Jammer's Review

Battlestar Galactica

"Guess What's Coming to Dinner?"

****

Air date: 5/16/2008
Written by Michael Angeli
Directed by Wayne Rose

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Guess What's Coming to Dinner?" is an outstanding hour of tone and style, of quietly but implacably escalating foreboding, of characters having basic assumptions about their lives completely thrown into question, and has an ending that does not supply answers but only more questions. The plot puts its chips all-in on BSG's mythology aspects. If you are not already invested in BSG's mythology, you will be lost. If you are not riveted by BSG mythology by the end of this episode, then you likely never will be.

And yet, this episode is less about what happens than about how it happens, and how it feels as it happens. There's a confidence in purpose here, from one end to the other, that's almost hard to qualify. Speaking to my own tastes, this is an episode that outdoes The X-Files because it knows that plotting is only one attribute of an effective mystery, and it outdoes Mad Men because it knows that characterization can be more emotionally involving when it's tied to plot and expressed rather than constantly internalized. This is my kind of balancing act. The episode also manages to be philosophical without being tedious, complex without being confusing, and artful without being pretentious. It fires on all cylinders — without careening over the cliff.

Picking right up from "Faith," the Demetrius and the renegade Cylon basestar jump back to the fleet. But even the most routine procedure goes awry, and the Demetrius FTL drive has a glitch. So the basestar winds up in the fleet by itself, where it's assumed to be hostile, and the fleet is ordered into an emergency jump-away while the Galactica launches to action stations. This is the only real action in the episode, and it's very well staged, with the fleet gradually jumping away a ship at a time and Galactica gearing up to fight. (From Galactica's point of view, this process is a white-knuckled eternity where they could be killed at any moment.) Even though it's a foregone conclusion that the crisis will be averted, it manages to generate suspense: Will the Galactica open fire or jump away before the Demetrius can show up? I very much like that a disaster is averted by Tigh's order to hold fire, which is based on an inexplicable gut feeling (revisiting the ongoing theme that Fate once again intercedes).

So Renegade Six presents her offer to Adama and Roslin: The Cylons want to unbox the D'Annas from cold storage because she knows the identities of the Final Five, which supposedly know the way to Earth because they have been there. In exchange, Six will reveal the location of the Cylon resurrection hub, which, if destroyed, will make all Cylons mortal. Turning the Cylons into mortals would have an immediately obvious impact on the fundamental nature of the human/Cylon conflict.

So at last there seems to be some light at the end of at least one tunnel. But what's most immediately fascinating about this deal is that it introduces an urgent wrinkle into the Secret Four's lives: If this plan works, they will be exposed — and then what? Watch how Tigh quietly squirms and mentally starts doing the math, and then tries to set the plan in a direction that hopefully covers himself, but at the same time is completely in the interests of the Colonial fleet and the man Tigh always has been.

The plan itself depends on the ability for the renegade Cylons and the Colonials to trust each other, which is no easy task. Renegade Six gives up the hub location, but she still controls the Centurions on her basestar, which is the key to the entire plan. Only a basestar will be able to get anywhere near the hub before being attacked. The Colonial leadership discusses the merits of keeping their word on this alliance, and decides as a backup position to hold back on turning over the Final Five to the rebel Cylons.

Meanwhile, Renegade Six talks with her fellow Cylons about how she fully expects to be double-crossed and plans to take hostages as a contingency. "We've changed, but the humans haven't," she says. Isn't it exactly that kind of thinking that inspires mutual distrust? Paradoxically and ironically, her fears are justified; there is indeed scheming on both sides. It's circular logic: We can't afford to keep our word, because they are not to be trusted, and keeping our word thus puts us at a disadvantage. At what point does prudent self-preservation become destructive deception? Quite a dilemma for everyone. Ultimately, Six sees the error of her ways and tries to reverse course on her planned deception, and the Cylons then find themselves trying to slither out from under a deceit of their own making. Messy.

So that's the nuts and bolts. Beyond that is an avalanche of series mythology, and of characters reacting to what's happening around them.

