I've been going back and forth on the "will the new season of Battlestar suck?" question, but today that question was answered. I watched a screener of tomorrow's episode and have a spoiler-lite report.
One of the big issues that showrunner Ron Moore has discussed about this episode is that it was never supposed to be a cliffhanger. Before the writers strike mangled the TV schedule, the whole landing on Earth scenario we were left with last year was supposed to be resolved in a week. So the show creators really hadn't planned to build in the extreme amounts of narrative tension and release you'd normally expect in a two-parter that straddles two seasons.
As a result, people eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series, called "Sometimes a Great Notion," started to get anxious. They wanted a giant reveal, like finding out that the Fleet hadn't really landed on Earth, or learning that the final cylon is way weirder than they could possibly ever have imagined. Then, when we all realized that no reveal could ever justify all the months we waited, we started to get cranky. What could this episode possibly deliver that would justify all those months without toasters?
I'll tell you what justifies those months: A good, solid episode in a show we all came to love because it walks a tightrope between character-driven drama and mind-blowing scifi awesomeness.
Sure there are a couple of big plot developments in this episode, and at least one big reveal that is incredibly creepy and intense despite the fact that you may have had an inkling it would unfold the way it does. And sure, there were a few false notes and hyper-melodramatic moments in the episode. But what do you expect after the Fleet finally reaches Earth and discovers that it's a radioactive wasteland? Everybody feels like crap, some people drink, and others feel so desolate that they almost lose hope.
But the underlying story carries us through - finding a ripped-up Earth means our quest is not yet over. There are still mysteries to unravel, especially when some of the final five cylons begin to have memories of who they really are. And the human/cylon alliance continues to generate a pleasing tension that could lead to any number of possible outcomes. Though the Fleet is wounded by its new discovery, it soldiers onward toward its real destiny: Finding a new home where humans and Cylons can (hopefully) live together in peace.
Bottom line: This episode offers no shocking reveals or resolutions, and that's a good thing. It's a strong episode that advances the story in intriguing new directions. As long as you aren't expecting a mind-blowing development that will somehow erase all the pain of living without this show for months on end, you'll have a blast.