I enjoyed (enjoyed being a relative term considering how unrelentingly bleak this season is) ‘Faith’ much more than ‘The Road Less Traveled’. It was pretty damn obvious, given the title of the episode was ‘Faith’, that faith would play a large role in the story. We had Kara’s continued faith that she could lead them all to earth. We had a small group still believe in Kara. Others simply maintained faith she’d return to the Demetrius, a success or a failure. We had Emily’s faith that there was a beautiful afterlife awaiting her in which she’d be reunited with her family. We had Laura’s faith renewed in that she believes it’s not her time yet and she’ll live long enough to achieve her goal. And unlike last week, I felt that the A storyline (Kara’s) and the B Storyline (Laura’s) paralleled each other then converged much more successfully. Both women were confronted with some painful truths, but both have the faith to go on.
Let me also say that I felt Mary McDonnell, always outstanding, blew me away in this episode, particularly during her breakdown in front of Emily while talking about her mother. We’ve witnessed Laura becoming more emotional in the past several weeks. She was nearly driven to tears at the Quorum and, earlier in this episode, she expressed to Tory her fears that the illness was interfering with her ability to do her job. But I appreciated that when she finally has the big emotional catharsis it has nothing to do with being president, protecting the fleet, or her overwhelming goal to lead them to earth. It was something much more personal and it revealed a lot about her and her relationship with her mother that we’ve heard so little about.
It’s fascinating that a woman who has so much faith that it is her destiny to save the remnants of humanity, fears dying because she has no faith that there is anything but darkness when the end comes. Laura’s mother did fight the cancer as long as she could because she wanted to be a part of the life she knew, but there is nothing to prove that she was terrified of the afterlife. It was Laura that was unwilling or unable to confront the unknown, who is still searching as she knows her life is coming to an end, and that is terrified by that which remains a mystery to her.
Now, I did have some issues. I do think, overall, the writers and Mary have done a good job of depicting the physical and emotional toll of cancer treatment on a person. Bald Laura did bother me, but not in the way they presumably intended. Putting aside the bald cap looked fake, I felt it was cheap theatrics on the part of the show. It’s obvious Laura’s been wearing wig, hell, she even mentioned it to Baltar, so to show her sans hair was merely suppose to shock us. To what end?
Other than touching upon a few things Emily said, which I felt were important, I’m largely skipping over her scenes with Laura. Nana Visitor was quite good; it’s the way the show chose to depict someone in their final days that upset me. I don’t wish to get morbid or too personal in a public post, but I watched my father die of cancer and none of what I was seeing here rang true to me. To me it was the typical TV/movie death that bares little to no resemblance to the reality of such a death and I expect more from a show that touts its realism whenever it can. And when I say the scenes upset me, it wasn’t that they made me sad, it’s that they pissed me off because they frakked up so many things. I can’t imagine anyone would want me to elaborate, but if you have any specific questions I’ll answer in comments. So, yeah, to spare you all a prolonged rant I’ll keep Emily references to a minimum.
Let’s move on to what did work for me…
My Kara like is returning. This is the first time this season that I recognized Kara. I worried in that unbelievably tense teaser that Kara was about to be lost to me forever. But as horrific as the shooting of Gaeta was, it was a hugely important turning point for Kara. It seemed to be a moment of clarity for her and she snapped back to the person, the leader, she use to be. All thoughts of jumping away and her mission that superseded everything else in her life went away. Instead, her sole focus was tending to Gaeta, a man who had just mutinied against her. I loved seeing her work on his injury, dong her damndest to save him, and being so good at something after flailing about for months. Crazy, obsessed Kara went away in that moment and YAY! Too bad she couldn’t have thought about taking the raptor and going off on her own before Gaeta’s left to contemplate possibly losing his leg. Sigh.
Sam, you poor, pathetic, messed up bastard. Shooting Gaeta was the stupidest thing he has ever done. (Though threatening Helo with the possibility of being brought up on charges for leading a mutiny is up there since it’s Kara who is the one who was disregarding Adama’s orders.) I think I would have had less of a problem with him making that choice if it was clear he truly believed that Kara’s path was the true one, but all I’ve been presented with is a guy who’s doing what he’s doing because Kara is his wife. I wondered what would have happened if Lee was there with them and I saw him taking Helo’s side. Of course, had Helo *and* Lee been standing against her it may have made her realize she was acting like a crazy woman before Gaeta got shot. It’s the first time I’ve really looked at Sam as an enabler. And, sadly, what do you want to bet there will be no ramifications for Sam for shooting Gaeta? Adama will somehow whitewash that action like he has so many others involving his people.
