Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E07 – Six Degrees of Separation

In the seventh episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, Baltar’s anger with Six over her constant profession of her religion causes her to disappear from his mind, only to reappear in a much more troubling place. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

It’s a good thing there’s so much to like in “Six Degrees of Separation,” which might be one of the more awkward episodes of television that I’ve seen, because it does contain one of my least favorite tropes of all time: the Hollywood Atheist.

I know that, by the nature of how Mark Watches operates and by virtue of the fact that I am just barely on episode seven of the show, not even a tenth of the way through the story. There is much that I could (and probably will) get wrong about this, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? And I’m also willing to admit when it happens (if it happens) that this whole thing was a part of some grander plot or plan for the show. I know that it’s possible this early into the show.

But I still couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable watching an atheist be converted to one who fears God, and having it improve his immediate situation. (I say immediate because, again, it could have very dire consequences in the latter future.) One of the reasons I stopped watching Glee was because of the “Grilled Cheesus” episode in the second season. (Well, there were other reasons, but that was the last episode I saw.) I’m not a particularly sensitive atheist these days, and I’m comfortable enough in my lack of belief that I generally don’t talk about it. I liked Glee as a fan of musicals, and “Home” in season one was what got me hooked, but the treatment of atheism in that particular episode was so forced and over-the-top that it left a bad taste in my mouth. It was made even worse by Ryan Murphy’s insistence that Christianity needed to be represented in order for the episode to be “inclusive.” I’ll just come out and stay it plainly: Christians in the western world, specifically in the United States, are already included in practically everything, and nothing could make the more clear than a storyline that involves atheists who are only disbelievers because they are angry at life or God and appear to hate being non-believers.

Yet I do want to limit my discussion of this for now, because we have no idea who else in this show aside from Six and Baltar has explicit religious (or non-religious) belief. As I said before, “Six Degrees of Separation” works so well because of the awkward sense of urgency that propels the story forward. Even Baltar’s argument with Six, much of which takes place in his mind, is nearly unbearable, especially as he becomes more and more furious at her. The very idea that conversations can be so seamless between reality and the mind is actually really neat to me, and it definitely adds to the intensity of it all.

And then Six disappears. Just gone. Did she disappear forever? I thought. Almost instantaneously, though, Dualla appears: Baltar is needed by Commander Adama. I couldn’t help but think about past interactions with Six and how a high degree of coincidence always seemed to follow her. As much as I might not like Baltar’s conversion, I am intrigued by the idea that Six, who is still just a hallucination as far as I know, can actually control events. She appears in the CIC room, dressed appropriately, but Commander Adama speaks of her. When Baltar makes an offhand comment to Six, she balks at his humor.

BECAUSE EVERYONE CAN SEE HER. IT’S NOT SIX. It’s a goddamn copy. HOW DID SHE GET ON THE SHIP? HOW WAS IT INSTANTANEOUS? Do copies share a hive mind sort of thing? Wait, how could that even be possible? Six is a vision inside Baltar’s head.

Suggesting that Baltar’s rebuke of God is a grievous mistake, this version of Six, named Shelly Godfrey, accuses Baltar of treason, correctly so, too. It seems that Baltar is about to be punished for his crime against God. But not humanity? Unless God is on the side of the Cylons??? Why do I have so many unanswered questions???

We certainly get one fantastic episode out of this, though, that even the conversion scene at the end can’t ruin. It’s amazing to me how quickly this episode, like every single one before it, just transforms into NON-STOP EMOTIONAL TERROR so quickly. Once Shelly Godfrey starts telling what we know is the truth–that Baltar is actually responsible for the Cylon invasion–it’s clear this is going to be a rough journey for him.

Yet as fascinated as I am by his character, I was entirely conflicted by how I should feel. On the one hand, I believed this was an attempt by the Cylons to stop production on the Cylon test Baltar was developing, so in that sense, I wanted Baltar to get out of this. But….he did help the Cylons? And he is partially responsible for the genocide on humanity? And he’s kind of an asshole? WHICH DO I CHOOSE?

Well, I didn’t have to choose either, really, and his character growth in “Six Degrees of Separation” is written in a much more ambiguous way than most shows may have tackled the very same topic. As Adama shuts down Baltar’s lab, stripping him of his security clearance, we then watch Baltar reach out in that slimy, self-serving way of his, contacting people who might be able to “save” him. He wishes to use Roslin’s own hope to benefit himself, but even that doesn’t work. Right at the moment he accuses Shelly of being a Cylon, Roslin collapses at her desk, and Baltar loses one of his chances for freedom and exoneration.

And even that is another bit of awkward tension that this episode provides. I imagine it’s not going to be long before Roslin’s cancer will become public knowledge. Poor Billy accidentally blasted the call for help to the entire fleet, so how much longer will it be before she can no longer hide in secrecy? It also looks like she got the dosage of chamalla she was looking for…but maybe that’s a traditional medicine? It wasn’t clear, but whatever she is taking, she foolishly upped the dosage, appearing to believe it would speed her recovery. Which…Roslin, seriously. When does that ever work? Rarely, if ever, but it’s a sign of her desperation to rid herself of her cancer.

Yet no one personifies desperation more than Baltar. When Shelly reveals that she has a defense disc with an actual photo of Baltar planting a bomb in the defense mainframe, Adama sets Gaeta on the task of cleaning up a reflection of this alleged terrorist to prove definitively that it’s Baltar. It’s very much in Baltar’s nature to use emotional ploys to attempt to manipulate other people, and this is what he does with Gaeta. Only…wow. I don’t know that I have ever laughed and cringed so hard at the exact same time as I did during the bathroom scene. Baltar is not particularly socially adept in any sense, and his flaws are exposed here: he simply cannot gauge what is tactful and what is not when he needs something from someone. I can’t deny that the scene with Gaeta and Baltar in neighboring stalls was actually kind of charming in a way, yet for every moment of charm, I found myself grimacing in embarrassment for both of these characters.

