Everyone has their own unique feelings about Battlestar Galactica ships. I'm talking relationship-ships, not the ships themselves (although I love Galactica almost as much as Bill Adama does). If you watched the 2004 reimagining, you likely have plenty of opinions on who Starbuck should've ended up with (Lee or Sam?), as well as whether Roslin and Adama really were the equivalent of Space Mom and Dad. (Narrator voice: They were.)
But separate from those ship wars, there's no denying that one BSG couple, in particular, was the frakking bedrock for the show. That's no exaggeration. In the universe of the series, they literally wound up creating the hybrid ancestor of all modern-day humans. Because of this and so many other reasons, we're dedicating our first Battlestar Galactica ship binge guide to Sharon "Athena" Agathon (Grace Park) and Karl "Helo" Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett).
As an aside: Many of these episodes are not necessarily Agathon-centric or feature the characters that prominently. Most of the episodes listed, however, do contain crucial scenes that essentially define the arc of their relationship. Either way, they're all worth watching.
"33"/"Water" (Season 1, Episode 1 and 2)
Helo elects to stay behind on Caprica after the Cylons' nuclear attack, choosing to let Dr. Gaius Baltar leave with his co-pilot Sharon "Boomer" Valerii. After surviving for six days on Caprica and suffering the effects of radiation poisoning, Helo narrowly escapes being captured by the Cylons when Sharon — or someone he believes to be Sharon — comes to his rescue. Meanwhile, we know Boomer-Sharon has already made it back to Galactica... so who is this version of Sharon, and what does she want?"Act of Contrition"/"Six Degrees of Separation"/"Flesh and Bone" (Season 1, Episode 4, 7, and 8)
Narrowly dodging Cylons at every turn, Helo and Sharon track a signal to a nearby radiation shelter, where they camp out for a brief time. When they're discovered, they flee to the woods, where Helo confesses his feelings for who he believes to be his Sharon, and the two of them make love. Over the course of this mini-arc, we learn that Sharon is, in fact, a Cylon, and is working with other Cylon models for some nefarious purpose — but by the end of "Flesh and Bone," she rejects those plans and goes on the run with Helo instead, signaling that she may not be as diabolical as we thought.
"The Hand of God"/"Colonial Day" (Season 1, Episode 10 and 11)
As Helo and Sharon make their way to the nearby city of Delphi, Sharon starts exhibiting some interesting symptoms: bouts of nausea followed by a ravenous appetite. Hmmm. While all this is going on, though, Helo deduces that there are humanoid models of the Cylons, and it all comes to a head when he sees another copy of Sharon Valerii. Realizing he's been hoodwinked, he runs away from Sharon as she pleads with him to come back.
"Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part I and II"/"Scattered" (Season 1, Episode 12 and 13, and Season 2, Episode 1)
It doesn't take long for Sharon and Helo to find each other again. Their confrontation culminates in Sharon revealing to Helo that she loves him and is pregnant with his child (something we all saw coming). He can only bring himself to wound her rather than straight-up kill her, though the situation gets more complicated when Kara "Starbuck" Thrace shows up on the scene, already primed with the knowledge that there's a Sharon model of Cylon, but Helo intervenes because of Sharon's pregnancy. While Helo and Starbuck take different stances on how to proceed, Sharon takes advantage of their distraction and escapes in Starbuck's stolen Cylon Raider ship.
"The Farm" (Season 2, Episode 5)
Eventually, Sharon returns to help Helo, as well as the human resistance movement that has formed from those on Caprica. Are we sensing a pattern here yet? After saving Starbuck, who had been taken by the Cylons, Sharon and Helo elect to go back with her to Galactica, finally leaving Caprica for good in a stolen Heavy Raider.
"Home, Part I and Home, Part II" (Season 2, Episode 6 and 7)
Sharon's welcome is far from warm when she first sets foot on Galactica, due to the fact that Boomer-Sharon (who had been implanted on the ship as a sleeper agent years prior) had shot Galactica's commander Bill Adama in a prior episode. President Laura Roslin initially wants to toss Sharon out of an airlock, but Sharon makes reference to the legendary Tomb of Athena, which is enough to stay Roslin's hand. Eventually, Sharon is thrown into the brig and later allowed to accompany Roslin, Adama, and a small team to the planet of Kobol to find evidence of the ancient tomb. Although a member of their party tries to convince her to mutiny against Adama, she reasserts to Adama that she is her own individual and not like the other Sharon.
"Final Cut" (Season 2, Episode 8)
Famous for being a documentary-style episode, "Final Cut" is also notable in that it establishes the existence of another Cylon model, D'Anna (played by Lucy Lawless), as well as including a critical scene for Sharon. After a near-miscarriage due to her imprisonment, Sharon eventually recovers — and the captured footage is broadcast to the rest of the Cylons, now aware of this half-human, half-Cylon hybrid baby.
"Flight of the Phoenix" (Season 2, Episode 9)
Sharon continues to try to establish trust between herself and the rest of the crew on Galactica, while Helo finds himself struggling to maintain his existing friendships due to his relationship with the Cylon. After a Cylon computer virus known as a "logic bomb" threatens to take over control of Galactica, Adama allows Sharon to literally plug herself into the ship's systems and redirect the virus to an incoming fleet of Cylon ships, saving everyone.