Early in the episode, Lee confronts Roslin over Baltar's latest broadcast, which alleges that Roslin shares visions with Caprica Six and Sharon Agathon. Roslin admits that it's true, but asks Lee what good it would do the public to know that their leader is not only sharing hallucinations with the enemy, but also experiencing something that apparently goes contrary to the entire religious establishment. There's more at stake than Roslin's reputation.

How does Baltar know about this vision, anyway? Roslin sends Tory on an assignment to find out. She does this after a downright icy scene that pretty much announces the end of their cordial relationship. Roslin knows about Tory and Baltar: "You've been spotted down there enough times to be a charter member of his nymph squad." The thing worth noting about this scene, other than obvious hurt feelings between the two characters, is how you find yourself regarding Tory, who previously wrote herself a license to kill Cally. Put her on bad terms with the president, threaten her job, and what might she be capable of next?

When we follow Tory down to Baltar's lair, there are more layers of character to unveil. It turns out Caprica Six told Baltar about Roslin's Opera House vision months ago. Why did he wait until now to finally publicize it? Because only now was it a card he felt he had to play. The important thing about Baltar is that he's not a crazed lunatic hurling baseless indictments. He has a point of view that's legitimate; he has become increasingly bitter about Roslin's ongoing governance in secrecy, something she claims is in the best interests of security even as it leaves the public in the dark. This has interesting real-world parallels when you consider our own government's recent policies. Does security justify a lack of transparency as Roslin operates?

What's notable about this episode is its ability to milk great character mileage out of brief moments. For example, there's that bit where Lee finds himself, to his own surprise, cut out of the loop about the alliance. He thought the unique advantage he could bring to the Quorum was knowing how the military machine works, but here he finds his insider information has run dry. He's as out of the Adama/Roslin loop as everyone else. Later, he has a sobering discussion with Roslin about the spirit-crushing hopelessness that has taken hold of the fleet. The members of the Quorum feel as hopeless as anyone — maybe even more so, because they once thought they mattered.

More great mileage: How about Gaeta and his leg? Nice details here. He wants to be awake while they saw it off, so he won't have to wake up to it being gone. Later, he sings to try take his mind off the pain. His singing snakes through the episode like a poetic, ominous omen. Anders feels guilty about having shot him. Baltar goes to see him, but can't bring himself past the door; it's a nice little moment that recalls their messy history.

A key scene in the episode (although one could argue they are all key scenes) comes when Roslin takes Lee's advice and addresses the Quorum to provide some much-needed solace and get them on board with the uneasy Cylon alliance. She brings in Renegade Six, who makes a speech and extends an olive branch. This speech not only represents a milestone in Cylon/human relations, but reveals some things Six has personally learned during the Cylon civil war — about life, death, and her people. "For our existence to hold any value, it must end. To live meaningful lives, we must die and not return." On what she has realized about humanity: "Mortality is the one thing that makes you whole." While the Cylon civil war was kept almost completely off-screen, this speech helps us imagine what it might have meant. It's not a million miles away from the navel-gazing in Adama's speech about responsibility in the miniseries.

Six also says, "I believe it was no accident that we were found by Kara Thrace. It was destiny." Just like that the episode turns from hopeful to foreboding — because the Hybrid has assured Kara she is the harbinger of death.

So what about all this mythology? The episode brings it all together in the last two acts. Roslin, Caprica Six, and Sharon all have another shared vision where they chase Hera through the Opera House. The images are exactly as before. When Sharon wakes up to see Hera standing by her bed, Hera says, "Bye-bye." Shiver.

Sharon already has plenty of doubts about the Cylons in general, and about their interest in her daughter in particular. At the beginning of the episode Six had said to her about Hera, "We all know her name. You were blessed." Now she gets visions where Six takes Hera away from her. And then there's Sharon's horror upon seeing little Hera's coloring book, filled cover-to-cover with "6" and drawings of yellow-haired women — it makes for the trippiest shock I've seen on this series since "Crossroads, Part 2." It's unexpected and brilliant. What does it mean? Can't be good. Are the Cylons wired at birth to be drawn to each other? Pre-programmed with some sort of knowledge or directives? Seconds later, Hera wanders off into the corridors. More on this in a minute.