And it’s not that my embarrassment necessarily disappeared after Gaeta fled the bathroom in terror (POOR DUDE); it was just put in the back of my mind, replaced by COMPLETE CONFUSION, when Baltar decided to confront Shelly Godfrey in the stall next to him. (Can I just say that I think it’s cool that the bathrooms appear not to be split by gender?) This was the first time that I believed that this “Shelly” Cylon was truly unconnected to Six. She seemed genuinely shocked by the notion that she was both a Cylon and she knew Baltar in a much more personal sense than what she believed.

However, that didn’t last long, as Shelly soon visits Commander Adama, and then my insides felt like they were being crushed and oh my god this is so awkward it physically hurts. Of course, a great deal of the success of this scene rests solely on the shoulders of Tricia Helfer, who is able to go from a woman dejected and destroyed by the loss of her lover, to one who can hit on the commander of the Battlestar Galactica in a manner of seconds. I’m not sure I know why Shelly/Six did this, but now I knew that she wasn’t unaware of who she was, either. Thankfully, Adama knew that something was fishy about her, order Tigh to have her surveilled while she is on the ship.

Speaking of Cylons (and as if this episode needed to be any more unsettling), how goddamn creepy was Boomer’s entire monologue regarding the Cylon Raider ship? It’s so bizarre how quick she seems to be able to turn it on when she’s right next to the ship, unaware of how she sounds or looks. I mean, she was seconds away from taking off all her clothes and humping the thing. Fortunately that didn’t happen. WITH THE SHIP. Oh, Helo, are you going to make human-Cylon babies with the other Boomer? I mean, that can be the only reason why the Cylons would want to manipulate his love for Boomer. Unless they just want to like…film them having sex? Maybe Cylons are really into porn with human or something LOOK I DON’T KNOW I’M JUST GUESSING.

There’s no guessing involved, though, when I thought about Baltar’s actions for the entire last part of “Six Degrees of Separation.” We’re essentially watching a man make on bad decision after another. Asking Adama to have access to his lab? Or to assist Gaeta? Or to test Shelly Godfrey’s tissue sample? I mean, COULD YOU BE ANY MORE OBVIOUS ABOUT YOUR GUILT, DUDE? You are not helping yourself in the slightest, sir. But that’s the thing about Blatar: he doesn’t seem to possess a lot of foresight. He’s a scientist who is brilliant at his craft, but he lacks craftiness. You can see that acted out when he decides to pull the fire alarm in order to get Gaeta out of the lab so he can go in. It’s an absolutely atrocious idea, especially since it will take anyone in the CIC maybe three seconds at best to determine where the alarm is coming from. Oh, it’s in the same wing as the lab that Gaeta was working in? Balter, YOU FOOL.

Even his actions in the lab show this massive collision between guilt and desperation. He knows Shelly Godfrey is partially right, yet he also knows he didn’t plant the bomb, so he is being framed. Sort of. Yes, it’s quite confusing, but I knew that either way, there was no way Baltar could truly get out of this. Even if he “deleted” the photo, he’d be found alone in the lab. And in what universe would that be viewed in a positive light?

Still, I couldn’t help feeling a bit defeated as Baltar was dragged off to the brig. If he’s going to eventually be forced to be accountable for what he did, it should be the right action, not a frame job. So I felt sad for him when Roslin visited him, only to express her pity for him. I think that, at the very least, it is understandable that after his final hope walks away from him, Baltar might entertain the notion that some divine power is his last resort.

Just like before, though, the very instant that Baltar appears to genuinely accept God and beg for forgiveness, the photo is discovered to be a fake. Shelly Godfrey disappears. Six returns to Baltar’s head. In every sense, his world has been righted, with him coming out even more invincible than before, as the act actually gives the man more credibility than without it. I hope we are just seeing Six’s manipulation, and that this is not some grandiose commentary about how turning one’s life to God will give them everything they ever desired. Again, it’s far, far too early to tell how this will play out, so I’ll reserve my commentary to avoid being too foolish about it. I suppose I just wish that atheists were portrayed more immutably in the media.

“Six Degrees of Separation” is a strong episode despite this, and I think it’s a great example of how you can dislike a part of something, but still like it as a whole. We advance Boomer’s storyline (in both worlds) rather dramatically, as someone on board the Galactica clearly suspects she is a Cylon. We also deal a bit with Starbuck’s recovery, and the attempt to get the Cylon Raider ship up and running. But the bulk of this episode is a character study of Baltar, a man caught between selfishness and fear.

And oh lord, the Cylon threat sure is getting awkward.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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107 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E07 – Six Degrees of Separation

  1. Sadie says:

    Wow; if I hadn't already been getting some unmistakable Gaeta/Baltar vibes, this episode would have solidified it for me. Gaeta is obviously crushing hard, and now Baltar owes him a serious debt of gratitude for what he did with the faked security footage… and the two of them really go together so very well. They share certain areas of enthusiasm and are obviously on a par as far as their respective intellects, but Gaeta's Mr.-Sweet-and-Dependable, while Gaius has the whole mad genius/arrogant bastard thing going for him. I'm definitely predicting an interesting future relationship for them.

  2. Unless they just want to like…film them having sex? Maybe Cylons are really into porn with human or something LOOK I DON’T KNOW I’M JUST GUESSING.
    Rule 34.

  3. Albion19 says:

    I find this ep so funny! NO MORE MR NICE GAIUS!

    ot: London is out of control, I keep hearing police sirens ever five minutes 🙁

  4. "No more Mr. Nice Gaius!"

    Love you forever, James Callis.

