Do you remember the Cylon Empire and the holocaust that wiped out the Twelve Colonies? Well with the Galactica having successfully escaped the clutches of the Cylons, and our heroes getting closer and closer to Earth, the showrunners thought we could use some new villains. Apparently genocidal robots is just so old hat.
Enter the Eastern Alliance, who are your typical Space Nazis, and with about the same combat abilities as your standard Stormtroopers or Cylon Centurion. So it’s not so much a trade up in villains as it is a lateral move, and sure the Cylons were about as an effective as toddlers with depth perception issues, but at least they looked cool. This cannot be said of the Eastern Alliance, whose look was later used in the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs.
This episode is all about how the Quorum of Twelve are a bunch of complete idiots, and whose sole purpose seems to be sanctimonious and wrong, all the time. Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) wants to interrogate Commandant Leiter (Lloyd Bochner), who was the commander of an Eastern Alliance destroyer that they encountered in the previous episode Greetings from Earth, and who along with his crew were arrested and placed aboard the prison barge. Adama’s major concern is that if the planet Terra, which is where the Eastern Alliance hail from, is in fact the Earth they have been searching for all along, and that they may have escaped the Cylons only to find themselves facing an equally oppressive human enemy. The Council on the other hand want to make peace with the Eastern Alliance, believing that Adama’s warriors have caused this political mess. With this in mind the new leader of the Quorum, Sire Domra (John Hoyt) offers Adama the Star of Kobol award for all his service, but with clearly ulterior motives.
Note: In the last episode Sire Geller (Murray Matheson) was the leader of the Quorum, but he is nowhere to be seen in this episode. Is it possible that Adama is murdering off his enemies on the Council?
Adama refuses the award, as it’s clear to him that this is all a set up to force retirement on him. The Council ignore his statements that the fleet is still endangered, and they put forth an edict stating that Martial Law, which strangely hasn’t been in effect since the destruction of the colonies, will be lifted and that the fleet will return to civilian control. The first order of business is to have the Eastern Alliance prisoners transferred from the prison barge to the Galactica, presumably so diplomatic negotiations can begin. Also a member of the Quorum will remain on the Galactica in advisory capacity, so Siress Tinia (Ina Balin) is assigned to basically make Adama’s and Colonel Tigh’s (Terry Carter) lives a living hell.
When Adama orders that four Vipers escort the shuttle that will be ferrying the Eastern Alliance she vetoes that order, saying that she wants the Eastern Alliance prisoners to see the effect of the new civilian government, and thus she wants no warriors involved, just the civilian security forces, and as these group of idiots are even less competent than your average Cylons, you can guess where this is going. Now somehow Baltar (John Colicos) got wind of this prisoner transfer, and so he makes contact with the Borellian Nomen (The Klingon like hunters from the episode The Man with Nine Lives) and he concocts a plan to escape the prison barge.
The Nomen use their ability to slow their metabolism down to fake their own deaths, which allows them to overcome the prison guards, and then with the now freed Eastern Alliance crewmembers they take control of the prison barge. Sheba (Anne Lockhart) and Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) got stuck with the terrible job of piloting the shuttle, and due to the incompetent command decision of Siress Tinia, and the ineptitude of the civilian security forces, the shuttle is captured and headed for Galactica, under the control of Baltar and friends.
When the Galactica loses contact with the prison barge Colonel Tigh wants to send a squadron of warriors to greet the shuttle, but Trinia overrules him because she has to make every wrong decision imaginable. Tigh doesn’t take this kind of crap lying down, so he heads to the Officer’s Club to “get drunk” and “accidentally” tips Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) to what’s going on. The shuttle lands and The Legion of Doom easily take out the civilian security forces, and they capture the moronic council members, but their plan to capture the bridge is thwarted by the “just in the nick of time” arrival of Apollo and Starbuck.
Baltar moves onto Plan B, which apparently involves having planted solonite charges that he got from somewhere, with the following demands that his Cylon Raider, and the two pilots he came with, to be released, as well as the Eastern Alliance destroyer. Those ships, and the shuttle, will then fly to Lunar Seven, which is a known base of the Eastern Alliance. If Adama tries anything funny they will detonate solonite charges and blow all the hostages to smithereens. The biggest stumbling block here is that Doctor Wilker (John Dullaghan) had completely taken apart the Cylon Centurions, and there is no way he can put them back together in the time allowed by Baltar.
Note: I guess we are supposed to look past the point that the Cylons are a sentient race, and yet the people of the Galactica have no problem with robotic vivisection.
Adama and Siress Tinia give themselves up as extra hostages to buy Wilker time to reassemble the Cylons, but even put back together and walking around they are still too messed up to be capable of flying a ship, so Apollo comes up with the brilliant plan of waiting for the Cylon to malfunction just prior to launch, and then jump out, capture Baltar and snag his triggering device. It’s clear when one looks at all the Cylon parts and armor lying around Wilker’s lab that in some early draft Apollo and Starbuck were to have donned the armor and posed a Cylons, and this would have made a great deal more sense and I have no idea why it was abandoned. As it is Baltar is re-captured but the Eastern Alliance crew escape in their destroyer, along with the Nomen.
We never find out what happens to those escaped Eastern Alliance villains, or the nefarious Nomen, maybe if the show had got a second season they may have reappeared again, but I guess we can assume they are just living it up on Lunar Seven. The episode ends with a horrifying epilogue where Colonel Tigh is back in the Officer’s Club, relieved that the Quorum has re-instated martial law and Siress Tinia is out of his life, when low and behold she walks in on Adama’s arm.
For the index of reviews click here: Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series
Battlestar Galactica: Baltar’s Escape
Episode Rank - 6.5/10
This is an interesting episode but the idea that a civilian government is a useless tool and that everything runs better in the hands of the military is a tad disconcerting, but at least we have John Colicos having a blast playing the ever scheming Baltar.