First let's revisit Roslin and Kara. Kara knows about Roslin's vision, because she has heard about it on Baltar's broadcasts. And she knows it's true because the Hybrid confirmed it. This comes as a revelation to Roslin that there is, absolutely must be, something going on here beyond the typical, physical, worldly realm. The sense of ominous mystery is palpable. It's downright spooky, especially because Mary McDonnell plays Roslin as so honestly disturbed by it. Everything she once assumed she knew about life has been turned upside down.

Roslin asks Kara for her help. Remember, this is the same Roslin that fired a gun at Kara in "He That Believeth in Me." Imagine the distance traveled from there to here. Bygones are not simply bygones, but beyond the pale of a second's thought. These are relationships renewed by the needs of the here and now. And the actors sell the hell out of it. They need answers, and they are going to try to get them from the Hybrid.

The final act of this episode is a visual storytelling tour de force, as Sharon frantically goes searching for Hera in the corridors while Roslin, Kara, et al (who have recruited Baltar into this because he's in the vision) go to the basestar to plug in the Hybrid and get answers. The former plays as imminent dread, the latter as intriguing mystery. The two sequences are intercut — and cut into the Sharon scenes are flashes from the vision, which in a way mirrors what happens in the action of Sharon's search through the corridors ... which is all on a collision course with Renegade Six.

To describe more details is pointless. Suffice it to say that a sequence this complex must have been awesomely difficult to script, direct, perform, shoot, and edit — let alone to do all of the above so masterfully in a way that makes sense. The sequence doesn't seem to have a literal meeting so much as a character-driven emotional meaning. Handled with less care, I can imagine this sequence easily falling apart. But not here. The end result is thrilling and brilliant.

Sharon, afraid Renegade Six is after her daughter for some unknown reason, guns Six down. When the Hybrid is plugged back into the basestar, it jumps away without warning to who-knows-where. All plans now lie in shambles.

This ending isn't a "cliffhanger." It's a giant question mark. What's the difference? This story knows the difference. It's all in the tone, style, and emotional arc. The final shot is of Gaeta singing.

Previous episode: Faith
Next episode: Sine Qua Non

Season Index

39 comments on this review

ZZ in WY - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 1:07am (USA Central)
Yeah JE I'm not sure I could add much more, you'r review was spot on! Deffidently one of the most brilliant episodes of the franchise.
Derek - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 1:16am (USA Central)
I completely agree with you, Jammer. I've been waiting on this review for a long while now, but what you wrote eloquently sums up what I felt when I first saw this brilliant episode back in May. It's strange how cheesy Gaeta's singing could have been under any other circumstances, but these writers, actors, and directors really know what they're doing on this show.
Chris - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 2:04am (USA Central)
I was happy when I saw the 4 stars. This is an absolutely outstanding episode.
CTerry - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 9:43am (USA Central)
This season of Battlestar Galactica is simply its best in my view, the serialised format is a true tour de force.
Greg - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 10:26am (USA Central)
Another good review, Jammer. This was very, very good episode. I wouldn't personally have given it 4 stars, but in the end that's just semantics.

However, I do want to say something on the tone of the review. I've read a great deal of what you've written on this site, but in your most recent BSG reviews you come off more excited than ever. You seem to really be having a good time with this show and I don't blame you because I am too. BSG this season is about the most exciting TV I have ever seen (rivaled only by The Shield's best seasons). The final half-season should be a roller coaster.

Looking forward to the rest of the reviews for 4.0. I'm especially waiting for your thoughts on my personal pick of the litter from this season, "The Hub".
Megg - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 10:42am (USA Central)
I loved this episode because for the first time in a long time, everyone was back together again. It made everything feel grander and more important. This episode felt almost like a fantastic Season 2 episode (not that Season 2 was any better than Season 4, just that the tone is different).

