?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
27 April 2008 @ 04:39 pm
BSG 4.04 Escape velocity  
I had seen a few comments about this episode being scattered and having too many plot threads being juggled but I actually thought it was pretty well tied together by the central theme of the desire for absolution.

I like it when characters confront the truth about themselves and so Tigh's and Galen's struggles played well to me. Both of them were facing some ugly truths about what they'd done in the past, and I think the similarities and differences between them are interesting. In both cases, we have a Cylon husband who was unaware of his Cylon nature, who caused his wife's death. In both instances another member of the Final Four played a part (Anders urged Tigh to kill Ellen; Tory not only executed Cally but also escalated the marital rift that led to her being there). Tigh is conscious of what he's done, Ellen died directly at his hand, and he mourns her deeply. For better or wose, she was his 'true' love, in a way that Cally was not for Galen.

Galen was pretty 'ugly' in this episode, in that we see him flashing back through his history with Cally and concluding that he didn't really love her. It's ugly, but it's the truth, just as it's the truth that Tigh killed Ellen. So while the two marriages and the two deaths do not have exact parity, both Galen and Tigh are on a journey to face that truth and find some kind of absolution.

I really liked that they had the Chief conclude that if he'd known he was a Cylon too, when he was with Boomer, he would never have married Cally. I thought his grief about Cally might have drowned that out, but I think it's darker and more interesting that instead it's thrown his whole marriage into doubt and brought that truth to light. It led him one step further down the path to accepting his Cylon nature. Also, his ranting got him demoted--which he was clearly begging for. Subconsciously he's bringing all this on himself and I think the only retribution at the end of the tunnel for him will be affirming his identity as a Cylon.

Tigh has lived with his grief for longer, and I think it's natural that he's further down the path of seeking absolution. I found it convincing that he'd be drawn to Six for answers and I thought their scenes were terrific. I particularly like that Tigh asked Six how she lived with what they'd done, killing all the humans. That needs to be asked. The answer was unsettling. Six claims to feel the pain, but to learn from it, and she then carries that out on Tigh, appealing to him to feel the 'clarity' in the pain she inflicts on him physically. So is it the Cylons that learnt from the genocide or the humans? Because she seems to feel Tigh (who she thinks is human) has something to learn from being beaten up--but the beating up turns to sex. That's a pattern we've seen with other Cylons--they think they can reach humans through either violence or sex or a combination of both. Even in this episode we see Tory try a similar thing on Gaius (it was fab that he was having none of it!). On a large scale it's what they did to the humans: decimated them and then tried to breed with them. I don't like the Cylons' message one little bit.

Roslin
I love that Roslin is facing her own mortality so determinedly. She is so gracious about it, and I liked her telling Adama which service she liked. She is handling her illness with such grace (though I do wish Adama would stop reading her such anvill-y passages).

I loved her scene with Baltar, especially the line about people near their deaths not caring as much about rules and laws. That's what we've been seeing with Roslin for some time, and it's interesting that she articulates it here--it implies that she's justifying some of her actions that way. But that in itself is chilling since it indicates that she feels her personal physical state is more important that such principles. I think part of it has to do with what she said to Adama: 'the whole damn thing will become our private responsibility, yours and mine'. That line made me growl, because I feel like she made it that way. And yet I also see how it DOES feel like that. At a human level I can empathise with her feeling that leaving certain things to democracy, and to people who are perhaps less decisive than her, is both dangerous and frustrating. But I still feel she needs to put that ego aside.

Which is why I love that Lee stood up to her over this issue with Gaius's cult even while I was shaking my head and thinking 'oh, no, this is going to backfire BADLY'. That was reflected on screen in having Laura fixate about Lee and how he won't face 'pragmatic realities' (another telling insight into how Laura's inner universe is constructed). I agree with her--Gaius with power is very dangerous. But I also think Lee was in the right when he said that they were 'making' Gaius a special case. And Laura showed her own bias when she revealed she didn't even know what Gaius was preaching.

Foreshadowing
As Laura points out, the right thing can have 'profoundly dangerous consequences' and I'm sure in this case that will be true. Her scathing 'go ahead, vote' speech was brilliant on the one hand, chilling on the other. And I'm also sure it's foreshadowing. Because as the audience we have extra knowledge that neither Lee nor Laura has: we know that Gaius is being manipulated by Head!Six. He preaches about one God, the Cylon's God. He teaches them that they are perfect, that they can be absolved of their sins. But should they be?

