So far, Season Four has been very good in Battlestar Galactica. We had a great start with "He That Believeth in Me", "Six of One", and "The Ties that Bind". Then we faltered a bit with "Escape Velocity" and stumbled on "The Road Less Travelled". But "Faith" brought back the quality, and "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" now shows that BSG is back!
There was a lot to process in this episode, with many events taking place. This episode served as a setup episode (setting up the future strike on the Resurrection Hub), but it also came with some suitably intense moments and great character moments. But everything in the episode was masterfully done, from the story to the acting to the music.
I'll start with the storyline. As I said, the story is suitably advanced in this episode. We're given information on the Resurrection Hub, and we also see more of the visions being shared by Roslin, Athena, and Caprica Six. This visions are particularly well done and feel very strange and creepy. But the creepiest thing in the episode has to be Hera's "bye-bye" to Athena. Speaking of that, I may as well jump to the end. The ending act of this episode was probably the most intense conclusion to a Battlestar Galactica episode since Pegasus. It's not very often that I'm literally on the edge of my seat, but I was watching Sharon confront Natalie. I have to admit, I was extremely surprised that they shot (and seemingly killed) Natalie. She's a brand new character this season and was being given a lot to do. Her apparent death was very jarring and surprising. I also loved the sense of paranoia that accompanied Athena's scenes in the last act. It made the terror palpable as she was running around looking for Athena. But the stuff on the Baseship was cool too. I just loved the way she screamed "Jump!" at the end of the episode. I know that wasn't the actual end, but I'll get to it.
Now I'll move on the acting, and of immediate note is, once again, Mary McDonnell. Last week, McDonnell gave an Emmy-worthy (heck, it was Oscar-worthy) performance when she recalled the death of her mother. This week, her performance was just as strong, but it was in a very different arena. This week, she played the tough and strong President who came down hard. She came down on Lee like a ton of bricks at the start of the episode, and her scene with Tory (yes, I'll say it) was an "Oh, snap!" moment. In both of those scenes, McDonnell played the hardliner Roslin excellently. Tricia Helfer should also get some credit in this episode. Her portrayal of Natalie was excellent, particularly in the scenes aboard the Baseship with the Two and the Eight. Her address to the Quorum was equally well done.
Now you're probably wondering why I haven't mentioned Gaeta. Well, I decided to save the best for last. The thing that propelled this episode from being just a good episode to being an instant classic was "Gaeta's Lament". This is the song sung by Gaeta (and yes, Juliani really did sing it) after his leg is amputated. This song is beautifully haunting and wonderfully pieces the episode together. It becomes a form of repetition as it pops up several times throughout the episode. This piece will certainly be on the future soundtrack for Season Four. And if it isn't, protest!
All in all, this is definitely one of the top 10 episodes in the series. It fails in no departments. The acting is superb. The story is well advanced. The music is flawless. Now why do we have to wait two weeks?!?! Just kidding. Anyways, great episode. Perfect. 10/10.