Thursday, June 12, 2008

Galatica Log: The Hub

With the show almost through its known broadcast schedule, we were treated with one of its strongest episodes this past week. The episode that was stronger, in part, than many recent ones for telling one complete story, instead of falling into the recent pattern of splitting the hour between two plots and pushing everything else into the background. ‘The Hub’ reels back to two days before the end of the previous episode, and takes us to events aboard the rebel base ship. No sooner had the Hybrid been restored than it ordered the ship to jump. Why? It’s panicking because the ‘6 who went among the makers’ is no more. So it was the killing of Natalie that caused the ship to leave. The Hybrid launches them on a wild series of jumps, but they quickly realize that the jumps aren’t random. She is going to the Hub. The mission to destroy it is still a go.

Meanwhile, on the Hub, Cavil has unboxed D’anna. Why? Because, he tells her, a war has broken out between the 1s, 4s, and 5s, on one side, and the 2s, 6s, and 8s on the other. She points out to him that there is an 8 present. ‘Boomer is my pet 8,’ he replies. He believes D’anna can help heal the rift between the Cylons. It’s interesting that Cavil wants to hold out a carrot, after beating the others so devastatingly with a stick, but that’s as far as this idea gets to go.

On the base ship Roslin is continuing her personal mission, to find out what the Hybrid knows about the opera house, but she’s not getting very far. She is unprepared for its stream of consciousness manner of speaking. Gaius, who has lived on a base ship, steps up as a self-appointed expert and then proceeds to talk to the Hybrid as though he were tourist, trying to be understood by speaking in a loud voice: ‘Shhhh! Stop jumping the ship! Okay?!’ What happens during jumps is something the show experimented with during the pilot mini-series, but pretty much ignored afterward. In this episode, during the instant the base ship jumps, Roslin is pulled into a vision in which she is guided through her scenes of her death on board a nearly abandoned Galactica. Her guide is the long dead cleric Elosha.

As they are moving towards the Hub, Helo and an 8 begin to plan their attack. I noticed Helo’s awkwardness around her even before the reason was spelt out for us viewers. She is too much like his wife, Athena. Last season, when they learned that Hera was still alive, they came up with a desperate plan to get her back. Helo killed Athena and she was downloaded into a new body aboard the base ship. When she downloaded, however, all of her memories up to that point were recorded. Curious about what things were like for Athena, this 8 downloaded those memories into herself, essentially becoming the woman Helo fell in love with, married, and mourned together over the child they thought they’d lost. She doesn’t want him to think its weird but, honestly, how else would he feel?

They still manage to come up with a workable plan. It will require the humans and Cylons to work closely together, and it will require the humans to trust the Cylons with their lives. When that doesn’t go down too well with the Galactica pilots, Athena 2.0 rallies them with a speech about Athena and how they’ve worked with a Cylon and trusted their lives to her. Its enough to shut them up and to have them go along with the plan, albeit grudgingly, but it sounds a little strange. The real Athena would never use her Cylon origins in a bid to win their support. Adama pegged her as a self-hating Cylon in the last episode and, if that’s not entirely fair, it’s not too far off the mark.

The efforts of Roslin and Gaius are getting nowhere. They do learn the 3 is back online, but they are just getting frustrated and Gaius leaves to find something else to do with his time. He walks down a corridor and finds a Centurian. Only he could find a killing machine and see a coreligionist. He starts in by telling it that they share the same god and that their god doesn't want anyone to be a slave. He goes on to include a story about a dog (and when the Cylon cocks its head to listen, he reminds me of a dog). Its master had taught it to hold a treat on its nose, but not to eat it until its given permission. Pathetic. Roslin is dividing her time between the hybrids, her job as president, and her visions of Elosha. As president she orders Helo to make sure that the 3 is brought to her alone, without the Cylons. Given that this story starts two days prior to the last episode, I don't know if she still is president, but no one on board has any reason to think otherwise. Helo is a little wary of his new order. He has always been a stand-up sort of guy, and wonders if that wouldn't be betraying the Cylons trust. Roslin must know he's been working closely with Athena 2.0, because she shoots him down with the night's best line: ‘Captain you are not married to the entire production line.’ She argues that, if the Cylons could, they too would keep whatever the 3 knows to themselves. She is using what she perceives as how the Cylons would act to evaluate her own actions. And that ties neatly into her conversations with her late priestess. Elosha tells her that she doesn't love people. She takes Roslin to her deathbed to watch Adama grieve over her, and asks her how can she save humanity if she shuts herself down and tries to operate like a machine?

