K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!
bop_radar

Battlestar Galactica 3.20 Crossroads Part II

It's probably fair to acknowledge upfront that I got just about everything I could have wanted from this episode. Just about. If I'd had my way, Laura would have been more swayed by Lee's testimony, and Dee would have been revealed as a Cylon. But you win some, you lose some. And in the win category, I got:
- Gaeta selling Gaius out (the angst! the subtext! the hilarity!)
- Gaius acquitted but cursed to life as a religious freak: huahahahahaa karma!
- Adama being less stabworthy than last week
- Tigh being revealed as a Cylon, which mindfrak-wise kicks ass
- Kara returning (yay!) and finding Earth (I knew eet, yay!)
- Lee being FRAKKING AWESOME, OMG! (I'll do cartwheels about him later, rest assured.)
- Lee and Kara's twinned destinies continue and we have PILOTS again, YAY!
So if you detect a note of euphoria in the following post, you can probably attribute it to that. I will, however, attempt some form of objectivity. Promise! ;-)

I liked the sense of tension building that was developed throughout the episode from the opening scene with Adama shaving in flickery lights. Laura in bed asking to be yelled at was terribly cute, and that scene successfully showed the intimacy that has grown between them. But it's turned on its head by the end of the episode.

The trial
I really really hope (though I'm not holding my breath) that some of the people bitching about Lee after last episode will feel a bit differently after this one. Seen as a whole, the set-up in Crossroads is magnificent. The trial put Lee in under so much pressure, pushing and testing him, seeing if his commitment to his ideals could really endure when it meant first putting Roslin on the stand, then testifying against his father. The trial was Lee's test by fire and he passed with flying colours. Yes, he was 'manipulated' by Lampkin, in the sense that Lampkin saw what sort of person Lee Adama was, saw how invaluable he would be to the defence team and made all the right moves to make the most of that. But Roslin and Adama tried to 'manipulate' him to their side as well. Lee went in clear-eyed: he knew everyone wanted to sway him, but he stuck to his guns even when that meant his wife walking out on him and his father calling him a liar and a coward. On the witness stand, the truth came out: Lee genuinely believed the trial to be fundamentally unfair.

I giggled to see Lee reciting from his grandfather's lawbooks. I have this image of him up all night 'swatting' from them. What he read out seemed like legal tactics 101 to me, but I'm no expert. It doesn't matter--Lee doesn't have the experience, but he trusts his grandfather's word, and the logic of it makes sense to him. He's good at tactics, and pushing for a mistrial did seem like a good idea, given their position.

Gaeta perjured himself! Gaeta perjured himself to bring Gaius down. I love that! I loved Gaeta's plot arc on New Caprica, ending in him confronting Gaius, and I was very intrigued by their recent interaction. This is a wonderful new chapter in their twisted relationship. It's very believable to me that someone would be so determined to see Gaius proved guilty that he would perjure himself to bring it about. Gaius calling out 'Oh, Felix!' and mocking him for missing at stabbing him in the neck was a riot (the non-literal one before the literal one later!).

Lee let slip that Adama had said Gaius didn't deserve a trial. Yes, it was sloppy of him if he really wanted to protect his father. No doubt there are a stack of fans out there cursing him for that. Personally, I thought it was another instance of very believable human behaviour. Of course Lampkin used that card once it was handed to him, and Lee's naivety and inexperience here is obvious. He doesn't want to testify against his father (yes, he does have personal loyalty!) and his emotional reaction is initially overwhelming: he's pissed off and in denial about what's happening, angry at both Lampkin and himself for getting himself in this position.

There was lovely balance in having Lee first cross-examine someone and force truths from them they'd rather not reveal, and then have Lee himself cross-examined against his will. He's seen both sides of the 'system' now.

I loved this scene so much--I loved every little nuance, from Gaius covering his face with his hands despairingly, to the prosecuting attorney's protests and Lee's slightly manic 'I agree!' in response. I thought the judges were fantastic, particularly the bossy blonde one.

