Spoilers for the midseason premiere of Battlestar Galactica after the jump:
As I’d said earlier, it was hard to write about this episode in advance, because there was nearly nothing I could discuss without getting into spoilers. See what I meant? A few minutes in and we have: (1) the Four remembering their past lives on Earth; (2) the discovery that you and I, seemingly, are Cylons; (3) The timeframe of Earth’s nuking (2,000 years before the landing); (4) Starbuck finding her own self in the cockpit of her Viper, crashed, presumably 2,000 years ago (She will lead them to their end?); (5) Ellen.
There’s so much story here that it’s easy to ignore the writing/acting aspects altogether, but even in an episode with so much data to process, this debut did an outstanding job of converying, in quick strokes, the mood of the fleet in response to the shattering news. (Imagine: in one instant, you lose both your hope for survival and, more or less, the core of your religion.) The silent shake of Roslin’s head when she returns to address her people; Dee’s shocking, abrupt suicide; the dwindling whiteboard count of remaining humanity; and Edward James Olmos finding new depths of darkness in Adama, trying to commit suicide by Tigh.
There are enough obvious questions that I’ll leave you to go list and go over them in the comments; I have no magic theories myself. (Were we Earthlings always Cylons or did we create them? Did Kara precipitate Earth’s destruction by arriving? Why would her skull keep its hair for 2,000 years? Why was Leoben so flabbergasted by the discovery? And—since we don’t all look like Anders, et al.—why were those Four, and not everyone else, reborn after Earth’s destruction? [And where? And how?] Oh, and of course… Ellen? That last reveal, by the way, was left off the critics’ screener that Sci Fi sent out, making it seem more likely that Starbuck was the fifth. Nicely played.)
All of those questions will be a lot of fun to wrestle with for the coming weeks, but the most interesting one is the one that BSG has unexpectedly made the focus of its final episodes: after your gods fail you, after you lose what you have been told was your last hope for survival…