Battlestar Galactica: Baltar's Messiah Complex
Battlestar Galactica: Baltar's Messiah Complex
Religion has always been an important underlying theme within the universe of Battlestar Galactica.  The monotheistic beliefs of the Cylons have clashed with the polytheistic views of the humans since the very first episode of the series.  Though religion has always played a big role in the lives of the characters, their beliefs have often taken a back seat to the sci-fi storytelling.  The story arcs involving Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Number Six address the topic more overtly, but outside of those two characters, the series has mostly kept religion in the background.

All of that has changed now that the show is in its fourth and final season.  Number Six is now intent on spreading the word of the One True God throughout the Galactica, and she's using Gaius Baltar to do it.  Is the show making a mistake by moving the religious subtext to the forefront?

There's no doubt about it: Baltar has become a messiah in the span of four episodes.  We knew that he had some supporters and followers last season, but we had no idea that he had an entire cult ready to fawn over his every word.  We were introduced to his followers in the season premiere, and since then we've watched Six encourage Baltar (James Callis) to become their very own version of Jesus Christ.  He's determined to spread the gospel, even if it means getting beaten, bloodied, and chastised by the political power players.  If things continue on this route, Baltar will be crucified in the season finale, and any semblance of a metaphor will be long gone.

While Baltar as a messiah has come along a bit too quickly for my tastes, it certainly fits in perfectly with his character arc.  We've known for years that Six (Tricia Helfer) had something monumentally important planned for Gaius, and it seems like this is the beginning of his final rise to power.  If he has the charisma to influence the humans to believe in the One True God, it could easily work in the Cylons' favor.  What happens if more people aboard the Galactica start believing Baltar instead of Adama (Edward James Olmos) or Roslin?  It could be just the thing the Cylons need to turn the tide of war in their favor.

While I'm interested to see where this storyline goes, I think the Battlestar Galactica writers need to err on the side of subtlety.  The show is fantastic at creating storylines that act as perfect metaphors for real world events, and the reason they're so effective is because they're never too obvious.  You may think to yourself, "Hey, that's similar to the U.S. invading Iraq," but the show never beats you over the head with the parallels. The similarities between Baltar and Jesus are getting obvious to the point of being distracting, and being distracted simply isn't acceptable when I'm watching one of the best shows on television.

- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel)

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