Great review Jammer! Definitely looking forward to the next one.
Niall - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 10:56am (USA Central)
This was an outstanding achievement of an episode, right down to the smallest details and character moments. Amazingly scored and great direction, and a real, gripping ensemble piece which aptly dealt with and built on a multitude of ongoing plots and character threads. Brilliant. It's just a shame that Natalie/Renegade Six was written out of the show so soon, as she was a really engaging character who could potentially have become a lot more interesting down the road. Easily the best version of Six to have appeared on the show.
Occuprice - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 7:46pm (USA Central)
Excellent review. I think this is my favorite episode so far this season (though Revelations is astounding as well). Watching season 4 now on DVD, I have no problems giving this episode 10/10 (There are 2 per season usually that get a full 10), and perhaps Revelations will as well. Will see when I get to it again.

Like Greg, I've also noticed your excited tone this season. But then it is a season worth such excitement.

-On a side note, I've thought for some time now that the title was "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" without a question mark, but didn't say anything because I wasn't sure. But the season 4 DVDs also have it without a question mark, so I just thought I'd let you know. Don't know if it's a big enough difference to merit changing what you have here, but, you know... might as well pass it along.
Jammer - Thu, Jan 8, 2009 - 10:24pm (USA Central)
Not sure whether the official title is with or without a question mark. SciFi.com always had it with the question mark, so that's the route I took. A minor point.
Brendan - Fri, Jan 9, 2009 - 12:20am (USA Central)
Gaeta's Lament:

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


Does it mean something? I'm guessing yes, at least in a vague suggestive sense.
Josh - Fri, Jan 9, 2009 - 5:22am (USA Central)
This review has made me excited to watch the episode again. I'm getting my flatmate up to speed in time for the return to air. We're only a few episodes behind these reviews now.
David - Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - 9:41pm (USA Central)
This was one of the better season four episodes but it isn't a four star episode in my opinion. While a solid hour it certainly didn't evoke the kind of passion a truly outstanding hour does.

The episode was definitely a step in the right direction because it finally started priming things for the next leg in the show's final season by revisiting such threads as the Opera House vision from "Crossroads" and the characters finally began to compare notes and put things together but the episode still felt like it was lacking that special something to put into the "excellent" category. I think the lack of payoff was part of it.

Athena complicated Natalie's plan to stall to buy time for Leoben to deal with the centurions. I wonder if the Powers That Be intended that by sending Athena and Hera those visions.

Was the Demetrius missing its jump with the basestar interference from a third party/the supernatural forces at play? And was Tighe's "feeling" and order to halt the attack on the basestar another force trying to thwart it?

They went a little overboard with Gaeta's singing. Roslin had a pretty good quip for Tory with her "nymph squad" remark. I still could care less about the Quorum and Zarek.

I did like the companion scenes of the colonials debating double-crossing the Cylons and then later the Cylons debating double crossing the humans. It touched back on the question Baltar posed during the Occupation arc. When does the cycle end or will the Cylons and humans continue to distrust and hunt each other until one is totally wiped out. Where and when doe it end?
Occuprice - Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - 8:38pm (USA Central)
I'm really liking Michael Angeli's work this season. Six of One is one of the best written episodes I've seen and this just keeps the goodies coming.

In contrast, I think Bradley Thompson and David Weddle aren't doing as well with the actual writing this season as they have in the past. I had problems with the writing in Believeth, and the few nitpicky problems I had with the superb Revelations stemmed from the writing as well.

Just thought I'd share that.
Soptupa - Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - 5:20pm (USA Central)
2 Days! 4 episodes! Can it be done?!?!?! I vote yes!!!!! IN JAMMER I TRUST!!!!!!!!!!
Jammer - Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - 10:29pm (USA Central)
I'm hoping to make it. But it's actually only 3 episodes. The webisodes are part of season 4.5 and not subject to Friday night's deadline.
Occuprice - Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - 10:33pm (USA Central)
No stress if you don't make the deadline, Jammer.
Jammer - Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - 11:54pm (USA Central)
^ I suppose not. If anything, it's the stress of TRYING to make the deadline right now that's getting to me. It's just that it'd be nifty to make the deadline, so I can post my thoughts on "Revelations" in the context of myself and no one else having seen the 4.5 premiere yet. Being in the dark is sort of a key point of the discussion. That and I want my weekend to myself with the weight of 4.0's reviews lifted. :)
ZZ in WY - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
Well you got 30-some hours, Jammer. I personally am looking forward to your "Sine Qua Non" review. I loved that episode, though I suspect many people will disagree. Kinda like "Unfinnished Business" which was one of my favoret episodes of Season 3 . . . Being able to post the variety of differing opinions on this site is great, I love it.

