Battlestar Galactica #18: Baltar's Escape

"Baltar, Nomen and the Enforcers. At least we have all our enemies in the same place!" "Including the Council!"
SO SAY WE ALL: Baltar, the Eastern Alliance and the Nomen stage an escape from the prison barge.

REVIEW: You know, the Colonial fleet's security isn't very effective on a good day, but the Council decides to blow an even bigger hole in it in this episode and (almost) get what's coming to them. By almost, I mean they really could have been massacred, and it's surprising they didn't. These guys are so eager to get to Earth, and for Earth to be Terra (don't they get the hint from Adama's reports where he pronounces it Terror?!), that they'll look past ANYTHING, ignore ANY report, disregard ANY testimony... Wait, how did '70s BSG become so relevant in 2018? Not for the first time, the promise of a destination blinds them to Adama's concerns, and once again, he'll be right. (What IS the turnover in the Council? The head councilor in the previous episode is already gone. Are these guys quitting every time they make an error in judgement?) So here, not only do they not want to believe the Alliance are fascist scum, but even after communications have been lost with the prison barge, they still won't have warriors guard the landing bay, and of course, they get captured and held hostage because of it. They've also put one of their own on the bridge to second guess every decision, but at last Tinia responds quickly once the Council's views are proven wrong. But that's what happens when you don't listen to your experts. But also look from where we start the show... Civilian security is filled with jerks who abuse their power. Baltar, a charismatic, is allowed to socialize (and recruit) other prisoners. (For whatever reason, he's also allowed to wear evil gloves as a prisoner... has anyone ever made something of his germ phobia?) As it turns out, every prisoner's weapons are kept ON the barge, because the Nomen get their laser bolas back and use them to take over the ship and commandeer the shuttle. I mean... The Council's been mismanaging things for a while!

That said, this is a perfectly acceptable action episode, with Baltar in the driver's seat and creating his own little Legion of Doom with other prominent prisoners. He teams up with the Nomen AND the Eastern Alliance AND gets his two Centurions back as well. Sort of. I'd completely forgotten that he had two pilots with him when he was captured. The way they're treated by Galactica's resident scientist makes it seem like they are less sentient than some evidence has suggested, though I'm ready to think the Cylon soldiers are servitors to more intelligent models. Dismantled, I thought for sure the gambit here was going to be Apollo and Starbuck in Cylon armor, but no, the resolution managed to surprise and amuse me. So Baltar doesn't get away (back to the kitchen!), but the Alliance and Nomen do, and aren't seen again. They'll serve as bread crumbs leading to Terra, but that's about it.

This is a good episode for Colonel Tigh, even if he's flustered throughout. He leaves the bridge in a huff, manipulates Apollo and Starbuck into checking out the landing bay, takes command and even shouts at Adama to make a new plan work. You can see these guys trust one another. He really did deserve a more expanded role on the show, like the reimagined series' did.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The conflict between Adama and Tinia will be replayed on the imagined series, in more depth and complexity, between Adama and President Laura Roslin.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: No one dies, surprisingly, but the three Nomen leave the fleet with the Alliance soldiers.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Strong villainy from Baltar and co., but they escape through a massive plot hole.


Anonymous said...

There was a serious vibe going on in the late 1970s that America is under attack from the outside (primarily the Soviet Union), and America's peaceniks are too blind to see it. That's pretty much the central concept in the pilot of BSG, where the Council was too stupid to realize that the Cylons might have ulterior motives, and only manly conservative Commander Adama could figure it out. Well, that's at work in this episode again.

LiamKav said...

I'm sure there's a certain irony in present-day politics basically now being that America and the "West" is under attack by Russia via the internet and America's manly conservatives are too blind to see it. Or, worse, actively using it.

God, current politics is depressing.


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