"Pegasus" (Season 2, Episode 10)
Galactica has unexpectedly reunited with another military vessel named Pegasus, but the brewing conflict between both crews threatens to spill over when Pegasus admiral Helena Cain orders her sadistic lieutenant, Alistair Thorne, to "interrogate" Sharon as a Cylon prisoner. Having learned of Thorne's particular methods of torture (which include rape), Helo and Galactica's petty officer Galen Tyrol rush to Sharon's cell to stop Thorne before he hurts Sharon. In the ensuing fight, Thorne dies from head trauma after Tyrol throws him against a bulkhead. Helo and Tyrol are arrested, taken over to Pegasus, and Cain orders that they be executed.
"Epiphanies" (Season 2, Episode 13)
After experiencing a vision, Roslin orders that Helo (who did not die) and Sharon's unborn baby be terminated, as it represents a threat to the fleet. Sharon and Helo (understandably) react poorly to the news, but when fetal cells from the baby have a beneficial impact on Roslin's cancer, all realize that there may be more advantages to this existence of a hybrid child than not.
"Downloaded" (Season 2, Episode 18)
In a Sharon-centric episode that mostly follows what happens when the "Boomer" version gets downloaded into a new body, the version of Sharon on Galactica goes into labor and gives birth to a girl, who she and Helo name Hera. Without their or Adama's knowledge, Roslin has made the decision to hide the baby within the fleet to protect her from the Cylons, giving Hera to a human woman named Maya, and convinces Helo and Sharon that their child has died.
"Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I and II" (Season 2, Episode 19 and 20)
Sharon sinks further into depression after the presumed loss of her baby, and Helo tries to find ways for her to channel her feelings. Using her knowledge of Cylon technology, she aids in a rescue mission for Samuel Anders and the rest of the survivors still stranded on Caprica, but keeps the knowledge of another Cylon model (Cavil) to herself, informing Helo that her trust in the others has been fractured as a result of Hera's death.
"Occupation" (Season 3, Episode 1)
Fast forward over a year later, though, and Sharon's relationship with those on Galactica is steadily improving. She and Helo have officially married, making her Sharon Agathon. Although she is still technically imprisoned in the brig, she speaks with Adama regularly and confides in him that she has finally moved on after the death of her daughter. Given that the fleet has had to leave some of their own behind on the recently discovered New Caprica as a result of a large Cylon occupation, Sharon tells Adama that he needs to forgive himself as well.
"Precipice" (Season 3, Episode 2)
Sharon is released as a prisoner and sworn in as a member of the Galactic fleet over loud objections from Adama's son Lee, who has been reassigned as Pegasus' CAG (Commander of the Air Group). Adama decides to send Sharon to New Caprica in order to meet up with Anders and other members of the resistance, but they're quickly waylaid by a group of Cylon centurions.
"Exodus, Part I" (Season 3, Episode 3)
After surviving the ambush, Sharon manages to directly infiltrate a Cylon detention center. It's here she learns that Hera is actually alive, but insists that Adama wouldn't lie to her about what had happened. She makes it back to Galactica in one piece, but the possibility that her child may not be dead continues to weigh on her mind.
"Torn" (Season 3, Episode 6)
A brief but crucial scene happens here; Helo and the rest of Galactica's pilots come up with a new callsign for Sharon: Athena.
"The Eye of Jupiter"/"Rapture" (Season 3, Episode 11 and 11)
A Cylon delegation comes aboard Galactica to conduct negotiations for access to an ancient artifact called the Eye of Jupiter. Athena-Sharon immediately recognizes Boomer-Sharon on sight, who cavalierly informs her that Hera is alive and calls out Roslin directly for being involved. By this point, Hera is being held aboard a Cylon basestar, and Athena convinces husband Helo to shoot her in order for her to download into a new body there. After infiltrating the basestar with the help of a Number Six Cylon, Athena rescues Hera and returns to Galactica in a stolen Cylon Raptor.
"Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?"/"Sine Qua Non" (Season 4, Episode 7 and 8)
Sharon has ensured her daughter's safety but continues to have visions in which Hera is taken by a Number Six. Her visions eventually bleed over into reality when Hera wanders out of her room and encounters Natalie, a Six model who is actively rebelling against the main group of Cylons. Panicked that she might lose her daughter again, Athena shoots Natalie. Adama puts her in the brig as a result, though before relinquishing his military leadership of the fleet to Tigh, he orders that Athena be permitted to have access to her daughter. In a following episode, "Revelations," she is released from the brig in order to plan a rescue mission with Starbuck.
"The Oath"/"Blood on The Scales" (Season 4, Episode 13 and 14)
After Roslin and Adama forge an alliance with the Cylon rebels, Galactica lieutenant Felix Gaeta and Vice President Tom Zarek lead a mutiny in an attempt to overthrow their leadership. Athena assists Starbuck and Apollo in quashing the mutiny, but Helo is beaten severely by a former Pegasus crew member as belated retribution for his role in Thorne's death back in Season 2.
"Someone to Watch Over Me" (Season 4, Episode 17)
Boomer-Sharon shows up to cause a little chaos at the eleventh hour, assaulting Athena and kidnapping Hera. She also takes time to sleep with Helo in the guise of Athena while the real Athena, bound and gagged, watches. It's one of the most messed-up things about this storyline that never fully gets resolved.
"Daybreak, Part I, II and III" (Season 4, Episode 19 and 20)
Athena, Helo, Starbuck, Apollo, and a small group lead a rescue mission to get Hera back. For some reason, Boomer experiences an emotional 180 and decides to give the child back to her parents. Then Athena shoots Boomer, which is understandable given everything. Eventually, the Agathons (Hera included) settle on Earth with others, and we learn that Hera is "Mitochondrial Eve," the matrilineal common ancestor of all humans living today. So if BSG is to be believed, we all descended from Cylons. That's neat.