And wow, Kara came back CRANKY. *giggle*
First things first, the new credits kind of freaked me out. And then made me LOL. I guess the Cylons officially no longer have a Plan! But including the four in secret in the opening blurb really sets up the emphasis for this season.
The recap was thrilling because we ended Season 3 at such an action- and tension-filled moment, and I was more than happy to relive the Kara-reappearance scene again. I got chills when they flashed to the Galactica listening in. The conversation between Lee and Kara seemed so personal: Lee verbalising his shock, Kara appealing to him personally about Earth ('you're going to love it'). Whereas Adama's response was tactical and alarmist, though his personal emotions were definitely showing in the anger he displayed.
Roslin was an important counterpoint as the voice of reason. While we as the audience want to believe in Kara (and have reason to because we know Sackhoff's in Season 4), the logical assumption IS that this is a trick. At first I thought Laura wasn't getting through to Bill at all. He wanted to believe in Kara, just as his son did. And as soon as Kara started acting Starbuck-y again, daring Apollo to keep up, and killing toasters, I figured it would be impossible for them NOT to. I underestimated Adama's caution.
I giggled when they flashed to Tigh after Laura's 'it's a Cylon trick'. It looked he was thinking 'well, not MY Cylon trick!' The giggling stopped pretty soon after that with Tigh's vision of shooting Adama, but I was fairly sure straight away that it was a fake out. It still had great dramatic impact though, especially seeing Tigh scream in horror after shooting his best friend. I think that was a really effective way of exploring Tigh's horror and confusion at discovering he's a Cylon. It was a strong contrast to his hardline stance with the other secret Cylons.
I'm delighted to discover that, as I suspected I might, I'm finding Anders infinitely more interesting now that he's a Cylon. *g* I was interested that of the four secret Cylons, he was the one who flipped out most visibly and verbally. Admittedly he had the Chief with him to talk to (whereas Tigh and Tory were isolated), but it seemed like of all four he found it the hardest to take Tigh's advice. I think in part that might be because the other three have such 'big' roles, they have positions that define them in the eyes of others. But Sam right now is 'just another' nugget. And it's also his first time going into combat. Therefore I found it easy to identify with his panic and fear that a switch might flick in his head once he got up there. And the Chief used his name to appeal to him, but who IS 'Samuel T Anders' these days? Even before he discovered he was a Cylon, he's had a lot of identity shifts of late--he's no longer the star athlete or the rebel leader or even Starbuck's
Having Athena walk up during that conversation was very effective, not just because she didn't pick up on a change in Chief or Sam (though she may have sussed something odd). She's a Cylon who is completely comfortable with her identity, and her Cylon identity does not prohibit her from being a Fleet officer--that's a powerful message to both Galen and Sam at this difficult time.
The scaling up of the stakes in the battle was well done--losing a ship of 600 people really hits home, and having Adama order them to target only missiles heading for other fleet ships is a sign of how dire things are. And yay, YUMMY space battle! The action vidder in me was squeeing. ;) That was some spectacular material.
The scene of the raider scanning Sam was really eerie. And while he played a bit cautious talking about it with the other new Cylons, I'm sure he knew it recognised him. The timing of them withdrawing was waay too coincidental. And wow, Sam is second-guessing everything now. I find him easier to relate to when he does that--I never felt we had access to his thinking before, but as a Cylon he's surprisingly chatty!
Tigh continues to be fantastically stubborn in his thinking: 'those bastards can't program me to help them'. And while I admire that, I think I'd be a lot more like Sam.
Actually, each of the 'new' Cylons gave themselves away a little bit--if you knew what to watch for. One moment I loved was when Tory suggested that 'something might have changed' and Tigh reacted. Each of the 'new' And of course Laura's too sharp not to pick up on Tory's suggestion and push it further.
Seeing Kara arrive home on the flightdeck was so exciting and so so tense as well. The silent, shocked circling of the rest of the crew had me really worried. I was moved by seeing Helo approach her, but even with him I wasn't entirely sure how he'd react. So it was a huge relief to see Lee sweep her up in his arms. And hee, even though we didn't get to see Lee until he grabbed Kara, I can imagine him climbing out of his ship with only one thing on his mind. That hug was one of the few things I was spoiled for from promos. The context makes Kara's mixed emotions make a lot more sense. She seemed genuinely glad to see Lee, but worried by the reaction to everyone else. And did she say 'me too'? Somehow that was really moving. Of course it made a little more sense once we found out Kara thought she'd only been gone a couple of hours. I guess she found Lee's hug kind of adorably OTT. ;)
I liked the handling of Sam interrupting Kara and Lee hugging. I thought it was nicely done and thank god they didn't play up the shippy angst in that moment. Lee moved away graciously but I loved that he stayed staring at Kara so joyfully. It sold that he respected Sam's place as her husband and that that didn't lessen his joy that she was alive at all. That she's alive is all that matters to Lee.
