SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, gather a group of no more than twelve associates and watch Friday’s Battlestar Galactica.
If you assume, and it seems pretty hard not to, that Battlestar Galactica was among other things an echo of America after 9/11, then what’s going on now seems pretty much inevitable. After the attack, then the responses, the civil liberties restrictions, the questions about what’s justifiable in the name of survival—it’s clear that no external enemy, however threatening and compelling, can override people’s desire to divide and go after one another internally. In this case, as we saw in this episode, over religion. Fight whatever real wars you want, the culture wars will always come back.
“There are 30,000 people left,” Roslin says, “and they’re not happy unless they’re kicking each other’s teeth in.” Pretty much a statement of the human condition. And judging by what’s going on on the basestars, of the nonhuman condition too.
Baltar was beginning to bore me early in this season as a cult leader, but now that his religious movement has confronted the politics of the fleet, things are getting interesting. And it’s getting harder and harder to know where to place your sympathies. There’s Baltar, whom we know to be craven, vain and treacherous, nonetheless standing up (or getting held up by Six) for free expression, and getting off the capstone of the episode with his self-help-y sermon about loving ourselves despite our faults. And there’s Roslin—overreaching, messianic and possibly wrong—again going to the dark side to suppress freedoms in the fleet (and using her illness to rationalize it), but making a good point when she asks how much scarier a Baltar with religious devotion is than a Baltar with political power.
The problem is, by making him a martyr, she may have just handed him both.
Elsewhere in the episode, it’s intriguing how each of the Four is dealing with the knowledge of their Cylon nature: Tory by going Ayn Randian, Tyrol through anger and guilt (great shoutdown scene with Adama), Tigh by projecting on Six. (Anders, so far, mostly remains the cipher he usually is.)
Speaking of Cylons, though, I wonder what your thoughts are on the scene in which Six seems to literally pull Baltar off the floor when he gets beaten down by the guard outside his door. Is she actually holding him up? How is this possible? Is she more than a process inside his brain? Or is she so thoroughly integrated into his subconscious—at the reptilian-brain level—that she can override his very reflexes?