Rating: **1/2

Written by: Seamus Kevin Fahey
Directed By: Michael Nankin
And, just as quick as Sam Cylon’s hidden programming kicking in causing him to shoot Lieutenant Gaeda through the shin, shattering it, the intrigue went away. Suddenly everyone is calm and reasonable again (except for Gaeda, who’s bellowing his head off in agony, which is the only thing in that moment that actually makes sense). Even Starbuck, who pirouettes from “Helo, you son of a bitch, by mutinying you’re stopping me from taking the Demetrius on a suicide mission to a Cylon base ship that will get us all killed based on nothing but the empty Earth promises of the Cylon who tortured me for six months on New Caprica,” to, “Yes, Captain Agathon, you are correct; I will just take a Raptor and go to the base ship with Leobin.” Besides, I didn’t know they brought along any Raptors, and I really don’t want to know where on that sewage barge they were stashing them.

Okay, Kara’s still a couple Vipers short of a full squadron, but at least she made SOME sort of concession. But she still sticks it to Helo by ordering his Cylon wife to accompany them. After Anders invites himself along, ‘bucko will be outnumbered three to one just on the way to the base ship. Assuming she isn’t a Cylon duplicate of Kara herself. Just don’t mention that part to her; she might just go postal on your ass.

That possibility – or at least some sort of psychological conditioning – grows considerably when the Raptor arrives at the Conoy’s designated jump coordinates. They find the aftermath of the ambush of the Six/Sharon/Conoy half of the Cylon fleet by the Cavils/Dorals/Simons. It looks eerily similar to the aftermath of the Battle of Wolf 359; nothing is left except smoldering, drifting debris. It’s a sight that ought to have plastered a sneer of satisfaction on Kara’s face; indeed, it’s a dream come true. The Cylons have done – are doing – to themselves what the Humans never had the chance to do: lay waste to the Cylon fleet. Now that this stunning turn of events has been confirmed, the prudent thing to do would be to jump back to the Demetrius, and jump the Demetrius back to the Galactica, and put as much distance between the fleet and the warring toasters as possible.

But nooooo; Starbuck is determined to find a Cylon hybrid amidst all that flotsam, like some sort of slot-machine fortune-teller, that will spit out a AAA Kobol-to-Earth road map along with a receipt and a fortune cookie. So she insists on sifting through the mess until they find one. But unlike Captain Riker and the Enterprise, ‘bucko is only in a tiny, deflector shieldless shuttlecraft, and some of that wreckage isn’t quite done exploding.

Right as an explosion is ordered up on cue, she sees it – the Jupiter-like planet being passed by a comet that she painted on the wall of her cabin on the Demetrius. If there were any chance of talking her out of this obsession, it’s more gone than a Baltar monogamy promise now.

It ought to scare the hell out of Anders and Athena, though.   Because this little revelation really has nothing at all to do with Earth, and everything to do with the Cylons.   And that leads back to why the Conoy is so interested in Starbuck. Just exactly what are they after? And whatever it is, isn’t it metastasizingly clear that she’s playing right into their hands?

It ought also to be unnerving to Kara that the next thing she knows the Raptor is sitting in the landing bay of an at least mostly intact base ship that they never saw before.   It certainly is for Athena, who is confronted by her sister Eights with a supplication to lead them against the Sixes.   So now this “civil war” is to become a triple-threat match? How long before it becomes a battle royal? Or is this what happens when sentient machines start “evolving” beyond their programming?

It looks like the Conoys and Sixes aren’t getting along very well, either. The latter appear to have allowed the Leobin to seek out Starbuck and the Demetrius only as a last resort in the hopes of trading access to their (injured) hybrid in exchange for utilizing one of the Humans’ FTL drives. The Six’s reference to the Conoys’ “obsession with this woman” sounds awfully similar to the reasoning behind the D’Anna Biers line being “boxed” (her own “obsession” with Human spirituality) – which is odd considering that it was the Sixes who demanded that the Cavils, Simons, and Dorals have that model unboxed.

When the Six moves to renege on her agreement with the Leobin and simply take the Raptor and liquidate Starbuck and her flight crew, Kara calls her bluff: “You don’t have time to figure out our FTL drive before your friends return, so kindly take me to your hybrid, or kiss your asses goodbye.” As loopy as she’s become – and as frankly intimidating as her zombie-like glare towards the Six is – you gotta admit, that is vintage Starbuck.

While the others are bickering over the details, Anders quietly moves to one of the interface terminals into which Cylons directly tap.   Is it curiosity? Or his programming? He seemed almost mesmerized, very reminiscent of Boomer back in the first season, like he was in a trance. He’s just about to touch the interface when Kara gives him an order – which breaks the trance and probably saves him from a bullet through his head. Nice little foreshadowing nuance, and probably not the last.

