Where The Poison Comes To Settle: Galactica Thread

First of all, I’m going to get this as a tattoo:


Second, if I read one more pseudo-conservative “I AM NOT A CYLON” post wanking away about how the Cylons don’t deserve our sympathy because they wiped out humanity so we should have all the clearance we want to rape and beat and genocide their shiny metal asses, I’ll scream, I swear I will.

It’s not about them and what they did. What you are willing to do in war is not and never was about your enemies. If you’re going in with the intention that you’ll murder and rape and kill and do whatever, you’ll do that regardless of how your enemies behave. You’ll do that regardless of the level of justification they provide, because if they don’t provide the proper justification, you’ll find some come hell or high water. And it’s not some stunning act of bravery to be benevolent towards an enemy that acts with some semblance of honor, to adhere to some fucked-uply balanced sense of fairness. All that requires is a spreadsheet and a calculator. Bravery entails not responding to savagery with more savagery.

It isn’t about whether they deserve genocide. It’s about whether you can commit genocide. Not even whether you should, whether youcan. Is it within you to do such a thing? Can you carry that for the rest of your life? Can you lay that down among your burdens? And I humbly submit that every 101st Fighting Keyboarder shouting in the bar about how yeah, give him a chance and he’d do some genocidelike you’ve never seen, motherfucker, that guy would shit his pants and run the first time he stared down a gunsight. Barroom bravado is a long and time-honored tradition among assholes, but I get offended when it’s applied to my pop culture, so if you’re annoyed by the twinges of recognition you get from a story like this and want to lash out at the writers because they made you remember where you left your conscience, just stick to the stuff you understand, go play some Halo or something, and shut the fuck up.

Sympathizing with the Cylons is not the point.


It’s a kindergarten motherfucking sense of entitled, playground morality that assumes just because A is an asshole, B is blameless. It’s possible for B to grow the fuck up and act in accordance with a stable morality, instead of leveraging their evil based on some kind of flimsy “Mommy, he started it” excuse. At the end of the day, A is not your problem, because A is not your responsibility. Your behavior is your problem, and what you did to excuse it, because you are the person in charge of you. There are a lot of unanswerable questions here, but that is not one of them, and somebody should have told these motherfuckers when they were younger, because now they are grown up and I am ashamed for them. Your personhood doesn’t go in the closet until things get easier — that’s like the one thing I disagreed with Tigh about, down on New Caprica — it’s there all the time. You can’t write your bullshit self a hall pass to be “your worst” or commit atrocities right up until the very second that things get perfect and awesome, at which point like a wonderful jackpot prize you get to be who you are “at your best,” and how one of these days, you’ll get to be that you. As soon as nothing bad ever happens, nobody ever calls you an asshole, and everything is perfect and quiet and still. I’m not saying don’t “wipe ’em out,” I’m saying be really damn sure you know why you’re doing it, because that’s the only question that matters. Fucking…be better. It’s the easiest thing of the world.

My leftbreast, I would give, to be able to write like that boy.

Now click “Read More” for the spoilers.

Short things: Roslin in green is almost as gorgeous as Starbuck in the cockpit. Loved seeing Starbuck get some screen time doing something right for a change. And I think it validates my theory that Starbuck and Tigh are having offscreen May/December survivorist rage!sex that she went to him first, plus I don’t think she’s speaking to any of the other men on the ship. Lee’s faith in his father seemed sudden, given how he’s usually so eager to believe the worst of his dad. Major squick to the Baltar/Six/Threesome, because I can’t stomach the thought of one woman touching that greaseball, much less two. Three’s vision quest was fun, but I couldn’t help but think how it would have beenso much cooler if I was really high. Please, Ronald Moore, don’t turn this show into Battlestar 2001: A Cylon Odyssey, because … just don’t, okay?

Now, oh Lords of Kobol, is this one ever going to set the three fanboys who weren’t already pissed into fits of apoplexia. The people who’ve never read Arthurian legends, the people who don’t get that the way wars usually begin is because somebody gets scared or screws up or misreads a signal or fires when he’s not supposed to or just plain trips and falls on something. Those people are gonna lose it, and say the whole thing’s an anti-American parable about how we provoked 9/11 and isn’t it typical of liberal Hollywood, and I’m gonna have to bust up the barfights. Why, God? Why?

I’m starting to think the whole theme of this season is that nobody really knows the consequences of his actions in war. That we do these things, based on orders, based on instinct, based on perfectly good and reasonable and carefully-considered evidence, and they ripple out around us and by the time they hit the shore, Adama’s a warmonger and the Cylons had to attack. And I think Laura had the right approach: that the only answer to that is to continue to be who you are in the moment you’re in, be who is needed, be the right person in the right place at the right time.

