Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gaeta was right

Just watched the wrap up to the Gaeta Mutiny story arc on Battlestar Galactica, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, he lost and got gunned down.

My main problem with the whole scenario has been summed up better than I ever could over at Asking the Wrong Questions. Here's the relevant portion, in which she first floats the idea of a USA-Al Qaeda alliance.
Or, you know what, that's not bad enough. Imagine that the people in question are members of the SS Einsatzgruppen, the ones who used to walk into Eastern European villages, march the local Jews to a freshly dug pit, and start firing. Imagine that the citizenship they were demanding was Israeli. How would you feel if your government decided to acquiesce to such a demand? Appalled? Offended? Like you wanted to take to the streets, and vote the people who supported this decision out of office?

Neither of these scenarios even approach the awfulness of the proposition that sparks the recently concluded mutiny arc on Battlestar Galactica, because neither the Holocaust, which the series has never attempted to recall, nor 9/11, which it recalls constantly, approach the awfulness of what happens in its opening episodes.
So, Gaeta was right. And at least the writers let him die with some dignity. But I'm not sure if he was meant to be morally ambiguous. It seems to me that, compared to Adama, he's an out-and-out hero. (Zarek, not so much.)

All Adama's frothing (which inspired some seriously bad scenery chewing by Olmos) about traitors and loyalty and blah blah blah just serve to remind careful viewers that Adama has a long history of betrayal. He led a military coup, he ignores civilian rule whenever it suits his purpose, and right before the mutiny, three of the most powerful people in the fleet were him, his son, and his girlfriend. He's at the centre of an incestuous knot of power that's crushed all opposition, from rival political factions to striking workers. His first answer to everything is force. He's Robert fuckin' Mugabe. He's the Greek colonels. He's every righteous-sounding military strongman in history. And the writers don't seem to have noticed this. 

Writers have asked us to root for the bad guy before, from Richard III to Al Swearengen, but Ron Moore's not giving us a lot of overt cues that he actually considers Adama bad. All the other main characters line up behind him. 

One final, unrelated note: in my experience, people with prosthetic legs do not cut off one leg of their pants short so you can see the special effect at all times. 

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