TV Recap: Battlestar Galactica - Crossroads (Part 2)

‘Battlestar Galactica’ season three has come to a close, so let the theories fly. Ron Moore and his team have given fans not only one of the best episodes of the entire series, but a years worth of discussion to keep us enthralled for the rest of 2007. In a season that’s been marred with a few misses, BSG finishes stronger than ever. Of course, the frustration of now knowing who four of the final five are without any inkling of what it means will weigh heavily on our minds. Let’s just dive straight in and see what “Crossroads (part 2)” has for us.

The fate of Gaius Baltar has driven the overall plot to the season. As we began the final countdown last week we knew something major was about to happen. Baltar and his defense counselors discuss what their plan of attack is going to be, and Lee is the one who voices what appears to be the only course of action. The entire fleet hates Baltar, and when Lee met with his father the Admiral stated the good doctor didn’t even deserve a trial. The fact that one of the judges has already made the ruling in his mind is solid grounds for a mistrial. This would give Baltar and his defense team a tactical advantage in the next trial, as they’d have all of the prosecutions case prior to stepping into the courtroom.

Baltar, in a semi-surprising maneuver, vehemently insists that there be no mistrial. He does not want to sit in a cell and go through the ordeal again. It’s interesting that the man who embodies a “survive by any means” attitude wants to face a verdict. This desire belies the truth of his disillusionment. That by being acquitted he would be absolved of his crimes. While he may want to believe such an outcome to the trial would benefit his standing in the fleet, deep down I’m sure he’s aware he’ll never be accepted again. A trial is a formality; in the minds of the human race Gaius Baltar is already guilty.

Back in the courtroom the prosecution is questioning Felix Gaeta. Here’s a man who nearly worshipped Dr. Baltar, and he served his idol during the occupation on New Caprica. Anyone who’s watched the season was in no way surprised that Gaeta would knowingly and willfully perjure himself. Gaeta had tried to kill Baltar, but failed to stab Gauis. Or as Baltar said so eloquently in the courtroom, “But you missed, butter fingers!” Gaeta now has the chance to, in a way, finish what he started. When questioned whether Baltar put up a fight when asked to sign the death warrant for his fellow citizens, Gaeta proudly exclaims he did not. Intercut with the testimony is the actual scene where the Cylons put a gun to Baltar’s head and force him to sign the documents. As Romo prepares to cross-examine Felix he watches the lieutenant smirk and prepares to continue the lie. There is nothing that can be done, and Lampkin knows this. He refuses to ask any questions.

Baltar is confused and upset by this decision, but Lampkin quickly sets his client straight. “If he’s ready to perjure himself, there’s nothing we can do.” Lampkin, ever the puppet master, stands up and addresses the judges. He calls for a mistrial on the grounds one of them has already prejudged Baltar. “That’s a very serious charge, Mr. Lampkin. Which judge,” Admiral Adama asks him. “That would be you, Admiral,” Lampkin responds simply. To make his case for a mistrial, Romo asks to have Lee take the stand. OK, time to suspend disbelief for a moment here. The prosecutor objects, but the panel of judges decide to let it happen. With that decision made, Jaime Bamber infuses Lee Adama with more passion and emotion than the character has ever had. Gone is the forced confrontation between father and son that felt a little off when it was introduced again a few episodes ago. Now, we faithful fans get the payoff for that storyline.

Lee is not only reluctant to take the stand; he absolutely does not want to testify against his father. Romo asks if he met with the Admiral, and Lee answers he did. Lampkin then asks if the Admiral stated that Baltar does not deserve a trial. Lee mimics Geata’s shrug. Now Lampkin is in his element, skillfully maneuvering the young Adama by telling him he swore an oath to the court and if he doesn’t answer it goes against the very ideals of the justice system he believes in. “What frackin’ justice system,” explodes Lee. That’s it, Romo has done all he needs and knows it. It’s a simple matter of getting the snowball rolling. Everything is about to be laid onto the table.

Room asks if Lee believe Gaius deserves a fair trial. Lee states that he does, not only because everyone deserves one, but also because Gaius Baltar is not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with. When the prosecution objects, the judge who allowed Lee onto the stand agrees, as does Lee himself. It’s when Admiral Adama states that he’d like to hear the testimony that Gaius’ fate is sealed.

