Battlestar Galactica - Choose Adama vs Roslin


3 comments posted
Church and State. Miltary Control - sci-fi and real

The poll above grew out of a conversation I had with someone who has no use for the military. We watched Battlestar Galactica together.

Does anything remind me of the current political climate and events?

The more I thought about this episode, the more I saw it as a parable about today. The President has strong religious beliefs. An agreement has been made between the military that in matters guarding the fleet Adama will make the strategic decisions and deploy what euphemistically are called "assets," versus "civilian control" of these decisions.

There are fraggings and assassinations. When Boomer is shot, it is exactly Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, even the camera angles.

The President is enigmatic. In my mind her finest hour was - other than when she assumes her duties in the first two episodes - when Starbuck was overdue. Adama drags his feet in a protracted rescue in hopes Starbuck is still alive. President Roslin calls Adama on his refusal to get the fleeting moving, risking what remains of "civilization," because of personal feelings. She confronts him without confronting him and he yields. She's right. That was leadership.

That she gets Starbuck to go on a "covert" operation with religious overtones - that hardly earned my respect. That the end justified the means based on scripture? Hm.

Adama was precipitous in taking control. I like the character (and actor) a lot and have been a fan since "Blade Runner" where he played Gaff. I will ever forget him in the film "Stand and Deliver." So I am disposed to like him and would probably take my "place" with him on the bridge crew and hold fast with the "Old Man."

Adama's finest hour, again other than the first two episodes, is his mentoring of his people. Many instances, but the most clear was when he was grooming Starbuck. She engineered the strategy to get the Cylon fuel dump, but could not go. She waited in out at the COM in Galactica. Cryptically, Adama tells her that this is the "job." Make the decision and hope you made the right one, and then let the people do their jobs. I suppose he reminds me of the first manager who ever took an interest in me and made my career possible through his quiet, but firm, support.

Then the issues of the Cylons. Perhaps the "human" Cylons are not Cylons at all, but biological all the way with some sort of implants or "programming," but they may not be "machines" at all in the way that Data (Star Trek) or Bishop and Ash (Alien series) were. Maybe more to "Blade Runner" when Roy Beatty - leader of the escaped Replicants - says, "we're not machines; we're physical." Maybe the commentary is that when we think of the "enemy" as machines or sub-human, we can kill them without second-thought and in so doing, we have to ask, "who is the machine?"

The plot twist that the Cylons want women, like "Plan Nine," plays into some deep seated stuff about men's views and female reproductive rights and may have hit the nail on the head - going all the way back to the Rape of the Sabine Women.

I have no doubt that the writers will make sure that the President is proven right and the arrow has some "pointing" quality that will head the Galactic toward Earth or some other denouement—that Kobol is actually Earth, or Eden or something.

Yet, when I posed this, I asked my friend, "Don't just think of this as a show. Truly imagine a situation where only a handful of people have survived and the Cylon enemy is out to exterminate you. You are on the only surviving battlestar, an obsolete one at that, and you are being asked to join a religious leader, albeit the deposed President, who wants to take largely unarmed ships out of the fleet to go to a strongly held enemy position. Honestly, what would you truly do if this was real and not a show?"

She answered. "You have a misplaced view that the military is right. In my experience, the military is usually wrong."

I don't think that's what I believe. "I think the President is on a religious quest to fulfill scripture and if it were real life and not in the hands of screenwriters, I am not so sure my best bet would be with the religious faction."

Of course, Adama will have to divert the Galactica. That is obviously what the President's trump card is. She knows Adama will not let the people die, even if they foolishly get into trouble.

For me this was a bit of a litmus test about myself and what I would do and I think this episode is worth the entire series.

I can hardly wait to see what happens and you've gotta know the theater release is just around the corner.

What next!


I voted to stand fast with the Old Man. Honest vote that this is real and not a TV show, otherwise I'm with Starbuck.

For those who want to get a plot summary of this episode - spoiler all the way - go to

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 13 August 2005 - 1:11pm
I'm with Starbuck

...because I'm just as confused and angry as she is about what's going on. (Any guess that she's pregnant?)

I like Adama because I like Olmos. But I don't think I could go along with a military coup any more than with a religious vision I don't share.

The show is fascinating and totally engaging because they're all flawed. And not just flawed in some bullshit token way, you know, just to add texture. This whole show is about flawed human beings. (And flawed Cylons, whatever/whoever these Cylons are.) People do hateful things, and admirable things. I think I've hated every character at one point during the series so far.

But I've also admired many. And my loyalties have shifted as I've learned more about the different people.

I love that the women are all strong. What really gets me are the issues in the show. Racism. Torture. Militarism. Religious crusades. Treason.

And the love between lovers, between father and son, across species/race (w/ Cylons), between soldiers.

How can anyone distill it all into a comment?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 14 August 2005 - 1:31am
Distilled to one word


Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 14 August 2005 - 6:10am