Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 4 - Episode 04

BSG - 4x04 - Six of One - Originally Aired: 2008-4-11

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 3.46

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Synopsis
Kara Thrace holds President Laura Roslin at gunpoint, risking everything to persuade Roslin to believe in her mystical awareness of the route to Earth. However, when Kara hands Roslin the gun and dares the president to shoot if she really believes that Kara's a Cylon, Roslin pulls the trigger. The bullet barely misses. Marines rush in and drag Kara to the brig, leaving Roslin shaken but resolute and Admiral Adama furious and disgusted with his onetime best pilot.

Though they doubt that Kara is one of them, the four secret Cylons are troubled by this incident and agree that they must learn more about their situation. They speculate that Gaius Baltar might know more Cylon secrets than he's telling, so Tory Foster reluctantly agrees to try to win the new cult leader's trust.

At first, Baltar assumes that Tory is spying on him for Roslin, but as they talk, he is startled by a vision not of his usual invisible companion Six — but of himself. This mental Baltar encourages his physical self to hear Foster out. Astonished, Baltar complies. Soon, Baltar and Foster are in bed together.

Meanwhile, controversy brews in the distant Cylon fleet. In the recent battle against the humans, the Raiders refused to fight — an unprecedented display of free will that exceeded their original programming. The Sixes, Sharons and Leobens want to celebrate and explore this evolutionary advancement. The other models, led by a Cavil, insist that the Raiders are merely malfunctioning and need to be fixed — that is, lobotomized to ensure mindless obedience.

With the six extant models evenly split about what to do, the Sharon known as Boomer breaks with the other Sharons and sides with Cavil, ending the deadlock and condemning the Raiders to lobotomies. One of the Sixes, a leader named Natalie, retaliates by removing the Centurions' telencephalic inhibitors, enabling them to think for themselves. The metallic warriors take Natalie's side, gunning down Cavil and his supporters. Cylon has turned against Cylon.

Back in the human fleet, Lee Adama leaves the Galactica for his new government career. His comrades see him off with both alcohol-soaked partying and solemn military pomp. Lee also steals a moment to visit Kara in her cell, where he tells her that he believes in her. They kiss, bidding each other a deeply affectionate farewell.

Later, moved by Lee's departure, Admiral Adama's disgust with Kara gives way to a deep longing to believe in her. He has an ugly argument about it with Roslin, who, struggling to stay strong against the despair caused by her cancer, refuses to entrust the fate of humanity to a violent, self-proclaimed visionary. If Adama wants to put his faith in Kara Thrace, he'll have to defy Roslin to do it. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Cavil claims that the final five are "anywhere but with the humans." Where the hell else could they be? Wandering around aimlessly on Caprica? There aren't too many other places they could be.
- Six claims "no one has ever voted against their model." However, when on New Caprica a vote was called to decide whether or not to summarily execute various citizens to, as Cavil at the time put it, "to reduce the human population to a more manageable size" all the sixes voted in favor but Caprica Six voted against.

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 39676. Down by 22, inexplicably. Probably as a result of hazardous repairs to battle-damaged civilian ships, or any number of other possible hazards by now. The RTF is a dangerous place!
- Hybrid utterances: "The excited state decays by vibrational relaxation into the first excited singlet state, yes, yes, and merrily we go. Reduce atmospheric nitrogen by 0.03%. It is not much consolation that society will pick up the bits, leaving us at ape modern replenishment rather than interdiction is paramount. Please, cut the fuse. They will not harm their own. End of line. Limiting diffusions to two dimensions increases the number of evolutionary jumps within the species. Rise and measure the temple of the five. Transformation is the goal. They will not harm their own. Data flux synchronization..."
- All numbers for the "significant seven" Cylons have been revealed as of this episode: 1. Cavil, 2. Leoben, 3. D'Anna, 4. Simon, 5. Doral, 6. Six/Gina, 8. Sharon.
- This episode also establishes that there are millions of copies of each Cylon model, most of which presumably live on the homeworld.