It's telling that his speech played so well to Tory. As a Cylon she's his perfect cult member--in fact, it's her words that he parrots. She's the one who believes they were made 'perfect' (but she means Cylons, not humans), and that sin can be erased by combining pain and pleasure and somehow becoming 'one' with 'god' in the process. Gaius initially protested that 'that would more than imply that we're all perfect'. In the final scene we see him using this very idea to preach to his followers, who receive the message ecstatically. In his own way, Tigh would also like to hear that message, as would Galen--both are struggling to embrace their 'faults'. But should they be redeeemed? Should they be loved? Isn't it frakking scary that Gaius is preaching to the Cylons now? Especially given just how much he was (physically!) puppeted by Head!Six in this episode!

I saved the best for last. My favourite part of the episode was definitely Gaius falling on Lee and Lee looking more than a little grossed out as he retrieved his tie from him. ;) Poor Lee! I bet he wishes that Roslin would persecute someone other than Gaius once in a while: Gaius is about the last person he would do a favour for. As Gaius says, he does these things 'because his god compels him'. Lee may be an atheist, but he's still got a higher calling that does compel him.

It was interesting that Lee hung around long enough to hear Gaius's speech--and to see Tory there. I'm hoping there will be some follow-up on that, as it's not going to be good press for Roslin if it gets out that her aide is a Gaius devotee.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
ez_as_pi: s4 hugez_as_pi on April 27th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
After reading your perspective, I actually feel better about the ep. I'll admit I was tired when I watched it and felt like, er, what's going on?

Baltar is getting a little scary. I can't wait to see what happens there..

It was interesting that Lee hung around long enough to hear Gaius's speech--and to see Tory there. I'm hoping there will be some follow-up on that, as it's not going to be good press for Roslin if it gets out that her aide is a Gaius devotee.

Now this I did catch, his strange look at her. Like what was she doing there. I'm sure someone will accuse him of making eyes at her LOL

And I just thought of this, about the four, sorry to blather on your comments. I think Tory will be the most dangerous to others. Hopefully she won't get in her head that Lee suspects. Tigh and Tyrol will be the most self-destructive, with Tigh believing he will not harm anyone else, Tyrol, as he did here, wanting to be taken out of the position where he could. And Sammy? Sammy's gonna get them discovered probably, but I think he's gonna do some damage to Kara. Stay tuned til next week... ;)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Leebop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
No apologies for blathering! :) I agree that Tory's really dangerous. Oh no! I don't want to worry for Lee. *bites nails* I like your theory about the four different aspects represented in the final four Cylons. I don't know anything about next week (total spoilerphobe--I don't watch previews) but that theory seems plausible.
Blue: BSG - Familyblue_meridian on April 27th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
(Disclaimer: Haven't watched it yet. :P)

It's interesting to hear the discussion regarding Laura, and I wonder how much of her POV is determined by the fact that she received her diagnosis only hours before the end of he world. There has to be a psychological impact there, like she's been dying ever since, slowly being stripped back to the core of herself, mercy falling by the wayside as simply being something she doesn't feel she has the time for. (The remission must seem like a dream now, the cancer back again like it never left.)

Poor Lee, indeed!
I bet he wishes that Roslin would persecute someone other than Gaius once in a while: Gaius is about the last person he would do a favour for.

So true! Yet his own personal honour compels him, and he's had plenty of practice dealing with stubborn and hardheaded.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee Apollobop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
here has to be a psychological impact there, like she's been dying ever since, slowly being stripped back to the core of herself, mercy falling by the wayside as simply being something she doesn't feel she has the time for. (The remission must seem like a dream now, the cancer back again like it never left.)
Mmm, that's fascinating. Yes, I think you're right that that must shape in some way, at least subconsciously, the way she views things. It also makes me feel like she's seeing everything through a distorted lens. Or perhaps she's the most clear-sighted of all of them: because they're ALL dying? *thinkies*

he's had plenty of practice dealing with stubborn and hardheaded.
Haha, so true! I loved Laura's line about him not facing pragmatic realities, but I didn't find it completely fair. Sometimes Lee has been the only one facing them: it's just that he hates doing it. That makes him human to me.
cheryladcherylad on April 27th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
I'm with Pi .. I feel much better about this epi after reading your review. Perhaps watching BSG while under the influence of pain pills is not a recommended situation!

