Thursday, July 17, 2014

Battlestar Galactica 1.21: “Baltar’s Escape”

Airdate: 3/11/79

The Council, overruling Adama’s admonitions, decides to offer the olive branch to the Eastern Alliance prisoners (from the previous episode), and propose a peace treaty. In fact, they strip Adama of his command by removing the state of emergency; not good when Baltar uses the opportunity to hijack the prison shuttle, taking the EE Commandants and the Nomen (from episode 1.17) with him, along with shuttle pilots Boomer and Sheba as hostages. It quickly turns into a game of strategy and brinksmanship, culminating in Apollo’s successful plan of thwarting Baltar’s escape using defective Cylons, and making sure all prisoners are back, or will be back, in the brig where they belong.

All the baddies from the series thus far are here except the Cylons (only two are featured, and they’re incapacitated). Guess what? I hardly missed them – just going to show that the producers are finally realizing, as I did from the very beginning, that a bunch of chrome plated robots doth not a villain make. Too bad – had they figured this out from the get go we might have had Season 2. In fact, the most frightening do-badders here are probably the Nomen: their brutish faces are perfectly matched by tough-as-nails demeanor. In some scenes, they hardly have any dialogue, making them all the more nefarious.

And there appear to be some hawkish sub-themes going on. The “council” blindly welcomes peace negotiations with enemies clearly thirsting for blood, with Adama and the Galactica crew the only ones realizing it. Of course, the council’s appeasement policy backfires, guns start blazing pretty soon. Hard to believe Vietnam-weary audiences were on board with this. Well, we were only a year away from Reagan.

Rating:  **1/2

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