  5. Noybusiness says:

    Never bothered me because the episode isn't saying "this is what atheists are like", it's just what Baltar is like – narcissism is his defining trait and he's weak, so he's a person who does "convert" when he's in a foxhole. I get the feeling that Adama and Apollo are non-believers too.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      In the words of someone I don't remember…

      "'There are no atheists in foxholes' isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes."

      And yeah, I totally agree with you. I don't think his 'conversion' here was any more genuine than his 'repentance' in 33. He did it to get out of his current situation, and because he knew that's what Six wanted.

      I don't think it's ever been said, but I assume most of the Colonials only believe in the Gods in a vague, it's-just-a-tradition sort of way. So far (apart from funeral services etc) , we've only really seen Starbuck be openly religious.

      • Geolojazz says:

        I concur; Baltar's 'faith' is just another thing he's jumping to to get him out of a scrape.

    • cait0716 says:

      I agree. I don't think they're trying to make Gaius a stand-in for all atheists. He's just an intellectual narcissist growing increasingly desperate. His visions of Six also throw an interesting kink into the whole affair and, I think, keep this from being just about an atheist looking to God in his time of need. He's being relentlessly driven down a road to God.

  6. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I think the whole 'atheist conversion at the 11th hour' thing didn't so much bother me in this because it was Baltar. I feel like it says more about him than it does about his beliefs…he'll literally do ANYTHING to save his own skin, even completely go against his own convictions. And I think if he was religious, he would have changed to being an atheist just as quickly if it would save his life.

    • shoroko says:

      Yeah. If a person tends to go with 'do anything and everything to save yourself,' that's probably going to win out every time, regardless of one's religious views.

    • cait0716 says:

      I agree. I definitely saw that prayer as his final act of desperation and am willing to chalk up the method and timing of his salvation to coincidence. I do think it would have happened whether he prayed or not and this is all a massive manipulation on the part of Head Six.

      Rira uvf shyy ba pbairefvba va yngre rcvfbqrf fcrnxf zber gb uvf neebtnapr naq qrfver gb or vzcbegnag guna gb nal npghny oryvrs ba uvf cneg. Ng yrnfg gung'f ubj V nyjnlf ernq vg.

    • rabbitape says:

      Agreed — My read of Baltar is that he's the distillation of narcissism and desperation. I think it's impossible for him to believe in God in a religious sense, because he would value himself more. I don't think he can worship a god; but he most certainly can beg for help or physical salvation (as opposed to redemption or metaphysical salvation).

    • innocentsmith says:

      Yeah, I definitely don't think that was a sincere conversion at all, except in the sense that Baltar was willing to conjure up sincerity about anything if he thought it would save him. The Cylon God was just another person to suck up to. The guy doesn't have any real, deep-down principles except his own self-interest.

      Which, IDK, if you're going to regard him the representative of atheism on the show, doesn't present it in a very positive light? But we already knew that about Baltar, and that he was an asshole in general, so. Maybe best to wait/hope for a better spokesman for atheism.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Yeah, I'm always a little wary of using anyone as a 'representative' of something as well. I mean, I don't care if you have all the atheists on a show be total douchebags and all religious people really wonderful – hey, sometimes that happens. I don't think they should feel the need to have an obligatory 'good guy' atheist, just for the sake of it.
        Speaking as an atheist, I certainly don't see Baltar as representative at all. The fact that he doesn't believe in God is part of his character, but I don't think it's the point of his character, if you get my meaning. As you said, it's already been established he's a total asshat in his own right no matter what his beliefs. I mean, I'm not gonna root for him just because he's an atheist, and I'm not gonna be annoyed if he's painted in a bad light because his atheism has nothing to do with it either way.

        IDK, maybe I'm not expressing myself very well here, but to me it seems just as weird as having the villain on a show being the only blonde-haired person, and then saying 'Well, this is a terrible representation of blonde-haired people, the show should really have some good guys with blonde hair too'. It's not really relevant.

        Of course, the idea that atheists are eeeeevil and can only be saved through conversion to God is not an idea I like to see. Nor is the idea that any actually evil person can be forgiven if they only get religion. But I really don't think that's what they were going for here. Baltar most certainly was not redeemed, he was more…let off the hook. For now. 😉

  7. psycicflower says:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I’m sorry, did something else happen in this episode?

    Also, seriously Chief JUST TELL SOMEONE! Cause this
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> this acting all affectionate with a Cylon raider feels like a warning sign, a warning sign in big red capital letters flashing CYLON CYLON CYLON.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I love how there were also ACTUAL big yellow capital letters saying 'Cylon' in this episode! 😀

      I meant to ask actually, is it supposed to be Boomer herself who wrote that on the mirror? Because I was never really clear on that.

      • psycicflower says:

        I don't think they ever said in the episode so I think you could interpret it any way you want. Maybe someone else suspects or maybe it's her Cylon side or subconscious? She did spend most of the episode getting cosy with a raider.

      • chikzdigmohawkz says:

        I'm inclined to think it was Boomer herself. I think once she started to suspect that she's a Cylon, whatever blocks that were put into place in order to suppress her Cylon nature started crumbling, so to speak. So now her Cylon self is beginning to reassert itself, starting with her subconscious. I equate the 'Cylon written on the mirror' episode with the blackout she experienced after sabotaging the water supply.

        • cait0716 says:

          I like the idea of it being Boomer. I'd never given it much thought, but this theory makes perfect sense to me. Poor Boomer.

        • innocentsmith says:

          Yeah, I agree. Her subconscious is trying to warn her, but her conscious mind is trying really hard to deny it. And she's kind of having a breakdown, as a result.

      • Weston says:

        *ominous music*

      • hassibah says:

        That seriously never even occurred to me. I thought for sure that somebody was starting rumors about her and is picking on her.

