A brief glimpse of William Adama studying the scar resulting from his life-saving operation at the beginning of the season was emblematic of the story's theme of mortality. Having ordered the murder of Admiral Caine, and believing without a doubt, that Starbuck would carry it out, Adama seems more preoccupied with the loss of that one life than the multitudes who would perish as the two Battlestars attacked the Cylon base ships. Mortality is foremost on the minds of others as well. Caine suffers the same regret from her orders to terminate Adama's command. Her humanity is strangely more evident in this episode as Michelle Forbes' performance allows just a breath of regret as she essentially orders Starbuck to kill her in one of the story's rampant double entendres of death.
A decree of "good hunting" is shared by Colonel Fisk and Starbuck as the two set about on missions that will inevitably result in the execution of each other's commanding officers. Gallow's humor haunts the scene as the dramatic irony of the comments sets in upon the viewers. Gina, the beaten and bruised avatar of Number Six, continues the morbid motif with her exhortations for Baltar to end her suffering. While he falls deeper into the wounded woman's spell, his attraction to her symbolically signals the death of Number Six's presence in his mind as he seemingly shuts her out to focus on the flesh and blood Cylon in the cell with him. Of all the changes wrought upon the series by the trilogy of episodes ending here, the continued presence of Gina (Moore and company willing) will likely wreak the most substantive changes on the dynamics of the story.
Gina's lust for death is echoed by Apollo. Cast adrift in space, the younger Adama considers his own mortality and, in a moment metaphorically represented in a peaceful body of water, lets go of his life. This conscious decision, taken with the voice of Dee calling out to him from Galactica marks an unusual turn in Apollo's development. As a member of the Colonial reserves, Apollo clearly never intended to spend his life as a soldier though the Cylon attack has seemingly condemned him to service. Having taken Roslin's side only to be hung out to dry during the elder Adama's coup, his idealism has been poorly rewarded. Despite a fair amount of screen time, Lee Adama is still something of an enigma--perhaps an enigma that may find resolution in the aftermath of his near-death experience.
With so many people dealing in death, it's interesting to note that for the Cylons, life is essentially new. As with any new thing, it is precious. Perhaps this episode was intended to illustrate that too many of the humans take that gift for granted--they are "a flawed creation" as Adama is reminded by Boomer. Perhaps the Cylons are God's way of teaching the children of Kobol to value what they have.