Lee gives a speech on the stand that mirrors what the legions of Baltar fans around the world have been saying for the entire season. Yes, Baltar has made mistakes. What he has not done is commit treason. He was faced with an impossible situation. The Cylons show up on New Caprica, and they have the human race by the balls. Maybe he should have stood up and died. But would anyone else have done differently? It’s quite probable that such an action would have resulted in a nuclear strike against the colony. Gaius had seconds to make a decision, and he made the same one most anyone would. He made a horrible choice, but he’s not the only one.

Except that President Roslyn issued a blanket pardon, so those people are no longer held accountable for those actions. Tigh used suicide bombers that killed civilians; Helo and Chief murdered a Pegasus officer; Admiral Adama instituted a military coup d’etat; Lee, acknowledging his own tough decisions, shot down the Olympic Carrier, a civilian ship with 1,000 souls aboard; Lee committed mutiny by raising a weapon to a superior officer; worst of all he ordered the Pegasus to jump away from New Caprica the day the Cylons arrived and tried convincing the Admiral to never return. All of these acts have been forgiven. Nothing mentioned is held over anyone’s head. So why does Gaius suffer a different fate?

The crimes of others are forgiven because they have to be. Rules have to be bent, or even broken, for mankind to survive. It’s why in all the rage directed at Baltar, no one sees the hypocrisy of their belief that he’s a traitorous bastard. Everyone else is forgiven, but someone has to be held accountable. Why not Baltar? No one likes him. He’s arrogant and a bit of a prat.

“This case is built on emotion, anger, bitterness, vengeance. But most of all it’s built on shame. It’s about the shame of what we did to ourselves back on that planet. And it’s about the guilt of those of us who ran away.” So that’s it, there you have the reason Baltar should be thrown out an airlock. The human race needs to place all that shame and guilt somewhere. The hated Dr. Gaius Baltar is the perfect scapegoat to allow everyone to get on with their lives. If he can be strung up, then all of that goes away. Except that’s just not true. All of that inner turmoil will remain long after Baltar is dead.

With a 3-2 ruling, the court finds Gaius Baltar not guilty. Remember what I said about the trial being a formality? Baltar is going to find out how true that is now. Back in his cell he’s celebrating the victory with Lee and Romo. But when he states he would have liked to see the Admiral squirm a little more Lee tells him not to push it. Baltar then turns to Romo and asks if he would help out with a book tour. Lampkin, now a hotshot lawyer with the justice system established, declines. These people are not friends, and now that the journey has ended it’s time they part ways. Romo’s exit from the show is perfect. He says goodbye to Lee then walks to the shuttle, leaving his cane behind and walking with no limp. I hope to see this character in season 4.

With nowhere to turn Baltar walks the halls looking like a mutt who’s just been kicked. When all seems lost for him, some mysterious people show up and cover him in a shroud. These are obviously the religious zealots who have begun to view Baltar as a messiah. But what does this mean for Baltar? He’s a man who always embraces fully the reality of who is at any given time. While he may have seemed reluctant at the beginning of the previous episode, it’s a near certainty that Baltar will embrace his new role as savior.

The testimony by Lee literally saved the entire season. Every misstep we’ve endured was cured with an incredible piece of writing and acting. There’s another aspect that’s been missing in season 3 that has made the show great in the past. President Roslyn has finally made a significant return to the show. Welcome back Madam President, we’ve missed you. I especially liked the opening scene with Roslyn and Adama on the phone.

Once again back on the kamala, Roslyn is having her funky visions. While in a hospital bed she dreams she is in the opera house, chasing Hera and trying to reach her before Athena does. Caprica Six gets there first and Roslyn awakes screaming. She’s not the only one, Athena is there too. The two women look at each other, knowing that they just shared the same vision. They go to Caprica Six to see if they can figure out what it means. Six is shaken by the news, and when asked why she was after Hera simply stated, “I just knew I had to protect her with my life.”

After the trial is over Roslyn speaks with Admiral Adama. During the course of the conversation she comes to realize he was the third vote to acquit Baltar. She’s hurt and pissed to say the least. “There’s a difference between innocent and not guilty,” Adama tries to explain to her. But she walks away and the fleet prepares to jump to a nebula. When they arrive at their destination, President Roslyn has a bad reaction and begins to look as if she’s going to faint. I made a special note of this because immediately afterward the power went out. There’s something to that, and I think it relates to one of the greatest twists in ‘BSG’ history.