Sam’s characterization continued to be messy for me throughout the episode, but I do wonder if that was the point. He’s lost right now, struggling with his identity, and terrified more so than the other three, I think, of turning on his ‘family’. But he’s also beginning to have issues with killing Cylons, at least the skinjobs. I don’t think any programming prevented him from pulling the trigger and killing Six, it’s a question, for him, of how far removed is he from them.
One of the more intriguing scenes was Sam reaching out to the Sharon so she wouldn’t die alone while Athena was unable to. Athena has worked so hard to be more human, to be seen as human, that she wasn’t able to embrace that part of herself which she’s worked so hard to distance herself from. Sam, who, in the past, has viewed Cylons as nothing more than machines, who now fears what that means about him, in Sharon’s final moments is able to show grace (no pun intended). He saw the life, the emotions, in her eyes and suddenly sees they are more alike then he thought. I think there will be two consequences of this. He will be more encouraging of an alliance, not because Kara wants it, but because he sees the hope in it. And he’ll start focusing more on the person he has always been and worry less about the biology of who or what he is.
It was nice to *finally* get Athena’s reaction to the civil war. When she sees the massive destruction she comments that Leoben was correct about the civil war. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but perhaps her lack of reaction last week was because she didn’t believe him? They only had his word about what happened (the ship could have been damaged to reinforce his story) and Athena knows, from personal experience, how willing the Cylons are to lie to entrap humans and achieve their desired goals. I’m now more forgiving of her non-reaction last week.
I also loved Athena’s little eyeroll when the Sharon was trying to convince her to help them take out the Sixes. ;)
I wondered in a previous post that once the Sixes, Eights, and Threes turned on the rest, what was to stop them the turning on each other? Well, that didn’t take long! The Eights want to eliminate the Sixes. The Sixes are having issues with the Threes. And the Centurions are now deciding on their own when to start shooting. The Cylon/Human divide is quickly eroding.
I wish I cared more about Baroley’s death, but unlike Mathais, we never got to know her. I think this was the first time she’s had more than a line of dialogue. But they needed her death to reveal something about the Cylons. I actually had zero sympathy for Six once she made the choice to kill Baroley, but why she felt compelled to do it was intriguing. We know that Cylons retain all their memories through the resurrection process, however I don’t think we’ve ever had it so clearly presented to us how that affects them. Caprica, D’Anna, and Cavil – they’ve all been shot and reborn, but those were fairly quick deaths and the result of humans trying to save their own lives. It was clear here that this Six was tortured to death. That combined with her inability to comprehend why anyone would want to do that to her since she hadn’t harmed anyone and was trying to help humanity (though her ‘help’ didn’t extend to stopping any of the atrocities she knew to be going on, hence my lack of sympathy) left her psychologically damaged. Six ultimately accepts her death at Nathalie’s hand since she’s been unable to get past what happened to her. If she truly has faith as Emily does, she believes there is a better afterlife awaiting her.
Six’s pain and subsequent actions, made me think of Gina. What Gina endured was much worse than what this Six had and if the Six was unable to fully recover from her ordeal, it’s clear to see why Gina was desperate to end her existence, permanently.
I’ll let others analyze the Six on Six kiss, but it squicked me a bit.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the Hybrid’s words to Kara. We’ve heard most of it before and I don’t think her words are all doom and gloom as the writers are hoping we believe them to be. I hope Kara is able to realize that “will lead them to their end” can simply mean the end of their journey, in all probability earth. I did find some of the Hybrid’s references interesting. Does the “spark of god’s fire” have something to do with Kara’s miraculous return? Laura still seems to be the dying leader. And now there seems to be a belief that the final five came from earth or, more precisely, the fabled thirteenth tribe. That would mean that the five were created separately, if they were created at all.
Just as I was commenting to danceswithwords that this was the second week without Adama and Lee, Adama shows up. Obviously, being a Lee fan, I have some issues with Lee being MIA for two weeks in a row, but it also helps to clarify Jamie comments about not being entirely satisfied with Lee’s storyline and being glad the series was coming to an end. But back to Adama…I know the A/R fans were probably thrilled with the scene, hell, I’d be thrilled if Lee and Laura were having a private conversation, but I didn’t find the scene added much to the episode. Adama wasn’t revealing anything that we didn’t already know. Laura’s dream/vision had already shown she had found a new resolve to push on. The scene just felt very much tacked on to me. Perhaps Eddie kicked up a fuss about being absent for two episodes, though it’s still glaringly evident Adama doesn’t have his own story this season.