Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica was a stately and political exploration of what the future holds for our Fleet. We may still have small questions, but the big ones are getting answered. Spoilers ahead!
With only two more episodes after Friday's "Islanded in a Stream of Stars," it's only fair that this show is leading us into its final historical synthesis. What I thought was most intriguing about this episode, directed by Edward James Olmos, was that it showed us what the future fleet might look like as it becomes a human-cylon multiculture. And that multiculture won't be one of dark disco weirdness like we see on the cylon base ship and at the cylon Colony. It's going to look just like Fleet culture as we've always known it, full of bickering, politics and exploration.
That's why I'm fond of this clip of the Quorum, above, where the new political leaders from each ship debate the future of the Galactica. A cylon, Six, now sits on the Quorum and argues with the rest of them. Instead of setting up an authoritarian government that rules the human one, as they did on New Caprica, the cylons are now joining the humans' fledgling democracy.
The great dream of a hybrid race of human-cylons teeters on the brink of extinction now that Boomer has kidnapped Hera, Athena and Helo's kid and the only person we're sure is the product of a human-cylon coupling. But when Boomer figures out that Hera can do that creepy projection thing she did with Tyrol last week, it's starts to look like Hera is more machine than human. I'm thinking there won't be a sudden, pseudo-spiritual blending of human and cylon after all: Maybe the two groups will just have to learn to live together in the messy, complicated way people from extremely different cultures always have.
That's certainly what Adama seems to imply when Starbuck tells him its the Fleet's destiny to go after Hera, and he refuses. "I've had it up to here with destiny," he yells. Are we going to see a new anti-woo-woo regime on the Galactica? It seems like it, though Adama follows up his giant speech about rationality by smoking a joint with Roslin in sick bay. And Starbuck follows up her "destiny" speech by begging Baltar to "go do some science" to figure out her dead body problem. Ah yes, the Fleet is plunging into the future without losing any of its (realistic) contradictions.
As Athena and Helo's relationship falls apart, and Tigh and Ellen go back to their drunken, fighting ways, Baltar is trying to patch things up with his ex, Caprica Six. There's a great scene where he slimes and whines his way up to Caprica and offers his condolences about her and Tigh's lost baby. At that moment, we see how great the chasm is between the real-life Caprica and the one Baltar has in his head. While Head Six beams at Baltar's efforts to spread religion in the Fleet, the real Caprica scorns him and says she has no interest in "joining his harem."
In other news, Tigh is becoming the first self-hating cylon. He wants to reject his relationship with Ellen and the other cylons and embrace his human side (which he associates with "the old man"). Will he accept his cylon nature and the "millions of children" Ellen claims he has - the eight models of cylon? Or will he ignore the Search For Hera and remain Adama's sidekick forever?
The truly awesome question of this episode, though, is what's going to happen to Anders. A bunch of the cylons hooked his brain up to Galactica's power grid, which he hooks into the same way the cylon hybrids hook into the networks of the base ships. He even starts babbling in hybrid-speak and issuing commands to the ship, which has enough cylon goo in it that it's become a kind of neural network. I'm really hoping that Anders becomes the Galactica's hybrid navigator, not only so that we can see him lying naked in goo but also because that would turn Galactica into the ultimate piece of hybrid technology.
Unfortunately, Anders keeps crashing all the ship's systems, so they have to take him offline. But he'll be back on: Mark my words.
As the episode comes to a close, Hera is in Cavil's creepy hands and we're still wondering if Boomer will grow a conscience. It seems impossible that she'll let Cavil dissect Hera to discover the secret of human-cylon reproduction. Plus, Six and Roslin have started having their opera house dreams about Hera again, so it does seem as if that Hera destiny crap will have some relevance, and soon.
Meanwhile, Baltar has discovered that Starbuck is indeed undead and announces it to a whole bunch of random people, explaining that she proves "angels are among us." WTF? Let's go back to the Anders hybrid subplot please, and figure out what Starbuck is without any references to creatures who properly belong in the show Supernatural, not BSG.
What's certain, however, is that the humans and cylons on Galactica are learning to work together better and better. One of the subplots in this episode involves a group of humans and cylons dying in an accident as they repair the ship's hull. A Six saves a bunch of humans before getting sucked out the airlock, and everybody at the funeral is blended into a bonding montage.
My guess is that the Anders hybrid thing will save Adama from having to give up the Galactica. But maybe not - in the final scene of the episode, Adama tells Tigh that it's time to abandon ship. If only Boomer would abandon that creepy house projection place instead.