Battlestar Galactica #82: The Woman King

"I keep ending up o­n the wrong side of everything. You know, maybe Tigh's right. Maybe I want it that way. What if I'm flying a desk not because I'm good at it, not because I'm right guy for the job, but because it's the right punishment for the guy who crosses the line, and everybody knows it? Maybe I belong in Dogsville."
SO SAY WE ALL: Helo suspects a doctor is killing Sagittaron fundamentalists.

You know, Helo is quite relatable to me as the ethical man who finds himself on the wrong side of every argument in his workplace situation. Been there, my friend, and often. Because the wrong side is actually the right side, but it's also the more difficult side, which is why you end up as the "lone voice in the wilderness". The episode cheats a little bit by including material in the "Previously..." that we've never seen before. Essentially, we're told Helo has been sent below decks to deal with the refugee crisis caused by the loss of several ships in The Passage, many of them Sagittaron, here painted as fundamentalist Luddites akin to anti-vaxxers and faiths that forbid blood transfusions and the like (but not autopsies, apparently). The over-crowding on the Galactica kind of makes me wonder how they can justify building a bar for the crew in a large hanger, but maybe that's a fight Helo has already lost.

It's already a poor situation when an outbreak of a perfectly treatable, but fatal, disease hits the refugee "camp". Dr. Robert (Bruce Davison) is assigned to the camp and he's a sympathetic character, if a frustrated physician. But once he seems to go off-book, either not rationing the medicine properly, or treating patients without their consent, and Sagittarons start dying on his shift, well, we know where this is going. Dr. Cottle initially creates ambiguity with his autopsy report, but he was lying to get Helo off his back, so it's a momentary mystery-builder. The plot is less important than Helo's reaction to it. He has to be the man who listens to Mrs. King, the Sagittaron who first alerts him to the problem, investigates, and keeps hitting a wall because the higher-ups either don't want to deal with yet another problem, or trust Robert implicitly because he was a member of the Resistance. In fact, Tigh hates Helo and his relationship to a Cylon enough to take a punch from him. It's all worth it to get his licks in. No way is he going to trust Helo's word on this. But then Cottle does the right thing, and perhaps there's the notion that Dualla, a Sagittaron by birth if not by creed, might be in danger, but Tigh does the right thing too. I find his lack of ego in that moment, and Adama's, who offers Helo an apology, quite inspiring. In fact...

In fact... the story is a nice contrast to what's happening in the Baltar subplot in the meantime. As he awaits trial - a trial Tom Zarek predicts will cause civil unrest and bring down the fleet, and it seems he's not trying to manipulate Roslin on this - we're shown Caprica-6, who has to decide whether to testify against the man she loves. Head-Baltar appears to her and tells her she came over to the Galactica because deep down, she wants to be human, which means being selfish (quite the "angel", eh?). But look at the actual human story here. Helo is only trying to help people. Tigh, Adama and Cottle eat their ego to do the right thing. Even Dr. Robert, though a murderous bigot, sees himself as a hero who would save "his" people by sacrificing others. He doesn't personally get anything out of it (except jail time). So no, being human doesn't mean thinking only of yourself. Caprica is being misled. It should also be noted that she's being observed during this interaction and I should think Roslin would be more alarmed than she appears to be. Either Caprica is communicating with the Cylons in some way, or her behavior reminds us of Baltar's. No one seems to make the link.

Gabrielle Rose who portrays Portia King is a Vancouver-based actress, quite recognizable to genre fans as she's been in X-Files, Eureka, Smallville, The Man in the High Castle, and more.

Doctors from the Colonies swear an oath to "do no harm" just like our own.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: Headcount starts at 41,401, 2 down from the previous episode. There is no explanation, but seeing as there's an outbreak of disease in the Sagittaron population, it may be these were early victims (and perhaps why Mrs. King was warned about Dr. Robert). Five more are said to have died over the course of this episode.

VERSIONS: A deleted scene adds to the final scene, with Helo confessing that he killed the infected Cylons before they could be uploaded to Resurrection Ship. Adama warns him of the possible ramifications (up to and including an execution) and he takes it back at the old man's urging.

A strong Helo story, but a fairly predictable one that cuts corners.



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