Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Battlestar Galactica—Sine Qua Non

The Upshot From Sci-Fi Channel: President Roslin’s (Mary McDonnell) abduction by the Cylon baseship hybrid triggers a bitter power struggle within the Colonial Fleet.

Here things pick up right where they left off from the previous episode for the Galactica gang—up BLEEP creek without a paddle.

We see a twice shot Natalie Six Cylon (Tricia Helfer) being wheeled to sickbay in shock and in detached awareness of her prognosis—which is dire.

We were hopeful as we saw her being taken to sickbay that she might indeed survive her wounds. Knowing that there was no resurrection ship and new body nearby in which she could download, it made us all the more anxious. So it was a genuine disappointment to see Natalie die on the operating table—forever.

It was particularly unfortunate because of all the versions of Number Six that Helfer has played over the years—Imaginary Six, Caprica Six, Gina among others—Natalie was the most rounded of the Sixes and she was the one whom FanBoyWonder personally liked the most.

Natalie’s murder has Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) seeing red and it’s ALL on the gunman (gunwoman….gun-chick…hot-chick with a gun???) Athena (Grace Park).

The captured Cylon baseship jumped away at virtually the same moment that Athena gunned down Natalie, prompting Adama and everyone else to conclude that the Cylon rebels knew of the event, saw it as a breaking of their fragile truce and screwed the hell out of their with The President, Gaius Baltar (James Callis) Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) and half of Galactica’s viper-wing—about 40 birds and pilots.

Crazy with worry about the missing Laura Roslin, Adama lets Athena have it with both barrels (so-to-speak) and it’s a shame to see Athena—the Cylon defector who worked so hard to prove her loyalty and earn Adama’s trust—back in chains.

For her part, Athena—herself crazed by the Kobol Opera House vision of Number Six (Caprica Six we surmise) and Gaius Baltar taking Athena’s daughter Hera away. Faced with the threat (it’s not yet clear how real or imagined the threat was) of having her child stolen from her AGAIN, Athena pulled the trigger even it looks like she may have killed the WRONG Six.

On Colonial One, The Quorum of Twelve is its usual spot—in the dark and groping for answers after the fact.

With President Roslin missing, Vice President Tom Zerek (Richard Hatch) assumes power as Acting President under the Articles of Colonization. Yet Admiral Adama isn’t taking his calls or recognizing in any way the authority of the one time freedom fighter/terrorist (Adama sees him as the latter).

The Quorum members seeing the dilemma that if Adama doesn’t recognize Zerek, he won’t play ball with them as the elected representatives of the civilian government, they put Delegate Lee Adama on the spot and ask him point blank if Lee thinks his father will change his mind and work with “President Zerek.” No is Lee’s answer.

So what’s the big deal? Adama isn’t just a man—he’s THE MAN. He’s the military, he’s got the guns and he’s the closest thing to law enforcement that the fleet has.

By refusing to recognize the vice president’s authority, Adama affected a military coup of the civilian government—Again.

One of the most intriguing character points of Adama has been his constant concern for civil liberties—in a few cases holding Roslin back—a definite divergent of the military stereotype—so his non-coup, coup of the presidency by a simple non-action shows that Laura’s abduction has really fracked him up.

For Zerek’s part, he is pissed and humiliated at Adama’s illegal snub and by the fact that Quorum is shopping around for another Interim President.

Zerek is absolutely correct that of everyone in play—Admiral Adama, Laura Roslin, Lee Adama—Tom Zerek is the only one actually elected by the people yet HE is the one without standing or authority. So the only thing Zerek can do is hit the airwaves and call on the fleet to form a Civil Defense Force so they don’t have to rely on Galactica’s marines for law enforcement.

We find this intriguing and frankly this is a thread that should have been explored a couple of seasons ago. Yet it’s only with the transformation of Lee Adama from pilot to politician that any significant time has been devoted to life and the workings the civilian fleet or how the fleet governs itself.

The Quorum’s anxiety and feeling of helpless ignorance grows as the Galactica jumps away without explanation to search for the basestar and for Laura Roslin at Adama’s orders.

Meanwhile it falls to Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) to be the voice of reason to Adama who is hell bent and increasingly desperate to find Laura Roslin…oh yeah….and the rest of Galactica’s missing crew.

His professionalism is so complete and he is so totally at the top of his game (no mean bottle in sight) that we almost forgot that he’s a Secret Cylon—one of the Final Five.

Things boil over between Adama and Tigh in a hurry when the Admiral confronts his XO with Doc Cottle’s report that the imprisoned Caprica Six (again Helfer) is pregnant and that he’s been noted regularly “interrogating” her with the guards absent and the cameras off.

The dialogue of the scene thanks to Battlestar Wiki

William Adama: I know that you've been spending a lotta time interrogating the Six, but now the brig guards tell me that every time you order them out, you turn off the cameras.

Saul Tigh: I'm not torturing her, if that's what you're worried about.

Adama: I'm not. That I could almost understand. This I can't. Cottle tells me she's pregnant. What the frak have you been thinking, colonel? Do you deny it...? You don't...
You can't. What the hell have you been thinking? Who's interrogating whom? How many of our secrets have you told this thing?

Tigh: How can you even ask me that? Question my loyalty?