Because doing penance isn’t about not fucking up. It’s not about stopping the destruction, it’s about starting to rebuild. It’s about living your life in such a way that it gives testimony to those you wronged, that it says to them, not in words but in actions, I carry you with me today. Apologies aren’t enough. You have to live differently. You have to carry that. It’s not about good guys and bad guys, and who did what that was worse than what somebody else did (and fuck you, Tigh, for throwing gasoline on that fire and then jumping in when you realized how badly you’d screwed up, not like that’s a first for you or anything) or whether there was an order or if somebody acted in the best interests of the whatever. That’s justification designed for people who are on the outside of the actions taken. That’s all it is.


25 thoughts on “Where The Poison Comes To Settle: Galactica Thread

  1. Oh (because I’m too lazy to edit my own post) and the continuity was off: the Cylons were already on Caprica before the recon mission, so Adama’s assigning of guilt to himself was unnecessary, unless you believe it was to make the point I think it was to make.

  2. I learned two things in the Army:
    1 – I don’t like people telling me what to do.
    2 – How to kill people
    When the Chinese come rolling over the hills, I’ll break into WalMart and steal a good rifle and as much ammo as I can carry. In the meantime, I just want some Peace. Good Christ, is that so bad? Peace? Y’know, not hurting other people… allowing them to live their peaceful lives… Shite on Easter eggs, how hard is it to grasp that concept?
    Usually, about the time we learn to wipe our own asses, we learn that it’s wrong to hurt other people. Usually… I’m looking at you, Mr. Bush. And your ‘Wing Men’…
    Did I miss the point of this post? I don’t watch the show, but… Peace is Universal, no? Or seeking Peace, at least…

  3. Do we know they were already planning to attack? Isn’t it possible their presence on Caprica was just recon until they were provoked?

  4. This was the first show all season with both Tigh and Starbuck acting like Tigh and Starbuck, and what a frackin’ relief that is.
    And Laura was looking ten years younger all of a sudden. She’s hot when she’s giving Bill what for.
    As for the Admiral, I don’t buy tonite’s behavior any more than I bought last week. If there’s one thing that’s been consistent about Adama since the first show, it’s that he knows he’s the only one who can keep that fleet together. Who the hell was he thinking was gonna take his place after he resigned? Tigh? Didn’t we try that once already? I don’t care how frackin’ guilty he was feeling, his sense of duty and responsibility would NEVER have let him take the easy way out by resigning.
    I’m in total agreement about the threesome, that was seriously squicky. And based on the body language in that scene in the Cylon control room, I’m thinking the future holds some hot Three/Six lesbian robosex.
    But even more squicky is the thought of Starbuck and Tigh. Thanks for putting that visual in my mind.
    Where did Bulldog go? He’s a pilot, there’s only one battleship left – so where was he off to? Will we see him again?
    As for the great moral question — there is a difference between killing all the Cylons and genocide. Genocide involves the murder of innocents, noncombatants and children. Best as the fleet knows, there are *no* noncombatant Cylons. They’re a single consciousness, a unitary mind. They’re all combatants, even the ones who don’t know they are — like Sharon. They’re all responsible for the attacks on the Colonies, so they’re all legitimate military targets. Killing all of them would not be considered a war crime, but an act of war, during wartime. What Lee was suggesting wasn’t the kind of criminal behavior condoned on the Pegasus — rape and beatings and torture and humiliation. He was suggesting a military strike to wipe out a military threat. At least I’m pretty sure that’s where he was coming from, as were Laura and Adama.
    Oh, yeah — you don’t need to donate any anatomical parts to the writing goddesses. Your writing takes second place to no one.

  5. Oh…and I forgot the battleship sized plot hole. If the Cylons planned to let Bulldog escape so he could murder Adama, then they must have known that Adama was the one responsible for shooting down Bulldog. How did they find that out? Bulldog didn’t even know. The only ones who knew were Adama and Tigh.
    Is Tigh one of the five mystery Cylons? Would explain why he poured gasoline on that fire, for no apparent reason.

