Jammer's Review

Battlestar Galactica



Air date: 2/24/2006
Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by Jeff Woolnough

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Now here's an episode of Battlestar Galactica that's made in the best tradition of classic Star Trek. Also Deep Space Nine, since it has all the messy and labyrinthine character relationships (not to mention two of its former writers). "Downloaded" is a morality play with the fascinating twists of science-fiction, creating a scenario that asks difficult human questions in circumstances no human being could ever experience.

It's hard to believe that this episode almost never happened ... or at the very least almost never happened at this point in time in this particular form. According to previous Ronald D. Moore commentaries (for the record, I listen to all the episode commentaries, but not until after I've written my reviews) "Resurrection Ship" was originally planned as one episode, with the slot for "Downloaded" assigned the status of a clip show because of budget constraints. When "Resurrection Ship" was expanded across two hours, "Downloaded" became possible. I am thankful. This might be BSG's best and most enlightening episode of the season. It's emotional, psychological, informational, and intellectual.

When a Cylon dies, he or she is downloaded into a new body, and we get to see that process first-hand in the episode's intriguing opening minutes. They play like a variation of The Matrix, with a traumatic birth-like emergence into a strange new world. Granted, "variation" is a polite way of saying "rip-off," but the idea itself is effective. Six wakes up in a download/resurrection chamber (a Matrix-like bathtub of transparent slime) after being killed in the nuclear blast of the miniseries. She's coaxed back to consciousness by her fellow Cylons, who guide her in rebirth like helpful parents. There's also a scene where Sharon, after being shot in "Resistance," undergoes a similar rebirth. Sharon's rebirth is far more horrifying than Six's, which is perhaps an insight into the natures of their programming and the duality they face in "Downloaded."

For me, however, the central idea in the story is the notion that Six hallucinates visions of Baltar, in much the same way Baltar hallucinates visions of Six. (The copy of Six in "Downloaded" is the same one from the miniseries that deceived and used Baltar to gain access to the defense mainframe, making the sneak attack on the Colonies possible.) The story's most crucial choice is that it approaches Six with a genuine curiosity about her conscience. Yes, she used Baltar and specifically their sexual bond to take advantage of him, but how did she actually feel about it?

The fact of the matter is, she feels very guilty about it. She carried out her mission effectively, and the sneak attack was successful even beyond the predictions of the Cylons' own war architects. Six is now known as "Caprica Six" and holds a hero/celebrity status. But always appearing to her is the vision of Baltar, reminding her of the massive crime she assailed upon humanity, and by extension, upon him.

As a storytelling device, this is a masterstroke. Logically, one might wonder if the Cylons in general and Six in particular are sentimental enough to be capable of this sort of psychological weakness — but of course they are, because they are us. Besides, this allows for a Six/Baltar duality that is now fully complete; they are their own mirror images. Where Baltar's guilt has created a Six in his mind that drives him mad and leads him down a path of increasing darkness, with Six it's just the opposite — she sees an image of Baltar that reminds her of what she did (and what she might in the future do to atone for that sin). The psychological details to ponder are endless; the most intriguing thing about the episode is realizing that these two characters are intrinsically one, and exist as a dichotomy that allows them to take completely different paths.

Like I said, this is a morality play. It's about Six facing up to what she did and figuring out now what to do about it. Her choices play out through her interaction with Sharon, whom she has been assigned to help reintegrate into Cylon society. Sharon is even more wracked with guilt than Six, mostly because she wasn't aware of her assignment as she carried it out. In a society of lies and deception, Sharon is the ultimate victim because she was an unwitting perpetrator. The cosmic joke was not simply played upon her, but also used her as its instrument. Sharon is understandably bitter about that joke. Seeing Sharon, Six grows more troubled with the moral implications with each scene.

