Saul puts a pistol in Bill's hand, which is central: something broken just got fixed; Tigh rejects Adama's guilt like Laura will in the end of the episode, in apology for what he's done since the beginning of this one. "Tell you a dirty little secret: the toughest part of getting played is losing your dignity. Feeling like you are not worth the oxygen you are sucking down. You get used to it. You start to believe it. You start to love it. It's like a bottle that never runs dry. You can keep reaching for it over and over and over again." Redemption comes through working a story out to its logical conclusion and then taking yourself out of it: taking the wish apart and seeing the ugly stuff inside. It's why myths have power. Looking at Bulldog, at his rage at Bill's offense of being human, looking at Bulldog coming out of one cage and into another one, gives Tigh just the space he needs to breathe, and think, and see the story for what it is. Bill asks him how you're supposed to put the bottle away; Bulldog looks up at him too. I love how everybody finally gets how awesome Saul got. "I don't know. One day you just decide to...get up and walk out of your room." (I want to draw a connection here -- I'm not sure if it's legit -- but it has to do with Gaius working out basestar life at a constant rate and that rate being matched by Tigh learning to live among humans again. I dunno, though. It just struck me this week, an accumulation of parallels specific to this week. We'll watch out for that.)
Roslin's going to bring this up in a sec, but as long as all the parts are here: two men, deserted by Bill, assuming that he was infallible, locked in cages. Okay, that's one thing. And they get up and walk out of those cages, into bigger cages. But we're also talking about guilt, and about shame. Taking personal responsibility for an engine of war, with all its million moving parts, is just another way of asking for the easy answer: of getting control. So really, you've got three men thinking Bill's in charge, only Bill's one of them, and none of us is going to survive unless the man at the top can forgive himself. Again. But you have to look closer and further away: there's another cage here. Count their masters as they multiply: Three sends Bulldog on a mission of vengeance, using his pain for her own purposes. Tigh contributes, adjusting Bulldog's vector to make it easier; aiming him at Bill. And when Danny calls for him, Bill comes running, supplying the target. All because the buck stops with Bill. But the war started when the Admiralty used Bill, and Bill used Bulldog, to start the war -- so the buck stops with the Admiralty, and blood leads to blood, but these are still the easy answers. It's another cage, which is what Roslin's about to explain; this episode reflects the season like a fractal, as they all have, which is why I love this season. It only takes one man because the personal is not political. That's self-obsessed Baby Boomer thinking. The political is made up of the personal, which is a very different proposition. E pluribus unum: there was never a movement or a war or a terror that didn't amount to a lot of people's personal shit accumulating in a particular direction, on a particular day. Without Cally endangered, without Leoben and Kacey, without Charlie's son Kevin, there's no Circle. But that's resisted, always, because we need easy answers and we need control. We need to point a finger and say, "Terrorists are so vaguely evil and crazy that they don't even register as human; they all look the same, their religion is complicated. My racism is patriotic, because I can't handle a complex, realistic, tainted image of my country, because the personal is political." The Other becomes the scapegoat, carries the monster, and that's how the Admiralty stays clean -- and that's how we stay clean, too. But you're still in a cage, and there's still an ugliness that pertains to using people that way, but human psychology is based on projection. New Caprica was settled and later occupied because Laura got suckered into a gay marriage debate, because thousands of people bought the image of Gaius Baltar, because they were tired and wanted a home, because Gaius took something broken and broke it further, because Bill let Fleet defense trickle through his hands day by day, because Caprica and Boomer were changed by love. All of these and a thousand more. And once there, Kevin was only seven when he was killed. While taking it all on, like Bill, is the more honorable option, it's still just another easy answer.