Remarkable Scenes
- Starbuck confronting Roslin about the hypocrisy surrounding her lack of faith in Starbuck's experiences.
- Roslin, just before shooting at Starbuck: "They made you perfect, didn't they?"
- Starbuck to Roslin just as she was being taken away: "You better work on your aim!"
- The hybrid uttering utterances.
- Six: "The hybrid is clearly telling us something." Cavil: "The hybrid is always telling us something. They're supposed to maintain operations on each ship, not vomit metaphysics."
- Cavil objecting to the open discussion of the final five, after it was postulated that the raiders broke off from the fight because they saw one.
- Cavil: "There's a reason the original programmers clearly felt that it's a mistake for us to contact the final five."
- Cavil suggesting lobotomizing the raiders to correct their errant behavior.
- Tigh, Tyrol, Tory, and Anders discussing Baltar.
- Adama assaulting Starbuck in response to her calling him Roslin's "wet nurse."
- Baltar seeing Head Baltar.
- Baltar suddenly capturing Tory's attention with a music analogy.
- Baltar to Head Baltar: "Who the frak are you?" I couldn't agree more.
- Adama: "You shot at her and missed at close range." Roslin: "Diloxin fraks with your aim." Adama: "So does doubt." Roslin: "I pulled the trigger and I'd do it again. She put her life in front of a bullet as if it had no meaning. You drop an egg, you reach for another." Adama: "Maybe convincing you meant more to her than her own life."
- Roslin: "You want to talk about miracles? On the very same day that a very pale doctor informed me that I had terminal cancer most of humanity was annihilated and I survived. And by some mathematical absurdity I became president. And then my cancer disappeared long enough for us to find a way to Earth."
- Roslin: "You're so afraid to live alone." Adama: "And you're afraid to die that way. You're afraid you may not be the dying leader you thought you were. Or that your death may be as meaningless as everyone else's."
- Lee visiting Starbuck prior to leaving Galactica.
- Lee to Starbuck: "I believe you."
- Simon lobotomizing a raider.
- Baltar nailing Tory.
- Baltar discussing the Cylons' emotional nature.
- Baltar evangelizing the "one true god."
- Six revealing that she gave the Centurions free will.
- The Centurions killing the Cavils, Dorals, and Simons.
- Adama cutting Starbuck loose, giving her the Demetrius, a sewage recycling ship with a handpicked crew and a cover story mission so she can go find Earth.

My Review
So we now know why the Cylons backed out of the fight. The raiders made an independent decision to break off the fight! What a scary thing for the Cylons to have to deal with and easily the Cylon story steals the show here. Unfortunately though, just as before, this episode doesn't quite go far enough.

We still don't know how the Cylons found the fleet, we still don't know why they waited this long to attack the fleet, we still don't know what their original motives for attacking the fleet were, we still don't know why the fleet lost power just prior to the battle, nor why it was mysteriously restored, the significance of the music in Crossroads is still unclear, Roslin's shared vision with Caprica Six is still totally unexplained, what really happened to Starbuck is still totally unexplained, etc, etc, etc, I've gone on about it at length already in previous reviews. Enough already.

Suffice it to say, as usual, this episode lost points for not covering any of that. But to top it all off, while a smattering of critical questions were indeed answered in this episode, we get to add at least one new one to the list too. Why is Baltar seeing a copy of himself in his head now, just like Caprica Six? Is it due to her physical proximity to him as a prisoner aboard the Galactica? Why hasn't he seen this projection already since he lived with her for several months prior? Keep in mind, the original Head Six was never explained either. Over three seasons later.

Moving on, much like the Precipice to season three's Occupation, this episode provides crucial clarity to the motives of many of the current major players and grounds the audience much better than the prior episode. The degree to which Adama is torn between Roslin and Starbuck is presented far more eloquently here and Adama's decision to cut Starbuck loose in an attempt to have it both ways adds a fascinating facet to his character. My only complaint is all of that plot in this episode should have been compressed into the last episode, rather than dragging out the conflict unnecessarily.

Among the more audaciously titillating moments of the show is Roslin's attempt to murder Starbuck, followed by her cool-headed declaration that she'd surely attempt it again if given another opportunity. Roslin's zeal is matched only by her hatred of Cylons; even suspected Cylons. I find it interesting to note that her brutality in this episode seems unmatched since her behavior in Epiphanies, an episode in which she ordered the termination of Athena's pregnancy in a single, cold move. It's as if her illness motivates her to try to find a way to be more hardcore, manifesting itself as almost raw cruelty.

That said there's a clear method to her madness. She knows what she's doing and it seems just about every character aside from Starbuck considers Roslin to be quite credible. And when she attributes Adama's conflict of interest regarding her and Kara to not being able to handle taking anymore loss, it hits home hard. Equally, Adama's lines to Roslin attributing her mistrust of Kara to fear of not truly being the dying leader spelled out in the Pythian prophecy thereby reducing her terminal illness to mere meaninglessness strike a powerful chord as well. In the end, there's too much vagueness and faith required on both sides to form an objective conclusion, which is the aesthetic that should have been presented from the start. After all, we're measuring the veracity of religious prophecy against a dissenter's gut feeling. Something tells me everyone involved could use a bit more objectivity.

Baltar's story continues to be amusing, despite my slight groan when Head Baltar was introduced. I like the way he's suddenly becoming unknowingly entangled in the final five mess once again. Moreover, I wonder if he just impregnated Tory? A scary thought indeed. Then Baltar really would be the literal father of one of the next generation of god's children. Equally creepy is how Tigh put Tory up to the little prostitution scheme. Ultimately, merging these two plot threads services both quite well.