Another of the interesting aspects of "Downloaded" is that it shows us more about how the Cylons operate. Early scenes show the Cylons rebuilding occupied Caprica, and the dialog establishes more facts about the resurrection process that has been slowly but steadily revealed in previous episodes. (Even months after being reborn, Six confesses that she doesn't feel quite at home in her new body.) There's also the dynamic among the Cylons themselves. Six takes orders from a copy of D'Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless), who says that if Sharon can't be brought back in line with the acceptable Cylon temperament, she will be "boxed" — her memories put in cold storage. (This would be the Cylons' apparatus for quashing possible internal dissent.)

Watching "Downloaded," the other thing I couldn't help but think about was the long string of cause and effect and how all the characters in motion led us to this point. Consider the multiple Sharon roles: "Galactica Sharon" from season one is now "Caprica Sharon" here, and reveals to Six that Baltar is still alive. Of course, Galactica-turned-Caprica Sharon is the one who rescued Baltar from Caprica in her Raptor in the first place. Meanwhile, the Caprica Sharon of season one is now the Galactica Sharon of season two; after spending the entire first season on Caprica with Helo, she now carries their hybrid child. This sounds like a dizzying mess, but these characters have been so well established that we understand immediately who and where everyone is and why they feel what they feel.

The story crosscuts between Caprica and the events on the Galactica, where the pregnant Sharon has complications and must give birth to her daughter prematurely. The baby, named Hera, has underdeveloped lungs and must be incubated. This now means that Roslin and Adama must decide what they are going to do about this Cylon child. Meanwhile, Baltar, still believing he has a symbolic claim to this baby, hovers ominously over the proceedings, and I must point out that I love how all these characters are connected in such strange and twisted ways.

Roslin's plan for Hera could be its own morality play, and makes use of the classic ends-versus-means argument of necessity. She's right, and she's pragmatic, but she is not strictly moral. She decides that Sharon cannot be allowed to raise the child, and the Cylons cannot become aware of her. So she orders Dr. Cottle to take part in an elaborate kidnapping scheme while faking the death of the infant. Hera is turned over with a cover story to a human mother who has no idea she is becoming stepmom to a Cylon hybrid (and a potential future target).

The presumed death of Hera is understandably devastating to Sharon, who accuses Cottle of being part of a conspiracy to murder her baby. Notably, she's not wrong about the fact there's a conspiracy. Not only does the kidnapping of Hera open up future story possibilities, it also makes for a good intellectual companion alongside the Caprica storyline involving Six's and Sharon's own struggles of conscience. At one point, D'Anna says, "Humans don't respect life the way we do," which is smug hypocrisy coming from someone complicit in genocide. One could also argue that Roslin's willingness to treat the Cylon infant as an innocent is an action that speaks for itself. My only problem here is a plausibility detail: Just where did they find a dead baby that could substitute as a stand-in for Hera? Somehow, I doubt the fleet has conveniently similar female infant corpses just lying around.

There's also a thread in here involving Anders and the human resistance on Caprica (see "The Farm"), which uses guerilla war tactics to blow up a cafe full of Cylons. After the bomb goes off and everyone is buried in the rubble, much of the rest of the story is stripped down to a four-character dialog piece (Six, Sharon, D'Anna, Anders). Such pieces — involving a few characters wielding ideas much larger than themselves — were often an effective staple of Star Trek; it proves to be effective here, too.

The story arc is ultimately Six's: Her doubts about the destruction of humanity take her down a path toward a new destiny — that of a critic of Cylon policy. In seeing Sharon's plight and D'Anna's inflexibility, Six comes to realize what's right and wrong, and what she needs to do about it. She has a choice, and realizes her voice as a Cylon celebrity may carry more weight. Tricia Helfer's performance in the episode is crucial, and she's up to the task. Helfer communicates a lot with looks and glances, suggesting depth, guilt, and introspection. She creates a character we can empathize with and eventually root for, because we want to see Six think for herself and go against the establishment. She was a villain; now she's something else. "What kind of people are you?" Anders asks her. "I don't know," she responds.

