Written by: Jan Espenson
Directed By: Paul Edwards
Well, we know that those who were left behind didn’t handle things so well; how about those who were “snatched up”?
Having just arrived aboard the rebel Cylon baseship, Roslin and Baltar are shocked when the ship’s hybrid abruptly begins making jump after jump away from the Human fleet. The hybrid is panicking because she senses that Natalie has died. Eventually, however, her jumps regain focus. She begins searching for the resurrection hub so that the allied Human-Cylon forces can complete their original mission: to rescue the boxed Three/D’Anna model and destroy the hub, which is defended by Cylon forces belonging to Cavil’s faction.
During all of these jumps, Roslin experiences visions in which Elosha, her priestess who perished on Kobol, shows her a hospital bed where she — Roslin — lies dying. William Adama keeps a loving, grief-stricken vigil by her bedside. Lee and Kara stand sorrowfully nearby. Observing this scene, Elosha urges Roslin to relax her self-inflicted Presidential isolation and allow herself to love — both for her own sake and for her people’s.
Interestingly, Roslin only experiences the visions during each FTL jump. Which is odd given that these jumps are supposed to be subjectively instantaneous.
Sooooo, from where, and whom, are these visions coming? Is it her own subconscious lambasting her as a cold, aloof, hostile, well, “barracuda,” or her Cylon programming masquerading as her better nature? And, for that matter, since when has Laura Roslin been “isolated” and “unloving”? She’s let in Bill Adama, and though it’s never been shown on-screen (yet, mercifully), it’s quite likely that they got to know their respective bodies a little better back on New Caprica. But there are limits to how many a president can allow to get close, just as there is a valid purpose to “self-inflicted presidential isolation” – particularly in times of crisis. Good presidents know this. Which helps explain why the late Elosha was a pagan priestess and not a political consultant.
Between jumps, however, Roslin resolutely acts like her normal self. She and Baltar try and fail to converse with the enigmatic hybrid. Meanwhile, Helo and an Eight develop a bond as they work together to plan and prepare their uneasy crews for the coming battle. Helo is thus especially upset when Roslin gives him a secret order: he must transport D’Anna directly to Roslin, who will interrogate her with no Cylons present. Helo warns Roslin that the Cylons, who expect mutual cooperation, will see this as a betrayal of the alliance. Roslin coolly insists that Helo follow her orders.
In other words, Baltar was the ep’s comic relief. Something, indeed, that has not been seen on this show for quite some time. Nice change of pace, if only for a few moments.
“Meanwhile,” Helo and the Eight do a bit more than just “develop a bond,” if you know what I mean. Or at least the Eight tries to light Karl’s pilot light by giving him his favorite back massage he always gets from Athena, one memory amongst all of Athena’s memories that the Eight helped herself to after Mrs. Agathon’s last download.
Helo is a little creeped out by it, but I don’t buy that he would be. Fact is, a lack of true intimacy would be the legacy of any Human who married a Cylonoid. Your Cylon spouse would not be a unique individual, but rather one copy amongst millions of that particular model. You could have nothing with her/him that was just between the two of you. Even if s/he remained faithful, one or more of his/her “siblings” could always tap into those sweet nothings and steamy encounters for whatever reason. You marry one, you marry ‘em all.
It also doesn’t appear that Helo grasps the positive side of that particular coin: He could bugger as many Eights as he wanted and it wouldn’t be cheating! After all, they aren’t “siblings,” or even “identicals” – they’re duplicates. The Eight that was rubbing Karl’s shoulders and several minutes from then could have been on her knees in front of him rubbing somewhere else is Athena, just like Athena is Boomer and Boomer is this Eight. Something I’m sure Mrs. Agathon can’t not be aware of, even if her doofus hubbie can’t wrap his mind around it.
“Open” marriage by design. Plus the eventual, inevitable sorrow that would come with any functional immortal giving their heart to a mortal whose limited lifespan will be over all too soon. Makes you wonder if Athena thought through marrying Helo after all. No wonder she supported the mission to destroy the resurrection hub.
As for Roslin’s secret order to Helo for a private interrogation of the unboxed Three, the words “plausible deniability” come to mind. She has her own personal agenda for that Q&A session and a perfectly reasonable cover justification. But then I have no problem with self-inflicted presidential isolation; I suppose the late Elosha would have Laura give Karl a shoulder rub instead.
The baseship reaches the hub and a chaotic fight begins against Cavil’s Cylon forces. Helo and the Eight sneak aboard the hub, where they find D’Anna already awake. Cavil and Boomer have resurrected her, but she has killed Cavil, and Boomer has fled. Helo, the Eight and D’Anna escape from the hub in a Raptor. Then the Human pilots unleash a barrage of nuclear missiles. The hub — the Cylons’ wellspring of immortality — vanishes in a blaze of light.
