Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Fourteen: Baltar’s Escape

After capturing the destroyer from the Eastern Alliance, word spreads that Lunar 7 could be the very planet Earth that they have been seeking. This pits Adama against the Council once more, as he has read the reports of Starbuck, Apollo, and Cassiopeia concerning their treatment of the humans on Lunar 7. While Commander Adama attempts to interrogate the Eastern Alliance Commandant for more information, he is informed by the council that the interrogation is suspended.

The Eastern Alliance Commandant hears the ensuing heated discussion concerning the council, as does Baltar. Using this information to his advantage, he also enlists the help of the Nomads being held prisoner after their failed attempted murder of Starbuck and Chameleon. Meanwhile, Adama is facing a rather hostile Quorum now; Sire Dorma and Siress Tinya have led the charge to rescind Adama’s control over the council and the fleet. On top of this, Siress Tinya has been appointed Political Officer to the Galactica – and the Eastern Alliance prisoners are ordered transferred to the Galactica and released for peace negotiations.

As the transfer is about to take place, Boomer, Sheba, and the Council guards are overpowered by the combined prisoner attack both in the prison quarter and the shuttle. When communications are cut from the shuttle, Adama attempts to take precautions, but finds himself overruled by Tinya. When Tigh protests, Tinya threatens him with a court-martial. Tigh dismisses himself from the bridge.

He takes a drink in the Officer’s Club and is soon joined by Starbuck and Apollo. He brings them up to speed on events, and Apollo and Starbuck decide to take a walk to get some air; they soon felt uncomfortable having a drink with a superior officer – which was what Tigh had hoped for. After the shuttle lands on the Galactica, the Council, led by Sire Dorma, is soon assaulted by the Eastern Alliance. Baltar and the Nomads attempt to gain control of the bridge, but were intercepted by Starbuck and Apollo.

The landing bay, however, is still under the control of the convicts. After forcing the Council members aboard the shuttle, it is lined with explosive material to prevent any rescue attempt by the Colonial SWAT teams.

The standoff begins in earnest, and Adama trades himself for additional time to get the Cylon pilots that Baltar brought aboard back together from the spare parts. It would be aboard the shuttle that the Council voted on a new proposal rescinding the previous orders concerning Adama’s command and restoring Adama’s full military powers.

Unfortunately, Dr. Welker has been unable to fully re-assemble the Cylons in question, so Apollo and Starbuck use the new Cylon programming to create a scheme to distract Baltar from being able to detonate the shuttle.

When the Cylons make their way to the Landing Bay, Maga and his party board the Eastern Alliance Destroyer, and Baltar makes his way to his captured fighter. Colonel Tigh orders Adama to launch the shuttle, and Baltar orders his Cylons to launch. The Cylon begins smashing the controls, which confuses Baltar long enough to allow Apollo and Starbuck the time to enter the fighter and disable Baltar and his detonator.

After the end of the standoff, Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer and Sheba are enjoying some time in the Officer’s Club. Colonel Tigh joins them. They all see Adama with Siress Tinya heading for them. Tigh realizes what is coming next and orders a drink, to which all share a laugh.

Review and Thoughts:

This episode was a straightforward and by the numbers episode regarding politics, hostages, negotiations, and villainy. And the episode suffers much because of it.

As it is, this is the only real impression that this episode left for me. Again, tweaking this episode would have made it somewhat better – and perhaps more watchable in the end.

Apollo and Starbuck…Wrong?

When Apollo and Starbuck protest the decisions of the Council, the two of them come out and say that they prefer things under martial law. I realize that they may have only meant having the non-Political decisions be under the guise of the Military (and Adama), but Adama was clearly shocked, dismayed, and disappointed that his two best warriors would quickly want to discard the rule of law because they do not get their way.

Colonel Tigh Gets a Bone…Finally:

Tigh gets to do something, finally.  Well, not really.

Tigh gets to do something, finally. Well, not really.

When he is unable to take any direct action concerning the safety of the Galactica, he decides to head down to the Officer’s Club, knowing that Starbuck and Apollo like to spend their time down there. For once, he gets to plant the idea that they need to do something about a situation that he was unable to rectify directly.

Athena, meet the back of a milk carton:

Omega fills Athena’s role in this episode as Comm Officer.

Boxey, Missing Child:

Up until now, there seemed to be a concerted effort to shoehorn Boxey into just about every episode. However, he is not seen anywhere near this episode, even though there could have been an outside chance that Boxey could have been kidnapped – and all of the “innocence in danger” business that could have stemmed from it.

The New Toy Gets Old, Too:

Boomer and Sheba wonder where their characters went.

Boomer and Sheba wonder where their characters went.

Sheba’s screen presence equals Boomer’s here. So, once again, we’re back to Starbuck and Apollo and Adama. Then the guest helpers and the faction of the good guys who don’t know any better. Add the villains, and this makes a complete Galactica episode. Where this used to be the province of Boomer, Tigh, and Jolly, we now add Sheba to this list. As a matter of fact, Bojay hasn’t been seen anywhere near the series since being ‘kidnapped’ in “War of the Gods.” But, it looks like Sheba is about to relegated to backup duty…just like Boomer.

Baltar, Cardboard Cutout Villain…Again:

Baltar Takes Over the Shuttle, Throws a Party

Baltar Takes Over the Shuttle, Throws a Party

Baltar’s grand scheme was to leave the Galactica and head for the Eastern Alliance because “The Alliance may be just as powerful as my Cylon Buddies.” Apparently, it never occurred to Baltar – or at least we were never given the impression of this – that his better bet would be to use the Eastern Alliance to get him back to the Cylon Alliance, where he might be able to convince Imperious Leader of many things…including the existence of the “Cylon founder” and/or more his encounter with other enemies of the Colonial refugees that they could use – and perhaps double-cross in the end.

Diversity Q/C:

When Colonel Tigh goes to the Officer’s club to have a drink, he happens to stop in when during Colonial Affirmative Action Hour. There is an Asian male (guessing Chinese) sitting at one table, wearing a Senior Officer’s uniform. There are a few Black male and Black female Viper pilots in the lounge having drinks, and a Black Male colonial support worker in there as well.

Wow. Just wow.

Final Rating:

[Who Cares] 3.1 of 10 points. Note that this is the first, and last, time that we will ever see Siress Tinya – not that it matters. If Tigh’s character were better fleshed out, I would have proposed Tigh and Tinya meet often concerning matters of the Galactica as Adama’s liaison to the Council and have Adama meet when the Council meets in “full” session. This would “free” Adama to command the fleet and have the Council be able to discuss matters on a political scale more effectively.

Once again, however, Apollo and Starbuck save the day. Sheba and Boomer only get screen time as hostages. Bad writing trumps all.

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3 Responses to Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Fourteen: Baltar’s Escape

  1. quizat haderach says:

    Jesus Heavy Metal get out more man.

  2. joshtk76 says:

    In all seriousness, I appreciate your commentary on these episodes. I have just been going through the original series and man is it heavy going.

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