Monday, 9 June 2008

Review: Battlestar Galactica Episode 4.09 "The Hub"



If you missed last week’s BSG (4.08), Lee Adama somehow managed to talk Baltar’s gun-toting old lawyer into letting Lee become the new president of the colonies. Bill Adama confessed his love for the kidnapped president, finally. Athena was thrown into the brig, then released – because that’s what you do with Athena. It was discovered that the Six in Galactica’s brig was pregnant and that she was routinely boning her cyclopean fellow Cylon, Saul Tigh. Adama stepped down as admiral and appointed Tigh his replacement. Like that's a good idea.
So, this week's episode; "The Hub".


Synopsis:


In pursuit of the enemy's Resurrection Hub, a misfit team of Viper pilots and Cylon rebels become uneasy collaborators as they formulate a battle plan.

Story Outline:


No one line synopsis could describe this television masterclass. It was full of subtleties and textures like a fine piece of art. An overwrought description? I don't think so. Like the very best BSG episodes, The Hub contains battle scenes, character, high drama, and the mortality of humanity reflected in the strife of the characters. It is also about resolution.


The story picks up where episode 4.07 ended, with the captured base star going FTL. The base star's hybrid is conforming to the mission originally stated by jumping the ship closer to the Resurrection Hub; a mighty beast of a ship that contains all the information and technology to manage all the cylon resurrection ships. Destroying it means that all the Cylons become mortal, like us mere human beings. But before the hub is destroyed, the number three cylon, De'anna, must be resurrected and brought back for questioning about the final five cylon's identities; because she has seen them.


Each time the ship jumps, President Roslin finds herself talking to Elosha, the long dead spiritual leader of the colonies. Elosha shows Roslin her dying self on a deserted Galactica and tells her that she has stopped loving people and switched off to what makes her a woman. Adama, Starbuck, and Apollo are weeping at her bedside, waiting for her to die.


Meanwhile, on the base star, confused as to what the hybrid is doing, the rest of the boarding party are trying to communicate with the hybrid. Baltar thinks he is making progress, but it is an Athena that works out that the hybrid is chasing the Hub.


During a mission brief it is clear that the human pilots heavily mis-trust their cylon equivalents, especially as part of the mission is for the cylons to tow the "cold" vipers to confuse the base stars.


Going against the agreement with the cylons, Roslin takes aside Helo and orders him to bring De'anna straight to her upon capture and return to the basestar. Helo is not comfortable with this, but says that he will comply. He's a soldier to the last. Roslin cites human security, but I reckon that Helo knows this decision will come back and bite them.


At the hub, one of the Cavils has already brought De'anna back, to get her to mediate between the cylons who are at civil war. De'anna responds to the revelation that humans and cylon collaborators are on their way to destroy the hub, by killing the Cavil.


Cylon heavy raiders arrive, towing colonial vipers behind them. The vipers are powered down to stealthily approach the hub, to then disable its FTL drive. De'anna is rescued and the assault team get back to the base star. During the battle, Baltar attempts to casually convert a cylon centurion. As he is relating a story about mastery and slavery, an explosion rips the centurion apart causing shrapnel to slice open Baltar's mid-riff. Roslin discovers him, immediately attending to him and administering morphine whilst applying a compress bandage to stop his bleeding. During this time, Baltar confesses to being complicit in the Cylon destruction of the colonies, albeit unaware of what was happening until it was too late.
Roslin responds by removing Baltar's bandage, allowing the wound to remain open.
As the base star jumps, upon the assault team's return. Roslin receives another visit from Elosha who points out that what Baltar has done is not all bad and who is she to determine who should live and who should die. Panicking that she might have been responsible for Baltar's death, she hurries to try and save him.


Despite what she has learnt about herself and her actions, Roslin still insists that she speak to De'anna, freezing the cylons out of the discussion. De'anna toys with Roslin, and points out that information is all that she has left to bargain with, especially with there being no back up to resurrect to.


The base star jumps back to the Galactica's previous coordinates, where Adama is waiting in a raptor. He meets Roslin and she tells him that she loves him.


Review:


This was an episode of resolutions. The cylons become mortal, and we finally get to see what Roslin would do if she ever found hard evidence about Baltar's involvement in the destruction of the colonies. Possibly, we are witness to Roslin's final moments on board a Galactica that has found Earth. (speculation on my part).

I don't get moved by just any movie, TV show or piece of music but, boy, did this episode kick me in the nuts. Despite Roslin's sometimes caustic attitude, seeing her weak and helpless in her deathbed is still not an easy image. It can be related to by a great many people, sadly. Cancer is a major killer, and it's easy to be moved at seeing a strong person debillitated by the illness. Seeing Adama breaking down by her bedside, cradling Roslin's corpse, was also not an easy thing to watch, unaffected.


The scenes where the hybrid screams "Jump" leading to scenes of Roslin in full introspective mode were well done. Wether these were visions or Roslin's self-analysis remains to be seen. Quite why she should be accused of insensitivity as a leader, I don't know. Perhaps Roslin's sub-conscious is judging her actions.


Roslin is a complicated character that I don't tend to like a whole lot. Mary McDonnell plays her faultlessly and her performance was another great highlight of this episode. James Callis never ceases to amaze me with his acting. In this episode, he went from bragging to dying. His calls for Roslin to stop removing his bandage were chilling, and a counterpoint to the repetitious nature of the base star hybrid;


"Please don't do this to me"


I was convinced that it could have been James Callis' final scene as Baltar, given that season 4 is the last.


Another chilling scene that would have been best followed by an ad break, to lengthen tension, was when De'anna toys with Roslin and makes it look as if Roslin is one of the final five. Bear McCreary's music punctuates the viewers shock and realisation of...well, nothing.


Edward James Olmos turns in yet another great perfomance, despite his limited contribution to this episode. So does the VFX team, with another realistic battle sequence.


Lastly, special mention must go to the beautiful score by Bear McCreary. His score often underscores a good scene, to make it great. None more so than in The Hub. The theme running through the sequence of the hub mission is haunting and comparable to his theme for Kat in The Passage. It really gets across that the destruction of the hub doesn't necessarily make us better human beings for it. The expression on Helo says that, too. More can be read on Bear's blog. I can't wait for his Season 4 CD to some out for this particular peice of music.


Overall, The Hub gets an 8/10 from me.

2 comments:

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