Battlestar Galactica #101: The Face of the Enemy

"I didn't seduce you. Hope seduced you."
SO SAY WE ALL: Ten minisodes in which Gaeta is lost in space with a raptor crew. For some reason, it did not figure on on any DVD releases. While it does exist on YouTube, mileage may vary - the 10th episode is annoying blocked in my country, for example.

REVIEW: Released in the ramp-up to the final leg of Galactica's journey, The Face of the Enemy actually occurs between the mid-season opener and its second episode, so it acts as a bit of a teaser for the season. We know that whatever happens on Dead Earth, the alliance remains intact, Tigh is still XO, and looking forward, Gaeta is heading for a fall from grace. Slight spoilers there, but if you care about Gaeta at all - and an upcoming storyline dictates you should - this is an important part of his story, and more convincingly explains his character turn than watching the season without it (which we're forced to with the DVDs alone). It presents Gaeta as a man holding on to his innocence like a comfort blanket, lying to himself in order to keep sane. By the end, he will have faced the evils he willfully(?) ignored, and will walk away with a counterproductive mistrust and hatred for the Cylons he blames for his own downfall.

The main action has the fleet jump on a false alarm, leaving Geata, a raptor crew, and two Eights stranded because of a malfunction. It's a paranoid little thriller that works like the most claustrophobic of murder mysteries, characters getting bumped off in the night while they wait for rescue or try to survive/get back in a situation reminiscent of Apollo 13 (but for the killer among them, of course). Gaeta trusts one of the Eights implicitly (we might use the word "blindly") because she helped him free resistance agents on New Caprica. He supplied the names, she used her Cylon access to get them out. As the body count inside the raptor mounts, Felix will find out the truth. She might have freed a person here and there to make him believe what he was doing was beneficial, but in reality, she had most of those people killed. Sexual manipulation was also part of the deal. Flash back to Taking a Break From All Your Worries and what Baltar whispered to him in his cell that Felix lash out and stab him. A bit of dubbed in audio and voila, a reveal that Baltar knew and the portrait of a Felix Gaeta who repressed his guilt about what he FEARED he might be doing. And now here we are, in a raptor, with Gaeta finding excuses so he doesn't have to believe his Eight is responsible for all the deaths. There's now no denying that he's been a villain through inaction, through lack of introspection, through willful ignorance.

In the background of all this is Hoshi, now revealed to be Gaeta's lover (which makes Felix bisexual), sure he can will the universe to give him Gaeta back. I like that he's using the way Fate HAS been manipulating events to justify the possibility of his love "conquering all", but at least at first, Fate doesn't seem to care. Though an interesting wrinkle, it does feel like this relationship only exists in this particular bottle. It wasn't mentioned before, and will not be mentioned again. Commentary track reveals they ended the relationship after this, but that's not the same as saying so on screen.

CAPRICANADA: Racetrack's Canadian accent is noticeable in episode 8.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The Face of the Enemy is a microcosm of the pilot mini-series, isn't it? Eight as Caprica-6, Gaeta as Baltar, and the raptor as the Twelve Colonies.

As minisodes don't include a head count, we still don't know if the Cylon allies are counted as part of the fleet (in the way Athena and the Final Four seem to be). But between the next two episodes, 2 Cylons (both Eights) and 3 humans (Brooks, Esrin and Finn, it is their only appearance) are killed.

VERSIONS: The original script would have had Gaeta's Cylon lover be a Six, and his present lover be Noel Allison (from the Pegasus). Neither actor was available so the change was made to Eight and Hoshi.

- Meaningful for the Gaeta character and thus what is to come, so it's a damn shame it's not more readily available. Perhaps future episodes cover this material some other way.


Devin Clancy said...

I think I read that this was filmed after the series finale. So Gaeta's relationship and some of his motivation for later episodes were literally tacked on after the fact.


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