Sine Qua Non - Episode Review

The title refers to "an essential element or condition," and the characters in the show mention the title and give a slightly different variation. I think they could also offer these gems: Too Many Hard Left Turns. Or, Too Cute By Half. Or, Rush Job ... oh you get the picture. A misfire this time out. Some good moments, but this episode was C-O-N-T-R-I-V-E-D. I don't know if it's the credited writer's fault, or, more likely, the writing team's fault for the forced feel of this episode and its shocking but empty major developments.

As I predicted on a post weeks ago on Galactica Sitrep, Lee Adama is made president. Too much of the episode was devoted to this development. They missed a real chance to show more complexity and depth in the Tom Zarek character (and shorted Richard Hatch his big episode). And unfortunately the reintroduction of Romo Lampkin fell flat. And there was this weird moment where he says his cat has been killed and Lee Adama says the cat's been dead for weeks. Weeks went by??? Using the Romo character in this way felt gratuitous. He was rendered a lesser being than what we had known, but in doing so he wasn't made more interesting. It felt like they were giving the fans what they wanted - More Romo - but it could have been done much better. Are they going to bring back Bulldog Novacek too?

Poor Natalie (shot by wack-job Athena-Sharon) doesn't live ... she projects, and sees that favorite green forest that platinum-haired Six told Baltar she projects when he was on a BaseShip (see image in right column) while she is dying - her POV is blurry and she sees Doc Cottle, who offers the warmth of human touch in a latex glove as she expires ... and the point ??? She did seem to see the light and not be fearful.

Adama and Tigh have their big showdown scene, which works for a while, then there is this weird moment of the Tigh character in close-up with the Adama character behind him and the director had actor Michael Hogan do a contorted face reaction shot to Eddie Olmos's line - and it was campy and took you out of the moment. Then the fight continues and the big model ship is smashed - and a lame joke line is spoken to diffuse the moment. The scene started strong and fell apart. Earlier there had been a scene where Adama had told Tigh to get information from Caprica Six in the Galactica brig and he has an Ellen moment and snaps that she is playing head-games with him and it must stop. She says she's never lied to him.

While the power politics of the civilian leadership plays out Kara is made CAG again and is slightly less spacey and aloof as she has been since this clone version of her has come to the fleet. Since half the Viper wing is on the BaseShip that also has Roslin, Baltar, Helo and many Colonial pilots and support staff, the thinned Galactica and fleet personnel requires all hands, hence the suspicions about Kara are ignored this episode.

THE WHOLE SEASON IS BEGINNING TO FEEL RUSHED at this point - as if all the cool twists and turns the writers came up with are being crammed into episodes as the inexorable march toward the finale continues apace. This episode shows that some pruning or objective eyes might have helped (even the cat's).

The fight between Tigh and Adama in response to Doc Cottle informing that Tigh has impregnated Caprica Six during his visits somehow bonds them again, and Adama realizes he's in love with Roslin (but the words aren't said, yet) and he's lost his good judgement and put the fleet and the Galactica at risk in his hell-bent desire to locate her and get her back. We're told that she'll feel better at first and then worse if her cancer kicks in again. Well if Helo-Sharon amniotic fluid cured her before wouldn't Tigh-Six amniotic fluid be even better? It's beginning to get silly. They're rushing the story without tying up loose ends.

Don't get me wrong, the episode was entertaining, and I really liked some moments - the reaction shots by Jamie Bamber as Lee when Zarek tried to calm a frenzied Quorum were good, and the EVA done by Racetrack when a damaged Raptor suddenly jumped into the fleet was kinda cool. But they were few and far between this time out. When the Raptor was found, they tracked back to its last jump coordinates and found lots of Baseship debris and evidence of Colonial involvement and they surmise that the Baseship and Cylons they'd allied with must have gone and attacked the Resurrection Hub by themselves and that it and the allied Baseship may both be destroyed. And they don't know where either is at present or if one or both did survive. But we are informed by Caprica Six that only the Hybrid's can locate the Hub.

In this episode: No Baltar. No Roslin. No Basestar. No Anders. (and why not?) No TTTA meeting for once [Tigh/Tyrol/Tory & Anders].

Subplot with Athena-Sharon had a good moment when she told Adama of her vision and his contempt for these visions the women are having was palpable - that's the moment the Emmy voters should remember, not the cheesy fight scene. We get a "putting this family together" (remember Seaspon 2, Home Part I?) line again from Adama and Athena-Sharon is given Hera to stay with her in the brig (she's there, remember, since she killed Natalie) ... and Adama RESIGNS. His admits his judgement is clouded by his love for Roslin (but he didn't use the word, yet, remember) so he puts Tigh, who he just found out got Six pregnant, in charge !?!? And now "Husker" Adama is off on a solo mission, in a lone Raptor, with Roslin's burned book, to wait for her return.

A frustrating episode. Good, but just barely. The story advanced, but it felt forced and some of it unnecessary and not all that interesting, frankly. Perhaps it's just a tee-it-up-episode for great things next episode - The Hub. Fingers crossed that that's the case.

And now is probably a good time to consider some of the Hybrid's words, since she will probably factor prominently in The Hub: "The children of the one reborn shall find their own country. Intruders swarmed like flame, like the whirlwind. Hopes soaring to slaughter all their best against our hulls. Centrifugal force reacts to the rotating frame of reference. The obstinate toy soldier becomes pliant. The city devours the land...the people devour the city...All these things it wants and many more, not because it wishes harm, but because it likes violent vibrations to change constantly. But you are a spark of God's fire. Core update complete."

My guess is there will be a big battle - or they'll flashback to the battle inferred by Adama, et al in which many die - perhaps the 1s, 4s, and 5s die en masse). The one "reborn" ??? Roslin? Athena-Sharon? "It wants" ??? "Violent vibrations" ??? "Core update complete" makes me think this Hybrid (or maybe all of them) have had their own plan all along. And the show has taken "They have a plan" out of the opening credits. Perhaps most importantly in terms of story development - why all of the sudden is it okay for the Cylons and humans both to find Earth? When Natalie Six was being interrogated and later when at Roslin's sickbay bed (last ep), it seemed a given that both Cylons and humans would find Earth (even if it is the rebel Cylons). Big story shift - but glossed over.

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