Battlestar Galactica #60: Epiphanies

"Causes are only lost when we give up."
SO SAY WE ALL: As Laura Roslin lays dying of cancer, she flashes back to her last day on Caprica. A terrorist group that wants peace with the Cylons causes problems for Galactica. And an order to abort Sharon's baby causes more.

REVIEW: They'd been teasing Laura Roslin's deterioration for a while now, and it all comes to a head in this episode... and undoes it. While I would not want to lose the character, it seems like an easy betrayal of the show's format not to accept consequences. But perhaps being "cured" by magic Cylon-human blood is merely a stay of execution. But here, at this point, it all seems very convenient. Baltar's discovery of the foetal blood's powers in the nick of time saving both Roslin and Sharon's baby, how quickly it works, and how Roslin ends the episode smiling at Sharon's pregnancy after spending a delirious episode calling for an abortion. Because yeah, that's my other problem with this one. Roslin may not be in her right mind in the last stages of her cancer, but suddenly ordering the abortion of Sharon and Helo's child, using the tyrannical words President Adar once used to block her, it goes a little far. Sharon's JUST been violated, and here they're doing it again, forcing Helo to take a stand that turns out to be unnecessary, but that also seems to have no consequences for him. It feels like manufactured drama.

Not that it doesn't have a point. As Roslin dies, her fevered brain remembers things from her last day on Caprica. And one of those things is Baltar making out with Six, now known to be a Cylon model. So in saving "his child" from abortion, he not only undercut his own elevation to the presidency, but in fact saved the one person who can finger him as a traitor. Fate is cruel. It won't be his only mistake this episode. The flashbacks also act as a kind of secret origin of Laura Roslin, in which she negotiates a truce with strikers, informing how she will strike a similar deal with a terrorist group in the fleet once she's recuperated. She was good at her job as Education Minister, but was undermined by President Adar himself - played by Colm Feore, whoo! - proven to be the idiot Adama once called him. Part of his problem is that negotiating with strikers makes him look weak, and I think this guy was all ego. The other part of the problem is that he's having an affair with Laura - did we need to give her these supplementary feet of clay? - so he doesn't respect her as a politician, didn't think she'd succeed, and so didn't fill her in on his agenda. Again, male ego stuff. So as it turns out, after her speech aboard Galactica, she was going to have to fight him over his request that she resign. More irony here. Her claim on the presidency is all the more tenuous.

So that terrorist group. This is weeks after the Pegasus has joined the fleet, and the Six rescued from that ship by Baltar is on Cloud 9. Baltar visits her, but probably because she is a rape survivor, she's not comfortable with his advances. She also seems to have bodyguards, so Baltar has people in his service now? What seems odd becomes quite clear at the end when the Cylon sympathizers demanding the fleet negotiate terms with the enemy are revealed to be under Six's spell! They're sincere, but they've been conned. Meanwhile, Baltar cons himself. He's so petty, that he lets Roslin's less than glowing "to be opened on the event of my death" letter make him get revenge by handing a nuke over to the terrorists. His bitterness trumps all. Hours earlier, he refused the role of Judas President, claiming he couldn't sell humanity out. This is what bitterness does to him, and why he's so dangerous. Of course, he does get a little help from plot contrivance (just HOW do they smuggle a nuke through security checks?), but there's a lot of that going around in Epiphanies.

As usual, many of Caprica's modern buildings are played by the Simon Fraser University campus, with the Riverwalk Market at the entrance where Burnaby Mountain Parkway meets Gaglardi Way, and Adar's office SFU's academic quadrangle (an exterior turned into an interior through set design). Laura's doctor's office is really the Waterfall Building on West 2nd (as it was in the pilot). On the casting side of things, we have President Adar being played by one of Canada's biggest acting stars Colm Feore (Bon Cop Bad Cop, Umbrella Academy, The Borgias, Thor).

Headcount is at 49,598 at the start of the episode. In other words, only 6 people were lost in the attack on the Resurrection Ship AND Six's assassination and escape, including Cain herself. Surprisingly few. A terrorist attack here claims the lives of at least three people, whose bodies can be seen venting into space if you look carefully.

VERSIONS: Though not included on the DVD's deleted scenes, they apparently filmed a more detailed explanation of the magic blood cure (stem cells, etc.) that was cut down for time and because the show shied away from technobabble. I dunno, sounds like I might not have used the word "magic" just then if they'd included it.

- Too contrived compared to most of the series, but its events do have a strong impact on what is to come.



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