Battlestar Galactica #91: He That Believeth in Me

"Please God, I'm asking you this one last time, don't let this child die. Has he sinned against you? He can't have sinned against you. He's not even had a life yet. How can you take him and let me live... after all I've done? Really, if you want someone to suffer, take me. We both know I deserve it. I'm selfish and weak. I have failed so many people. I have killed. I'm not asking for your forgiveness, I'm just asking that you spare the life of this innocent child. Don't take him. Take me. Take me, take me, please."
SO SAY WE ALL: Starbuck is back, but no one believes it, and Baltar is embraced by a cult.

REVIEW: He That Believeth in Me (John 11:25-26) is an aptly-chosen title for an episode in which two characters are either believed or disbelieved, especially one where divine providence seems to be at play. Before we really get there though, the audience is definitely not cheated by the eventually subverted cliffhanger resolution. There's a huge battle that the Colonials almost lose, with the usual gorgeous effects, and some interesting details like Raider blood spatter on Starbuck's windshield (gives a new meaning to "nothing but the rain"). Eventually, a Raider tries to shoot Anders, scans his eyes, and a silent signal is given - FINAL FOUR!!! The Cylon fleet mysteriously leaves, but it's not mysterious for everyone. The immediate resolution OF the Final Four cliffhanger is likewise juicy, with at least some of them wondering if they're sleepers who will turn on their friends, especially Tigh in a moment that plays well enough to fool the audience for a second. A death pact seems to be agreed upon as none of them want to turn their coats, but are afraid of programming. Then we can get down to questioning our two prophets.

Kara is back with no memory of being gone for more than six hours. She's cheerier, but then she thinks forces unknown have brought her to Earth and humanity's final destination. There's reason to cheer. Except Lee saw her die, and that pristine Viper certainly isn't the same dinged-up bird she used to fly. So what's going on? I'm afraid it's gonna take the whole season for us to get an answer, and that answer is still going to be left up to interpretation. Don't hang all your hopes on it. For the Colonials, is Kara the clue that was supposed to be found at the nebula, or is she the red herring the First Hybrid was alluding to? Lee chooses to believe in miracles, Adama doesn't. Could she be a Cylon, and if so, has she always been (and therefore the missing member of the Fatal Five) or did they grow her from the genetic material stolen from Kara back on Caprica? If she is in the Final Five, wouldn't she be activating thanks to All Along the Watchtower somehow being broadcast on Ionian Nebula FM? Or is that the point of telling us the Four can't hear it anymore? Roslin talks to Six about it and the Cylon admits she can feel the Five close by. Sharon doesn't say anything about it, but she's not tapped into the Cylon Net. Lee brings up another question, which is really at the center of the show's exploration of the "other": Does it matter if Kara (or anyone) turns out to be Cylon, wouldn't we still love them? Starbuck herself has the opposite reaction, telling Anders (who claims not to care if she were a Cylon, though this is ultimately self-serving) she would kill him where he stands if he were proven to be a Cylon. Haha nice.

But Starbuck senses where Earth is psychically, a mirror of Roslin's own prophetic power, so being believed is important. The orders come down NOT to deviate from the path set out by the Eye of Jupiter and Starbuck gets massive headaches and feels she will lose the true path. So she does what Starbuck would do, but also what a Cylon sleeper agent would do: She attacks her escorts, grabs a gun, and goes off to corner Roslin to convince her. Hm, girl's not the best at PR. TO BE CONTINUED!

The other prophet is Baltar, of course, or maybe his little sect considers him a messiah. He's doomed to never be happy, so to him, this is just another prison. He would have wallowed in his own self-pity, with the occasional bedding of a cultist if not for Head-Six who pushes him to preach the word of the One God. It is very intriguing that though still in red, Six now affects a business suit rather than a skimpy dress or bathing suit, and doesn't seem to mind Baltar's harem. Whether he believes or not (and it could go either way, what do we think of his heartfelt/self-pitying prayer?) is immaterial, she's seduced and prepared him for this role. As chosen one, he is now in a position to start humanity on the road to monotheism, and even seems to work a miracle that soon increases his flock. An attack on him in the bathroom makes him a martyr as well. We're so used to Baltar as the wretched villain, we might wonder if he and Kara are being guided by the same Hand, or if one of them is misled by a Satan figure.

CAPRICANADA:
Actually introduced in Crossroads Part Two, Jeanne is played by Canadian actress Keegan Connor Tracy who, like many of her age and origins, has been in such shows as Stargate SG-1, Dark Angel, The 4400, Supernatural, and First Wave. She won a Juno (that's the Canadian Emmy/Oscar) for a role in Da Vinci's Inquest, a Canadian crime drama. The sultry cultist Tracey Anne is also played by a Canadian, Leela Savasta; her appearances include Stargate Atlantis, Bionic Woman, Smallville and Supernatural.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Tigh's vision of shooting Adama deliberately echoes Boomer's sleeper action in Season 1. Going back to the classic series, the War of the Gods two-parter had Count Iblis kill Apollo who was then resurrected by the Ship of Lights' angelic beings. Starbuck's resurrection seems of that kind. The warriors who spent time on the Ship of Lights also experienced temporal discontinuity and were given subconscious coordinates to Earth. In Experiment on Terra, the Beings of Light are likewise able to move Vipers through vast distances and back. And then there's Baltar's de facto bodyguard, Paulla, played by Lara Gilchrist (Stargate Atlantis, Smallville, Supernatural and Bionic Woman), again a Canadian. As you can imagine, the kid is Canadian too.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL:
The opening credits occur after the attack and places the fleet's population at 39,698, down 1701 from the previous count of 41,399. That number is an Easter Egg, referencing the USS Enterprise's registry number. It includes the 600 souls of the Pyxis and 1001 more across all bombarded ships, destroyed Vipers, etc. The two men who jump Baltar are savagely attacked by Paulla, and while Charlie Connor reappears, the one she hits with a metal bar again and again, credited as Shaunt, does not and is likely dead.

VERSIONS: The deleted scenes include an slightly extended version of Kara's debriefing, in which Roslin feels weak from her treatments and Tyrol calls Adama to come check out the Viper. Another has Kara visit Sharon to apologize since she's now felt the distrust that comes with (possibly) being a Cylon; Sharon is not sympathetic to her cause. And finally, there's an extended version of Kara and Anders' talk at the memorial, in which she describes the vision she had in Crossroads Part Two.

REWATCHABILITY: High - We come back from the break and it's already kraka-boom! Lots of intrigue that will, for good or ill (depending on your opinion of it), take us to the grand finale.

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