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29 October 2006 @ 08:41 am
Battlestar Galactica 3.05 Collaborators  
Despite the gravity of the episode, I am using my cheeriest BSG icon, because Roslin's my hero and BSG was at its finest this week.

What a hard-hitting episode this was. It wasn't easy to watch, not should it have been, given the subject it tackled. At the overall episode level, I thought it showed brilliantly the problem with closed tribunals, ones where there is no advocate for the defence. How incredible what damage three(?) days did.

The opening sequence was incredibly uncomfortable. I found Jammer a sympathetic, if weak, character. I knew he would face retribution on Galactica, but I hadn't expected it to happen so soon. From the start of the interrogation I was pretty sure it would end in his death, but that didn't make it any easier to watch as he begged for help and forgiveness. I am absolutely opposed to capital punishment under any circumstances, so watching characters I love (like Kara) push for the collaborators' deaths was incredibly confronting.

The dynamic on the tribunal was interesting--most of the tribunal members were motivated by personal loss and anger, but they varied in the degree to which they rationalised or whitewashed what they were doing. Tigh had convinced himself that he was working within the law, for justice, clinging to the presidential decree as proof. The Chief, having lost less, wavered more than others, as did Anders.

I must thank supacat. When I first watched this ep, I found Anders's character almost impossible to understand and he annoyed the hell out of me. Part of this was a legacy from the episode before when he encouraged Tigh to kill his own wife. That he was now squeamish about watching the executions seemed like double-standards to me. Then, when he decided he couldn't stomach it any further, he left the tribunal, rather than using his vote to avoid killing. It really annoyed me. But supacat persuaded me that Anders was a more coherent character than I saw on the surface. She argued that to him the difference was that they were no longer at war. When at war, he advocated killing when it was tactically important enough. But as the war faded and it became clearer and clearer that they were killing for revenge not necessity, he found it hard to take. This makes sense to me. I still wonder how Anders will adjust to peace. He doesn't seem to have a very well-thought-out belief system/moral code--he has qualms, but he's been the man of action for so long--only with time did he really come to a firm position on the tribunal's actions.

It was Kara who offered me the best way to understand those on the tribunal. Her speech to Anders about her emotions after her escape was powerful and visceral. It conveyed to me the depth of raw emotion running through the resistance members, especially those who had lost loved ones or parts of themselves. It helped me understand them as human beings, even if I still found their acts repulsive.

Even though he was annoying me, I really liked that Anders returned Kara's dog tags to her, symbolising that she was no longer a hero in his eyes. And she wasn't in this episode--her actions were monstrous, not heroic, and for a show to portray their lead hero character in this way was very brave, I thought.

Oh, poor Gaeta!! I was screaming at the screen at times during this episode, in frustration, since we know Gaeta was a key part of getting them off the planet. Even the most basic 'normal' judicial process would have ascertained this, but instead emotion and prejudice were allowed to dominate proceedings to such a degree that the tribunal very nearly didn't uncover this until it was too late. After Jammer's death I did fear there was a real possiblity he might also be killed, especially after we saw Tigh lash out at him publicly.

For much of the episode I was puzzling at how the tribunal could have been permitted. That Zarak approved it was the perfect, if chilling, reveal, especially after Roslin offered him the vice-presidency. I was relieved that Roslin had not in fact usurped the presidency, as was implied by her taking the chair in the previous episode. She went through the proper channels, but not without great sacrifice/compromise. I adored her acceptance speech and I love that she's ruled that there will be no more trials of any sort. That was brilliant, especially after Zarak's taunting about public trials.

Kara's where I expected her to be--repressing what's happened to her, denying it, and lashing out in impulsive action. I'm not surprised she got her pilot gear back out of storage. I do wonder how she's going to fit in now though. And she's lost Anders, at least for now.

