After months of hiatus, one of TV’s best offerings returns this Friday with the back half of its fourth and final season. To amp up viewers’ already formidable excitement, Ron Moore and co. have given fans a ten-part webisode series featuring one of my favorite peripheral characters. Some spoilers ahead.
Lt. Felix Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani) was the token computer geek in the dwindling fleet of colonials and soldiers who survived the Cylon genocide way back in season one. He started the series as a bit of a joke, the kind of guy one could picture complaining about how he couldn’t get laid on the Caprican version of the Something Awful forums. But, being on Galactica, he’s become all hardcore and depressing. He’s worked for the New Caprican Resistance, been the aide to President Baltar, stabbed his former boss in the neck with a pen, and, most recently, lost his leg to infection after Starbuck’s Cylon husband Sam Anders shot him. He’s also a newly-minted morphine addict. Gaeta, along with the rest of the fleet, has found Earth, a desolate wasteland. This is where the series left off before the fall break.
“The Face of the Enemy” kicks off nine days after the Earth landing, with the Senior Communications officer being ordered on a leave for some R & R. On a Raptor shuttling passengers to another ship, an emergency jump is initiated, but Gaeta’s Raptor has a computer error and becomes separated from the fleet. Two Number 8 model Cylons are aboard as well as three other humans, but their numbers steadily decline with each installment.
We get two revelations here—one is that we finally learn what Baltar whispered in Gaeta’s ear moments before Gaeta flipped the frak out and stabbed his former mentor during a botched interrogation. (“Taking a Break From All Your Worries.”) According to a podcast with show creator Ron Moore, that mysterious whisper was actually referencing a discarded plot about a massacre, but some fans just can’t accept it and speculated that Baltar accused Gaeta of being the final Cylon. Well, thanks to “The Face of the Enemy” and some ret-conning/ADR, we get to hear what Baltar said. It’s canon.
You see, in the bleak world of BSG, the face of the enemy is usually your own. And Gaeta aided more than the Resistance under Cylon occupation.
The other, way more publicized, revelation is that Gaeta is having a romantic relationship with Lt. Louis Hoshi, a fellow communications expert and even more of a background character than Gaeta himself. Most people weren’t surprised by this revelation (a character named Gaeta is gay?! How original!) but I admit I was. I always kind of thought Gaeta had a thing for Lee’s ex-wife Dualla and, honestly, making Gaeta bisexual kind of seems like the writers are recognizing that, as on so many other TV shows, gay men don’t exist in their fictional universes. (Come on! Only one gay man on the whole island of Lost?! But about ten characters with messed-up dads?) So now, as the series comes to an end, they have to rectify that omission. But I can’t complain much as I’m just happy that after four seasons, nerdy Gaeta is getting some love. And I enjoyed Hoshi confirming his relationship to Col. Tigh. I don’t know why, but I can see Tigh being slightly homophobic and a brief moment of palpable discomfort flared in his remaining eye. (Michael Hogan can do more with one eye than most actors can do with their entire bodies.)
Did the webisodes rev me up for the new season? Nope. But I’m already excited. Buffy scribe Jane Espensen and Seamus Kevin Fahey co-write the 3-4 minute episodes and while not required viewing like last season’s fantastic webisode, “The Resistance,” Gaeta’s struggle for survival is at least an interesting character piece.
I’m still left counting down the hours until Friday night. Speaking of which, DVR users be warned: the season premiere will run a few minutes over the allotted hour.
The final season of Battlestar Galactica returns Friday, Jan. 16th at 10 P.M. EST on the SCI FI Channel.