Having thought of Galen's journey through your idea - it makes sense. That he is looking for a way to accept that he is a cylon and if his life he is/has been living is a mistake - then unknowingly being a cylon "fixes" that mistake because he can't be held responsible for those choices - since they weren't really choices, just programming.

Tigh really seems to be the most screwed-up - of course he has been since the show began and poisoning Ellen and knowing he is a cylon just amplifies that for him.

I agree that the cylons perspective of understanding through pain is not one I'm embracing, especially in light of DE's recent comment about any future BSG films would have to be prequels because the story is "designed to end." It makes me decidedly nervous and reinforces that I will NOT be getting invested in a new story from either of these men until I know how they wrap this one.

I also think that the discovery of the Final 4/5 will come through Sam .. which is going to be very interesting for Kara. Can I say how much I am NOT looking forward to next week??

Thanks for posting this! At least I feel more settled about EV.

Edited at 2008-04-27 01:57 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Karabop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Perhaps watching BSG while under the influence of pain pills is not a recommended situation!
Ohh, that sounds scary!

then unknowingly being a cylon "fixes" that mistake because he can't be held responsible for those choices - since they weren't really choices, just programming.
Tory's obviously the one who's most embraced the idea that they are all 'perfect', and Galen's resisting it, but at the same time making any other approach impossible by self-sabotaging to the point where he'll be left with *only* his Cylon identity and then embracing it will be 'ok' because what else can he possibly do?

Tigh really seems to be the most screwed-up - of course he has been since the show began and poisoning Ellen and knowing he is a cylon just amplifies that for him.
Hee. I'm almost finding Tigh the most sane. :p Just because his emotions about it are so human, and for once I can understand his use of denial, given the immensity of discovering you are a human. I like that it's playing out as him getting hallucinations though--it's inevitable if he represses so much that it will come out in other ways.

It makes me decidedly nervous and reinforces that I will NOT be getting invested in a new story from either of these men until I know how they wrap this one.
That's fair enough. I like tragic, but I worry terribly that this kind of tragic is going to be one that I find unbearable to live with. If the Cylons get their pain-inflicting-for-your-own-good way, I will be deeply unhappy.

I don't know anything about next week (I'm a total spoilerphobe and don't even watch the trailers for next week's ep--I don't get them on my dl).

I'm glad my post helped somewhat.
daybreak777: lee season fourdaybreak777 on April 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Like you and SV, I can't put together one thinky thought about this episode. I've tried and there will be a review, but it all feels so unfinished and that all we can do is speculate for now.

So much forshadowing, almost too much. In my shallowness, all I could think was: Laura's dying! And Lee's hair doesn't look good. :-(

I do agree with you about the honesty with Chief about his marriage. It's a little disjointed because as far as we knew, he hadn't thought about Boomer in ages, but something was not right about that marriage from the start.

But the ep felt rambly to me. I don't feel we really moved forward. But hey, it was new!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Helobop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean--it felt like they were progressing the plot but nothing's been resolved yet.

Lee's hair didn't look good?! Heavens, I did not notice!

I didn't find the Chief's plot disjointed... I find it convincing that he would have pushed all thought of Boomer totally aside after discovering she was a Cylon. And he would have tried hard to be a 'good husband'. He *was* a good husband some of the time, and I think he truly did love Cally--just maybe not in that mindblowy way.
The First Evil: Lee - suit - starpolloasta77 on April 28th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Lee's hair didn't look good?! Heavens, I did not notice!

Me either! I've seen many people complain about his hair and I just watched the ep for the third time and it looks fine to me.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Leebop_radar on April 28th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
*reassured* But then I couldn't really see what was so bad about the blue jumper either...
dianora: yayboozedianora2 on April 27th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
I really liked that they had the Chief conclude that if he'd known he was a Cylon too, when he was with Boomer, he would never have married Cally.

Dude, I totally didn't get this when I watched, but you are so right. And now I keep thinking of that scene in TAB when Lee asks Chief if he ever thinks of Sharon and Chief is instantly like "no" and we don't believe him for a second. Oh, Chief. Too bad Boomer is schtupping Cavil now, yick.

