Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 4 - Episode 09

BSG - 4x09 - Guess What's Coming to Dinner? - Originally Aired: 2008-5-16

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.55

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Synopsis
The Demetrius and the Cylon baseship are nearly shot down by the Galactica when they rendezvous with the human fleet. Kara Thrace's team, however, manages to explain that the rebel Cylons want an alliance, not a battle.

Soon, the Cylon leader, a Six named Natalie, meets face-to-face with Laura Roslin and William Adama. She tells them that the final five Cylons are hidden in the human fleet, and that the D'Annas — the Cylon model whose consciousness was boxed as punishment for illicit spiritual exploration — can identify them. D'Anna's consciousness is stored within the Cylon resurrection hub, a central facility that controls all resurrection ships.

Natalie proposes that if the humans will help the rebel Cylons seize control of the hub and liberate the D'Anna model, D'Anna will identify the final five, who, in turn, can reveal the route to Earth. The hub will then be destroyed. All Cylons will lose the hope of resurrection, but Natalie's faction is willing to become mortal as the price they must pay to meet the remaining five Cylons. The rebels and the final five will then depart in peace, leaving the humans to complete their journey to Earth.

Roslin and Adama accept this momentous deal. Each side of the uneasy alliance, however, secretly plots to seize hostages during the mission in order to ensure that things go their way.

Tigh, Tyrol, Anders and Tory are shaken as they realize that their secret identities might soon be exposed. Anders is also preoccupied because Gaeta, whom he shot during the mutiny aboard the Demetrius, must have his leg amputated. The procedure leaves Gaeta desolate, singing to himself for consolation in the Galactica's infirmary.

Gaius Baltar, meanwhile, tells his radio audience a top-secret fact: Roslin shares inexplicable visions with two Cylons, Sharon Agathon and Caprica Six. In these visions, the three women pursue Hera, Sharon's daughter, through an opera house; Caprica always finds Hera first and carries her off, which frightens Sharon and Roslin.

Disgusted that Baltar has betrayed this confidential information, Roslin confronts Tory and reveals that she knows Tory and Baltar are lovers. Roslin demands that Tory find out how Baltar learned about the visions. Rattled, Tory persuades Baltar to admit that Caprica Six told him the secret, communicating through his lawyer.

The Quorum of 12, already uncomfortable with Roslin's reticence to discuss her visions, nearly revolts when Roslin summarily announces the alliance with the Cylons. Lee Adama privately urges Roslin to honor the Quorum's concerns by discussing the plan with them.

Accepting Lee's advice, Roslin and Natalie jointly address the Quorum. The political pressure appears to ease. Suddenly, however, the visions Roslin shares with Sharon and Caprica spark shocking real-life actions, threatening the alliance before the mission even gets underway. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Aside from adding artificial dramatic suspense and the opportunity for Tigh to interrupt, what purpose did Adama's countdown to fire on the basestar serve?
- A Windows error dialog box can be seen on one of the computer screens on the Cylon basestar when the marines (along with Tigh) board the ship.

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 39673. Down two. (Emily and Barolay.)
- This episode establishes that the Cylon basestar can heal itself.
- The lyrics to Gaeta's song: "Alone she sleeps in the shirt of man / With my three wishes clutched in her hand / The first that she be spared the pain / That comes from a dark and laughing rain / When she finds love may it always stay true / This I beg for the second wish I made too / But wish no more / My life you can take / To have her please just one day wake"

