Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Everyone likes Gaeta, so let's let him off the hook."


After the relative quiet of last week's episode, Galactica has returned to full force, and the fleet is experiencing the repurcussions of Roslin's running a secret government, and then all-but-abdicating and leaving the disaffected and power-hungry in charge. I've been in a bit of a debate with someone on a message board who's saying that he's rooting for Gaeta, as Gaeta's the only one who's out for individual freedom. Well, I don't want to appear to be attacking a straw man, because I think this position is extreme to the point of being indefensible, but there is some validity to Gaeta's "side."

Foremost, it shouldn't be up to Admiral Adama to force the other ships in the fleet to accept Cylon tech. Of course, he took the position of leaving behind ships that supported Roslin back in Season Two, and it led to some pretty shitty results, so it's perfectly understandable that he wants to keep the band together.

But let's assume that they do allow ship captains to decide on a case by case basis if they want the upgrade. What's going to happen to the ships that refuse the upgrade? Is the rest of the fleet going to abandon them? What about any people on those ships who don't want to be left behind?

But putting all that aside, Gaeta and Zarek are simply thugs. They've taken these ideas, and run with them to a sickening extreme.

First, the treaty with the Cylon Rebels was made by the then Acting President, Lee Adama (who was nearly arrested and assassinated by Zarek and Gaeta's men because they didn't like what he'd done). It's not up to Zarek to simply toss that aside and say "we're still at war with these people because Earth was a shitty place."

Second, Gaeta's mutiny aboard Galactica has been fraught with injustices. In the first few minutes of the show, Zarek brained Laird, one of the most trod-upon characters in the series, with a wrench. Gaeta's mutiny seems to be comprised of the rape gang from Pegasus and some severely damaged individuals, like Liam. (There's the exception, of course, of Racetrack, who seems to have fallen in with the wrong crowd. Racetrack, if you're reading this, come home and I'll forgive you!)

Still, great to see Kara getting to do what she does best: being unstable and unpredictable. It sure beats her just being morose.

Also great to see Baltar back in the plot, up to his old tricks, and acknowledging his relationship with Gaeta, and the secret they share from the New Caprica occupation.

A couple predictions for next week: Hot Dog was one of the pilots that Gaeta gave the order to shoot Roslin's Raptor. I'm guessing that he'll be the one to save their necks, since he's been bonding with Tyrol lately over "their" son. Also, I think the writers are going to tear a page from Saving Private Ryan, and have Adama and Tigh's POW come back to bite them heinously in the ass.

Finally... Does it worry anyone else that Tigh is exactly the type of person to throw himself on a grenade to save his best friend?


  1. Here's the problem with the argument that Gaeta's the one out for individual freedom: HE'S JUST TAKEN OVER FOR ADAMA. He's substituted one authoritarian figure with another. Not to get all weird pseudo-political on a Sci-Fi TV show, but the issue with Adama and Roslin and the way they're running the fleet (and the issue that Gaeta and Zarek seem to have with them) is that they're basically acting as dictators. So, utimately (and this is a general statement not specific to the show), if you've got a problem with having rules forced down your throat by the government, you can't just overthrow the leaders and replace them with people you like. They'll just ram other rules down other people's throats (and probably also yours). Overthrow the power STRUCTURE and you're on the right track. I know I'll get a lot of flak from people about this argument, but regardless of what you think in real life, I think there's a big difference in what political philosophy in real life and what they like to see on TV. Movies/TV are full of wonderful, altruistic themes (we always root for the populist, the anti-authoritarian, the man of the people). Robin Hood is an incredibly popular, classic story, but if someone like that existed in real life today, we'd throw 'em in jail, and I'd argue very few people would be supporting him.
    Anyway, to get back to the show, Ron Moore and his writers are obviously setting Gaeta and Zarek up for a messy end. They've made them thoroughly unsympathetic, primarily because of my argument above: they’re not being portrayed as populists. I would argue that, no matter your political beliefs in the real world, in the context of a TV show, if we had seen Gaeta and Zarek lead a populist revolution, fought by people not disgruntled Marines, we would be far more sympathetic with the duo and chances are they'd either be saved or die heroic martyrs.
    I don't know what the point of my rant is, other than whoever's rooting for Gaeta is simply a contrarian and is talking out their ass.
    Frakkin' A.

    Also, just as an aside, I REALLY REALLY hope Syndrome is wrong and that the writers aren’t going for a Saving Private Ryan thing with the POW. I’m not going to get into how disgusting I think Saving Private Ryan is thematically, but the specific storyline with the POW is particularly disturbing to me. For more on this, I would suggest reading Curtis White’s excellent book “The Middle Mind”.

  2. Yeah, I don't want to see the Saving Private Ryan bit, but let's face it: Moore and co. are VERY film-literate (read: they tend to crib a lot). In this past episode, we had a moment from Casablanca and Butch Cassidy, and in the past we've had a ton of Planet of the Apes, we've had the bedouin death penalty scene from Lawrence of Arabia and countless other movie moments.
    Hey, maybe we'll get a happier ending, where the conflicted marine will end up siding with Adama and Tigh, and maybe even save Kara's life, despite her wanting to kill him.