And always in the back of her mind is Baltar, coaxing her in that new direction. She loved him, and wants to do right by him. When she kills D'Anna and decides to embarks on a new path with Sharon, the image of Baltar tells her, "I have never loved anyone more in my life than I love you now." The message is that love makes us see not only the other person but also ourselves, and it can make us try to become better people. That's what Six experiences in "Downloaded."

Previous episode: The Captain's Hand
Next episode: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1

Season Index

32 comments on this review

Confuzzled - Mon, Apr 21, 2008 - 10:50am (USA Central)
Hi Jammer,

While I agree this was a 4-star episode, it confused me a little. Do you have any insight into what the extent of this "download" process is?

It would seem to me that the downloaded consciousness is in a 1:1 ratio, meaning that when a cylon dies, it's memories are downloaded to a new body and to that new body only. So how does that explain how the Sharon on Galactica has the memories as well? Is it a 1 to 1 download, or are the memories dissemenated to all the Sharon models. I'm fuzzy on the subject.

It's also worth noting that I've not yet seen season 3 or 4 yet, so therefore should I just wait??
David - Fri, Aug 1, 2008 - 5:45pm (USA Central)
Like Confuzzled, I'm also still unclear about how the original Caprica Sharon had memories from the (at the time) Galactica "Boomer" Sharon, when she had not yet died. (???) I've seen everything up through the mid-season finale of S3 and I still don't get it. If Jammer has some idea, it'd be nice to get a comment if he's got a moment.

But on the point raised by Jammer in the review about the baby corpse used to fool Helo and Sharon: I thought the implications from the dialogue--as well as the otherwise unnecessary repeat of the plot-point heard over the radio that Roslin had recently banned abortion--was that one of a handful of pregnant women in the fleet who'd like to abort late-term was allowed to do so if the fetus could be used as a stand-in baby corpse for this deception. The dialogue is cryptic, but I thought that was what was going on when Roslin hands over a list of "qualifies and willing" names to Cottle. I don't think Cottle would be involved in making a choice about who would be a good adoptive mother for the baby--who needs a Doctor to make that decision? So surely he's looking over a list of late-term pregnancies of women who've voiced that they would have an abortion if they could get it legally? So then he finds one that he thinks will yield the appropriate fetus to stand in for Hera, performs that desired abortion in secret, and it's win-win for both the woman who wanted the abortion and the adoptive mother of Hera? That's how I saw it, so I'm surprised to see Jammer mention it as a plot-hole. Did I just somehow make all this up? Wouldn't be surprised if I did, but I think it makes sense!
Jammer - Sat, Aug 2, 2008 - 1:44am (USA Central)

Your analysis of the Roslin/Cottle scene, I must say, makes a hell of a lot of sense. I'd have to go back to the scene itself to reconfirm, but based on what you've mentioned here, I think you've made a point that I completely missed. And, if so, that's a dark and interesting development. Wow. Never thought of that.
David - Mon, Aug 4, 2008 - 12:02pm (USA Central)

My girlfriend thinks the reason it's all done so subtly--to a fault, such that one is likely to miss it--is that it was getting into more controversy than even BSG and the network would be comfortable with given the widespread sensitivity about very late-term abortions. But, yes, please on your next rewatch keep this in mind and see if it's not apparent to you as well. Cheers.
Greg - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 5:12pm (USA Central)
Very late to the game on this discussion, but wow, David has a very interesting take on that scene with Cottle and Roslin.

I don't have anything to support the theory or fight against it, but take a look the 'death' scene with Cottle, Sharon and Helo later in the episode. The exchange of ashes, "murderer!," and "I don't kill patients" is particularly interesting in terms of Cottle. In the episode previous, he seems very willing to terminate a 4-month pregnancy ("I don't ask a lotta questions" he says to Adama) but it'd be very difficult to argue that a (potentially unborn) baby such as the one presented to Sharon and Helo is NOT a human life. Later when Roslin explains to Cottle WHY it had to happen, the man looks truly sick to his stomach. Never in the series has Cottle ever been shown this way.

