"Six of One"
Air date: 4/11/2008
Written by Michael Angeli
Directed by Anthony Hemmingway
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
If "He That Believeth in Me" served to orient us with all the changes arising from the various twists provided to us at the end of "Crossroads, Part 2," then "Six of One" is the emotional aftermath in which the characters begin to deal with these issues in earnest. The resulting drama is a powerful mix of raw emotion and intimate character detail — an episode sold almost exclusively on performances.
Consider the very first scene, which picks up from the end of "Believeth," with Kara pointing a gun to Roslin's head and demanding that she turn the fleet around and follow Kara's gut feeling to Earth. This scene is not played simply as plot development or a clichéd hostage standoff. This is a scene about characters, about feelings, about identity, about choices.
It is also about performances; watch Mary McDonnell and Katee Sackhoff in this scene. It is raw, it is emotional, it is powerful. McDonnell portrays Roslin as genuinely alarmed by the gun in her face and the madness unfolding before her eyes, and Sackhoff plays Kara as a woman on the verge of a total meltdown: She has put her life on the line, watched her friends die, and now returns to this? A ship where many are assuming she's a Cylon? She puts her gun on the table and asks Roslin to shoot her. Roslin says, "They made you perfect, didn't they?" and then picks up the gun and pulls the trigger. She narrowly misses, but the fact that she fires speaks volumes. Kara is thrown in a cell, kicking and screaming the whole way. It's gutsy (and potentially risky) to take shrieking to such heights, but the rawness of the scene pays off.
The nature of what Kara is and how the Colonials respond to her brings up interesting questions. What if she is a Cylon? What does that mean? As Lee asked in "Believeth," does it really matter at the end of the day? One might ask Tigh et al this very question. (I love the fact that Tigh refers to Cylons as "skin-jobs" full well knowing that he is one.) Personally, I'm beginning to think that being a Cylon has reached the point that it might as well be a psychological condition, because it's about what you think you are and whether you might act on impulses outside your control. It's less and less so about whether you are a "machine," because at a certain point, what's the difference between a perfect biological machine with thoughts and feelings, and a human being? Sure, Cylons can be "programmed," but can't people be brainwashed? What, honestly, at the end of the day, is the difference?
The characters themselves will at some point really have to grapple with these facts. Adama has known Tigh for 40 years. Would Adama throw all that history away because Tigh thinks he's a Cylon? If Tigh came out tomorrow and said, "I'm a Cylon," would anyone truly believe him, or would they just dismiss him and think to themselves, "No, you're an alcoholic." And besides, don't people more or less trust Athena, even though she's a Cylon? At what point does being a Cylon no longer matter? If Adama, for example, can get over the fact Athena is a Cylon, couldn't he get over Tigh? Or would their relationship collapse under the weight of its history in light of that new revelation?
The question over what to do with Kara, meanwhile, results in a series of potent scenes, including one where Adama confronts Kara in her cell (even throwing her to the ground) for her reckless actions against the president. It's always entertaining to watch Edward James Olmos when Adama is really pissed.
But for me, the high point of the episode is the quieter — but equally emotional and powerful — scene in Adama's quarters between him and Roslin. Roslin can see that Adama wants to put his faith in Kara and she calls on him to admit it. I particularly appreciated the irony in Adama, the atheist, finding that he suddenly must reevaluate his position on miracles. The way these two characters fence is fascinating and at the same time painful. Roslin scoffs at the notion that Kara could be anything but a cancer, and tells Adama that he wants to believe because he's losing everyone around him — his son, who is leaving the ship to join the Colonial government, as well as Roslin herself, who is once again dying of cancer. Adama's response of denial — "No one's going anywhere" — is heartbreaking in its delivery. I also liked his line, "You can stay in the room, but get out of my head."
This is a scene of wonderful, nuanced performances, where a lot is said in dialog but even more is spoken between the lines. Watch as Adama pours a drink, then gets up, and pours another — then gets up again and pours yet another. Here is a man in deep conflict with what lies in front of him. Roslin, who seems so sure of herself and her beliefs — both her belief that Kara is a threat and her belief that Roslin herself is prophesied as the dying leader to take humanity to Earth — is anything but certain, and Adama uses cold, hard truth to remind her of that, explaining that Roslin's convictions are one of emotional necessity more than they may be one of truth: "You're afraid that you're not the dying leader you think you are — and that your death will be as meaningless as everyone else's." It's enough to reduce Roslin to tears after Adama leaves the room. What a scene, and, wow, how it's so quietly accomplished.
