Battlestar Galactica ‘The Son also Rises’ reaches into the headlines one more time for the beginning of its three-part finale, this time giving us its pastiche of trials for deposed leaders, complete with assassinated attorneys and opinion splitting manifestos. While Baltar remains convinced, along with the rest of us, that a fair trial is not even within the realm of possibility, he finds an interesting ally in Lee Adama, and a shrewd cat-touting attorney named Romo Lampkin.
The episode recalled – as many episodes of Battlestar Galactica do – real-life details from a certain middle eastern conflict, in particular the tale of a certain deposed President. Taking place a few weeks following the devastating loss of Kara ‘Starbuck” Thrace, we get a little bit of the emotional aftermath of that, checking in with Sam as he pines for his fallen love with drunken overtures on the flight deck, to Adama who secretly weeps over Starbuck’s personnel file, to Lee who seems to be struggling with his own moving on, but is further ahead than anyone.
Initially, Adama sr. assigns Apollo to security for Romo when it becomes clear that he is having trouble maintaining his duties as CAG. He is defiant but accepts the mission nonetheless.
He is surprised to learn that Romo is a direct protégé of his Grandfather’s, an infamous Carpica attorney. Romo has methods that are on the fringes of bizarre, including stealing bits of this and that from his competition so he can learn aspects of their personality that he might be able to exploit in the courtroom. As far as actual legal work goes, getting some face time with Caprica Six is first on his mind. Knowing their history he is anticipating a hostile witness, and the statuesque model wrapped cyclone doesn’t disappoint.
Romo doesn’t disappoint either, using some psychological trickery that shows that Cylon’s can be manipulated by a skillful enough manipulator. In this case, Romo’s tactics are a compelling play on Baltar’s sincerity, not a simple ‘Hey Baltar wants you to know he still thinks your hot.’, but a symbolic twist that should be seen to be truly appreciated.
In the end, Lee decides he wants to stay on as Romo’s assistant for the trial while the elder Adama wants him to return to CAG. Lee’s stubbornness wins out and we have the beginnings of what will no doubt be a classic showdown between father and son as the trial kicks off next week.
There isn’t much sense is tell you that the writing for this Battlestar Galactica is fantastic, it always is, the true metal of this episode is in the shifts of character that surround this new man, Romo. Romo is a fascinating presence and you feel his impact on the people who come in contact with him. His actions would be as effective on any high-charged legal drama as they would on Battlestar Galactica, a true testament to how transcendental the themes and drama of the show really is. Battlestar Galactica has never relied on sci-fi thrills to make it interesting, and “The Son Also Rises” is a prime example of that. It would be sad if they did not find a way to bring Romo back after his two-episode stint is complete.