Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 8

Sine Qua Non

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 30, 2008 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

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  • "Watch the cat....."

    "Sine" is an odd episode. Coming on top of the last two episodes in particular, it seems strange to slip back into a set-up episode; yet that's exactly what we have - and in part, one must ask "why?".


    * The Cylon baseship has jumped away taking Roslin, Helo and around half of Galactica's defensive wing with it. The reserrection hub itself has also vanished, apparently stalling any hope of the mission against it

    *Adama believes the Athena's shooting of Natalie/Six is connected to the baseship's jump. Worse, he is obsessed with finding Laura Roslin, admitting to his son that he cannot go on without her. When he realises his actions are putting the fleet at risk, he relinquishes command to Saul Tigh and remains behind in a Raptor when the fleet jumps away, hoping the baseship will return to their assigned rendezvous

    * Thigh's relationship with Caprica/Six takes a new twist when it is revealed she is pregnant by him. The news brings Adama and Tigh to blows; an action that conversely brings Adama to his senses regarding the hunt for the baseship carrying Roslin

    * With Roslin out of the way, Zarek falls back into his old ways of rhetoric and brokering to secure his new-found position as "interim President" by sowing the seeds of doubt between the civilians and the military

    * Realising his father will never accept Zarek's administration, Lee Adama sets about finding an alternative interim civil leader (as the civil law allows), and he enlists Romo Lampkin in this endeavour

    * Romo Lampkin reveals himself to be both a man of conviction and a man deeply hurt - following his defence of Baltar, someone killed his cat, his one link with his past. When he circles back to the inevitable conslusion that one man, and one man alone - Lee Adama - can take over as President, he sets out with vengeance in mind

    * Lee Adama proves himself to possibly be a clever politico, selecting the one man who can be said to be so unbiased, his recommendation is bound to secure Lee the Presidency, despite his claims that high office is not what he seeks. Or it could be, as with so many things around Lee that by avoiding the hard six, he inevitably ends up rolling it: pilot or CAG to Battlestar commander, to Quorum member - positions he never really sought, but which he was destined to hold.


    Sine Quo Non is an oddly put together segment; in fact it is fair to say it is a disjointed segment, and for the first time this season, the show appears to stumble. That the segment is setting up further events to be played out in the future cannot be denied - and this isn't really the issue, per se. The issue is the manner in which the episode handles things.

    Sine Non Quo: "Without Which Not" is the title of the episode, and it may well be the explanation of why this episode is needed: without it, what is to follow would not hang together. Even so, one is still left with the feeling things could have been handled better.

    It is natural that Roslin's disappearance who fuel doubt and fear among the Quorum and the fleet as a whole; however, many of Zarek's actions don't entirely fit the frame. True we know him to be a ambitious, calculating, somewhat self-centred activist - but he has also proven himself to be a pragmatist and a savvy politico. With the latter in mind, his clumsy grab to secure the position of President - including his public running-down of the military and Roslin's administration - is vey much a transparent excuse to bring us to the point where Lee Adama is sworn-in as President.

    For that is one of the main thrusts of this show: to get Lee Adama into the office of President at the same time as his father withdraws from military leadership. It sets up a major new dynamic for the remaining half of the season, one which must inevitably be played out one way or another given Roslin's impending death. But using Tom Zarek so blatantly to achieve this end causes the set-up to ring somewhat hollow. Similarly, Adama's obsession with Roslin's safety - while an obvious verbalisation of what we have seen so subtlely shown in actions and looks over the last few episodes - also comes across as somewhat clumsy in its execution.

    Where the episode really shines is in the stunning relevation about Tigh and the now pregnant Caprica/Six. This turns a lot on its head. For a start, we now have a Cylon bearing a full-blooded Cylon child. Again, it seems to point at something of a difference between the platinum blonder variant of Six and her ashe blonde counterpart (exemplified by Natalie and gina) - the platinum variant seems far more obsessed with the concept of "love" and the need for procreation; it has been at the heart of her nature throughout - witness the fact that that Caprica/Six fell in love with Baltar; witness the outright jealousy the platinum blonde Six demonstrated on Caprica when Athena was selected to become pregnant by Helo; witnessed the sexual manner the platinum blonde greeted the captured Helo on Caprica and the original platinum blonde greeted the Colonial officer at Armistice Station...