Cheers
Occuprice - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 4:34pm (USA Central)
I like Sine Qua Non. I just thought the Romo plot and the dead cat was just poorly executed, that (the second time around) it's painfully obvious it'll be Lee, and that Romo pulling a gun on Lee was a bad idea and the "talking him down" was...not done well.

Aside from that, I liked it.
Jammer - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 5:07pm (USA Central)
Occuprice, did you somehow read my review already? It's written but not yet posted, and pretty much all of those points are in there (although maybe not to the same degree of reservation).
Don - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 8:42pm (USA Central)
What would have made it a little better is if Romo just pulled the gun on him to see how he would react and then say that due to his reaction he was the right choice. Would've made the episode a little bit better. In the end, though, it was a botched plotline.

Anyhow, great review as usual, Jammer. I always look forward to them.
Occuprice - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 9:17pm (USA Central)
Hah hah, Jammer. I feel special now.

Well, they were pretty obvious problems. The scene with the gun I STILL can't make a lot of sense of. They killed his cat... they don't deserve Lee... kill him? And then how did it go from being crazy to him saying "will you swear on that?"

And it took 2 watchings just to get THAT level of comprehension.

BUT, I did like the episode. The rest of it is strong I think, and this is but one thread.
Occuprice - Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - 9:19pm (USA Central)
Dan- when I first saw the episode, that's what I thought he was doing. Then I realized, nope. Just crazy dead cat Romo.
Grumpy - Sun, May 24, 2009 - 8:23pm (USA Central)
Why should the episode title have a question mark? The phrase is imperative, not interrogative.

"Imagine the distance traveled from there to here."

The distance traveled Roslin and Kara in that scene alone. At the start, Roslin appears to doubt the premise of the alliance because it is the fruit of Kara's supposed vision, which she must believe is more likely a Cylon trick. Until Kara mentions the opera house, which rattles Roslin enough to put aside her doubts.

"Just like that the episode turns from hopeful to foreboding -- because the Hybrid has assured Kara she is the harbinger of death."

Foreboding was not what I saw. Rather, I expected Kara to have another surprising revelation: "harbinger of death" refers to leading Cylons and humans to a new understanding of mortality. That is, death is positive, in light of what we've heard from Renegade Six and Emily the cancer patient. Instead, Kara did not react how I expected. (I haven't seen the finale yet, so I don't know if my interpretation is correct.)
Scoody - Thu, Jul 2, 2009 - 3:15am (USA Central)
I had heard of this show but had not seen any of it in all the time it had been aired. I remembered the campy series from the 70's and had only heard about this new "re-imagining." I had also seen the promos for "Battlestar Galactica: The Final Episodes" for a month on the Sci-Fi Channel.

This episode, "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" is the first time I saw anything having to BSG. It was on Jan. 2nd of this year when I first saw it. My wife and I had seperated the day before. Having nowhere else to go I went to my mom's house for a while. I got on the computer looking to watch a movie or something on Hulu to get my mind off of my marriage crashing in such spectacular fashion.

I found episodes of BSG on there and "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" was the oldest one.

I was sucked in by the writing, the music, the acting and the documentary style cinematography that made the dark subject matter even more real and viceral! I let out an audible gasp when Six was assassinated.

Not knowing what was going on, the early scene with the Baseship jumping in and Tigh stopping a massacre with his command of "Weapons Hold!" was heartstopping.

I was enthralled and engrossed by this show from the first few minutes. When this was over, I watched the next episode online. By the time I watched "Revelations" I was kicking myself for having been blissfully unaware that a show of this caliber was airing for years and I was not watching it.

