Battlestar Galactica

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 2 USERS: A
The Stockdale Paradox

Alone, Bill looks down at her. All these daughters. Kat, Kara more times than you can name, but never Dee. Never Dualla, who stood at his side in the CIC all day and all night, and met him at his quarters each morning. Who watched him build his model ship, his perfect family, and told him when the pieces needed adjusting. Who gently nudged him back on course when he needed it; whose clear gaze and level head made her the best advisor of his inner circle, when he needed it most. Who loved his son when he could not.

"What did you do?" he asks, nearly sick. He drops to his elbows on her slab, unable to stand, and leans his head against the shroud, kissing her softly. "I let you down," he says. One last confession to the girl who could take it, take it all and keep calling him back home, who held all his pieces together. The girl who conspired with him to become a family, who married his son and sealed it with a kiss. "I let everybody down." It's an apology to her, that nobody but Bill will ever hear. He kisses his daughter goodbye.

Laura's down, and Dee is dead, and Athena's never around, and Kara's planetside. Who else is there? Who else do you look to, every single day, in order to remain yourself? Who is left of his family to remind him who he is? Outside the morgue there's a Marine standing guard; the Admiral shakes him down for his gun, almost as an afterthought; at the man's hesitation he starts to scream.

Bill takes off down the corridor with the gun in hand, through scenes of violence and depression; entropy and colony collapse. Epic, nearly grand, like a stage musical or an opera: a man punches another man across the corridor and into abandoned crates; people holding their heads, locked in private torments; people sitting on the floor weeping. Nobody looking at anybody else, nobody standing together; everybody falling, apart. He storms past them all, taking no heed; it's only the match to what's inside him, now. It's not a loss of morale, it's the end of the world. One of Baltar's women tends to a victim, speaking softly, outside the hatch of the Executive Officer's cabin.

Saul Tigh takes a drink at his desk. There's a tortured photograph on the table, eight-cornered, folded and unfolded a thousand times: Saul and his wife Ellen. It started with thinking about Dualla, and Lee, and the pointless deaths that happen to us in catastrophes. About how Ellen's death gained him nothing, but had to happen. It led to wondering whether Ellen really knew, after all, what she was asking for when he killed her, that last night on New Caprica. What was she thinking, as she lay against him ebbing, getting sleepier and sleepier. Whether it would ever stop hurting as badly as it has since that day. Bill's fists pound against the hatch, and he opens it quickly, gratefully. Bill pushes his way into Saul's quarters, raging with purpose; from a locker he pulls a gun and another bottle of liquor. "I think we should have that little heart-to-heart you've been pining for," Bill spits, and tosses everything on the table, throwing down the gun. "Siddown, Cylon."

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Battlestar Galactica




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