In the twentieth (and final) episode of the third season of Battlestar Galactica, everything hurts and only one thing is truly beautiful and even that thing is still really confusing and how am I supposed to deal with this and why does this show keep doing things to me like this and what the fuck do I do with all these feelings. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
I can’t deal with this. I can’t. I can’t talk about all the wonderful things and intriguing things and shocking things and emotional things present in “Crossroads, Part II,” without wanting to crawl under my desk and mourn and then yell at all of you and then punch myself in the face on accident again and then–
How. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE.
I suppose that once I gave this all a good bit of thinking, it is quite possible. Well, perhaps everything but the very final reveal, but the shock wore off after a while. I think that because I had a very specific idea of where the trial, the jumps to the nebula, and the mysterious music would go, I initially was a lot more shocked than I might have been if I had not tried to piece things together. THIS IS WHAT I GET FOR TRYING TO PREDICT THINGS. Well, and I amuse all of you who already know all of this.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING.
I’ll start with this: “Crossroads” seems to be about how these people and this system is deconstructed, but I was surprised with how…unified everything seems at the end of it. The fleet does not end up split off from one another, and we get a few bizarre alliances out of the whole thing. (CAN I EVEN REFER TO THEM AS ALLIANCES. I UNDERSTAND NOTHING.)
If anything, I’m surprised at how little fighting there is by the end of this. Think about it: We see Athena, Roslin, and Caprica Six together, at the same time, in an entirely non-hostile situation. By all rights, these three should be at one another’s throats, but the shared vision they had (WHICH IS FUCKING CREEPY, BY THE WAY) compels them to at least try to figure out what’s going on. Strangely, though, this is largely left unexplained. Why did Caprica Six feel the need to protect Hera, and why were the three of them having visions of that place? I guess that this also depends heavily on this idea that the human-Cylon children are part of some “plan” for the future. Which also has been unexplained as well. Which…oh god, I still know next to nothing at all.
But I do know for sure that Gaeta, my lovely Gaeta, lied on the stand. I understand that he pretty much hates Baltar for what he did, but I couldn’t deny how disappointed I was that he fabricated the truth in the hopes that it would get Baltar convicted. It’s not like what he did witness was all that much better, but why perjure yourself like that? The evidence is damning enough, but now you’re just demonstrating proof that this whole trial has nothing to do with any actual justice and more to do with revenge.
That is what is deconstructed over the course of this entire finale story, and it’s here that Lampkin decides to go forth and call for a mistrial. Even though Baltar had objected to continuing this charade for any longer than was absolutely necessary, I was starting to understand the way that Romo Lampkin worked: he is basically a giant troll. No, not the Norwegian ones! He is able to recognize patterns and tropes in these people, and to take the things he observes, and manipulate them. It’s frightening in a way because it’s so easy for him to read the people in the courtroom, so I knew that him asking for a mistrial was not genuine. It was a play. He knew it would upset everyone, especially Admiral Adama, Lee, and Baltar.
What I did not guess was that he’d call Lee to the stand. Of course, it made perfect sense in an instant: the man knew his father had expressed a definite bias towards the defendant. And after everything Lee had just experienced, including the possible loss of his wife and his betrayal of Laura Roslin, he’s faced with turning over his father as well.
Have I said anytime recently that this show is fucked up? No? Battlestar Galactica is fucked up. I love it dearly, but the things this show goes through to put its characters in fascinating and intriguing stories is really painful sometimes. Lee struggles so plainly up there as Lampkin grills him; you can see it in his face how torn he is, how much guilt is coursing through him, and how much he is horrified by what this has turned into.
Now, I’m not always a fan of the big sweeping monologue, but Lee’s angry, frustrated, and desperate excoriation of what Baltar’s trial had turned into is one of the best bits of writing on all of Battlestar Galactica. Even if it is the result of prodding and manipulation from Lampkin, it’s every bit sincere and every bit necessary. I had touched on a few of the problems with this trial in the last review, but Lee lays it all out here: these people are hypocrites. There is not a person who has testified who has also not committed treason, murder, bent the rules, broken laws, or done something that deserved severe legal action. What this has become (and bless Lee for saying this) is a character assassination. Baltar’s irritating personality and arrogance is on trial. His actions are not. Roslin’s anger at what the Cylons did on New Caprica is on trial, not what Baltar himself did. Admiral Adama’s shame of running away for four months is on trial, not Baltar’s guilt.
Basically, y’all got told.
I didn’t know that it would help at all, so I sat about a foot from my computer scene as Baltar’s verdict was finally read aloud. But honestly, could the show have actually executed Baltar? Well….yes, I suppose. I mean, they killed off Starbuck, so why would Baltar be safe? But I got the feeling that he was far too important to all of this to just cast aside, and immediately after the verdict, we see all of the fascinating avenues that this show can now take with him. Unsurprisingly, the crowd in the courtroom took nothing from what Lee said, reacting violently. Unsurprisingly, Baltar is rather haughty and overconfident about the victory as well. And unsurprisingly, Lampkin wants nothing to do with Baltar post-verdict. I didn’t expect them to be friends; it was clear that Lampkin merely tolerated the man because he’s a good lawyer, and that’s it. This leaves Baltar in an unsettling state: what the hell is he supposed to do now that he’s a free man? Funnily enough, neither Lee nor Lampkin have any desire to help the man figure this out. He’s on his own.
