Wednesday, March 14

Galactica Station's Review of the Son Also Rises Episode

The Son Also Rises

By Boomergirl

For those of us still reeling from the events at the end of last week’s episode, “The Son Also Rises” starts off with a touching tribute to our fallen hero. It’s been two weeks since Starbuck’s Viper exploded, and alone in his office, Adama slowly reads through Kara Thrace’s military file. The file nicely encapsulates the Starbuck we knew and loved with her commendations and disciplinary reports, as well as including a sweetly irreverent birthday card that Kara once sent her surrogate father.

Interspersed with this montage of Kara’s records is a mysterious lottery taking place on board Colonial One. The captains of every ship in the fleet are participating, and we later learn that they are choosing the panel of five judges that will eventually sit on Baltar’s trial scheduled in two weeks. And it wouldn’t quite be Battlestar Galactica if an Adama wasn’t involved in the issue up to his armpits; we discover that Admiral Adama himself is among the five judges chosen.

Following this, we get to see the other men who mourn Kara Thrace; Lee is called to deal with Anders’ drunken grief, even though he is far from well himself, as he later proves when he botches up a simple morning report with his pilots.

And finally, just before the opening credits, we see that danger is afoot as there’s just never a quiet day among the ragtag fleet. Mr. Hughes, a smarmy lawyer who is representing Baltar is assassinated as he boards Racetrack’s raptor, which had been scheduled to take him back to his ship. No great loss, as no one seemed to like him anyway. But then, who’s the assassin?

Just a couple of things I have to say about the opening credits: it’s one thing when Lee tells Anders that Kara is gone, but it hit me much harder when I saw Katee Sackoff’s name missing from the credits and the stark reminder that there are only 41,399 survivors left. Ouch.

Back to the show itself: With Hughes dead, a new lawyer is needed to represent Baltar, and here, the show introduces a deliciously sly, manipulative shyster named Romo Lampkin who flippantly tells Roslin and Adama that he wants to represent the most hated man alive for the fame and glory; in fact, he was born for this job.

Likely more for Lee’s sake than Lampkin’s Adama removes Lee from flight duties and appoints his son to handle the new lawyer’s security. Chafing at the notion that he’s being treated like a child who needs to be protected, Lee reluctantly takes on his new duties. Lampkin sizes Lee up for what he is immediately, and like all others with whom he has dealings, he plays the younger Adama with gleeful finesse, eventually pushing just the right buttons to land Lee where he wants him. With Six, he sees past the frightened Cylon’s desperate pride, sees that for all her protestations, she is still deeply in love with a man who has betrayed her in every way, understands that with the right prodding she can become a valuable asset in the trial. And with Baltar, Lampkin sizes up his client’s fatal weakness of arrogance and his infinite capacity for self-deception. As this season has progressed, Baltar has seemed to me to have become more and more ascetically stripped down to his base personality; with nothing more to really hide, he acts in an erratic, almost unhinged manner intermingled with flashes of cunning and brilliance. As before, he has only one goal in mind, one interest at heart, and that is the utter and total preservation of Gaius Baltar.

But Lampkin’s trial preparation doesn’t go so smoothly after all; there’s an assassin on board Galactica, someone who tries again and again to destroy Baltar’s defense. A second explosive found on board Athena’s raptor, discovered during a conveniently deus ex machina chase for Lampkin’s cat, leads to a long-overdue confrontation between Sharon Agathon and Cally Tyrol. Sadly, the actual clash—which I hope will be revisted in a later episode—is reduced to a few sharp jabs and a two-minute “bonus scene” at the end of the episode. (As an aside, I hope I’m not the only one here who’s getting very annoyed with these bonus scenes—I find them distracting and often meaningless; either put them in the proper chronological order or scrap them altogether).

In an odd twist on Lampkin’s quirks, we find that Baltar’s lawyer is proficiently light-fingered. With almost every person who crosses his path, he manages to filch something; Roslin’s glasses, Adama’s button, Baltar’s pen—and a detonator lid, which leads Lee to finally uncover the identity of the saboteur. The bomber turns out to be Captain Kelly. In the most expanded role he’s ever had, the captain tells Lee that he has no remorse for what he’s done and, given the chance, he’d do it again. Am I the only one who scratched her head and asked, “What the frack?” What might have happened to drive Kelly to such desperate measures? We may or may not ever know, but the revelations certainly hit a wrong note with this reviewer.

With Lee having uncovered the identity of the assassin, Adama decides to reinstate Lee as CAG, but Lee has been bitten by the legal bug. Without realizing how well Lampkin played him, Lee finally dares to do what he should have done long ago; he steps out from beneath his father’s shadow and for the first time, tries to take his destiny in his own hands.

Overall, with the exception of a few glitches mentioned above, I found this episode to be very well done; the cast gives some very powerful performances—my kudos to Jamie Bamber and Tricia Helfer (I really could almost feel her painful hope and desperate sadness)—and newcomer Mark Sheppard brings in a refreshing and intriguing character whom I hope will have many more guest appearances, perhaps even beyond the promised twists and turns that will likely comprise Baltar’s trial.

Following other reviewers in this series, I’ll grade this episode. For me, 8.5 out of 10. Had it not been for Kelly’s implausible turn, I’d likely have gone higher (Lampkin’s performance alone raises the episode to a higher plane than the plot itself justifies), but still, an episode well worth watching.

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