Adama: Your loyalty? I need more than your loyalty. You're my first officer, I need judgment. I need your competence. You're jeopardizing this ship, putting it at risk because of your weaknesses.

Tigh: My weaknesses?

Adama: Yeah, your weaknesses!

Tigh: You're risking all our lives—for what? Our missing pilots? No—for a woman! A frakking woman!

Adama: You watch what you frakkin' say about that woman! She's the president! Not some frakkin' skinjob that I've been banging! What do you think Ellen would say about this?

Tigh: Leave Ellen out of this.

Adama: What do you think Ellen would say about her husband impregnating a frakkin' Cylon prisoner?

Tigh: You motherfrakker! (violence ensues)

So they beat the BLEEP out of each other and once they have gotten it out of their system they both nurse their wounds together without rancor as only two lifelong friends can do.

It’s a great scene, well acted and flawlessly executed. Our only problem was the troubling inconstancy that we couldn’t help but ponder during the fight. Tigh is a Cylon yes? So where is his super-duper Cylon strength?

The same strength that had Tory knock Callie across a launch tube with the swat of her hand or the same that allowed a Six to beat the crap out of Starbuck on Caprica. Yet in other instances, Athena has been consistently subdued with little effort and now Tigh is throwing punches in a rage without knocking Adama’s block off--literally?

Memo to the writers—Consistency please.

Speaking of Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff), it’s good to see her back in uniform as the CAG and NOT crazy. For the moment, everyone has just seemed to accept that Kara Thrace was once dead and now she’s not. It would be nice to find out how or if she in fact died, how she came back and if she’s really been to Earth.

Ever the dutiful servant, Delegate Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) has drafted his old colleague from Gaius Baltar’s trial Romo Lampkin (Mark Sheppard) to help him draft a short list for a new President. When Lampkin concludes that the only person it could be is Lee Adama himself, Lampkin pulls a gun and has his long awaited meltdown over the loss of his family during the attacks—his cool lawyer detachment out the airlock.

Again…the scene thanks to Battlestar Wiki:

Lampkin: Savor your victory Mr. Adama, because you'll never get the chance to serve (pulls out a gun and points it at Adama).

Lee Adama: What are you doing?

Lampkin: Why? Because you're perfect for the job of course. Because after the vicious separation that was Baltar's presidency and the bitter disappointment that was Roslin's, you are a shining beacon of hope. Only hope is the last thing we need. We're a doomed race. It's time that we made our peace with that essential truth.

Lee Adama: Romo, what the hell are you talking...?

Lampkin: Why? You want to know why? (drops his duffel bag and kicks it over to Adama) Open it!

Lee Adama: (Adama does so and finds his cat’s corpse inside) Eww. Frak.

Lampkin: That's right. They killed my cat!

Lee Adama: They?

Lampkin: They! Those debased dregs of humanity out there! Lost a tribe in search of a new home, so they can roost and rot again!

Lee Adama: How long has the cat been dead?

Lampkin: "How long?" It's irrelevant! It's immaterial! It wasn't even my cat!

Lee Adama: Romo, it's been dead for weeks.

Lampkin: It belonged to my wife. I just retrieved him from a vet on Gemenon when the bombs started to fall and fate presented me with a choice. I could get back on that shuttle, or...I could run home, try to save my family. How do you think I chose?

Lee Adama: Romo, we all had to make difficult choices. You don't think I know? Your wife's name was Faye. You had two daughters. Jennifer and Kate. There were over two hundred passengers on that shuttle! Only a handful chose to stay behind. (Lampkin stares at him questioning) Yeah, that's right. It was in your file when you were handed the job as Baltar's counsel. And no one blamed you Romo, because at a certain point, we all made decisions that saved our lives at the cost of others. You think you're unique, Romo? Think your sins are so special?

Lampkin: Is that how it goes? You're gonna rest your entire case on that pathetic little bit of insight?

Lee Adama: No. Unless, the clean start, the fresh slate, maybe they're illusions like you said. But at a certain point, faith in ourselves, in our right to survive as a species, as a's not a given, it's a choice. Well, I made mine. And if you can't stomach that, then you'd damn well better squeeze that trigger right now. Go on. What are you waiting for? Or you can make a choice. Put your past behind you. Put the gun down, and help me, because I'm telling you, I'm gonna make a difference in this fleet.

Lampkin: Is that your final word?

Lee Adama: That's up to you.

Lampkin: Then swear it.

Cut to the next scene showing Leland Joseph Adama being sworn in as president.

Admiral Adama, for his part, realizes that he has indeed lost perspective and steps down from command. Not only does he leave Tigh in charge, which is natural as Tigh is the next highest ranking officer, but he promotes Tigh to Admiral.

Tigh hesitates, nothing his disastrous run at command when Adama was shot but Adama notes how much Tigh has changed—he’s a different man since then….and since New Caprica. The turned away look on Tigh’s face says it all—Bill doesn’t know the half of it.

Yet, secret Cylon or not, we sense that Tigh is up to the task and he is fully willing to act as the guardian of the fleet.

His name is Saul Tigh, he is an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else he is, whatever else it means, that's the man he wants to be by Gods! His loyalties are NOT in question.

So the former admiral dons his flight suit takes a raptor and Husker flies again. He’s going to wait at the rally point for Laura for as long as it takes. So Say We All!


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7:38 PM, June 04, 2008  

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