After this, it’s only when Roslin and Adama have their talk of guilt and innocence that I smile for the very last time in “Crossroads, Part II.” I’d completely forgotten how close the fleet was to the Ionian nebula, but I’m very quickly reminded of that when Adama order the last jump, which is successful, and power suddenly vanishes from the fleet.
What happens next in rapid-fire procession is disarming and disorienting. As we see the Opera House again, the Final Five glowing in the balcony, and as we see the music that Tory, Tigh, Tyrol and Anders can hear grow louder and louder, more and more recognizable, and then suddenly I recognize what it is, and suddenly I don’t understand how that song can exist in this universe, and as I watch these four characters converge in the gym, I know that my prediction was horribly, horribly wrong.
I fought it every second of the reveal. They cannot be Cylons. Tigh has a history with Adama. Anders has a defined and WITNESSED history on Caprica. Tyrol has a DEFINITE history as well. But once I get to Tory, everyone’s history falls apart. Who else knew Tigh before he joined up with William Adama? Have we ever seen a second of Tyrol’s life before the miniseries? Just because we heard stories about how famous Anders was, how do we know they’re true? And where the fuck did Tory come from?
I don’t know how to process this reveal. I don’t know how to deal with it, and I don’t know if any of these characters can be safe again. There is so much heartbreak in terror in that room, plastered all over the faces of these four people who have come to realize the impossible. I thought that maybe one crew member on Galactica would be revealed to be a Cylon, not FOUR AT ONCE.
But there’s something even fucking bigger than this: HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE KNOW “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER”?????? That song DOES NOT EXIST IN THIS FUCKING UNIVERSE and they knew the goddamn melody. WHAT THE HOLY FUCK! This cannot be an anachronism; this cannot be a thematic choice on the part of the writers just to be “poetic.” This is too big of an inclusion, but HOW THE HOLY GODDAMN FUCK CAN THESE FOUR PEOPLE KNOW THIS SONG. Even weirder, the lyrics? JESUS CHRIST, THEY FIT SO TERRIFYINGLY WELL.
“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief.
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.”
“No reason to get excited,” the thief he kindly spoke.
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”
NO, THIS HAS TO BE INTENTIONAL. But why? Why would this even be here? Why would this be the trigger that turns on in these four characters’ heads to make them realize they’re not human? How does it relate to the Ionian nebula or the massive Cylon presence that arrives just after the fleet does? How did the Cylons even find them this time?
But as numb and shocked as I felt, nothing could possibly compare to the final moment of “Crossroads” when Kara Thrace appears before Lee, alive and well, in an undamaged Viper, and tells him that she has been to earth and will lead them all there.
- HOW THE FUCK IS SHE ALIVE AFTER THAT EXPLOSION
- OH GOD, IS SHE EVEN ALIVE? IS LEE HALLUCINATING THIS TIME?
- OH MY GOD WHAT IF SHE IS THE FINAL CYLON MODEL I WILL NEVER HEAL
- WAIT WHAT IF SHE IS NOT A CYLON AND NOT A VISION AND IS A REAL PERSON THEN HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE
- OH MY GOD STARBUCK IS BACK!!!1!1!!!1
I’m still at a complete loss. This is monumental; somehow, this is an even bigger narrative shift for a finale, and I’m left with some FUCKING AWFUL QUESTIONS. HOW DARE YOU CLIFFHANGER ME LIKE THIS. But most of all, I am unbearably pleased at how season three has panned out, and I CANNOT WAIT TO KEEP WATCHING.
And a note about that as well! I’ve decided to revise the schedule a bit to fit in some one-off reviews and to hold our very first Battlestar Galactica liveblog! We need one of those, don’t we? Tomorrow, I’ll post my review of the Razor Flashbacks webisodes; on Wednesday, I’ll post my predictions for season four of Battlestar Galactica. On Thursday and Friday, I’m going to post one-off reviews that will be largely non-spoilery about two shows I think each of you should watch when you have the time because they have brought me much joy. On Saturday, October 29th at 10am PST, we will hold a liveblog of the Razor movie. If you’ve not done a liveblog around here, I’ll have a post up later today with all the details, but it essentially means that we all start our copy of Razor at the same time and then use the comments to flail, shriek, celebrate, and yell at one another whilst watching something.
The review for Razor will go up on Monday, October 31st, and I’ll start season four on November 1st. Which means it’s still going to be DAYS before I even see one goddamn episode of season four. I know y’all had to wait an eternity, but going like a week is TOO MUCH FOR ME.
omg i am a bigot
Expect another liveblog for the season four finale (probably only the final part, not all three) and another for that last movie that is about…something. I don’t even know! Until then, happy watching!