Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Felix Gaeta's Sad, Sad Song

As always people, look away unless you're up to date Galactica-wise. I don't want any wailing or gnashing of teeth going on over this stuff.

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So, there I was, checking up on people's responses on tonight's episode, and everyone's all like "Gaeta is a dick!" and "Adama should space Gaeta!" and so on.

These people are fools! Well, not entirely; I'll grant that spacing Gaeta is going to be necessary, since he's committed mutiny and all. But c'mon, people; Felix has some pretty damn persuasive reasons for all this Mutiny on the Bounty shit! Don't be a Gaeta hater!

Look at it from his position. He got burned by an Eight on New Caprica who had promised to help release people from detention but was actually doing the vast majority of them in. And now a whole bunch of Eights have shown up, promising this time they'll be good. Yeah, sure. They would say that, though, because they only have one Basestar left, and it's bollixed. They're just one big floaty target, if the Loyalist Cylons find them they're dead. Right now they need us, but only as extra targets. A fighter pilot probably values the chaff they can use to distract incoming missiles, but that's not an alliance, because at the end of the day the chaff is still going to get a missile to the face.

What the rebels really need isn't the humans at all, it's their ships. That way they can spread themselves out a bit, have their eggs in more than one basket. How to get them, though? Machines sit and think, their cogs whirring.

The answer comes: "How about we go aboard the ships, fit shiny new FTL drives to "help out", and then just jump basestar and civilian vessels simultaneously!" That would be pretty easy, what with the awesome Cylon tech we already know they have! Even if Galactica could track them, puny colonials travel at a third of the speed, leaving plenty of time to massacre the civilians and swipe their rides.

Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they? They're allies now.

Plus, let's not forget that Gaeta was almost flushed into the void because he couldn't prove he helped the resistance. Now the actual machines that wiped out fifty billion people need help, and Adama's all like, "Yeah, sure, have a cigar. Remember when you exterminated humanity? I'm so glad we can all laugh about it now."

So it's not like Gaeta's position makes no sense. Other people are more hung up on the idea that someone as nice and fluffy as Felix would never dream of starting a coup d'etat. I can see why it would come as a surprise to anyone who knew him, but it's not like the seeds weren't planted for this long ago. Think about it: Gaeta did the right thing by reporting the election fraud and ended up working for the worst president imaginable. He risked his life dealing with the resistance and still almost got spaced. He tried to help save people from the detention centre and apparently managed to get most of them killed. He voiced opposition to Kara's lunatic plan to help the Cylons, and his leg is now quite some distance from where it's supposed to be.

I think, somewhere in Gaeta's subconscious, there's a voice telling him that every time he tries something, he fails at it, because he didn't go far enough, or he didn't break the rules enough. No-one is giving points for fairness, or for restraint, or for trying.

Well, frak them, then. This time he's going all the way. Because nothing else has worked, and he's sick of it. Look at Zarek, for Gods' sakes. Whilst Gaeta has taken blow after blow, Zarek has gone from convicted terrorist to Quorum member to Vice President to (briefly) President. How are the rules working there? And sure, Roslin offered a blanket amnesty to everyone who collaborated with the Cylons, but pardons and forgiveness aren't the same thing, and in any case it would have come to late to save him had a chance comment from earlier on not happened to save his ass.

Lee's speech during Baltar's trial about forgiveness was obviously about Gaius himself, but I wonder if a little light didn't come on in Felix's head too. Felix wasn't forgiven, he was tolerated. Allowed to live and walk free (though these days "walking free" is probably something he's come to appreciate a good deal more) as the cost of keeping the fleet together. Helping Zarek is the final irony, the last middle finger to this ridiculous idea of "fairness" that people only ever quote when they've already gotten what they wanted. If you're going to break the rules, then who better to have on your side?

And there's more. Remember that little scene last week when Gaeta was pissed that the Cylons were getting medical attention before he was? I wonder whether there was a subtext. Maybe he was just thinking "Damn, how come those Cylons get cutsies", (see Kimmy, not knitting a sweater, honest!), but it's at least arguable that he was remembering (even subconsciously) that the reason they didn't return to the fleet in time to save his leg was that Starbuck was too busy helping the Cylons. And what did they get out of that? Earth. A shattered ruin that killed Dee, one of the only people on Galactica Gaeta had ever given any indication of caring about (along with Hoshi, obviously, a man so wet it's a miracle he doesn't evaporate). He lost his leg, his best friend, and his hope, only to have more hope retroactively stripped from him, and meanwhile a bunch of people who were never really people reveal themselves to be Cylons and everyone's going "Hey, how's that kid of yours? He has the cutest little RAM drive!".

