Battlestar Galactica #88: Crossroads, Part 2

"It's about the shame of what we did to ourselves back on that planet. It's about the guilt of those of us who ran away. And we're trying to dump all that guilt and all that shame on one man and then flush him out the airlock, and hope that just gets rid of it all. So that we could live with ourselves. But that won't work."
SO SAY WE ALL: A verdict is rendered in Baltar's trial and things get really weird at the Ionian Nebula.

REVIEW: If Baltar were being tried in a normal society, he would have been winning strategically. As there's really no one without some kind of bias in the fleet, Lee doesn't believe it's really a fair trial, especially not after Adama has told him he thinks Baltar is guilty as sin. A mistrial is called for, but Baltar's massive ego and impatience with the process won't let his attorneys go that route, and so comes Lampkin's ploy. He puts Lee on the stand to testify to his father's bias, but despite the harsh words they had, he really doesn't want to do that. Instead, he basically exposes his closing argument early. Some real Matlock justice here, but it's expedient for the show not to draw all this out any further, is just more dramatic and surprising, and it gives us a blazing speech that sums up all the crimes pardoned on the show to date. In fact, the best argument against convicting Baltar is that he's only on trial on a technicality, i.e. not being in the fleet when Roslin issued a universal pardon for crimes committed on New Caprica. Like everyone who sat on that stand (except Gaeta who perjured himself to get revenge on Baltar), Lee makes a very personal confession. He confesses his own cowardice, his own willingness to leave people behind. It is just a good speech, that it sways the jury in Baltar's favor 3 to 2. And the shocker is, Adama was one of the three, because of course he was. He's that guy who has a knee-jerk reaction, says things he'll regret later, but is honest enough to revise his opinion once he's had time to reflect. It sends his relationship with Roslin into a tailspin, so they nicely open the episode with a very warm scene between them to create contrast.

What's great is that though acquitted, Baltar finds himself free but friendless. Neither of his lawyers want to help him to a book tour, and cut off ties with him as soon as they can. The more the show can torture Baltar, the better. The next phase of his life is to be that an underground cult leader, and he's rescued by the zealot journo who puts a Jesus robe on him and whisks him off. He's the false prophet to Roslin's real one, as she's still having visions, though in this case it's proven that the Opera House stuff is a shared reality between her, Hera, Sharon and Six. Cylon projection on an unprecedented telepathic scale? Or a true vision from the gods/One God? The theme of humanity and the Cylons being "the same" peeks its head out here, but comes across more fully in what is certainly the most controversial move yet, the reveal of just who are the Final Five (or four of them, at any rate).

Tyrol is added to the group of Colonials who can hear the music in the walls, a signal that seems to resonate in the Ionian Nebula and that may or may not be connected to the disruption of power when the fleet gets there. Tyrol, Tigh, Anders and Tori (the latter two engaged in a sexual affair that may or may not be based on some subconscious recognition) start addressing it, can sing along a little bit, and in a haze, it eventually leads them to the same room where it triggers repressed knowledge of their true natures. These four are Cylons "and have been from the start". This changes everything. The humanish Cylons have had sleeper agents as far back as 30 years ago (Tigh), people who have all somehow survived (again and again) and found their way into important positions in the fleet and/or resistance (to throw Anders a bone, since he's just a "nugget"). This was NOT planned from the start, because that's not how Ron Moore works, but it fits what has gone before. Tyrol was "somehow" drawn to the Temple of the Five, and perhaps to Boomer. He had nightmares about being a Cylon himself, and contemplated suicide. He was up on his feet much more quickly than Cally after the airlock accident. We don't have similar stories for the others, but ironies abound. Tigh being tortured by Cylons and Three enigmatically apologizing to him. His savage interrogation of Tyrol about being a Cylon agent. His one eye, like that of the Centurions. Although it puts history into question, it is a history presumed and not confirmed. And DOES IT? Change anything? Tigh decides it doesn't, he's still the same man, the last 30 years happened, and as base stars barrel down on the fleet, he's gonna go and do his job. Others may have other ideas, only Season 4 will tell.

We're so shocked, we almost don't have time to realize the fact that the song they've been singing is Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower (a great version, probably my favorite of all time, with all due respect to Dylan and Hendrix), a song that's connected to the Cylons HOW?! It's all part of the parallel development of this humanity (in which I include Cylons, especially in the wake of this episode) and ours, no matter the time frame or galactic coordinates. The show is playing this crazy game of mirrors between 21st-Century Earth, Colonial humanity, and the Cylons, essentially saying all sentients are "the same" despite our vilification of the "other". It's the usual science-fiction metaphor, but made part of the narrative. And THEN when things aren't crazy enough, Starbuck is back and as foreshadowed in her gift of an Aurora icon to Adama, is here to lead the fleet to Earth. How can she be back? Has she "resurrected" because she's the fifth Cylon? And we don't even have time to begin answering all these questions because the camera zooms out, flies out of the galaxy, flies back in, and there it is, Earth. Just a legend in this world, it is for the first time confirmed as a real place, and for the viewers, a Season 4 promise.

CAPRICANADA: Canada (or the land mass we call Canada) actually appears in this episode, from space.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Galactica 1980 revealed that the classic Starbuck was also left for dead but had survived, and was meant to return through the help of the beings from the City of Light, which speaks to Kara's return here, I think.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: No headcount, but no one dies during the course of the episode, and Starbuck appears to return. (Of course, the strictly human population should be retroactively adjusted down by 4 after its revelations).

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include Anders and Tori meeting up at the bar prior to their tryst, Sharon explaining Cylon projection to Roslin, and an alternate ending where Kara instead appears to Lee in his quarters when he goes for his flight suit.

REWATCHABILITY: High - The fast-fire revelations, the music, this shot... I still get chills. More than any other episode, Crossroads Part 2 is what made me declare BSG a high-water mark in genre television.


LiamKav said...

In terms of accidental foreshadowing, both Tyrol and Tigh cope better than a lot of others with sleep deprivation all the way back in "33". Some of the revelations were spoiled for me in advance, but this episode still worked really well because the characters were thrown. Despite Tigh's words this DOES affect him.

(You can make a comparison to similar "everything you thought you knew was wrong" revelations in Doctor Who this week, but that definitely suffers by comparison as I don't think the revelations there have any impact on the Doctor outside of a 5 minute chat with herself. But that's for another review...)


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