    True, Gina used sexuality to get to Helena Cain....but this seems to have been altogether more subtle and only a means to an end; somewhat different to the platinum blonde Sixes. Could this possibly be significant? And if so, does it throw a new meaning on the Opera House visions?

    SQN also sees the welcome return of Romo Lampkin - now hired by Lee Adama to find an acceptable alternative to Tom Zarek following the disappearance of Laura Roslin. And Lampkin is not a well man, mentally. The hints of his hurt are perhaps the cleverest part of the episode - specifically through the use of his cat. Watch the episode closely and you'll see that throughout, while the cat appears to be much in evidence in Lampkin's quarters - only Lampkin himself sees it; it only appears in scenes where he alone is visible, and is totally absent in wider shots that include Lee Adama. Witness the scene where Lampkin is seated on the close-ups, the cat appears alongisde him as he fusses it - but in the wider shots of the cabin - that cat is entirely absent; indeed, Lee Adama sits where the cat was apparently curled on the bed! Later, the cat's absence is more heavily hinted at when Lee kicks the food bowl, commenting, "Don't you ever feed that cat - and where is it anyway?" He clearly doesn't see it, yet Lapkin does...

    This comes to a head as Lampkin draws his gun on Adama, intent on killing him in order to deny the fleet its last ray of hope - just as those who killed his cat denied him his one link with his past. It is this scene, along with the Tigh / Adama Snr scene that provides the heart of the episode in many ways. For one, it reveals that Lampkin is driven by his own moral code - one that ultimately saves Lee Adama and sees him sworn

    -in as President. At the same time it reveals something rarely seen in Lee Adama himself; a massive conviction in his own abilities and destiny - something Lampkin himself alludes to earlier on in the episode, and which emerges in such as way during the confrontation, that it appears to confirm Lampkin's view that while - publicly - Lee Adama has not appeared to seek out positions of authority, he is nevertheless ambitious enough to want them. And what of Lampkin? Several have suggested he might be the 5th Cylon. Certainl,y were this to be so, it would bring a symmetry to the proceedings - not least because of his defence of Baltar. And the Fifth Cylon would appear to be a unique individual - and Lampkin is certainly that. In this episode, we see no obvious signs towards him being the Final Cylon....but his unstable actions around his cat might be proof enough that in fact he is...or equally, that he is a brilliant, but flawed, human. Of all the events in this episode, the revelation that Caprica/Six is pregnant by Tigh is the most surprising in its implications. Here, apparently, is something the 7 have never tried - procreation among themselves...and yet which is perfectly possible. It also throws Hera's uniqueness into further question, as she is now far from unique: Nicky is a hybrid, and now there is a full-blooded Cylon child possibly on the way...

    And what of Roslin and the basestar...SQN gives a tantalising glimpse, but we'll have to wait for the next segment to find out what happened to the reserrection hub - and Roslin's basestar. That it was destroyed seems improbable...but we know the Centurians on the basestar were programmed to take over once the ship had jumped from the fleet...have they intervened, becoming a further force to contend with?

    Overall, SQN is an interesting episode; perhaps not as well-executed as pervious segments this season, but overall an enjoyable watch (allowing for the uneven editing) - the character interplay alone makes it very enjoyable, leaving aside the earlier critique of Zarek's role, and Thrace's unsual almost non-appearance. However, the greatest criticism that must be laid against this episode is that, coming on top of the careful layering of the earlier episodes of season 4, and then starting out on the pay-offs to all that careful set-up (as evidenced in "The Road...", "Faith" and "Guess What's..."), SQN is a very heavy-handed segment that teeters in places towards being out-of-character.