I had Tivo'd the season 3 finale just so I could re-watch it right before the season 4 premiere, so there it sat on the hard drive for a full 12 months. I planned on making tonight a BSG event. :-)
It was almost like seeing the finale for the first time all over again, and I feel for folks who hadn't recorded it. I'd forgotten about the emotionally packed episode's highlights, which included the verdict on Baltar's trial and the sharp falling out between Lee Adama and his father. Of course the BIG deal about the finale was the reveal of second in command Saul Tigh, Master Chief Galen Tyrol, resistance fighter Sam Anders and presidential chief of staff Tory Fostervas being Cylons.
This final season premiere episode picks up right where that one left off. Spoilers galore below, FYI.
To me, Battlestar Galactica is the most pure Sci Fi series that we've had on TV for quite a while. Sure, I enjoy Stargate Atlantis and I was a huge fan of Stargate SGI-1, but this show truly combines fantastic outer space/fantasy with gut wrenching, emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating storytelling.
As I said, the episode opens right exactly where the last one left off: The Cylons are attacking the fleet in such numbers that it seems like the convoy is truly done for. Anyone on Galactica who knows how to pilot a ship is called into duty, and Lee Adama (who resigned in the previous episode) decides to pitch in and help in the face of such overwhelming odds. Along with him are newbie pilot Sam Anders, who was Kara Thrace's love interest. While everyone thought she was dead (well, not viewers, who knew better) she suddenly appears in a showroom new Viper fighter, saying she's been to Earth and knows the way there.
During the battle, Anders forgets to undo the safety on his ship's guns, and during his hesitation a Cylon Raider scans him, determines he's a Cylon and the entire fleet attack comes to an abrupt end.
Everyone of course doubts that she's still herself and that she does in fact know where Earth is located. The assumption is that she's a Cylon. Meanwhile the folks who've just learned they are Cylons are coming to terms with that. Colonel Tigh has a vision of blowing away Commander Adama, but in the end decides that he will never allow that to happen because he's aware that he's a Cylon and can therefore stop it before it happens. On the other hand Anders is having serious doubts that he's in control of himself.
Kara seems to have been imbued with an intuition regarding whether the fleet is getting closer or further from Earth, and the problem is that the clues the fleet is following is taking them further away from Earth according to her. The president trusts the clues they've received to date more than Kara and Adama is backing her up.
In an interesting exchange between her and her former lover Anders, he consoles her by saying that even if she is and always has been a Cylon, that wouldn't change who she is or how people feel about her. Her reply is that if she found out that he is a Cylon (and he is) she would not hesitate to put a bullet between his eyes.
Meanwhile Gaius Baltar has been taken in by a bunch of young idiots who believe him to be some sort of religious leader. On the good side, he finally seems to be caring about others more than himself, as evidenced by a prayer (when everyone was asleep) that God take him instead of a little boy who was terminally ill. He also cared more about a woman who was being attacked at the same time he was than he did for himself.
The cliffhanger ending had Kara storming into the president's quarters with a gun pointed at her head with the intent of convincing her to turn the fleet around in order to head back to Earth.
It remains to be seen if Kara is in fact the fifth and final unknown Cylon.
I can't wait to see how this final season of Battlestar Galactica plays out.