I loved the flashes to Gaius on the Cylon ship. The parallel was brilliant and it was interesting to see how foreign and strange the Cylon ship was for a human. I'm fascinated by the Cylons changing emotions about him too, especially the Sixes. Gaius, of course, retains his egotistical belief in his own importance. But on reflection I'm not that surprised that they are shutting him out now. Their experiment with living with humans was a disaster--no wonder this is prompting a re-think on human-Cylon interaction.

The lightest moment of the ep was Lee being told to 'keep jumping'. Oh, Lee! *sigh* When will they give you a decent plot again? I suspect he'll be on the backburner for some time.

But what a brilliant hour of television. So well crafted and tackling such a profoundly confronting issue, and one so relevant to our own world. BSG at its finest.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
 
 
 
Kate: Gaetamskatej on October 29th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
WORD. I absolutely LOVED this episode; it was by far the strongest of the season, and yes, incredibly difficult viewing at times (especially if you're a Gaeta fan like me).

That first scene, when they killed Jammer made me sob, I found it so hard to watch, and I was genuinely terrified that they were going to kill Gaeta throughout. I HATED THE CIRCLE.

Kara made me pretty sick, but as you say, it made sense for her to be like that and it was definitely brave of the show.

The one moment that actually made *me* laugh out loud was when Gauis was screaming after Six, "You need me! You need me. (Wait) I need YOU!" Beat. "Perhaps I should have started with that."

OH GAIUS. ♥
Romany: bsg: gaeta resisting from withinromanyg on October 29th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh yes! I had my fingers over my eyes during the whole Gaeta tribunal. BSG likes to hurt me--and I just come back for more. I just *knew* the big reveal on my beautiful, curly-haired idealist would occur after they blew him out the airlock. But no, before, so YAY!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Eyebop_radar on October 29th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Yay for the curly-haired idealist! \o/
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on October 29th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
*nods*
Oh, yeah, that Gaius moment was brilliant! *giggle*
And I completely concur re. Gaeta and fear and Kara being monstrous. *shudders* I'd grown to love Gaeta, but I know you've been a fan of him from longer back. Jammer, I always thought was doomed so I had a little more emotional distance there, but not much. Ugh. It was an incredible hour of tv.

So what's going to happen to Gaius?! *bites fingernails*
Nora Norwich: Kara Roslin laughingnorwich36 on November 11th, 2006 07:03 am (UTC)
Replying to ancient posts, since I finally saw this episode, but I just wanted to say I totally agree with this:

The one moment that actually made *me* laugh out loud was when Gauis was screaming after Six, "You need me! You need me. (Wait) I need YOU!" Beat. "Perhaps I should have started with that."

OH GAIUS. ♥


That totally made me laugh out loud!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Gaius dancebop_radar on November 11th, 2006 09:19 am (UTC)
HEeeeee. Yeah, that was a classic line! HEE.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Gaius dancebop_radar on October 29th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
I swear, K, a literal chill went down my spine when Lee said 13 people were reported missing. I don't know why, but I'd thought for some reason that Jammer was the first and to find out that they'd already done it 12 other times? :::shivers:::
*nods* I think I had clued that there'd been more people--I was gripped by fear very early and had to talk myself into continuing to watch the ep, so I'd sort of told myself 'this is going to be bad, come on, you have to watch!' So I'd braced for reveals like that, but I STILL shivered!!

When your entire civiliation has been reduced to a little over 42 thousand people -- not 42 million or billion, but 42 thousand -- you need every living body you can get. You can't afford to toss people away like the tribunal was doing, no matter how much you think they 'deserve' it.
OMG YES!!! I was raging about that through the ep as well. I understand that some people advocate the death penalty. I don't agree with it, but it's part of many cultures. But this is the survival of the human race they're talking about! Someone like Gaeta, with all his skills, is not disposable! NO-ONE is disposable! *rages*

She's no longer a hero to herself, either. I loved that.
Oh, yes! That was great! I forgot that part.

