This episode is almost like the real-life goodbyes that the cast will be saying soon, as they wrap up the show this summer. :( I think those goodbye scenes had much more meaning because of the show's approaching end. The cast and crew have been working together for 5 years now, going through a lot of emotional struggles with the deep, dark storylines, and the emotional highs of seeing the praise and success of the series. I'm betting some of those tears weren't just acting.
Now onto the story itself... (spoilers below)
I wasn't sure where Kara's story was going even until the very end. (Glad I didn't read any spoilers ahead of time.) This is a masterful plot development. I was wondering how they would be able to keep Kara on the Galactica and maintain interest in her story. It would have gotten boring quickly just to see her in a cell screaming "We're going the wrong way" every episode. Now she will be a lone explorer like the original Starbuck in the final episode of Galactica 1980. This may also begin a throwback to the split episodes of Season 1 and the first episodes of Season 2, when we switched back and forth between the Fleet and Cylon-occupied Caprica (Helo and Sharon's story). Season 4 will have a much different feel because of this. Will Kara ever see the rest of the fleet again? I'm not sure. How would she ever find the Galactica again? How would she be able to catch up to the fleet, even if she knew where to go?
Lee is also breaking all of his old ties as he transitions into a civilian role. Maybe he will become the new president if Roslin dies or becomes incapacitated. This development upends his character and throws him into completely new situations, just like the new story changes Kara's path completely. Even though Lee was involved with Baltar's trial defense, that was only a temporary role. Now he will be working as a civilian full-time.
Some of the old "No more Mr. Nice Gaius!" humor returned with the appearance of "Head Baltar." I don't think it was Head Six in disguise. Head Baltar's visit indicates that the imaginary person is either a dark side of Baltar's personality or an external being, and not just a mix-up of Baltar and Number Six from the nuclear blast on Caprica.
I have to say that the sex scene with Tory was pretty hot. A nice bit of spice for the episode. She gave up some of her pride in seeking the information about Baltar, but it's the first time we've truly had a glimpse into Tory's soul and heart. Until now, we've only seen her advising Roslin and meeting with the other Final Four members. She really grew as a character in this episode. We've never seen her in such an intimate setting. Even her scene with Anders last season wasn't very personal or revealing. That was almost a throwaway scene. Not this time. I just wish the actors could have whispered a little louder so that it was easier to understand that scene, but that's a minor quibble.
This episode was a little more ponderous than the season premiere. Maybe they could have moved through Lee's story more quickly or cut down a scene or two. However, it was still a very good episode, just not as outstanding as "He That Believeth in Me" was. This final season is shaping up very nicely.