she apparently still holds a grudge for how he treated her during Baltar's trial. She refuses to see him to discuss political issues, and later snubs him in a Quorum session where she ribs on his inexperience.
- During the episode, Galen Tyrol's beating of his wife is mentioned as when he displayed pure emotion towards Cally. Tyrol's attack was based on his fear of being a Cylon, and Cally suffered because she interrupted his mental suicide. Ironically, it is now Cally who savagely bludgeons Galen because he really is a Cylon. The beating also makes way for her murder-suicide decision with her son.
- Another parallel drawn from "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I" in regards to the Tyrols can be seen in that then and now, it was Galen's apology that triggers Cally to release her true feelings towards him, whether it was love or hatred. In the former, her love was finally allowed to be expressed, in the latter, the rage that built up during the episode was released.
- Based on "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I", it was Cally's love and forgiveness towards Galen that enabled him to forgive himself and move on as a "human being." With her death, a crucial anchor in his life is gone, which may indicate an upcoming deterioration of his mental state as he now knows that he is a Cylon.
- Cally plans to blow herself and Nicky into space, something that she experienced but survived in "A Day in the Life". This may indicate that she believes, on the basis of her earlier experience, that it would be relatively quick and painless for both of them. It seems unlikely that she would choose what she felt would be a particularly unpleasant death, especially for her son.
The Quorum of Twelve
- The episode shows a lot about the Quorum of Twelve and about the state of fleet politics in general. The Quorum meeting is reminiscent in format of Question Time, a tradition of many parliamentary systems including that of the United Kingdom and Canada.
- The rowdiness and backtalk of the Quorum in particular is reminiscent of Prime Minister's Questions. However, unlike in Prime Minister's Questions or similar Question Time periods in real life parliaments, President Roslin makes some attempt at directing the meeting, rather than adopting the defensive posture the British Prime Minister is placed into. This suggests either a stronger constitutional role for the president or a further consolidation of power by Roslin.
- The Quorum is also, at least at this point, a non-partisan body. While parliaments and legislatures in real life are divided along party lines, there is no sign of this here. In particular, while government backbenchers usually ask flattering questions in contrast to the more challenging questions posed by the opposition, Adama is openly chastised by Roslin for attempting to ask an easy question.
- The absence of Sarah Porter, Marshall Bagot, Robin Wenutu, and others from the first post-Fall Quorum can be attributed to the destruction of Cloud 9 by Gina Inviere in "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II" or events leading up to the Second Exodus. After the Second Exodus, the current Quorum is sworn in by then-President Tom Zarek in "Collaborators", before said Quorum can ratify Roslin as his vice president and perform the presidential switch-a-roo that gives Roslin the presidency.
- Cavil and Boomer apparently have some sort of relationship. This was hinted at in the previous episode, when she dances lightly attired in front of him, but unclear.
- The force with which Tory hits Cally indicates that the Final Five possess the Cylons' superhuman strength and if they possess this trait it is likely that the have other, physical Cylon traits as well.
- Foster also seems to be calmer, cooler, and more calculating than in the recent past. She appears to be more accepting of her Cylon nature than the others.
- Are all of the "renegade" Cylon baseships destroyed? (Answer)
- Does Natalie escape? (Answer)
- Now that power has shifted to the more aggressive models, will the Cylon renew their attacks on the humans, or will the stress and distraction of the Cylon civil war protect the human fleet for the time being? (Possible answer)
- Will Cally's death be declared as another execution that went unnoticed, such as those performed by the Circle? (Answer #1, #2)
- Will Boomer abandon Cavil's side now that he has resorted to lethal measures against Natalie's faction? (Possible answer)
- Will the renegade models be boxed? (Possible answer)
- How will Tyrol handle being a single parent? (Possible answer)
- Are Foster's actions indicating a gradual shifting of her allegiance from the humans to the Cylons? (Answer)
- What will Tyrol do should he discover that it was Foster who ejected Cally into space? (Answer)
- Does the vague warning given by Cavil to Natalie about removing the inhibitors hint towards a Centurion rebellion against the humanoid Cylons? (Answer)
- Has Hera been left in foster care by her parents? If so, who have they found to look after her? (Future Answer)
- What is Foster's true motivation for killing Cally Tyrol? (Possible Answer 1, Possible Answer 2)
- Is the execution of the Sixes, Eights, and Twos limited to the Cylon fleet or does it also stretch to the Cylon homeworld?
- For those allergic to the algae mash, like Nicholas Tyrol, what alternative foodstuffs are available?
- Mark Verheiden on the episode:
- "Regarding the parallels with "Maelstrom." [and the sex scene with Leoben] I asked writer Michael Taylor if it was intentional and he says "no." Regarding Kara, she remembers everything from "Maelstrom" up to the explosion. So yes, she remembers her vision about her Mom."
- "Gaeta is the resident expert in star charts and the like, so he's a natural addition to a search mission. As to whether he volunteered or was ordered, I don't think we really discussed it that much. But Gaeta certainly wants to find Earth as much as anyone." 
- "It started like it always did. With a body. This one was in the river, and I could tell she had once been beautiful, but this bullet and fast current had taken away from her. All we are, or that we think we are, all that we are certain about, is taken away from us. When you've worked the streets and seen what I've seen, you become more and more convinced of it every day. Caprica City has been my teacher, my mistress. From the moment I opened my eyes, she is in my blood, like cheap wine. Bitter and sweet, tinged with regret. I'll never be free of her, nor do I wanna be, for she is what I am. All that is, should always be."
- Adama: Well, sometimes a benevolent tyrant is exactly what you need.
- Zarek: No. A tyrant craves power for its own sake. And all Laura wants is to save us all.
- Anders: You know, some of us actually volunteered for this mission.
- Thrace: "Some" meaning you. Because that's what this is about, Sam. You know what the deal is, with us, with our marriage? It didn't make much sense to begin with. Makes even less now.
- Anders: I don't buy that. I don't think you believe a single, frakking word you're saying. You're just scared. You see that, mhh? You see this? Remember those? You remember when we got 'em? That's what's real, ok. That's part of who we are. That is a part of what you are, whether you will admit it or not.
- Thrace: Dumb motherfrakker. I only married you because it was safe and it was easy, Sam. And you were just pathetic enough to go along with it. So get the frak out! (She shoves him out) Sam, get out! Get out! Leave, come on! Get out! (Anders takes her by the arms and holds her. They are almost kissing.) I don't want to fight, Sam. I wanna frak. You don't get it, do you? I'm not the same girl you married. All I wanna do right now is frak. Really frak, like it's the end of the world and nothing else matters. So come on, Sam, make me feel something. I dare you.
- (Anders shoves her away, then gives her a second shove onto the bunk bed.)