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It ain’t just a river in Egypt

January 7, 2009
Eight tells Gaeta he needs to be more aware

In BSG's "Face of the Enemy, Chapter 9, Eight tells Gaeta a secret.

Poor Felix Gaeta. For a man who has tried ever since we’ve known him to do what’s right, he sure has a knack for ending up on the wrong side of things. In Webisode 9, we find out just how far on the wrong side Gaeta unwittingly ended up while he was on New Caprica.

In Season 1, Gaeta got Gaius Baltar out of the brig because he sensed that Shelley Godfrey’s incriminating photos were faked. But of course, Baltar was actually guilty of betraying humanity. In Season 2, Gaeta exposed an election fraud to prevent Baltar from winning. We all know how Baltar’s presidency turned out. Then in Season 3, Gaeta saved his people from the Cylons, only to be kidnapped and almost airlocked by his own people who didn’t know about his heroics. And in Season 4, he put aside his anger at one of his most enthusiastic would-be airlockers, Kara Thrace, to serve on a sketchy, classified mission under her command. The trip cost him half his leg.

Anyone who’s gone through all this might be well justified in feeling a bit traumatized. But with the exception of a few understandable emotional meltdowns, Felix Gaeta has generally been the kind of guy who picks up from traumatic adversity and moves on without complaint. To accomplish that feat once in a lifetime is probably a sign of emotional health. To do that five times in about four years smells like pretty heavy denial.

Gaeta finds out just how much he’s been not letting himself see in Webisode 9. As we saw in Webisode 8, Eight revealed that she had not saved all the people whose names Gaeta had been giving her on New Caprica, but in fact had been singling them out to kill them. In Webisode 9, in Bond villain fashion, she tells him how she did it. Her main tactic to gain his trust was to let a few people on his lists go free, so Gaeta would see them around, trust her more and give her more names.

She then goes on a at times disdainful rant, not dissimilar to the one Caprica Six gave Baltar in the miniseries when she told him she was a Cylon and that somewhere in his soul, he knew all along things weren’t right. Eight tells Gaeta he’s been just willfully ignorant all this time. I found this an interesting theme, because Gaeta has seemed in denial about a bunch of things at different times throughout the show – about Baltar’s role in the attacks and his general untrustworthiness, about what it might mean to accuse his XO of defrauding an election to his own commanding officer, who happens to the man’s oldest friend. He stood by Baltar on New Caprica until Baltar had clearly taken the government there down in flames. He trusted Kara Thrace when she accosted him in the Mess in “Collaborators” and pretended poorly to reach out to him, only to pull the rug out from under him and harangue him for her imprisonment on New Caprica. Also, on New Caprica, he readily trusted in a Cylon who must have approached him fairly randomly about wanting to help him work against her own people to release human prisoners.

Should Gaeta have guessed something was wrong with this picture? Well, says this Eight, Baltar did.

Suddenly, in the middle of this webisode, we are flashing back to Season 3 and Gaeta and Baltar’s interrogation scene in “Taking a Break From All Your Worries”. We see again the “Whisper of Doom” – fandom’s name for the moment Baltar whispers something we can’t hear into Gaeta ear that provokes Gaeta in a rage to pick up the nearest pen and stab Baltar in the neck.  Except this time, we get to hear what Baltar supposedly said: “I know what your Eight did.”

And much like in that stabbing scene, in this present-day scene, Gaeta experiences an emotional meltdown and attacks the Eight with the scalpel she used to connect with the Raptor’s computer. The webisode ends with Gaeta and the Eight in a life-and-death struggle. All this is intertwined back and forth with flashbacks to Gaeta hearing Baltar call him a traitor and Gaeta stabbing Baltar in the brig. The suggestion seems to be that for Gaeta, the two events are melding together.

Obviously, this story about Gaeta and Eight was invented for the webisodes and is a retconning of Gaeta’s New Caprica arc. Originally the whisper was going to be revealed as part of an abandoned BSG storyline in Season 3 about racism towards Saggitarons on New Caprica. It’s an interesting retcon, but it does leave some unanswered questions.

For example, if Baltar already knew about what the Eight was doing in “Taking a Break…” but Gaeta didn’t, wouldn’t Gaeta be curious to know what the heck Baltar was talking about? Wouldn’t he be moved to question Baltar before he just lost it and stabbed Baltar? And why would Baltar merely saying, “I know what your Eight did” alone prompt such an extreme emotional reaction in Gaeta, if he didn’t know? I believe there are continuity and logic problems with this reveal.

While we’re asking questions, I have some others:

  • Why did Eight go to all this trouble to have Gaeta single out names for execution? These people were in jail already, presumably under suspicion. How would Gaeta’s listing them make them any more attractive targets? Was this part of a more elaborate project to gain Gaeta’s trust and get him to name his Resistance contacts? If so, the writers gave us no clues to point us to that.
  • Why did Eight bother revealing to Gaeta her betrayal on New Caprica? What purpose did it serve to antagonize Gaeta even further, given that he had just figured out she killed everyone else on the Raptor? Does this mean she had planned to kill him?
  • Were her professions of wanting to protect Gaeta at the beginning of this webisode true, or were they a way to stall for time until she could find a way to off Gaeta too?  Or was she going to try and convince him to conspire with her to say one of the others on the Raptor was the killer?

All in all, though, this was a good webisode, one of the best of the series, even with the hanging questions. It is satisfying to finally get an answer to the Whisper of Doom mystery too. Despite the aforementioned questions I have, I enjoyed the webisode quite a bit.

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2 comments

  1. interesting and astute parallels you draw.

    i heard someone else pre-suppose that she made up all this stuff to get Gaeta to kill her. She wanted to sacrifice herself (and the others) to save the oxygen for him, so he could survive. Cylons are against suicide(but strangely not against murder), so this was the only way to acheive this.


  2. Thanks for commenting, Rob! I’ve heard that theory too. It’s an intriguing one. She did seem genuinely disgusted with him, but the Cylons are great manipulators, it’s true.



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