The fact that The Captain's Hand and Downloaded are shown back to back suggests a very, very subtle, dark, and interesting mini-arc. The subtle development (as David said, subtle almost to a fault) would certainly be lost on viewers seeing the episodes too far apart - and combining them into a single episode would have likely produced extremely hammy and OBVIOUS results.

Good job David, seriously. This may not have been the producers' intentions, but the way it appears on screen it is difficult to argue AGAINST what you suggest. BSG comes off as a deeper-written series than a lot of people give it credit for. Myself included, and I am one of the show's biggest supporters.
Toph in Blacksburg - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 8:16pm (USA Central)
Like Greg, I am late to the discussion of this episode. I agree that it was a 4-star episode, and must point out my favorite five seconds: When Caprica-six is asking about what happened to Baltar and we hear a "shh"-ing sound followed by the reveal of head-Baltar. I don't know about anyone else, but for about 4-5 seconds I really thought this was a reveal of Baltar being a Cylon. The writers smartly debunked that thought immediately, but wow, did it have my shocked attention for those few moments. :)
Hasjtracker - Mon, Apr 19, 2010 - 11:30pm (USA Central)
The list of names Roslin gives the doctor is a list of mothers,not a list of baby corpses/future abortions.

The assistent hands out the list saying : capeable,willing,anonumous and trustworthy.

Something you can say about a future mother/stepmother and not about a baby thats part human or better said alive.

Unless Roslin uses her glasses to scan pregant bellies of all prospects she doesnt know the outcome of the baby apperal etc anymore then we do.

Anyone who has kids,knows that you know every wrinkle and exactly where that resistant hair is.Not even talking about hair and eye color,the fact that she is part asian(or robotic asian).

As a plotdevice its ok,but using this as a excuse to make more of the story then it is isnt :)

Hope to make sense,english is my third language and highschool was ages ago.
Max Udargo - Tue, Jun 22, 2010 - 9:50pm (USA Central)
I have to say, it was so much fun seeing Baltar tormenting Six the way she has long tormented him. Baltar is definitely somebody you don't want inside your head.

The only problem I had was that reborn Six seemed jarringly different from killed-in-Baltar's-lake-house Six. The Six that shields Baltar from the shock wave is icy calm and composed, indifferent to Baltar's emotions, the destruction of Caprica, and her own impending death. Remember, this is the individual who snapped a baby's neck just days (hours?) before Caprica was destroyed, and she apparently did it for the same reason Johnny Cash shot that guy in Reno. But as soon as she's reborn, she's suddenly a tormented soul pining for her lost love. I'm intrigued by where this is going, but it was a big cheat.

Brendan - Sun, Jul 4, 2010 - 1:25pm (USA Central)
The most important line of the episode hasn't been mentioned here. At the end when Doral says "they're down here, they're alive!", Six turns to Sharon and says "yes.... we're alive". It echoes the first line she had in the miniseries, "are you alive?", because they didn't really understand what it meant... until now. And that's a big turning point.
bigpale - Sun, Feb 20, 2011 - 9:01am (USA Central)
Sorry if already stated, but I'm pretty sure it was implied that Maya's dead newborn baby was the "stand-in" for Hera.

She said something like "When I lost my baby..." which is where I get that. I don't think it's a mystery, or that the BSG has a container of stillborn infants lying around.
AeC - Sat, Apr 30, 2011 - 3:07pm (USA Central)
I assumed the same as bigpale, that it was Maya's baby.

@Max: I don't recall whether this notion was ever put forth, nor do I know whether it will be revealed in future episodes to be the case, but regarding Six killing the baby in the miniseries, I always read that scene as Six, knowing that the Cylon holocaust is imminent, showing mercy and giving the infant a quick, painless death, sparing it from what could have been a far worse fate. In that light, it could have been considered the first indications of her internal conflict over the Cylon occupation/genocide.
Nick P. - Sat, May 21, 2011 - 2:57pm (USA Central)

I think you are overestimating parenting. I am a parent myself of 2 amazing boys, and I recognize every square millimeter of them. But they are not just-born, and just born premature at that. I remember thinking at the hospital that I didn't want them separated from us for the very real reason that if they gave us the wrong one back, I really wouldn't be able to tell.