Tory scares the crap out of me.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee not drunkbop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
You didn't? Interesting. Seems like there were lots of different interpretations. That came through strongly to me, but then I definitely was thinking of the parallel with TAB--I think setting that scene in Joe's Bar made that inevitable.

Tory is TOTALLY FREAKY. I have to be careful saying that as one of my best friends has her as a pov character. ;)
Nicole Anell: snarkses with wolvesnicole_anell on April 27th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Galen was pretty 'ugly' in this episode, in that we see him flashing back through his history with Cally and concluding that he didn't really love her.
This is all interesting about the Galen/Tigh connection. But I have to say, I just did not take that away from the Chief scene at all, and I was frankly shocked so many people saw it differently than I did. Cally was a really polarizing character, and it seems there are now a lot of fans who are either thrilled, heartbroken, or really angry at the revelation or retcon (depending on your view of their relationship) that Chief did not love her.

I'm not a Cally fan at all, but my interpretation of that scene was actually the total opposite. I thought his flashbacks earlier showed that he was truly grieving for her, and the hallucination where Adama accuses him of driving her to suicide showed he blamed himself and his Cylon-ness for her death. And it drove him nuts that everybody was being so nice and accomodating to him, even when he endangered Racetrack and Skulls' lives.

Like Tigh, wanting absolution through pain, I thought the Cally rant was simply him trying his damnedest to *provoke* Adama into punishing him. Like you said, he was begging for a demotion, and in a larger sense begging for people to stop feeling sorry for him. He may have had complicated feelings for Cally -- I could buy that a lot of those insults are things he really did feel about her at some point, in anger, in one of the billion times they were fighting -- but I really object to his harsh, over-the-top rant being taken at face value. (I mean, seriously. Her STENCH?)

Also, someone else on my flist pointed out the way that Chief buried his feelings for Boomer after her death and the "freak in her belly" scene. It seems to me like a similar *dishonesty* drives him to denigrate Cally's memory the same way.

Okay, end rant! I *completely* agree with you that I found this episode very tight and the different plots interlocked nicely.

That's a pattern we've seen with other Cylons--they think they can reach humans through either violence or sex or a combination of both. Even in this episode we see Tory try a similar thing on Gaius (it was fab that he was having none of it!). On a large scale it's what they did to the humans: decimated them and then tried to breed with them.
*awe* I did not make that larger connection at all. Fascinating.

Dear god, Gaius collapsing into Lee's arms and Lee's reaction to it was MAGIC. *g* I absolutely loved Lee being there for the speech, and the way he left looking vaguely disturbed by it, as beautiful as it sounds.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee armsbop_radar on April 27th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
I have to say, I just did not take that away from the Chief scene at all
No worries. It's not a reading I'm particularly wed to: it's just what came across to me. I hadn't read anyone else's thoughts on it (I never do before posting) so it's interesting to hear that other people read it quite differently. I will say that the Chief is not a character who I've really got a clear handle on (never liked him much). I didn't attribute his words about Boomer to grief-denial, but that would actually fit quite well as a parallel to Tigh's struggles processing his own grief.

are now a lot of fans who are either thrilled, heartbroken, or really angry at the revelation or retcon
I'm none of those. I don't really mind either way as I'm not passionate about either the Chief or Cally, but I couldn't ever really understand their relationship. It had always read as father-daughterly before they hooked up. Whereas Chief seemed to have real sparks with Boomer. I actually think he loved both women (in the same way I think Lee loved both Dee and Kara) but they were different forms of love.

I guess I just felt he'd have flashbacks about her regardless of how passionate his love for her was. And it's also natural that he'd have guilt about her death regardless of how strong his love was: anyone would! And I do think it's really interesting that it turns out both Boomer and Chief were Cylons--I don't see how he could avoid thinking about that.

I really object to his harsh, over-the-top rant being taken at face value
Dude, I didn't take 'her stench' or any of the other insults at face value. It was obvious that he was trying to push away his grief and was also acting out in a self-sabotaging way in front of Adama. It wasn't those that made me think he didn't love her as much as Boomer--it was the way he brought up Boomer, as if that was at the heart of his guilt and conflicted feelings.