  8. Kaci says:

    This is almost entirely unrelated to your review, or this episode, but it does go along with the theme of religion in this world–I just realized that for the most part, the humans seem to be part of a polytheistic religion, whereas the Cylons seem to be part of a monotheistic one, which is super-interesting since humans created Cylons and you'd think if they were to have a religion, it would be about their known creators, which would make the Cylons the polytheistic ones as opposed to the other way around.

    Don't mind me, I'm just being random and brain-vomiting in your comments, Mark.

  9. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Actually, I think Roslin overdosing is one of my favourite things in this episode, even if it is just incidental. It's really the first time we've seen her make a silly mistake like that – it shows that even though she's an intelligent, capable person, she's just as fallible as the rest. And she obviously has problems letting go of control, and simply deferring to Doc Cottle's instructions. Just a nice little character moment, I felt.

  10. Ryan Lohner says:

    "All I know is every day you spend in that bed is another day that I have my opinion of you confirmed. As you were." I love seeing Tigh get those shots in, as I can't stand the "rule-breaking hotshot pilot" role and Starbuck is a great deconstruction of how screwed-up such a person would actually be.

  11. Noybusiness says:

    "I hope we are just seeing Six’s manipulation, and that this is not some grandiose commentary about how turning one’s life to God will give them everything they ever desired."

    I don't see how that could be considered a good thing. (Baltar's rise to power)

    • Coughdrop01 says:

      I agree! I fail to see how 'turning to God' is shown in a positive light here when Baltar is so clearly a selfish bastard.

  12. monkeybutter says:

    I could go along with Baltar's opportunistic atheism and belief earlier because it fit his character, but I'll be damned if his teary-eyed conversion wasn't an irritating stereotype. I mean, we start the episode with him being as smarmy as humanly possible, and by the end, he's on his knees begging to serve god, like it's an appropriate humbling. I'll wait to see where this is going, but meh to that.

    I mean, she was seconds away from taking off all her clothes and humping the thing

    OMG, Mark, bestiality? Even Cylons have standards! I think it was a neat insight into the way the humanoid Cylons think of the more robotic ones? I love that Starbuck is the only one who has a feel for flying that thing. By the way, who wrote that on Boomer's mirror? Was it her? Shelly? Or just a suspicious crew member? And who is letting these Cylons onto Galactica? Is it Boomer? Is there a ship full of them ready to drop a new model on board whenever they want to make things interesting? So many questions!

    • cait0716 says:

      He went through the same thing in 33, though. He started out smarmy and seemed to genuinely repent at the end of that episode. Then we come here and he's just as much of a non-believer and just as disdainful of religion as always. Only time will tell if it sticks this time or if he goes right back to being the same slimeball once he's safe again.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Was he really that insulting the first time, though? I don't remember. And if he's going to have a come to toaster moment to knock him down a peg every time he asserts his atheism, it's gonna get old. I will wait see!

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          I don't know actually, I think, if anything, it seems like this familiar cycle paints religion in a bad light, more than atheism. I mean, Six is the one pushing her beliefs on Baltar – the fact that she does something nasty to him to 'knock him down a peg' whenever he tries to assert his atheism to her makes him more sympathetic. It's the religious person who's being shown to be cruel and manipulative to get her way in this episode, and the atheist persecuted and forced into submission.

          Incidentally, that wasn't really meant as an argument either way, just a random thought that popped into my head. As you said, we are only a few episodes in, and will just have to wait and see how the whole monotheism/polytheism/atheism thing is dealt with as the show continues!

          • monkeybutter says:

            Oh, I agree that Six's fervent proselytizing makes religious people look as bad as Baltar's wishy-washy, self-serving atheism, but there are also believers of a different faith who are more laid back on Galactica. Baltar's the only atheist. Sorta. I mean, I see how his behavior illuminates his character, but his smugness followed by conversion is so over-played in depictions of atheists, and it's not like he has any laid back counterparts else where in the show that I know of. It could just be that because there are some that don't make a big deal about religion, or religion hasn't entered their story yet. I just get weary of Baltar's type of character. And I'll get bored with him if he keeps reverting to non-believer without delving more into the Cylon religion. I'm hoping this episode is setting up something along those lines, but I don't know!

  13. knut_knut says:

    This episode was SO STRESSFUL! At one point I covered the screen I couldn't stand it (I'm incredibly pathetic BUT I COULDN'T TAKE IT!) I can't tell if I like Baltar or not (he brings the lols but he's a major creep) but I didn't want him to DIE even though he really is a traitor 🙁

    I'm also curious to see how the conversion will play out. Normally I get annoyed when characters (or people in real life) try to convert athiests but I was so thankful Baltar wasn't executed I didn't really care how he was saved.

  14. Maya says:

    Seriously, the "no more Mr. Gaius!" bit is where I absolutely fell in love with Baltar. Seriously, he's this bizarre mixture of panic and genius and incompetence and charm. Such a fascinating and entertaining character, even when the religious stuff gets laid on a bit thick.

  15. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I kind of assumed from Gaeta's comment about the finding the photo markers ('it was almost too easy") that Six had set it all up. As in, she was deliberately trying to make it seem as if God had saved Baltar so he would convert.
    It basically mirrors the scene in '33' doesn't it? When Baltar 'repents' just before they blow up the Olympic Carrier – you COULD interpret it as God, but it's more likely that it would have happened anyway, and Six is just constantly trying to scare Baltar into religion by coincidentally saving his ass every time he prays.
    That's how I saw it anyway. YMMV of course.

  16. NB2000 says:

    Aaah one of my favourite episodes. There's humour! Well bits of it, look it's rare on this show I'll take what I can get.

    James Callis has this knack of managing to be funny even in some of the most desperate scenes his character has been in so far. "No more Mr Nice Gaius!" for one but I always love the part when Gaeta comes to tell him he's been cleared and he very quickly goes from "IT'S A LIE!" to a very flat "what?" after being told about the picture.