…some way out of here

Last week there were four characters who heard a strange song no one else could. First of all, I’d like to acknowledge one of our readers who pointed out that it was not clear Chief had heard the song. I rewatched the episode and my claim that he definitely did was not as concrete as I claimed, but it still felt that he did.

No reason to get excited

The song this week is much clearer as the episode begins and Chief gets out of bed. Sitars are playing a melody that seems oddly familiar. He goes looking for the source, but can’t quite get it. Anders and Tory are in the barracks and she mentions hearing the song, but before they can talk the other pilots show up. On the hangar deck Anders hears Chief humming the song and talks to him about it. They both agree that it’s like something from childhood. Just something they’ve known for a while but can’t remember exactly where they heard it.

There’s too much confusion

Col. Tigh goes to the Admiral, telling him that the Cylons have put the song in the ship. The Admiral tells his friend he believes him, and will look into it. “You’ll look into it? I’m here telling you there is Cylon sabotage aboard our ship,” the Colonel responds. Musical sabotage Tigh? That seems a bit odd. Michael Hogan’s performance throughout the episode once again underscores just why he deserves that Emmy nomination. He’s really beginning to crack, but he has every reason to.

There most be some kind of way out of here…

After the fleet jumps to the nebula, the power goes out. Now Chief can hear the song clearly, and begins to follow it.

Said the Joker to the Thief

Tigh hears it clearly as well.

There’s too much confusion

Tory throws up, but can hear the song too.

I can’t get no relief

The four begin to follow the song, finally converging on a room. Anders, Tory, and Chief arrive first. Looking at each other they immediately know what this all means. Some sort of switch has been flipped. It’s a lot for them to take, and naturally they have trouble reconciling what appears to be the truth of their lives. Then Tigh walks in and has the most amazing reaction when he sees who’s in the room. “Whoooaaahhh.” I think that pretty much says everything. When Anders sees Tigh he refuses to believe it could be true. There’s just no way that Colonel Saul Tigh could be one of them.

Aside from the revelation in the scene, there’s an undercurrent of intense emotion that runs through all of them. Tigh is pissed. All his 40 years in the service, the death of Ellen, the months in the detention center. It means nothing. Anders can’t believe after all the friends he watched die, and the occupation, that it comes down to this.

“Sam, it’s true. We’re Cylons. And have been from the start,” Chief tells them.

At that moment the power comes back on, and the Cylons show up to attack. Tigh tells them to get to their stations, it’s an order Chief questions. I mean, if they’re Cylons then it might not be a good idea to be in a position to cause irreparable harm to the fleet. To which Tigh responds, “My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be.” How many times do you get to watch a television show and have a physical reaction to what’s happening? It’s rare, but the season three finale of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ did it for me. I had chills as Tigh made that statement.

The four go to their stations and prepare for whatever is to come. At CIC there’s a moment where Tigh stands with Adama and Tory with Roslyn claiming their allegiance. The two share a glance that says volumes. Here we are, two Cylons situated next to the two most powerful humans in all the fleet. What a fracked up situation this is.

With the power outage it’d take twenty minutes to get the FTL drives up and ready to jump. So the Vipers are deployed. Lee immediately grabs a Viper and heads off to fight, I guess the whole no longer in the military thing will be taken care of later. But while out there he spots a bogey. As he follows it the ship disappears. He looks for it as for the first time ever on ‘BSG’ a pop song plays. “All Along The Watchtower” by Bob Dylan swells as Lee looks for the mysterious ship. When he finds it there’s a shock. Starbuck is the pilot. Kara Thrace, looking like she’s completely at peace, tells him that it’s really her. She’s seen Earth, and she’ll lead them there.

That ends season three. A pretty decent season overall. But with this finale it becomes so much better. There are lots of questions still to be answered though. Is the “us” that Kara mentions relating to the humans, the Cylons, or both? Roslyn was affected when they jumped to the nebula. Is she the final Cylon, or is it Hera’s blood that affected her and allowed the President to share a vision with two Cylons? What are the four revealed Cylons going to do? When the time comes, will they even be able to fight whatever programming is in them?

The last shot of the season flows through the stars and comes in for a close-up shot of Earth. Giving me goose bumps, and shows just how close the fleet is to a new home.

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Steve West

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.