Battlestar Galactica: Guess What's Coming To Dinner
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Battlestar Galactica: Guess What's Coming To Dinner

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Battlestar Galactica

Guess What's Coming To Dinner

Season 4, Episode 7

Tonight's creepiest moment comes when the Cylons start talking about motherhood. Natalie, the leader of the rebel Cylons, is talking with Athena and mentions her daughter, Hera. As you'll recall, Hera is the first half-human half-Cylon kid, and as a baby, she spent some time on the baseship. The Cylons all remember her, and of course, Athena hasn't been too good about sending them photos or home videos. "I was just thinking how beautiful she must be," Natalie says. "You were blessed."

This was a busy hour. If last week's episode was morbid and serene, tonight's is all about nervous energy, mistrust and scheming. But let's not lose track of one of the biggest developments in the Cylon's story: the Cylons - or at least, the Two/Six/Eight models - want to become mortal. Last week, they proposed a truce with the humans, and tonight, as part of the negotiations, they offer a pretty sweet plum: they'll lead the humans to the Resurrection Hub, the core of the system that allows the Cylons to get whacked and come back to life. As Colonel Tigh - channeling a corny '40s war film - puts it, "Billions of skinjobs lose their bath privileges."

Natalie - sincerely, it seems - believes that the Cylons can't evolve if they don't learn to die. She tells Adama, Roslin, and a roomful of armed guards that mortality is what makes humans "whole." This makes some sense on the fizzy-spiritual level: Just as the humans are learning to embrace life after death, the Cylons want to start dropping dead like they're supposed to.

There's just one problem: Humans can die because we have kids. And the Cylons haven't figured that part out yet.

When Natalie tells Athena, "You were blessed," that's a heavy statement. Ask any human - I'm talking about the real world, your friends and neighbors - what it's like to try to have a kid. If you get pregnant right away, it seems like the easiest thing in the world. (Especially if you're sixteen and thought the first time doesn't count.) Pass 35 and go a few months without any positive pregnancy test results, and the whole thing seems a hell of a lot harder. You check out fertility treatments, which aren't as bad as those Cylon farm labs back on Caprica, where people had cyborg probes jammed up their privates around the clock. But they're pretty close. You feel like any moment the miracle might kick in, and another month goes by and it doesn't.

Or maybe it does - and you do, in fact, feel blessed, and see that, Cylon God or no, some things in life are out of our hands.

But the Cylons are not blessed. Way back in season one or two, we got a pretty brief explanation of how Athena managed to get pregnant when all the other Cylon skinjobs couldn't pull it off. The explanation was, Athena and Helo loved each other. Maybe when this is all over, we'll learn there's more to it than that - but that's all we've got so far. They pulled it off, and they're very rare, and the other Cylons are envious. So when Athena notices Hera drawing weird pictures of the Sixes? And she has visions of Hera being taken away, and then loses track of her in the night and sees her hanging out with another Cylon? Naturally she flips.

A lot of people flip in this episode. First, the crippled rebel basestar jumps right in the middle of the human fleet - without its escort, and without any radio. Naturally everyone in the fleet goes batshit, and they're about to blow the thing to dust when Tigh has a flash of intuition and shouts: "WEAPONS HOLD!" This is the second time a Final Fiver has stopped a massive battle between Cylon and human fleets - if you're keeping score.

But even if we're holding our weapons, the whole episode is spent negotiating a fragile truce that falls apart pretty much immediately. The Cylons want to use the Humans to help them get D'anna, who can help them find the Final Five. The Humans also want the Final Five, to help them get to Earth, and promise to let the Cylons and their Final Five go away once they get that sorted out. But neither side trusts each other. And factions on each side mistrust their leaders: the Quorum doesn't trust Roslin, and the Centurions may or may not go along with whatever plan the skinjobs are hatching. And the Final Fivers - represented tonight by Tigh - hate the whole plan, because they don't want to be revealed for who they are, plus, they have no clue where the hell Earth is anyway, so why can't people quit bothering them?

Like I said, I love how anxious the whole episode felt, especially on the baseship. After so many episodes depicting the Cylon's home as a surreal, tranquil head trip, it was great to see the monitors on the fritz and soldiers, trigger-fingers happy, storming the place and totally killing the vibe. They cap it off well at the end of the episode, when Roslin and Baltar are standing beside the hybrid, they plug her in, and the thing screams - "JUMP!" And away they go!

And finally, we also got back to the Opera House, to see a vision of Six and Baltar holding the baby while Athena and Roslin run around in a panic. I can't say I'm that intrigued by the Opera House, mainly because I'm pretty sure Moore and the gang have been totally winging this one since the beginning. But it's a cool set, and it's nice to come back to that shot of Six and Baltar imagining themselves as the foster parents of a brand new species. The only thing missing was that freaky white crib. I actually tried to get one just like that for my kid. Good thing I didn't find one; it probably would've freaked him out.

Grade: A-

- Kudos again to the writers for slipping in so much pulpy dialogue in tonight's episode. When Roslin confronts Tory about her affair with Baltar, she quips, "You've been spotted down there enough times to be a charter member of his nymph squad." I feel for her: she's discovered that Tory's unreliable, and she doesn't even know the half of it. If only she still had Billy; at least he never would've slept with Baltar.

- During their first negotiations, Natalie told Adama she'd give him the coordinates for the Resurrection Hub, if he gave her his word that he'd meet her terms. Did anyone else think about how different it would be if she'd asked Roslin?

- Was it just me, or did Michael Hogan as Tigh look younger and more baby-faced tonight? Or maybe he's in a "shaving every day" phase right now.

- The podcasts this season have been the best yet. Ron Moore goes on at length about rough drafts of the storylines, weird production details, and most of all, every single mistake that anyone on the crew has ever made, no matter how small. (Col. Tigh was wearing Admiral's pips? I knew something looked wrong!) He's good about steering clear of spoilers, but he's dropped a couple interesting clues, and this one seems safe to share: you know the book Adama's been reading Roslin, Searider Falcon? Moore says we should keep an eye on it. For starters, it's the one thing Roslin carries with her on her ride to the baseship. I guess she knew she was going to have a long flight.

- If I ever start dying or need a leg cut off, remind me not to check into this sick bay. Gaeta has some nice pipes, but the performance would set me on edge.

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