(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Karabop_radar on October 29th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
Re: part II
it employed one of my least-favorite storytelling tropes -- the characters take 700 hours to figure out something the audience already knows. But. I don't think the particular story they were telling here could be told in any other way.
Hee! Yeah, that is a pretty annoying storytelling trope. Almost as bad as the 'one hour earlier...' device BSG is so fond of! ;-) But I think in this episode it worked well. I was manipulated by the writers effectively!

I loved how this reminded us of Zarek's roots: the man was a terrorist
*nods* Yes, he'd been domesticated, but he hasn't actually changed at a fundamental level. What a great reminder of human nature.

I thought that at one point when he was trying to appeal to her, he called her "Natasi". I could, of course, be hallucinating, but what a fascinating touch if this is really the case.
Ohhhh, I didn't hear that, but how great if it was! I'd rewatch immediately but... this episode is so heart-wrenching, I think I might need a strong drink first!
(no subject) - bloodygoodgirl on October 29th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: BSG Dee Fat!Leebop_radar on October 29th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
I kinda teared up when they spaced Jammer. It was just so heartwenching to see him say "I'm sorry" over and over again.
Me too! I was fighting it, but OUCH.

Was I the only one who felt a little disturbed at seeing Six confront Baltar. I mean a lot has changed for over the course of two seasons but one thing that's always been there is Six's love/infatutation/obsession with Baltar. Even in that one episode where she wore sweats and glasses and was telling Baltar he was simply crazy, you always kind of knew she was just fucking with him. To see her try to distances herself from him was kind of unnerving.
It was completely unnerving! All the Gaius sequences worked really well, I believe, to make us feel the true 'alienness' of the Cylons. And Six's interactions with him were the final straw... we'd always thought they had something eternal, but it seems they didn't... the Cylons have a terrifying (to humans) capacity for genuine change. Unlike humans, who are weighed down by history and tradition and their base natures.

Jump faster Lee.
Word! I really did love that little scene, even though it was obviously just stuck in for continuity so they could show him losing weight rapidly. He was so chuffed with himself and then Adama pulled out the slapdown! ;-)
Romany: bsg: laura roslinromanyg on October 29th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
Wow, you give good meta. Seriously. I haven't processed this enough to really give good comments however. *g*

I do adore how BSG doesn't shy away from the ugliness of war, what it does to both sides, and the people that are caught up in it.

I think Tigh needed these tribunals to justify Ellen's death. She just couldn't be the only one to be killed for collaborating. He couldn't be the only one feeling that kind of pain.

On a completely different note: JB's chubby prosthetics are asymmetrical. This makes me blink furiously and wonder if Lee has a facial tumor.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee Apollobop_radar on October 29th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *g* But I feel I haven't really processed it myself yet... it was a tough and brilliant episode.

I think Tigh needed these tribunals to justify Ellen's death. She just couldn't be the only one to be killed for collaborating. He couldn't be the only one feeling that kind of pain.
*nods* Yes, I agree. He really had the most articulated reasoning as well, which shows that he's probably done all sorts of internal reasoning with himself about Ellen's death and his actions on the planet. This makes him MORE terrifying than any of them, in my view, though I still feel compassion for him, BSG being so brilliantly crafted that way.

JB's chubby prosthetics are asymmetrical. This makes me blink furiously and wonder if Lee has a facial tumor.
Ha! I know. They're not brilliant. He's like a squirrel with a nut stuck in one cheek!
Romany: bsg: chief and our labor shall lead us hromanyg on October 30th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
This makes him MORE terrifying than any of them, in my view, though I still feel compassion for him, BSG being so brilliantly crafted that way.

Oh yes, he was a bit broken *before* New Caprica and now he's a mosaic of cold revenge. Because Ellen's death has to *mean* something. And throughout, he remained sympathetic which is just indicative of brilliant writing, production and acting. BSG rocks!

