Battlestar Galactica

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 3 USERS: A
The Stockdale Paradox

"So the Thirteenth Tribe settled here," Laura conjectures, "And created their own Cylons." Lee bitterly suggests that this is an "all happened before" situation, that these toasters rose up, and killed their masters. Gaius nods: that's what they thought too. Until they tested the bones themselves. "250 skeletons so far," the Six says. "From four different sites on the planet. Using our protocols..." Gaius interrupts: "The results are conclusive." Bill asks what they're getting at, but it's Saul Tigh that speaks.

"They're not human. They're Cylon." Bill asks, but it's not a question, if he means all of them. He does. Bill's confused; Laura stares at them all. "The Thirteenth Tribe were Cylon," Gaius says aloud, and the fugue breaks; Laura's hands rush to her mouth like a rising tide. "The Thirteenth Tribe, the tribe of Cylons, came to this planet and called it Earth," Saul says. And with every word, Laura gets sicker.

The ancients, they got a lot of things wrong: the body of a people is not the same as the body of its leader. But the soul and the spirit might be, she's thinking, as much as she can think at all. She tore the Fleet in half, for a dream; for the hallucinations brought on by drug abuse, she ripped apart the most basic rights and sacred laws of her nation. For the half-mad scrawling of a mystery witch. She's thinking:

"...Then I dug into the stump and pulled rocks from the ground until my fingers bled. I collected seeds from the few fruits the island offered, and planted them in long, straight furrows, like the ranks of soldiers. When I finished, I looked at what I had done. I did not see a garden. I saw a scar."

Later, Lee chases her down the corridor, demanding she step up to the plate; incapable of understanding just how deeply she's been wounded. How she's walked in the knowledge that her actions were justified by spiritual mandate, how every question and demand and accusation were nothing so much as gadflies, temptations from doubt, how she never needed to question Earth or Pythia because she knew -- like Antigone, like Kara on the Demetrius -- that her received wisdom would eventually out. He can't know her shame, because he can't conceive of a faith that strong. How so easily, disproved, it turns to arrogance and self-hatred. To murder in the name of righteousness, built on nothing but irradiated sand. How she burned down her cabin in the name of a better dream.

"Madame President, what do we do about the Quorum?" She stares at him; she cannot form words. "You need to talk to them. We need to tell them something." Bill can't even meet her eyes, and she walks away without responding. "It should come from their President..." Lee says, falling into futility and silence, and Bill goes steely. "Carry the ball." He leaves, ignoring Saul in the corridor begging him to stop. "There's a lot of things I gotta explain," he says, but the Admiral is deaf to him.

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Battlestar Galactica




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