(I know I'm two weeks late with this, but I still haven't rewatched the episode, so these are my first reactions.)
All in all, I thought this episode was classic BSG. I'm not fond of CIC scenes, but I realized I had missed them. The show was well paced and competently written, which can't be said for some of the other season 4 episodes. I think Ron Moore as a writer makes a world of difference. I can understand the value of a quiet build-up episode, but on the other hand, you only have eight episodes to go, so something definite could have happened. This was my biggest disappointment with the episode: that basically nothing new happened. There could have been way more discussion of the revelations in Sometimes a Great Notion. I can't believe they didn't mention any of those again.
Doc Cottle is back! I love him and his grumpy, inappropriate, chain-smoking ways.
Nurse: "That's a lot of smoking around a pregnant woman."
Cottle: "She'll live."
Hee! Cottle, how I love thee! Besides, I'm sure cylon fetuses can handle a little cigarette smoke. They can cure cancer, after all.
Mixed feelings about Caprica-Six/Tigh. On the one hand, it was a very sweet scene and we got Caprica's reaction to her pregnancy! On the other hand - noooo this is so wrong this should be Baltar's child! Baltar and Caprica 4evah!
I was hoping we'd get some answers to questions that have bugged me: is Caprica still in the brig, or with Saul now? Is she being "pardoned" (not that she did anything except be a cylon and get on board the ship)? Are they going to let her have the child? What does HeadBaltar think of all this? But no, we move straight on to the other characters and Caprica isn't seen again until next episode. I'm beginning to feel that Tricia got an even more raw deal out of this season than James.
And what about Saul´s reactions? He just realized his dead wife - whom he killed - is the final cylon. We get no scenes with him dealing with this, and only one WTF scene where Lee tells the journalists that they believe the final cylon is dead - she died some time ago, and they realize he knows who it is and get on his case. The WTF element being: how does Lee know? When did Saul tell him? Is there a big scene that was cut here where Saul told them, and we never got to see it? The big final cylon reveal is now completely brushed away? Argh.
Nicky's Daddy issues: Ugh. Hot Dog? He's not an important enough character and I think this is just stupid and soap opera-ish. Chief raised Nicky so far, so I don't see why Hot Dog has to suddenly take responsibility. I don't have much to say to this, except that I love the toddler who plays Nicky. He's so adorably chubby, I enjoy any scene he's in just for that.
I liked Gaeta's growing discontent, it seemed true to life and fitting for his character. Gaeta started out an optimist, admiring Adama and Baltar, and feels like he's been betrayed by them both by now. The Gaeta/Kara scene was intense - but why no more Kara in the episode? Hello, she found her own corroding corpse. So yeah, it's nice that she's in a bad mood, but what about in private? Did she get a visit from HeadLeoben? Did she ever try to tell Lee again?
As usual, way too much Adama/Roslin. I get that they're the "heart of the show" to many viewers, but I think their scenes always run a little long, usually at other characters' expense. I did like that Laura was going a little insane and Adama had to be alone with the tough decisions. And we have a scene with them in bed. Enjoy, A/R shippers. I knew this would come sooner or later; it doesn't evoke particularly strong feelings for me. On a first watch of the miniseries/season one, I really liked Laura Roslin, but I've come to like her less and less over the years (months, for me, as I've only been a fan for the last six months). I don't know if the writers are trying to make her a tyrant, or if their idea of democracy is that the "moral winner" gets to lead however she chooses, but I think it's problematic. I'll return to this with the next episode.
And - yay for Baltar! Unlike last week's 5-second scenes, this time he has a real scene where we see his reactions. He's drunk, smoking, and losing his religion (which he probably never had in the first place). I loved the selfish rant against God and not even trying to soothe his followers or give them any hope. Great leader. One of the things James is really good at is playing drunk; he has just the right amount of slur and ridiculous melodrama.
Also: "Are you children? - Well, obviously you're a child... There are some children present, but..." Hee!
What is Baltar feeling? Does his guilt revisit him now that they weren't led to the promised land? Does he feel cheated by Head Six who promised he'd be the hand of god and that it all has a meaning? We don't know, because there was a HeadSix scene here and it was cut. That's right, it was cut. See Bear's Battlestar Blog for a photo of Baltar/HeadSix in that scene. What a waste! Head Six has been an important part of Baltar's psyche, and the show, from the very beginning and I think it's just wrong to keep cutting her out. This has been going on since season three, and I'm very annoyed.
If James and Tricia are going to have such a miniscule role on the show, you might want to take their names off the credits and replace them with, like, Richard Hatch. Because he had way too many scenes in this episode. Wayy too many. I'll discuss Zarek more in the next post, but I'll say that I just can't bring myself to like him or get any of his motivations, and at the same time, I hate feeling like the show wants me to hate him. This is not supposed to be a black and white show, and if we're going to see so much Zarek, at least give him a personality outside of politics, a life story, something.
However, the fact that Gaeta is teaming up with him is very intriguing.