Battlestar Galactica #75: A Measure of Salvation

"Genocide? So that's what we're about now?"
SO SAY WE ALL: Can the Colonials use the virus to destroy the Cylons?

REVIEW: So Sharon is exposed to the virus, but because she bore the half-human Hera, she's had an antibody patch and she'll be fine. In other words, the Cylons could probably use Hera herself to create a vaccine. But we never actually get there as the beacon is destroyed and all plots to use the virus against the Cylons fail. But was it a good plan? In-universe, not really. Lee says killing their Cylon prisoners in downloading distance from a resurrection ship would infect every Cylon everywhere, but it's not true. Only that ship would be infected, and would be destroyed before anyone stepped off of it. In other words, it would be the equivalent of destroying that resurrection ship and that's all. (A blow, but not a fatal one.) From a writing standpoint, it's worse, since it asks us to believe a biological virus (apparently from someone coughing on the beacon centuries ago - and yes, those things can survive in a vacuum) could be uploaded with the Cylon consciousness. Well, no. That makes no sense at all. If it were a software virus, okay. A physical pathogen? Nope. I certainly don't buy the New Age technobabble about bioelectrical feedback (though I appreciate how it feels like something the 1970s show would have done with a straight face).

The ludicrousness of the idea undermine what's important here, which is the moral dilemmas that stem from its use as a viral weapon. That's still strong, even if you have to ignore the nonsense. Roslin is for it - I think it comes from trauma from having barely escaped the Cylons' regime. Lee's for it - in his case, I suspect a desperate lunge for a shortcut, which speaks more to his recent laziness than it does his former place as the fleet's conscience. It's a big shift for the character. Karl's against it, as he's the biggest proponent of Cylon rights in the fleet, seeing as he's married to a Cylon and has every reason to (correctly) believe they are people and not machines. And Adama's against it, possibly thanks to insights gotten from his friendship with Sharon, but also because he's normally a moralist (even if he's forgotten himself at times). Karl prevents the plan from being carried out by killing the Cylons before Galactica gets to the Cylon fleet, but it's Adama who refuses to investigate and press charges. There are things he won't have on his conscience, and Helo gave him an out. There's something creepy about using "So say we all", to date an anthem for hope, to approve a genocide, and Helo and Adama would have it, survival cannot justify an evil act.

Meanwhile, on the Cylon base star, Baltar (whose survival is now known to Galactica) gets tortured for information by his keepers. Well, James Callis looks tortured on most days, so this is an extreme, cranked-up version. Hey, he should have told them about the beacon. In this sequence, Head Six helps him overcome the pain by going to his happy place, so he can start manipulating D'Anna. Fine, but I'm not sure I get why she suddenly feels pity for him. I guess it remains to be seen what effect his words have on her, but I don't think these scenes are entirely convincing.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The Star Trek TNG episode "I, Borg" was referenced by Ron Moore on his podcast, as having a similar "infection" tactic that isn't then carried out.

We start (and stay) at 41,420, 2 down from the previous count, without explanation.

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include D'Anna arguing Baltar's motivation with Six, through their projections - she's gotten closer to Baltar and wouldn't want jealousy to come between them though she has no designs on him; Starbuck confronting a sick Leoben who shares his brothers' memories of her, and encouraging the Cylons to talk (prior to the 4 giving information); and Adama giving his men their mission orders and Helo asking to be dismissed, Starbuck is reinstated to fligh status for the occasion (the scene makes the Colonials seem even more bloodthirsty in front of Sharon).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium, almost Medium-Low - While I like the moral dilemma and how it divides the cast, truth is, the science is completely ridiculous and so the virus creates more than one plot hole. Seeing as the virus isn't used again (when it would have made a good litmus test, for example), and how it's destroyed instead of leading the ship to the 13th Tribe, it almost makes these last couple episodes irrelevant.



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