It was subtle, but I thought they also showed Lee and Sam as having reached a more respectful/friendly place with each other, which was good continuity from the final eps of Season 3, where we saw them connecting a bit more after Kara's death. They had respected the other's grief, and so I liked seeing them both stand by her when Adama approached. The other parity between them is that they both believed in her absolutely. Sam grinned when Kara said she found Earth--he clearly believes her.
Am I surprised that Adama ordered Kara to be tested? No. He's a very cautious tactician and of everyone on board I think he's most prepared to believe that someone close to him could be a Cylon. He's always been very aware of the danger they pose and is never taken in. That didn't make it any less chilling. It was also, deliberately, a huge contrast to Lee. Adama says he dosn't believe in miracles, but neither does Lee. It's not about believing in miracles: it's about believing in Kara.
I liked Kara's toughness in the face of the Admiral testing her to see if she was a Cylon. But I'm not sure why she lashed out at Lee for that: it wasn't his idea. Perhaps because it's easier and more familiar than hating Adama? As for Lee, I can see him initially respecting his father's decision to test Kara--after all, a clean result would help support her story. But after the initial shock in the vipers, I don't think he doubted for a moment that she was who she said she was.
I really liked the dialogue between Kara and Laura. They've come such a long way since the tomb of Athena. And Kara had to admit that she didn't know how she got back. I really felt for Kara in that scene--it's just as hard for her to come to terms with the time discrepancy. So emotionally I was completely with Kara (and Lee), but intellectually I can understand why Laura played cautious.
The stuff about Kara's ship, though, would only seem to support her description of what happened. Her mind is blank in patches in the same way the ship's computer is. Clearly something mysterious has happened, but I agree with Lee that that doesn't mean she's a Cylon (and not just because I don't want her to be one). I loved Jamie's acting in the scene at Kara's viper. His frustration and fear showed perfectly on his face as Laura spoke to Bill. And once again, it's Bill who Laura finds it easier to sway these days than Lee. She doesn't even bother speaking to Lee--instead she reminds Bill not to rely on his emotions. The implication is that she thinks Lee is reacting emotionally as well, which he IS, but it's still frustrating that his perspective is dismissed entirely on that account because I think he's got rational arguments to make as well. It's just as likely that Kara is the sign they were meant to find as it is that she's a Cylon trick. The truth is they just don't know either way. And Laura may try to act like she's impartial and objective in this situation but she's not: in part she's reacting to the fact that she knows Lee and Bill could get played by Kara because of their emotional connection to her.
It was particularly fascinating to have Laura play so hardline with Kara given her own connection with belief and mysticism, and even the Cylons. As we're reminded in her scene with Six, she's shared dreams with them. Doesn't that make HER a likely Cylon? So one possibility is that her determination to view Kara as one is unconscious self-defence.
With so much speculation around how far the new Cylons can control their own behaviour or fight their programming, it was interesting to see that Six can fight hers. And Laura spotted that very quickly.
Kara giving Gaeta a hard time was hilarious. And I'm really glad they wrote in a Kara-Helo scene. I'd been itching to see those two interact after her return. I thought he was going to say 'if you want them to believe you, try ditching the attitude for starters' (that's what I'd have said!). But telling her to persist with finding the star system also works. Kara's frustration is completely natural, but it's also not helping. It's going to be a hard sell to get people to believe that they should follow her feeling, her intuition (though that is very very cool!), and she could start by being a bit less agro about it. But I guess that's just not Kara... ;)
That was beautiful acting from Sackhoff in the scene between Kara and Adama. Her appeal to him felt so 'real', but he rejected it anyway. I understand why but it still stings to see him rejecting her another time. He's not good at supporting his kids when it counts.
I thought it was cool that he turned to Lee for advice after that though. Especially since he could have predicted by then that Lee would say believe Kara. Having Lee watch the footage of Kara 'dying' over and over is reminiscent of him obsessing over the Olympic Carrier. It's what he does. And while he believes Kara unconditionally, I think the fact he was watching the footage shows that at some level he's still going to struggle with the mystery and the unknowable. Which is in character, given his atheism. I love that he believes her despite that.
