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Battlestar Galactica 3.05 - "Collaborators"

Like last week's "Exodus Part 2", this episode begins on an intense scene. Jammer has been brought before group calling themselves "The Circle", who who act as secret judge, jury and executioner for those who collaborated on New Caprica.

I thought the writers were going to make more of the fact that Jammer's participation in the Cylon's police force wasn't known to the main characters (as the recap conversation with the Chief before the credits reminded us), but I suppose seeing his secret unravel is something we've seen on television before. Fast-forwarding directly to his execution jolts us into believing that everything is up for grabs: if Jammer, who indeed did help Cally in "Precipice", could be expelled to his doom, could the same fate befall Gaeta?

At least, I think that's what writer Mark Verheiden was going for. But there was little tension as to Gaeta's fate. All the elements were there to get him out of harm's way. We knew that he was a good guy. He was certainly willing to tell people that he was the inside man, as his mess hall conversation with Starbuck showed. Then Starbuck joined the Circle and Tyrol was already part of it to verify his claims. In fact, so neatly was everything lined up to save him that I thought the only way the episode could logically play out was if he would be killed, to show how far Starbuck, Tyrol and Tigh's need for revenge went. But no, everything panned out in the traditional manner. Maybe it's because the Circle played a numbers game with Jammer: saving one life did not redeem him from the deaths of 23. But Gaeta was the one who saved those 23, so even by the harsh justice of the Circle he was safe.

Tigh, unsurprisingly, is the man perhaps most changed by New Caprica. But I felt the way he railed on Gaeta and Adama on the CIC was overwritten and somewhat overplayed, almost literally frothing at the mouth. The contrasting scenes in the Circle where Tigh argues that due process (such as it was) had to be followed were better. I did like it when Adama called out "Saul!" in the middle of the bridge, rather than the more military "Colonel".

Similarly, I didn't feel there was a need for Tigh to tell the others in the Circle that he had to kill his wife. We, the audience, already know this and it's dramatically more effective if it haunts him via subtext than text.

Not particularly taken by the Baltar subplot this week, though I did like the Incredible Hulk joke.

The writers I think have made an effort to moderate Zarek's character over the seasons. While he was never a complete extremist, the reasonableness of his interactions with Roslin this episode showed how much he had changed from his first appearance on the Astral Queen two years ago. That said, it was in keeping that he would set up a star chamber whereas Roslin wouldn't. (Though given how much she's hardened herself during the show, for a second I thought she might have gone along with it.)

Philosophically, I liked Roslin's universal pardon. It makes a powerful statement about truth and reconciliation as opposed to justice and revenge. Emotionally and thematically it worked as a cap to the episode. But, unlike last week, I worry now that Roslin's action does indeed restore the status quo a little too much. We'll see.


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