Last week's episode ended with Boomer tearing a hole in the side of the already faltering Galactica. Now repairs crews are rushing to repair the breach. Nerves are frayed and tempers are lost between a human worker and a 6, but there isn't time. There really isn't time. Another breach opens, caused by the stress of the first. The area is opened to space and everyone is in danger. A Cylon manages to close a hatch, protecting those who have made it to the other side, but trapping herself in the vacuum. A human pleads with her to save herself, but she makes the ultimate sacrifice and is sucked into space. Naturally the human and the Cylon are the same two who argued just seconds ago. It could be a tender, we are family, moment, but sixty one workers are now dead or missing and (almost) everyone is seeing the writing on the wall.
In medical the Cylons wonder if the Admiral is ready to transfer his flag to the baseship, but he won't hear of it. He, Saul, and maybe Lee, are the only ones who don't see the writing on the wall. The newly appointed Quorum members are quick to voice their displeasure at the idea of moving Galactica's command and its people to a Cylon vessel, but they waste no time launching a debate over whose ship gets which cannibalized Battlestar part. This time it is Lee's turn to take umbrage, warning them not to take a single thing from the Galactica without the Admiral expressed consent.
For all the chaos in medical, Adama's main interest continues to be Roslin, who is too far out of it to appreciate the catastrophe that has just happened. She keeps getting visions of Hera. Later, when the Admiral has stopped by to read to her, they share her 'medicinal' cigarette and remember their time together on New Caprica. She also remembers her time on the origin Caprica, the only planet she has ever lived on. She wonders what a home actually is. The only time she has ever thought of herself as being at home have been the last few months they've shared on Galactica.
Saul visits the injured and is told an 8 wants to talk to him. She's dying, but she thanks him for the privilege of meeting her father. He reminds her that he spent most of his life trying to kill her kind, and she replies ‘too much confusion’ and is dies. It’s a line from the song, of course, but I wonder who she is talking about. Saul didn’t actually join humans until after the ceasefire, so he isn’t really a veteran of the Cylon War. Those are false memories implanted by Cavill.
Meanwhile a group of Cylons have idea about how to help Sam. They bring over a tank, much like the Hybrids use, and put him in it. At first nothing happens.
Kara hears Gaius' broadcast. He's talking of angels and his belief in them. She goes to his chambers and gives him her dogtags. She explains what they are and how she got them. She's been dead, she tells him, and she wants him to run some tests. She doesn't know what she is, though she can assure him of one thing: she isn't an angel.
She goes to see Sam and finds him in the Hybrid tank. She insists on some time alone with him, so the others leave. She reminds him of the time she said that if he were a Cylon she'd put a bullet in his head, but tells him that doesn't matter now. He is her Sam and she can't see him like this. She draws her sidearm and would have put a bullet in his head, but he suddenly springs to life and grabs her arm. He begins talking like a Hybrid, even telling Kara, once again, the prophecy that she the harbinger of death. Because of the Cylon substance in the haul, he is able to reach out to electrical systems throughout the ship. There are random power surges. He is beginning to become the Galatica's Hybrid. When Saul learns of this he immediately orders Sam disconnected. He realized that Sam could order the ship to jump at any time and, give the state it’s in, that isn't a good idea.
The opening sequence showed us a vision of Hera playing on top of the chart table in the CIC. She brings a model of the Galactica to three models of baseships. Meaningful? We don't' know. Yet. As for where she really is, Ellen thinks she knows. Cavil has taken her to the Colony. What the Colonials call the Cylon home world. Lee points out the incredible risk involved in jumping there, but Kara says the child is key. ‘Is she our destiny?’ asks the Admiral. Well, he's had it up to the proverbial here with destiny, gods, and anything else that smacks of prophecy. No deal. But when Saul asks if they could at least have a recon, he concedes that much, though he insists it be a heavy raider, so the Agathons won't know. Later the Tighs argue whether there is any point in looking for Hera. He is desperate for a drink. He tells Ellen that their past relationship doesn't mean anything to him. There's no reason it should. He still doesn't really remember it. His life of military service is what's real to him. Ellen tells him that without Hera their children will die. I had a child, he replies, and he died. No, she corrects him; he's had millions of children. The new Ellen is back, compassion and wise.