    One of the things I enjoy most about this episode is that it leaves a lot of open questions for the audience to think over for themselves. Were Shelley and Six connected somehow? Was Shelley trying to build Gaius up as Six suggested? We're allowed to come to our own conclusions.

    The intercutting between Gaius' fantasy house and the real world, particularly when going from Gaius speaking to Bill and him racing through the house trying to find Six, is really well done and shows us just how desperate he is.

    Thankfully, Adama knew that something was fishy about her, order Tigh to have her surveilled while she is on the ship.

    Maybe it's just me but I love how the scene abruptly goes from her hitting on him to the order to follow her. Apparently Laura "We need to start having babies!" Roslin is the only one who gets to awkwardly hit on him.

    Between the press conference in the last episode and Billy's rather disastrous performance before them here all I can think is…where's CJ Cregg when you need her?

    • Maya says:

      Oh my god, can you imagine the team of Laura Roslin and CJ Cregg? HBICs taking over the world. I WANT IT NOW!

    • psycicflower says:

      Maybe it's just me but I love how the scene abruptly goes from her hitting on him to the order to follow her. Apparently Laura "We need to start having babies!" Roslin is the only one who gets to awkwardly hit on him.

      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      MAN that scene where Shelley Godfrey comes on to Adama is so awkward. I actually left the room to make a snack this time while I was watching because there's just something so…AUGH. It's like watching my dad with some hot chick, it's just WEIRD.

      I mean, what was she thinking? You're never gonna get Adama like that! If she knew anything about the guy, she would realise that all such a clumsy move would do is make him suspicious! I can only assume that the number 6 model is really into seducing people indiscriminately, and she didn't care about the consequences since she knew she would eventually be found out anyway.

      • notemily says:

        Six does seem to just want to make out with people. The very first scene we see of her is her randomly making out with the Armistice Station dude after just having met him five seconds ago. Doesn't one of the Sixes even make out with Helo on Caprica before Sharon "saves" him?

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          And Sharon also said that Six thinks everyone is attractive…huh, that's an interesting character thing that I never picked up on before.

      • tethysdust says:

        My take on 6 is that she's deliberately designed to be a very physically sensual person-cylon. She seems very drawn to sex and violence, but, when behaving as designed, doesn't really have much in the way of empathy or emotional depth.

    • notemily says:

      I always love the part when Gaeta comes to tell him he's been cleared and he very quickly goes from "IT'S A LIE!" to a very flat "what?" after being told about the picture.

      My favorite part is when he goes "of course it's not me, I would never wear a shirt like that." He instantly switches from desperate pleading to casual joking around, it's great.

  17. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    Unless they just want to like…film them having sex? Maybe Cylons are really into porn with human or something LOOK I DON’T KNOW I’M JUST GUESSING.

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  18. cait0716 says:

    I also like the fact that all the bathrooms on the Galactica are co-ed. I think it speaks volumes about their society and the acceptance of women in the military. They're equal, and they don't need to be separated to make people feel more comfortable or to protect anyone. It's just a wonderful detail.

    I love the editing during the Helo/Sharon sex scene and Boomer discovering Cylon written on her mirror. The cutting and music is just wonderful. It kind of reminds me of the Firefly episde Safe when River is dancing while the gunfight is happening.

  19. rabbitape says:

    We’re essentially watching a man make on bad decision after another.

    [H]e doesn’t seem to possess a lot of foresight.

    I believe this is the preface in the textbook on Gaius Baltar.

  20. Dani says:

    Hollywood Atheist never occurred to me while watching BSG, partly because the typical portrayals of religion are all flipped around– monotheistic villains, polytheistic heroes. If Baltar was to be redeemed through conversion, shouldn't he follow a god from the pantheon? His crisis in this episode is an entirely different creature.
    On top of this, BSG's characters are each many shades of grey… There's no solid way to portray Baltar as adrift or doomed or immoral *because* of his atheism, because so many of the religious characters are also lost, cruel, etc. If there's any connection, it's correlation without causation.

  21. Tess says:

    Huh. It's funny because I didn't equate the ending with Balthar "coming to God" at all. Brain Six seems to have some kind of real world power (although coincidence should not be excluded as an option), but so do the cylons (reincarnation is pretty magical). Brain Six could have simply used superior technology (which seems magical to us due to our technological limitations) to affect the real world. We don't even know exactly how Brain Six relates to the real world, or if she's imaginary or not. But from Balthar's perspective, it doesn't matter. Balthar can believe in the reality that he's experiencing–i.e. that Brain Six has some ability to control events in the real world, and thus that he needs to play along with her because she's powerful–without believing in her deity. Whether the deity exists or not, his rational move is to play along and profess belief because Brain Six will (at least appear to) punish him for a profession of unbelief.

  22. fantasylover120 says:

    Dear Baltar-Please stop being confusing. I don't know whether I should hate you, love you, or feel anything towards you. This show is stressful and nail biting enough, you are not helping matters. Sincerely, a frusterated (but loving every minute of it) viewer.

  23. notemily says:

    "It's important you form a close personal relationship with God." Well, Six could always fync ba n anzrgnt gung fnlf "TBQ" naq gurl pbhyq tb gb gur Unyybjrra cnegl gbtrgure.

    "I've never seen this woman before in my life." LOL Gaius.

    Can't see whose reflection it is? Time for the ENHANCE BUTTON! (That, btw, may be my favorite TVTropes page.)

    "It's not that kind of a shot." I love the LOOK OF DEATH Roslin gives Cottle right then. She's like "SERIOUSLY."

    Your mistake, Six, was trying to seduce Adama. You thought that'd work? He will not fall for that shit.

    "No more Mr. Nice Gaius!" Best line or best line? That entire bathroom scene is amazing.

    "It's a girl." I… don't think it has a sex, Starbuck. Are there genitalia anywhere? Do I want to know? Do… do Cylons poop?

