5.04.2008

Faith - Episode Review

Transcendent. Enthralling. Beautiful. One of the best episodes of the series. Some of the most amazing visual artistry yet in the series - unique and sophisticated - from the visual effects to the sets to the production design choices. The music, perfect. The script, outstanding. The directing - superb.

And I thought Michael Trucco didn't have the acting chops to pull off being one of the Final Five. His performance was a revelation. Mary McDonnell continues to astonish with her bravura acting skills. Tricia Helfer's consistent high-level work should not go unremarked as she is asked to play several characters and variations thereof again and again and makes them soulful and resonant.

The story picks up immediately where Road Less Traveled ended - Geata gets shot by Anders to stop the Demetrius from jumping back to the Galactica. Kara swings into action (and is snapped back to reality) as she treats Gaeta's severe wound (we see bone and all as Kara snaps the bone back in place, pours on blood clot powder and bandages the wound). She assembles Anders, Sharon "Athena," Leoben and a Redshirt to take a Raptor shuttle to the damaged Base Star so as to not risk the entire crew of the Demetrius.

Upon arrival at the damaged Base Star coordinates, a huge field of debris meets them - evidence of the massacre by the Cavil faction of the 2-6-8 alliance - and must be navigated to find the Base Star. Kara is awash with realization and mystical insight as she sees the image from her mind - that she had painted. The "comet" is the Base Star forward of their position among the rings of a gas giant planet (not Jupiter).
This binds the Kara-Leoben orbits more tightly - she had heard a kind of music in her head upon her mysterious return to the fleet and Leoben comments, "The unstruck music vibrates within us all, few can hear it." Her sudden desire to take a Viper and go outside the Demetrius coinceded exactly with the Leoben's appearance. And her painting - was the image she needed to see to to confirm what Leoben was saying was true - that she needed to talk with the Hybrid.

Some of the best moments of the series are when we see the functioning of the Cylon technology and gain insights into their culture, and this episode shows more of the flesh-based aspects of the damaged base star as tissue enfolds the landing area of the Colonial Raptor as Kara, et al, arrive at the severely damaged Base Star. A tense negotiation precedes a shockingly violent exchange in which a platinum-haired Six recognizes a crewman who had killed her once and she viciously and abruptly murders her in response. Chilling. A Natalie Six model intervenes and the standoff is defused and a truce is cemented with the platinum-haired Six sacrificing herself - "Is that enough human justice for you - blood for blood?" Natalie Six intones, disgusted at the eye-for-an-eye exchange. It is remarked that it may blind or kill the Hybrid to pull her offline as they need to do to reroute the FTL jump drive. Anders - evolving before our eyes - seems desperate to touch the control screen but does not get the chance.

We get reveals of Cylon individuality as a group of Sharons urge Athena-Sharon to side with them against the Sixes - whom they believe has made bad choice after bad choice. The Sharons tell her, "You were the first ... the first to say 'no' - to the entire plan ... you had a child. You showed us we didn't have to be slaves to our programming." Athena-Sharon tells them you have to "pick a side and stick [with it]," in order to truly be a person. The gentle nature of the Sharons is revealed in this scene, as well as the conflicted aspect of the Sharon model generally [which makes me think the Boomer Sharon will commit suicide or betray the Cavils at the end]. Leoben is taken to task for his fixation with Kara, "We've tried to be patient with your model's obsession with this woman."

At the Hybrid chamber there is argument but Kara approaches and listens, not making sense of the roundabout statements of the Hybrid who is aloof from them despite their presence. Leoben tells her she must let the statements wash over her and the clarity will emerge - but it doesn't - "The obstinate toy soldier becomes compliant. The city devours the land." The decision is made to disconnect the Hybrid per the agreement so they can bypass the damaged Base Star FTL drive and use the Raptor's to get the Base Star clear of the area lest the Cavils and 4s and 5s come back to finish the job (and we have that ticking clock). This provokes the lone Centurion metal model to aim its hand artillery weapon to protect the Hybrid and gunplay ensues with the metal model taken out and the Sharon model doing the disconnect mortally wounded by the Centurion.




With visual poetry, her blood drips into the Hybrid's tank. Sam Anders tenderly holds the Sharon as she expires since Athena-Sharon will not. He tells her, "I'm with you." Kara pleads, "What do you want from me?" To which the Hybrid becomes lucid and raises her hand and brushes Kara's face gently and gives them the answer in her cryptic riddle-like way "Ask, will it come to pass? The dying leader will know the truth of the opera house. The missing three will give you the five, who have come from the home of the thirteenth. You are the harbinger of death Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end. End of line."

Together the Cylons and humans decode the message: D'Anna is the missing 3 and they need to get to the Resurrection Hub to free her so she can identify the Five, and the Five are from Earth - home of the Thriteenth Tribe of humans. Now they have an agenda - well, several agendas - but clear direction nonetheless.

For a full account of the Hybrid's words, visit:
http://forums.scifi.com/index.php?showtopic=2307489

The most important of the Hybrid's words are: "You are the harbinger of death Kara Thrace, you will lead them all to their end." It is important to focus on the words "all" and "end." "All" means everybody, so it is not a statement that everybody dies or else we have no story to start over again when the cycles of time repeat and all that. And "end" is not the same as saying, "You will lead them all to their deaths."

Meanwhile, back at the Galactica Roslin is undergoing cancer treatment in Doc Cottle's medical bay and befriends another female patient much worse off than she. Enough cannot be said of the skill level as an actress of Mary McDonnell. In these brief scenes we get to witness the full range of what is possible when a superior talent is given superior material. I must admit, her performance wetted my eyes with tears. Also, we finally get some perspectiveon these competing religious systems told in the plain language of regular folks. They question it all - the whole notion of gods, and how they could be so capricious. Roslin is told of a dream - of a mystical journey across a river to a far shore where dead loved ones await "I felt a loving feeling and he said 'I'm with you,'" her friend tells her. Then Roslin has the same dream, and sees off her new friend then sees her own beloved mother and loved ones on this shore. Very powerful stuff, deep, and Roslin tells her mother "I'm not ready," and she backs away and wakes up. She tells Adama of this dream and that it is to be taken seriously, and that Baltar - who has been speaking out publicly on illegal radio transmissions about this river and this other plane of existence - is perhaps to be looked at in a new way.

We have a brief scene where Roslin (with a bad hair-covering baldness prosthetic) commends Tory for her turnaround and excellent work and tells her to be ready to handle more responsibility - and is Tory ready for that? Oh yes, she is. And poor Gaeta left back on Demetrius for 15+ hours should be given a t-shirt that says, "I was just being a loyal soldier, and all I got was this lousy gangrene."

3 comments:

Chris Mohr said...

Where did you get all these pictures. I know this was hard but you must be commended for your work. You must be sad that this is the last season.

gougef said...

Don't think that is a battle. Guessing that is a Raptor with it's lights on picking its way through remains of the basestar battle (maybe the remains of leoben's raider).

But hell-o what do I know :-)

Anonymous said...

Mary is amazing. Good pics of her - capture the emotion. Like the images on the site.

The_Truth_of_the_Opera_House