Top Ten Revelations

Having just watched “Revelations” for the third time (is it possible it actually gets better with each viewing?), I thought I’d expand a bit on what little I said after it aired, by posting my top ten favorite moments from the episode. It should go without saying that if you still haven’t seen it, you should not be reading any further. The list is provided in chronological, not ranked, order.

  1. Tigh asking Gaeta is he wishes to be relieved, almost as if he’s specifically giving Gaeta the opportunity to affirm his commitment to his duties out loud. It honestly doesn’t seem to me as if Tigh is riding him. Once upon a time, Tigh wanted to airlock this man over his having worked for Baltar on New Caprica.
  2. D’Anna saying she’s “in contact” with the four of the Final Five within the fleet, when in reality she’s simply looked straight at them all and knows they are within earshot.
  3. Baltar thanking Roslin “essentially for not murdering” him, and the way in which Roslin, despite not knowing what to say to any of it, actually is listening to him (especially his “I love living”), perhaps in a way she’s never really done before.
  4. The fact that despite Roslin asking, not ordering, Tory to try to convince D’Anna to back down, Tory describes it as an order simply to be able to cop an attitude.
  5. The fact that when D’Anna suddenly and without warning airlocks a Galactica crewman, it’s presented so matter-of-factly that it creates a kind of mental lag in the viewer and doesn’t fully sink in until we’re well into the ensuing scene and on to other things. We so expect the traditional standoff formula that when it isn’t utilized, it isn’t sudden shock (which I think the writers expected) but instead simply a kind of temporary dissociation. In other words, contrary to comments in the “Revelations” podcast, this moment does work, just not in the way the writing staff perhaps thought it should or would.
  6. How almost proud Tigh is to proclaim to Adama that he is one of the Final Five — not because he wants to be a Cylon but because his being one means they have an alternative to a “suicidal attack” upon the Base Ship. (Credit not just the writing but Michael Hogan’s performance as Saul Tigh, which routinely shows that the character possesses a more complicated, and perplexing and unexpected, inner life than one might be tempted to assume.)
  7. The sound. The one that Adama makes while Tigh is being led away through the ship in irons. It’s not really properly called a yell, or a scream, or a shout. There’s a place somewhere inside ourselves at which we’d prefer not to ever have to look. But here’s Edward James Olmos (no faking it here) reaching all the way down into that place with his bare hands and coming up with that sound. I’m not sure I’ve ever before actually heard the likes of it on television. It ruins you, instantly. It’s the moment in this episode where I lose control.
  8. Tyrol, upon being outed (along with Anders) as one of the Final Five in front of Starbuck, simply smiling. Relieved. Free. He stays that way for the rest of the episode, no matter what’s happening.
  9. Roslin asking Leoben to take her to D’Anna to try to stop more hostages from being executed, but not pausing for a moment or stopping to think about it when Baltar suggests he should go instead because he was in the Temple when D’Anna saw the Final Five. No hesitation at all — none whatsoever — in agreeing with Baltar that he is their best bet.
  10. The fact that Apollo, once the Base Ship’s nukes go hot and he knows events have ratcheted up yet another notch, orders the guards to remove Anders and Tyrol from the launch tube. Having made his threat to flush all three and had it rebuffed, he now removes from danger the two men who did not in fact volunteer to be killed, leaving only Tigh, the man who did. If he’d had to do it before, he would have. But to do it now would be gratuitous, and so he pulls them out.
  11. Again it’s Apollo. Having made the decision that “all this” in fact does not have to “happen again”, he invites D’Anna into a truce and alliance, grants an amnesty to the known four of the Final Five. At the end of season three, Apollo sat on the stand at Baltar’s trial and wondered aloud why humanity could forgive itself over and over again for its transgressions but drew the line at Baltar. Here, he shows that his testimony wasn’t strategy, it was principle.
  12. That shot of the fleet arriving in orbit. Someday I will get the opportunity to see that one on the big screen.
  13. The entirety of the fleet’s celebration at having arrived at Earth. Not only because we’ve never really gotten to see anything quite like it on the show, but (of course) also because it’s the only way, really, to properly set up the about-face once they reach the surface.
  14. Starbuck and others at the remembrance wall with the pictures of all those who didn’t make it this far.
  15. The way in which D’Anna comes around to face Adama and Roslin on the surface, carrying a look that for the world seems like she’s imploring and beseeching them to have an answer, to have a way for things to not be as wrong as they’ve turned out to be.
  16. Inevitably, the entirety of that final oner. As deliberately, almost archly, blocked as it is, they get away with it.

I’m sorry. Did I say this would be some sort of “top ten” list? Therein we find the problem with this episode: After three times through (plus bits of a fourth as I scanned through while writing this post), apparently I am incapable of limiting myself to a mere ten.

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