Remarkable Scenes
- The jump error, causing the damaged Cylon basestar to jump right on top of the colonial fleet alone.
- Galactica scrambling to attack the Cylon ship while the fleet scrambles to get as far away from it as possible.
- The Demetrius jumping in just in time.
- Tigh: "Which one of them shot Gaeta?"
- The leader Six officially stating her position aboard Galactica.
- The leader Six proposing an alliance to destroy the Cylons' ability to resurrect permanently.
- The leader Six revealing her belief that the final five are within the colonial fleet, attributing the abrupt retreat in the battle at the nebula to that sudden revelation to their raiders.
- Racetrack capturing images of the resurrection hub.
- Cottle taking Gaeta's leg; Anders observing in horror.
- The fleet returning to its prior coordinates, alongside the Cylon basestar...
- Tigh: "We blow the hub and billions of skin jobs lose their bath privileges."
- Roslin: "Imagine, once they're gone they can't come back. Mortal enemies."
- Galactica crew loading equipment and personnel aboard the Cylon basestar.
- Zarek skeptically revealing Roslin's plan to the quorum.
- Tyrol: "You know, if they unbox the D'Annas, at least we'll find out who the fifth one is." Tigh: "All that's gonna do is crowd the airlock a little more."
- Roslin confronting Tory about her association with Baltar.
- Lee pleading with Roslin to throw the quorum a bone.
- Roslin allowing the leader Six to speak to the quorum.
- Starbuck visiting Roslin in sickbay, telling her what the hybrid told her, forcing Roslin to obsess over the meaning of the visions.
- Roslin enlisting Baltar to go find out the truth of her visions with her because, as she reveals to him, Baltar is in her visions.
- Athena killing the leader Six.
- The Cylon hybrid jumping the ship immediately upon being plugged in.

My Review
This is a surprisingly riveting episode, densely packed with plot, liberally infused with style, and endlessly fascinating in its implications.

Much like The Ties That Bind, this episode's strengths lie with its intoxicating elegance and powerful, ambiguous ending. As expected, the rebel Cylons are able to offer a sufficiently tempting collaboration proposal to Roslin and Adama and it's no small package: the revelation to the fleet that the final five Cylons are among them, the revelation to the fleet that they likely know the way to Earth, and the total elimination of the Cylons' ability to resurrect.

Armed with those prospects and a spiffy new Cylon basestar as a gift (okay, maybe not so spiffy and new), even Roslin's jubilant about the possibility of a collaborative mission. Executing this premise alone makes for a stellar episode, but for this episode, that's just the beginning.

What ensues among the endlessly fascinating preparations for this joint strike mission isn't what anyone could have ever expected. Motivated by this torturous communal vision, Athena murders the rebel leader Six and Roslin gets herself, Baltar, much of the Galactica crew, along with half their remaining vipers captured by the Cylon hybrid.

Among the widespread implications of the events of this episode will include the ascension of Zarek to the presidency. This has happened before, but perhaps this time it will be more legitimate and less easily quashed by Adama. Given Zarek's increasingly critical opinion of Roslin's behavior while in power, it'll be interesting to see how his own behavior counterpoints or perhaps ironically mirrors her own.

Also, Athena's murder of the rebel leader Six is not likely to go down well; she may have just sacrificed much of that trust Adama has placed in her over the years. All over an unexplained vision which she'll now likely have to come forward about.

The most remarkable thing about this episode though is that the dizzying string of events covered here plays out amidst an incredibly powerful score, underscored by Gaeta's operatic laments in sickbay. Gaeta's tortured performance reflects the mood of the episode quite nicely and its interspersion throughout the episode starts off as sad and confused and slowly evolves into something profound as truly epic events occur all around him while he sings obliviously.

In addition to the major events which occur here, the artistic approach to this episode's storytelling, particularly in the episode's climax is what really makes it so great. There is little else to say than bravo!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From basadam on 2008-05-29 at 8:20am:
    Is this me or is this getting boring by each new episode? It seems that after securing another season, all they're trying to do is to stretch the story. That is okay, they don't have finish this year but surely they can try to be more imaginative and insert at least mildly interesting sub-stories into the series. What they're doing instead is repeating the same neverending discussions, filling the existing story with boring, predictive, cheap plots.

    I'm sorry, I really like this series and continue watching it for previous seasons' sake, but I'm really losing interest.

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