I completely agree, this six is barely recognizable personality wise, as the previous six.
Ilya - Thu, Jun 2, 2011 - 12:30pm (USA Central)
Wow. What an awesome episode. Not only BSG is back to its story-driven show, but events of this episode throw a lot of things viewers thought about the plot into question.

So, Baltar is a Cylon! ... No, he is not, he is a Hallucination, akin to Galactica Six. Why is he a Hallucination? Are Balter and Caprica Six just imagining seeing each other? Well, Galactica Six seemed to have insights into incidents with Olympic Carrier and Baltar's security photo, that Baltar could not have known. Were those coincidences? Inconsistent writing? I hope not. On the other hand, Galactica Six did not know that "her" baby was still alive, which is a pretty big omniscience fail on her part.

On a personal level, it was so rewarding seeing Caprica Six tormented by Baltar. With "her" being a major villain for the entire show so far, it was REALLY nice to see her reduced to a shaking, neurotic mess, like what she did to Galactica Baltar.

Seeing "real" Sharon again was nice. She also gets the most emotionally poignant line in the episode "I shot a man I love, and fracked up life of another one".

Well, let's see how Six's and Sharon's "We are alive" revolution plays out. Too bad, next 2 episodes are rated as only 3 stars.
Nic - Tue, Jul 12, 2011 - 9:25am (USA Central)

This is without a doubt the best episode since "Pegasus". If "Epiphanies" was channelling an average TNG episode, that "Downloaded" is channelling the very best of TNG and DS9, but it's doing so on its own terms an in a way that doesn't feel like a rehash.

Personally, I buy Six's transformation. Although back in the Miniseries I wouldn't have believed she was in love with Baltar, it was obvious she cared about him enough to protect him from the explosion. That plus her transmission to a new body (which we learn is very traumatic and life-changing) could have brought those feelings to the surface. I love her inner Baltar much much more than I liked Baltar's inner Six.
Nic - Tue, Jul 12, 2011 - 11:24am (USA Central)
I also buy that Caprica-Sharon (who is now Galactica-Sharon) would have Boomer's memories. Her original mission was to pretend to BE Bommer so Helo would fall in love with her, so it would make sense that to be able to accomplish that mission she would be given Boomer's memories, which are probably archived on a regular basis.
Weiss - Wed, Aug 17, 2011 - 3:54pm (USA Central)
Tricia once said in an interview, that she views the killing of the baby, not as an act of cruelty, but mercy. she knew the holocaust was coming and killed the baby to prevent it from experiencing it.
Michael - Sat, Nov 19, 2011 - 1:39am (USA Central)
Wow, wow, wow, WOW!! A stupendous show!!

LOVED the suspense when we thought Baltar was a cylon for those few brief seconds.

LOVED the reversal of Six's and Baltar's usual roles.

LOVED Boomer's retort to Six's religious tripe about "god's love": She takes a photo of her and her colleagues and exclaims "THIS is love! THESE people love me!"

LOVED the conclusion.

* * *

I was never clear about how Baltar survived the thermonuclear blast: The force, the heat, the radiation. Six's body shielded him but cylons' bodies are pretty much just as fragile as humans'. Six was obviously vaporized; how come Baltar escapes with no more than a few cuts and bruises?

* * *

The opening sequences of cylon rebirth are very confusing. There is anguish, torment, insecurity, pain. There is necessity to be comforted and soothed by the attending cylons. And then the entire premise of Six and Boomer "coming to terms" with their actions. How can that be if cylons are--as we are repeatedly told--mere machines with software?! How are they capable of genuine, un-manufactured emotions?? What's the deal with their interactions on Caprica, their strolling around in a park, rebuilding savaged cities, the cafe...? Put it in other words: How can there be mass-produced machines that are unique in actions, desires, thoughts, tastes, intentions... - i.e. machines with individual personalities???