Help the Cylons: get spaced. Fight the Cylons, but not obviously enough: get spaced. Be a Cylon: get a sonogram for your Cylon girlfriend.

Start a mutiny? I'm amazed Gaeta didn't personally eviscerate the Admiral.

At least, that's how I think Gaeta sees it. I don't necessarily agree with his methods, but it's not like it's at all hard to understand how he ended up in this position.

Update: Kimmy reminds us in comments of that little matter of perjury back during Baltar's trial. I'd forgotten that when I wrote this last night, but I think it ties in with my larger point. Help Baltar: almost get spaced by six psychopaths. Be Baltar: get a proper trial with lawyers and witnesses and "exceptions". Which can't possibly work, because the only real witnesses to Baltar's actions were the Cylons, who aren't available for comment (well, Caprica is, but calling her in would be a fairly boneheaded move). It's down to Felix to to what has to be done.

So he does, and it still doesn't make any difference. Gaius gets off, and the next thing anyone knows he's buried in more space-totty than he knows what to do with. Gaeta goes back to watching the DRADIS screen. Yay.

28 comments:

Kim said...

Comrade!

I am naturally quite distressed/thrilled by poor Gaeta's present plotline. Glad he gets screentime, distressed at his inevitable airlocking. And I too do not understand these people who hate him, or can't understand his decision. This is the guy who has always tried to do the right, honorable thing and got d*cked on. (Except when it came to perjury of course) For all the right reasons Gaeta does the wrong thing, it's got a real Greek tragedy thing going on about it.

And the mutineers are right. The command (Adama and president) are acting like dictators. And putting cylon technology into your ship is just plain stupid. Especially when you don't understand it and the only people who do are your somewhat fickle allies and the very people who are chasing you.

jamie said...

Not much to add to this post, I think we've already seen how much we agree on the whole issue on the SFX forum.

I very much like the title of the post though, and like even more the way Gaeta's literal song has been incorporated into the show's soundtrack as his theme. It's a very effective piece used with Bear McReary's usual brilliance. If you don't already, have a glance at his blog (http://www.bearmccreary.com/blog/), but only if you've seen the latest episode aired because it can be very spoilery.

I would argue that even Gaeta's perjury was trying to the right (if not honourable) thing. True, self interest was also involved (getting rid of Baltar to cover up his collaboration with the Eight), but he, alongside the majority of the fleet, truly believed Baltar deserved punishment and wanted to make sure he got it. Having been at the rough end of a kangaroo court himself, he probably thought that his contribution was rather lenient (um, excepting the whole pen incident...).

Kim said...

I think another interesting point is *forgiveness*. The incredible list of illegal/immoral/selfish misdeeds of the characters is only matched by the number of times Adama/Pres has forgiven and moved on. I think Gaeta has only been forgiven once (stabbing Baltar, whilst he was being tortured and was under consideration for the airlock anyway). If I was Gaeta I would just be endlessly annoyed about how unfair all that was. Do the right thing, go nowhere, get your leg shot off and be alienated. Mutiny, shoot the president, interfere with a military manouvere to kill all cylons, attempt to strike, impregnate a cylon, cover up the shooting of a crewmember, attempt electoral fraud, put aside your professionalism and risk people's lives on dreams/visions/destiny, turn up drunk for duty everyday, assist in the genocide of the human race, lie about your cylonicity, try and throw people out of airlocks and what happens? Keep your job! Keep your rank! Keep your friends!

This is also why I think Gaeta is for the airlock (and in terms of good writing rightfully so). Once again he is the only character not blessed with Adama's/Destiny's get out of jail free card. As the only character other than Gaius looking for redemption (and the only one who really doesn't need it), I think he is going to die without it.

Gooder said...

I tottaly understand where Gaeta is coming from and his reasons but still thing a vioent uprising is perhaps the worst approach possible.

Yes, the admiral has nearly upsurped the civilian government before but surely you would use Zarek's political skills to get the majority of the feet solidly onside first. I do think the Admiral would think more than twice about forcing civilians at gunpoint to allow access to their ships.

And it does have to be said that Gaeta now does have blood on his hands through his own choice (even Baltar either didn't have a choice was a unknowning pawn) and this pretty much leaves him in there with the likes of Admiral Cain (who everyone is fine with wishing ill on becasue she was nasty when she turned up, sorry but once being a good boy isn't enough for me to forgive the guy).

SpaceSquid said...

I agree that objectively speaking you are right. Indeed, Adama himself admitted to Tigh that they couldn't keep doing what they did to the Hitei Kan.

