As anticipated, this episode effectively ends the "introductory" phase of the season arc, bringing Kara's initial search for the path back to Earth to a close. It also takes the Cylon civil war into an unexpected direction, and Roslin receives an interesting challenge to her perspective from another dying cancer patient. Whether in active practice or quiet discussion, faith is at the center of the story.
Previous episodes had the more "human" side of the Cylon civil war decimated without the presence of a resurrection ship, so as the weakened army, it makes sense that they would find a potential alliance with the Humans a viable option. It's also worth noting that the models in question have been represented by individuals with a particular brand of "love" (even if Boomer is playing for the other side now).
From the pragmatic perspective, they need help to survive, and if the hardliners among the Cylon are taking control, the Humans could also use all the help they can get. From a metaphysical perspective, both sides are searching for the "Final Five", so there's a common cause. The lethal scene between a Six and Barolay is more than enough to remind the audience that it's still a tense and potentially disastrous arrangement. The wounds of New Caprica are evident on both sides.
Of course, that is in and of itself intriguing. How many of the Humans have had the opportunity to realize that the Cylons are not all mindless copies? They may come from the same template, but their personalities derive from a mixture of shared and individual experience. Exposure to Humans has unlocked, at least for some models, Humans traits. It's been acknowledged in individual cases (as demonstrated by the trust given to Athena), but how will the Human masses, who were still isolated from most Cylons on New Caprica, deal with constant exposure? (Certainly Tigh, Tyrol, Tori, and Anders will have some interesting reactions.)
The hybrid's jabbering to Kara ties in nicely with the final moments of "Razor", and seems to give a direction for the new alliance to follow. In fact, much of what is happening in this episode fits the prophetic words of the very first hybrid: "The denial of the one true path, played out on a world not their own, will end soon enough. Soon there will be four, glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of their true selves. The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her. Enemies brought together by impossible longing. Enemies now joined as one. The way forward at once unthinkable, yet inevitable. And the fifth, still in shadow, will claw toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering. I can see them all. The seven, now six, self-described machines who believe themselves without sin. But in time, it is sin that will consume them. They will know enmity, bitterness, the wrenching agony of one splintering into many. And then, they will join the promised land, gathered on the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning."
The sleight of hand regarding the ringed planet and the comet was clever, lending far more question to the nature of Kara's memories than I had suspected. I still don't think Kara is the final Cylon, but she may be something apart from that entire discussion. After all, the Temple of Five on the algae planet ("Eye of Jupiter" and "Rapture") was dedicated to the five priests (analogues to the Final Five, or so it seems) who worshipped "The One Who Cannot Be Named". The natural assumption is that this "One" is the Cylon God, but what if it's something very different? Is it possible that, like the thirteen Human colonies with one quite apart from the other twelve, there is a being above and apart from the twelve Cylons?
If the Final Five "come from the home of the thirteenth", then the theory that the Final Five are genetic descendants of the previous cycle's merging of Human and Cylon is further supported. If that process is possible, then Kara's genetic legacy might be connected similarly to this "One". The mandala, carried over the ages, could be a meme carried down through the genetic memory, bringing "death" in the sense of "change/renewal".
The first hybrid's words seem to be following a chronological path. The "world not their own" could easily be the New Caprica situation, as "denial of the one true path" could have been the decision not to pursue Earth. The four, of course, are the four newly revealed Cylons. Kara certainly appeared to be in the "midst of confusion", after which Leoben found her. At this point, the enemies have indeed been "brought together by impossible longing". It would seem that the path forward is soon to be defined, and it will not be pleasant.
As seemingly obvious as it seems, the one clawing "toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering" could certainly apply to Baltar. It could technically be Roslin, though she has always been in the role of the "dying leader". Of course, since these are obvious connections, it's likely that the revelation will involve someone else.
Roslin's own journey through mortality seems to confirm her role as the "dying leader" (who, apparently, will soon learn the truth about the "opera house"). Considering how long the series has drawn the distinction between the Humans' "Lords of Kobol" and the Cylon "God", it's about time they had a deeper discussion on the subject. The interesting thing here is the underlying imagery that Baltar continues to utilize, which seems to connect to the collective unconscious of both Human and Cylon. More evidence, perhaps, that he is the final Cylon after all.
In terms of Roslin herself, the discussions with Emily have actually led her to wonder if Baltar is not as nutty as he seems. Given her absolute disgust with Baltar and distrust in every word that comes out of his mouth, it's realistic for something like this, a confrontation with her apparently inevitable fate, to consider his words outside of that context. It would be a stunning turn of events if Roslin were to admit, on any level, that Baltar is right. Then again, with a basestar full of Cylons coming to visit, she'll likely have other things on her mind.