“I Didn’t Want To Make It Back Alive”

Spoiler Alert. This is an essay concerning the actions of Lee “Apollo” Adama of Battlestar Galactica in the episode Resurrection Ship, Part 2. If you’re adverse to spoilers it’s strongly suggested that you read no further. And if you’re local and want to catch it on TV, they’re starting to show the first season on 8TV at 10pm Sundays, the same time as Smallville on TV3.

It’s been 7 hours since I saw the episode, and the decision of Apollo to resign himself to his fate has been playing again and again in my mind. It’s not something that I was expecting, like Adama’s and Cain’s respective orders to assassinate each other, or the fates of Helo and the Chief in the Pegasus’ brig, or even the outcome of Baltar’s interrogation of Pegasus’ resident Cylon prisoner Gina, who is a copy of Baltar’s yet unnamed vision, known to TV audiences as “Six”.

[[image:resship02.jpg:Galactica Opens Up:left:0]]A recap: The Cylon battlegroup shadowing Galactica’s fugitive fleet is discovered, and with it is a gargantuan vessel known as the Resurrection Ship, where organic Cylons’ minds are transferred into reserve bodies after their active bodies are killed. They could not remote transfer this far out beyond the red line in deep space. The Galactica and the Pegasus join forces to destroy it. As several civilian decoy ships draw away the mass of Raiders away, the two battlestars pound the hell out of the escort basestars. Apollo, in the custom-built stealth blackbird, sneaks in and destroys the Resurrection Ship’s FTL drive with a missile before it can jump away.

Unfortunately the blackbird is heavily damaged and Apollo is forced to eject. And worse, there is a tear in his suit and his breathable air is leaking away quickly. And instead of fighting for his life, he resigns to his fate and accepts death.

[[image:resship03.jpg:Ten Thousand Cylon Deaths:left:0]]I can’t help but to put myself in Apollo’s shoes. His character was defined in Bastille Day, where he forced Adama and the President into allowing a democratic election within the civilian population of the fleet.

He was shown to be a man of duty with strong values. He’d grown up in a career military family, he went to a military academy and because of this he’s not only a well-trained soldier and pilot, he’s a person bound by duty to his government and the people.

Over the last four months or so, he’d seen the destruction of his government and his people: the end of the world as he knew it. But he was duty bound to the survival of the remainder of his people. They were his family and friends who shared common ideals, unlike the enemy who are the Cylons.

Earlier trials weren’t really psychologically scarring. His estrangement from his father was unneccesary when he discovered it was Starbuck instead that indirectly caused his brother Zak’s death. Because of the estrangement, he realised Starbuck had become more of a daughter to Adama than he was a son. Later, he probably found it easy to mutiny for the President against Adama because he was duty bound to the people which the President represented.

As long as he stuck to his values and did his duty, and had people who shared his values and appreciated his sacrifices, he would be alright.

[[image:resship01.jpg:Dying Slowly:left:0]]Then the Pegasus arrived. He found the people whom he cherished and thought shared his values willing to do unforgivable acts. Starbuck was willing to assassinate Admiral Cain. Adama ordered the assassination. The President suggested it. By sticking to his duty and doing the right thing all Apollo received so far was to be relieved of being Galactica‘s CAG and a demotion to lieutenant.

The thing is, I could totally relate to Apollo. In fact, I was surprised that I felt disappointment when the SAR Raptor discovered him before he died. I thought he deserved a good death instead of being rescued and returned to where he was unappreciated. It’s a difficult thing wanting just to do your job but not being appreciated for it, watching others achieve more than you could ever achieve by being unscrupulous and abandoning ideals and values whenever it suited them.

When your duty is all but over and and you’ve felt like everyone has betrayed you and you have no real future to return to, I can imagine closing your eyes and surrendering to the inevitable like Apollo did can be very welcoming. A fantastic, emotionally charged episode, for me at least, with scenes that will stay in my mind for a long time.

Posted in Misc Sci-Fi, TV and tagged , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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