From the outset, Battlestar’s war between the Colonial Fleet and the Cylons has also been a battle between the humans’ polytheistic belief and the Toasters’ single-god faith. That dispute, once a nifty parallel to the religious wars raging in the Middle East and elsewhere, lately feels like a contrived plot point: Baltar’s transformation into a Jesus-like leader for the monotheistic movement within the human race.
But Friday the issue inspired one of Battlestar's most moving episodes — one that also dropped huge clues about Earth and the identity of the final Cylon model. It was a dark night of the soul for the character who has become the show’s spiritual spokesperson: Laura Roslin.
They Have a Plan
The lesser focus of the episode was Starbuck’s meeting with the Cylon Hybrid for answers about Earth. There’s something inherently lame about characters who speak in pseudo-mystic ways, so it was great to finally get a straightforward response from that albino chick floating in Elmer’s Glue.
The Hybrid more or less gave us three teasers: Laura Roslin will decode her weird “opera house” visions; Xena will return to out the Final Five; and, oh yeah, Starbuck is going to destroy everything. We’ve got some fun puzzles to dig into now, but Starbuck still skipped the most obvious question: Aren’t you Hybrids just a ripoff of the precogs in Minority Report?
The better plotline centered around the discussion of dying between Roslin, who’s undergoing another wave of cancer treatments, and Emily (Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor), a fellow sick-bay patient whose illness is more advanced.
Bonding over their shared suffering, they debated the importance of faith in the face of impending mortality. Saintly Roslin has turned prickly to combat her fear of death, but sparked by Emily’s calm acceptance of her fate and recent conversion to Baltar’s one-god preachings, Roslin rediscovered her vulnerability, opening up about her memories of her religious mother’s agonizing last days.
Roslin’s spirituality has guided her for quite some time, but here her certainty was stripped away as she took the first steps toward acknowledging her doom. By episode’s end, she was even starting to take Baltar’s ramblings seriously. In Battlestar most riddles have answers (we hope!), but Roslin’s journey has clearly become a quest to accept that some mysteries never get resolved. —Tim Grierson