'Battlestar Galactica': Choose your side

Jamescallis_battlestargalactica_240 "Battlestar Galactica" wants to know: What's the measure of a man (or woman)? What made Gaius or Lee or Kara or Roslin into the characters they are now, facing the vast unknown on a crumbling ship? What's at the core of their decisions?

[These spoilers began as something much simpler.]

Another "bridge" episode, but this one served a valuable purpose: It showed some of our favorite characters on Caprica before the nuclear ambush, with some insight into how they've handled humanity's entire fight to survive.

The Past

Roslin and Gaius got the bulk of the flashbacks: Gaius, canoodling with Caprica Six, is called away with the sort of urgency that can only mean family problems. Sure enough, Baltar's father Julius has accused yet another live-in nurse of stealing -- the third -- and she quits. Julius, incidentally, talks like a pirate: "This be the new one ye be bangin'." Despite that, Gaius ridicules and virtually disowns his own father. Leave it to Caprica; despite the coming holocaust, she manages to find Julius a heavenly full-care facility... while Baltar indulges his baser appetites.

Roslin, meanwhile, has her family ripped from her. After a cute baby shower with her little sisters, Laura gets the bad news that a drunk driver has killed not only them but her father as well. She wanders to a nearby park and stands under the fountain, trying to find redemption. (We also see the beginning of her affair with President Adar.)

Apollo, meanwhile, has dinner with a too-in-love Kara and Zack. The next flashback, presumably post-dinner, finds him drunkenly chasing a pigeon through his home... like Kara, prey he can never catch, a prize he can never win.

As for Anders -- and is he related to the "Mrs. Anders" Roslin mentioned? -- he gives an interview where he reveals his love of the game is really a love for mathematical perfection. Cylon!

The Present

The cannibalization of Galactica is in full swing. Adama is almost done packing his home; outside his quarters, even the memorial wall is being stripped down. Left is a picture of Hera and Athena, which Adama himself takes.

Starbuck has been jotting down mathematical equations and musical notes, but even Adama can't make sense of them. What he can do, when she confesses that she did indeed find her own corpse on her Earth, is remind her: "You're my daughter. Don't forget it."

Baltar's lieutenants, meanwhile, have surprising news: His religion has spread so wide that they'll have enough adherents among the fleet to score a seat on the Quorum. Baltar brings up the idea with Apollo, who thinks Baltar has an angle. Lee rightly points out Baltar has never committed one truly selfless act. Selfless act in 5... 4...

Adama and Starbuck take to the packed flight deck with an announcement: They're going after Hera on The Colony. Anyone who wants to go along can volunteer, though it's most likely a suicide mission. Everyone else can rejoin the fleet, no hard feelings. The usual suspects join Adama, including Apollo, the Final Five (sans Anders) and a clearly unwell Roslin. Baltar steps across the -- wait, no, he doesn't. Even as the cancer-ridden president hobbles past, all he can do is stare as if unable to will his feet into motion. Even Doc Cottle volunteers, though Adama sends him back to the fleet, which lacks good doctors.

With the sides chosen, all that's left is to find the Colony. Which a Raptor patrol does, thanks to Anders' directions, hovering on the edge of a black hole. There's only one safe path through the hole's gravity well, and surely the Cylons have all their guns on it. Anyone order up a suicide run?

So, here we are with just the finale left. Could there be a glimmer of hope? Are we to believe humanity dies out? Will we be left unsure of their fates? Or can the Powers That Be truly resolve the story, ending the Cylon threat and finding a new home for the alliance in just two hours? My guess: Laws of physics be damned, the black hole will prove to be a gateway to an alternate, livable Earth.