Monday, January 12, 2009

Season 4 Episode 9
“The Hub”
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Paul Edwards

Twelve Cylon models
Seven are known
Four live in secret
One will be revealed

So we get to see what became of the damaged base ship and all on board—particularly President Roslin—and it’s a doozy.

It turns out that the Hybrid is panicked, thus her sudden jump (merely the first of several), and it’s revealed shortly that the Hybrid is panicked since she’s detected that Natalie is no longer on-line (if that’s the correct term).
The Eight in the Hybrid’s chamber soon determines that the Hybrid is jumping towards the Resurrection Hub, so the mission still looks like a go.
During each jump though—in the interstice between points in actual physical space—Laura meets the deceased Elosha (I’ve missed her), in an apparently deserted Galactica. She’s then shown that the only people here are the Adamas and Starbuck, gathered around a cancer-ridden Laura on her deathbed.

That alone was such a heart-rending idea: of finding a dying Roslin in an empty Galactica.
Elosha tells her that she doesn’t really love anyone, that she hasn’t, in effect, opened herself up to anyone (a sentiment echoed when Baltar insists that one can communicate with the Hybrid, if one focuses on her, which Roslin seems incapable of doing).
Then, as the Hybrid continues to make repeated jumps, Laura’s tutelage at Elosha’s side unfolds over the course of the episode.

Meanwhile, Helo finds that the Eight in the Hybrid chamber, curious about Athena and her hybrid child, accessed Athena’s memories when she last downloaded. So basically, this Eight has Athena’s memories up to that point, when Helo was forced to shoot her so she could download back to the Cylons, and retrieve Hera.
Later on, there’s some tension between the Galactica pilots and the Cylon pilots, but the pseudo-Athena makes a speech about needing to rely on each other, particularly once the Hub has been destroyed, because at that point, everyone will be in the same boat in the mortality sweepstakes.

Also, Roslin gives Helo express orders to take D’Anna to her (and her alone) once she is retrieved. Helo tries to argue that this isn’t what was agreed upon, and isn’t honest, but Roslin claims that this is about the security of the human race.
Roslin says this is what the Cylons would do, in my place. And Helo counters, No, not all of them. Not the Eights.
Roslin says she can’t afford sentimentality right now, and she can’t afford Helo to be sentimental either (“Captain, you are not married to the entire production line…”).

Over at the Hub, Cavil de-boxes D’Anna himself, telling her of the civil war, and trying to convince her to help end it.
Cavil claims to be uninterested in the identities of the Final Five, as he still firmly believes they aren’t meant to know them.
D’Anna ends up killing Cavil, making Boomer run for the proverbial hills.

The attack on the Hub commences, during which, a number of events take place:

We see the jumping of the dying Pike back to the Fleet (which then of course, led to the Fleet finding the debris of this very battle).

Helo and the pseudo-Athena find D’Anna, taking her back to the base ship.
When they get on board, Helo reveals the change of plans, telling the pseudo-Athena that he may not agree with it, but he’s only following orders.
Disillusioned, pseudo-Athena lets Helo go on his way, with D’Anna.

While preaching/ranting to a Centurion, an explosion wounds Baltar severely, and he’s bleeding heavily when he’s brought to Laura, who tries to attend to his injuries.
Under the morpha haze, Baltar makes mention of his guilt, which has now been lifted from him, by the mercy and love of God. In an amazingly tense scene, Laura asks after the nature of this guilt, and Baltar admits to his culpability in the annihilation of the human race.
Mary McDonnell is amazing here, as she absorbs the shock of what she’s suspected for the longest time: that Baltar is guilty.
Baltar asks her to pray with him, but instead, she undresses the wound and allows it to bleed freely, ignoring Baltar’s pleas.

But the Hybrid jumps again, away from the battle, and Laura is taught one more lesson, as she witnesses her own death, and Adama’s heartbreaking reaction.
Elosha tells Laura that she needs to learn to love, and that even a bad man can feel guilt just as much as a good man. The moment of Laura’s conversion is astounding, as is her desperation when the jump ends and she scrambles to stop Baltar’s bleeding.

Helo arrives with D’Anna, and smartly, acknowledging that she’s the only Three left in the entire universe, uses her knowledge of the Final Five’s identities as leverage for her safety.
She says she won’t divulge the information till she’s safely been transported to the Fleet.
(Though not before a singular fake-out moment of shock as D’Anna makes Laura think that she’s one of the Five. At least, it seems to have been a fake-out. I mean, I was leaning towards Laura being the last, unrevealed Cylon. If it isn’t her, who is? One of the Adamas? Starbuck, after all?)

We then rejoin Adama, on his lone vigil, as the base ship arrives, and the beautiful reunion between Laura and Bill, where Laura finally says, “I love you,” and ol’ Rockface half-jokes, “About time.”

So, great lead-up to the midseason finale, and a big part of why this one works so well is that, unlike Baltar’s conversion, Laura’s feels more genuine, the emotions distinctly more palpable.
And, even though both were presented as arcs that moved through an entire episode, this particular arc seemed more potent, more believable.
I’ll cop to the possibility though that this one works better for me since I’m emotionally invested in Laura and her fate, whereas I still can’t be bothered to give a rat’s a$ about Baltar. (Sorry, Gaius, but as it stands, you’re in better hands with Laura than you are with me…)
And it’s not that I can’t forgive the poor schmuck, but that I still can’t feel any remorse from the sodding bastard. It still feels like he’s leading us on, the way he always has.

Now, it’s not as simple as saying Mary McDonnell is a more genuine performer than James Callis (though I feel an argument could be made for that point).
I think it’s more that Baltar doesn’t seem to be a character made to be sympathetic (at least in the beginning), unlike Laura, who is diagnosed with cancer from the miniseries’ first episode.
But then again, the events of Season 3 made me care for Tigh in a way I’d never have anticipated from BSG’s early days.
Of course, Tigh didn’t cause the deaths of untold millions…
I dunno. I guess I’m still decidedly anti-Gaius.

Oh, and it’s great to see Lucy Lawless back.


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