TV Article

Trial and Airlock

On ''Battlestar Galactica,'' Tigh leads a secret tribunal that prosecutes collaborators; plus, Baltar and Number Six have a lovers' quarrel

Battlestar Galactica | STAR CHAMBER Gaeta narrowly escaped being turned into an asteroid
Image credit: Battlestar Galactica: Justin Stephens
STAR CHAMBER Gaeta narrowly escaped being turned into an asteroid

''Battlestar Galactica'': Justice and vengeance

Sorry, Jammer. Nice knowing you.

Excuse me while I drop some 18th-century philosophy: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. But what happens when good men do the wrong thing for the right reasons? Do you really believe that Jammer was acting with malicious intent when he joined the New Caprica police force? Do you blame him for being the kind of guy who can't really make decisions in a vacuum, who can't operate in a morally ambiguous atmosphere? He actually thought he was doing the right thing, the only thing he could to help his fellow man. It was only after he followed that decision down the primrose path that he found it led to hell. But questions remain: Did he deserve to die? When does justice become vengeance?

I was talking to a friend who loathed the New Caprica story line because he didn't like seeing characters he loves do things he hates. While I don't agree with him, I understand where he was coming from, because I don't like where the Adama-Tigh relationship is heading. It's perfectly logical that they'll head toward a blowout — Tigh unwilling to let go of what happened during the occupation, Adama trying to get on with the business of keeping the fleet together — and it'll make for great drama. But I just want them to be friends again, for Tigh to be Adama's resolute ally.

And props to Gaeta for taking the Tigh-rade like a man. There's nothing you can say in the face of all that hate. So you gird your loins and ride out the storm.

Gaeta is the reason the exodus happened. If he hadn't done what he did, funneled info to the resistance, the insurgents wouldn't have had the frequencies they used to contact the Raptors in orbit. They never would've spoken to Galactica and coordinated the escape. If you remove him from the equation, no freedom. People oughta be carrying him up on their shoulders, not shunning him in the caf.

How do you feel about the Circle, the organized, sanctioned group of vigilantes. Are their actions warranted? Ethical? Are they motivated by rage, by a hunger for a revenge they can never get, or by the letter of the law, looking to deliver swift but measured justice? Personally, I don't know how I feel. I'd like to think that I'm Anders, unwilling to continue executing people against whom there is sometimes no hard evidence. But if I lost a kid the way Connor did, perhaps my blood thirst would need some serious quenching.

Poor Anders. I guess they don't have the equivalent of Vietnam movies in these colonies or he'd know — the way we do — that Kara's got a little posttraumatic-stress disorder going on. And while Anders certainly had his share of battle and death and loss, Kara's experience during the occupation was far different, and the scars she carries are much deeper. But you just feel for the guy, trying to get his life back together, like so many others on Galactica, and having this person whom he fought so hard to find turn away.

As for the biggest collaborator of all, of course Baltar was dreaming. Wouldn't you have freaky-ass dreams if you were sleeping in a giant Cylon helmet? (What exactly did original Battlestar executive producer Glen A. Larson love about the back-and-forth red beam so much? First on the Cylons, then on KITT.) And of course Baltar was dreaming of being forgiven by Adama and Tigh; his delusions of grandeur make him expect their understanding and respect. But what does it say about him that he dreams of macking on Laura Roslin? I mean, yes, she is the hottest public servant ever (and that's also counting Ilona Staller, the porn actress who won herself a seat in Italy's Parliament), but one would've thought that maybe he got that ''women with power'' thing out of his system on New Caprica. At least he had the stones to resist the Marilyn Monroe-like advances of Xena the Warrior Cylon. But the fact that the Sixes don't know if he should live or die is interesting. (Even more interesting is that the voting was deadlocked, three models for Baltar and three against. But if there are 12 Cylon models, don't the rest of them get votes, too? If not, why not?)

Baltar is brilliant, sometimes, but not when he's desperately trying to persuade. If you are in what is, essentially, an interracial relationship, the way to keep someone in love with you is not to tell her that she's better than her race and she's just like you. ''You are much, much more than a machine. You're a person, a real person, a woman.'' That argument springs from an assumption that she is, by nature, inferior. And the whole ''you need me'' ploy never works, even if you are the same species.

Thoughts? Will Roslin's amnesty agenda really work throughout the fleet? If Tigh and Adama get into it, who will be Galactica's new XO? And when will Lee be able to squeeze his ass back into a Viper?

Originally posted Oct 27, 2006
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