Right now, I feel like I know more about the last however-many millenia of Cylon history, than I do about what they're thinking right this minute. Last week's infodump caught us up with the mythology of the Cylon race and the Final Five. We heard stories of villains and heroes. But today's Cylons? They're kind of shiftless, and whiny. They still can't quite get along with the humans, and tensions are flaring on both sides. They've been pinning photos of their war dead on the sacred 9/11-esque wall; imagine what a NY Post editorial cartoonist would do with that. Adama's still torturing himself over his decision to let the Cylons smear bio-goo all over his dying Battleship - "She won't know what she is anymore" - and in a moment of weakness, he helps Baltar invent Al Qaeda. And oh yeah, Ellen Tigh is back in the fleet, and it doesn't take her long to become Ellen Tigh all over again.
So, another week in the fleet, basically. But that's not the emotional hook of the episode. The real hook is the death of Tigh and Caprica Six's baby. And not to sound callous, but I feel a little too manipulated. The only thing worse than an accidental pregnancy - looking at you, Big Love - is a sudden miscarriage. And this miscarriage was way too sudden.
Tigh and Six's baby was a plot point. We were down to two babies, and each one marked a possible future for the Cylons. You've got Hera, the miracle child of both races who signifies how strong they would be together; and then you had Liam, the child of two Cylons and a sign that they could procreate and repopulate all on their own. We learn tonight that several of the Cylons want to split from the fleet, including Tori, Tyrol - even though he was just made Chief again - and maybe Ellen. They see Liam as a sign that they could get away with it.
It's not clear who Liam would procreate with on the Baseship. But most of the Cylon's arguments make no sense. Didn't they approach the fleet and ask for full citizenship because they're stronger with the humans to protect them? Aren't they investing so much time and hullgoop in the Battlestar because it's the only one left standing, and practically the only defense they'll have if Cavil tracks them down? Sure, sometimes a skinjob gets pushed around in the ration line. But we've heard few complaints from their side of the fence this season, and as we saw during the mutiny, they don't have much by way of leadership. As a few of the commenters mentioned, they fell in line pretty quickly when Roslin started barking at them.
But there's one Cylon who seems sympathetic: Tigh. Tonight is one of his best hours, as he's torn between the three people he loves, and all they represent. Ellen Tigh, the love and torment of his life, has returned; Six, who loves him unconditionally, still wants to have his baby, but doesn't quite trust him yet; and most of all, Bill Adama, the man who's stood beside him no matter what. It was an incredibly sweet touch to learn that Liam, the name Tigh has always wanted to give his son, was a tribute to William Adama.
In the end, Ellen and Adama repay his loyalty. As for Caprica Six, it's too early to tell; we're led to believe that she lost her baby because of a broken heart. (And also so the writers could prove that Cylons really can't breed with Cylons; only a hybrid like Hera can keep them going). Caprica Six is probably going to have a rough time of it for a while. It's almost as if she has to atone for something.
I'm hopeful for the other storyline: Baltar is back, and he's up to something new. During the mutiny, he ran away from his cult. Tonight he finally comes back, only to find that they've gotten stronger without him. After being robbed and abused - the spectre of rape is raised very lightly here, in contrast to the mutiny episodes - they finally scored some guns and learned to defend themselves. They've stockpiled goods and started trading with people, and their new leader, Paula - aka the woman who used to escort Baltar to the head - is doing a pretty good job keeping them safe.
So of course Baltar screws it all up. First he gets a sudden charitable urge and decides to make the cult share their food with the slumdogs of Dogville. I don't really get this Dogville thing. Even on a fleet this small, where the algae is presumably rationed and the military is everywhere, would we still have poor people and thugs to prey on them? But explaining the civilian side has never been Battlestar's strong suit.
Nevertheless: Baltar decides to give away some of the food, and of course he gets robbed and loses it all. Paula and the cult are close to showing him the door again - which any sensible person would do, immediately. But thinking fast, Baltar cooks up a deal with Adama, playing to his ambivalence about the Cylons in order to score some guns. It's not clear exactly where this is going, but it seems like Baltar has talked Adama into giving him arms so he can police the wild tribal areas of Dogville, inspiring the love of its people and fighting off the corrupt thugs. I'm sure that'll end well.
We only have four weeks left, and they crammed a lot of exposition in here. Some of it felt clunky, and some of the gaps still haven't been filled. But at least we got to meet one cute little kid tonight. And he did look just like Gaius Baltar!
Final Grade: B
- It took Kate Vernon, as Ellen Tigh, a few scenes to find her groove as both the mother of the modern Cylon civilization, and the drunk drama queen we knew and loved back before the writers gave her a promotion. But she definitely brought back some of the old magic - when she was throwing her reunion sex in Caprica Six's face, or better yet, when Tigh told her he had a relationship with Six in the first place. She looked exactly as if Tigh had told her he'd made it with the Christmas Roast.
- It's now clear that Starbuck is not Ellen and Saul's daughter. But we all moved on to guessing that her dad is Daniel, yeah?
- I see that the Sci-Fi channel is running a movie called Hydra. I'm really going to miss those promos when this series is done. Didn't they show a movie last week about a splinter? Awesome.
- Adama still gets the best one-liners. "I'm going to go to the head. Do something constructive, a little project I've been working on."