Battlestar Galactica: Escape Velocity

After last week’s shocker, everyone is pretty focused on death, along with its twin, birth, or in least in this case, spiritual rebirth. Results are rather mixed.

 

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.

Let’s talk about Gaius Baltar.

 

I’ve always disliked and mistrusted that frakker, for a lot of the reasons Lee brought up in his “Crossroads” speech, but even I must admit that he’s growing as person. Finally, he’s becoming more than that selfish and weak-willed man we met in the miniseries (gods, that was so long ago). Sure, he’s still his cowardly self, but for the first time, we see him put himself in the way of danger to fight for what he believes.

 

After his people are attacked (an ugly and brutal attack), Baltar decides to kind of do the same thing in a repellant temple desecration that gets him roughed up and jailed. During the raid on his cult/home, he hid like a child, but now, he leads the charge and he pays for it, first by going to jail, then by taking a beating from reluctant marine.

 

After the beating (and Lee’s own heroic charge against Roslin’s growing tyranny), Baltar finally gets what Head Six has been telling him along: God is love. God loves every one of them, even a supreme schmuck like Gaius Baltar. God even wants us to love ourselves and not dwell on our sins.

 

It’s a beautiful message, but I thought (and still think) that Gaius took things a bit too far. Again, telling his followers that ‘we are perfect’ is a beautiful message, but to me, it seems more like a way to whitewash past and future wrongs. Guilt is a horrible emotion, and a fairly useless one, but it’s there to guide us to not do bad things, like say, genocide, and to teach us not to repeat mistakes.

 

Think of it this way – we have two models of how to process guilt. The Tori way is all about letting go of guilt at the cost of not learning from it. She casts it aside because it no longer matters and just keeps repeating her mistake. The Caprica Six model is about acknowledging her guilt and moving on. She doesn’t torture herself with her sins, but she doesn’t forget them either.

 

Tori’s method seems more sociopathic. Saying that we’re perfect means that what we do is always the right thing…and I’m just not willing to buy that. I can accept that in the show (and maybe in real life too), all things happen for a reason, but that doesn’t mean we get a pass when we frak up. Roslin has her own reasons to distrust Baltar, but I can’t really fault her for thinking he’s dangerous.

 

Speaking of Roslin (yes, yes, you should be used to the clunky transitions by now), she’s getting scarier by the episode, but she’s never as frightening as when she confronts Baltar is his cell.

 

He wasn’t wrong when he said something in the universe loves him, because clearly, something is keeping him alive through all his screw-ups and shenanigans…and well, Roslin is kind of sick of it.  She doesn’t really threaten him, but she makes it clear that if he keeps acting up, she is going to smack him down, consequences be damned (why would she care about consequences, she’s dying after all).

 

It’s a whole new side of our dying leader, and fortunately Lee has the guts to call her on it, even if Lee is just as disgusted by Baltar as the rest of them are.

 

Stray thoughts:

         Chief is not looking so good these days. On purpose or not, he frakked up that raptor, nearly killing Racetrack and Skulls. Then, he gets in Adama’s face with his grief, and finds himself demoted. No matter how he feels about Callie or Boomer, he lost something when his wife died, and his tragedy is he never gets it back. He’s clearly taking the ‘destroy-your-life-first’ approach to his Cylon heritage guilt.

         Wow, that was one damn fine raptor crash…but as Ron D. Moore said on the commentary, I don’t think anyone was walking away from that crash. Ah well, it looked cool.

         Look how far our crew has fallen…as Jacob pointed out, way back when, we were all disgusted by what the Pegasus crew did to Gina, but now…Her guards leave Caprica Six to Tigh’s mercy. Fortunately for all of us, he means her no harm. Still though, it means something when our heroes stop caring about stuff like that.

         Late-in-the-game theory time! I think this was the episode where Roslin finally forgave Lee for his role in Baltar’s trial. Sure, I can’t prove it, but their relationship is a bit less frosty from here on out.

 

Next up: “The Road Less Traveled”