Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Disquiet Follows My Soul

After years on the run, and nothing that could seriously be called a maintenance routine, the entire fleet is about played out. Command has a plan. Of course. Use Cylon technology to refit their ships. It could triple their jump capacity alone. The cost? The rebel Cylons want to be included in the fleet. Full citizenship, a seat at the Quorum, the whole thing. Everybody on board this that? Anybody on board?

The day starts with Adama waking up stiff, and downing some sort of medication. Given his stiffness and my own history of waking up every single morning with back pain, I am assuming they’re connected. He goes out into the hall and picks up some litter from the deck. This isn’t the defeated man from last episode. He’s sucked it up, choked it down, whatever he needed to do. He’s the Admiral and he has a fleet that needs him.

The day starts with a press conference where everyone seems knows about the possible Cylon alliance. Of course, it doesn’t help that he refuses to answer every question on the grounds that it’s a military decision. A Cylon, Tigh, is second in command? Next question. An alliance? Next question. Why is he even there? When a question is asked about Roslin, Lee steps up, cutting off Zarek, the actual Vice-President. But Lee isn’t any more forthcoming. Somehow they know the fifth Cylon has been identified (it has been all over the internet), but even as he tries to work his way around an answer, Lee makes the mistake of referring to the Fifth as a she. So Tigh has told them.

Zarek isn’t sitting patiently in line while the Adamas take control. With the possibility of a Cylon alliance he puts through a vote allowing the captain of each ship the right to deny entry to any Cylon. He isn’t the only one causing trouble. Felix Gaeta's not a happy man. From New Caprica, to almost being spaced to the Baltar trial, where he failed to murder the former president and saw his testimony discounted (fairly, he was lying after all), to the loss of his leg, to his recent experience adrift with a homicidal Cylon who used him to kill Resistance members, it has not been a happy character arc for Felix. He confronts Kara and warns her of a coming ‘reckoning’ and when she storms off he sticks around to suborn a little mutiny. Felix. Suborning mutiny.

In the growing tensions between civilian and military, its Zarek who makes the first move. The Cylons, and the marines, aboard the fleets fuel processing ship are killed and the ship jumps away. As the ship has been in contact with Zarek, he is immediately put under arrest.

The secondary plot is all about babies. Yes, Tigh and Caprica Six are expecting, but there is another, more important story. Galen brings little Nickie into the sickbay. He’s peeing blood. The doc diagnoses acute renal failure. The kid could lose a kidney. Galen starts a contained panic, offering to start donating blood for his son right away. Not necessary. They’ve got plenty of the kid’s type. It turns out the child isn’t his. Cally was pregnant when they married, but unsure of who the father was. She decided to say nothing and wait until after she got the man she wanted to have a paternity test done. If only she could make that decision again. The biological father is Brendan ‘Hot Dog’ Constanza. This leads to a confrontation and a My Two Dads set up that isn’t too interesting. The most important thing about this sub-plot is that it explains away the baby - it isn’t half-Cylon - and moves the Agathon’s Hera back to the center.

The confrontation between Galen and Hot Dog takes place at a meeting of Baltar’s flock. Gaius is talking about the epic fail that was the journey to Earth, and their abandonment by the Gods of the Twelve Colonies. He is speaking figuratively, of course. He doesn’t believe in those gods. But he is also talking about their leadership and its failure to find them a new home. A safe home. Like the old gods, they have no credibility. No legitimacy. And that’s what this episode was all about. It lays bare the legitimacy crisis that now exists among the survivors. At no time in their journey would the people have trusted the Cylons, or wanted to work with them, but they backed their leaders because they were their leaders. Not anymore. Military personnel are openly questioning Adama. The civilian government is in disarray. Roslin has effectively opted out. She is refusing to be the leader. She is also refusing to take her meds. She is dying and she is going to die without having her health poisoned by her medications. This all leads to a scene with Adama and Roslin post-coitus. I know its supposed to be sweet, but I kept thinking of that woman in Fight Club (the movie, I haven’t read the book) who is desperate for a little loving before the end.

Adama does get his fuel ship back. He confronts Zarek with a list of surveillance findings. If Zarek doesn’t turn over the location of the ship, he’ll expose him. He’s betting the Veep won’t stand to be revealed as another corrupt politician, to have his reputation torn apart, and he’s right. But its going to be a lot harder for him to regain his credibility. Not long after Adama leaves that Zarek gets another visitor. Gaeta is offering to lead a mutiny to put him in power.

In a sense this episode was all about setting up for the confrontations that will start tomorrow, but, more importantly, it was about establishing why the confrontations are going to happen. Gaeta and Zarek are both acting selfishly, seeking revenge and self-aggrandizement, respectively, but that isn't why people are following them. Adama doesn't realize it yet, but he is now leader in name only. He has seen so many crises since the journey began, he doesn't appreciate that this one is of a very different order. Right now only one person in the fleet has any sort of widespread following - that is, any honest legitimacy - is Gaius Baltar. Not only is he a spiritual leader, an important part of Roslin's following, but he has a legitimate claim to the presidency, having been acquitted of the charges that took him from office in the first place. I expect a lot of action tomorrow and a lot more of Baltar in the final seven episodes.

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