I don't think Gaeta was present for that, though, so as far as he's concerned, the Admiral has already crossed the line, and shows no sign of stopping. Hoping that sufficient pressure from a fleet that has already made its call and been overruled will make him relent might not really be the smart way to bet.

Gooder said...

It will be interesting to see if Gaeta loses his nerve for the fight and I do suspect Zarek will yet screw him over somehow.

And if does what does the Admiral do? Can he afford to back down from his assertion there would be no forgiveness?

Kim said...

But Gooder, once being a 'good girl/boy' is enough for the Admiral/people to forgive special-snowflake-Starbuck. And Tigh. And Helo. And Roslin. And Cally. And Adama himself. All of them are guilty of causing or inciting violence or death to meet their own ends. Even Gaius has knowingly held information or acted in a way that has or could have caused death. It's just that Gaeta's little fit of pique happens to be associated with something so very clearly violent. He couldn't possibly know how various factions will react or control them. All the mutineers (there's a lot of them) have blood on their hands as well as Zarek and Roslin.

The fact that Gaeta is intelligent enough to know that there would be blood is what makes his choice unlikeable. But his motives like Cain's are understandable and forgiveable.

SpaceSquid said...

On a purely rational level, whether or not all the mutineers get airlocked will depend on how many of them there are. I know the Galactica has some spare peeps around after Pegasus went down, but even so, spacing every mutineer might leave the battlestar massively undermanned.

Gooder said...

But how many of those mentioned above (apart form the resistence guys - which is a slightly different kettle of fish, as they at least attacked those seen to be collaborating with the Cylons not just follwoing their Admiral's orders) acted violently directly against their own people (to the point of actually killing people?)

And hey I'm not saying Gaeta should be singled out from everyone else involved in the muntiny but he is cleared the leader of it (with Zarek pulling strings behind him)

jamie said...

I think Gaeta is man enough to take his share of the responsibility for the mutiny when a 'reckoning' comes; hell, he wasn't going to beg for mercy when he was about to be airlocked by the Circle, when essentially he was falsely accused and possessed information that could save his life.

With regards to using Zarek's political skills to get the fleet onside, surely this first involves getting Zarek out of Galactica's brig; and given Adama's attitude to Zarek, once this was accomplished how much longer do you think he would have remained free if the mutiny had not happened?

I don't think anyone's suggesting Gaeta's necessarily worthy of forgiveness as such; it's far more complex than that. I do think that Squid, Kim, and I are all saying that his motives and the path that led him here are totally understandable; any normal person having gone through what he went through could easily arrive at the same place.

And Cain? She's far worse, at least from what we saw in 'Razor'. Some of her actions seem logical and justified in certain lights, but immediate cold-blooded murder of her first officer when he dares to voice dissent against a course she had previously vowed not to take? I think that such an act is far beyond what Gaeta is guilty of as yet (although his order to fire on the raptor may condemn him yet...).

Gooder said...

I'm saying I don't understand Gaeta's motives and reasoning jsut that I don't think he's approached in the right way.

They pretty much got Zarek off the ship without firing a shot - surely once he's out it's unlikely Adama would send armed men to capture him by force from Colonial One.

Zarek would certainly have plenty of time for political scheming to get the fleet to support him in large numbers

Kim said...

Obviously as Gaeta is my favourite character, I'm hardly objective. And Gooder is right that direct violence against their own people is not very common amongst my target crewmembers, causing and inciting being more common. But then technically hasn't Gaeta caused and incited violence rather than personally handed it out? Both sides think they're saving the human race, including the hapless mutineers.

However in the arena for direct violence to other humans: Tigh wanted to set off bombs in the market place, Roslin/Adama blew up the Olympic carrier, Helo saved the cylon race and probably doomed his own, Starbuck is the harbinger of doom for the human race and Adama tried to go toe to toe with the Pegasus. ( He also tried to suppress the unions and airlock the chief, but then he turned out to be a cylon so it doesn't count)

I also believe Gaeta will waiver in the end and oppose Zarek, which will be (as Zarek mentioned) the tiny moment that ends the rebellion. Or maybe irony of ironies, Zarek will waiver when Gaeta doesn't.......

Tom said...

All I can say is I hope Gaeta is put out of his misery soon as Kim has gone into a decline since he mutinied...

Tom

jamie said...

Gooder: Of course Gaeta hasn't gone about it the right way, that's the whole point of what's being explored: good people under strained and difficult circumstances do bad, misguided, foolish things. And as Kim has pointed out, Gaeta's hardly got a monopoly amongst the primary cast for making appalling and rash decisions, so I really don't understand why Gaeta's getting so much more flak then they have in the past...