  6. The Colonials’ presence beyond the armistice line was recon, too, I think, so I guess both sides were scoping each other out.
    I personally think the Admiralty is riddled with Cylons and that’s my fanwank to get Adama off the hook. 🙂

  7. This one had some serious plot problems, but it’s typical for a series: lots of hot, complex, even bizarro plots going in multiple fascinating directions, and then a show or so to cool it all down; one or two plot lines, seemingly inconsequential, and maybe even a bit sloppy.
    Like last night. Felt a little thrown together; which is okay, really. Like your least favorite chapter in the novel, but boy! did you need the chance to unwind the spring a little bit.
    Did Adama start the war? Is is that simple? Certainly the Cylons have some reason to think the humans were going to wipe them out, never leave them in peace, and so they struck first. That’s the interesting thing about this, how much the Cylons are like humans, the whole Pinocchio/Data(STNG) thread of the skinjobs wanting to be real boys and girls (why else play with Starbuck’s head/heart so cruelly with that child she was told was hers? Why else accept Baltar when he tells Three (? Lucy Lawless, regardless) he loves her in the midst of his torture?)
    Adama, to me, simply looked human (did he try to resign? I had to leave the room for a while, and haven’t watched the tape. Cheap dramatics, in keeping with my theory about this episode, if he did. Ah, well…). The weight of the war and of being in command weighing on his shoulders. It’s a damned heavy weight, too. It satisfied me, though, that the writers tried to give reason for this war, for why the Cylons struck. Because they still haven’t been portrayed as blood-thirsty and “inhuman” machines designed to carry out a purpose, and that purpose destruction.
    But why did the Cylons revolt in the first place? Maybe the real clue to this war lies there.

  8. I agree with what you say, BUT:
    Will is always and only about will-to-power. That is, will never does what is right, it leads you to do what you want.
    Strength of will is not the cure for immorality. Unfortunately.

  9. You silly silly person, Athenae.
    You write better than that!
    You’re so good that you make me feel like I don’t even know English, You make it happen. Stop disparaging your writing – damn, goddess – you are literally one of the best writers I’ve ever encountered and you have no idea how I envy you that. You write so fucking well that I finally realized I’m just not there and never will be. You are amazing.
    Great post.

  10. I really don’t understand the dilemma that Galactica faced. Any existential threat to the human race has to be exterminated — no question, no qualms, no mercy.
    If there is an existential threat to yourself, you can kill in self-defense. If a country is attacked, they’re allowed to attack back. This is the same concept but on a species-wide scale.
    I am no fighting keyboardist — I’m an anti-death penalty liberal, and I opposed the war in Iraq because they had nothing to do with who attacked us. But could I exterminate another species to save the human race? Yes, absolutely, give me the button and I’d press it, no hesitation.

  11. If Tigh knew, so did Ellen, I’m thinking.
    I wondered all throughout her time in the series if she wasn’t a cylon herself. She could have been a conduit for that little bit of intel, if so.
    The remaining five cylon model-types are a fascination for me. I keep wondering if any or all of them will turn out to be anyone we’ve met. One criterion seems to be that they would be adult and childless–only one cylon has managed to reproduce, and she was quite clearly the first.
    Tigh seems implausible as a cylon, but Ellen was eminently plausible. Starbuck’s stolen ovary seems to rule her out. For others, that water is muddier–the writers have made it so intentionally, seemingly.
    Slithy Tove

  12. Two things:
    First, I bought the Adama attempt at resignation, solely because he was giving Laura a way out. If she had lost faith in him, there was no chance for him to be successful keeping the fleet together. If she hadn’t lost faith in him, this was his chance to let them both get past this. He was saying, “Are you okay with this? If not, that’s cool.”
    Second, if there’s one character who has been consistent throughout this show, that the writers *really* seem to have figured out, it’s Tigh. He’s complex, he’s messed up, and they keep playing him exactly the way he needs to be. You ached for him when he killed Ellen, and you wanted to slap him when he was egging Bulldog on. He drives me crazy, but I love to watch him.

  13. Interesting alternative.
    I could believe that, even though I’m not altogether sure Tigh would have shared that kind of military secret with her prior to New Caprica and the resistance.
    Of course, that also means we’ll be seeing Ellen back again, and i was reeeeaaally happy to see her go.

  14. That goes without saying, BuggyQ.
    She keeps wanting to give them away for no damn reason! 🙂

  15. First, I bought the Adama attempt at resignation, solely because he was giving Laura a way out
    Maybe. But I don’t think you’re taking it far enough. What if she had accepted his resignation? Who takes over the fleet? Tigh? Lee? Hell, Helo’s the XO, which makes him second in command. That’d work, the husband of a Cylon commanding the fleet.
    There’s nobody around who could command that fleet and Adama knows it. So even if he wanted to give Laura the option, he would have known he didn’t have that luxury and they would both just have to suck it up and move on.

  16. Finally.
    A photo that lets me see what you’re talkng about, A.
    And maybe she’s just not my type, but there’s nothing hot about that skinny smokestack.
    You’re gonna get a tat?
    That’s the wrong photo.

