"Daylight, Pt. 1," the last regular hour long episode of "Battlestar Galactica" started off and ended strong, but everything in the middle?  Lots and lots of set up for next week's two-hour finale.  The million dollar question is: after three episodes of building up to the series climax, can the show actually deliver a satisfying ending?  Or, as Athena says when Helo keeps telling her it's going to be O.K., "It's not gonna be alright Karl."

Yikes.  Does Hera really want to come home to a mom with that sort of attitude?

Let's focus on the positive shall we?

[Spoilers after the jump]

"Galactica" has rarely ventured into flashback mode something that's catching like a bad flu on most serial TV shows these days (it's almost become a crutch letting writers fix continuity issues in the backstory so it makes more sense as they move forward or change direction).  Happily, that doesn't seem to be the point of these specific snapshots of life on Caprica before the Cylons attacked.  Instead, we received some dramatic insight into Roslin's tragic past; Baltar's difficult relationship with his father and even more info on how Caprica Six manipulated her way into his life; and, finally, the first meeting between Apollo and Starbuck...when she just happened to be dating his brother, Zak. 

These scenes gave fans one thing we haven't seen in a long time (no, not bad wigs on key players): a happy and energetic Roslin.  Granted, she lost much of her family later on in the flashbacks, but those first few scenes were a nice reminder of just how layered and impressive Mary McDonnell's performances have been this season (give this woman an Emmy nomination people!).

As for Baltar, the writers have consciously been trying to rehabilitate the good doctor (how we forget) since his horrible stint as President of the Colonies on New Caprica by creating one sympathetic moment for him after another.  This week's example?  Gaius' dad is a frakin' pain in the ass who didn't appreciate all the good his son did for him in his retirement.  The writer's have done such a remarkable job over the past season and a half of changing fan's view of Baltar that at the ends of this week's episode you're actually hoping he will take that selfless act and join the volunteers on Adama's doomsday mission (wrong, he chickens out even after the staredown from Caprica Six).

[On a side note, and you hope this isn't why Moore and Eick included them, but didn't these flashbacks perk your interest for "Caprica"?  The pilot for next year's prequel series, which comes out on DVD next month, hasn't received the most glowing reviews from those who have seen it, but, and perhaps my memory is bad, didn't the original "Galactica" mini-series have the same response?  Something to ponder.]

Since they Caprica scenes were such a pivotal part of this week's episode, there are only two aspects of the flashbacks that seemingly weren't resolved in this episode: (1) the "hour" Adama claims about having to spend interviewing for a desk job at the beginning of the show and (2) the purpose of showing the Apollo/Starbuck/Zak triangle and Apollo's subsequent drunken behavior.  It seems possible that Apollo could have been the drunk driver that killed Roslin's father and sisters, but that seems just a tad too convenient (and contrived) doesn't it?

Quick jump back in the present. Before Galactica is completely disassembled, Adama has a change of heart and decides a rescue mission is in order to save Hera from Cavil's evil Cylons.  And as mentioned earlier, the episode ended as well as it began because of a strikingly poignant moment: Roslin, on death's door, making her way to the hanger deck so she can join the side of Adama's volunteers.  (And I'm guessing there wasn't a dry house in the living room as she barely made it from Adama to Starbuck's arms.)

So, its down to the final scenario we all saw coming: Adama's resolute decision to try and rescue the human/Cylon wonder child, a foolhardy mission if there ever was one on this show (and there have been a bunch).   It makes you wonder if that's the reason the writer's have been foreshadowing doomsday all around for weeks now.  Then again, Moore, Eick and their writing team have pulled hope from the jaws of defeat before.  Can they do it again as "Galactica" rides off into the sunset?

One things for sure, the preview for "Daybreak, Pt. 2" isn't filled with lots of warm fuzzies.  They gotta end it with some hope though, right?  Right?

What did you think of "Daybreak, Pt. 1"?  Share your thoughts below.