Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: Gaius Baltar

I need to prepare for what will happen on Friday. Season Four is starting, and I think that if I try to just jump into commenting after the premiere I will overload and only be able to sputter. So, as we all wait for each day to slog by, I am going to enlighten all of you about my opinions on some of the most import characters/plots/relationships/issues. These can only be brief overviews (so much has happened over three seasons), but I have to start somewhere, right? But please be warned; this is not for the faint of heart. If you have never seen the show, or if you have only seen parts, or if you just do not have as much time on your hands as I do, you cannot be upset with me for drawing upon my complete knowledge. I, as everyone already should, know who four of the final five Cylons are and if you end up finding out from me that is not my fault.

Why not start with the lowest of the low? The only appropriate punishment I can think of for Baltar (James Callis) is to be locked in a room for eternity with Lost playing on repeat. He facilitated the Cylon infiltration of the human military, murdered a man, gave Gina Six the nuclear bomb that allowed the Cylons to find New Caprica, participated (however unwillingly) in the systematic subjugation of the human race, helped the Cylons in their search for Earth, and (what I find most personally offensive) preyed upon the exhaustion and unintentional disparity among the fleet to stir up civil strife in order to divert attention from his own culpability. I would like to find one person who could even try to convince me that this man is not the most hideous example of desperate, self-serving, depraved, egomania.

Given all this, I think it was a good choice to spare his life at the end of Season Three. There is a strong possibility that I would just do anything that Lee (Jamie Bamber) says, but as objectively as I am capable of being, I think what he said at Baltar’s trial was for the most part right. The particular crimes they were accusing Baltar of could not be proven. Since there was no witness to his signature on the death warrant, therefore there was no way to fully ascertain the conditions under which it was signed, and the conditions do matter. Lee was completely correct to give the litany of the wrongs others committed with relative impunity. While I consider myself part of the loathing-Baltar camp, he was not the first to act contrary to civil and/or military law and he most likely will not be the last. Finding Baltar guilty might have been cosmically righteous but it would not have been right.

But one of the reasons BSG is so good is that there is never just one side to the story. What Lee does not take into account in his defense of Baltar is that those who have been forgiven for past transgressions all serve to actively participate in the protection and promulgation of humanity and human civilization. Baltar may have a dramatic function as a character, but he has no practical function in the society. He is a scientist, but he does not train others, nor does he devote himself to science other than when he needs to escape complications in another situation. For a while it was unclear what ship he even lived on. I do not believe the value of a human life is solely based on utilitarian capacity, but when it is a survival situation leniency is more understandable when the person is necessary. Baltar may not deserve to die, but does he really deserve to live? Is anyone obligated to give him food, shelter, or protection?

I know that we are not going to find out the identity of the last Cylon until the last episode, or at least very close to then. That does not mean I am not going to spend months speculating about the pros and cons of the possibilities. I am going to go on record right here and say that if Baltar is the final Cylon then a huge part of BSG will be turned into a big cheat. Even the small ethical debate I had above will be voided. I will be unbelievably upset.

The TV Girl

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