I'm not sure I'm a fan of this mid-season cliffhanger thing. Rapture didn't quite pack the punch it needed to to justify the Extreme Drama of the cliffhanger set-up. And I was a little disconcerted by a trend towards the writers avoiding some of the trickier issues that the cliffhanger posed. However, it had some moments I really really loved. So, mixed feelings!
The not so good
To get what I didn't like over with first, I felt the authors wrote themselves 'get out jail free' cards on the following points:
- The Lee/Anders confrontation ending with Lee getting Dee to go instead. It made it seem as if Lee only did so to save face with Anders. Yet, I don't really buy that. He's too good a tactician to avoid an obvious solution like that in the first place. But that leaves him having a pissy fight with Anders just for the heck of it. Hm. o.O
- Already unsettled by that, I threw up my hands in despair when Dee started getting shot at in her position anyway so that she had to run down the hill regardless. Cop. Out. Dee seemed reluctant until that happened--I want to know if she would have told Lee to frak off if she hadn't been shot at, damn it! If we're supposed to believe that it was really dangerous for Dee to rescue Kara, then do NOT have her shot at in her 'safe' location. Grr. And if Dee was in danger where she was anyway, then Lee had no reason (other than the emotional one) not to suggest she go see if she can help Kara before Anders cracked it with him.
Add to the mix the oh-so-convenient hard belly of the little one (ensuring that Sharon could leave the baseship immediately) and the fact that we didn't really get to find out whether Adama would have nuked the planet or not, and I was a bit generally miffed at the avoidance of some of the trickier plotting.
On to what I loved... Lee! (of course) Action!Lee is always good and I was pleased to see that his leadership qualities were greatly in evidence. A couple of touches that I appreciated were Lee's expression of faith in the guerrilla tactics of Sam's team ('they stopped a lot on Caprica while we were running for our lives'), the look he exchanged with Sam after they carried the injured civilian out, and his 'meh' response to the revelation of the nova ('OK, we can still blow it'). That's my boy! Thinking of the practical! ;-)
In the shippy arena, Jaimie's performance was spot-on as always--I loved Lee's response to Sam's threat to kill him. 'If she's dead, I'll let you' is quintessential Lee and Jaimie delivered it the way he needed too--as if it was a given that if Kara didn't exist he would have no reason to go on living--life would be meaningless and death inviting. He's been a breath away from there before and Kara was his only regret.
The reunion scene tore my heart out since it seems that Sam got to Kara partly by the luck of being the one nearer her (because Lee was actually doing something useful still, I reckon!). Ouch! His stricken expression broke me, though it was hardly a surprise. But what would Kara have done if Lee had run to her first instead of Sam, I wonder? Lee's delayed hug of a stone-like Dee was pretty awful too--I felt a lot of things were expressed in that--relief that she was alive, guilt, regret and remorse for what he asked of her, as well as a selfish desire for comfort. Not pretty. I couldn't read Kara's expression in that scene at all, so I'll have to hunt out some Kara-folks to explain her to me!
Kara and Dee
I was up and down like a rollercoaster with Dee in this ep. She made me scream with rage with her pissy 'my husband made me blah, blah, blah' speech. Bullshit, love! You made that choice yourself, and now you're just revelling in being catty about it. Having said that, Action!Dee is rather great, and her bitchiness can be fun to watch--I loved her slapping Kara and telling her to keep it together. I will continue to be frustrated as hell with Dee if she doesn't actually address this issue with her husband.
Poor Kara's hands! *whimper* Love, love, loved Kara's 'I have to cheat to keep the pieces all neat' speech. That was brilliantly quintessential Kara, just as Lee's 'I'll let you' line was quintessential Lee.
And YAY!! Her paintings!! Which brings me to...
This was a damn good episode for Helo! I wasn't expecting that, but I found his plot arc the most emotionally compelling. I loved the darkness of what he went through and Tahmoh completely sold me on his story, even though I still have ambiguous feelings about Athena herself. I love that we've seen a Cylon ask to be killed so they could be downloaded into a new body--that's just brilliant! It's an interesting extension of Leoben's repeated downloads with Kara, and it poses such interesting emotional questions. What does it mean when you can hold your wife's dead body in your arms and have her walk back into your life later? How much trust does it take to risk such a violent separation? While I still think the resolution of the baby issue was a bit quick, I adored seeing Helo reunited with his child at the end of the episode.
And then we got bonus!Helo in him joining the dots with Kara's paintings. I loved their little banter, and what a fantastic mystery! So, um, maybe Kara IS a Cylon? I'm unspoiled, but this definitely throws out a big hint that she might be. Alternatively, she could fit within the human religious belief system and be one of the prophesied people who lead them to Earth--she's already played a key role in getting them this far... *ponders* Regardless, I like the possiblities this throws up. How confronting to discover that something you've been doodling since you were a child has such signficance. And she mentioned Leoben! Wow.
The other character I found myself unexpectedly feeling a lot for in this episode was Caprica Six. I really loved the way she responded with such compassion for both Eight models in regards to their connection to humans--it makes good sense given her own past--she understands how hard it is to come to terms with having had close emotional connections to humans that only lead to pain and having to face that. And then her drive to protect the infant really moved me. Snapping Sharon's neck was such a great throwback to her mercy-killing of the baby in the mini-series! So I really felt for her when she got betrayed and imprisoned at the end--her actions were genuine and well-intentioned, and I fear she'll only be punished for it.
Religion and individual psychology
Gaius was, as always, entertaining! I loved when his calm dissolved into begging for the truth--and when it got right down to it, he's as self-interested and self-obsessed as always. His search for salvation is such an extreme one--he must be, not just a normal flawed human, but the Chosen One, and preferably a Cylon--the most important Cylon if possible! I'm delighted that he got conked on the head by Chief. This seems all very promising. *g*
I liked the way D'Anna's plot ended--Messianic complexes are dangerous---even though this one seemed to be grounded in a truth--she was granted vision of the final five Cylons (BIG surprise that they remain a mystery!) The final shot was really cool, I thought, and it's interesting that the Cylons are comfortable taking this option with a rebellious model.
Overall in this episode I liked the contrast between the search for religious or spiritual enlightenment--for meaning--and the practical, human-based decision making. Was the fate of the Temple really 'in the hands of the Gods' as Cally suggested, in the hands of atheist Lee, or in the hands of the Cylons? Everyone is fighting for control of destiny--not just their own but their species'. And yet how do they know they're not fighting fate? changing destinies? Is your fate any different whether you believe or not?