"We all feel the need for justice, and we all feel the need for vengeance, and telling the difference between the two can be difficult at times." -Laura RoslinAfter the budget-blowing action epic that was "Exodus Pt. II," we get what the "Star Trek" people used to call a bottle show, an entire episode that takes place on existing sets, with minimal use of special effects and guest stars. But where NextGen tended to treat its bottle shows as trifling throw-aways, "Collaborators" is just as important and, in its own way, just as dramatic as what we saw over the previous three weeks.
Ever since Chief Tyrol gave his speech to Gaeta in "Precipice" about what he intended to do with the collaborators once they got off that rock, I was anticipating the exact climax we got here. But it wasn't so much predictable as inevitable. If I had one problem with it, it's the idea that Gaeta didn't know who he was dealing with in the resistance. Maybe I'm just naive about how dead drops work and all that, but wouldn't Gaeta have needed some idea of who he was passing information to -- and, if so, wouldn't he have gone up to that person after the exodus to say, "Hey, no need to thank me, but I was the dude who delivered you every single piece of intel that was necessary to get us off New Caprica. Just so you know, I like my breakfast in bed to have poached eggs and a half canteloupe"?
But there was some contrivance level necessary to put Gaeta in that room and to show just how low our heroes are prepared to sink to get their pound of flesh -- any old flesh will do. Kara ordering him to beg for his life is one of the most horrible, chilling things I've seen any quasi-heroic TV character do. But if it hadn't been for her taunts, The Circle would have gone and executed the biggest hero of the entire damn resistance.
Back in our pre-season interview, Ron Moore did a good job fending and parrying any attempt by me to have him position the New Caprica storyline as a straight one-to-one Iraq allegory. But when I asked him whether Roslin's "It is not an option to be discarded at the president's whim" speech about secret military tribunals was a specific dig at Dubya, he admitted, "That is a statement of principal, and if you want to ascribe that to me as the author as well, I'll take that." Now, I don't know that Laura's general amnesty idea is the right thing to do -- I imagine it'll lead to a lot of vigilante justice from people like the Circle member whose kid died -- but I suppose you can justify it the same way Ford justified the Nixon pardon: there was too much else to worry about for him to spend the bulk of his time dealing with this one problem.
I like the feel of this post-New Caprica fleet. The reset button has been pressed, in that the fleet is back on the run with only Galactica to protect it, but it hasn't, in that so many characters bear scars from the last year and a half. Tigh is never going to be emotionally whole after losing Ellen and his eye (in that order). Leoben's four-month mindfrak ripped Kara into itty-bitty pieces, then scotch-taped them back together in random order. Gaeta was betrayed by his idol, then nearly murdered by the people whose lives he saved. Galactica, once a ghost ship after the settlement, is now vastly overpopulated with the surviving crewmembers from two ships.
(Which raises some interesting questions: Will Adama allow a lot of people to muster out? If so, who gets to become a civilian? And where do they go? Do you have to apply to go to another ship, to become a drain on their resources? etc. Moore has said he's only interested in the nuts and bolts of the fleet to a certain point -- and when he went beyond that point, we got "Black Market" -- but I'd like to see some of this addressed. If nothing else, how crappy is life on the run now that nobody can go party on Cloud Nine?)
A very, very strong start to life after the settlement.
Couple of other random thoughts:
- When I asked Moore how long Jamie Bamber would have to wear the fatsuit, he laughed and said, "Not long, thank God." I guess Apollo is going to have many, many, many dates with that jump rope.
- Not exactly wowed by our glimpse of the Cylon ship so far. Admittedly, it's just the one room, and I know we're going to get a more extended look at the place in future episodes, but it just looked like a Swedish architect's apartment or something. Very spartan, but not that unusual.