Boomer completes a jump. Hera has been crying for her mother continuously and she can't stand it any more. She threatens to give her an adult shot of sedatives, but doesn't. She continues the series of jumps. Hera isn't crying anymore, but she isn’t eating either. Boomer offers to take her to a special place. They both project themselves into the house she was planning with Galen. She takes the child to what would have been her child's room. Hera likes it and Boomer doesn't seem too sure how she feels about that.
The recon returns. Cavil has moved the Colony, perhaps as long as five months ago, which would be just before the civil war. They don’t know where he's taken it.
Things aren’t going well for the Agathons. Sharon was beaten and tied up in her closet, where she watched her husband have sex with her doppelganger. Then her child was stolen by that same agent of humanity’s mortal enemy. Helo asks if she hates him, but she is too angry to respond. Suddenly she has a vision of Hera and the opera house and breaks down in tears. Curiously, Roslin and Caprica 6 share the vision.
Helo is beside himself. He doesn’t know what to do, and for him that’s something. Helo is the stand up guy. He does what’s right regardless of the cost. So what does he do? True the Cylons had Hera once before, but they thought their child was dead, still born, and even when they found out that wasn’t true, it wasn’t hard to find her. The Cylons were always on their tail. Now what can he do? He goes to Adama and asks for a raptor. The Admiral tells him of the heavy raider and the recon. Helo begs, pleads, but Adama is on his way to the memorial service for all those who died at the beginning of the episode. He leaves Helo there in the hall.
The service is impressive and everyone is represented. Everyone has lost someone. Once it’s completed Gaius calls out to those assembled. He has proof that death is not the end. He is holding Kara’s tag. He says there is one present who has already crossed over and it proof of life after death. On the dogtag are cells from the necrotic, dead, flesh of Kara Thrace and yet here she is. She has died, she is not a Cylon, yet she lives. Adama tells him that that’s enough, they argue and Kara walks up and slaps Baltar across the face. Adama dismisses everyone.
We next find Kara at the Wall of Remembrance. Lee comes with some words of encouragement, but his feelings for her quickly rise up. He leaves and she puts her picture up beside Kat’s. She goes to Sam. She tells him what happened and that she believes there is a pattern in the music and that he can help her understand it. She plugs him in. His response is machine like and impersonal.
Boomer finally arrives at her destination. It’s a giant ship that looks like it was designed on the plains of Mordor. She brings Hera to Cavil, who tells her to get some rest. He takes Hera, who is now crying out for Boomer. Cavil tells her that soon she will have all sorts of new playmates. It sounds ominous. Boomer is tearing up. Is her allegiance transferring from Cavil to the girl?
Adama returns to his quarters. He has been looking at all the work. There is paint set up in his quarters. Someone intends to cover over the repair work done in his room. But he knows better. He sits down in frustration and tears, and paint, and calls in Saul. All the repairs are to stop. He wants the armaments and civilians transferred to the baseship by the end of the week. Saul starts to argue, but Adama tells him the ship is dead and that they both know it. They talk of her as a grand old lady, share a drink. Mournful Irish music cued.
This was a universally strong episode, with all of its many parts moving forward together. Its title is a bit odd. Islands in the Stream was a novel by Hemingway, but is probably best remember as the title of a duet by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Here the producers have changed ‘island’ into a verb and a synonym for the word stranded.’ Adama has finally accepted the death of his ship. Boomer put two holes in him and then two more in his ship. He tells Saul he wants her, the ship, to go out in style. Like the Pegasus? Is that what the vision of Hera and the models refers to? What is Cavil going to do with Hera? What does he know about Kara? She has made an important decision as well. She has accepted what happened to her, though she still doesn’t understand it. She has moved from a doubt ridden existential muddle to the search for answers. One character who seemed to suffer in the episode was Baltar. He seemed in full weasel mode throughout, though the Quorum member still seemed to think he was an important voice. Time is really, really ticking now. How many characters will be awarded a meaningful resolution?