I now have seasons 1-4 on DVD.
Josh - Thu, Jul 30, 2009 - 4:50am (USA Central)
Watching this episode again, I think we may have been misinterpretting the whole Opera House thing. Last episode, the Hybrid said the Dying Leader would know the Truth of the Opera House. It was Roslin seeing Baltar in the vision, that made her bring him along in this episode and so he could do his part in the hostage situation in 'Revelations'. Perhaps, that was where the dying leader's revelation: the importance of Baltar, not actually the particulars of the events in the final episode.
bigpale - Thu, Mar 17, 2011 - 12:00am (USA Central)
This is one of my five favorite episodes of the entire show.

This
Kobol's pt1-2
Pegasus
Exodus 2
Maelstrom
Someone to Watch Over Me


what an amazing show
Corrine - Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - 3:08pm (USA Central)
Did anyone else think that the Resurrection Hub was a total cop out? The hub is some very stupid Cylon planning. Wouldn't it have made much more sense to have each resurrection ship in charge of his or her own downloading process? But on that point, if the resurrection ships need to move with the fleet to ensure they are in rage, what if the hub isn't in range? It's like the writers were like, "We need to make then mortal, but oh frak, we created the resurrection ship. Well let's just create a hub that controls the entire process so they only have to take out one ship." I just felt like it was a complete cop out

K+L Forever
Brruceling - Wed, Jun 22, 2011 - 6:11am (USA Central)
(Gaeta's Lament:

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


Does it mean something? I'm guessing yes, at least in a vague suggestive sense. )

@Brendan: Good call putting this together, I was wondering the same thing. Reading it all together, it does seem awfully like it's coming from Renegade Six's perspective... as best I can interpet it...

Three is asleep, boxed, cold-storaged, "in the shirt of man" - like being dead, as humans die? Everything hinges on her, though, knowing the faces of the five. Renegade Six expresses the need to be mortal in order for life to be meaningful... spared the pain of immortality? Here's the clincher for me: Six has visions of Hera, and Three said that when she held Hera she would know true love ("This I beg for the second wish I made too")... then there is no third wish. But there is Three, who needs to be woken up, and Renegade Six dies at the end of this episode (My life you can take, To have her please just one day wake).
Nick P. - Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - 6:35pm (USA Central)
How David, or anyone could not rate this 4-star and one of the best of the series, I have no idea????

This was an absolutely brilliant hour of television, when Sharon was chasing Hera, I could literally FEEL my heartbeating!!!

This is not an episode I would recomend to someone who has never watched the show, that probably ended somewhere early in the third season.

Enough has been said about this brilliant hour, there is something I feel I must express about the series. There are some who don't seem to like the way things are going since late season 2 early 3, with the religion, mythology, the Cylon war, and the character arcs. I am sympathetic to many of those arguments. I think the Cylon civil war is ho-hum, the mythology can get a little over-powering, and I think I jumped off the Adama band-wagon back in season 2. Big Picture, I do think the show went a little from science fiction, to space drama, but who cares? this is still the best show on television (was), the acting, directing, writing, lighting, everything is perfect, and continuing to improve. How I did not see this series until it was over I feel is a crime. And for my argument about it just being space drama, the last 4-5 episodes have very successfully brought back in some exciting sci-fi elements that have been lacking for a while.

I would have to say that this is probably the best season so far. Every episode gets better, and I am so cannot wait to get home and finish this series up. BUT, I am also apprehensive knowing that I am reaching the end of the road with these characters that I have fallen in love with, faults and all.
Nic - Sat, Oct 29, 2011 - 5:22pm (USA Central)
Definitely the best episode of the season so far. I absoloutely love Gaeta's singing... I've been listening to 'Gaeta's Lament' over and over again since my viewing. But I have to say that the entire sequence with Athena chasing Hera around the ship and killing Renegade Six did not work for me. It's so obvious that it is not the same Six as in the vision (they don't even have the same hair color!), and since Athena is a Cylon herself she should have known this. Everything else was amazing though.
Michael - Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 6:39pm (USA Central)
A phenomenal show! The best of Season 4 bar none and one of the best of B.S.G.

