Monday, January 29, 2007

BSG Mondays: Season 3, episode 50, "Taking a Break from All Your Worries"

When Battlestar Galactica began its run, if you had held a poll to see which character fans most expected to be portrayed as a Christ figure, James Callis’ Gaius Baltar probably would have ranked near the bottom of the list. But in "Taking a Break From All Your Worries," Baltar -- who, with his beard and mustache growth while in Cylon captivity, has been looking superficially Christlike -- died and was resurrected by a trio of Number Sixes (Tricia Helfer) posed like Raphael’s cherubs. Granted, this happened in a hallucination; the real Baltar died and was resurrected in a far more mundane way (via CPR, it would seem), waking up with his arms outstretched as though he had been crucified. From there, Baltar was strapped to a table and sent into a second hallucination in which death always hovered nearby (not unlike the Harrowing of Hell, but with water substituted for fire), then forced to submit to a series of God-like voices and betrayed by a close confidante (or at least that's how Baltar saw it).

It all begs one question: Does Galactica mean us to take these Baltar-as-Christ suggestions at face value (and these are hardly the first the show has dropped), or is the series just having fun at the expense of Baltar's tendency to hold his own interests above everyone else's, even during the End of All Things? Given how little patience the series has shown for Baltar’s sniveling self-regard in the past, the latter seems more likely -- but it’s also possible that Baltar’s utter failure as a leader and long captivity among the Cylons has sent him on some sort of redemption arc.
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