I also appreciated the farewell for Lee. He's leaving Galactica, and the fanfare really drives home the point. Again, this is an example of emotion trumping plot. Is this scene strictly necessary as plot development? No, but it sure lends an emotional and character current to the proceedings.
I haven't even scratched the surface of Tory agreeing to sleep with Baltar to gain insights into the Cylon condition and One True God religion ("He was poking a skin-job, that's for sure," Tigh notes when giving Tory her infiltration assignment; you gotta love this guy's directness.) Or how about the hilariously quirky and odd scene where Baltar is having a conversation with Tory and finds himself suddenly talking to a projection of himself. What does it mean? I have no idea, but it's funny and cool.
There's also dissension among the ranks of the Cylon fleet. Turns out the reason the fleet withdrew is because the Cylon Raiders sensed the presence of the Final Five in the fleet and as a result refused to continue fighting. The Cavils want to reprogram (i.e., lobotomize) the Raiders so that they obey, viewing them as nothing more than tools. The Sixes believe that doing so is morally wrong and a crime against God, and also believe the Final Five should be sought out to rejoin the Cylon race This divide splits the Cylons down the middle into two factions (Cavil/Doral/Simon vs. Six/Leoben/Sharon). Cavil and Six are deadlocked, and when Cavil dismisses Six's last warning, she takes the radical step of removing the sentience inhibitors from the Centurions, which take her side in the standoff and open fire on the Cavils/Dorals/Simons.
At this point, my Irony Detector was on full alert: Here's Six taking matters into her own hands and giving the Centurions free will. She is repeating the very actions of humanity in unleashing unpredictable sentience into the populace of its creators, who have up to now treated them as simple machines. The children of humanity, it would seem, are destined to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
"Six of One" ends with Adama giving Kara a ship and crew to investigate the path to Earth. He cannot commit the fleet to Kara, but he also cannot simply turn his back on what he believes in. This feels about right. At the end of the day, "Six of One" is about feelings and emotions more than it is about reacting from solid-ground logic. Sometimes you don't have enough information to make the fully reasoned choice, and you have to go on your gut.
Previous episode: He That Believeth in Me
Next episode: The Ties That Bind
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69 comments on this post
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 9, 2008, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 10, 2008, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 10, 2008, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 10, 2008, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
I tease. Take your time!
This is a nice retrospective for me, I forgot how good Six of One really was, after all the drama of the last 3-4 episodes
Thu, Jul 10, 2008, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
This is probably the first of many episodes I'll disagree with you on this season...
For example, I think Escape Velocity is one of the most brilliant hours of television, although I don't expect you to think so.
Look forward to more reviews.
My ratings for the season:
He That Believeth In Me: 3
Six of One: 3
The Ties That Bind: 3.5
Escape Velocity: 4
The Road Less Traveled: 2.5
Guess What's Coming to Dinner: 4
Sine Qua Non: 2.5 (Romo... oh Romo...)
The Hub: 3.5
Thu, Jul 10, 2008, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 11, 2008, 6:40am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 15, 2008, 11:50am (UTC -5)
This review makes me want to see this episode again, so I just have a chance to see what I missed.
Thu, Jul 17, 2008, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for the reviews. They rawk.
Thu, Jul 17, 2008, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
# Cinematography For A One Hour Series - Razor
# Single-camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series - He That Believeth In Me
# Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (one-hour) - Razor
# Special Class - Short-format Live-action Entertainment Programs - Razor Featurette #4
# Special Visual Effects For A Series - He That Believeth In Me
# Writing For A Drama Series - Six of One
Writing nom for this very ep. Hooray!
Sat, Jul 26, 2008, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 26, 2008, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
No one is forcing you to wait around if you don't want to wait. I mean, really: It's a web site. It even has an RSS feed that tells you when it's updated. It's not like you have to wait outside in the rain for delivery dates that have been missed.
Sat, Jul 26, 2008, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Jammer take what time you need, make it right. Peace!