Still, apart from just sitting and doing nothing, I'm not sure he could have accomplished anything via any other means; often people perceive any action is better than inaction, and I think Gaeta felt that a point had been reached where doing nothing was tantamount to letting the human race be destroyed.

Regarding Adama: I'm sorry? Zarek, a man the Admiral personally loathes, distrusts, and refuses to acknowledge as having any political mandate slips from his fingers, due to the help of Adama's own crew, and you think he would let it slide? I find that somewhat unlikely. This is the man who attempted to launch a coup against Roslin for far less, and even back then he respected her more than he does Zarek. I'm not saying Adama's actions would be right or wise in any way, but I'm pretty sure that's what he'd do.

Senior Spielbergo said...

Gaeta deserves to be air locked now and I’m afraid that he is lacking the old get out of airlock free card that the other members of the main cast have access to (i.e. Adama doesn’t really like him all that much). He was a military officer who led an armed uprising against his C.O. so assuming it all goes pear shaped and Adama gets his command back I think he is very much first up against the wall / airlock door. To use a fairly awful pun, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on… It also seems likely that they are going to have to train a whole bunch of new marines. Zarek is probably going to locked up for his little murder but as a civvie he will probably get to live.

I’m envisaging the “solution” to the problem is going to be something dumb, like the fact that non of the mutineers have the command codes or something lame like that (The C.O. the X.O. and the C.A.G. are all not on the mutineers side, in fact the only officers I’ve seen on the mutineers side are pilots and good old Lieutenant Junior Grade Gaeta). That or a Cylon attack which Gaeta’s incompetent crew can’t handle. It’s already fairly obvious that Gaeta is apparently the only person on the mutineers side to be able to work anything in the CIC and I imagine he will have difficulty being on duty 24 hours a day for all time.

Is Gaeta justified? Well no, but I can see how he got himself into it and understand his motivations. He also seems to be completely lacking in any kind of forward planning as the removal of the Admiral and XO clearly cripples Galactica (it has already been established that it requires the XO’s command codes to launch Nukes for example, not to mention the complete lack of trained CIC crew and halving their number of pilots). So in terms of a long term game plan he just doesn’t seem to have one.

Kim said...

Fair point about the CIC skill base. However, that might be the very thing that saves Gaeta....

I think Kelly was a mutineer and raptor pilots appear to be partly CIC transferable (Helo was). Gaeta's probably hoping Hoshi will come round to his way of thinking. Mostly I identify this as Adama's very poor dedication to crew development and training.

SpaceSquid said...

Kelly is one of the mutineers, but since he's presumably been sat in the brig since The Son Also Rises I'm not sure whether he should count.

Kim said...

Kelly was the one who ordered the door cut open and threw the stun grenade at Tigh/Adama's last stand. I know because he's very hard to spot now he's lost all that weight (probably in the brig). It's a mutiny of the spotlight denied minor characters against the main cast! Those extras are real angry now!

Gooder said...

I'm sure the Admiral would have not problem moving agianst Zarek personally but if Zarek has the majority of the population on his side (which to some extent he already does) than that makes it a different proposition.

As for the violence records I acknowledge Tight blew up the market place but he at least had (if somewhat misguided) target that wasn't objectivily his own people. The Olympic Carrier thing was highluy sus without any comms and a nuclear reading.
Can't remember what exactly Helo did and to be fair Starbuck hasn't yet cause the end of everyone.

But I do take the point Gaeta is far from the only one to go nuts in someway.

I also think it's a bit cheap that it seems some really important stuff happened to Gaeta in webcasts!

Senior Spielbergo said...

Kelly was the LSO (Landing Signal Officer), so is primarily a pilot with the responsibility for managing launching and recovery of Vipers / Raptors. But his role did seem to include much of what an Officer of the Watch would do (I think he was originally listed as the 3 i.c. but that seemed to disappear once Halo got back to the fleet) so it’s probably slightly different in their universe as to his actual role.

jamie said...

Kim - yeah, I found that highly amusing when I worked out that all the primary characters and most of the secondary characters are targets for the mutineers, who are led by one of the secondary characters and consist of pretty much everyone tertiary and below. Maybe it's actually some sort of pay dispute that's spilt over into the storyline...

