In the eighteenth episode of the third season of Battlestar Galactica, Lee Adama is put in charge of safeguarding Gaius Baltar’s lawyer, who proves to be both a mysterious and convincing character. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
Jesus fucking Christ, Starbuck is really gone.
Of course I entertained the notion that this was a trick, that maybe this episode was secretly part two to “Maelstrom.” I don’t care if it was a narrative trick or sleight of hand. I don’t care if I got cheated out of a story. Starbuck is my favorite character in this show, and I want her back. It hurts to see her photo in that birthday card she made, and her smile is teasing me. It hurts to see Lee (and later Anders) in that room with all the photos of the dead and the missing. In fact, the entire ship feels out of sync without Starbuck around; the fact that both of the Adamas are still mourning the loss of Kara Thrace comes out in the actions of the two of them throughout “The Son Also Rises.”
There really are a lot of things jammed into this episode, and I feel the writers never let them tangle up to confusion. We have to deal with Baltar’s oncoming legal trial, and the fact that Admiral Adama is on his legal tribunal; Lee is assigned to security on Baltar’s second lawyer, as the first one was blown up; the Adamas’ issues with one another are exacerbated by the growing rift between their feelings on Baltar’s case; Anders and Lee continue to mourn Starbuck in various ways; and Romo Lampkin is Mark Sheppard and nothing hurts ever.
NO, MARK SHEPPARD IS ON BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!!!! OH MY GOD, THANK YOU FOR NOT SPOILING THIS WONDER OF BEAUTY AND PERFECTION. I may–may–have fallen deeply in love with Romo Lampkin, as he might be the best guest character this show has ever given us. From the beginning, I thought he would just be some careless, scuzzy lawyer, but every time he opened his mouth, his character became more and more complicated. He worked under Joseph Adama! He carries a cat in a duffle bag! He’s a kleptomaniac! He wears his sunglasses at night! And it’s like he’s speaking both in a poetic sense of brilliance, and as if he has known all of these people for his entire life.
His first interview scene with Balter sets the tone for how he operates, and it’s riveting. Lampkin clearly has other ideas about how to defend Baltar, though he is very reluctant to actually share what they are. He encourages Baltar to keep writing, but he operates as if his brain is on another plane of existence the entire time. Why? Why is this man like this? Why does he seem to speak in code? My initial thought was that I suspected that he might be a Cylon, but I soon realized that at this point, pretty much any person on the screen aside from Starbuck, Admiral Adama, and Lee Adama could be Cylon. I say that with the understanding that these are the only three characters who we have seen personal memories and flashbacks from before the Cylon-human hybrids were created, meaning that without a canon history before the Cylon war, any other character could logically be a Cylon.
And look, can we talk about that? When Three all but confirmed outright that one of the Final Five was someone she had seen before (and she’d spent time on Galactica, don’t forget that!), it changed how I look at every action on this show. I imagine that for all of you who watched this in real time, the amount of theorizing and intense paranoid suspicions you harbored were at a critical high. I say that because it’s only been a couple weeks since I watched “Rapture.” In those two weeks, I’ve found a way to suspect pretty much anyone on Galactica for being a Cylon. And it is HURTING MY HEART SO BADLY. I can’t imagine how this is going to be! Your whole life has been constructed to this point, and now you find out you’re a programmed machine? Oh god, WHAT IF IT’S MORE THAN ONE MEMBER OF GALACTICA.
I couldn’t help but think about this the first time that Caprica Six and Lampkin meet. The scene is both unbearably confusing and endlessly entertaining; it’s like the two of them are speaking in some secret language we don’t recognize. I know I could be wrong about this, and I sort of hope I am, but I started to sense that Lampkin was a Cylon. Just for the first minute or so of his conversation with Caprica Six, that is. When he brought out the pen, I started to go through this bizarre mixture of bewilderment and fear. Was he giving her a weapon to kill herself? When it was clear this wasn’t the case, I then couldn’t figure out what he was doing. (At the time, I mean. It’s confirmed later.) Why was he discussing love with her in that specific way? Why was I so creeped out by it?
On top of having to deal with all this weirdness, the main thrust of the plot is mixed in with the continued anger between Lee and his father, as well as a (frankly) forgettable terrorist plot. Which is not to say it isn’t important, but it feels plotty instead of emotional. To be fair, I thought that the confrontation scene with the deck crew was done well, especially Cally’s insistence that they have to stop forgetting that the Cylons want to continue to fracture the trust of these people. I mean…yes, it’s ironic that Captain Kelly was behind this whole thing. YOU WRONG, CALLY. And I thought Kelly’s confession was pretty chilling, especially when he outright told Lee that he had to lock him up or he’d never stop. DAMN.
But honestly, the fact that “The Son Also Rises” sets up the Adamas on opposite sides of the courtroom is endlessly fascinating to me. It appears that Lampkin’s unreal ability to both read and manipulate people is how he gets Lee to basically turn against his father. I think he did all of this on purpose, and it’s clear that is what happened when you watch the way they interact in the sickbay after the second attempt on Lampkin’s life. For once, it seems that the lawyer’s guard is down around Lee. His honesty is refreshing because it appears he is not running some sort of game on Lee.
I think he is. Cylon or not, there is a reason that Lampkin wants Lee to assist him. Maybe it’s as simple as him recognizing Joseph Adama’s best qualities in his grandson. Maybe it’s more sinister. But that note that Lampkin leaves Baltar at the very end of this episode hints that the trial that is to come is going to be a lot more surprising than we think. We are left with the Adama men at their throats in frustration and Lee ready to go gung-ho for Baltar, which I imagine won’t go over well with the other crew members, by the way. We still have no clue how Lampkin is going to defend his client, and we don’t know if Baltar is hiding any secret evidence that might exonerate him.
Oh, right. I’m basically extremely unprepared.