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BSG Season 3: Occupation/Precipice October 4, 2007

Posted by Chris in Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined).
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What a great opening montage!  The Arab-inspired (or is it actually Arabic? Dumbass blogger!) music at the beginning sets the mood so perfectly, evoking our own bitter occupation in Iraq and personalizing our collective frustrations by association with the frustrations of each character shown.  

When Col. Tigh is released from prison, a public address system for New Caprica is talking in the background about food rationing.  It’s not clear from the way the plot unfolds or the exposition given, but I assume that the Cylons have no shortage of resources/food — they are simply starving the human population to force submission to their rule.  If true, it doesn’t seem like a terribly effective tactic.  The other alternative — that the Cylons are actually low on resources — seems implausible.  Details, details…this is nit-picky stuff.

Back to the positive, the writers have done an outstanding job of creating sympathy for the insurgency while not stepping over the line to supporting their terrorist tactics.

Tigh:  “No boundaries for the Cylons, there’s no boundaries for us!  Anything we can do to nail that sonofabitch, Gaius Baltar is worth doing.”  Hardcore…

The suicide bomber.  We’re led right up to the door…right to the threshold of telling ourselves that his cause is just and his methods justified.  How often does television do this, and when it tries, when has it ever pulled it off so successfully?  Adama’s Season 1 speech about whether we deserve to survive echoes through the series.  At this point, the Cylons have shown the most species growth.  They’ve gone from outright, bald-faced genocide to regret and attempted reconciliation, however ill-conceived and poorly executed.  From this perspective, they may deserve to survive — but more than the Humans?  They’ve been dragged down into the gutter as evidenced by the diary entries of ex-President Roslin who has gone from being a lone beacon of democratic preservation to election-fixer to defender of terrorism.  For an alternate view, see Postwatch blog.

Are the Iraqis watching this show?  Do they see our own ambivalence and crest-fallen angst?  In one way, I’m proud of this show and what its mere existence says about what our country sometimes is and yet can be.  Even in the midst of our own shortsighted and downright wrong choices (i.e., the Patriot Act, the invasion and occupation themselves) we are still capable of debating and dramatizing these failures, even on a network owned by a one of the largest military industry conglomerates (General Electric) in history.  Even in the midst of our corporate-controlled media landscape, the faint heart of our constitution beats yet.

On the other hand, it’s apalling to realize that as Americans, we’re also the Cylons in this story.  We’re the cybernetic society that has gone AWOL from all humanitarian constraints.  Abu Garaib, “Gitmo”…what fate have we spun for ourselves?  What do we deserve?  How do we rate against our Cylon (and Human) mirror-images?

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