Saturday, October 21, 2006

Beyond Vichy Galactica

Vive l'humanité! The Cylon occupation of New Caprica is over, and the Vichy government of Giaus Baltar has fallen. Now, we can forget historical analogies and get back to science fiction!

The analogies to Vichy France were hardly surprising. Indeed, the producers advertised their intentions at the end of the last season. The show explored the messy differences and overlaps between resistance and collaboration, especially the problems of collaborators who act, nonetheless, to protect their loved ones.

The summary execution of Ellen Tigh reflects the purge of collaborators that occurred as France was slowly freed and the German army pushed back. Actually, I was a bit disappointed that occupied New Caprica looked so much like Vichy France--did Robert Gildea get a writing credit for these episodes?

Now that the human race is back on it's quest to find Earth, is the show done with the Vichy analogy? There are still possibilities to mine it into the Fourth Republic era? Yes. Post-liberation politics were dominated by conflicts between political parties, each of whom claimed to embody the true spirit of resistance, who did the most to free the nation. "Resistance" became a key term in discussing the future. They talked about resistance in the singular, as if only one movement existed, but they did so in order to legitimize their politics.

Although the resistance on New Caprica looked like a united effort, it's possible that their cooperation was a matter of convenience, and that Col. Tigh, Roslin, and Zarek each see themselves as the key component in the success of the resistance. More intriguing, Tyrol has been set up as a major player in post-occupation politics, something akin to the Communist Party, who would claim to be unrelenting opposition not just to the occupation, but to the corrupt political forces that pre-existed the occupation (Baltar, namely).

Resistance was a powerful force that freed the human race. Or was it? This is another area where the Vichy analogy can be exploited. The role of the French resistance in liberating France is unclear; military power finally broke the Nazi hold on state and society. Similarly, freedom for humanity appears to be unthinkable without the Galactica and Pegasus. Could Adama become De Gaulle? The scene in the landing bay shows the emergence of a hero who seems super-political, to whom humans will look to save them from their own machinations. Who knows: maybe the Fifth Republic will make an appearance as well.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger air said...

Doesn't look like it's over yet to me. Next episode appears to cover how to deal with the collaborators. Good stuff ;)


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