BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul'

SCI-FI HD - 23rd January 2009 - 10.00pm


So the search for Earth is over and with this chapter Ronald Moore examines just where that leaves all the various factions within the fleet, especially in relationship to the rebel Cylons. Now, you could argue that this is just a filler episode or a bottle show but I don't think it is. The destruction of hope is going to have its consequences and quite clearly Moore is setting out his stall to discuss what those consequences will be. Essentially, this is about the humans vying for political and military might over one another. Thus, we get the disenfranchised Tom Zarek, Baltar and Gaeta circling like vultures around Adama, Roslin and Starbuck.

is the crudity of his false leg symbolic of his need to remain human?
Gaeta. What a slippery little bastard he's turned out to be. Shacks up with the Cylons and Baltar back on New Caprica, gets spared an execution and loses a leg. He appears quite content to sell his soul to any of the various devils the show throws in his face but, apart from obviously feeling somewhat pissed off that he's now only got one leg and can't get the medical care because Doc Cottle's too busy cooing over the forthcoming Cylon kiddy, I still don't understand his real motivations. Beyond being as scared as anybody else, just what is it that he wants? Here's hoping that his fifth column dissention and partnership with Zarek will actually shed some light on this. For the moment, he just seems to be 'bigot for hire'. If he played his cards right surely he could get a nice new Cylon leg? Or is the crudity of his false leg symbolic of his need to remain human?

For Adama, again brilliantly played by Eddie Olmos, it's a case of picking up the pieces and using military jurisdiction to pull the fleet together. But he's falling apart. The poor bugger's knocking back the Anadin every five minutes and trying to fathom out what the hell has got into Roslin. She's popped her turban back on again, thrown her drugs away and is jogging round the ship like a maniac. She's pretty much given in to her cancer and it seems just wants to live out the rest of her days. The scenes between Adama and Roslin are again beautfully played. That final scene, in a sense, is their two fingers up to the rest of the world and, even though we've been building up towards the Adama/Roslin bed scene, it feels sad rather than happy. However, the other feeling I get here is that they are being complacent. Perhaps it's a generational thing too as both of them seem to have reached a point where they are almost prepared to devolve their power to younger men and women.
But then, aren't the Final Five citizens too?

Baltar returns too and whips his crowd of adoring fans into a frenzy as he takes pot shots at supposedly human and Cylon gods, the 'father' of the fleet (Adama surely) and the sin of ever believing these figures, real or imagined, would ever deliver them to the promised land. 'His' perfect plan is in tatters and Baltar's out for blood. There is a sense here that Moore is making this analogous to the Israel/Palestine struggle for recognition of a home state. Which is ironic considering that he's using the self-serving Baltar to make this comparison. Like Gaeta, I suppose, he's questioning the morality of forming an alliance with the Cylons - the same Cylons that four years ago wiped out the colonies and relentlessly hunted down and oppressed the remaining humans on New Caprica. There are some deep questions here about whether you can forgive the sins of your oppressors, put on your love beads and sing a few hymns or whether there should be a reckoning and you kick back. But then, aren't the Final Five citizens too? Don't they have rights?

In the middle of this is a rather weakly inserted soap opera element, Tyrol's questions about paternity when it is clear that his blood won't do to ease his son's renal failure. Sure, there are hints of a debate about racial purity in there, but the whole story element about Cally's unfaithfulness just seemed rather hastily bolted onto this script. It's obvious to me that they had to do this once Tyrol was revealed to be a Cylon as Hera is supposed to be the only living Cylon/human hybrid. A further weakness is Zarek's attempt to seize power. This clearly is something we've seen before - using a controversial issue to make a power grab by attempting to undermine the popularity of the decisions made by the current administration. Adama's bluff is well executed but we don't really understand Zarek as a complex character. If you compare him to Baltar, it is clear that he only thinks one way and lacks the subtle manipulation that Baltar has been using.

There are some lovely bits of sarcasm here too - from the crackling tension of the barbed conversation between Gaeta and Starbuck as he sticks the knife in about her attempt to chuck him out of the airlock for being a collaborator to Zarek's pot shot at Lee about how he's had so many jobs in the fleet. This is all building towards a face-off at some point during the remaining episodes. So, pretty much a set-up for the future, well directed by Moore himself, full of high quality performances and brilliant production values we've come to expect. Just not as good as last week.

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