This is the 33rd in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?’ And ‘Sine Qua Non’” here.
Season Four’s mid-season finale is filled plot twists, culminating with one sufficiently apocalyptic for an episode titled “Revelations.” The writers swiftly take the audience from the heights to the depths emotionally; the result is brutal, but effective.
The plot also turns on an apparent deus ex machina, which some viewers may resent. Yet a series so concerned with faith may contain the occasional divine intervention – or at least the simulacra of one.
Amid the action, the show remains character-driven. Pres. Roslin has epiphanies about the value of life and love. Adm. Adama has a breakdown when his closest friend admits to being a Cylon. Apollo finds his strengths under intense pressure. Tyrol, facing death, even manages to convey amusement at the cosmic joke his life has become without a line of dialogue.
After the rebel Cylon Basestar jumps away from the fleet, the Hybrid keeps jumping. During each jump, Pres. Roslin has visions of herself and the late Priestess Elosha aboard Galactica. The ship is deserted except for various people at her bedside in the sickbay as she dies of cancer. Roslin and Elosha discuss mortality.
Between jumps, the Hybrid obliquely tells Baltar that Natalie Six was killed aboard Galactica. Those on the Basestar believe the Hybrid is jumping from panic. The lead Eight later deduces the Hybrid is attempting to intercept the Hub and complete the mission to unbox D’Anna and destroy the Hub.
Helo and the lead Eight worry the Vipers aboard the Basestar have an electronic profile that will be detected immediately by Cylon forces at the Hub. They decide Heavy Raiders should tow the Vipers near the Hub before activating them. Their plan requires a sales job, particularly to the human pilots.
Roslin privately instructs Helo to bring D’Anna to her alone before meeting the rebel Cylons.
The other Cylon faction reaches the Hub first. Cavil and Boomer unbox D’Anna. Cavil explains the Cylons are in civil war. D’Anna is surprised, not only that Boomer sided with Cavil against her fellow Eights, but also that Cavil does not want to learn the identity of the Final Five models. Cavil believes Cylons are not meant to know the Five; he only wants D’Anna to help end the war.
The rebel Basestar reaches the Hub. During the jump, Elosha tells Roslin it is wrong for any single person to kill even a “bad” person like Baltar. Roslin resists this message because – according to Elosha – Roslin has isolated herself. Roslin watches as Adama mourns her death.
During the battle, D’Anna kills Cavil. Boomer flees. Helo and the lead Eight capture D’Anna. After they escape, the Vipers detach from the Heavy Raiders and nuke the Hub. One of Cavil’s Basestars is damaged, creating the debris later found by Galactica.
As Baltar lectures a Centurion on theology, their corridor is hit by Cylon forces. The Centurion is destroyed. Baltar sustains an abdominal wound.
Roslin provides first aid to Baltar. Under the influence of morpha, Baltar finally confesses his role in the Cylon attack on the colonies, likening himself to a scriptural flood. As Baltar loses consciousness, Roslin removes his bandage. Baltar begins to bleed to death.
The rebel Basestar jumps again. Roslin has another vision of Adama witnessing her death, praying she will find peace and placing his wedding ring on her finger.
After the jump, Roslin rushes to re-bandage Baltar’s wound and administer fluids. Helo and D’Anna arrive without the lead Eight – an apparent violation of trust Helo rationalizes as following orders. To Roslin’s relief, D’Anna determines Baltar will live.
Roslin asks D’Anna to identify the Final Five. After joking that Roslin is a Cylon, D’Anna refuses to reveal the Five until she feels safe.
The rebel Basestar returns to where it left the fleet. Adama’s Raptor remains. When Adama lands, Roslin tells Adama she loves him. As they embrace, Adama replies, “about time.”
D’Anna takes the humans on the Basestar hostage in return for the Final Five. As Adama departs with D’Anna to deliver her ultimatum, Roslin whispers he must destroy the Basestar if the negotiations collapse.
D’Anna spots Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, and Tory on Galactica’s hangar deck. Without identifying them, she agrees to let the Four come to her (and believes the fifth will not be found). Tory volunteers to bring Roslin’s medication to her.
On the Basestar, Baltar thanks Roslin for saving him, only to learn Roslin’s plan may kill them. When Tory arrives with the medicine, it is clear she has joined the Cylons.
Tory’s defection encourages D’Anna to break her agreement. She notifies Galactica she is executing a hostage every 15 minutes until the rest of the Four join her. Adama tells acting president Apollo of Roslin’s plan, to which Apollo agrees.
Tigh, Anders, and Tyrol again hear the Cylon music and converge on Starbuck’s Viper. Tigh directs the others to find Starbuck.
Tigh then reveals himself to Adama, offering to be ejected from an airlock as a bargaining chip. Adama is in denial, but has Tigh escorted to a launch tube. Adama suffers a breakdown.
Apollo contacts D’Anna, threatening to kill Tigh unless she releases the hostages in 10 minutes. Tigh outs Tyrol and Anders, who are brought to the tube as Anders begs Starbuck to examine her Viper.
Tory advises D’Anna that Apollo is bluffing, but Baltar disagrees. D’Anna prepares a nuclear attack.
Starbuck discovers her Viper – and only hers – is receiving an emergency colonial signal. She reaches Apollo with the news in time to save Tigh, Anders, and Tyrol.
As a trust-building measure, Apollo invites D’Anna to Galactica to confirm Starbuck’s discovery. They agree the signal must originate from Earth and to go there together. The news revives Adama.
To preserve the fragile alliance, Adama decides to proceed without reconnaissance. He has Roslin give the jump order. Lt. Gaeta confirms the constellations match those in the Tomb of Athena. Adama broadcasts the discovery of Earth to a riotously joyful fleet.
Adama leads a scouting party. On the planet’s surface, Adama, Roslin, D’Anna, Apollo, Helo, Athena, Starbuck, Baltar, Caprica Six, Tigh and Leoben discover an uninhabited planet of high radiation and ruins.