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Battlestar Fodder

Terrorism Won’t Stop 'Battlestar' Trial

Show finally begins Baltar’s trial, the three-part, season-ending arc that fans have been awaiting—nay, demanding, if message board comments (bearing messages of boredom) are to be believed. Rest assured, frakheads: One Chicago Tribune writer calls these final four episodes “transfixing” and promises a world of revelations in upcoming episodes.

Of course, since this is BSG, the trial wasn’t going to be traffic court anyway, but a microcosm of recent world events. (Real world Baltar-analogue? Think: Saddam Hussein). Before the credits even roll for “The Son Also Rises,” Baltar’s skeevy defense lawyer gets blown up while leaving the Galactica. So current fleet body count stands at 41,399—one less Starbuck and one fewer sleazy lawyer since last week’s ep, “Maelstrom.”

The Starbuck stops here
Five ship captains across the fleet are randomly selected as Baltar’s “tribunal”—effectively, the judge and jury—but the grieving Adama barely notices he’s been picked; the Admiral’s still coping with Starbuck’s unexpected death as is much of the crew. Adama re-reads his surrogate daughter’s personnel file, which includes some honors and even a birthday card—but enough disciplinary actions to get a year in the brig—while Kara’s estranged husband, Sam, drunkenly dances on her plane, eventually falling and breaking his leg. Lee, meanwhile, struggles as head of the air group; Apollo screws up the details for one assignment and mistakenly refers to Racetrack as Starbuck.

In a perverse, “who’s more broken up about Starbuck’s death” moment, Adama takes his son off active duty and assigns Helo as the temporary CAG.

Future's so bright, Romo's gotta wear shades
Now grounded, Lee is assigned by his dad to oversee security for Baltar’s new lawyer, Romo Lampkin. Lampkin had been teased on the roundtable podcast as a major character, and he proves sufficiently enigmatic to warrant the hype.

Romo Lampkin
First, he’s rocking the 24-7 sunglasses…on a spaceship. But second, there’s the chutzpah. Despite the threat to himself, he personally requests that President Roslin give him the case; later, using a pen he’d stolen from Baltar, he manipulates the incarcerated Caprica Six by playing on her love of Baltar—rather than testify against her ex-lover, it seems likely that she’ll now support him. Lee’s also maneuvered by Lampkin; his initial disgust of the man gives way when Romo reveals that “everything he knows” he learned from Lee’s grandfather, Joseph Adama, a notorious defense attorney years before. With Lee itching to get out from his father’s shadow—to become more than a fighter pilot—the law proves a seductive alternative. Not to mention, straight-arrow Lee has always been a sucker for bad guys and girls; first boozing and cheating Starbuck, now a lying lawyer who wants the name Adama on his side.

Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs Raptors at Midnight
Of course, Lampkin’s life is now under attack, with Lee imperiled by extension. First, a bomb is discovered under a Raptor just before the lawyer and Lee take a midnight flight to Colonial One; later, an exploding door injures (but not kills) Lampkin. With the lawyer laid up in the infirmary, Lee feels compelled to help, initially by going through Lampkin’s satchel bag. Turns out Lampkin’s a klepto, but with purpose—he stole Roslin’s glasses (she looks less serious without them, which could help in the courtroom); Adama’s officer ring (it’s tarnished, indicating he’s burned out); and some mechanical device from Captain Kelly, the flight deck officer (giving him away as the bomber. Uh oh!).

Now, the subplot as to why Captain Kelly—a recurring character since the miniseries—hates Baltar (and by extension, Galactica officer/Cylon Athena, who pilots the defense lawyers back and forth) is completely underdeveloped; that said, I can buy that embittered soldiers are taking it upon themselves to be vigilantes. But even less attention is paid to Athena's notion that the bombs are directed not at Baltar's lawyers but at her; only a bonus scene explores this, when Athena confronts Cylon-hating Cally.

The paralegal of the prodigal son
Scared for his son's life, not to mention a critic of Baltar, Adama’s not thrilled by Lee’s active role in the defense. The Admiral tries to reinstate Apollo as CAG, telling him that he’s a pilot, not a lawyer (despite giving his son law books several episodes ago). However, Lee refuses; perhaps for the final time in the series, he rebels against his father/commanding officer, and an exasperated Adama takes Lee off the pilot list. Preview-watching viewers know that the father-son conflict builds toward a potential career change for Apollo come next week’s episode.

On the podcast, Moore admits that having both Apollo and Adama as key players during the trial is a stretch...but also explains that getting the main characters into the courtroom was essential for the story. Evolving Lee from bodyguard into lawyer was one such avenue, given the character's strong moral compass, as was making even-handed Adama into a judge.

Gaius, son of Joseph
In a Web-only preview for next week's ep, "Crossroads, Part 1", Gaius is visited in prison by a woman appealing to him to heal her son. After the guard drags her off, Gaius muses that celebrity trials "bring the crazies out" but Virtual Six notes that five people have already come for blessings and dozens more are writing him letters. Baltar as messiah? Maybe there's more to the Jesus look than we knew...

Posted by DD on March 12, 2007 9:01 PM
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this episode was alright, but the next two better be pretty amazing to save this season!

-- Posted by: Foucault at March 13, 2007 12:18 AM

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