The attack on the Hub goes off brilliantly. The Viper pilots are towed in by Cylons, which they hate, but it means they aren’t detected until it’s too late. Cavil realizes what they are trying to do and is amazed. If they can’t resurrect, then killing really is murder. When D’anna understands what’s happening, she reaches up and throttles him. She puts on her bathrobe and goes to join the attackers. The explosion of the Hub looks like a sea star. It’s beautiful and unique, underscoring the fact that something important has just happened.

But the attacking base star does not get off without a hit. One strikes both Gaius and the Centurian he was talking too. It’s a disappointing scene on two levels. It is set up with the kind of forced perspective you see in comic books and summer blockbusters all the time –I am used to better from this show – and it forces an end to a brilliantly subversive scene. I can only hope that all the Centurians are wired together and that god’s message of liberation reaches them all! Gaius is seriously wounded, but is brought to Roslin, who, in spite of her feelings towards him, begins to administer first aid. He begins to talk to her about her need for god and how finding god has saved him from all his guilt. She asks him what his guilt was and he admits to giving the Cylons the access codes that enabled them to destroy most of humanity. It’s the first time he has come right out and said it and he says it to Laura Roslin. For a moment she is taken back, but then she removes the bandages she has used to stop his bleeding and lets him bleed out. Or, at least, that’s her first impulse. A well timed vision with Elosha puts her at her own death. Elosha tells her ‘If humanity is going to prove its worthy of surviving it can’t do it on a case by case basis. A bad man feels his death just as keenly as a good man.’ She then goes on to tell Roslin that she needs to love someone. It works. When Roslin returns from her vision, she frantically works to save Gaius’ life.

At this point Helo, Athena 2.0, and D’anna arrive. Athena 2.0 is hyped. They have destroyed the Hub and are now just like the humans. And they did it together, establishing a foundation of trust. But Helo has his orders. Athena 2.0 feels betrayed. ‘Made a prize fool of myself, didn’t I?’ But she doesn’t argue and neither does D’anna. Each of the women is fully capable on overpowering Helo, but neither does and he takes D’anna to Roslin. Roslin demands to know about the Five. D’anna is incredulous. You knows about them without knowing you are one? Psych! No, she won’t be talking until she feels she has the guarantees she needs to assure her own survival. And so they are all on their way back to the Galactica. For a moment I wondered if they’d pass Adama and his Raptor by, but of course, he is waiting at a jump point and is quickly onboard. He walks down the ramp and into Roslin’s arms. ‘I love you,’ she says. ‘About time,’ he replies. Awww… It’s a sweet note to do out on, and, for a change, an episode concludes with an actual conclusion. Minus three points if you didn’t get the obvious Han Solo reference (though plus five if you got the Arthur Dent one!).

The episode had a lot of great scenes, but it also had a lot of interesting little points I’d like to learn more about. The Colonist’s scripture, for example, has a flood story? I know many mythologies do, but given the direction the show has been headed, I can’t help but wonder where this particular one is drawn from. Also, when Adama was reading to the bed stricken Roslin (in a vision) he read a passage about someone planting a garden on a desert island and then realizing that the measure he thought he needed to take in order to survive had destroyed something, something he hadn’t appreciated having. It reminded me of a line by Lampkin in the previous episode, in which he told Lee that sometimes it is better to take what you have. We seem to be moving towards a position in which everyone will be forced to accept their reality as it is, and to put away the last of the war.

This Friday, the big finale. It is technically the mid season break, but, if there aren’t any new shows until next year, it is for all intents and purposes the end of season four. From the previews it’s obvious that the four known members of the Five are discovered. It also looks like they find Earth. Is the mysterious twelfth Cylon revealed, and is it really Admiral Adama? If it is, there will be no living with me! Until then.

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