Sun, Jul 27, 2008, 1:13am (UTC -5)
I'm a writer myself and have written a series of critical analyses for another show much in the way Jammer has reviewed his favourite shows here. If Soptupa had even the slightest inkling of the amount of work and willpower that it takes to produce several multi-thousand-word reviews/analyses per week/month while simultaneously battling the horde of daily responsibilites, he/she would promptly shut the fuck up.
I feel like that should happen anyway.
We all love your reviews, Jammer, but certain life things must always come first. We'll be here when you're ready, as always. :)
Sun, Jul 27, 2008, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 14, 2008, 9:28am (UTC -5)
Its the journey that matters, not the destination!
Sat, Aug 23, 2008, 4:34am (UTC -5)
I'm just posting this to say that your blogs and reviews rock and I've been perusing them since your DS9/VOY days. Ignore the naysayers that think u don't update enough. I think u update plenty considering u write so well on top of having an actual life. The fact u do what u do with everything else is definitely epic and I, among others, thank u for it.
Keep writing and we'll keep reading.
Sat, Aug 23, 2008, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
What a fall.
Sun, Aug 24, 2008, 10:21am (UTC -5)
And wow it's been a longtime since a new review. Hope everything is alright in your world Jammer. Soptupa does have a point, if you quit enjoying doing reviews you should just quit. You don't owe it to anyone to do reviews. Of course I hope you'll continue, since it gives me a different way to relive the episodes and see things in a different frame of mind.
Sun, Aug 24, 2008, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Everything in my world is fine. It's just that I've had a lot on my plate, and the cushion I've got with BSG's hiatus is motivatng me to wait rather than rush back.
Sun, Aug 24, 2008, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
But I can see people being disappointed if they don't like the stories being told. It's definitely a different BSG from season 1, and I guess people need to decide if they like it. I know I do.
Mon, Aug 25, 2008, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Without making criticisms that would include spoilers, I'll simply say I did not enjoy season 4 as much as any prior season.
Look forward to Jammer's take in the future.
Fri, Sep 5, 2008, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
IMHO, the concept and execution of many episodes in BSG Seasons 3 & 4 hasn't been up to snuff. I feel that the producers lost direction in Season 3 after the opener and found their focus only after SciFi decided to make Season 4 the last. But several of the episodes in the first half of Season 4 strike me as being sloppy in spots. I am also dubious about the Armageddon direction that Ron Moore and gang are taking the Colonials and Cylons in.
BSG's ratings have eroded a bit over the last two seasons. Among the remaining audience, many fans are still satisfied with the series. But many viewers are also dissatisfied. I fall into the latter group.
Sat, Sep 6, 2008, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
SciFi didn't make season 4 the last season. They said it was a possibility, but it was ultimately Moore who decided BSG should end on four because that was just when the story should end. He told that to Scifi, and that's why they ordered season 4 to be the final season.
The other thing is that the ratings have actually improved this season.
Sun, Sep 7, 2008, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 8, 2008, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Looking forward to your opinion jammer
Thu, Sep 11, 2008, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
The ratings for Season 4 have been better than Season 3, but not at the levels they were for the miniseries and first two seasons. I'd say that the ratings are as relatively high as they are due to the remaining audience knowing that the series will be axed and wanting to see as much of the show as possible while it's still in production.
Paradoxically, though the ratings aren't what they used to be, the show has become more popular among the fans who still view it.
Mon, Sep 15, 2008, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 22, 2008, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 11, 2008, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 26, 2008, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 28, 2008, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
How about those TNG reviews that people paid out of their own pocket to buy you the DVD's so you could review them???
DO SOME GOD DAMN REVIEWS!!!
Wed, Oct 29, 2008, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 29, 2008, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 13, 2008, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
Great reviews so far!
Tue, Nov 18, 2008, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Just out of curiosity, though, will they be coming 1 at a time or in bulk when you post them?
Tue, Nov 18, 2008, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 18, 2008, 10:29am (UTC -5)
My plan is to average one new BSG review (in my usual full-length format) every week between now and the premiere.
I know I've been MIA for a long time, and I know it has become unacceptable; it's unacceptable to me. This site is long, LONG overdue for an update. The first, perhaps even the second, will be coming before month's end. There, I said it. Now I will make myself live by it.