    The scene where the monitor with Gaius's face just WON'T turn off (which is kind of hilarious) pairs nicely with the scene where Boomer is desperately trying to wipe the "Cylon" off her mirror. Both are hiding things that others would hate them for, but it's interesting because neither of them are intentional traitors. Gaius accidentally gave crucial access and information to a Cylon, and Boomer accidentally… is a Cylon. If that makes sense. Neither of them want to be The Enemy.

    Blah, blah blah, God, blah blah blah. Gaius's "faith" is interesting to watch, but the fact that Six basically has to bully him into it by making the worst things ever happen to him (apparently) means, to me, that it's not all that strong. I get the no atheists in foxholes and all that, but if believing in God is your last-ditch desperate effort to get yourself out of whatever trouble you're in, it doesn't seem like faith so much as grasping at whatever life preserver has been thrown overboard.

    I've always liked the idea that Helo was secretly in lub with Sharon but never wanted to interfere in her relationship with the Chief. Because it makes me go awwww. I have a soft spot for Helo.

    It's not entirely true that we don't know anyone's religious beliefs aside from Six and Baltar. We know that Starbuck, for example, prays to the Lords of Kobol, as she does when she thinks Lee is dead. I can't remember if we've seen any other examples so far.

    I can’t deny that the scene with Gaeta and Baltar in neighboring stalls was actually kind of charming in a way, yet for every moment of charm, I found myself grimacing in embarrassment for both of these characters.

    I kind of love every interaction between Gaeta and Baltar for that reason–it's both charming and embarrassing. I'm just like "oh, you two."

    Boomer is pretty obvious about treating the Raider like a "pet," but the thing is, that's pretty much what Starbuck did the first time she got it to work. She treated it exactly like it was an animal she was figuring out how to ride. Well, except for the whole cutting out the brain thing. (How does it even still WORK?)

    I have a story to tell but I'll do it in a separate comment because this one is long enough already!

    • psycicflower says:

      ENHANCE was the first thing I thought of watching this as well.

      "It's not that kind of a shot." I love the LOOK OF DEATH Roslin gives Cottle right then. She's like "SERIOUSLY."
      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
      Everyone on this show has the best facial expressions.

    • Sadie says:

      Oh yes, "Enhance" was the first place my mind went as well. It's not the most egregious example I've seen; at least they ~*tried*~ to make it somewhat realistic by having the process take longer than it usually does on other shows, not to mention the fact that the footage was a fake all along, but the idea is fundamentally the same.

      • notemily says:

        Yeah, I mean, at least BSG isn't set in our world, so you could handwave that they have some kind of superior technology that allows them to magically clarify photos. As opposed to crime shows set in the real world, which I feel like should have some semblance of realism. But on the other hand it's hilarious when they don't.

    • lyvanna says:

      I absolutely adore the conversation Helo and Sharon have where he admits he's been in love with her for a long while but that he respected hers and the Chief's feelings. I'm glad that was acknowledged because it would have been easy for them to say, hey the Chief isn't around/its the end of the world lets just get it on but I don't feel like Helo is that kind of person.

      "Truth is, if something happened to you I wouldn't know how to deal with it. […] Back o­n the ship, I, uh… look, I knew what was going o­n. I mean, between you and the Chief. […] And I respected it, your feelings, his, but… I would have given anything to be him. Hey, I'm not trying to put you o­n the spot, here. I don't wanna step into what you two have. You feel the way you feel and I have to respect that–"

      Awwwwwww. Why do they have to play with poor lovesick Helo 🙁

    • NB2000 says:

      fync ba n anzrgnt gung fnlf "TBQ" naq gurl pbhyq tb gb gur Unyybjrra cnegl gbtrgure.

      Terngrfg Unyybjrra pbfghzr rire VZUB, be "Oynfcurzre"

    • Noybusiness says:

      There's a deleted scene where they find the Raider has a defecation function.

      • notemily says:

        Well, then my next question is: does it need to eat? And if so, WHAT does it eat?

        (Not that I'm saying you should know ALL THE ANSWERS, it's just interesting that they don't go into detail about this in the episode itself.)

  24. notemily says:

    So, this morning I drove my parents to the airport.

    My mom asked me if I ever read eBooks instead of regular books, and so I told her about Mark Reads, because those are the only ebooks I've actually bought instead of just having them be pre-loaded on whatever app I'm using. She said "oh, he's actually making money from them?" and I said "well, I think right now he's putting the money into merchandise for the store."

    Mom: "What kind of merchandise?"
    Me: "Oh, you know, like t-shirts with sayings from the blog on them."
    Mom: "Sayings that HE made up? Does he think that highly of himself??"
    Me: "No, Mom, you don't understand–WE think that highly of HIM!"

    Then I told her about "You Are Not Prepared," but I didn't mention "Shit Just Got Real" because I didn't really want to say "shit" to my parents. Despite being 28 years old and perfectly capable of swearing around other adults.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I keep having to explain to my parents why I have to be on the internet at 9pm every evening. They can't grasp why I would want to read about someone I don't know watching something I've already seen. I told them it's kind of like being part of an online book-group? Like, we meet at a certain time every day and discuss the latest episode?
      That was the closest analogy I could think of.
      And they were amazed that Mark has so many fans! And then we had to have a whole discussion about being 'internet famous'. It's very difficult to explain a lot of my life to my parents, since they don't have the first clue about this sort of thing. *first world problems*

      I haven't told my mum about buying the e-books though. She's a librarian, and has certain views about electronic devices putting her out of a job. 😛

      • notemily says:

        Haha, my mom was a librarian for most of my life, but she's retired and has an iPad now and is interested in the whole eBook thing. Ebooks aren't putting anyone out of a job around here–our library has ebooks available for download, but there's actually a waiting list for them like they're a physical book. I don't understand this AT ALL. What's the point of the different format if you put artificial limitations on it?