Lee's speech
Oh, man! That speech! *swoons* I'm so in love with it, I'd almost type it out verbatim here, but I will not bore everyone quite that much. I still advise you to skip this bit if you don't want to hear me fangirling Lee ridiculously. *g*

Lampkin asks 'why do you believe that Gaius Baltar deserves to be acquitted?' Lee almost laughs before he answers. He's finding it hard to struggle past the absurdity of his position on the stand, and so he states what he sees as the obvious 'because the evidence does not support the charges'. He says it casually, knowing he's probably the only one in the room that cares. If the judges consider that to be true, then Gaius is acquitted, but Lee's so sure it doesn't matter what his opinion is, even if his assessment is objectively correct.

Lee then continues, hesitantly at first, but gaining confidence as he goes on--this reflects the way he's grown throughout the trial. By choosing to work for Gaius's defence, to define himself in this way, he's following an interest he's had since he was a child, he's using his logical brain, so good at tactical decision making, and he's coupling that with his passionate idealism and belief in democracy, even when that system is flawed and ugly. In doing this, he's becoming more Lee than ever before. It's a journey towards selfhood for him and, as we will see, towards ownership for what he's done. No, he didn't know going in what would happen during the trial, and he sure as hell didn't know what would pour out of him on the stand; it's a personal moment of epiphany for Lee as well as having profound consequences for the fleet as a whole.

Where Lee's argument really finds strength is when he asks what the difference is between Gaius and all the other (pardoned) collaborators. (THANK YOU for textualising that issue, show!) He looks directly at Roslin when he points this out, and there's so much emotion in his voice--I don't know how anyone could think he didn't really believe this or was just doing it to piss Daddy off or whatever the hell it was people were griping about last week. Lee sees the hypocrisy in Roslin's pursuit of a trial for Gaius despite pardonning everyone else, and I think it disappoints him profoundly, because he admires her so much.

Lee's list of peoples' misdeeds was fantastic fun! Yup, everyone's got blood on their hands around here! For a moment I thought he was even going to reveal that Helo had sabotaged his plan to eliminate the Cylons, but oh yeah, that's right, he doesn't know about that... doesn't matter! If he did, Helo would still be forgiven, *lol*.

Having already got me cheering and clapping with joy at his passionate appeal for fairness, Lee then took my heart completely captive with his critique of himself. It is so Lee to put himself under the microscope like this, and there is naturally a catharsis for him in saying these things publicly. The Olympic Carrier! (Oh, how long he's been carrying that one!) Mutiny (at inappropriate times)! And, oh, Lee, your guilt about jumping away in Pegasus! *heart-thump* OMG, that gutted me! Lee carries the weight of his decisions with him every day, but he also carries the weight of those he almost made, and it's telling that he brings up here the fact that he nearly didn't come back to rescue them from New Caprica. (Only you did, honey! You did!) Every decision can have terrible consequences and none of them are made lightly, but they are made by real, flawed people, who are driven by the personal as well as the politial, by their hearts as well as their heads, by anger and bitterness as often as by openness and love.

Oh, hang on, Lee's still talking: 'We are not a civilisation any more. We are a gang, and we're on the run and we have to fight to survive. We have to break rules, we have to bend laws, we have to improvise.' Aieeee!!! Isn't that just the best quote ever about the show?! And I love that it comes from Lee's mouth, because it has such added weight from someone who believes in and mourns for the civilisation they did have, who fights to retain it, but who in doing so has learnt, to the very core of his being, just how much you do need to break rules and improvise. The tension between civilisation and anarchy, between purpose and meaningless, is ever present, and Lee fights to bring order to his own world despite that. But he's not a starry-eyed romantic--he's very clear-eyed about their condition--and it was refreshing to be reminded of that here. Don't dismiss Lee Adama as a daft idealist: don't be so near-sighted. (There! My own personal little appeal!)

