Identity continues to prevail as Season 4 unfolds, the canvas broadening on the Human side to encompass the questions of race and society. In doing so, it now mirrors what we have been witnessing among the Cylons. We open with Tyrol, grieving over the death of Cally - and the loss of Boomer - mixed with his deeper quest for his sense of self. The conflict of who he is compared to what he knows himself to be is brought to the fore by Cally's death, and in doing so undermines the last bastion he had against self-doubt: his work. Now he has nowhere to go except a spiral of self-loathing, mixed with a fear of his true nature being revealed and regret over events surrounding Boomer. Alongside him stands Saul Tigh, wrapped in a similar hell of regret and confusion, no-doubt fuelled by Cally's death, as he struggles to reconcile the fact he murdered his wife for being a Cylon collaborator....only to discover he is himself a Cylon. But while Tyrol descends into self-loathing, Tigh seeks absolution of a kind through the words of one of his "own kind": Six, who not only is a Cylon, but is also responsible for the near-annihiliation of the Human race. Standing in sharp contrast to them both is Tory. Of all the Revealed Four, she appears to have adopted most readily - and amorally - with her new "identity". Perhaps, as a politico, she always was amoral and manipulative. Now, through her exposure to Baltar and the ideas of "God", she has found a way of not only accepting what she is, but also of using it and "God" to place herself part from the humans around her. In doing so, she has not only been able to murder Cally - for reasons that may yet prove to be deeper than simple concern that Cally knew what Tyrol, Anders, Tigh and she are - she is able to absolve herself of any human guilt. Tory's actions in this episode are interesting in that they marker her out as quite possibly being in the same camp overall as Cavil, Simon and Doral among the other seven models. What's more, while it is never implied, one has to ask just how much influence she has over Roslyn's recent (and devisive) actions. I ask this because once again, we see Roslyn move further to the right to a point where her actions are touching the realm of the fascist dictator. This is not the Laura Roslyn we witness in the first two seasons of BSG - although the hints of this side of her nature were certainly there. Throughout season 3 and now here, she has become increasingly autocratic in her descision-making processes, more isolated in her position - and more convinced in her absolute "rightness". Is this a side-effect, as she suggests, of her impending death, or due (particularly in this episode) to her own negative obsession with Baltar or is it a combination of both, potentially stirred by Tory's quiet whisperings? Certainly, it is cause for concern. At a time when action is needed to hold the Humans together as a cohesive whole, Rosyln's actions are becoming increasingly devisive. And while she may have quelled her dispute with Bill Adama, there is only a thin skin covering the cracks previously opened in their professional relationship. Elsewhere, Baltar's Christ-like development continues, with strong parallels again between early Christianity here on Earth. Not only fo we see the open persecution of his followers in something akin to what more than likely happened to early Christian believers, we also see Baltar mirror Christ's visit to the temple. True, temple he visited had not be usurped in the manner described in the New Testment - but Baltar's outrage and actions have a direct parallel with Christ's anger at the market stalls and money lenders plying their trade in His Father's house. Other echoes of the Bible ring through this element of the story arc, with Baltar also coming over as a kind of BSG equivalent of Saul of Tarsus. While Baltar never outright perscuted or brutalised anyone, his self-centred ego nevertheless lead to the death of billions; similarly, his life has been marked in part by repeated demonstrations of contempt for those around him. Yet here he now stands, like Saul after his healing by Ananias, preaching the "gospel" he once vehemently despised.
And herein lay the seeds for perhaps the most lasting split within the Colonial ranks. It is hard not to see how this deep religious divide cannot become a wedge that cracks open the Colonial's unity. Certainly, it will be interesting to see how this plays into the clear and strong division now evident in the Humano-Cylon ranks....assuming Natalie/Six and her cohorts survive Cavil's whithering attack witnessed at the end of the last episode. Overall, "Escape" presents another dose of excellent personal and inter-personal drama. And in this is perhaps its one failing. coming as the forth installment of such microscopic examinations, this episode risks coming over as plodding - and at times the storyline does seem a little contrived. Also, the subject matter can, if not viewed carefully, seem like a re-tread of established themes and ideas. In this respect, one can understand why some would mark this episode down. I don't personally view it this way, and would urge those who do to go back and view "Escape" again - possibly after re-watching the first three segments of this season. A fine tune is being played here, and the strings stretch beautifully across the arc so far. Questions I'd still like / would like to see resolved:
- How is Saul Tigh's being a Cylon going to be reconciled? Everything up until his revelation as one of the final four (the original opening titles, the references to the first Cylon War, the events of Razor and the webisodes that sit alongside it) very clearly intimates human-Cylons were a product initially developed towards the end of the first Cylon War and likely during the 40 years following it. How then can Tigh, who fought alongside Bill Adama in the first war, be a humano-Cylon?
- Why isn't Cally's death being investigated more closely? Unless the Galactica has an incredibly weak series of failsafes, there is simply no way she could open the outer hatch of the viper launch tube from the control room and eject herself into space (not without depressuring the entire hanger bay). Similarly, it seems impossible Tory could return the keys to the override locker inside the tube after killig Cally without herself being exposed to the vacuum of space / depressuring the entire hanger bay.
- What is Baltar's Six? I've been fairly convinced she exists only inside his head...have even speculated that he is actually the very _human_ mind and soul of Gaius Baltar now inside a Cylon construct body (his essence having been uploaded to a resurrection hub with that of Six when his home was destroyed at the time of the Cylon attack on Caprica). But this episode apparently suggests she is something more. In the stand-off with the Marine on Galactica, not only do we see her (from Baltar's perspective) lift him to his feet after being struck - we also see two shots from other perspectives that seem to show him being held up by some invisible force. If this was intentional, this it makes "Six" capable of interaction with the corporeal world, and certainly not something simply inside his head. It will be interesting to see if / how this is played out.
Of course, nonne of these questions must be addressed before the end of the season - particularly the one relating to Cally's death (which could be considered as simply a plot point required to move Galen Tyrol into his new "role"). But it would be nice if at least some effort is made to answer the other two.