It seems to me like a similar *dishonesty* drives him to denigrate Cally's memory the same way.
Interesting! I like your reading of it as a pattern that we've seen the Chief enact before. That's very convincing, and as I said above, I'm no Chief expert, so I'm happy to run with that theory.

Dear god, Gaius collapsing into Lee's arms and Lee's reaction to it was MAGIC. *g* I absolutely loved Lee being there for the speech, and the way he left looking vaguely disturbed by it, as beautiful as it sounds.
Hee. Yeah, I loved his 'omg, religious freaks!' face. :D He's such a sweetie because he believes they have a right to their beliefs, but he totally finds them nutcases and doesn't connect with them at all personally. Though I do wonder if Gaius's comment will make Lee think at all about his own 'destiny' issues. For some people that big picture stuff is very much about 'God', but not for him.
The First Evil: Lee in Cockpitasta77 on April 28th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
I thought the Cally rant was simply him trying his damnedest to *provoke* Adama into punishing him.

That was my take as well. I felt Tyrol had anger at Cally for, what he believes to be, her suicide, anger at himself for his perceived involvement in her choice, and just general anger at the situation he is in. He said the most hateful things he could think of to push Adama to punish him because, like Tigh, he feels he needs to be punished for the death of his wife. And Adama the Clueless didn't see what Tyrol was doing.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee thinking hmmbop_radar on April 28th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
Oh, I second the Adama the Clueless call. Adama played right into that--I can't believe he just gave Chief exactly what he wanted. Sigh. Oh, well, it does mean one less Cylon on the flightdeck...
Sizequeensizequeen on April 28th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Galen was pretty 'ugly' in this episode, in that we see him flashing back through his history with Cally and concluding that he didn't really love her.

If he didn't love her, it's a total retcon. As of season 3's "A Day in the Life," the Chief loved his wife a great deal, so much so that he wanted her at work with him, instead of their baby. After they survived being spaced (!!!), he tells her "I was being selfish. I wanted you with me, like old times. I didn't think about Nick. I'm sorry." They fought a lot, and maybe they didn't have the deep passion of Boomer/Tyrol, but the Chief loved Cally.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Leebop_radar on April 28th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
I agree. I think he loved both Boomer and Cally in different ways. But what I wrote there was that Galen concluded he didn't, not that I concluded that. I understand passions are running rather high on this issue in fandom this week--I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I was just writing what I (thought I) saw Galen doing at that point in time (he may rethink this as his emotions settle). nicole_anell puts a strong case above that this was in fact pure denial on his part. Maybe it was. I honestly do not know his character well enough to say for sure--but I did initially read the scene as showing that he was questioning his love for her.

A lot of times people dismiss non-passionate love, and I often grumble about that, so I sympathise on the annoyance about the issue. Personally I don't think the writers were attempting to retcon anything: I think they were just showing the complexities that different love-relationships can have.
Sizequeensizequeen on April 28th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
The Chief is dealing with massive guilt. He thinks his lack of love (attention) caused her to commit suicide, so, naturally, he'd be questioning the extent of his devotion to her.

We, the audeince, have some distance on the issue, and we can all name instances in which the Chief showed his love for her.

You make a lot of good points here, and if BSG is the show that I think it is, this isn't the last we'll here of the Chief's relationship with Cally. I don't think "smells like cabbage" will be the final verdict on Specialist Callandra Henderson-Tyrol.

brokenmnemonic: Leebrokenmnemonic on April 28th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
I want to reply to this in huge detail, but it's after midnight and you know how I'm obsessing lately. I've read it through a couple of times, and I'm wondering if in amongst the dodgy politics of the show, what they were trying to show with Tigh and Tyrol was that both were hunting for punishment on some level, some scourging for their sins - whether sins by action or sins simply by existence - but whereas Tyrol is still locked in that initial angry, pained combination of guilt and denial where nothing else registers, Tigh's different. I keep thinking back to his comment in an earlier episode with Ellen - the one about asking if he'd told her how much he loved her, and when she says no, responding with "well, I'll save that for a special occasion" or something similar. We know that the Cylons (and possibly the writers) have screwed up ideas relating to sex - but maybe in a broken way what they were pushing is that while Tigh wants to be punished, what he actually needs is to be forgiven, or maybe to be loved. He's in one of his darkest places, and yet his mind keeps coming back to Ellen - a woman who no matter what else, loved him.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee's farewellbop_radar on May 3rd, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
I've been not up to responding until now due to my cold.

