Coming on the heels of a relatively controversial episode, this installment focuses squarely on the viral infection of the Cylons and the moral consequences of using it against the enemy. There’s also more than a little torture and manipulation along the way. The result is a fairly strong episode that continues to turn the season arc in a more complicated direction.
The least effective element of the episode is the description and execution of the virus afflicting the Cylons. Making it a biological virus is an interesting touch, because it reveals that the Cylons are at least partially biological and that the biology is sufficiently close to human biology for a contagion designed to affect humans to affect the Cylons. (This also helps explain how Helo and Sharon were biologically capable.)
At the same time, the idea of a virus replicating itself through the resurrection process is hard to swallow. How does a human-based virus mutate into something that has a data-based component? It’s far more likely that the Cylons are assuming that the virus could kill them all, and the Colonials just run with the ball. After all, they assume that the infection of one resurrection ship will somehow equate with the infection of the entire Cylon race, when there’s no reason to assume that at all.
The sum total of all those assumptions, however, is a compelling moral dilemma. Should the Colonials employ a genocidal biological weapon against the Cylons, even given the fact that they are fighting for their own survival? As Sharon/Athena put it in “Resurrection Ship: Part II”, would the human race be worthy of survival if they were to make that choice? Roslin’s decision is perfectly in keeping with her previous characterization, and it’s interesting to see how Adama’s mindset has shifted, largely because of his relationship to Athena.
Baltar’s place among the Cylon will likely shift now, because he brings a new and frightening perspective to their faith. At least, that’s how it appears by the end of the torture session. Will Baltar become some kind of prophet among the Cylon? As machines, the Cylons could be searching for the true meaning of faith, and Baltar could end up becoming something of a teacher, despite his flaws. Considering how this would bring Baltar into a position not unlike his role in the original series, it would be an intriguing turn of events.
Overall, there are still a number of questions to be answered about the Cylons and their nature, and Baltar’s presence on the Basestar is the logical means of exploring that ground. However, these two most recent episodes have introduced some seemingly contradictory elements that need better resolution, especially in terms of this new search for Earth and the five unseen models.
(As a sidenote: I also have a podcast associated with my various reviews called “Dispatches from Tuzenor”. Current episodes cover “Battlestar: Galactica”, so it might be something of interest. Go to http://entil2001.libsyn.com if you want to listen!)
Final Rating: 7/10