No sooner does Anders pull his hand away than another Six recognizes one of the Humans – a woman who had been an insurgent on New Caprica and had sadistically killed her – and snaps, beating her to death. This causes Anders to snap, pistol whip the Six, and threaten to blow her head off. Suddenly everybody’s gun is drawn on everybody in a flash-frozen Mexican standoff like the one back on the Demetrius that got Gaeda’s leg blown off. But this time it’s Starbuck playing peacemaker.

But Anders won’t listen. He’s determined to retaliate. So the lead Six, after comforting her sister, which includes a full-scale, lesbo-auto-tonsil-incestectomy (geez, are ALL the Sixes queer besides Caprica?), beats him to it by grabbing his gun and pulling the trigger. And since there’s no resurrection ship handy, the Six is deader than Judas Iscariot.

Thus is this preposterous “alliance” maintained.   Kind of like the alliance between Captain Janeway and the Borg in “Scorpion” – one of convenience that will last only as until one side or the other has what it wants and no longer needs the other.   Hope that hybrid has a Tom Tom in her.

Well, not quite. Cylon hybrids – in essence, living “ship minds” – recline in goo baths spouting a never-ending stream of gibberish (no matter how the Conoy tries to gussy it up). After standing there for an indeterminate quantity of time trying to pick out any wheat, even a single kernel, from the mounds of verbal chaff, Kara – ever the patient one – gives up and gives the order to pull the plug so that the base ship can jump….to the Demetrius, I guess (a visual that is well worth the wait). The plug-pulling causes the hybrid to emit a sustained (and I DO mean sustained) bellow, like the auditory equivalent of a computer crash, which causes a nearby centurion to start firing at one of the Sharons, whose dying blood pours into the goo bath, which seems to finally give the hybrid some focus.

Sorry, my fingers forgot to breathe again.

She looks straight into Starbuck’s eyes, caresses her cheek, and says:

The children of the one reborn shall find their own country. The dying leader will know the truth of the opera house. The missing three will give you the five who have come from the home of the thirteenth. You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end.

My best translation? Either Starbuck (“the one reborn”) will lead the fleet to a planet other than Earth on which they can finally settle, or she will somehow get them all killed. Which isn’t necessarily a contradiction, as that is pretty close to what happened on New Caprica under President Baltar’s “leadership”. President Roslin (“the dying leader”) will figure out her dream – probably by consulting the hybrid as Starbuck did (oops, there goes my perspicacity again….) – but then we knew that. And the unboxed D’Annas will expose Tigh, Tory, Tyrol, Anders, and Roslin for some reason or other – hopefully to explain how any Cylon models could possibly have come FROM Earth when the Cylons were created BY the Humans of the Twelve Colonies.

Regardless, I’m pretty sure, judging by the gaffed fish expression on her face, that that was not what Kara wanted or expected to hear.

So what does ‘bucko do now? Is she Humanity’s savior or destroyer? Does she blow her own head off before she can fulfill either side of the hybrid’s prophecy? And since when has Kara Thrace taken the word of a Cylon as gospel?

Since her “resurrection,” that’s when. Which reminds me why I dislike this angle so much.   A sentiment resoundingly reinforced when this inter-species brainstorming points Starbuck to the next windmill on her tilting expedition: go with the Cylons to the resurrection hub to which the Conoys, Sharons, and Sixes were going when the Cavils, Simons, and Dorals ambushed them, and where they’re undoubtedly still lying in wait. Gone that quickly is the little detail of Kara leading her people to their doom. Like she’d ever let a little prudence and sanity get in the way of a perfectly good obsession.

~ ~ ~

Lastly, but not leastly, President Roslin meets a fellow cancer patient (Nana Visitor, DS9’s Kira Nireys) who penetrates her presidential mask because she’s in precisely the same predicament, only a little farther gone. She has the Fundamentally Oral Gaius Show vamping in the background as they have several heartfelt, intimately empathetic conversations on the subject of what it’s really like to be on death’s doorstep.   Visitor’s character, Emily, was never a fan of “that religious crap,” but now she’s taking a fresh look at Baltar’s golden calf. It shakes Roslin to her core as she recalls her own mother’s struggle as her cancer consumed her and now sees it replay again in this new – and destined to soon be late – friend.

Seeing is believing, as the old saying goes.   Roslin has a dream – the same one Emily described to her – metaphorically depicting Emily’s death.   Then she sees her own mother on the shore, and tells her she’s not ready to “cross over”. But she’s weakening – not so much under the physical assault of the cancer, but the spiritual assault of where her own impending death will take her. It even has her wondering if her archenemy might not be on to something after all.

Don’t worry, Adama is still a Rock of Atheism. He’s just coming to grips with the reality that he may never see Kara again – again – and she may have taken Helo, Gaeda, and the rest back to purgatory with her. That he now really does believe in Earth.

And that he’s finally fallen in love with the president.

Ugh. Isn’t it the chemo patients that are supposed to hurl?

  

Next: The ins, outs, foibles, and perils of the ultimate “uneasy alliance”.

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