        Personally I think the "down with any kind of government spending!" people are more likely to put librarians out of a job… but that's another discussion entirely.

        Mark Does Stuff really is the best book club ever. I tried to explain how it's this awesome community, and Mom wanted to know more about Mark, and then I had to explain to her the concept of "straight edge" which she hadn't heard of before. The generation gap is kind of large here.

      • TyBlack says:

        I have gotten to a point where I just refer to Mark as my internet friend to people not in the know. Most of my immediate family though knows who I am talking about when I say "Mark said something funny today" or "Mark is going to freak out about this chapter."

  25. pica_scribit says:

    So yeah…. Looks like confirmation that Six does not just exist in Baltar's head. How does she do it? Freaky to contemplate….

  26. innocentsmith says:

    Honestly, I think Baltar's "conversion" there at the end was more a parody of the kind of come-to-Jesus scenes you're describing.

    I don't think we're ever supposed to regard things Baltar does as admirable. I mean, he's Baltar. For me, the praying at the end had about as much sincerity behind it as his earlier attempt to win Head!Six (by which I mean invisible-Six-in-his-head) back by yelling, "I love you! I'm willing to make that commitment!" He might have almost convinced himself he meant it, but I think if he'd thought he'd have a better chance praying to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster then that's what he would have done. The only reason he doesn't is because it's not the Spaghetti Monster Head!Six was telling him to pray to, and she was the intermediary he was trying to placate.

    Plus, aside from anything else, the Cylon God is not the dominant faith of his culture, not one of the deities he would have been familiar with and rejected when deciding to become an atheist. Those are the Lords of Kobol, and they're effectively the Greek gods – we've seen Starbuck praying to them, and they're the ones that have all the cultural references (call sign Apollo, and Adama being called "Zeus" and so on). The Cylon God is the god of the Cylons, a being that, at this point, seems to be pretty unknown to humanity, and according to the Cylons was the one who ordered the destruction of humanity. So if He exists, he's clearly, uh. Not terribly fluffy. At least from a human standpoint.

  27. cobaltazure says:

    I love the scene when Gaius is discovering that Shelly is not Head Six so much. That was almost a wonderfully lighthearted moment but for the fact that you know trouble's on the way.

    I still don't know how I feel about Gaius. I just like watching him squirm.

  28. Karen says:

    Guh I was out tonight seeing a production of medieval mystery plays (LOL DOES IT GET ANY MORE ENGLISH MAJOR-Y NERDY THAN THAT?), so I am tired and just got in. Thus you are only going to get the briefest of thoughts from me. Basically this episode was just so-so. The only part I really liked was when Gauis didn't realize that everyone could see the Six and also "no more Mr. Nice Gaius!". Other than that… meh.

  29. Thennary Nak says:

    Honestly I didn't like Gaius' "conversion" much myself but as someone who is Christian for some different reasons. I feel that Gaius is being bullied into believing into the Cylon God by head-Six and I don't believe religion is something that can be forced on anyone. Religious belief to me is something that one has to take on because of their own free will, not because it was coerced out of them, especially since I can't see much in the way of actual faith coming from such a "conversion".

    But like you I haven't watched the entire series yet so I don't know all the answers so I guess we can find out together whether or not we do have legitimate reasons for disliking this plot point.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "I feel that Gaius is being bullied into believing into the Cylon God by head-Six and I don't believe religion is something that can be forced on anyone"

      I totally agree with you there, but I hope it doesn't make you feel like you have to dislike the plot point! I don't approve of genocide either, but that also happened on this show.
      I'm pretty sure they weren't trying to paint Six's forcible 'conversion' of Baltar in a positive way – it was a cruel and manipulative thing to do and it was heavily implied he didn't have any actual faith. But I don't think they're saying all religious people are like that, any more than they're saying that all atheists will convert at the first sign of trouble.
      That's just Six and Baltar.

    • hpfish13 says:

      As a Christian as well, I think the forced conversion trivializes both the concept of faith in a higher power and a person's belief in atheism (gosh it's hard to phrase that without sounding condescending, if someone can think of a better word than belief, please let me know). The conversion in times of great peril trope has always bothered me as well, because it frequently treats a serious issue so lightly.

      That being said, I agree with others here that Baltar's "conversion" says a lot more about Baltar than it does about atheism or religion.

  30. enigmaticagentscully says:

    By the way, does anyone else think it's really hilarious that we're having more ~controversial religious discussions~ here than on Mark Reads?
    I mean, I swear Pullman's trilogy is renowned for pissing off a lot of people on religious grounds, but I don't remember BSG being a problem at all. Perhaps the controversy passed me by at the time? I was totally prepared for some heavy discussions on the books, and yet here we are!

    On another note, I'd just like to say that I love all the comments for this episode so far. We've had some really interesting points raised, and no-one has been unreasonable or argumentative, even though we've been through some tricky subject matter. We have such a great community! Love you guys!

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  31. hassibah says:

    I love everything in this episode so much. Well, that there is toilet humor and I'm so happy it's not the end of grumpy doctor.

    I dunno, are Cylons bored and bitter about having to use plastic underwear to manipulate humans and didn't think anything through beyond getting their revenge by being entertained by dudes in silver pants? The biggest serious business question for me right now I guess how much is there a cylon hivemind and how much are they individuals with free will? Are they like the borg or are they individuals with semi-fascistic tendencies?

    Also can I just say: Penikett does not get enough credit for his acting skills. Lots of people have nice faces but tbqh that scene in the miniseries where he gives his little monologue about the end of everything could easily have been really boring.

