SCI-FI HD - 13th March 2009 - 10.00pm

"The end times are approaching."

Quite contentious this one. I mean, is Ron Moore deliberately baiting the show's fans by going back to pre-Holocaust Caprica on the cusp of what we hope is a ball-breaking finale? One imagines many fans are asking themselves why he decided to structure the episode with a fair amount of time flashing back to our main characters lives pre-Galactica. Is this a cynical exercise to prepare us all for the debut of the prequel series Caprica? Or is it cleverer than that? Oddly, it's a bit of everything. The flashbacks to Baltar, featuring the mutual hatred between father Julius and his son, does connect with the present events on Galactica, especially in the scene where Lee challenges his argument and actually makes him realise how untrustworthy and selfish he actually is. We also get that odd drunken moment from Lee and Adama's ominous one hour meeting but are left none the wiser. Poor Roslin seems to have had a pretty shitty life judging by the backstory we get here. Two sisters and a father killed by a drunk driver (not Lee, I hope) is enough to make anyone sit under a fountain until their mascara runs. So what was the point of the flashbacks? To show that our main characters had complicated lives even before the Cylons nuked the city? Is Anders flashback where he gabbles on about the sporting act of perfection just another excuse to get him naked in a bath tub? I can see the connection with his fate as the new Hybrid but we need to be told.

...into the heart of darkness one last time

Flashbacks aside, we did get all sorts of resolves flying at us. Tyrol is in the Brig and chatting to Helo about that pesky, untrustworthy Boomer. He's very heavy handed about this point so I think we should expect some further acts of despicable behaviour from her again. Very briefly it's mentioned that all those involved in the mutiny are freed to join up on the suicide mission to The Colony. Not a terribly satisfactory resolution to the problem that quite a number of these people committed treason and should be standing trial. Rather glossed over. Anders, soaking nicely in his Cylon bath tub, must obviously answer Adama's question off screen because one minute Bill's overseeing his move to the Base Ship and the next he's putting a big red line on the deck and asking for those interested in a suicide mission to step across the line. What prompted him to take the Galactica into the heart of darkness one last time? To me, it seemed rather reckless to invite a cancer riddled ex-President, the new leader of the Quorum, Starbuck, Helo and all of the Final Five onto the mission. That's all the main characters, apart from Baltar, potentially nose diving into a black hole with a cheery little wave and lots of space battles. Formulaic, huh? Please Ron Moore, please do something entirely left field and extraordinary with the fates of these characters. They deserve it. Flash forward, back, left and right but don't just do a heroic last hurrah based around one more big CGI battle.
...a very big, cliched black hat

It certainly felt right to have that big scene on the flight deck with Adama's speech and those shots of various people making their choices about whether to go down fighting for the sake of what we assume is a most important little girl, or to stay at home and indulge in scavenging and arguing politics. And bless her, Roslin hobbles from her sick bed to take her place with Adama whilst a tormented Baltar glares painfully at Caprica Six as she too joins the Galactica for one last battle. Is Baltar finally going to do the right thing for the right reasons? I hope we see some resolution to that next time. It's moments like these and the quick conversation between Adama and Hot Dog, Adama turning back to grab the photo of Hera off the wall (a beautifully shot moment where the camera lingers on Adama in he doorway), the gossip between Tory and Ellen and the painful scene between Athena and Helo that weave in and out of what amounts to a patchwork quilt of an episode and yet more set up for next week.

By the end of this we have moved a bit further forward thankfully and Galactica is about to set off for The Colony (a stunning bit of CG effects) which hovers on the edge of a black hole. Hmmm, black hole? Wormhole connecting past, present and future perhaps? And in the meantime, can someone do something with Cavil please? Dean Stockwell is fabulous but the character is now sporting a very cliched big black hat. So, we're hurtling towards the end and we've still got loads of questions. Will we get to solve all those visions of the Opera House, will we know why Starbuck came back from the dead, will we find out more about Daniel, will we know more about the importance of Hera? And who will live and who will die? Lots to tie up next week in what amounts to 90 minutes. I'm worried for them.

Previous reviews:

Islanded In A Stream Of Stars
Someone To Watch Over Me
No Exit
Blood On The Scales
The Oath
A Disquiet Follows My Soul
Sometimes A Great Notion
The Hub
Sine Qua Non
Guess What's Coming To Dinner?
The Road Less Traveled
Escape Velocity
The Ties That Bind
He That Believeth In Me & Six Of One

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