[BSG] Jammer's Review: "Six of One"
- Note: This review contains significant spoilers.
Battlestar Galactica: "Six of One"
The crew must contend with Kara, who takes drastic measures to
convince Roslin that she knows the way to Earth and is not an
instrument in a Cylon trap.
Air date: 4/11/2008 (USA)
Written by Michael Angeli
Directed by Anthony Hemmingway
Rating out of 4: ***1/2
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
If "He That Believeth in Me" served to orient us with all the changes
arising from the various twists provided to us at the end
of "Crossroads, Part 2," then "Six of One" is the emotional aftermath
in which the characters begin to deal with these issues in earnest.
The resulting drama is a powerful mix of raw emotion and intimate
character detail -- an episode sold almost exclusively on
Consider the very first scene, which picks up from the end
of "Believeth," with Kara pointing a gun to Roslin's head and
demanding that she turn the fleet around and follow Kara's gut
feeling to Earth. This scene is not played simply as plot development
or a cliched hostage standoff. This is a scene about characters,
about feelings, about identity, about choices.
It is also about performances; watch Mary McDonnell and Katee
Sackhoff in this scene. It is raw, it is emotional, it is powerful.
McDonnell portrays Roslin as genuinely alarmed by the gun in her face
and the madness unfolding before her eyes, and Sackhoff plays Kara as
a woman on the verge of a total meltdown: She has put her life on the
line, watched her friends die, and now returns to this? A ship where
many are assuming she's a Cylon? She puts her gun on the table and
asks Roslin to shoot her. Roslin says, "They made you perfect, didn't
they?" and then picks up the gun and pulls the trigger. She narrowly
misses, but the fact that she fires speaks volumes. Kara is thrown in
a cell, kicking and screaming the whole way. It's gutsy (and
potentially risky) to take shrieking to such heights, but the rawness
of the scene pays off.
The nature of what Kara is and how the Colonials respond to her
brings up interesting questions. What if she is a Cylon? What does
that mean? As Lee asked in "Believeth," does it really matter at the
end of the day? One might ask Tigh et al this very question. (I love
the fact that Tigh refers to Cylons as "skin-jobs" full well knowing
that he is one.) Personally, I'm beginning to think that being a
Cylon has reached the point that it might as well be a psychological
condition, because it's about what you think you are and whether you
might act on impulses outside your control. It's less and less so
about whether you are a "machine," because at a certain point, what's
the difference between a perfect biological machine with thoughts and
feelings, and a human being? Sure, Cylons can be "programmed," but
can't people be brainwashed? What, honestly, at the end of the day,
is the difference?
The characters themselves will at some point really have to grapple
with these facts. Adama has known Tigh for 40 years. Would Adama
throw all that history away because Tigh thinks he's a Cylon? If Tigh
came out tomorrow and said, "I'm a Cylon," would anyone truly believe
him, or would they just dismiss him and think to themselves, "No,
you're an alcoholic." And besides, don't people more or less trust
Athena, even though she's a Cylon? At what point does being a Cylon
no longer matter? If Adama, for example, can get over the fact Athena
is a Cylon, couldn't he get over Tigh? Or would their relationship
collapse under the weight of its history in light of that new
The question over what to do with Kara, meanwhile, results in a
series of potent scenes, including one where Adama confronts Kara in
her cell (even throwing her to the ground) for her reckless actions
against the president. It's always entertaining to watch Edward James
Olmos when Adama is really pissed.
But for me, the high point of the episode is the quieter -- but
equally emotional and powerful -- scene in Adama's quarters between
him and Roslin. Roslin can see that Adama wants to put his faith in
Kara and she calls on him to admit it. I particularly appreciated the
irony in Adama, the atheist, finding that he suddenly must reevaluate
his position on miracles. The way these two characters fence is
fascinating and at the same time painful. Roslin scoffs at the notion
that Kara could be anything but a cancer, and tells Adama that he
wants to believe because he's losing everyone around him -- his son,
who is leaving the ship to join the Colonial government, as well as
Roslin herself, who is once again dying of cancer. Adama's response
of denial -- "No one's going anywhere" -- is heartbreaking in its
delivery. I also liked his line, "You can stay in the room, but get
out of my head."
This is a scene of wonderful, nuanced performances, where a lot is
said in dialog but even more is spoken between the lines. Watch as
Adama pours a drink, then gets up, and pours another -- then gets up
again and pours yet another. Here is a man in deep conflict with what
lies in front of him. Roslin, who seems so sure of herself and her
beliefs -- both her belief that Kara is a threat and her belief that
Roslin herself is prophesied as the dying leader to take humanity to
Earth -- is anything but certain, and Adama uses cold, hard truth to
remind her of that, explaining that Roslin's convictions are one of
emotional necessity more than they may be one of truth: "You're
afraid that you're not the dying leader you think you are -- and that
your death will be as meaningless as everyone else's." It's enough to
reduce Roslin to tears after Adama leaves the room. What a scene,
and, wow, how it's so quietly accomplished.
I also appreciated the farewell for Lee. He's leaving Galactica, and
the fanfare really drives home the point. Again, this is an example
of emotion trumping plot. Is this scene strictly necessary as plot
development? No, but it sure lends an emotional and character current
to the proceedings.
I haven't even scratched the surface of Tory agreeing to sleep with
Baltar to gain insights into the Cylon condition and One True God
religion ("He was poking a skin-job, that's for sure," Tigh notes
when giving Tory her infiltration assignment; you gotta love this
guy's directness.) Or how about the hilariously quirky and odd scene
where Baltar is having a conversation with Tory and finds himself
suddenly talking to a projection of himself. What does it mean? I
have no idea, but it's funny and cool.
There's also dissension among the ranks of the Cylon fleet. Turns out
the reason the fleet withdrew is because the Cylon Raiders sensed the
presence of the Final Five in the fleet and as a result refused to
continue fighting. The Cavils want to reprogram (i.e., lobotomize)
the Raiders so that they obey, viewing them as nothing more than
tools. The Sixes believe that doing so is morally wrong and a crime
against God, and also believe the Final Five should be sought out to
rejoin the Cylon race This divide splits the Cylons down the middle
into two factions (Cavil/Doral/Simon vs. Six/Leoben/Sharon). Cavil
and Six are deadlocked, and when Cavil dismisses Six's last warning,
she takes the radical step of removing the sentience inhibitors from
the Centurions, which take her side in the standoff and open fire on
At this point, my Irony Detector was on full alert: Here's Six taking
matters into her own hands and giving the Centurions free will. She
is repeating the very actions of humanity in unleashing unpredictable
sentience into the populace of its creators, who have up to now
treated them as simple machines. The children of humanity, it would
seem, are destined to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
"Six of One" ends with Adama giving Kara a ship and crew to
investigate the path to Earth. He cannot commit the fleet to Kara,
but he also cannot simply turn his back on what he believes in. This
feels about right. At the end of the day, "Six of One" is about
feelings and emotions more than it is about reacting from solid-
ground logic. Sometimes you don't have enough information to make the
fully reasoned choice, and you have to go on your gut.
Copyright 2008, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is
Jammer's Reviews - http://www.jammersreviews.com
Jamahl Epsicokhan - jammer@...