"Battlestar Galactica" spoilers coming up just as soon as I find out if dog food comes in algae flavors...
"Sine Qua Non" was a frustrating episode, and not necessarily for the designed reasons. No, we didn't get a single glimpse of the missing baseship (unless you believe the wrecked one that Racetrack and Skulls found was it), but that was the point of the episode: to show how such a calamity makes everyone in the fleet -- particularly its military and civilian leaders -- go nuts.
My problem is that, for an episode with a number of seismic plot developments -- Lee becomes interim president, Adama finally acknowledges his feelings for Roslin and gives up everything he cares about to find her, Tigh is placed in charge of Galactica shortly after finding out that he knocked up Caprica Six -- "Sine Qua Non" dragged in many spots, and didn't make a lot of logic in others.
The entire story with Lee and Romo Lampkin was particularly annoying. I think the "Galactica" writers like Romo a lot more than the guy deserves, as he's less a character than a collection of colorful tics. The amount of time it took for Romo and Lee to recognize that Lee was the best man for the interim president job felt entirely like an excuse to spend more time with the guy. Since everyone and his brother watching the show at home has probably figured Lee for the top job ever since he entered politics shortly after we found out that Roslin was dying for real this time, the story might have felt less drawn-out if Romo's very first reaction to Lee's request was "You," and then we spent the rest of the episode with Romo trying to convince a reluctant Lee to go for it. Instead, we had to wait most of the hour for Romo to figure out something we already knew (even Romo himself admits that after writing Lee's name on the white board), followed by the strange "Sixth Sense" rip-off where we find out that Romo's cat has been dead for the entire episode (dun dun dun!) and that the loss of the animal has made him go bonkers. I appreciate that the series never tries to forget the emotional burden all the people in the rag-tag fleet bear as survivors of a genocide, but the time for stories about people who can't deal with that guilt isn't in the middle of the epic, season-long arc leading up to the series finale.
Beyond that, I have a hard time believing Tom Zarek, and the rest of the Quorum for that matter, would just roll over and install Bill Adama's son as the new civilian leader of the fleet, particularly in the midst of a crisis where the civilian and military parts of the fleet are at such odds. Remember Baltar's comment to Chief Tyrol last season about how the fleet's military leader would always be somebody named Adama? Yes, Lee has a history of going against the old man, but to anyone worried about consolidation of executive powers -- particularly Zarek, who's been a Power to the People guy his entire life, and who basically brought Lee into the Quorum to be his lackey -- this plan would at the very least be something requiring a lot of loud debate, if not something to be outright rejected. Again, the amount of time wasted on the cat twist and on Lee and Romo not seeing the answer that was staring them in the face could have been devoted to something much more interesting, like Lee having to talk Zarek into surrendering power to him.
The senior Adama half of the episode -- and after a few weeks of getting most of the cast involved, this one was really a four-character piece, Bill with Tigh, Lee with Romo -- was better, if only because it's hard to screw up something that has Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan playing off each other. Plus, is there anyone who isn't a sucker for an old man fight? Particularly one involving two old men who actually know how to fight?
Where I felt this one fell down was at the end, when Bill made the decision to turn over command to Saul. In some ways, there's no other choice if Adama is determined to carry out this romantic suicide mission (how many algae bars can you fit into a Raptor, anyway?), as Helo's been abducted, Lee has mustered out of the military, Kara's probably only trustworthy to a point, and Gaeta's singing opera with one leg. Who else is available? Dualla? (I think she was technically XO of the Pegasus during the New Caprica/Fat Lee period.) But I have a hard time jumping from Bill finding out that Cylon-hating Tigh has been having regular brig booty calls with a Six to Bill trusting the guy with the safety of everyone in the fleet, and that's even with the understanding that he has no idea Tigh just found out he's a secret Cylon. As with Lee getting the presidency, I don't necessarily mind the end result; I just think more time needed to be devoted to explaining how certain characters rationalized their choice.
Still, as mentioned above, Olmos and Hogan were superb as always, and the closing sequence of Adama alone in a Raptor, cracking open "Searider Falcon" one final time -- I have a feeling he's going to read the last chapter this time -- and waiting to see if the woman he finally acknowledged that he loves (just after she was kidnapped, and just before she's due to die of cancer, anyway) was beautiful.
But overall, this was the first real disappointment of what's been a superb season to date.
What did everybody else think? And, again, a reminder: do not discuss anything you saw in the previews. I finally learned my lesson a few episodes ago and stopped watching the things.