I would surmise that it is because they are, in fact, not mere machines. There must be a clear biological component in there, which extends beyond the reproduction of the (somewhat enhanced) physical human body. As we saw a few episodes back, that extends to the actual machine-like cylons, namely Scar in that case.

If so, and I see little contradictory evidence, then the cylons--and this entire story--are far more interesting than I imagined. The cylons are not Star Trek's Borg or a Terminator-like amorphous assembly-line of mechanical units. Would that make them, pretty much, bionic humans? It certainly makes them weaker and more vulnerable than initially portrayed. It also vitiates Galactica crew's unremitting insistence that they are just hardware and software.

The question is: Where does their cylon-ness stop and "humanity" begin, or vice-verse? Galactica's Boomer evidently has strong feelings for Helo and has redeemed herself many times over; yet, can there ever be any guarantee that she HAS "crossed the Rubicon" and could/would never be incited to do harm to humans again?
Elliott - Tue, Jan 3, 2012 - 11:19pm (USA Central)
Regarding the change to Six :

Let's not forget the series makes a point of calling downloading "rebirth" and "resurrection" and (plagiarised or not) the new models are born as though in a baptismal font (the symbol is appropriate given their belief in a proto-Judeo-Christian god). One cardinal idea of baptism is that is the beginning of a whole new life, a new existence--one need not be the same person he was before, even though he carries the same memories.

I may have acquired a bit of infamy for pissing and moaning about DS9's handling of religious topics, because I think they were poorly handled on that series, but BSG has (for the most part) done a superb job of demonstrating a nuanced and meaningful understanding of religious belief and practice. Bravo.
Nick P. - Sun, Jan 29, 2012 - 11:50pm (USA Central)
Uhhhh, mixed feeling upon the re-watch.


After having finished the series now I can honestly say this was the hardest episode to watch from a continuity point of view. I would never say it made the show hard to watch, obviously, BSG is incredible, but this one through me some curveballs, in relation to the rest of the series. This episode plants the seeds of the little cylon civil war that comes later, but whats' the point of anything in between? In fact, what is the point of the any of the cylons motivations at all? It all seems somewhat pointless in the context of the new-Caprica arc. So they were going to pursue peace....OK...Then why the occupation?

They wanted to ignore the humans just to control them? I think it can all be explained as your watching, but after finishing the series you can't help but get the feeling that the Caprica arc was nothing more than a story telling vehicle to get Hera to the Cylons, get Baltar on a Baseship, get rid of Ellen and Tighs' eye, and numerous other character marks. I think the fact that the entire 4 months occupation and escape is a mere 4 episodes testifies to this conclusion.

This didn't bother me so much on the first run through, but now the whole New Caprica arc is a little more plot vehicle obvious to me (and others judging by some of the comments) And I think a good chunk of that is just the placement of this episode. I think the producers messed one up here. I think it would have been better almost anywhere else in the series, but a couple eps before the occupation just keeps flashing in my mind as completely in the wrong place. This would have been PERFECT after the New Caprica arc.

Plus, I was never a fan of revealing to much of baddies. Let's be honest, we all love BSG, but the Cylons were never scary after this episode were they?
Nick P. - Sun, Jan 29, 2012 - 11:52pm (USA Central)
I gotta just come out and say it. This is my least favourite episode.
Justin - Sat, Jul 7, 2012 - 2:19am (USA Central)
"Remember, this is the individual who snapped a baby's neck just days (hours?) before Caprica was destroyed, and she apparently did it for the same reason Johnny Cash shot that guy in Reno. But as soon as she's reborn, she's suddenly a tormented soul pining for her lost love. I'm intrigued by where this is going, but it was a big cheat."

