Battlestar Galactica continues to tell bland, uninvolving stories of no real-world relevance that stimulate little thought and stir few emotions.
Last week I compared the Cylon disease to the Founder virus on Deep Space Nine. This week the issue is similar to that facing Picard in "I, Borg". (Something that I understand Ron Moore confirms in the podcast, though I don't listen to these until after I've written the episode review.) This being BSG and not TNG the choice is a lot more stark: eliminating a race, not just changing it.
The Doctor's speech and the Cylons' interrogation is as close as BSG's gotten to technobabble. It's only second or third time in the series I think that the pseudo-scientific terms threatened to overwhelm - even if only momentarily - the story. So the explanation for cure seemed a bit contrived, but it was obviously just a setup for the moral dilemma. I think the writers needed a cure for the virus to make the contrast between the options more dramatic, so that it's not just a choice between leaving someone to die and using them to commit genocide, but between actively curing them and exterminating them. And the cure will probably figure more actively down the line as well.
There were some nods to the WMD debate, but I think that was tangential to the debate over the issue of genocide itself, rather than the delivery mechanism. Of course that just reinforces what WMD are - in essence - there for.
The Cylon Simon gave up a lot of information very quickly. I guess the writers wanted to move the plot along (and why assume that all Cylons are equally zealous anyway?) but some on-screen pressure would have made for an interesting parallel with Baltar's own interrogation.
Roslin's decision to eliminate the Cylons was understandable (and of course another example of BSG being the anti-Trek that not even Firefly was) but her smile after making it - though not without self-awareness - was chilling. Damn she's come a long way.
It was predictable that Athena would be infected with the Cylon virus, and the teaser certainly waved that red herring like a bullfighter at a fish shop. But no, she's immune! There was a technobabble explanation for it, "but whatever" (to lift dialogue entirely apropos). That doesn't mean she's in the clear. The Sharon torture continues vicariously as she has to confront the central dilemma of the episode. Her decision to stick by her newly-pledged humanity makes sense though, character-wise. Helo's advocate for Cylon rights, for moral rectitude, is also in character, though the intensity of it - to the point where he sabotages a mission of supreme importance, authorised by the President and backed by the Admiral - is surprising for a military man. Guess the writers needed a strong viewpoint character to make the opposing argument.
It occurs to me that it might have been more dramatic if Sharon had not been immune, and - after Helo killed the prisoners - for Roslin and Adama to face killing her in order to make the plan work.
Incidentally, it didn't click until just now that this Sharon taking on the moniker "Athena" confirms (by way of an out-of-show signal, rather than within-the-show itself) the strength of her bond with Adama, given that the TOS Athena was Adama's daughter. I got Athena mixed up with Sheba in my mind last week.
Are they using a new CGI model for Galactica as well? Again, like the Cylon basestar, the surface detail looks different ... Or maybe I'm just paying more attention.
On the Cylon baseship I thought for a moment Baltar was going to lose his head, ala John Colicos in the original mini series (only to be brought back later of course). It would have made for a satisfying cut but no, it was to be just torture instead. But you call this torture? It seems typically Baltar that he could turn even torture into an excuse to mind-hump his Sixpot. I kid, but for some reason the torture/sex scene didn't quite land for me. Maybe the juxtaposition was just too extreme.
Or maybe the religious discussions that preceded and accompanied it didn't work as well as they should have. None of these do, really, for me - going back all the way to the miniseries. I think it's because all the discussion about what God does or doesn't want is so abstracted. If we had a personification of the Cylon god in the show (I picture Leonard Nimoy ever since a brilliant suggestion I once read) then the doctrinal debates would be a lot more concrete and personal.
And I gotta wonder: "The pain. The pain." A nod to Doctor Smith?