Another important aspect to Lee Adama is that he's very attuned to emotional energy (sounds wanky, I know!). He's not only capable of assessing the trial logically, he's also able to see the emotional truth about it: that it's built on shame and guilt. Here, he appeals directly and personally to his father. He turns to him, with emotion etched in his features, his jaw shaking with the pain of it. They have a collective memory of those days circling New Caprica and then jumping away. They grew close and they fought and they embraced. And they carried the guilt and shame together.

Lee talks about 'the ones who ran away', but in a sense all of the humans remaining alive could be defined that way. Even Sam and his rescued rebels--they left others behind them, even if it was only the women in the farms. There are always people left behind, and people lost in the struggle to survive. So many people! Each and every member of the fleet carries an emotional burden--the guilt of being the ones that survived, the ones that got away. And that underlying truth is worth remembering at a moment such as this.

Finally, I love Lee for pointing out the pointlessness of throwing Gaius out an airlock. Yes, it's completely understandable to have that emotional urge, but it should not be acted on. I don't believe in the death penalty under any circumstances, so of course I'm fully on board with this anyway. But it's doubly important here, I believe: this is about survival. Every single human is (extra) valuable under these circumstances. And as Lee points out, it won't actually change anything, it won't work. There will be momentary emotional release and then ... meaninglessness. The old issues will come back, more conflict will arise, more scapegoats will be found... it's a cycle that should not be perpetuated.

Roslin herself came to that conclusion at a community-wide level. She can't let go of her revulsion for Gaius here. I was sorry for that. During Lee's speech, I thought momentarily that she was being swayed, but we see afterwards that she's just angry and disbelieving. She wanted Gaius found guilty so badly. And, again, this is human and understandable, but making a rule for some people and not others is very undemocratic, and if anyone could be expected to call her on that, it's Lee. I hope in time she'll see the fairness of that.

Lee's testimony was extremely unconventional--no argument on that. I loved that he closed with 'not to me. Not to me', emphasising that this is just his opinion. One man's opinion. What weight does that have?

Well the answer appears to be: a lot. And as always on BSG, there are muddled reasons for this. Lee's testimony undoubtedly swayed a lot of people (and personally I believe everyone should have been swayed by it!). But the personal element cannot be discounted--he appealed to his father, looking at him directly, and we learn that Adama voted Gaius not guilty. Do we think Adama is an objective judge? I don't. Adama is swayed by 'his family'. I don't believe he votes out of loyalty to Lee (after all, they just had a huge fight), but I do think that seeing his son bear his soul on the witness stand (including calling himself a coward!), and hearing his words influenced him very strongly. And I believe the words had more weight because they were from Lee.

It's not fair. It's not right. The system is flawed, but it's all they've got. This is what the judge reiterates when she says that the flaws are what separates them from the Cylons and might make them worth saving.

Gaius
Once upon a time, I hated Gaius Baltar with a fiery passion. I threw things at the screen every time he came on screen. I berated him verbally. I bemoaned his horrible egotism, his blindness to his faults. And in this episode all his worst qualities were pouring out of him again--ingratitude, discourtesy, self-centredness, you name it. I mention this because I think it's worth noting that I am not a Gaius 'sympathiser'. For my position on his 'guilt', please refer to Mr Lee Adama's testimony. :-) So I can understand both the passionate revulsion that the characters feel for Gaius and the reasons why he should be acquitted. (And ultimately, I do not think it would have served the show well to execute him: whereas Lee's passionate defence did serve the greater purpose of the show.)

There is of course a difference for us as audience members: we've been given access to Gaius's internal world, to the ways he justifies to himself what he does and who he is. This means we know just how incredibly self-deluded he is. I don't think he'll ever change, I don't think he'll become a better person, I think he'll bounce from one opportunity to another, cunningly protecting the interests of Gaius Baltar and Gaius Baltar alone. I loved seeing the fight break out after the trial result (not just because Lee got to throw a cathartic punch at someone, although hooray for that too!), both because I thought it was a realistic response and because it showed just how difficult being acquitted will be for Gaius. Of course, the twist came with him being kidnapped by the religious nutters who think he's their saviour. I'd be grrr about that if I didn't think that it was funniest idea ever. Gaius will hate that, and then he'll work out how it can benefit him, and then he'll have minions and much hideous hilarity will ensue.