@Max, maybe Six woke up with the Astral Queen Blues...
Caleb - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 11:57am (USA Central)
Six snapped the babies neck as a mercy kill, so it wouldn't slowly die from radiation poisoning or starvation or something horrific like that if it wasn't killed in one of the blasts. I thought that was pretty clear, so Six's moral wrestling does go all the way back to the beginning.
Anyway... awesome episode, one of the best, and so far the highlight of season 2 for me.
chris - Wed, Oct 17, 2012 - 5:12am (USA Central)
In the "Farm" episode, when Kara kills that "Simon" (if i can recall his name) Cylon doctor, he comes back in his new body to confront Kara after a few minutes.

But in this episode, we see that the "downloading" phase lasts a lot longer actually.
Patrick - Sat, Jan 12, 2013 - 1:32am (USA Central)
@Nick Umm, no. This episode was setting up the New Caprica arc. The whole point of New Caprica was that it was the Cylon's first attempt and peace with the colonials. Only, they went about it in an American intervention in the Middle East kind of way. It seems you have COMPLETELY missed the point of that arc.
Nick P. - Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - 1:59pm (USA Central)

I did not miss the point. Since I made that comment, I have listened to the Ron Moore podcasts, and I only feel moreso on my opinions. In fact, in the podcast he even says "my only fear would have been that the Cylons will come out not as scary after we reveal their society, sort of like what happened on Next Gen with the Borg." That is from Ron Moore, the creator of this show.

Further, he reveals that in the initial drafts of the Occupation arc, the "motivation" of the cylons was that they were after Hera, and the whole occupation was a distraction until they could confirm where Hera was. They were going to kill all the humans after they found her. With all the re-writes they just got away from the motivation of why the Cylons are there. Which is exactly my point. The Cylons have no real motivation for what they are doing. It is obvious (to me) that Ron Moore wanted a story about thye Cylons Occupying a human settlement, and he bent heaven and hell to get that story.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED the occupation arc. My complaint is that of the 4 seasons of BSG, that was the least organic of the entire series. It all just seemed to manufactured to get to a certain point.

Back to Downloaded, I still think that between the caprica arc and this episode, the cylons were never scary again.
J - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 5:18pm (USA Central)
By the way, and I know I'm late too, but regarding David's comments about the baby; I saw that happening as well. In fact, I didn't even think it was that subtle. The girl who wanted an abortion said she lost her baby, and she was also given the Cylon baby as a replacement. The only reason that girl was even in this episode was to give them a baby to abort and give to Sharon. Otherwise they wouldn't have needed her, they could have just shipped the baby off to a mother that was never involved in the episode.
Teejay - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 3:45am (USA Central)
Regarding Max's comments on Six:

I don't think she was as cold as you think. Once I'm done with the series, I'll have to go back and watch the miniseries to be sure, but if I'm remembering correctly as Six walked away after killing the baby she seemed, at least by her facial expression, to be rather upset about what had just occurred. Now she was looking upward as she did this; was this a "looking up to God" for forgiveness? Was it her subtly questioning why God would want to destroy humans? Was it something else? I'll wait until I watch it again to see what i think or if I'm totally off-base, but otherwise I think there was a complexity displayed even that early on in the series you might've missed. Or I'm crazy(which is entirely possible :) )
beej - Thu, Sep 26, 2013 - 1:17am (USA Central)

Yeah, that was the first thing I thought of when I watched this episode. The Cylon doctor that confronted Starbuck maybe could be explained away by saying it's another copy, but then it surely should've been a lot more surprised to stumble upon her exiting the hospital.
Jason D - Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - 10:54pm (USA Central)
Excellent review, excellent ep. This season went off the rails after Ressurection Ship. Watching Black Market through Captain's Hand, I started to wonder where BSG had gone (yes, even 'Hand,' because by that point I was seriously sick of Lee Adama and his new-job-every-episode).

