Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hide in Plain Sight

It's Baltar! He's the twelfth Cylon!!

That's the John the Baptist-like epiphany I had while watching last night's Battlestar Galactia, "Escape Velocity."

Appropriately, it occurred during Baltar's "Sermon on the Mount" speech as he preached about the Cylon god.

From the very beginning, Baltar's had "visions" of Six in his head that no one else could see.

At the time, I chalked it up to his own guilt induced post-traumatic stress syndrome due to the active role he took in the annihilation of his own planet.

However, visions turn out to be a characteristic exhibited in three known Cylons. Galen Tyrol Saul Tigh, and Six all have suffered the distraction of hallucinations. Furthermore, "the four" discovered that they were Cylons because they couldn't get the song "All Along the Watchtower" out of their heads.

Because BG tries to stay grounded in the logic of it's own internal reality, the simplest explanation for these strange, almost supernatural, occurrences is that it's a Cylon thing. This leads me to conclude that Baltar's one of them.

Of course, the good news is that finding out whoever the twelfth Cylon is, while a fun academic exercise, really doesn't matter to me. Whatever happens, I'm just enjoying the ride.

In it's final season, BG is doing a good job of wrapping up all the loose plot threads at a pace that doesn't seem to distract from the stories themselves.

The Sopranos, because of it's huge success (both critically and culturally), sometimes exhibited a self-awareness of the audience. BG, to say it mildly, has never had that problem.

I was worried that the relevation of the four Cylons being with the fleet all the time would turn out to be a weak "gimmick." But they've handled that quite well.

And, as usual, the politics of BG defy partisanship.

In "Escape Velocity," Laura Roslin, BG's analog for George Bush, is trying to enact tough security policies that she sees as necessary keep a lid on hostilities between certain religious extremist factions in the fleet.

Mischievously, Roslin, as characterized throughout the show, is no Neo-con. She was a teacher for goodness sake. Yet, as president, she's had to make some "pragmatic" decisions that, in many cases, went against her own philosophical grain.

Apollo, who has the luxury of NOT being the one where the buck stops, is free to rail against Roslin's often draconian policies on moral grounds. Sure, he's got a point. But he's just so damn self-righteous about it.

MOST of the time, when television shows engage in moral debates (think ANY episode of Boston Legal), there seems to be a clear cut winner. Sure, they'll toss the other side a bone to appear "even-handed." But, one can usually figure out where the writer's are coming from.

In BG, the morality play, like real life, is multi-faceted and often ambiguous.

If Roslin is Bush, than Kara Thrace (Starbuck) has become BG's metaphor for the anti-war movement.

"We're going the wrong way!" she shouts, each time the fleet, implementing Roslin's orders, makes a jump that apparently takes them in the opposite direction of Earth.

Starbuck perfectly epitomizes the frustration many in the real world have felt as they helplessly watch the United States get more entrenched in what they see as the quagmire of Iraq.

Yet, since Adama has given her a chance to find the "right way," she doesn't seem to have any answers and comes across as rather bitchy.

As I said earlier, call me heretical, but in the end, exactly what happens isn't important. It's the manner in which the gospel according to Battlestar Galactica is being told that I'm enjoying.

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