Battlestar Galactica #99: The Hub

"The thing is, the harder it is to recognize someone's right to draw a breath, the more crucial it is."
SO SAY WE ALL: The alliance attacks the Regeneration Hub and makes off with D'Anna.

REVIEW: The theme of The Hub seems to be that it's pointless to try and cheat destiny. Though our heroes succeed in their mission, both sides make mistakes, and bad decisions that prove to be pointless. For example, Cavill Prime awakens D'Anna before the good guys can get at her. He hopes her resurrection can end the civil war. But he certainly DOESN'T want her to reveal who the Final Five are, so she kills him permanently (Hub go boom) - no question, Lucy Lawless is a badass - and her resurrection means it's even easier for the Cylon-Colonial alliance to rescue her. But then we have Roslin, who mistrusts that alliance, asking consistent moral objector Helo to tweak the deal and bring D'Anna to her first. This puts the Colonials at odds with the Cylons for no reason, because D'Anna's not gonna talk until they get back to the fleet, and wouldn't have even if they'd had the chat in public. More Lawless badassery in that talk - D'Anna is now the last of her kind and she doesn't have much to lose. It all seems like whatever the characters do, Fate has decreed D'Anna should rejoin the human fleet and keep her secret 'til then.

Upon Natalie getting shot on Galactica, the Hybrid panicked and jumped away, and it's sort of limping along, the base star damaged, both ways - to the Hub, then back. It's why Galactica couldn't find it, and it also gives Roslin visions of the old priestess Elosha (whether a visitation from the afterlife, a figment of Roslin's mind, or a Head Angel, we don't know) who, over the course of many scenes, will push Laura into reconnecting with her humanity. It's been hard to relate to her as President lately - in personal matters, we had some sweetness towards Adama and Nana Visitor's guest character - the stories showcasing her tyrannical tendencies. When you think Zarek has a point, you know your heroine is in trouble, ethically. This episode provided a great moral test for humanity's leader. If Elosha is an Angel (or Being of Light, or whatever we want to call them), it's because her message is one of love. She asks if humanity even deserves to be saved, but the key isn't some kind of grand selflessness, it's Laura's simple capacity to love a single person. She's being set up for Adama telling her he loves her at episode's end - his own trial has brought him to the same point - and the idea that these two have been focused on survival, but have forgotten what we need to survive FOR. The visions include a touching death scene (Olmos gives it everything), a way for the show to have its cake and eat it too, as (spoiler) it won't happen within the span of the series, but whatever she learns about herself in the visions, that's not really the test. The test is having the chance to let Baltar bleed out and ultimately not doing so. It's a great sequence. Baltar's been wounded, he's drugged and confessing (because he needs to be loved and forgiven), confirms what she already believed about his betrayal of the human race, and she could be forgiven for letting him die. That she rips his leaking bandage off and speeds up the process, maybe less so. But getting back in touch with her humanity, with her capacity to love, with the ethics and moral compass she started the journey with, she goes back and desperately tries to stave off death. Powerful, and we really shouldn't see the strong-armed Roslin going forward.

It also begs the question: What happens to Baltar now. Forgiven or not, he did just admit to his part in humanity's genocide. Are we already due for another sea change for the character? Before he got wounded, he was just trying to seed dissent among the Centurions, and I was like, what's the point? I felt like Baltar was rudderless, a character seeking a motivation because his ambitions had proven too simple to achieve. As with other ill-conceived plans in the episode, it was all for nought as the Centurion he was "turning" was destroyed in the battle. The one plan Fate did allow to succeed is the attack on the Hub itself, even if mistrusting Viper pilots were wary of trusting their Cylon allies. As usual, the show provides some cool outer space action. Another dodgy plan was the Eight's palling around with Helo, who sort of wanted to be Sharon, and had downloaded her memories when she'd allowed herself to resurrect. It's just more for Helo to process, and leads to him being accused of thinking he's married to the entire production line. A deleted scene would have given the Eight a terrible end very much in line with the episode's theme, but perhaps Helo has suffered enough. Wait 'til he gets back to the fleet to find his wife and child in the brig.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The Pythia has a Great Flood myth, just as cultures of Earth's Fertile Crescent do. While BSG echoes Exodus, it evokes Noah's story as well, making the Cylon's genocide the "Great Flood" that wipes out most of humanity.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: Headcount starts at 39,673, which ignores the apparent birth recorded in the previous (but concurrent) episode, as if it counted Pike's death already even if it happens later in the episode's chronology. There are casualties during the battle, which will only be recorded at the top of the next episode, the only two we can confirm are Pike and presumably his ECO behind him in the raptor.

VERSIONS: There are about 10 minutes of deleted scenes and extensions from The Hub. Helo confides in Roslin about the Eights having access to Sharon's memories, which makes her more wary of his capacity to stay loyal. A slightly longer version of her giving Helo his orders. Helo killing a Cylon aboard the Hub, playing as if he's going to betray the Eight. D'Anna goading the Eight about witnessing a room full of dead Eights and about her download of Athena's memories. A longer conversation between Baltar and Roslin, on the details of his religion. Cylons fighting a boarding force on their base star, and a Cavill killing the just-betrayed Eight (which makes D'Anna's "can we go find the president now?" even more callous). Apparently, the script would have had Billy appear to Roslin instead of Elosha, but scheduling conflicts kept that actor from returning; it would have traded gravitas for something more personal, perhaps.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High -
Everybody is doing their damnedest to sabotage themselves, but Destiny has other ideas. Great moments, well acted, and the achievements here will have a lasting impact on the saga.

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