Tue, Nov 18, 2008, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 18, 2008, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 19, 2008, 2:57am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 19, 2008, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 19, 2008, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
4. More than 2
If you bet correctly, you will be among the most famous and revered among the commentators at jammersreviews.com.
Sat, Nov 22, 2008, 2:05am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 29, 2009, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
ROFL. Best line of the season, imo.
Fri, Jul 10, 2009, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Since Tigh is a Cylon and has been for the 40 odd years he's been around Adama and the Colonial Fleet, how was he born/created? If you watch the flashbacks when Adama crashed on the ice planet in the first Cylon war and discovered the lab where the Cylons were experimenting on humans, then isn't the timeline thrown out of wack a little.
Maybe the answer is that he was created to be the age he was when he met Bill Adama, but that doesn't feel right.
Or does is have something to do with what we know in future episdes *Spoiler Alert* with Tigh being one of the original Cylon creaters.
It hurts my head.....
Now, of course I have to add at this point that I know this is just a TV show and to a certain degree you have to just sit back and watch it instead of thinking too much about the who's, why's and whatnots. I normally do, but in this episode I couldn't shake this question from my head.
Thu, Mar 4, 2010, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 21, 2011, 9:20am (UTC -5)
There is a deleted scene where Boomer explains that she has been in a relationship with one of the Cavils, that partially explains her motivations for going against her model.
Sun, Nov 27, 2011, 6:42am (UTC -5)
The only interesting bits came along in the last ten or so minutes: The intra-cylon rebellion and consequent bloodbath, and Adam setting Kara loose. The rest of it I can't even remember, and I only finished watching this show less than five minutes ago.
Tue, Jul 31, 2012, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 25, 2012, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps. It depends on what you mean by miracles. They can either be 1) events which are caused by the supernatural, or 2)
material phenomena not explainable by our science. If the latter, then the science just needs to get better. "Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic..."
So, Starbuck's return could be a miracle under either of these understandings. I'm guessing, it is the former. Which is a bummer, because that ain't SciFi. (Yes, my recurring gripe about what I think this series has become)
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
This is the kind of thing that goes heart of science fiction: how technology affects us, and how placing humans in the alternative universe of advanced tech allows us to understand what it means to be human. SciFi is all about exploring what it means to be human.
Cylons are not human; but they are. We -- homo sapiens and Cylon -- are tool using biological machines. We can even interbreed in BSG. The exploration of their humanity is, IMO, the most interesting and appealing part of the show. And this episode finally brought all that out. By raising the morality of the humanoid Cylon enslavement of the more machine Centurions and Raiders. And the civil war, Totally awesome!!
Fri, May 22, 2015, 2:18am (UTC -5)
That and the scene a couple of eps. back where Laura calls Bill asking him to order her out of bed.
They've become like the old married couple without ever being the married couple.
It's been so subdued and so well done.
Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Is there only one of each of the five models? If so, then how come they all ended up on Galactica? There was no guarantee that Galactica would've been spared in the initial attack. If it WAS by design that they'd be on Galactica, then why would the Cylons have done all they could to destroy Galactica and the entire humanity if the Final Five meant so much to them OR if the Final Five could do enough to destroy Galactica from within? If they are on Galactica by happenstance, then there must have been many other copies on the Twelve Colonies; how come they have not resurrected? Why are the Cylons surprised that the Final Five might be on Galactica; where else could they possibly be?!?
How come Baltar is able to strut around, including in the bar, without anyone trying to pop him?
Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Remember Cavil specifically repressed knowledge of the final five, reducing it to a taboo mythology. I think we are to infer that all five survived (Tori didn't start out on Galactica) is a miracle--part of the divine hand guiding the events of the series.
Sun, Oct 25, 2015, 7:51am (UTC -5)
That's some seriously juicy hypocrisy right there.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
The scenes with her screaming and foaming at the mouth were irritating. I was hoping Roslin hadnt missed when she shot her. I find the misgivings people have about her completely rational. She came back from the dead and short of a plausible explanation as to why she is back, to expect that these people dont question her resurrection doesnt make sense.
Adama is an idiot for wasting man power and resource to give her a ship to act out her mental illness. If she really is doing all this casue of some divine providence then the writers should have portrayed as a bit more sane and less mentally unstable and frakked out of her mind.
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Baltar actually says "oh my giddy aunt" - UK English saying I use myself.
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
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