It’s been six months since the Cylons took over New Caprica; Anders, Tyrol and Tigh are heading up the resistance, while Roslin and Tory try to keep the civilians safe. The Adama boys are trying to put together a squadron capable of taking on the Cylons but are experiencing morale and staffing problems. It’s a bleak, but not without hope.
A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.
So begins Season Three, my personal favorite season; it’s my favorite because everything that happens goes back to the last three episodes of season two (yes, I’m a shameless fan of that type of long-term planning). Sure, not every episode is a winner (looking at you, “The Woman King”), but here is where my show really takes off, delving into the messy moral quandary of total war.
Our first issue for the season: suicide bombers.
It’s a horrid notion, that someone would turn their very body in a weapon and would make their last act all about killing and maiming as many bystanders as possible. It’s a line some resistance fighters (Roslin, Tyrol) don’t want to cross because, what’s the point? You’ll kill the humans, but the Cylons won’t die.
Even Tigh recognizes that, because to him, it’s not about killing, it’s about providing a distraction, one so horrific and repugnant the Cylons will have no choice but to deal with it, and then the Galactica can come back and save the day.
Tigh’s all about the greater good aspect, and Duck’s all about embracing nothingness after his wife’s murder, but it all amounts to the same thing; they are demonstrating the same disrespect for life the Cylons had (have). They have chased monsters and are now becoming monsters, and they will spend the rest of the series coming to grips with their actions.
Which provides another reason for me to love this show, the writers’ willingness to go there, to make their characters do the reprehensible and still make us love them.
I think Jonah Goldberg missed the point of this arc; it’s not that suicide bombings become good when the ‘heroes’ start doing it; it’s that our heroes become bad by doing it.
But it’s not just Tigh and the Resistance that’s floundering morally in the new regime.
Starbuck is trapped in a dollhouse, cooped up with Leoben in a fake house, in a fake life, as he tries to reach her and terrorize her to the point of submission. So she murders him every chance she can; he downloads and tells her repeatedly that God wants them to be together (which is kind of true, but not in the way he was thinking).
Ellen Tigh proves beyond all doubt that she loves her man above all others; she sleeps with Cavil (after seeing “No Exit,” those scenes are almost gag inducing) to set him free and later will betray her fellow humans to keep him alive. I knew I liked her for a reason; she’s rises to the occasion in the only way she knows how, and while I wish she was a better person in peacetime, I probably wouldn’t like her as much.
The Adamas aren’t fairing too much better; they’re safe in the sky, but for six months, they haven’t been able to make contact with their friends below. For six months, they’ve been trying to reach them, trying to form a rescue plan, and they can’t even tell their allies on New Caprica they haven’t been abandoned.
Bill Adama is getting madder and madder and taking it out on everyone around him, only seeking counsel from his imprisoned daughter Athena. Lee Adama is still eating too much, complaining too much, and he’s becoming the guy who only shoots down plans and can’t think of any other options but defeat.
It’s a grim way to start a season, but there’s hope here too; they make contact, they can form a plan, they can rescue the people they left behind. It’s only a matter of time.
Next up: “Precipice”