This story gets BSG back on track and away from cop shows, hostage situations, and ruminations on abortion rights (oy).

We were overdue for an update on Caprica's cylons and humans, overdue for a resolution with Sharon's baby, and way overdue for some insight into cylon society. Beyond that, this episode corrects a series-long problem for me: why should I care about the rights, religion, and emergent humanisim of the cylons when the whole show is about their attempt to kill all humans? "Downloaded" provides a firmer foundation for these recurring themes than just "hey, this Sharon is helping now." Good stuff.

And Jammer called it - Six seeing Baltar was a "masterstroke."
Michael - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 - 1:21am (USA Central)
@Jason D:
Let me respond to your two points (from my own point of view, of course).

I found the "cop shows, hostage situations, and ruminations on abortion rights" were in a way necessary to let myself calm down, let my brain process the enormity of the preceding events, and be able to establish an understanding for - and even a rapport with - the remnant human population. The human race had just undergone an existential cataclysm, barely making it out alive. If you ask me, the effects of that and how the shibboleths of that race behaved in the aftermath could have been explored even further (and, admittedly, much better). I always wondered what would happen to us if we underwent such a profound experience in real life. If the Katrina wake is anything to go by, many of us would turn into savages (looting, rapes, murders) whereas it would bring out the very best in others. We might find out sooner than we think: A rogue solar flare has been estimated would send us back to the stone age for the best part of a decade (no electricity, hence no gas, no food distribution or production, no water pumps, etc.). Anyway, knock on wood...

Your second point, i.e. "why should I care about the rights, religion, and emergent humanisim of the cylons when the whole show is about their attempt to kill all humans?" is more important than you think. There is a very influential "school of thought," primarily in the West, which these days advocates never ever breaching certain principles. Just yesterday someone wrote in a Star Trek episode comment that they were dismayed humanity still had boxing and "violent" sports in the 24th century. Then you have those who would prohibit torture of any kind under any circumstances, even in a hypothetical "ticking bomb" scenario. Such mentality is also seen in actual real-world situations: When the British navy caught a bunch of Somali pirates who had been hijacking boats and kidnapping their crews for multimillion-dollar ransoms, instead of literally blowing them out of the water, they wrapped them in blankets, made them hot tea, and provided them with a skiff back to the shore. You really couldn't make it up.

I think the more time passes for certain parts of the world to live cocooned away from violence, especially wars, the more of this way of thinking we are going to see. Previous generations went through some kind of a conflict about 2-3 times a century, and they recognized that fire must sometimes be fought with fire. They realized that when someone is trying to destroy you, you shoot first and, MAYBE, ask questions later. These days you have college-sociology-inspired "debates": the "we're all human," "why can't we all just get along," "let's try to understand their point of view" drivel. There's nothing wrong with that per se; it is just that it takes us to the other, extreme pacifist, er, extreme.

Therefore, were we to find ourselves in B.S.G.-type scenario, I do believe there would be nutjobs who would seriously advocate a nonviolent approach to endeavor to "resolve" the conflict.
Paul M. - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 - 9:47am (USA Central)
@Michael: "Previous generations went through some kind of a conflict about 2-3 times a century, and they recognized that fire must sometimes be fought with fire. They realized that when someone is trying to destroy you, you shoot first and, MAYBE, ask questions later."

Don't you think that previous generations had war all the time precisely BECAUSE they shot first and asked questions later?

Seems pretty straightforward.
Michael - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 - 11:13am (USA Central)
@Paul M.:
...and in a world that universally subscribed to such a view, it WOULD indeed be "pretty straightforward."

As it happens though, much if not most of the world does not quite see it that way and the notion that nonviolence and reason always ultimately prevail is total nonsense. Violence and use of extreme force IS sometimes necessary. What is more, total annihilation of your enemy is also sometimes necessary.

In the present context, if we were fighting B.S.G.-style war, I would consider those advocating rapprochement with the Cylons every bit as much an enemy as the Cylons themselves.

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