Nearly all of Lee's scenes seemed gratuitous and unnecessary to me, with the exception of his visiting Starbuck, which seemed necessary to clear the air and finally resolve the ongoing love quadrangle. While it doesn't actually serve as any kind of resolution whatsoever, I think there's a conscious acknowledgment implied in that scene that it may never be resolved. That sometimes things like this just can't be resolved because love is an irrational thing. Aside from this, nearly every scene Lee was in was nostalgic wankery. And not the cool kind, like Razor.

As I said though, the real meat of this episode lies with the Cylons as there's quite obviously the beginning of a civil war here. The motives, for once, actually seem quite clear and in character. The Cavils, Dorals, Simons and one Sharon (Boomer) believe that what the raiders did was out of line and want to lobotomize them. They also believe that seeking out the final five not only violates their programming but presents a tangible danger to their very survival. The origin of this belief is yet another annoying question to be answered some day, but the effect is an interesting conservative position.

The Sixes, Leobens, the rest of the Sharons, and presumably the D'Annas (if they were to be unboxed) make up an opposing liberal position. Their motives are to discover the lost origins of the Cylons, to understand their place in the universe. This implies they know next to nothing about their creator(s) or their purpose, which makes sense seeing as how they've developed a religion surrounding that.

Other interesting exposition in this episode revealed all the model numbers of the significant seven Cylon models. We can at this point rule out the numbers being sorted by apparent human age of the Cylon character. An interesting discrepancy is that model number seven is actually a member of the final five, while Sharon is model number eight. Could this be because the final five were originally supposed to be the final six? Six sleeper agents and six non-sleeper agents?

In particular I wonder that because one thing the eights share with the final five is one of her model is the only other sleeper agent ever shown on the show. All the other Cylons of the significant seven were confirmed to not be sleeper agents and all other members of the final five (well, except the fifth so far anyway) have been shown to be sleeper agents. Was the "flaw" in Sharon's model Six has alluded to previously the fact that she was an imperfect sleeper agent while the final five were in fact perfect sleeper agents?

The only lingering aesthetic issue is the actions performed by what I've deemed the liberal Cylons in this episode seem wholly reckless. Doesn't it seem obvious that restoring the centurions' free will will simply bite them in the ass later? What a can of worms Six unleashed.

Moreover, how could Six of all Cylons possibly make an argument about model unity? Hers was the first to become unable to reach an internal consensus thanks to the differing views Caprica Six brought to the table between Downloaded and the New Caprica arc. Between that inane dialog and Cavil's inane assertion that the final five couldn't possibly be in the fleet when it's difficult to imagine where else they could possibly be, the Cylons sure aren't being very consistent.

Though while annoying, the Cylons lacking consistency or entirely rational motives isn't at all a problem. It only underscores the reason for their civil war. The Cylons have issues that need resolving and it's bubbled up into this. Methinks things are about to get quite interesting.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DC on 2008-04-14 at 3:02am:
    I didn't have an issue with the inconsistency regarding Six's line about no individual voting against their model. I think it's more about the shading of the two situations. It didn't matter that Caprica objected to the vote of the other Sixes on New Caprica, because all of the Ones, Threes, Fours, and Fives had already cast their votes in favor, so the majority ruled anyway. In this case, Boomer's vote was used as the deciding vote to break a deadlock. Furthermore, this vote would not have been a stalemate if they hadn't boxed the Threes, which incidentally the Ones really championed. Makes Cavil's line about how "consensus used to be so easy to achieve" from last season rather ironic, doesn't it? (It is interesting to speculate what the Threes would have voted, as you do in your review.) Yes, as delivered by the Six in this episode, the line is technically incorrect, but she has a valid point when you consider the context of the two situations. The complexity of this whole Cylon conflict is really fascinating, and I agree with you, clearly there are some huge issues in Cylon society right now, which has me eagerly anticipating what's coming.

    Great point on sleeper agent status determining the number of the model, I didn't catch that at all. My theory: Ron Moore's a Pixies fan. If, as I suspect, that the last Cylon is actually the Cylon God, and the the other four of the Final Five are models 9-12, then "God is Seven!"

    I really liked this episode, although it was shy of great in my mind largely because of the Lee scenes. Except for his farewell scenes (with Kara and the crew), they did seem self-indulgent. (And what was with that blue jumpsuit?) That it effectively addressed the Cylon viewpoint was extremely in its favor. I was worried that Kara's desperation would be overdone, because the clips in previews seemed overly shill. In context Sackhoff's performance worked well though.

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