Alright, this makes no sense whatsoever. Cavil and his Simon and Doral allies know damn good and well that the D’Annas were the first model to go against the programming imperative forbidding any seeking out of the “Final Five”. Their “boxing” is what removed the Conoys, Sixes, and Sharons from majority control in the first place. The Cavils, most of all, are supposed to be the “voice of reason” model. So what possibly deluded them into believing that the D’Annas could be persuaded to take the side of the Ones, Twos, and Fours in a Cylon civil war that the Threes did more than any other model to ignite? Even desperation doesn’t explain it, and up until now the Cavils, Dorals, and Simons have had the upper hand in this intraspecies conflict.
The plot-driving answer is that Helo and his wannabe Eight “mistress” wouldn’t have had time to sneak aboard the resurrection hub to revive the D’Annas AND get any of them out before either their base ship or the hub or both were destroyed. Helo was right about that. But the story demanded that they bring back a Three, so Cavil has to pay the price in character credibility. No wonder Espenson booked his side to do the job in this battle.
Back aboard the baseship, an explosion during the fight has injured Baltar. Roslin gives him morpha and staunches his bleeding as best she can. Then, under the drug’s influence, Baltar confesses what she has long suspected: that his actions helped enable the genocidal Cylon attack against the Twelve Colonies. After he complacently explains that his faith in God frees him from all guilt, Roslin strips away the dressing she has put on his wound. He guesses what she’s doing and begs her to stop, but she steps away. Laura Roslin is about to let Gaius Baltar bleed to death before her eyes — but it’s not just his life on the line. It’s her soul, too.
NOW we’re talking. This is a polemical payoff four seasons in the making, and almost pulls Battlestar Galactica back over the shark “Sine Qua Non” jumped it a week ago.
I’m at a loss to explain why Gaius, after all this time, feels free to confess his sins, especially since Roslin told him he wasn’t going to die, so it wasn’t a deathbed confession. And I don’t buy the “under the drug’s influence” excuse, since you’ll recall from “Taking A Break From All Your Worries” that Roslin and Adama had Baltar pumped full of a sodium pentathol-like interrogation drug and the latter didn’t spill his guts, so why would a hit of morphine loosen up that double-tongue?
Perhaps a clue is to be found in the tone and tenor of the confession itself. For starters, confessing that he was the patsy that Caprica Six used to sabotage Colonial defenses in the face of the Cylons’ genocidal attack is only the prologue for yet another “evangelical” sermon from Fundamentally Oral Gaius. He speaks of his notorious role in his civilization’s eradication as a good, a positive, a blessing that showed him “the path to God,” and, naturally, revealed to him the “messianic” role “God” had planned for him. Including, of course, persuading Roslin to end her “self-inflicted presidential isolation” and “teaching her to love”. It was downright creepy in its self-satisfied, dare I say self-righteous smugness. Kind of like a Barack Obama stump speech.
As a witnessing gambit, I’d say this one left a great deal to be desired. Judging by Roslin’s reaction, atheistic hatred never looked so good. She doesn’t display glee or anger or cathartic satisfaction at getting to be the person who carries out the sentence she knows Baltar deserves for the crime against humanity she has always known in her heart he committed. At this point, after all that’s happened, and with her own life inexorably winding down, she’s beyond such petty emotions. Indeed, it almost seems to be a burden to her, but one she knows she must bear if some measure of belated justice is to be done.
It certainly doesn’t help the condemned that he begs her “don’t do this to me” over and over again. If Gaius were truly “born again,” his soul truly saved, he’d have acknowledged his guilt even knowing that it had been forgiven by God. He’d have realized that he deserved far worse punishment for his grievous sins from which God had spared him, and accepted this comparatively minor act of penance knowing that he was soon going home to his reward. And it would have been a far better witness to Roslin than his trademark begging for his life, which suggests that if anything, he has morally regressed (if that’s even possible) since he “got religion”.
But no. The base ship jumps away from the destroyed resurrection hub, Laura has one more Elosha vision, and when she comes to she replaces the bandage and saves the Worthless Piece ‘o Garbage’s life. Hence the “almost” inserted into the shark-jumping comment above. But what the heck, we still need the comic relief, right?
Still, the President’s new-found lack of presidential isolation doesn’t extend to letting the Three off the hook, which guarantees that the Eight won’t be Helo’s pussy-away-from-home on this mission. Nothing much else, though, as D’Anna, mistrustful of everybody (and who can blame her?), clams up until the base ship makes it back to the ragtag fleet.
I bet Helo still doesn’t realize the opportunity Roslin cost him.
I’m also betting the Admiral recognized his, though. Hope that Raptor has a big enough back seat.
Next: One more helping of metastasizing insanity before journey’s end.