“Six of One”
April 12th, 2008
With a gun in her hands, and a suicidal Kara Thrace in front of her, Laura Roslin pulls the trigger – she misses, and while we ponder how she did so at such close range we notice something: what she shot was a photograph of Adama and Roslin, together. If that’s not an omen, I don’t know what is.
If last week’s premiere was perhaps a symbol that the show was starting off on a slightly different trajectory than the third season, then this week’s episode solidified our point of reference: this is season two all over again.
We have questions of faith, the schism between our two leaders, and even the same people in positions of personal crisis. I don’t say this as if it is derivative, but rather that it is a strong return to form – it may not be the 0 to 60 we saw last season, but it is a strong mythology turn that will serve the show well.
Read on to learn while Starbuck is in a cell, parts of her are all throughout the ship.
You see, everyone’s a little bit Starbuck right now. Everyone sees a path ahead of them that they know they want to follow, and yet at the same time it seems as if everything is heading in the opposite direction.
Everyone is worried about what will become of them if things don’t go their way: Roslin is worried about dying as the nobody she once was; Adama is worried about losing everyone around him and dying alone; Lee is worried about the runaway train he’s on away from his life, essentially; and the final four Cylon models are worried about, well, everything.
All of these storylines are clicking; the best two scenes in the episode were the conversations between Lee and Starbuck, and Roslin and Adama: they were powerful reminders that this is a show that remembers its history, and knows that where its headed is of different value to each of its characters.
And Starbuck is in the right here, even if perhaps Adama’s decision at episode end is a bit rash: her logic to the President, that she herself has followed Faith countless times before, often followed by Starbuck, is extremely sound. I like that there’s no black and white here, that everyone is technically right but there’s no sense of which is the best path.
Which is, ultimately, in contrast to our first glimpse at the Cylon Civil War, something that early season spoilers were pretty quick to point out considering the appearance of Natalie, the new leader of the Sixes. It’s a battle of 2s, 6s and 8s vs. 1s, 4s and 5s, with the highlight being the Brother Cabel and Natalie going toe-to-toe.
Compared to last season’s glimpses into Cylon-decision making, we’re into better territory here. It’s also prime thesis territory for me: here we have the Cylons faced with the dilemma that humanity was once faced with, the concept of allowing a race for power or superiority blind one to morality and reason. Some of the Cylons want to play God, but that’s precisely what created them, and gave them reason to attack humanity.
It’s a solid question of identity for the Cylons, and I think there’s more potential here than there was before – there is a larger theoretical question at play this time around, as opposed to the aimless if effective revolution of the 3s we saw last season.
I thought the episode was running on all cylinders for the most part, except for the unfortunate stalling of Baltar. I think it is intriguing that Baltar is now seeing himself as opposed to Six, but his fling with Tori seems forced in the best of situations. I feel as if it was a bit much for the episode, and that I didn’t see much advancement in any of the characters involved beyond last week’s episode. If that’s the case, I might have liked to see more of the two major threads.
- I listened to the soundtracks a lot when writing my thesis, so it’s always great to hear callbacks to the Roslin and Adama theme, and the ol’ Irish melodies of the Adamas.
- I don’t know about anyone else, but I was actually kind of empathizing with Lee as he went through his farewell tour – the scene in the ready room was really well done, and there is a definite sense that his character finally has direction. I’m curious to see how him working for Zarek might open up some new angles on our central questions.
- I like Natalie – she made a ballsy call to create reason in the Centurions, and if she was smart she’d realize the potential of her new power in perhaps reversing a decision that the 1s organized half a season ago. Or, you know, that the producers revealed before the season again. Whichever explanation you want to go with. I’m thinking that doing so would certainly create another ally to her plan.