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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "A Measure of Salvation"

Surprisingly predictable, and not as daring as we might have come to expect from Moore and Co., given the subject matter -- but given that most of the daring or unpredictable choices would have left us with Short Show Syndrome, I can't truly blame the writers. Still.

Before the basestar blew up, we were wondering if the Colonials could reanimate it like they did with Starbuck's pet Raider and use it against the Cylons...

While it makes sense for the Colonials to bring their loyal Cylon officer on this away mission, if all the Cylons themselves are lying around in various states of dead, shouldn't anyone be wondering if it's something which could be transmitted to Athena? It's not just because we as the audience know it's a virus; it would be something I'd consider in any scenario -- when you have a bunch of dead people with no obvious marks of weapons injury, you have to think of another source of danger, like a pathogen (or possibly computer-borne, given that the Cylons are machines). If it can affect them, it could affect Athena. A line or two of dialogue might have addressed the concern even if they overrode it for sake of information-gathering, which I would understand.

Okay, Apollo is confirmed as a Major (someone shouts to two redshirts "cover the Major"). Just wondering. I like keeping track of those details.

Convenient that one of each of the five major models survives, isn't it? :) Sorry, sometimes the seams show and we realize we're watching a TV program. Nothing wrong with it.

The dying Eight calls Athena "traitor," but then tells her to save herself... interesting divided loyalties. Or is "Traitor" what they're calling her now?

{Pause TiVo for speculation and discussion.}
evay: Athena's going to get the virus, so now they're going to have to find a cure.
Moogie: No, they're going to send her back to the Cylons to infect everyone -- or kill her so she spreads it to the Resurrection Ship.
evay: If she does resurrect and starts spreading it -- well, that assumes they're going to let her resurrect --
Moogie: -- because they'll immediately know it's her, it's Sharon --
evay: Right, they could box her -- but if she does, she'll know Hera is alive.
Moogie: Does Helo know?
evay: No, of course not, he thought he was spreading her ashes, remember? What could Athena do, grab the baby and try to escape back to the Colonials? Would she even want to? Could she, if she had the virus when she resurrected? That would be cold, for her to resurrect and know her daughter is alive but not be able to touch her because she knows she has this virus.
{Resume TiVo.}

Ooh, I forgot to check if it started last week, but they went back to the S2 credits ("in search of a home called Earth") and are down to 41,000-odd survivors. That's a loss of seven or eight thousand, isn't it? dag.

I really love the creepy new piano theme for Baltar. I do not love the repeated fade of camera angles in and out.

I find it amusing that it's the Cylons who demand to know how long Baltar has been planning to betray them when in this instance he actually isn't, but the Colonials never twigged to Baltar's deceptions even though he was working against them since before the initial assault on the Colonies.

Ghost Six's presence and her words are quite interesting in this outing. If anything, this is the first time when one really could make an argument that she's a fragment of his own personality, trying to protect himself against the torture. She coaxes, cajoles, seduces, distracts, shouts at him things to shout back at Threena -- anything to block out the torment he's being subjected to. If she is a chip, she's definitely working against the will of the collective here. I'd find it a leeeetle hard to swallow that there would be that many layers and counterlayers of manipulation, that the chip would be working against Threena in order to work with her in the long run... but hey, who knows. At any rate, the idea that a victim of torture can split his psyche so that only half of it is brainwashed or abused has been floated before (I recall it from the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind, although I've forgotten which one right now), and it's nicely used here.

Now, it's after the first round, before Ghost Six has really said much, that Baltar looks at Rebel Six and tells her he loves her. At that moment, it seems like he's forgiving her for what Threena is doing to him. But later, when he's howling Ghost Six's words ("I believe in you, don't stop, I love you with all my heart!") at Threena, it utterly throws her, to the point where she has to stop torturing him because she's so completely befuddled -- is he god-touched? brain-damaged? a saint? insane? So again, did Baltar see that his own words to Rebel Six had an effect on her and ran with the idea, or was it an unintended side effect of Ghost Six's distractions that he was yelling sweet nothings at Threena?

Looks like Athena is definitely not living in her old cell, if the ailing five prisoners have been moved into it.