He's like a squirrel with a nut stuck in one cheek!

Oh dear lord, yes, in this instead BSG does *not* rock. *g*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Maggie G diebop_radar on October 30th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Because Ellen's death has to *mean* something. And throughout, he remained sympathetic which is just indicative of brilliant writing, production and acting. BSG rocks!
*nods* I read in asta77's recap of the podcast for this ep that originally in the scene where Tigh lashes out at Gaeta publicly, he was supposed to be drunk, but the actor said he didn't want there to be any excuse for Tigh's words or behaviour--they needed to be sober and cold-blooded, which I think is wonderful. How brave of the actor to play Tigh so completely coldly.

Oh dear lord, yes, in this instead BSG does *not* rock. *g*
Indeed! It is a tough time for us Lee fans. And different fans are dealing with it in different ways--queenofthorns, who is one of my favourite fellow Lee fans, has left the fandom; asta77 has rage (rightly) about Lee's reduced role and the fat jokes. My coping mechanism is humour. It's the only way I'm toughing it out! But actually I don't REALLY find it funny that Lee's been reduced to this chipmunky non-entity with no real plot purpose... ::fumes::
Romany: bsg: six angel devilromanyg on November 1st, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
he was supposed to be drunk, but the actor said he didn't want there to be any excuse for Tigh's words or behaviour--they needed to be sober and cold-blooded, which I think is wonderful. How brave of the actor to play Tigh so completely coldly.

Yes, I wondered about that, because it seemed to me that Adama thought that Tigh was drunk. I can't remember the exact line, but he said something equivalent to "go sleep it off", which puzzled me because we had no other indicator that he was less than sober.

And Lee...poor Lee. I don't mind that they made him fat. I thought that was an interesting choice, to be honest. But they never really did much with it. I assume with the rather heavy-handed dialogue they used around it that the fat is supposed to represent a giving up, a softening. But if they're going to go there, I wish they'd go more in-depth.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on November 1st, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
*nods* I agree re. Tigh--it seemed as if Adama was assuming it was alcohol, but that's a vain hope on his part.

And I agree re. Lee. It could have been interesting, but I've been really disappointed in how it was executed--it feels as if the weight is instead of actual character exploration, rather than complementing it.
blowjobs for jesus: bsg starbuck showing tummykristiinthedark on October 29th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
I am STILL waiting for Sci-fi to reair it so I can see the ep!!! Stash gave me a play-by-play but I want to see it for the full effect. And also so I can come back have discuss! :D Later tonight, I think. *crosses fingers*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Karabop_radar on October 29th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Oh noes!! It might help to have heard about it before you see it. It's pretty confronting. *hugs*
blowjobs for jesus: bsg Apollokristiinthedark on October 29th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's even WORSE! The show airs TOMORROW!!! *cries* I have to wait a whole 'nother day, Boppy. *is so sad*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee Apollobop_radar on October 30th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Oh NO! :-( I hope time flies for you...
The First Evilasta77 on October 30th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
I wonder if the actions of The Circle forced Anders to look back at his telling Tigh that if he didn't take care of Ellen that he would. I think he made the statement while his emotions were running high and, yes, they were still working on getting off New Caprica, he was still a soldier, and they couldn't risk Ellen possibly betraying them again. If he's regretting his words to Tigh and now finds himself in a situation in which those around him are providing him with a mirror of what being guided by emotion can do than I can see him being disgusted with them and himself and having to walk away.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Roslin Kara yaybop_radar on October 30th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC)
That's an excellent point. I wonder if they did--I'd like to think so. It would explain his inability to remain in that situation, and also play into him not wanting Kara to join The Circle, since I'm sure he wouldn't want her to see that aspect of him either--let alone explore that aspect of herself.

