The episode ’33’ picks up the story shortly after the end of the mini-series. The human fleet has been performing faster than light jumps every 33 minutes for 236 jumps. The episode begins one minute before the 237th jump.
One thing that jumps out right away happens after the end of the Viper pilot briefing between the 237th and 238th jump. As the pilots emerge from the ready room, they touch a picture and you can hear some say, “Never forget.” Also, there is the scene with Anastasia Dualla as she visits the team of officers that are cataloging survivors. As she leaves, the walls of the corridor are covered with pictures and shrines have been erected in various spots. This, of course, brings back memories of post 9-11.
We also find out that the number of humans in the fleet is 49,998.
The interactions between Gaius Baltar and Six turn towards God’s plan. The Cylons are monotheistic, believing in the “One True God“, while the Colonials are polytheistic, worshipping the Lords of Kobol. We find out that a Dr. Amarak used to work with Dr. Baltar at the Ministry of Defense and that Dr. Amarak has discovered how the Cylons were able to disable Colonial defenses, which, would expose Dr. Baltar as the traitor. Since there was no time before the jump for President Roslin to see Dr. Amarak, it was decided she would meet with him after. After jump 238, the Olympic Carrier, the ship Dr. Amarak was on, was left behind during the previous jump. This prompts an interesting discussion between Baltar and Six.
Six: God is Watching out for you, Gaius.
Baltar: The universe is a vast and complex system. Coincidental, serendipitous events…are bound to occur. Indeed they are to be expected. It’s part of the pattern, part of the plan.
Six: Dr. Amarak posed a threat to you. Now he’s gone. Logic says there’s a connection.
Baltar: A connection, maybe. But not God. There is no God or gods, singular or plural. There are no large invisible men, or women for that matter…in the sky taking a personal interest in the fortunes of Gaius Baltar.
Six: Be careful. That which God give, he can also take away.
The loss of the Olympic Carrier brings the fleet’s head count down to 47,972. This time, 33 minutes come and go, with no sign of the Cylons. After more than 45 minutes without a Cylon attack, the Olympic Carrier “miraculously” to the fleet’s current position. Commander Adama puts the fleet back onto alert. The conversation between Baltar and Six continues.
Baltar: No. It’s all wrong. If they were left behind, why didn’t the Cylons destroy them? And why are they showing up now?
Six: It’s God’s punishment for your lack of faith.
Baltar: That’s just great, that is. A more logical and useful explanation, please.
Six: All right. The Olympic Carrier has been infiltrated by Cylon agents. They’ve been tracking the ship all along.
Baltar: No. Then that means… Six: Logically, in order for you to survive…the Olympic Carrier should be destroyed.
In a tense exchange that follows, Baltar admits that he doesn’t think Roslin will destroy the Olympic Carrier. Six implores Baltar to repent and he will be saved. Baltar, of course, repents and Roslin authorizes the destruction of the Olympic Carrier.
At the close of the episode, we are given an updated head count of the survivors: 47,973.
As Christians, we do talk a lot about God’s plan or God’s will. However, there is much debate about what that means. For me, God’s will means that God does in fact have a plan for me. But God does allow free will. Repenting, as Six puts it, does not always lead to salvation as one might think of it. Ultimate, God is in control, but God doesn’t dictate our actions because God gave us free will. God is not a puppeteer. God might will something, but because of free will, we are allowed to act contrary to God’s will.