Okay, it wasn't "the flu," but it was the same idea, as I predicted last week: lymphacytic encephalitis. While the real disease as we know it is rarely fatal, I can buy the idea that something one group has developed an immunity to can still be deadly to another group. Although if the Cylons based their biology on ours, wouldn't you think they would have copied that handy li'l genome?

In the tactical discussion, Lee asks "the ugly question" of whether they should keep the Cylon prisoners alive. He says they're ready to die, because "Karl's wife" noted which prayer they were saying. Karl is Helo's real name, of course, but what's with referring to Athena that way? Does Lee not see her as a person, or is this for this episode only, meant to underscore his position in the dramatis personae?

Now the Colonials know that Baltar is alive (didn't occur to me that they didn't know that), and that he is working for the enemy. No matter what he tells them about Hera, I can't see them taking him back. At least they're warned that the Cylons are also looking for Earth, so they're not traveling unawares.

To genocide or not to genocide? At first I was leaning towards Helo's position -- do the actions of the leaders justify killing off the individuals who have the potential to be Boomer or Athena? -- but let's recall, those leaders, who were acting if not completely then mostly in agreement with everyone (not quite the Borg collective, but not a democracy by any means), chose to slaughter seventy billion Colonials. And Roslin reminds us that they weren't satisfied with that, but came chasing after the fifty thousand survivors. And weren't quite satisfied with that, but spent a few months torturing most of them on a personal level. Once again, we don't know what launched the original Cylon war/rebellion, but at some point you have to have enough vengeance. The Colonials were fleeing, perfectly happy never to see a Cylon again. The Cylons were rebuilding the structures on the Colonies and could have lived there, if they chose. This relentless pursuit makes them actively dangerous, an enemy you can't even parley with. My second thought was that rather than using the virus for genocide, they could make an offer/threat to the Cylon High Command: we have this bioweapon, and it doesn't affect us. You will leave us the hell alone or we will use it. It isn't quite the same thing which Picard faced when returning Hugh/Three of Five to the Borg with his individuality intact (a crappy bit of writing, given what we later learn of the Borg in VOY) and is a bit closer to what Janeway offered the Borg against 8472. But, of course, any answer which actually ends the enmity between Cylon and human once and for all, for good or ill, is the end of the show, so we have to go the more conventional route of either not attempting genocide or the attempt not working.

Is that a photo of Roslin and Billy on her desk? that's sweet.

Lee's argument "they're not human, they were built" is felgercarb. Software-based, hardware-based, flesh-based, life is life. If the Colonials embark on genocide in self-defense, it's because they're cornered, not because the Cylons are built rather than born. Of course, Helo's completely insane assertion "they tried to live with us on New Caprica" is beyond absurd. That's not the reason to not kill them either. (I love Roslin's icy yet somehow teacher-like rebuke -- "you would serve your Fleet well if you would remember that Cylons are a mortal threat to the survival of the human race." Like she's disappointed in a good pupil as well as disciplining an officer. McDonnell is really chilling.)

I was almost expecting Baltar to stop reacting to the nerve induction or whatever it was Threena was doing to him; I guess the split-consciousness was more interesting on a dramatic level. By the end he was completely off at Key Largonewiththewind. I like that he tried reasoning against her, but it seemed that what finally got her was his "blind" response. He seemed to her eyes to be in "forgive them, for they know not what they do" mode, and then in an ecstasy which she couldn't touch, which shamed and confused her. I don't think she was swayed by his logic and reason.

Can the mother really get immunity to something from the fetus's antibodies? any reader with a medical background care to share if that's feasible or just mediTECH mumbo-jumbo?

Does Athena still harbor a bit of the belief that "maybe humans don't deserve to survive as a species" as she told Adama back in "Resurrection Ship part 2"? We aren't all as tolerant as we'd like to believe.

I thought perhaps Athena might die in the dogfight with the Raiders while Helo was "saving" the prisoners, as sort of karmic payback for disobeying orders...

Is Helo going to be punished for what he did -- taken off XO duty, maybe? or is Adama completely going to bury this? I see why he would, in a way; the damage is done, Helo had a certain amount of moral high ground to his argument, and Roslin pardoned everyone who might have collaborated on New Caprica so it's not like there isn't precedent. But that would be a way to get Tigh back in at some point if he ever stops drinking.

What salvation is achieved here? Helo saves the conscience of the humans from bloodied hands? The Cylons are saved from biological warfare? Baltar is saved from torture?

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