Battlestar Galactica #86: The Son Also Rises

"Everybody has demons. Them, Baltar, you, me. Even the machines. The law is just a way of exorcising them."
SO SAY WE ALL: Lee is assigned to guard Baltar's new lawyer.

REVIEW: We're gearing up for Baltar's trial, but it's happening in the shadow of Starbuck's death, with raw emotion at an all-time high, and characters letting their feelings get in the way of their work. Adama is particularly emotional, sobbing over Kara's file, all her disciplinary demerits, and a fun birthday card that was slipped in there. Lee is having trouble concentrating to the point that he has to be pulled from his position as CAG and given the "easier" job of protecting Baltar's lawyer, which he does a piss-poor job of. And Anders finally gets to react, and he may be more right than he knows the Starbuck luck held out and she can't possibly be dead, as shouted drunkenly from the top of a Viper. Other crew members feel the loss, but these three are blinded by it. And blinded is right. Even when Lee shapes up at the end of this episode, he still allows someone to exploit his blind spot.

Some people naturally don't want the trial to happen, in case it means Baltar will get off on some technicality. His first lawyer is killed by sabotage, the second escapes two attempts on his life, and it's eventually proven to be Captain Kelly's doing, and he's enough of a zealot to keep going unless they throw his jail cell's key away. And Baltar definitely has a chance with this new lawyer. Enter the great Mark Sheppard as Romo Lampkin, an arrogant, shade-wearing prick who feels more like a con man than an attorney, and who lies so much, the audience can't keep it straight. Was Lee's grandfather really his mentor? Did he really love a woman as much as Six presumably loves Baltar? Is that even his cat who fortuitously finds the bomb? There's no way to tell because even when he looks you straight in the eye and answers those questions, you can't trust him. It's pretty great. His most chilling moment is his visit to Six's cell, where he hands her Baltar's pen and makes his big speech about love. He lies. He stole the pen, she got to hold it before giving it back, and I kept wondering if she somehow lifted something off of it. And since his speech was designed to crush her soul, that maybe the pen contained some small cutting tool she could use to commit suicide. Chilling. But perhaps it's all innocent (insofar as making her testify "correctly" is innocent), we'll see. His greatest triumph, though, is, without asking, making Lee join the defense team. As is revealed in his final message to Baltar (which he wickedly gets Lee to deliver himself), it's a ploy to make public (and perhaps judge) opinion turn Baltar's way when reputedly-ethical son faces father in the courtroom. Because of course Adama's name was picked out of a hat to be on the jury of captains. Adama is not happy about this, but let's it happen by refusing to make Lee's return to CAG an order. Ethically, he knows he shouldn't stop his son, but what if his and Lee's ethics are what gets Baltar acquitted - an unethical result. Well, it wouldn't be drama if stuff like this didn't happen.

"You want me to take my job seriously, dad? Well this is me taking my job seriously!" (Paraphrase mine.) Be careful what you ask for, Admiral.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: In the original series episode Murder on the Rising Star, Adama is also called in to be a judge, and Apollo also becomes a defense attorney (for Starbuck).

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: Even though Baltar's first lawyer, Hughes, is killed in the teaser, the head count stands at 41,399, preserving a numerical memorial to Starbuck (which would accord for the count memorably sticking at 41,400 for a couple of episodes). Either he's only counted after, or a birth offset his death. It's unclear, but possible that a marine who saves Lampkin's life from the door bomb is killed later.

VERSIONS:
There is a deleted scene of Sharon confronting Cally about whether SHE might have had a reason to sabotage the Raptor because she hates Cylons, and threatens to kill her if she did. She comes off like a real villain even if the outrage is warranted, so we're glad they left it out.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A strong acting showcase and a great guest-star, but of course, this is all just set-up for the two-part season finale.

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