Battlestar Galactica #87: Crossroads, Part 1

"How do we measure loss?"
SO SAY WE ALL: The trial of Gaius Baltar.

REVIEW: We don't really know much about the Colonial legal system, but it seems to play fast and loose enough to be called television court. Heavy on theatrics and rhetoric, whatever is most entertaining. So Lampkin suddenly changes the plea to guilty to make a point, but no one holds him to it. Adama threatens to end the questioning right then and there when he doesn't like where it's going (the other judges cut him off). And Lee goes from adjunct to legal team to questioning witnesses just by Lampkin asking. It's a drama, and the science-fiction setting allows for all of it. If the game feels rigged in Baltar's favor, it's that we know his defender(s), but the prosecutor is a new character. She can't win this. Even as she prosecutes this, the way the case is going feels entirely predicated on the witnesses. We're with Tigh as he struggles through his testimony, drunk, after having been rattled by Six (if she testifying herself, or just playing mind games on behalf of her beau?). And we're with Roslin when Lee forces her to admit she's still taking chamalla extract, painting her as a vision-happy intuitive, flipping the tables by forcing him to ask why and revealing her cancer has returned, and handling the press with grace afterwards. So it's not prosecutor vs. defense, it's defense vs. witness, and in that way, we're invested without buying into the prosecution. (And after all, as viewers, we know more than anyone whether he's guilty and to what extent. She's not even going to try and prove genocide because none of the pre-attack Caprica stuff can be proven.)

In the background are notes that will become composer Bear McCreary's version of All Along the Watchtower, sounding like mysterious Indian music, coming through on the radio, then finding itself in the walls of the ship. Whaaa? To make things more intriguing still, only a select few can hear the music, and as the episode progresses, it becomes more and more obvious. Tigh can hear it. Anders can here it. And Tori. They are connected somehow. For people who have watched the show before, we know what this means, but I'll admit that whenever I try to name the linked characters, I am also missing one. And that's Tori. I completely forgot she was involved, and so it seems strange to me. However, she does seem to be the most affected, as this signal, getting stronger as the fleet nears the nebula that will take them closer to Earth according to prophecy, seems to be preventing her from sleeping. She's a wreck. I kind of wish we'd seen the decline more clearly, over more episodes, but there we are. There's a kind of upsetting recognition between her and Anders even though they may have never met (in the Resistance maybe, but I don't remember them having a scene). It's all coming to a head and I can stop being cagey.

What else? Well, we have a crazy journalist wanting Baltar to bless her sick child as a cult grows around him for reasons that aren't particularly clear (must be quite a book). It taps into his role as the Chosen One, but don't expect the judges to buy into that. We also have an odd Opera House sequence that puts Roslin and Sharon in the same dream, running after Hera. IS it a shared dream? The big news, of course is that Lee resigns his commission when his father questions his integrity - and in an ugly moment, doubles down on that statement - essentially choosing his friend Tigh, only just destroyed on the stand and forced to admit he killed Ellen to everyone, over his son. Dee's none too happy either that her husband is in a position to help Baltar get off. Finally, the Cylons are back on Galactica's trail. I'm with Helo: a storm is comin'.

CAPRICANADA: We see a lot more of the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver than in previous episodes that showed the Opera House.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: No headcount because the opening was cut to squeeze more time into the episode, but presumably 41,398 if Marine Cheadle died protecting Lampkin in the previous episode. We do get a hard number for the number lost in the Occupation of New Caprica and escape therefrom - 5197 people in all - but it contradicts the headcount as we followed it through the relevant episodes, and should be closer to 2592. Maybe the prosecutor counts the people lost when the Cloud Nine exploded?

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes have Lee walking around the empty courtroom and questioning Lampkin on the ethics of defending Baltar, and Roslin expounding on how long they have to live collectively.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High
- Good stuff, but still set-up to a promising season finale.

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