And mroaw, Lee! That was a bit catty asking if Roslin was still staying in your dad's quarters. (I'm fine with it though!) With all the drama of Kara's return it took them a while to get round to tackling Lee's status.
I completely adored his response to the invitation to return. He came across as so mature and sure, and it's so moving to see Lee trusting his heart for once. That's huge growth for him. Adama's argument is solid--they DO need as many people as possible, and certainly someone as valuable as Lee. And Lee is also mature enough now to admit that while he took the wings off for the wrong reason, it is the right thing for him at a personal level.
Adama's unimpressed reaction in response hurt, and I got the sense from Lee that he was expecting it. He looked determined but sad, and I think he knew his decision would hurt his father. He talked quietly and honestly so I think there was nothing Adama could really say for once. And oh, I was soooo moved by him bringing up Zak at this time! That is the big question: would it change how you feel about him, or would you just be glad to have him back? The answer for Lee is clear--it doesn't change anything. Even if Kara WAS a Cylon, he'd still love her, and he's prepared to admit that. Adama isn't ready to admit that. I have no idea how he replied to Lee. I'm assuming he just met that question with silence.
While I would have rather had Kara talk to Lee about her fears, I did enjoy the scene between her and Sam. It was powerful to see Kara explore her fears of being a Cylon with someone who actually is one and who has just found out. It was also an important scene for positioning them both, with Kara asserting that she WOULD put a bullet through his head if he was a Cylon. Would she REALLY? While I'd normally say yes, Kara would be that strong, I can't help but wonder, seeing Lee's reaction to her return, if she really would. I'll be interested to see if Kara fans believed her. Perhaps she would. I think Kara believes that at some level she'd really be able to tell if someone close to her was a Cylon. Her expectation is that others will get the feeling that she is her, and that they'll trust that.
Somehow, despite the pain of seeing her flip out (again, great acting from Sackhoff), the line 'grew me another me' was adorably cute.
The other reason I enjoyed the scene between Sam and Kara was that there was a slight implication that Sam would quite like Kara to be a Cylon. It would mean company for him, and he's desperate for some understanding and acceptance of his condition. Well, he didn't get any from Kara. And I suspect that will define where he goes from here, even though I'm not sure where exactly that will be.
I loved seeing Kara really lose it and go after Roslin. While I know it created a cliffhanger that will probably be resolved in about 30 seconds in the next episode, it really conveyed how painful it is for Kara to have them jumping the wrong way, and how desperate and alone she feels. Given that Lee believes her, I'm wondering if he'll step in and help talk her down.
All in all I was delighted with the handling of Kara's return and I found her so completely Kara-y, that I'm now comfortable there's no WAY she's a Cylon. I'm also really glad they didn't play up the religious aspect. I was never that keen on the idea of people buying into Kara-as-messiah, and I'm really glad that Lee believes her because she's ordinary, she's just HER, rather than because she's come back obviously 'extraordinary'.
The OTHER messiah
In contrast to Kara, we have Gaius, who DOES have disciples. While Kara rejects and is confused by the supernatural aspects of her new life, Gaius embraces his.
The vast majority of Gaius's new followers appear to be women: that'll be nice for him. I loved his reaction to seeing the shrine of himself. *giggle* And I also LOLed at his 'eyes of shock' when they told him none of the other ships would have him. Yup, you're trapped with a bunch of loopy religious nuts, Gaius! His scenes were completely hilarious, particularly with Head!Six coaching him to tell them there is only one god.
And it didn't take Gaius long to get caught up in the melodrama of religion. I believe he was genuine in his prayer for the young boy's health. Redemption is something he's sought for a long time. But he's still caught up in egotism. I enjoyed his frustration with his disciples a lot more. Though I DO want to echo his thanks for shaving that beard off. Thank GOD!
To be honest, I found Gaius's plot, until the assault, quite predictable. But that scene was really powerful. It was also interesting to see Gaius's reaction. For once he was less selfish than usual, asking them not to hurt the woman, and showing his commitment to dying. Until that point I didn't buy it as genuine. And of course now that he's had his 'miracle' there'll be no stopping the rampant egotistical belief in his own specialness. Ah, Gaius, some things never change.
I loved that! *off to rewatch*
ETA: Also, I fangirl dionusia's brain.