Man. For a while there, this felt like an unrelenting hour of down, didn’t it? Well, that’s Battlestar Galactica for you, but I’m glad that we ended on a nice note. We’ll get there in a minute; let’s take the plot threads from last week and follow them through “Six of One,” shall we?
This week is Tory’s show, and that makes sense. We start off the season’s examination of the Final Four with two characters we’ve come to know and love. In “Six of One,” we focus more on the one character who hasn’t really made much of an impression on many people, before returning (I presume) to well-known territory with the Chief next time. Unfortunately for the writers, while Tory’s been enough of a non-entity so far, to hinder them in writing a story for her, she’s not such a new quantity that they have the ability to go off in an amazing new direction with her. What we get from her is a rather tame story (okay, there’s sex in it, but it’s still pretty tame) about her trying to use her feminine wiles to pump Baltar for information. The surprise twist—that she would respond well to Baltar’s attitude towards the Cylons, and be open to his ideas about the One True God—didn’t really impress me as being all that interesting a development. However, I will hand it to them that they had a tough row to hoe, giving this tertiary character something to run with. For comparison’s sake, ask yourself this: If Billy were still around, and one of the Final Four, how much easier do you think it would have been for the writers to get us to identify with him? Though that would beg the question of how far Billy would go to learn what Gaius knows... Brr. Of passing interest is Tory’s (apparent) habit of crying during sex. She’s missionary in this scene though, so we can’t tell whether or not that’s her only habit.
On to Gaius, whose personality cult really didn’t make a lot of plot-headway this time out. It does seem, thematically, that he’s developed a certain sympathy for the Cylon perspective, but as far as the effects that his new role are having? Well, they’re kind of in the background. In a way, I appreciate this: We’re getting certain characters mentioning the emergence of his new religion, as word of it is spreading, and it’s a good way of moving that story along a bit without having to devote much screen time to it. Would word travel this fast, though? How long after HTBiM is the bulk of “Six of One?” But then again, I don’t have all that much experience with miracles, so let’s get to the flip(ped?) side of the Baltar coin this night.
Virtual Baltar in Baltar’s head: Cheap trick; or exciting new development? Okay, I’m fairly easy when it comes VB (stop snickering, you). No, seriously... this has to go someplace. And if it does (and if Caprica Six starts seeing a Devil in a Red Dress), it’s sure to be a very interesting place. Without some sort of explanation for these hallucinations, it could come off as nothing but a meaningless camera trick, but I have faith that the apparitions are one of those pieces of the puzzle which RDM and crew are absolutely intent on fitting into place this season. If that’s the case then, the scene between the two Baltars (which was as funny as you’d expect), throws the door wide open... what in the world is going on? Judgment reserved, and doesn’t it feel like I’m saying that a lot these days? But really, this is piquing my curiosity in all the best ways; I’m very, very excited to see where they go here.
Now, Starbuck. Here’s where the big wall of depression begins to hit us. She seems like she has really, truly, flipped in this episode. We usually give Baltar a hard time for his egomania, but this right here is monomania. What in God’s name happened out there, to make Starbuck’s vision of Earth become so all-encompassing? Obviously, she is experiencing a deeply emotional response to some sort of (siren?) call to Earth, and it’s incredibly disturbing to watch. Kara was always Kara, of course, but she used to have room in her brain for more than one thing at a time, and she used to have a head for tactics. Now, whatever she saw or whatever happened to her out there, seems to have robbed her of the ability to do anything but lower her head and charge. Kara hands Roslin a gun, and Roslin tries to kill her. The old Starbuck may have gambled, and occasionally lost. This new Starbuck doesn’t seem to even care. Adama believes that she will keep trying until she dies, and so do I, and I don’t think that it’s a good thing.
Adama’s scene with Roslin was also heart-rending, and initially it seems that Starbuck’s viciousness is starting to spread. Both of them are dealing with so much, and it doesn’t help that their reads of each other are so dead on-the-money. There doesn’t seem to be any cruelty to most of what they’re saying, though, apart from the parting shots which they took. And those, while barbed, also bore the marks of two people who know each other, refusing to sugar-coat. But that ending made me feel so badly for the woman. It was excruciating, but one of the best Roslin-Adama scenes yet.
Now to the new business. The episode took a lot of time with Apollo’s drumming out from the service, with his goodbyes to Kara, his father, and the rest of the crew. (He tells Helo “good luck,” does he know about the Demetrius?) Nice but a bit of a let-down was the note of finality to his exchange with Dualla. The Lee-Dee pairing was one which was never allowed to fly on this show; at first because of the Billy situation, then the stuff with Starbuck. I’ll admit that on the basis of a couple of scenes with the two of them in command of the Pegasus, I was sort of hoping that these two kids would be able to work it out, that it wouldn’t be just so much wasted time. But then again, sometimes a show just has to wash its hands and say “this isn’t working.” I get the feeling that this is what happened here. At least it was a pleasant parting between the two. They’ll always have Pegasus.
Overall, I thought that while it felt like the episode was devoting a lot of time to Lee’s farewell, that there wasn’t anything I would have been able to bring myself to cut. Honestly, Lee deserves this kind of send off. Good luck, Captain Apollo. We expect great things from you now.
Holy... I haven’t even mentioned the Cylons yet. Wow. It sure is a good thing that they’re not playing up the “plan” aspect of the Cylons anymore, because... damn. This episode’s Cylon-side story has just way too much going on to review every particular, so I’ll sum up the key: This is shifting the paradigm, folks. The possibility of their own robotic slaves rising up against the Cylon skinjobs? This is now on the table. Boomer? I’m sorry to go all Magic 8-ball on you, but here it is: “Answer unclear. Ask again later.” It’s also nice to finally have numbers for the Cavils, Simons, and Leobens. I am glad that they seem to have a very exciting story for the Cylons this season. Great stuff.
And the final scene, which provides a ray of hope for the proceedings. I’m glad that Helo will be going with Starbuck, as the show hasn’t really known what to do with him since he got back on board Galactica. And hey! Hugs! Adama believes Kara! This hopeful note goes a long part of the way in keeping the story of Starbuck’s return from getting too dark. I’m sure there’s more dark than light ahead, but I hope the show never extinguishes the light completely. Good tone to end on.
Final impression: As a sister piece to “He That Believeth in Me,” this episode doesn’t quite match the quality of that outing: Tory doesn’t carry as much weight as Anders or Tigh; Lee’s farewells took up too much time (though again, I’m not saying I could do better); they were juggling more this week. But it’s still excellent BSG, signaling to all of us that the quality we can expect of the show in coming weeks, will be closer to the consistent first season, rather than the plodding 3.5.
Episode reviewed by “Gooby Rastor”