This was BSG's first bad one, and wow, did they take a nosedive! The English language can scarcely do justice to the cretinous imbecility of virtually every aspect of this unfortunate abomination of an episode.
It's probably inevitable that a show I'd come to hold in such high regard would eventually come to disappoint, and probably bitterly disappoint, but after such a great first season-and-a-half, I never expected it to happen so abruptly.
Throughout BSG, there have been story arcs that were better than others, but I can live with most of what I saw as the shortcomings along the way--they were so outweighed by the show's benefits that I barely consider them worth mentioning. The previous episodes' extremely lackluster conclusion to the Pegasus arc marked the first time BSG had ever let me down in a big way. With "Epiphanies," we have, quite simply, the worst episode of the run to date. Even as I'm writing this, the third season having already aired, it remains the worst, and a monument to poor decision-making.
The lack of bad episodes prior to this, however, means that merely calling it "the worst" doesn't do justice to how monumentally awful this offering was on nearly every level.
The "Cylon sympathizer" storyline, which looked as though it was going to be a regular feature of BSG for a while, was so poorly conceived and offensively idiotic that I find myself, once again, at a loss for sufficient words with which to adequately envenom it. BSG's creators apparently agreed--after setting it up as what looks like a new ongoing storyline, it's barely mentioned again after this episode.
For that matter, practically everything that happened in "Epiphanies" has subsequently been erased, reversed, or otherwise abandoned.
The episode was one of the worst available examples of writers deciding they want to tell a particular story and grafting it on to a show with no regard for whether or not it actually fits there, or makes any sense in the context of the series (or makes sense in and of itself, for that matter--the "Cylon sympathizer" storyline made no sense on any level). At that point, they aren't writing BSG anymore. They're writing whatever they want, and calling it BSG.
The point of this episode's Laura story was to show that arbitary decision-making on behalf of leaders is fraught with peril. In the flashbacks, set on Caprica before the Cylon attack, Laura was the cooler head who fought against this kind of thing, just as she has throughout her time as President, but in "Epiphanies," she inexplicably succumbs to it, and it almost costs her her life. This is Laura cast as George Bush Jr.
The obvious problem with this is that Laura is NOT George Bush Jr. Her decision to eliminate the human/Cylon fusion comes out of nowhere and is based on nothing, and while we've come to expect that sort of thing from the present "President" of the United States, it's not the sort of thing the Laura Roslyn we've come to know would do.
There would have been a million ways to raise legitimate concerns about allowing the fusion to come into existence, most of them requiring no more than a line or two of dialogue. The humans could have hashed out the matter, the way they always do, and come to some decision, maybe a tough one, and maybe it's proven, at the end, to be the wrong one. The writers, however, wanted to tell a story about the dangers of arbitrary decision-making, so the show and the characters get bent into whatever odd angles are required to tell that story, with little or no concern for continuity or consistency. Laura decides she wants the fusion destroyed for unstated "security concerns," and everyone but Baltar immediately agrees.
Consider that, in the episode immediately preceding this one, the characters faced an ethical crisis--do we really deserve to live? In considering this, it was suggested that assassinating a dangerous lunatic who posed a clear danger to the entire fleet may be some morally unconscionable act. As obviously false as this should have been, Adama actually concluded that it might, and called it off. With "Epiphanies," we're offered a situation where it is suggested that a horror be committed, entirely needlessly, upon the person of a woman--Sharon--who has offered substantial aid to the fleet, including saving it, at one point, and has tried very hard to gain their trust, and no one except Crazy Baltar (in pursuit of his own agenda) even thinks twice about giving the green light for this to occur?
The magic cure for Roslyn's cancer is probably the episode's lowest point. It's exactly the sort of awful plot device BSG has always rigorously avoided, to the point that it's one of their trademarks. Now, she's been returned to health, and, even worse, she now has, after all this time, a sudden memory of seeing Baltar and Six together back on Caprica.
Even Baltar's bizarre moment of glory at having saved Laura was dashed by yet another idiotic creative decision that had him acting radically out-of-character in the service of a prefab plot.
Final analysis: not worthy of the dust on the boots of my BSG.