What the frack have people got against the most awesome episode of the season?! There was so much depth here, I almost drowned in it - and happily so, after the philosophical drought of ALL the previous episodes in this season.
Do Not be fooled by the crappy episode summary. A Lot of things happen, not all of which I will be able to cover, so please bear with me, and do take time out to watch one of the finest episodes ever written.
Ok. For anybody who gives a damn, I fired a shot of warning to anybody bringing Cally back. They did not - Chief only remembers her whilst working. Phew.
I think that the shot of the hugely damaged Battlestar Galactica really brought home for me the toll that the war has taken on the external and internal aspects of that ship and its inhabitants. And forgive me for being so slow, but I really felt for the first time how much like Adama this ship is - the bastion of hope for an entire civilisation, its tough exterior permanently scarred by its battles, yet being so vulnerable to loss on the inside.
And that brings us to the main theme of this episode: The hope of redemption in the face of terrible odds and guilt. And the cold hard truth of consequences. Gaius is only a sounding board for this.
Gaius is further developed here. His one true God is a delicious metaphor for dictators, and that too, a Cylon one - given how his "hearing God" is just a number 6. This is the first time that we see her have a direct physical effect on him, when she picks him up. That looked physically impossible, were it not for 6 being there. How the frack are writers going to explain this, multiple personality disorder or not?!
Going on to his redemption point: developed with the help of Tori (interesting how much he is influenced by Cylon chicks!), he states that if you really become one with God, you can never do bad. That makes humans perfect, just as they are. i.e. no consequences for our actions. Simple sinning, accepting that sin as part of our "perfection", and being forgiven. Holy Frack.
Gaius is countered, to some degree, by a dying Roslin. She is truly becoming more badass with every episode. She has a new wig (which is awesome!) and a new "don't care about the rules, but just get the job done" attitude of all dictators (sound familiar, USA?!). She feels that almost dying has given her a new perspective on life - one of not caring about the rules intended to bring about consequences. But she is strangely the one who wants to prevent Gaius' message that doing anything is okay. The delicious irony is that she uses such dangerously unethical means to prevent a dangerously unethical message.
Enter Lee Adama, who stands up to her and for what he believes in (freedom of speech, a democracy, the rule of law yada yada yada).
And poignantly, Adama and Roslin muse over is "idealism" in the face of "hard realities". But isn't the whole point of having ideals is to overcome the base instincts that tend to drive us to extremes in the face of "hard realities"? Does doing what is right matter, if it has "bad consequences"? Frack me silly.
And instead of completely hating her guts, the writers do something uniquely Battlestar: they make her complex. So although she threatens Gaius (*so awesome*) and intimidates her government, she also gently (and touchingly!) persuades Adama to accept her imminent death by making him finish a reading a book. A book he loved so much that he never read it to the end for fear of ending something beautiful. Dictators have rarely been so pragmatic, twisted and lovable.
Chief also fracks up. He seems to be losing control of his life. After the powerpacked opening lament scene, he makes a mistake that compromises a Raptor crew. And when Adama comes to comfort him, he lashes out about Callie (saying how truly flawed she was, and how he had obviously settled for second best after Boomer left him), and then at Adama (why he threatened to kill Callie a long time ago to save the integrity of the fleet). Despite numerous warnings, he screams at Adama to relieve him of his duties and Adama duly obliges.
But the best part of the episode is what is going on with Sol. He sees his dead wife in 6, consoles Chief, and starts having conversations on a daily basis with the prisoner. He is desperately trying to find some meaning to his existence through his conversations, and eventually some forgiveness for the terrible things he has done. And 6 sees this. So she beats the crap out of him to make him "feel something". When he begs for more, she kisses him. Mind Frack.
I guess I would like to leave with the passage read out during the episode; when Adama breaks new ground by reading the previously untouched pages:
"I wasn't afraid of dying. I was afraid of the emptiness that I felt inside. I couldn't feel anything ... and that is what scared me. It came into my thoughts. It filled them. And it felt *good*."