"For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars -- pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time." That's pretty much what it's like. On the one hand you're looking at the last episode of the series, before the finale, so it's mostly ligature and following up on the chess moves of the last two weeks. On the other hand it's by personal fave Michael Taylor, with Olmos directing, which means even if it were a frenzy it would be beautiful. But it is, of course, meditative and lyrical: Watching the story weave Saul's forgotten F5 history, no-longer-neurotypical Sam, Bill's innate atheism and inability to let go of his ship, Kara's life and death, Boomer's thousand regrets and Laura's concept of "home" into a fairly well-formed equation is a trip indeed.
So Kara wanders around peeing in front of people and offering Sam some Kevorkian therapy before a well-timed piece of Baltar Bullshit and a sweet little speech from Lee help her pull it together and stop making her existential issues everybody's problem. Gaius blows her spot about being a zombie, on the way to his usual religious crap, but nobody even really cares. Meanwhile, the 268s have plugged Sam into a Hybrid tub in the hopes of rebooting him, but instead he Hybrid-connects himself to the Cylon goo and is now pretty much Battlegod Godlactica. The Colonel reacts to this with some gritty annoyance.
The Opera House dreams are back, and of course Athena's completely undone anyway. (To review: prostituted, raped, imprisoned for years, forced near-abortion, kid died, whoops kid kidnapped, shot in gut by husband, kid kidnapped, nearly raped, kid kidnapped, husband raped, kid kidnapped.) Since there's nothing left to throw at Athena, the heartbreak is coming from Helo this week: trust me when I say you do not ever want to watch Karl Agathon beg for anything, especially a suicide mission to find his lost daughter. It's overwhelmingly sad.
Boomer spends the flight back to the necropolitan freak show that is the Colony trying not to throttle Hera. At some point, bored out of her mind, she decides to project that gross house on Picon... Only to find Hera in there with her. Away from the drudgery of kidnapping, those two crazy kids find out they have more in common than they thought, and when she finally hands the child over to Cavil for vivisection, they are both bummed.
And overlaid across all of this is the story of sixty-something repair crew -- half Cylon, half human -- who die after another huge hull-breach. (Thanks, Boomer!) After a self-sacrificing Six gives Dealino some perspective and a dying Eight nudges Saul toward accepting his forgotten past, we're treated to a truly beautiful funeral in which the Final Five and Rebel Cylons, the Gaius people, and the Admiral and his crew each say their goodbyes to the fallen deckhands. That shit alone is worth the price of admission.
So: Bill literally says that destiny and the God(s) can go frak themselves, Caprica makes Gaius cry and feel crummy, Lee makes Kara cry and feel great, Sam is magic now, Saul feels responsible for the 268s, Boomer might actually get it together, the Fightin' Agathons are completely fucked right now, and Laura's not got a lot of time left. What she does have, though, is a joint of that righteous New Caprica kind bud, so she totally smokes Bill out in sickbay preparatory to rambling about her cabin for awhile.
Moving forward: the rapidly failing Laura talks to Bill about abandoning the frakked-up mess that is Galactica in favor of using the Rebel Basestar as a military HQ. At the new Quorum, Franks (the pretty lady from Gaius's trial and Tigh's wife IRL) leads the charge to take Galactica apart for her pieces -- pretty much reversing Cain's first mistake, which is nice. So Bill cries and drinks and froths all on the mouth -- there's even a scene with crazy and white paint, though you'll be happy to know that at no point in this episode do Bill Adama and Leoben fuck -- but of course, eventually he gives in. Tigh balks, but Bill just hands him yet more crunk and promises to send the old girl off in style.
Hera is playing in Galactica's CIC, sitting on that table where they move the ships around, surrounded with dirt and debris. Hera is running through the Opera House; Hera is surrounded by sparks. Hera is playing in Galactica's CIC, driving Galactica into a Basestar like a fist from heaven. Hera isn't really any of these places. Hera's crying on a Raptor, speeding away from her family once again, into the arms of another one entirely. Hera is surrounded by sparks.
A knuckledragger Six stomps past the sparks and up to Dealino, the man who let Hera go because all Eights look the same. He's been complaining; she says the repairs aren't going so well because of Galactica's inferior alloys. An Eight watches as Dealino complains about the lack of the goo's efficacy; it's biological, it doesn't smell good. It smells like the inside of a latrine. Dealino also smells like a latrine, Six says, and before they can fight the Eight ushers her away. Eights don't like fighting. Sixes don't like bullshit, which means they're willing to fight to keep the machine working. "Lady, you work on your side," says Dealino, "And I'll work on mine!" The Eight pulls her away, still screaming at him to stop bitching; the Eight looks like any other Eight to him. The Six looks like any other Six to him. He stays on his side, they stay on theirs: that's what home means to him, using the enemy to keep his ship alive. He slams his helmet down and gets back to work.
Sam blinks, and the lights respond; they flash in Bill's quarters. Ellen's still persisting in thinking of Cavil as John, worried that the whole Boomer plan was to get Hera back to the Colony. She blames herself. Kara worries that she'll be dissected; Ellen explains that the Colony is, for all intents and purposes, "home." It's where the Final Five took the Centurions when they got to the Twelve Colonies, to teach them resurrection in the Armistice. Tory stares: Home. Lee gets in Saul's face, pissy as ever, carrying his father's stress, caught between it and the new Quorum of ships. "So you would have the Galactica jump into a Cylon's hornets' nest, risk everything, for one solitary, single child. Is that what you're telling me, Colonel?" He speaks for the Fleet. This is what a President does. His anger is a proxy for theirs, in these little meetings; it's like a plaintiff's lawyer weeping for the jury. A real and unreal thing.
Bill is getting angry too, as Ellen stands. "She's not just any child. With Caprica Six's miscarriage, Hera is our people's only hope of avoiding eventual extinction." Kara looks up at him, to explain about Slick's piano and her father, knowing that Cylon survival is not going to sway him. Ready to be a girl with a vector again: "She may be our only hope, too. I just..." She checks herself and stands with them. "We just experienced something remarkable." She explains how Hera wrote the notes to her father's song, and Saul tells him it's the same song he was hearing during the Trial, when he was going crazy, before the Nebula. Essentially "the same song that led us to Earth," Kara glosses: "Something is happening here, something that is greater than all of us, and that little girl is in the middle of it. She's the key, sir." Kara's been the key a dozen times; Kara's been in the hands of the Cylons' medical curiosity before too. "In other words, it's our destiny to go after her. Right?" Kara nods, waiting for him to give in like he always does.