Gooder - but having the majority of the civilian population on your side is all but useless against the weaponry and military expertise of the Galactica's crew; about the only defence that the civilian fleet has against a concerted military strike is to jump away, just as the Hitei Kan did; this would split the fleet, exactly what Gaeta doesn't want. Remember, Gaeta believes he is doing this for the good of the fleet and for the human race as a whole, he's not going to spring Zarek and then let the fleet be torn apart because Adama characteristically decides to assault Colonial One again. No, he'd do what he's currently doing, take over the military might of the Galactica, in order to reassure the civilian fleet that the military is now controlled by people sympathetic to the wishes of the population as a whole.

jamie said...

And with regards to the webisodes, anyone who's a big enough fan of the show is going to know about them and track them down; and of everyone else, why should they care?

It's not essential knowledge to the show, much like the Resistance webisodes, but it adds a little more dimension to it.

Gooder said...

Jamie, do you seriously think Adama would actually start gunning down civilians if the fleet was against him. I think he'd try to bluff for awhile but would back down.

And I don't think a civilian population would in anyway be reassured by a military force that just ousted the previous command by force (deadly force at that)

As for the webisodes these new Gaeta ones seem much more pertinent to the story than the last batch. I say if it's important enough to the story than it should be in the actual series. If it's not important the series shouldn't refer to it in anyway.
Nor do I like the idea that fans should be expected to hunt this stuff out when it's barely publicised.

SpaceSquid said...

"And I don't think a civilian population would in anyway be reassured by a military force that just ousted the previous command by force (deadly force at that)"
Not sure about that, SS. Civilian populations tend to have notoriously short memories about this sort of thing, especially when the previous bunch were collaborating with the exterminators of humanity.
"Nor do I like the idea that fans should be expected to hunt this stuff out when it's barely publicised."
I agree with you here to some extent. Certainly I think it fair to assume that one can be a dedicated fan of a show without constantly searching out news about new developments.

On the other hand, my problem isn't really with the webisodes as an idea, it's about how hard it is to get a hold of them from outside the States. They were up on Youtube for less than a month, for frak's sake.

SpaceSquid said...

Oops! Sorry, Gooder; got you mixed up with S. Spielbergo.

jamie said...

I think that if Adama tried to board Colonial One in order to recapture Zarek, he probably wouldn't need to gun anyone down; he probably wouldn't be present on the boarding party, viz. the last coup d'etat, but it's highly likely that the marines would be ordered to use deadly force if necessary.

The point is that such an action on Adama's behalf, which Zarek's freedom and defiance would likely provoke, would be fairly likely to create a possibly irrevocable rift with the rest of the fleet, portions of which might well strike out on their own.

Gaeta's plan on the other hand, puts the power of Galactica at the disposal of the Quorum, and, by extension, the civilian fleet itself; this in contrast to being - as it clearly often has appeared - a tyrannous influence over the rest of the fleet.

As Squid points out, this coup is ousting those who appear guilty for collaborating with cylons, which is the main problem the rest of the fleet has at the moment with the military. Why would they necessarily be opposed to the results of the mutiny if it prevents cylons crawling all over their FTL drives?

I disagree that the webisodes are more pertinent than the last batch. As I said, they add more dimensions of character to the story, but their omission doesn't mean anything is lost from the plot. The stories of Jammer and Duck were far more complex and their respective demises had more meaning and weight when seen in the light of 'The Resistance', just as Gaeta's motivations are given more meaning by 'The Face of the Enemy', but I don't think that implies they didn't have meaning in the first place; his actions are perfectly explicable by everything the series has depicted. You say that the series has referred to them, and I take it to mean Baltar's comment when they spoke on the phone; but I don't think that specifically mentioned the Eight, it could just be referring in general terms to both of their actions during the occupation, which we know a lot about already.

Like I say, I don't think these webisodes are essential to anything; they are a nice bonus, a whetting of the appetite, and adds a few new dimensions to the show for hardcore fans, especially considering we were deprived of the second half of the season for so damn long. But anyone else who's into the show is not going to miss anything vital by not watching them, or even knowing they exist.

And Squid, 'The Face of the Enemy' webisodes are still mostly on Youtube (number 8 seems to have vanished, possibly appropriately). Granted, the previous webisode series were ridiculously difficult to find outside the U.S., but this one hasn't presented me with many problems at all.

SpaceSquid said...

Really? I stand corrected. The site I watched them on originally says they've been removed, but I guess someone else has put them up.

Bonus. Anyone who hasn't seen them: get to Youtube, sit through them, pretend 8 just got screwed up in transmission, and stop whining.

(Also, it's worth pointing out that just because Gaeta stabbing Baltar hasn't been explained in the series proper yet doesn't mean it won't).

Gooder said...

I have only this link to post :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4x-FMGbbGU&feature=related