Battlestar Galactica: Hub
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Battlestar Galactica: Hub

But really, this is Laura Roslin's episode. (And by that I mean Mary McDonnell's latest shot at an Emmy.) You'll recall that after Roslin became President in the mini-series, she lost her ex-schoolteacher sensitivities. She started making decisions between killing a lot of people and killing a lot of other people. She tricked her enemies and tossed Cylons out of airlocks. Recently, we learned that she's been hording authority in the Executive Branch and passing creepy, Cheney-esque acts to secure her power.

Tonight, in a series of visions, Roslin hears from her old pal Elosha. You may remember her from seasons one and two: she was Roslin's priest, right until she stepped on a landmine. She's come to remind Roslin about an old saying: "A people is only as strong as the body of its leader." Except she's not really talking about Roslin's body, but her spiritual condition. Which looks grim.

Luckily, ace writer Jane Espenson gives Roslin two chances to redeem herself. The last is the sweetest: at the end of the episode, the Cylon baseship jumps to the rendezvous spot, where they find Adama floating around in his Raptor, reading that book and waiting for Roslin. They're reunited, and close the episode on a tender embrace. I know we all wonder exactly what goes on in their relationship, and how many times they've ... canoodled. Personally, I've never been that curious. They share a kind of true love that goes beyond the physical or even the emotional. It's the kind of love you read about in books and dream about before you hit puberty. They're there for each other. And while it's a major league cliche to say that true love conquers all, this time I'll give them a pass, 'cause I love the idea of these two tough people supporting each other so completely.

But Roslin's other shot at redemption is much more shocking. Baltar, who's also riding around on the baseship, winds up in the wrong corridor at the wrong time and gets hit by shrapnel. He's bleeding from a gutwound, and Roslin starts to save him with a medic's kit and a shot of drugs - but then, as he's lying on a table, one thing leads to another and he confesses to her that he's the one who gave the access codes to the Cylons and enabled their entire attack. While he's serenely giving up his biggest, darkest secret and blaming it all on "God's will," Roslin shudders and wheezes in horror and rage, and rips that bandage right off of him, leaving him die. But when another vision of Elosha causes her to think twice, she suddenly lurches back and starts patching him up all over again, and begging him not to die. Like Adama last week, she finds her limits - and seems a little more human.

Roslin has one more big scene, when she interrogates - sorry, "lightly questions" - D'Anna (Lucy Lawless), the model three Cylon that they went all the way to the Resurrection Hub to find. D'Anna knows who the final five are. But she's not naming them until she's safely aboard the human fleet. Which makes you wonder: did Roslin think she would just give up the names? Didn't seem like she had much of a plan here.

There are a few other holes in tonight's episode. Roslin double-crosses the Cylons to get her hands on D'Anna - but strangely, they don't seem to mind. Or at least, they don't throw her out an airlock, which is what I would've done (and what Roslin would've done). The only person who seems annoyed is the model eight who's been working with Helo all through tonight's episode. This eight is the same model as Helo's wife Athena - and she's also downloaded some of her memories, including the juicy ones. Imagine if your spouse had a creepy twin who's heard all about your sex life and knows how you like your backrubs, and you get some idea of what it must've been like to hang around with her tonight. And now that Helo - the one human on this mission who wanted a square deal for the Cylons - has betrayed her to her face, I'm guessing we haven't seen the last of her.

What really makes tonight's episode a winner, though, is the humor. Baltar's in rare form tonight, whether he's shouting at the Hybrid or preaching crypto-salvation to a Centurion. Here's the best line of the year: he tries to "reason" with the Hybrid by leaning down and going, "Shhhhhh. Hey! Hey, stop jumping the ship. All right?"

And he really nails the arrogance that must have made the Cylons rebel against the humans in the first place. It's easy to forget that until they figured out how to make weapons and baseships, the Cylons were treated like dogs. Or worse: they were treated like a copy of Windows - kicked around, screamed at, and hard rebooted at will. Now that the Cylons aren't exactly "in charge," I'm sure those hard feelings are coming back. By the end of the episode, the humans and the Cylons still have some kind of a truce. Can it last all the way to Earth?

Grade: A

- Hey, so, they really got us with last week's teaser, didn't they? D'Anna looks at Roslin and tells her she's the final Cylon - and then she starts laughing! She was just kidding! We spent all week speculating about a practical joke. That almost makes up for tonight's teaser, which gives away every damn thing you might've wondered about next weeks' season finale. I swear this is the last time I'll complain about it, but: Screw you, SciFi Channel. Why can't you just stick a lot of gunfights and bare asses in the teasers, and leave the big plot twists alone?

- I continue to like this season's shots of the baseship better than any of the scenes in season three. Instead of a weird, mysterious dreamscape, it looks like a nightclub after all the lights have been switched on and you can see how sticky the floor got. And bonus points to Roslin and Baltar for just screaming at the Hybrid every time it started reading a vacuum cleaner instruction manual at them.

- Roslin has a vision every time the baseship jumps. D'Anna had a vision every time she downloaded to a new body. Is this another sign that transitions - jumps from one life to death, from dreams to waking, from one reality to another - are the key to how humanity will find Earth?

- And here's a question: where do you all think Earth "is," anyway? Is it in their galaxy, and if they go 90,000 light years due north, they'll find it? Or is it all a state of mind? I've been overthinking this a lot lately, and I've got myself convinced they're all Micronauts. What do you think?

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