    I think whenever there is religious or philosophical discussion I must like black out or something because I have no memories of these other things happening. I have like no interest in this part of the show, but that's not a secret. That Glee episode is like one of a handful I've seen and I think I liked it if for nothing else but that I love gospel music. A lot. There was gospel in that episode, right? I think there was, unless I blacked out for that, too.

  32. HungryLikeLupin says:

    This episode has a pun for a title, and is therefore an automatic win in my book.

    Right! Now that that's out of the way, a couple things of a bit more substance:

    The scene with Boomer and the raider is one of my favorites out of everything I've seen. (To date, that's the first two seasons and . . . I think two episodes of the third?) I love the way she seems to slip into a more Cylon personality without even realizing it; that, along with the evidence we have from Water that she's capable of blacking out while that part of her takes over, actually makes me pretty sure that she was the one who wrote "CYLON" on her own mirror.

    Sure, it's possible that some random crew member suspects she's a Cylon and wrote it there as an anonymous accusation, but . . . well, let's be honest, the Cylon part of her already seems like kind of a jerk. She might have just as easily "woken up" in Water long after she was already changed and dried, with the last explosive set. In fact, that last bomb seems to have been intended as an extra, a leftover, since all of the tanks along one side of the ship were blown out. When she comes to she's just sitting, all alone in a room, so it doesn't seem like she was shocked back into her "Sharon" personality or something. It leads me to the conclusion that it was intentional, that her programming was designed to make her aware of who/what she is. The Cylon side of her seems to have some (unsurprising) amount of contempt for humans; it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch for that contempt to extend to programming that makes one of them think she is human.

    On the subject of the raider, also, I forgot to mention it on the review of You Can't Go Home Again, but I thought it was interesting that when Starbuck opens it up and first sees that there's some sort of muscle inside (ewewewewew), she echoes what we've heard Six say a number of times and asks, "Are you alive?" I have no idea if that has any significance whatsoever, but . . . well. Interesting.

    As far as Gaius goes in this episode, I really don't see his conversion as a wholehearted one. That's not to say I think he's faking it; it's clear by the time we get to the halfway point that faking conversion isn't going to cut it anymore. Six, or God, or whatever force is moving events, is clearly looking for something more genuine. I believe that Gaius truly believes in his own conversion, but I don't think that's changed a bit of who he fundamentally is. I get the impression, watching these episodes again, that his lack of faith is grounded in the same self-interest as the rest of his character: he doesn't believe in God because doing so doesn't benefit him, and only once that changes is he able to accept the idea of a divine power.

    To that end, I think that he is rather immutable; Baltar's god, his religion, is an almost fanatical sense of self-interest and self-preservation. He believes in God once he sees evidence to support the fact that God believes in him, and his demeanor at the end of the episode makes it seem as though he now views the Cylon God no differently than he does anyone else with whom he interacts. He's real, certainly, and he's proven Himself necessary, but in the end Baltar's main concern is with how a relationship with God can work to his advantage. Despite his "conversion", I don't think that Baltar is really any spiritually different at the end of the episode than he was at the beginning.

    And one last thing:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Because it had to be done.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I think the 'Are you alive?' line is meant to just highlight the theme of the show really. I mean, for a show that's all about blurring the lines between human and machine, it's a pretty apt question.
      Are they alive? Really? How would you define life?

    • kristinc says:

      "I believe that Gaius truly believes in his own conversion, but I don't think that's changed a bit of who he fundamentally is."

      I think you're exactly right — These events genuinely convinced him that the Cylon god is the biggest bully on the playground, and in true Gaius Baltar fashion he's made the most self-preserving decision possible and moved his allegiance to that biggest bully because that's where Gaius Baltar's skin looks to be safest. It's not a change of heart, just continues the same basic MO he's always had.

  33. Mauve_Avenger says:

    So I recorded this episode on my DVR and watched it, and the very first thing that came onto the screen was a compilation of somewhat spoilery scenes in which the characters use the word "frak," which BBCA for some reason thought was appropriate to run during the closing credits of the previous episode. I'm really hoping those scenes weren't what I thought they were.

    After I'd watched and deleted, I went online to find a transcript (BBCA for some reason also doesn't like me using closed captioning) and the one I found claims that the tune Gaeta was whistling in the bathroom scene was supposed to be the original Battlestar Galactica theme. I don't really remember what it sounded like, though, and none of the searches I've done have confirmed it, so does anyone else know if this is true or not?

    • Albion19 says:

      This is the theme. I don't have this ep at hand so I don't know if it was what Gaeta was whistling. The first 35 secs are kinda spoilery, so I'd advice skipping to the main theme. As cheesy as the show was I Iove the theme .

      • breesquared says:

        Wow, kinda spoilery? It basically gives away this entire adaptation.

        ETA: nothing against you posting it, I'm just baffled that I finished the series yesterday and was completely surprised, and apparently in the original it was just… there lol.

        • Albion19 says:

          *phew* probably shouldn't have used "kinda" :\

          Anyone who hasn't finished BSG: skip the first 35 seconds.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Hmm….So it sounds sort of similar, but not really? One problem is that the part with Gaeta whistling is really short, just a few seconds long. And Gaeta is kind of crap at whistling.

        I'm going to guess that it wasn't meant to be the same. Looking at the website where I found that information, it has a warning for people not to steal their transcripts, so maybe they just added that in to easily find unauthorized copies?

  34. Quantum Reality says:

    I've just come across this now, so I don't know if anyone's still reading these things or not. 🙂

    My main concern with this episode is that after the video was revealed as a fake, nobody came up to Baltar afterwards and said, "Even though we have adjudicated you innocent, we still find it very, very interesting that you were so desperately attempting to destroy evidence that apparently would have showed your guilt. Is there… anything… you wish to tell us?"

    Because TBQH if I were Adama, Cylon detector or no Cylon detector, Gaius Baltar all but screamed "I know more than I'm telling!" in that episode – and I'd want some words with him.

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