President Roslin's eerie self-possession in the miniseries is finally explained through a series of flashbacks detailing the absolute heaps of horror that life chucked at her head before her political career even got started: this is a woman who is no stranger to tragedy, in more ways than we ever knew. The beginning of the romance between Caprica and Gaius Baltar is explored; her tenderness and affection for his insane father go a long way toward explaining his blindness to her agenda. And we get to see Sam Anders rambling pseudophilosophically (think "gelatinous orbs" and "prehensile paws," mark II) in the most delightfully sports-pro way, paralleling his new Hybridness.
We're treated to the first night the Twins ever met, and the total crazy that Kara engendered in Lee from minute one, and learn that Bill was even more upset about the decommissioning than he let on in the mini. It's pretty cool to get flashbacks not to the day of the attacks, but at least two years before them: Laura and Kara without a fear or pain in the world, Caprica and Gaius picking carefully through the minefield of their own defenses, and just how drunk Lee used to secretly get. There are also a walk in a marketplace fountain (beautifully mournful) and a fight with a pigeon (funny and foreboding and sad). Some really great images tying threads together across the whole of the series. It's soft, moving, and has a light touch indeed, which plays a good counterpoint to the plot-plot-plot that was to be expected.
Which we have, in abundance: In the now, it's pretty much nonstop entertainment: Cavil's 145s start "testing" Hera at the Colony, freaking Boomer out. Chief's in stir for getting Hera kidnapped in the first place, and pretty much hates Cylons more than anyone ever did, despite being one. Adama suffers a massive change of heart about the Hera situation, gets over his innate fear of Hybrids and nonsense, and eventually gets the Colony's coordinates out of the Anders-Thraces. (Oh, and it's pretty much openly stated that Bill's going to be flying the last Viper out of a launch tube at some point, which will be cool and probably heartbreaking in some way.)
Shit goes into overdrive as Bill draws a literal line in the sand for a final mission -- taking Galactica (or a strike force of Raptors if necessary) to the Colony for a final battle -- and Skulls and Racetrack (of course) learn that the Colony is parked outside a black hole. Because there's always going to be a black hole. Laura, the Five, and the Twins are obviously in, and Caprica, and the still-destroyed Agathons. Bill has to manually take Doc Cottle off the volunteer list, since he's the only doctor in the Fleet besides John Hodgeman. Other people I can see are Hoshi, Ishay, Dealino, that bald guy that's everywhere... The full list is a lot longer, obviously, but there's not so much of a focus on who's where as you might think.
All in all, not a whole lot happened, but what did happen was gorgeous. I'm iffy on whether the flashbacks will lend the story anything more than texture, given the circumstantial nature of any thematic elements this week. However, I happily would have taken an entire episode of them, meaningful or not, just because of the performances and getting to see our kids comparatively unbroken. It's my hope that the Caprica City flashbacks continue or expand next week, but I can also see it being a conceit for this episode only. So much of this story has been about, and is now particularly about, the end of stories. What better way to close the loop than to show the tiny and mundane (or in Laura's case, unendingly brutal) apocalypses that came before?
Also loving the whole Remember the Alamo thing and crossing the red line, because that's where RDM's love of Cool Shit intersects with my own. Chief's complete self-hating dehumanizing of all Cylons was a welcome surprise, but not a shock. Seeing Adama tenderly remind Kara that she's his daughter, and welcome Laura to the final mission with a loving "Madame President," followed by Kara propping her dying ass up and softly holding her hand, were all pretty much worth the price of admission.
So if this mission is go, and it clearly is, then the cliff from which the episode hangs, basically, is what Gaius is going to do. On the one hand, Baltar's managed to amass a great deal of political capital in the last few months, to the point of making a nearly valid play for a seat on the Council. On the other, Lee hands him the same "you are still total bullshit" line as Caprica did last week and Laura awhile back. So does Gaius step across the line and leave his cult to get weirder in his absence, or stay safe and sucky forever? Guess we'll find out next week: Two hours, hella fighting, and more than likely zero survivors. Not to mention whatever's planned for that damned black hole.
The singularity is the point at the center of a black hole, in which the gravity of a collapsing star has grown so strong that not even light can escape; we don't know what happens then, or there. The singularity is the moment when robots awake to consciousness, and the world changes forever; we can't look and see what that will be like. The singularity is the location of change, of dying, of the end of everything; a door in the mind; the space between five stars. The singularity is the Maelstrom, that goes around and around. In fact, if the singularity does have infinite density, you can't even think near it: the singularity is a cloud of unknowing. Change feels like dying because it is: you can't know what's on the other side of the door until you walk through, and everything is burnt off. The singularity represents a location in spacetime in which general relativity is turned on its head, and spacetime stops meaning anything at all. All of these things are true.
None of these things are true. You can't imagine a black hole changing over time, because time doesn't mean what you think it means anymore. And neither does space. The breakdown of general relativity means that you've reached the edge of space, and time; the singularity becomes a place marker for where our physical universe ends, and can more easily be understood as an event, rather than an object. The singularity is a moment in time, and what we're really looking at are the processes occurring in the matter nearby.
Where the Hybrid lives, it's everyplace and noplace. eutopia. In the middle of the Maelstrom, you're everywhere and nevermind; we're all of us every age we're ever been, somewhere in there. You'd be surprised sometimes who gets the talking stick. In the singularity, time and space spread out like a chessboard and you can see it all happening, how it fits together, who painted the sky. The way the world ends; who its author may be.
"The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork."
A galaxy. A bird flapping against the sky, caught behind glass. A planet, blue and white. Day breaking. The rush of rain, like tears. The surface, the oceans, the harbor of Caprica City, Before the Fall. It is beautiful. Irulan wasn't fucking around when she said beginnings are hard. I've never loved anything as much as I love this and I don't know how to do it, so I will begin like this, just so: William Adama is retiring his Battlestar.