Because Gaius is incredibly funny, and his withering sarcasm and complete lack of gratitude or courtesy in this episode was... staggering, as always.

The wake of the trial
The shots of Lee and Roslin staring at one another across the courtroom floor were heartwrenching. It felt like a slap in the face when Laura turned away, even though I do understand why. She was so invested in the trial, in one specific outcome of the trial. The other reminder of where Lee is left after the trial was in him having to call 'Admiral!' to appeal to his father for help getting Gaius out of the courtroom. He's alone, struggling in the crowd.

I spluttered my coffee when Gaius says he wouldn't have minded seeing the Admiral squirm just a little bit more. Hee! Last week I would have agreed with him! And I love that Lee cracks it with Gaius at that point. Now that the trial is over he doesn't have to be so courteous to the ungrateful client. :-)

I also loved Lee's last exchange with Romo, even including the melodramatic gestures (glasses ON, cane OFF!). The simplicity of that exchange ('Did you know what was going to happen?' 'I knew you were an honest man') belies its beauty and significance. Romo trusted in Lee. He assessed him accurately and he played his virtues to best advantage. He knew that if pushed, Lee's integrity would show: it was a great coda to Lee's fight with Adama.

Adama says that 'not guilty is not the same as innocent'. True. But for Laura, this distinction is lost. Despite herself, she'd counted on Adama trying to persuade the other judges. Adama was elected by chance, and Roslin set out determined to have a 'fair' trial, but despite that she got caught up in wanting a certain outcome. It's a good reminder that there are two aspects to her--the personal (where she despises Gaius) and the political (where she sees that he should have a fair trial). Her personal feelings overwhelm her at this time.

Yes, I bitched about Bill last week. But I loved his words here. 'No one is asking anyone to forget or forgive.' True! And again, I come back to the fact that Roslin pardonned all the other collaborators. He reminds her that they need to look to the future--something she herself has been so good at doing in other situations. The reversal was very successful.

Roslin's vision
VERY cool that she and the Cylons were projecting together. And having to deal with the incredible freakiness of this gives Laura an 'out' as far as I'm concerned for being unreasonable about the outcome of the trial. She's under a lot of pressure too, that's for sure! What does it mean? No idea. But it was interesting that Gaius appeared there for a moment as well--none of them mentioned that. I loved that Laura's move was to meet with the two Cylons unprotected. For a woman who didn't want to get out of bed that morning, she's pretty fearless! I'm also very intrigued about what the vision/projection means for Caprica Six.

The music
As a device, I was initially a bit 'meh' about the music, especially last episode, where it was just there as teaser. However I think it was used powerfully in this episode to create suspense, and then there was the moment where I burst out laughing realising which song it was. And they said one line each--heeeeee! For a moment it nearly tipped over into pure farce for me, but the episode righted itself again almost instantaneously. I do have one question though (no, it's not 'who's the Dylan fan?'): why the Indian feel? *cocks head on side* Curiouser and curiouser... can't wait for the explanation on the music! *boggles*

So Tigh, Anders, Galen and Tory: four of the final five Cylons. The scene between all four of them was fantastic. I thought it was very exciting to see them explore the fears the characters have about being sleeper agents. This is the ultimate nightmare scenario of a 'switch going off', and here they are. There's disbelief (Sam again being used by the writers to reflect the audience's own emotional reaction), there's the silent acknowledgment in the fact that they're all drawn to the same place and can hear the same thing.

I really liked that Galen stated their fear outright. He's not as in denial as the others, maybe because he's considered the possibility for longer?