they were trying to show with Tigh and Tyrol was that both were hunting for punishment on some level, some scourging for their sins
Yes, I think so, and it ties to a greater theme that norwich36 astutely defines below.

while Tigh wants to be punished, what he actually needs is to be forgiven, or maybe to be loved. He's in one of his darkest places, and yet his mind keeps coming back to Ellen - a woman who no matter what else, loved him.
That's a more favourable look at it than I took. I think there's truth in what you say though my mind rebels against it (mostly because I'm not naturally sympathetic to Tigh). There's a parallel there in the Baltar plot and his assertion that 'something in the universe loves me', the idea of redemption through being loved. Tyrol too, you could argue, is struggling with the loss/absence of love in his life.
Nora Norwich: Kara seriousnorwich36 on May 3rd, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
I finally got a chance to watch this episode--as usual, I'm a week behind the world. Lately, though, I have to confess I'm finding it hard to finish episodes because they are so painful to watch, as it seems that every character I like is getting deconstructed from the inside out.

But from a religious perspective, this episode was really interesting, especially to give insight into the Cylon psychology/theology. I have often wondered if Head Six is supposed to actually represent God for Baltar (or at least some sort of Divine Avatar), and for a moment in this episode I wondered if she was actually driving Baltar to martyrdom in the service of monotheism. (And wow, that "cleansing of the Temple" scene was just...remarkably allusive. Both Jesus and Muhammad did similar things, so to give Baltar that scene was a very interesting choice, religiously speaking. I really do someday want to write something comprehensive on religion in this show).

What do you make of all the hallucinations the Final Four? Ok, just Tyrol and Tigh, but I'm trying to decide if it's just some sort of mental breakdown or if there's some programming/plan attached to this. The way Six's dialogue overlapped with things Ellen might legitimately say to Tigh was pretty trippy, and made me wonder.

I agree with you about the thematic unity in this episode; if anything, it seemed painfully unified around the theme of responsibility to the truth, as Tigh and Tyrol both attempt to take some responsibility for the crimes they've committed yet can never really atone for, since to do so would require admitting their true nature, and Baltar, Lee and Roslin all in their own way trying to lead their people in what they see as the most responsible way. Despite the fact that Baltar's fanaticism, Roslin's machiavellian pragmatism and Lee's blind faith in the democratic process all could easily lead to dangerous ends, they are all 3 certain that their way is the true way.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee concentratingbop_radar on May 3rd, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
I have to confess I'm finding it hard to finish episodes because they are so painful to watch, as it seems that every character I like is getting deconstructed from the inside out.
It's been pretty rough, hasn't it? I find BSG brutal too. But addictively so.

I have often wondered if Head Six is supposed to actually represent God for Baltar (or at least some sort of Divine Avatar), and for a moment in this episode I wondered if she was actually driving Baltar to martyrdom in the service of monotheism.
I got the same feeling and I'm delighted you've commented about it. I'm increasingly wondering what role HeadSix will play in the final fallout, and seeing her push Baltar so hard in this episode into martyrdom, and her calls about the 'old gods die hard' makes me even more intrigued. It feels like nothing will stop her.

And wow, that "cleansing of the Temple" scene was just...remarkably allusive. Both Jesus and Muhammad did similar things, so to give Baltar that scene was a very interesting choice, religiously speaking. I really do someday want to write something comprehensive on religion in this show
I would LOVE you to write that because you're so well placed to do that.

What do you make of all the hallucinations the Final Four?
I'm still undecided on them. At first I thought they were just meant to be freakouts, but it's also possible they're related to their Cylonicity, and the Cylons' ability to 'project'. Since the Final Four are different from the other Cylons, perhaps their ways of projecting are different as well? Or maybe just underdeveloped as yet? It did seem as if Six was being drawn to Tigh subconsciously, and since Six of all the original models has been most tuned into the idea of the Final Four, perhaps she was echoing signals she was picking up from him? Don't know.

the theme of responsibility to the truth,
That's the neatest expression of it yet. Yes, I agree. The contrast between Baltra, Roslin and Lee is fascinating: I'm so glad it's a threeway division--way less simplistic than religion versus secular politics.