Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More Battlestar ...

So, I finally got around to watching last Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica at C's place, "Captain's Hand." Of course it was good. Even the worst epsiode so far ("Black Market") was good. But they went to the abortion issue. As it started, G leaned over to me and said, "you might not like 'cause of the way it goes." Here's the brief paragraph from the episode guide:
Back on the Galactica, Rya Kibby's desire to exercise her legal right to an abortion, and the revelation that Doc Cottle has been providing this service to women in the fleet for the past few months, becomes an incendiary political issue. The fleet's pro-life Gemenon faction threatens to pull its support for President Laura Roslin unless she condemns the practice of abortion and makes it illegal.
Well, it wasn't quite one-sided. I'm not at all surprised that Lara Roslin is presented as a die-hard pro-choicer, the "I've fought all my life for women to have control over her body" type. I don't know if the producers would be able to conceive of powerful, self-confident women as being pro-life. The presentation of the pro-lifers, the religiously conservative Geminons (neatly filling current blue-state stereotype, by threatening dire political consequences if President Roslin didn't act) was irritating: raging religious fanatics quoting scripture, "Do you know know the gods say in scripture that abortion is an abomination?" The only role the spokesperson had was to glare angrily and stalk out of the room, twice, in the episode.

The most interesting point, which, to me, really gets to the heart of the matter, was Admiral Adama's. He points to the Number on President Roslin's dry-erase board (the number of surviving humans) and basically reminds her of what she herself had said, way back in the mini-series, "if we want to save the human race, we'd better start reproducing babies." Fighting her beliefs (which, it would seem, is what I see as the standard pro-choice line, that a woman's freedom trumps the right of her child to life), President Roslin issues an executive order outlawing abortion in the Fleet.

Really, I don't know that a mainstream TV production could do much better than this on the issue.

[Predictably, the Battlestar message board is already beyond 50 pages of discussion on this episode. Surprisingly calm. I was expecting a shouting match on there, given the nature of the topic! One post made an interesting observation -- the pregnant teen, Rya, has both her parents? That must be rare!]

The ending was great too -- the way VP Balthar (oh he makes my skin crawl. The adolescent dolt! He's one of my favs!) uses the issue to announce his own campaign for the presidency, "when we take away any of our freedoms [guess, the freedom of the child doesn't matter at all] we become like the Cylons" Brilliant rhetoric, easily reminiscent of current political debates on civil liberties and the "war on terror."

However, as Gina 6 applauds his uncharacteristic show of resolve and chutzpah, did I detect the slightest bit of sarcasm? I mean -- and of course, the nature of 6 is so unclear (is she "real"? Just in his consciousness? What?) -- well, she's talked about following God before. Presumably the monotheistic God, the one most closely resembling the Judeo-Christian God from the rhetoric of previous episodes. Can she be pro-abortion? Or is all that rhetoric purely manipulative, to get under Balthar's skin? Besides, wouldn't she want the destruction of the human race? (Presumably after whatever schemes involving Cylon-human interbreeding have run their course.)

Now, I don't know what to make of Lee Adama being made Commander of Pegasus. It seems logical -- but seems not right at the same time. Can't put my finger on it. And what does this do to the Lee-Dualla angle?

Oy. I love this show! I'm bummed that I'll be missing the next three episodes on Friday (this Friday in Auburn at the chant workshop, next Friday in Rome, the following is Matt B's birthday. We're gonna celebrate! That he's here! And cancer free! Woo hoo!)

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