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Wed, Jul 13, 2011, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Razor

Just got around to watching this. I was most interested in it because the Pegasus arc left me with the distinct impression that every single member of that crew was an irredeemable fuckhead. I was looking forward to a well-written examination of how such a fall from grace could happen. Razor was anything but, imo.

Let's review what we know about Admiral Cain:
-obviously deeply traumatised as a girl by the death of her family and her inability to save her little sister during 1st Cylon war.
-spent her entire career in a peacetime military, at most putting down the occasional civilian uprising, but most likely pushing paper and flying desks
-upon the 2nd Cylon invasion, her very first combat situation sees her murder her XO in order to execute exactly the kind of hopeless attack against overwhelming odds that she stated she would not pursue
-said attack kills ~1/3 of what for all she knows are all remaining Colonial Fleet personnel and severely damages her ship
-during the attack, discovers that her lover is, in fact, a spy. orders her to be taken to the brig and raped repeatedly
-upon discovering what, again, for all she knows are the only remaining Colonial citizens, she orders a few to be drafted, murders or leaves for dead the rest (while contemplating the brutalised body of her former lover), and strips the ship in order to pursue further hopeless attacks
-we're told, pursues further attacks off-screen against the Cylons (which, given her demonstrated command incompetence, seem highly unlikely to have been very successful) until meeting up with the Galactica and entering the Pegasus arc

This characterisation is bizarre to the point of being laughable. This is a person who's so traumatised by her childhood experiences that she's obviously become an extremely damaged, dangerous sociopath. Somehow, she evades psych testing and makes officer in the peacetime colonial military, where her abrasive and violent nature is mysteriously overlooked. She rapidly climbs the ranks of said peacetime military (a process which usually requires significant political prowess and mutual back-rubbing, not very easy to picture her in that role). In her very first combat situation, she issues a panicky jump-to-anywhere order, makes a cursory investigation of the Colonies (two raptors, makes no effort to check for survivors anywhere), and is instantly transmogrified into Stalin.

What are we supposed to draw from this? That the Colonial officer selection process is woefully inadequate? Cain affects the air of a hardened combat officer, collecting old guns and the like, but is obviously nothing but a desk jockey. Her childhood trauma is supposed to be an excuse for her behaviour, but Adama's been through just as much, and actually fought in the first Cylon war, and somehow manages to keep it together. She's totally unsympathetic, and a completely nonsensical candidate for a flag officer position.

The crew of the Pegasus, including Shaw, is likewise show to be worthless trash. Given Cain's obviously erratic behaviour post-attack, they should have had the balls to stand up to her and relieve her of duty. Instead, they ignore the obvious fact that in the absence of a civilian government (or civilians to protect), their uniform is a meaningless fetish, with no legitimate authority, and execute obviously illegal and counterproductive orders with little more than a few sidelong glances or a few seconds of hesitation. Shaw is revealed to be an arrogant brat born of the aristocracy that Baltar decries, who has so little regard for her oath to uphold her duties that she's willing to murder civilians after only a moment's thought. Truly unlikeable, unbelievable characterisation in this one.

As a last note, I found the whole reveal of Gina's true nature to be particularly ridiculous. Shaw busts into the CIC, points a gun at Cain's lover. Cain, rather than blowing away Shaw as she did her XO for much less, does nothing. Shaw demands that Hoshi put up a security camera image which shows a corpse that looks a little like Gina. Cain instantly jumps to the conclusion from this single grainy image that her lover is, in fact, a spy, and deserves to be raped in her brig forever. Gina steals a weapon, and rather than offing herself and repopping on the resurrection ship, allows herself to be captured. Huh???
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