Okay, so the other episodes were either story-lite or philosophy-lite. This was neither, and boy was it a bomb.
I'm not going to run through what happened, and will try to discuss the main points raised.
Death/Roslin: Roslin (now bald) is getting more and more scared with her impending death, and talks to a fellow dying patient. She knows that the pain is only going to get worse, and that finding meaning in this is hard. So the talk drifts to religion, and the meaning to be found in death - mainly that it might not be the last thing - and that our souls somehow "live on" somewhere beyond the "dark abyss". Roslin begins by being contemptuous of this thought. But she then changes her mind, as it prefers hope to dread. This makes sense, given her fear.
Religion/Belief: The debate between the many Gods/Cylon "one true" God rages on - and is mentioned to be just this (for the first time) by Roslin herself. But the other woman responds saying that she does not care if it is a Cylon-recognised God - and that God is for everything. A good point, but one that does not escape its origins - i.e. a 6 in Baltar's damaged mind. Also, she speaks of the other Gods' indiscretions, while maintaining that hers is perfect. So the old "mine is better than yours" that many *children* use comes back again. Roslin counters by saying that Gods are metaphors for something deeper, but is floored by the argument that the woman does not *need* metaphors - she needs comfort. And the one God theory is somehow more comforting for her. Fair enough lady, whatever does it for you. And maybe it is simply a tool for dealing with the emptiness of death - and what harm can that do, given that it cannot be proven either way?
The ambiguity continues with the fantastic boat scene. Roslin sees the fellow patieint "cross over" and imagines her self there too. Then she says she is "not ready" yet. And wakes up to see the bed beside her empty and the radio on. Damn clever - we all know that the radio in our sleep gives us *freaky* dreams, but leaves open the "spiritual experience" angle.
Finally, Adama tells Roslin that the whole Earth thing was a "carrot" for the fleet when first concieved, but that Roslin makes him "believe". If the Man himself can be swayed by the unexplainable, then who are we mortals to disagree? But then again, maybe he was just saying things to make Roslin feel better. Mind frack.
Justice: 6 kills that *annoying* human because of the trauma of being killed herself. Anders gets *mad*, but is prevented from dealing out justice. However, another 6 sees that this will not slide by Athena (or the humans), so she puts down the 6 herself. Her line "is that enough human justice for you" was chilling, but heck - that fracking 6 had *no* right to kill the human in the first place. She was resurrected, after all, and it's not like danger is somehow removed from her job description. So yes - although traumatised, she did initiate the destruction of the human race, and so fracking deserved her fate.
The Base Star: ...is damaged, but in the hands of the humans! OMFG! And the construct also tells Starbuck that she is the "harbinger of death". A centurion shoots a Sharon model for disconnecting the construct. This is going to make things *interesting*, given that we don't know how many more of these "free will" robots-with-guns are left out there. And how will the humans handle these things when brought to the fleet?
One wonders how is Adama going to react to having his very own base star (however damaged)? And will he accept the truce being offered? Will the fleet agree to this? How about the blasphemous Gaius? Will his 6 try to force a revolt if things don't pan out?
Cylons: Are my favourite by a mile. Leoben debates of the necessity of the truce with the humans, and 6 clearly dislikes having to agree that there are no other options. Athena is also making hard choices. She points guns at her previous "sisters". She handles Starbuck without much care when told to do so by Helo, yet joins her on the mission. She refuses to forgive a dying "sister" model, but Anders does (what the frack is up with him?).
Can the Cylons be trusted? Can they sense the other 4? Was that part of Leoben's logic (one finds it hard to believe that he would have over looked this fact)? How will they react to finding out what Anders and the other 3 are?
Anders: Goes nuts in this episode. Shooting Gaeta was *drastic*, but his aggression towards 6 was unbridled fury. Finally, he shows care-bare-like compassion to the dying Sharon. Maybe he is not controlled by these guys, and his instability is compelling viewing. He also tries to touch a console, but is prevented from doing so - but given how much was made of it, it seems like it is only a matter of time before he tries to do so again. Will he be able to "see" things? Will it make him "switch on"?
Starbuck/Destiny: Once again, Starbuck makes a seemingly insane leap of faith in the name of "destiny", only to have the Razor guy's words repeated, and to be informed that her destiny would lead to the end of everything. Does this woman (if that *is* what she is) have free will? Or is she a pawn in some higher powers' plans?
This show is seemingly destined for greatness. And if episodes of this quality keep rolling off the production line *every week*, then no number of one true God(s) can stop it being so.
Here is my cynical prayer for that happening!