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.
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.
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.