You have no idea how much I struggled with Anders when I watched the ep. I am really grateful to supacat who listened to me ranting about how incoherent and infuriating I found his character. I've learnt that a strong emotional response to any character on BSG usually stems from a misunderstanding or misreading of them, so I was happy to be persuaded to a more balanced perspective. :-)
Gio: BSG - Gaiuspaddies on October 30th, 2006 10:05 am (UTC)
Great commentary, as always.

I loved this episode to pieces, even tho it was extremely hard to watch. *sighs*

Anders' behavior felt pretty normal to me, I think he understood that the circle was becoming more about vengeance than justice and he couldn't be a part of that.

I love my dark and angsty show. :-)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Gaius dancebop_radar on October 30th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :-)
Yes, I see now that Anders's behaviour is quite comprehensible. I think the discomfort of the overall episode meant that in my initial viewing I focussed my anger on a particular character. Tigh and some of the others were kind of too easy to dislike, but the Chief and Anders were clearly experiencing real doubt, so I felt even more frustrated with them. And, as I say, I'd had issues with Anders's consistency as a character leading in to the ep. So I'm just grateful supacat sat me down and gave a coherent reading of him! ;-)

It is the dark angsty show of greatness! Oh, Gaius! Oh, Gaeta!
Nora Norwich: Kara seriousnorwich36 on November 11th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)
I'm almost caught up! I just watched three eps in a row, and I didn't want to stop in the middle and go see what you had to say, but I agree with you: this episode was absolutely PAINFUL to watch. I kind of liked Jammer, so to see him beg for his life and be executed was just horrible--especially since we know he saved Cally's life. I'm glad they portrayed the Chief as a little conflicted about it, at least.

Kara just--gods. I can certainly see why she's acting how she is; my gods, discovering that Cally wasn't really her daughter after she had begun to be invested in that relationship must be killing her, but I was really angry with her. Tigh in a sense I had more sympathy for; he executed his own wife, so his sense of urgency with the trials was at least understandable, though GODS. Secret executions. I actually thought that maybe they were carrying them out under Baltar's authortiy, that he had issued some sort of weird presidential order they were spinning or something.

I don't quite understand--how did Zarek end up becoming president in the first place? Was he Baltar's VP? I can't actually remember.

I have to say that I completely loved that Roslin's first act was to pardon everyone. That pretty much made me cheer. And I also loved that goofy dream sequence Baltar had at the beginning, with everyone forgiving him and Laura trying to mack on him. The Cylon ship is so well done, too--I love the creepy isolation of it.

On to read your review of "Torn," which really tore me up.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Gaius dancebop_radar on November 11th, 2006 09:18 am (UTC)
Oh! Oh YAY! *bounces* I love that you're catching up. And they've been some POWER EPS, right?! Gmail is playing up so apologies if I'm not on chat.

I kind of liked Jammer, so to see him beg for his life and be executed was just horrible--especially since we know he saved Cally's life. I'm glad they portrayed the Chief as a little conflicted about it, at least.
*nods* I kind of liked him too. And I had to rewatch him in 3.01 for vidding purposes the other day and he tore me up in that scene where the Chief tells him 'people like you and me will be stringing them up'.... *shudders*

I think both Kara and Tigh were hard to swallow in separate ways but Tigh... well I guess it's been signalled for longer that he's 'far gone'. Kara's violence was more sudden. Though I think she underwent a serious mental schism under Leoben's mind-frak.

ecret executions. I actually thought that maybe they were carrying them out under Baltar's authortiy, that he had issued some sort of weird presidential order they were spinning or something.
Yeah, I spent half the ep wondering what the frak was going on. Tigh kept clinging to that piece of paper... it was a very effective reveal. And yes, Zarek was Baltar's VP. There was a lot of fandom angst over the scene in the ep before where it looked like Roslin just took the presidency. I'm glad that was proved wrong--though at what a cost!

Roslin = all kinds of yay!

And oh yes, Baltar's crazy dream! That rocked! I loved his 'I'm dreaming, aren't I?!' HEE. Funny Gaius!