A very basic point-by-point mini review (for those interested, there will not be a single occurrence of the phrases 'should have been,' 'pre-planned,' or 'filler ep'):
- A good episode that captured the chaos from the aftermath of last week's conclusion. I really liked seeing and hearing Galactica's collapse.
- Although the jury is still out for me on Kara's 'destiny' I liked how it was handled here. It worked into Baltar's story rather gracefully. I'm not sure if I find his broadcasts inspiring or absurd, but for the moment they seem to be working well in how they affect both him and the fleet.
- I like that the Quorum is vying for Galactica's parts. In all the mysticism being tossed around (another aspect that for me the jury remains out on) this is one of the pragmatic realities that originally attracted me to the series. Further, I also like Adama's final decision to abandon ship. There's something very dramatically satisfying to me about this concession.
- I DID NOT like the opening sequence involving the nameless mechanic, the Six, and the relentless vacuum of space. Was this selfless display of sacrifice and heroism really necessary? I felt it was a well-executed disaster scene undermined by a bit of staged silliness.
- I'm on the fence about Boomer's scenes with Hera, particularly the ending with Hera behind the curtain wailing for Boomer as Boomer cries a river. Slightly heavy-handed. I feel like it was just a variation of scene I've watched countless times before. There are times when I think this series doesn't have faith enough in its viewers to recognize the stakes at hand without being strong armed into it. (Also: I hope that Boomer doesn't just pull an aboutface and snatch Hera away from Cavil. If this happens, it will drastically reduce my opinion of the psychological mastermind Cavil.)
- What little was seen of Helo and Athena worked well, I thought. Helo's later confrontation with Adama really made him look both desperate and pathetic. I also like the very small beat near the beginning when Adama orders the SAR mission be kept from both Helo and Athena. Given their history, I wouldn't trust them either.
- Adama's scene with Roslin was enjoyable, calling back the also enjoyable scene from 'Unfinished Business'.
- Anders being hooked up like a Hybrid was... something. As with most things, we'll have to see where it goes. Certainly creepy, though. The actor did a great job selling it, I'll give him that.
- My biggest criticism of the episode is the same one I've had of 'Blood on the Scales' and 'Deadlock' and that is that it seemed to have a lot of missing material. I understand this will be one of the episodes to be expanded on DVD, which is something I am completely fine with. In the end, any show lives on in DVD format and I like that the producers will be allowing some of these last episodes to stretch their legs outside of their constricted time slot. (Also: I really thought these episodes were going to get some extra runtime as per some article I read months ago. What the hell happened to this? There are times that I genuinely wish networks would make a slight concession for the good of their product and this is definitely one of those times.)
All this being said, I enjoyed the episode. It was certainly written to segue into the two-part finale and in that sense it did its job. On our very misleading poll I voted 'above average' in that there were some great moments that made the show standout. On retrospect 'average' might have been better considering MOST episodes of BSG are well-made with standout moments. In this case, 'average' is not a bad thing, especially considering that the average episode of BSG that one would see each week is actually quite good.