Thursday, December 15, 2011

Battlestar Galactica--"Baltar's Escape"

“Baltar’s Escape" is another budget saving bottle show. Fortunately, it is one of the best. The penny pinching is not as obvious and the story advances the current arc. The ending does leave one dangling plot thread, but I cannot hold that against the episode as a whole.

The ruling council is enormously upset the Eastern Alliance officers have been treated like war criminals. The council, working under the assumption Terra is definitely Earth, decide to treat them as guests instead in the hopes of making a peaceful entrance to Terra. To make certain the trip to Terra goes smoothly, martial law ends so that the military will have no say so in what happens next. As usual, the civilian government is presented as short sighted and foolish while the military knows exactly how to handle things.

Baltar and the Borellian Noman conspire to join with the Eastern Alliance officers to escape the prison barge and hamstring the Galactica’s ability to offer pursuit so they can escape. The Eastern alliance goes along with the plan because Baltar plans to reveal all Galactica weak spots. His knowledge did not help the Cylons much and the Eastern alliance colonel boasts his military forces can overwhelm the Galactica anyway, but the plot has to be furthered, so just go with it.

The bad guys land on the Galactica and immediately take the council hostage. Baltar threatens to blow up the shuttle with them inside if his Cyon pilots are not returned within the hour so he and his cohorts can escape. The situation is effectively dramatic. No one believes Baltar will spare the council regardless, so Adama plans an assault with the hope Baltar will be so thrown off, he will not have a chance to blow up the shuttle. The odds are not in Adama’s favor, and his council advisor is not making thing any easier in spite of her reluctance to allow military involvement causing the hostage crisis in the first place. The matter is resolved when Apollo--it would be him--devises a new plan to utilize the less than perfectly rebuilt Cylon pilots to startle Baltar before he can set off the bomb. The military also placed a homing device on the eastern alliance ship in order to lead them back to Lunar VII.

That dangling plot thread I mentioned? The Eastern Alliance escape is allowed in order to find Lunar VII and Baltar’s re-capture is necessary to keep the bomb from going off. But what of the Borellian Noman? They escape, but no one cares. I guess everyone is just glad to be rid of them.

One has to ponder a few points regarding “Baltar’s Escape.” the civilian leadership is so stubbornly naïve in their decisions throughout the episode, the way they are presented borders on satire. Why is Baltar, the man responsible for humanity’s near genocide, allowed to freely work in the mess hall/? The Borellian Noman do not respect him as a strategist, so why do they go along with his plan/ the Eastern alliance colonel does not need him, either. In fact, there is no reason for them to escape at all. They are not only being released, but are confident they can defeat the Galactica themselves.

Baltar himself seems a little off. At one point, he expresses to Boomer his regret that Apollo and starbuck are not there so he can settle all his scores at once. Apollo and Starbuck, I understand, but why does Baltar bear a personal grudge against Boomer/ Certainly, Boomer has destroyed many Cylon Raiders, but so has any Viper pilot. It does not make much sense for him to single Boomer out. Sheba is right beside Boomer. Baltar does not appear bothered by her. Speaking of being bothered, Baltar becomes visibly upset when no one takes his word that he will not kill the council anyway. Is he feeling lingering a hint of loyalty to his old colleagues? I do not know, but he bounces right back towards threatening them an instant later.

It may sound like I have an axe to grind myself, but it is not true. “Baltar’s Escape” does a lot for a bottle show. The story presents genuine tension within a small plot that still does not feel like a cheap distraction from the overall arc. It is pretty cool to see cylons again, too. There are some issues with various elements I have already addressed, but “Baltar’s Escape’ is quite good for a late season installment.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment