In the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, no. just…..no. why. why are you doing this to me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
How are you supposed to produce anything coherent after watching “Blood on the Scales”? I could sit here and I could intellectualize everything in this episode. I could talk about the dynamics of power. I could talk about how the writers of this show utilize audience sympathy to force the viewers to think things they otherwise would find repulsive. I could talk about loyalty. I could talk about survival. I could talk about the fact that this show, after giving us a mid-season finale that seemed to end almost everything we needed from the story, finds a way to continue to crank up the intensity and terror of its plots.
That’s all good and well. I’ve had a lot to say to people I know who have seen this show, but it’s been a very constant pattern popping up: I can’t organize those thoughts. I might start shrieking about Tyrol supporting Adama, and then Aaron Kelly doing the same thing. I might yell about Romo Lampkin helping Starbuck and Anders. I might yell about Anders. I might yell so many things here, and even an all-caps tirade won’t convey what I need to say.
Dear Battlestar Galactica:
I love you. I know your time has passed and you have long left the airwaves. I have discovered you later in my life, too late I’d say. But you are here. You are here in my life.
We have our ups and downs. You have ended the lives of people who I held dear. Just the other day, I was thinking of Billy. Oh, Billy. I miss him, but such is the reality of loving you. It hurts sometimes. Well, I suppose it hurts most of the time.
But I accept that. I accept that this is the nature of what we have. And what we have is a beautiful thing. However, that is not the point of this love letter. There are many things that you’ve done wonderfully, but there are a few things I need to say to you, that I must communicate to you, so you understand what I’m feeling.
Thank you for Admiral Adama. Thank you for having him resist every moment of Gaeta and Zarek’s joke of a “trial” with anger and rage and wit and beauty. Thank you for the image of that admiral walking through the halls of the Galactica, collecting members of the crew and civilians with him, prepared to take back the CIC and his ship, and it is like the most perfect moment near the end of this series because…oh god, it encapsulates just how much Adama has affected these people. It is making me feel things I hid away long ago. You have brought them back out, and I will be forever thankful.
Thank you for giving me back the ass-kicking Starbuck I love and cherish.
Thank you for Lee’s grenade trick.
Thank you for the smirk on Adama’s face when he hears Roslin’s voice.
Thank you for Romo’s neat pen trick.
Thank you for Baltar’s confession.
Thank you for one of the most brilliant, soul-crushing, and inspiration passages of dialogue I’ve ever experienced, delivered ever-so-perfectly by Mary McDonnell.
“No. Not now. Not ever. Do you hear me? I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own teeth to end you. I swear it. I’m coming for all of you!”
I don’t think I have ever loved a couple more than this one. My own parents pale in comparison. I will never love a human being as much as Laura Roslin and Bill Adama love one other because they have set the bar at infinity.
But thank you for Tom Zarek and Felix Gaeta. Despite that both of them did terrible things in their attempt to right the wrongs they saw in the current administration, I was shocked that when the two of them sat in their execution chairs, I was immensely sad. There was no victory in their death. I did not celebrate it. I did not feel a shred of joy for losing them. Instead, it made me think of the complicated fabric of the political situation in the colonial fleet, and it made me think how you had combined personal, emotional attachment, perspective, and rebellion to craft a deeply complex story of how two men ultimately just wanted to find their place in the world. Was Tom Zarek really the revolutionary he thought he was, or had he given power to others in poorly planned concessions? Did Gaeta pursue the mutiny to give his life a purpose on Galactica?
You made antagonists full, rich, detailed people. You did not demonize them, even if they did things that seemed incomprehensibly evil. You gave them a story. You gave them motivations, emotions, and purpose.
I love you, Battlestar Galactica. I know our relationship is coming to an end soon, but I just need you to know this.
PS: I wasn’t kidding: