Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Politics of Galactica, Episodes 3-5

Episode 3: 33

The tensions between President Roslyn and the military continue to simmer.  On more than one occasion Commander Adama refers to President Roslyn as a 'schoolteacher.'  We see clearly a lack of respect for the political order (and politicians) as Adama believes the most important thing is winning the war (though he privately admits the war is over and humanity has lost).  More importantly, the Cylon attack fleet arrives every 33 minutes so the entire fleet must 'jump' to a new location every 33 minutes.  Until one of the civilian ships is left behind.  Then the Cylons do not arrive.  Both Adama and Roslyn agree that there must be some kind of tracker on the civilian ship that leads the Cylons to the fleet.  When the ship fails to shut down its engines and remain at a safe distance from the fleet Roslyn is faced with her first major executive decision.  Does she order the destruction of a ship with 1300 humans aboard or does she risk the entire fleet? 

Episode 4:  Water

After a saboteur destroys a large portion of Galactica's water reserve tanks, Adama sends pilots on a mission to locate water supplies for the fleet.  At the same time, Roslyn is wrestling with the decision she made regarding the civilian ship and confides in Lee Adama (the commander's son) that leaders make decisions and often second guess themselves.  Yet, even when they privately know a wrong decision was made they must stand by it in public.  Roslyn is quickly developing the art of being a politician.  Meanwhile, Commander Adama is stoic and resolute, saying that leaders make decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions, right or wrong. 

Episode 5: Bastille Day

Needing labor to retrieve the water from the moon, Adama and Roslyn agree to use prisoners as their labor force.  Adama sees them as criminals and slaves who can be ordered to do what he wants.  Roslyn sees them as human beings with dignity and prefers persuasion to forced labor.  One of the prisoners, Tom Zarek, an anti-government rebel organizes the prisoners to oppose the labor idea and begins a rebellion.   Zarek demands the resignation of President Roslyn followed by free elections.  Adama decides to storm the ship and take it back from the prisoners.  Lee convinces Zarek to have the prisoners help retrieve the water in exchange for elections within a year and turning the ship over to the prisoners.  Adama is angered by this and Roslyn at first expresses disdain until Lee reminds her that her term expires in 7 months.  If Democracy means anything and she respects the rule of law she will honor the constitution of the now destroyed colonial government.  Back on Galactica, Dr. Baltar, who is taking orders from Cylon number Six, tells Commander Adama that he can only build a Cylon detector if he has a nuclear warhead.  Adama is taken aback at this but decides to give it to him without consulting President Roslyn.  It seems we are always just one step away from a military coup.

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