How much Lacy and Clarice in this episode? Zero. Zero much. No Nestor, shirt-wearing or otherwise. No Philo, dancing or otherwise. One scene of Amanda, where she's giving Daniel a pep talk. One scene of Zoë, which we'll discuss in a sec. So what happened in this episode? Lots of special effects, mostly, and Adamas mourning/turning awesome, the resolution of the "Willie Is Led Astray" arc, and Daniel pulling yet another clutch move.
Tamara has spent however long wandering around the Matrix looking for a way out of there, and rumor brings her eventually to this totally intense old lady-mobster who loves Russian Roulette and playing New Cap City, which is essentially GTA crossed with a cartoon FDR world. She and her cute young helper guy use Tamara's inability to die to win cash in the game, but after a heist goes wrong and Tamara learns that she can control the Matrix with her magical brain, she sort of stops doing what people tell her and becomes way awesome instead.
After Joe finally finds out about Willie's new Thug Life -- and sees his dear little son brain some guy's face in with a huge rock for acting racist -- he pull it together long enough to give Tamara and Shannon their funeral, and thus their family the closure that they need. There's a really beautiful Tauron ceremony involving tattoos. But since it's Joe Adama, who will never once get a break, that scab is immediately yanked once again by Tamara's gamer BF, who shows up at the house ranting about how Tamara needs help and then runs off the second Joe explains to him the obvious truth, that she's dead.
Meanwhile, Daniel is in huge trouble with the board for his stunt on Sarno, but after a rallying convo with Amanda, ends up with a whole new business plan: Instead of manufacturing holobands for entertainment, why not create a slave race of Cylons that will do your total bidding and never get tired? What begins as an adorable father/daughter act becomes just incredibly sad when Daniel orders Zoë to rip her own arm off. Yeah, I can't imagine how doing shit like that for grins would ever lead to the total apocalypse.
It's a school day but Willie's playing on his computer in the morning when Sam arrives at the Adama house, calling his "Khairei." He jerks the headphone out of Willie's ear; Joseph is asleep on the couch in his robe, having fully gone there. I don't think I've ever seen a show or movie where the dad goes into full-on couch depression like this, have you? Nancy Botwin, and Jessica Lange in Men Don't Leave, but never the dad. It's terrifying either way, trust me, but this seems more terrifying because it's so unusual. Joe tries to pull it together and take Willie to school, but he's in no shape and Willie doesn't need any of his mess anyway, because nobody but Joe thinks Sam is actually going to take him to school instead of into the movie Goodfellas.
Things right under your nose. I was so in Joe's space the first time I saw this episode that I honestly heard Willie the same way he did: "I'd prefer if Sam took me to school" meant just that at first, and not the opposite. So Joe's going to feel like a totally bad parent when Sam leaves, but then he's going to find out where Sam's taken his kid, and then try to fit them both into a stupid fishing fantasy to get back to when things were normal, and in all of these cases he's just climbing right in the casket with Shannon and Tamara, because that's what we do. And when he leaves Sam's going to try to remind Joe to be a man, to be a Tauron man and all that implies including fatherhood, and Joe is going to laugh and say that he's just a Caprican, like Sam said, which means that he is weak and not a man at all. And through all this, Joe's so ashamed he can't even get mad.
"...First, you be a father. And when you can manage that, maybe I'll introduce you to your son." But that's not the most important thing he says; the most important thing he says is the last thing he says: "Wake up, brother." It's a theme, but it's a song too. A poem by one of my favorites, and who in fifty years will be one of Willie's favorites too:
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields --
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!
When we lose someone, the Tauron ritual reminds us, we go with them into the Underworld. The job -- which we have to do, in their honor -- becomes finding our way home again. That's what Orpheus & Eurydice is about. (Orpheus is about a lot of stuff, but that particular story is about this.) So on one level you have Sam beckoning to his brother, to come back to the "brighter garden." But you also have Tamara, whose violence is echoed in her brother here, sending messages from the Underworld. And in every case, the message is the same: "Wake up." Grief and fear are a dream from which you can eventually wake, if you stay strong.