Woah. Ohmygosh. This episode is essentially a season finale since season 4 is being split into two parts. And wow what an ending, and it will give us plenty of time to think about many things before season 4.5 airs. The episodes events are so intricate and excellent story telling that I'm just going to go step by step and analyze each piece.
The episode begins with Lee Adama in his fathers quarters looking at stuff. While leafing through Pythia (their bible) he looks at the picture of the Opera House and then Starbuck walks in and remarks on the Temple of Aurora. Curiously it was Starbuck who gave a statuette of Aurora to Admiral Adama.
"Children are born to replace their parents". It's curious that this episode airs on Fathers Day weekend, and a huge theme in the episode is the relationship between Lee and his Father and how Lee steps in to take care of his Fathers mess, how Lee is stepping out of his Fathers shadow, how Lee is stepping out of the mold his Father cast for him, etc.
Neither Deanna nor Laura are able to let go of the events on New Caprica. That is, both are holding on to all the bloodshed between their peoples and are unable to let go. As we see later in the episode that sort of holding onto wounds can blind to nonviolent solutions.
Does Anders say "Maybe she won't be able to identify us"?? What a scene Deanna had, knowing that the four Cylons were there when they landed on the Galactica, she says "I'm in contact with the four" because she knows they're all in the room and can hear her voice. And Tory's method to jump ship was very cool.
When Tory and the others are revealed (hence the episode title 'Revelations') it's interesting how Deanna introduces them as "I saw her (him) in my vision, therefore she (he) is one of the final Five". Is that all the proof they have? That and the weirdo music experiences these four are having? What kind of proof is that? It's still a little mysterious how this process of these four recognizing their Cylonhood works.
And of course the episode simply does not reveal who the final one of the final five cylons is. Deanna said that four of them are in the fleet. That leaves the question of who is the fifth one and why is that person not in the fleet?
The relationship between Baltar and Laura Roslyn has taken a sharp left turn. In the last episode she learned that Dr. Baltar had truly been the traitorous bastard she always thought. So it's worth putting yourself in her shoes, what would you have done in such a moment. Would you have gone through with murdering the one who is hugely responsible for the success of the Cylon attack? Revenge is a strong motive and surely Laura Roslyn could have followed through with the murder she started to commit, out of revenge. But then her guiding angel walks her through the spiritual lesson, and shows her the meaning and value of love.
The value and meaning of Love is such a huge theme in the whole story, and in these two episodes this is very much so. It was Love which brought Laura to save Dr. Baltars life even though she hated his guts. That was a huge lesson for her.
And the next huge lesson for her was when Tory confronts her, reveals herself as a Cylon, asks Laura if she was wrong about Tory then what else was Laura wrong about, and then totally spurns Laura's authority over her. Ohmygosh did Tory lay a big lesson on Laura to grok.
"Mr. President there has been a change of plans" .. as I said, Deanna (and Laura) are stuck in their viewpoint of Humans (Cylons) and distrust leads to the confrontation. It's worth pondering all the confrontations which have occurred throughout the show. In this one an inability to see an alternate route almost dooms everybody to death.
There's a couple scenes showing Saul Tigh obviously pondering "okay, what do I do now". Such as when Starbuck bluntly exclaims about how the Final Four could just fracking turn themselves in, as she looks at Tigh. It's interesting how his final decision involves his death, as if the self destructive part of him can only see destroying himself.
With the return of The Song it's worth pondering.. where is that song coming from? Who or what is emanating it? Why is it waking up the Four at these specific times? Is there an external force or being who is somehow influencing these events? Is that external force a being or is it the universe? Is this external force identifiable as an entity such that some people could decide to identify this external force as a God? What of the two camps of religion portrayed, are these religions attempts to understand a god-like being who appears in different ways to different people and who is a manipulator shaper of events?
"Like it or not, Lee, something is orchestrating this for a purpose... A higher power (sigh) ... Call it what you want, but it seems to want us to find Earth WITH the Cylons.." hmmm...
"I've known you for 30 years" .. uh, I thought it was 40??
"When I met you, you had hair" .. as if Cylons can't age. However they have a small sample of experience with skin job Cylons, just the last three years of running from the Cylon fleet. Three years isn't very much time for Cylons to age. And in any case there are two models in the Cylon fleet who are "older" (Cabal and Leoben). In any case, yeah, of course Adama is going to have more than a little disbelief as to the truth of what his friend is telling him.
Adama losing it -- it's interesting to contrast how Laura took learning of her failures versus how Adama took learning of his own failures. Laura "holds it together" while Adama goes into a rage and ends up in a weeping curled up ball on the floor. But, really, Adama is given a huge crisis moment here. Over the last few episodes he has been faced with the loss of more and more of his "family" what with Starbuck dying (then coming back from the dead in a weird ass way), with Laura dying, with his son leaving the service, etc. And they're in the middle of launching an operation which could very well result in killing all humanity, or at the very least he's pondering whether he can attack the Cylon ship knowing it's going to result in Laura's death. And now he's got the betrayal by his closest friend and facing having to kill his closest friend.
"Did God bring you back from the darkness to do this? What if God brought you back for a different purpose, to settle this peacefully? ... They will never forgive us for what we did to them ..." Deanna is clearly stuck in her beliefs about humanity (such as at other times when she points to humans as betrayers). Just as interesting is the quality of the argument that Dr. Baltar gives and the critical role he plays in bringing Deanna to see a different way. At the same time it's very interesting how they show both sides of the confrontation equally. Even though it was Starbuck's action which really resolved the confrontation, it was Baltar's argument to Deanna, and Lee Adama's willingness to see a different path. Perhaps if Deanna had been willing to stand down, as Lee requested, they would have been able to resolve the confrontation more directly.
"The use of force did not work for you on New Caprica, it did not work for you on the Algae Planet, so why would it work for you now?" Unfortunately we didn't hear Deanna's response because Starbuck rode in too early to save the day.
"All this has happened before.." but rather than completing it with an affirmation of it will happen again, Lee changes it to "but it doesn't have to happen again". What keeps people in conflict is the holding to the cycle that recreates conflict. The unwillingness to see a different way, holding onto grudges, unwillingness to forgive, all that and more leads one to recreate conflict over and over. But the willingness to take a different step, to strike out in a different direction, that is what ends the cycle of conflict.
That whole phrase "All this has happened before..and it will happen again" is a huge societal level affirmation ... the whole of that society believes in this concept and until they learn how to get off the cycle then it will all just happen again.
So, the ending of the show. They find earth, yay, celebrate, jump up and down and scream with joy, rip off your jacket and throw it into the audience, look longlingly in each others eyes, yay.
But what an Earth they find. A desolate wasteland full of radioactivity and a ruined city.
The place they land is clearly the Opera House. They found an earlier version of the Opera House on Kobol and now they find it again on Earth. That's the clue that they found the Earth which is referred to in their scripture.
The look on their faces are "what have we just found" and clearly aghast at the scene before them.