Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 2 - Episode 13

BSG - 2x13 - Epiphanies - Originally Aired: 2006-1-20

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.44

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Synopsis
Cancer-stricken President Laura Roslin lies near death in the Galactica's sickbay. Still lucid and in command, she orders that the pregnancy of the Cylon spy Sharon be terminated, after inexplicable properties are discovered in a fetal blood sample.

Dr. Gaius Baltar, who, as vice president, is poised to assume the presidency upon Roslin's death, protests that a half-human, half-Cylon child would make an ideal case study; the child's father, Lt. Karl "Helo" Agathon, also is outraged by Roslin's decision.

Admiral Adama is determined to carry out Roslin's final decree until Baltar discovers that the hybrid fetus's blood cells might possess fantastic healing properties.

Meanwhile, a secret group of Cylon sympathizers resorts to sabotage to demand that humanity sue for peace with the Cylons. Adama arrests their leader, Royan Jahee, but the group continues its violent revolt, bombing the tylium refinery ship, leaving the fleet short of fuel and vulnerable to enemy attack.

An even more ominous threat emerges when Baltar once again connects with Gina, a flesh-and-blood version of the Number Six who lives in his head. Gina has infiltrated the sympathizers' ranks, in an effort to promote the Cylon agenda.

Baltar realizes that President Roslin doesn't trust him to succeed her as president and that she might, in fact, know of his affiliation with Caprica Six, who sabotaged the Colonial defenses. He discreetly arranges for a nuclear warhead to fall into the hands of Gina and the Cylon sympathizers, placing the entire fleet in mortal jeopardy. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Gina's half-assed disguise is stretching realism.

Factoids
- This episode takes place 189 days after the miniseries.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 49598. (Four people died in the battle of the resurrection ship plus one more for Admiral Cain's assassination and the marine Gina killed to get his weapon.)
- Apollo was promoted back to captain in this episode, and reinstated as Galactica's CAG.

Remarkable Scenes
- The teaser, cutting between Roslin being rushed to Galactica's sickbay while she flashbacks to her life on Caprica, played over the backdrop of beautiful violin music (dubbed Epiphanies on the soundtrack).
- Kat's port gun blowing up.
- Adar to Roslin in a flashback: "One of the most interesting things about being president is that you don't have to explain yourself to anyone." This is a great reference to Flesh and Bone when Roslin said this to Adama at the end of that episode.
- The explosion on the Daru Mozu.
- Adama choking Royan Jahee. I love the creepy little smile Tigh lets out watching Adama do that.
- Baltar's surreal tour of Colonial One.
- Boomer fighting the marines.
- Helo pleading with Adama not to forcibly abort Sharon's baby and Baltar running into the conversation frantically.
- Baltar outlining a cure for Roslin's cancer to Adama.
- Baltar administering his cure. I particularly liked this bit of dialog: Cottle: "I don't like what you're doing. I think it's unnatural and damn dangerous." Baltar: "Yes, well, given the patient's current condition I am not sure that I see the downside." Cottle: "Maybe it's just her time." Baltar: "You know for once, perhaps I am the beacon of hope around here."
- Six, reading aloud Roslin's letter to Baltar: "President Baltar, I offer my sincere congratulations. I say that knowing we've had our differences and that you take office despite my many reservations. You may be the most brilliant person I've ever met, but your intelligence is unleavened by compassion. You must be reminded of your ethical responsibilities and challenged to rise above your own selfish needs. I don't write this to hurt you, but to beg you to open your heart. Understand that the people in the fleet look to you not only for leadership but for solace; justice. Find a way to give them that and you will be a great leader."
- Baltar giving Gina his nuclear weapon.

My Review
Roslin's cancer is at the very heart of the show's premise and Epiphanies simply hand waves it away deus ex machina style. However, if you accept the fact that that's just how it's going to be, then the episode itself is pretty likable.

Roslin's flashbacks back to Caprica were fascinating to watch. It was great to get a chance to see President Adar and the fact that Roslin is now remembering having seen Baltar with Six on Caprica and realizing the significance of that is a fascinating plot point.

Baltar himself puts on a marvelous show as well. It's great to watch him cure Roslin because you don't quite understand the motivations behind it. Does he want to avoid becoming president? Does he want to use the cure as a reason to save Sharon's child? The ambiguity behind his motives adds a lot to the story.

Unfortunately, blowing away the cancer deus ex machina style isn't the only gaffe in this episode. Another annoying detail is Gina and her role in the Cylon peace movement. It's a shame they had to create dialog stating that nobody in the peace movement knows what she is, because it is perfectly believable that they would harbor a Cylon, given their motives.

Sadly, however, that's not how it was written. Instead, we're asked to swallow the idea that her half-assed excuse for a disguise is somehow effective. Even harder to understand is why Baltar would give Gina a nuclear weapon after reading Roslin's letter to him. The dots just don't connect; it doesn't make sense.

In the end we get kind of a mixed bag. Without a doubt, watching Roslin struggle with her cancer was fantastically executed, in particular the scoring. But the last minute cure brings the plot thread to a rather anticlimactic close. It would have been a much more touching and satisfying story had Roslin died in this episode. I love her character, but it's a cop out to wipe her cancer clean just because we want to keep her around. This episode should have been true to her character's premise.

I can only hope that all those signs that her cancer is gone forever are some sort of misdirection and that her cancer is merely in remission and will return again some day. But if magic Cylon blood can send it back into remission any time we want, my hopes for this are more like grasping at straws.

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