Yeah. Holy balls. So Ellen's murder on New Caprica lead to a resurrection that only Cavil knew about. He kept her locked up for a year and a half, with only himself and Boomer for company, and they discussed everything: where the skinjobs came from, why Cavil's such a dick, why there's no Number Seven, and who invented the One True God. Once this story -- modeled on Sartre's eponymous play, naturally -- catches up to us, Cavil decides to vivisect Ellen so that he can rebuild the Resurrection Hub; Boomer finally pulls her shit together, realizes Cavil is creepy and awful, and escapes with Ellen, returning her to the Fleet in a Colonial Raptor. (Where Galen is. Wifeless. And still adorable. And a Cylon. And OMG.)
The damage to Galactica is way worse than we ever thought: tiny hairline fractures through every single bulkhead and beam. Chief offers to apply Cylon tech -- a biological agent that will bond with the metal and strengthen it as it matures -- but Adama is not interested in desecrating her broken-ass bones that much. Then he gets super duper drunk and realizes that having his ship come apart around him would be way worse, so he says yes: Galactica herself will become the ultimate jury-rigged cybrid. The best part about this sequence is when Chief says he can fix the old girl, but Bill better forget about jumping her again anytime soon. Laura's not gonna like that!
What she does like is Lee, and the idea of having no Quorum at all, because the whole concept is dumb at this point. She says she'll stay in office for the time being, but he'll be the puppetmaster, and can invent whatever system of democracy he feels like. I agree in theory, because that's exactly what they should do, but it's the kind of thing you don't want Playa Palacios finding out about. You know?
Caprica's son kicks for the first time, and she and babydaddy Saul are way too happy about it. On any other show, you'd think that this was because Ellen is coming back, and their love is a forever love, and hot blonde catfight, and Caprica has to be a single mom, and she and Gaius can be mommies together. But because it's this show, it seems way more likely somebody's going to come along and kill the shit out of that baby, and then Caprica Six is going to destroy them into particles.
Meanwhile, that bullet in Sam's head is pressing on his Earthly memories -- and causing him to quote entire passages from Paradise Lost, naturally -- and he remembers everything about the Final Five, where they came from, where they met, and why Cavil's such a dick.* He fills in the blanks for the Dylan Four, while getting hit with harder and harder seizures, until Kara finally wigs out and -- against Sam's screaming wishes -- lets my buddy and Resident Expert John Hodgman operate on his sexy brain. So of course, because Kara actually had a rational thought and tried to do save her husband's life, Sam is now in a braindead coma and can't answer any more questions at all. And boy, the Q&A of this episode is intense. Normally this is where the recaplet would end, but instead the explanation part is longer than the actual account of what happened, is how intensely explainy this was.
If I actually have this straight: Thirteen Tribes set out from Kobol, and the Thirteenth (Cylons) settled on Earth, where they stopped resurrecting and had babies instead. They created robots, I think, who went crazy on them and threw them a big old war just like ours did. Luckily, a group of five scientist-types were able to rediscover resurrection technology, and download themselves into new bodies at the moment of their holocaust. (After being warned by mysterious and invisible Sexy Chip People, no less.) Tory and Galen were the hot young couple, Saul and Ellen were the hot old couple, and Sam was apparently like what if Bob Dylan hung out with Watson and Crick. So they took a sublight voyage backwards along Athena's Arrow, to find the other Tribes and tell them in no uncertain terms, Do Not Fuck With Robots.
Sadly, the robots did not go unfucked with. The F5 got here too late, but forged the Armistice out of promises to help the Centurions create skinjobs. This they did: eight humanoid models, to further the toasters' goal of becoming more like their creators (as seen in the whole Hybrid lineage). Yes, I did say eight models. For a total of thirteen, at the fulcrum point of which is Seven, a model named Daniel that never made it off the production floor (except for the one that knocked up Socrata Thrace, I will bet you one trillion dollars) because Cavil, the firstborn son, was jealous of him in an insane Biblical grabbing-the-foot kinda way. Then he murdered and boxed the F5, and released them every few years into the population until the holocaust was ready to go. Which is where we came in.
The reason that Cavil is such a dick, though, is because he resents the Five, particularly Ellen, for creating him in such an old, creepy body. They seem to agree that the F5 made the human bodies and weird hormonal imbalances we've grown to love in the Significant Seven because the One True God would approve of that -- but then also, the OTG seems to have been invented by the Centurions in the first place, which makes no sense. Even Chief finds that weird, so I'm sure there's more to it. (Like, maybe a whole series coming to your screen fairly soon, with a writing staff including but not limited to Jane, the wonderful fellow who wrote this episode, and Michael Taylor.) So Brother John Cavil gives a fairly moving and convincing speech for why he's so pissed off, and you finally get Cavil: he's basically like Pinocchio going, "Really? Lederhosen? Fuckin' forever?" Only instead of singing a little song about it and kicking Ellen in her shapely Gepetto shins, he knowingly and nastily:
Destroyed utterly the life and civilizations on twelve planets, burnt the knowledge of their creators out of his brothers and sisters, killed Daniel and boxed Three, wiped and boxed the Final Five just to make sure they ended up in the holocaust, had a day-long conversation with Chief about how he wasn't a Cylon even though he totally was, tried his best to kill off the idea of God(s) Himself(s), plucked out his father's eyeball, and fucked his own mother while she was in mortal mode on New Caprica. Moral of story? You Never Fuck With Pinocchio. Welcome to the last act of the last season of the very best TV show of all time, and here's your Dramamine.
The first layer is this: Life here began out there: Kobol, the birthplace of mankind, where the Gods and men lived in paradise, until the Exodus of the Thirteen Tribes after one jealous God began to desire that he be elevated above all the other Gods. That's how the war on Kobol began. And the blaze pursued them, and the people of Kobol had a choice: to board the great ship, or take the high road through the rocky ridge. And the body of each tribe's leader was offered to the Gods in the Tomb of Athena, after she threw herself down onto the rocks below Hera's Gate, out of despair over the Exodus of the Thirteen Tribes. And the great ship was the Galleon that departed from there, and it took the founders of the Thirteen Colonies to their destiny. And those that didn't board the Galleon took the high road, a rocky ridge that lead to the Tomb. And when the Thirteenth Tribe landed on Earth, they looked up into the heavens and they saw their twelve brothers...
It's a basic function of history that lives become stories, and stories become legends, and legends become myths, and myths become religion. There's you, and then there's George Washington, and then there's Jesus, and then there's God. You're looking at one fight -- polytheism/monotheism, pluribus/unum, master/slave -- from those four angles, at each of those four layers, repeating over and over. Before the first Cylon War, there was a monotheist undercurrent in the Colonies, and before that there was the Jealous God of Kobol; after Earth the Final Five took on that belief, and Gaius Baltar is riding that wave even now, at the behest of his angel. What do Akhenaten, Moses and Muhammad have in common? That little angel in their ears. The political component of monotheism is simple: Allah akbar, my God is bigger than your God, no other Gods before me. No prophet of the OTG ever acted in a political vacuum.
I've been round and around and over deadline trying to get here, because this episode -- well, you saw it. Unholy mess. And especially tough because in the middle of all that mythology, and answering all the questions that there are in preparation for the final act, there's all kinds of wonderful literary stuff: Milton, Sartre, Wolfe, even some Shakespeare. Which I can't talk at length about, because this recap would be too long even for my stomach. And neither the mythology or the references really matter, because what matters is how everybody acts about it. So let's get the mythology out of the way, and then I'll give you a little bit of a recap as far as the things that actually happened in the episode, and then you can be on your way.