As I said above, I think revealing Tigh as a Cylon is very cool. He's fought so long against them, he killed his own wife, he's suffered so much: it's going to be very cool to see how he plays things from here. I was not at all surprised to see him be the most certain that returning to their posts and continuing as usual was the right thing to do. He's so hardened, stuck in his patterns, it will be very interesting to see how the Cylons or his own 'nature' fights that. And of course this has huge ramifications for his friendship with Adama. I really really want Bill to work out that Tigh's a Cylon. That 'I've never doubted it' line made me wonder if he maybe he already did... because he's always been incredibly astute about the Cylons, and he did have Tigh in his office earlier rambling crazily about Cylon music. Again, there's lots for me to love here. I've bitched and moaned about the way that Adama privileges Tigh, but having there be real tension introduced in that relationship, putting it under so fundamental a test is potentially very powerful drama indeed.

And although I think he's pretty despicable, I admire Tigh for being clear about the man he wants to be, and saying 'if I die today, that's the man I'll be'. That's the only way any of them can live, Cylon or not.

I'm curious about the choice to have Sam getting it on with Tory. I could understand him becoming a pilot after Kara's death (though I wasn't all that rapt about it), but having him 'move on' so fast seems like a big leap. Are to we assume here that it's just a casual sex thing? (Kara dies and Sam becomes her?) I get that he may be desperate for some human connection. But what happened to griefstricken my-girl-will-come-back Sam? I think the real reason I'm a bit puzzled by it is because it comes together with the Cylon trigger music. Are we supposed to believe they were drawn together in some subliminal way? If so, what purpose does that achieve? And if Kara's a Cylon too, that implies that they were instinctively drawn to one another too, which is kinda boring and pointless, imo.

Love the set up for next season so! At least four extra known Cylons! And I love the shared secret they have--the looks exchanged between them in the final minutes were both creepy and moving.

The final Cylon
Who is it? Kara? She just resurrected herself--she's my number one suspect (and most dreaded Cylon reveal). Laura? She's been projecting herself with Cylons and she had the freaky physical reaction right before the ships lost power. Gaius? Say what you will about him, he's still linked heavily to Caprica Six at the very least. Or someone else entirely and they're just throwing out red-herrings? Though it could be cleared up in a matter of seconds in the season opener... gah! It does my head in! Just let it not be Kara, please, please, please. I'll handwave miraculous survival, I don't CARE, just DO NOT BE A CYLON, KARA!

Pilots!
The final moments of the episode were pure squeeful joy for me. The adrenalin kick of a major attack was kicking in, and of course Lee was back in a Viper in an instant, just as we predicted. YAY! Loved his little smile as he undid his tie and dashed to get his gear. Loved his determined signalling for launch. Helo, who do you think is in Viper 3?! *giggle*

The second that Lee got the little beep on his screen, I knew, I knew it was Kara. Ok, most obvious thing ever, I know: but it still made me joyful! Kara messin' about and swooping Lee's Viper made me giggle with joy. Oh, yeah, that's Kara! And Lee's double-take on seeing her was priceless. I also love that he blinked and shook his head after 'it's going to be ok'. Hee! Of course that was just shock still, but it allowed me to fanwank that he was weirded out by her saying something so reassuring and calm. *giggle*

SO HAPPY that Kara's destiny is to lead them to Earth (not to die) and that Lee was a crucial link in this. I'm sure I'll have way more to say about that in the NINE MONTHS (*groan*) until Season 4, but for now I'm just going to bliss out on that final shot of the two vipers with the massive jump-zoom-out and swirly space sequence panning to Earth, because that ROCKED!

Oh, and I know everyone's going to be picking Dylan lyrics apart for months (good god, Ron! What have you done?) so I'm not even going into that yet, but please tell me I'm not alone in having thought 'two riders' = Lee and Kara in those vipers. Because the song ends on the riders, and so does this episode! *brain explodes with meta-y glee* (ETA: I know they don't actually sing that lyric on the show, but I'm sure they wanted us to think about the rest of the lyrics too, right?)

Eep, ok, it's after midnight! I must shut the hell up! Tomorrow, I will be up to read other posts, though I'm so gleeful about the show right now I don't know if I want to read too much negativity.

ETA: I really should put a warning on this post about the length. *headdesk*
Tags: bsg_meta, bsgseason3
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    And I have mixed feelings. I do think it's fabulous to see the writers using a show like Smallville to explore and/or riff on DC comics history. And…

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