Last night I was watching the second season finale of Battlestar Galactica and -- get ready for a cliche -- it really blew me away. Yes, there's a major plot twist and show direction for next season. If you're a Battlestar Galactica fan, you'll already know.
But it's not just that. Somewhere in the middle of the show, I got out of my seat and started cursing because Something Happened That Really Got Me Upset.
A minor spoiler follows, so to preserve the suspense for those people who plan to watch the second season, I'm blanking out my comments. Just press Ctrl-A to reveal what I have to say.
As established in the first season, the presidential election is already in the offing. President Laura Roslin, cured of her cancer, is running for re-election. Tom Zarek has stepped out of the race, knowing he cannot defeat Roslin. In his place: Dr. Gaius Baltar, still driven by his demoness and now, a growing persecution complex.
Things start out well for Roslin, who is still following the course she laid out at the start of the show. Baltar doesn't really have any significant platform, except for one minor point. And then, a search-and-rescue team accidentally discovers a habitable planet within a nebula, undetectable by Cylon sensors. Baltar seizes on the issue to declare that he is for a permanent settlement on this planet, something that Roslin is adamantly against. That turns the tide for Baltar's campaign.
Roslin already knows that Baltar is a Cylon collaborator, though she has no way to prove it. He should not -- must not -- win the election.
So what does she do?
That's right. She cheats.
Tigh is in charge of the operation. Dualla and two marines intercept a ballot box coming in from Zarek's home ship and replace it with another ballot box.
If you must know, it was at this point that I jumped up and started cursing.
Gaeta, in charge of tabulation, discovers the treachery and reports it to Adama. Adama confronts Roslin.
Their choices: they hush up the irregularity, keep Roslin as president, and follow the plan that has kept them alive thus far; or they honor the election results, install the deranged Baltar as president, and follow him to whatever unknown direction he takes them.
I won't say much more, except that I'm happy with the way they acquitted themselves.
I love this show because it explores a wide moral spectrum without pulling any punches. This season finale prompts the question: should you take a course of action which leads to the right, even though the action is not? or should you do the right thing, period? As in this life, the two do not always coincide.
In an earlier episode, Adama said: "It's not enough to survive. One has to be worthy of surviving."