With only a handful of episodes left, and so many loose ends to resolve, time is of the essence. So it's hard not to feel like this prelude to the series finale wasn't a wasted opportunity. There were some vague hints as to the resolution of the series as a whole, but most of the time was spent on lingering character vignettes. As satisfying as they can be, and as in keeping with the style of the series it might be, it's still hard to temper the disappointment.
This episode was essentially the combination of character reactions to the Galactica situation, the abduction of Hera, and Kara's odd status quo. The net effect is a laundry list of the implications of the past few episodes and what the writers will need to tackle at the breaking of the day. As already mentioned, this almost works at cross-purposes. It's good to know that the writers have a grasp on the loose ends, but it's a also a reminder of just how much they'll need to cram into the finale.
A lot of time is spent on Adama's growing realization that saving Galactica is not a viable option, and the recent efforts have merely been delaying the inevitable. That process is painful, to say the least. For all that the Cylons have agreed to hand over military authority to Adama in exchange for a voice on the new council, it's still the loss of the most potent symbol of Human autonomy. Defense of the remnants of Humanity will now be dependent on outside cooperation, and a former enemy at that.
The previous episode tied Roslin's condition to the "health" of the Galactica, and that metaphor continues. The flashes of the Opera House, and the suggestion that Caprica Six is once again sharing those dreams and visions, point to an explanation for those elements since the first season. But the emphasis is on the notion that Roslin will probably die before the human race finds its new home (if, in fact, that prophecy still holds any meaning), and how that becomes a compelling impetus for Adama's decision to move people off Galactica.
In essence, Galactica is only good for one more mission anyway, and that's where the abduction of Hera comes into play. Hera represents the future for both the Human and Cylon people, and in that respect, she is a symbol of hope. The Cylons don't see a future without her, and The Humans don't see a future without the Cylons. Cavil is forcing a confrontation that he assumes he will win. For Adama and the Cylons, there is only one mission left: retrieve Hera by any means necessary or die trying.
Ander's situation has the potential of giving Galactica an unexpected edge. It could allow Adama to run the impending mission with a skeleton crew. It also had the benefit of reminding the audience that Kara has been termed "the harbinger of death", which I still believe is meant more in the classical sense of change. In other words, survival through mergence of the Human and Cylon people into a self-propagating population.
At least, that's how it's appeared to be shaping up; with the mystery of Kara's resurrection still on the table, it could really mean anything. The "Kara is a proto-Hera" theory is still viable, but this episode lends credence to those who see an outside agency as being the connective link between the Final Five activation, the Roslin/Caprica connection, Kara, and Hera. I'm still not particularly pleased with that notion, because it has a great deal of potential to fall into deus ex machina territory.
Some have speculated that this outside agency could be the Lords of Kobol. If the Lords of Kobol were, as speculated, the surviving Cylons of a previous cycle, it would at least fit the overall foundation for the series. Another offered possibility is the "beings of light" theory, referring to a story from the original "Battlestar Galactica". If that were true, it would be unfortunate, because while the effect has been explored in relative detail, there hasn't been much evidence of someone else beyond t