Tigh's dramatic "hold fire" command at the last possible second, the tension, the relief... - WOW!!

I liked the scene near the beginning when Starbuck asks the three cylons if she's right to assume that D'Anna would be "doing the talking." They (the cylons) then look at each other briefly with a hint of confusion and uncertainty. I love how it reinforces and continues with the transformation of the image of cylons from being these uber-confident binary machines at the start of the show to being, well, "vulnerable" is the best description, i.e. more complex, bearing more depth.

I loved Roslin's dropping the bombshell on Tory: She knows Tory's been humping Baltar. The shock on Tory's face. Their entire exchange. Dynamite!

Hera's "bye-bye" to Athena when the latter wakes up from her dream/nightmare: Eerie and powerful. The frantic chase through Galactica's hallway and Athena shooting Six.

Gaeta's angst and torment.

Outstanding...

I'll have to disagree with Nick though: It is, of course, purely a matter of personal opinion but B.S.G's new "direction" doesn't work for me at all. I'm generally not big on fiction but the fictional universe of Seasons 1 and 2 made sense. It was corporeal and logical. When you start basing a show on people's "visions," you enter the realm of some fantasy neverland. Such stuff has its place (I personally never went in for it, even as a kid), but a sci-fi series is not it.

Anyway, this was an excellent show, so I'll savor the moment.
Michael - Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 6:40pm (USA Central)
Oh yeah, and this whole business about the question mark in the title: The question mark is wrong, period. Official or not, the phrase is not a question.
Nick P. - Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 10:17pm (USA Central)
Michael,

I can't pretend that I love this direction, however, I mentioned before, I am not sure you could maintain the hyper-realism of the 1st season and a half or so. That also assumes a hyper-realism fo the 1st couple seasons that I am not sure on the re-watch I am currently in, that I am not sure entirely exists.

All that being said, I agree the show gets a little to heavy on the fantasy mythology in the second half of the series, but like I have said before, this is the best acted TV show I have ever watched, the best special effects, among the best music, best written (generally), I can handle a couple cracks in the overall plotline.

I am quite curious your thoughts on the last episode.
Naha - Sun, Apr 29, 2012 - 3:14pm (USA Central)
@Niall: Natalie/Renegade Six was written out of the show so soon, as she was a really engaging character who could potentially have become a lot more interesting down the road. Easily the best version of Six to have appeared on the show.

Agreed.
Caleb - Sun, Aug 5, 2012 - 4:16pm (USA Central)
I disliked the increased religious/metaphysical/fantasy/whatever element in Season 3, but now I think that's just because Season 3 as a whole was really inconsistent post-New Caprica. The change in tone from a greater sense of realism to a more fantastical emphasis coincided with a general downturn in episode quality. That element no longer bothers me in these early season 4 episodes because the writing, direction, acting and everything else is so strong - it works for me now.
Clint - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 8:48am (USA Central)
Excellent episode. After the slog that was Season Three, I'm glad to see things are moving again. Some may not like the fantasy aspects, but I'm okay with it so far. I'm just glad the stories are actually seeming to go somewhere for a change. It seems that BG has gotten past its slump. The lowest point is over, and things will only get better from here (hopefully!).

One thing I would very much like to see is the Cylon Centurions speaking. Now that their higher brain functions are active, wouldn't that make sense? I would just about wet my pants with happiness if I suddenly heard one of those Centurions say, "By your command!" But that's the old BG fan in me talking. It may be too much to wish for :)

D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - 10:42pm (USA Central)
"If you are not riveted by BSG mythology by the end of this episode, then you likely never will be."

I'm not. But, interestingly, neither is Sharon. She's chosen her side: family.

And that I can respect.


Adam - Wed, Dec 10, 2014 - 1:02am (USA Central)
I am completely and utterly flabbergasted by the comments and review. Add me to the group of people that just doesn't buy into the mythology side of this show. It seems that when I watch an episode and think "wow, that was terrible," I come here and it has a 4-star review with others praising it as the best episode in the series. I just don't get it. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm not at all surprised that this show saw a steady decline in ratings in seasons 3 and 4.

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