  17. That would explain how the Cylons knew who shot down Bulldog. If Adama reported back what he’d done and some Cylon spy found out.

  18. But…but I’m usually really high when I watch BSG…
    I bet if I splice together all the dream sequences and set them to a bitchin live version of “Atom Heart Mother”, that would be really happenin’. : )

  19. Ah, but Bulldog did know, even if he didn’t *know* know. Tigh confronted him with that after saving Adama. In the three years he was held prisoner by the Cylons, it’s probable that he told them something about his mission…even if not the mission itself. If the Cylons knew Adama was his Commander, it’s not a stretch for them to believe he would blame Adama, even without knowing Adama was responsible.
    A better question is this: how was he able to find Galactica? If the Cylons knew where it was, why wouldn’t they just jump in and attack?

  20. Why would he blame Adama? Why wouldn’t he blame the Admiralty for sending both he and Adama on a suicide mission? Or blame the Lords of Kobol for fracking with him?
    I suppose the Cylons could have brainwashed him into blaming Adama, but then the whole early part of the episode, when he and Adama are happily reuniting, don’t ring true. If he was brainwashed he wouldn’t have been able to control his anger and would have lashed out at Adama when he first saw him.

  21. The Cylons had to have taken humans, infiltrated colonial society to perfection, and completely corrupted its computer systems, in order to have struck down the Colonies in one day. Sheesh — they broke the Armistice way before Bulldog ventured out.
    As for genocide, sure, they should have done it ASAP, for the fat lot of good it would have done them. Having refused to kill the enemy that has tortured, corrupted and sexually abused its populace, not only after the holocaust but after they professed peace on New Caprica, the military has shown that it has nothing but contempt for what the ragtag fleet (remember them? They seem to be as inconvenient as redshirts, now) has undergone. The contentious arguments among the nuggets in the break room are nothing compared to what the RTF are having, while they continue their spates of vigilante assassinations, underground transactions and lawlessness. The Galactica vigilantes dealt with traitors onboard — the military couldn’t stop prostitution and contraband before, even with the increased resources on Pegasus, so how can they keep order, now?
    Also, the moment Helo is leaked as the one man who could have stopped the war, how long will he have to live, once he steps on any non-military ship? That in my opinion is why Adama refused to investigate. He knew that the vengeance of an entire race was thwarted, and it could boomerang back right on Helo and Athena’s necks. So, Adama wasn’t about keeping the peace, it was about utility — the ex-XO and the ex-Cylon hitwoman still have their uses, and hoi polloi don’t.
    As for the genocide, everyone was assuming that the entire Cylon force is out chasing the humans, even though they must have several supply colonies, several machine planets capable of building people and ships, not to mention a protected and hardened location for God. If they exploited the Colonies’ main flaw of a single point of failure defense system, wouldn’t they learn from that to live on non human habitable planets, to store seed corn safe from viri, and to keep several troops asleep, just in case the network fails and they have to start over again? If anything, releasing the virus would have broken the Cylon’s network, not to mention their faith, and that would have slowed them down enough for the RTF to find additional supply planets, if not Earth itself.
    Lastly, the Colonists are damned already — for the people they left behind, on the non FTL ships, for the irradiated Colonies and baby farms, for the dead and broken on New Caprica — and this is for the species. If they don’t commit genocide now, for the sake of the last 40,000 humans in existence, when the hell *do* they commit it? Remember what Three said, on New Caprica — if we let them go, what will they do but tell their descendants to beware, and strike first? The Cylons would have done it with a song in their hearts, if they didn’t need the breeding stock and the directions to Earth.

  22. some random thoughts that I posted at blakes-7.co.uk:
    It seems to me that it should’ve taken a bit longer for Starbuck to have her flight privileges back. I’m honestly more impressed by “Stim Junkie” than her lately. Guessing the truth about Bulldog should’ve been the event that got Kara re-instated.
    This is still the best show on TV now, bar none. Neither DW or Torchwood come close.

  23. There’s not one thing skinny about Starbuck.
    You haven’t watched the show. Obviously.

  24. But that’s kinda my point, Flory. What if he hadn’t given her the option? He’d have been assuming that he still had her full confidence, but he couldn’t have been sure of it.
    At least this way she knows that he regrets what he did, that he recognizes that he could have been the precipitating factor for the war. This was his way of showing her that he respects her opinion, and that if he’s going to continue as admiral (as he *must*) he has to do so with her full support. Their relationship depends on that honesty and openness. He *had* to give her the chance to make the decision, even if there was only one possible decision to be made.

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