Battlestar Galactica season 4 episode 6 review: Faith

Rachel rejoices that last week's plea for better episodes has been well and truly granted!

At the start of this latest instalment, we’re taken back to the Demetrius to see the outcome of the crew’s mutiny, and it becomes one of the most electric scenes yet this season. While Seelix accuses Kara of being a Cylon, Sam goes a little mad supporting his wife and shoots Gaeta in the leg (Protective? Programming? Protective programming?!).

Kara’s speedy, professional response to this, giving Gaeta the urgent medical help he needs, reasserts her conflicted role. Over the past few seasons she’s gone from being a crazy, brilliant rookie, to planning attacks and leading her own unit – a transition made utterly realistic by Katee Sackhoff’s accomplished turn. Yet she’s the one who has caused her own crew, and almost this reviewer, to give up on her.

Thankfully, this episode provides the much needed compromise between star gazing and reality checking, as Starbuck finally comes to her senses, acknowledges ‘too many lives to risk’, and takes a raptor and a small team to investigate Leoben’s claims.

Meanwhile, for the Cylons this situation is just as risky – with no resurrection ship nearby the two species are as equally alive as they would be dead. They’re further humanised by the obvious psychological damage of one of the Sixes, who was killed by a member of the raptor crew, Jean Barolay, when she was an insurgent on New Caprica.

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The trauma of the death (well, drowning in a septic tank isn’t anyone’s idea of a good way to go, just behind strangulation eroticism with Jim Davidson) has left her deeply scarred, and she cannot help but lash out, killing Barolay.

This is the first real attempt to show Cylon pathology – previous anger at death has only been vocalised, not really acted on – and it’s difficult to see how a person wouldn’t be severely traumatised by being repeatedly killed and living through it. It’s a big glitch in the so-called perfect matrix and continues this season’s levelling of the playing field.

Enough of the psychology, back on the damaged base star Kara gets to speak to the hybrid, played in this episode by Anna Paquin’s even paler cousin, who tells her again that she is the harbinger of death – something no one ever wants to hear. More interestingly, however, is her revelation of the final five.

According to the hybrid, they only need to resurrect the boxed D’Anna’s to identify them. I’m assuming Anders wees himself a little bit at this point. Since the incident with the raider, he’s been keeping his Cylon side fairly well hidden, however on the base star he almost gets to put his hands in the watery mainframe system, and one can only wonder where his programming’s going now that he’s being outed pretty soon.

Other questions also arise – one of the eight’s blood seeped into the hybrid’s gunge-tank… will this affect it? What will the other centurions make of the hybrid being switched off? Is Kara riffing off Picard with ‘make it happen’, or am I missing something?

On to the other thread of the episode, which explores Roslin’s further decline, and the growth of her belief in Baltar’s monotheism. Most important plot-wise, however, is the fact that Tory now has access to all Roslin’s papers, and is reviewing everything that comes across her desk. I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing just how dangerous this is, especially when considered alongside Tory’s increased mental and physical strength. It’s not difficult to imagine her taking over once Roslin becomes incapacitated and exercising her rather dubious morals on the 39,675 or so left.

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This was very definitely a bridging episode, catching up on the dramatic irony set up in previous seasons, and now we’re almost flying blind. I literally cannot wait for next week and have been attempting to concoct stasis booths using my microwave, wireless router and some ham over the weekend to avoid the slow, dragging inevitability of the next five days. So far all prototypes have been ineffective. Sigh.

Check out Rachel’s reviews of episodes 4 and 5 here.