Pity poor Felix Gaeta. First, he followed his long-time unrequited (probably) crush on Gaius Baltar right into Baltar’s decadent and ultimately disastrous reign as President on New Caprica. Then, despite the fact that he was a key figure in giving the Resistance crucial information, he is nearly airlocked by a Tigh-led outlaw tribunal for being a traitor. Finally, in the midst of an unsuccessful mutiny against a seemingly crazy Starbuck, who is leading a fat-chance recon mission to find a clue to Earth, he is shot in the leg by Samuel T. Anders, and eventually gets it amputated.
But worse than all of that? He’s the central figure in the latest series of Battlestar Galactica webisodes, entitled "The Face of The Enemy," which are designed to get us all het up for the new season. As if we weren’t already. Hey Sci-Fi? Instead of Webisodes, howz about releasing the DVD of Season 4.0 earlier, so that we can get caught up in a reasonable fashion?
Webisode 1: It’s nine days after the discovery of Earth, and a throughly fracked-up-looking Gaeta is in a shuttle going through a series of flashbacks that land us to three days earlier aboard the Galactica. Which seems to be normal and calm and just hanging out with the rest of the fleet, presumably still in orbit around Earth.
OK. Wait a second. This takes place nearly a week after the discovery that the place that they’ve pinned all of their hopes and dreams on is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and yet, they’re just sitting there doing nothing? This shit is why standalone episodes make me crazy. I don’t really care about this; I care about whatever it is that they’re going to do next about Earth and The Cylons and the Future of Humanity. I don’t really care about poor Felix Gaeta’s problems in and of themselves. And not just because it’s Gaeta. I didn’t really care that Lee Adama killed some dude over the honor of a hooker he was banging because she reminded him of a dead girlfriend, either.
It’s why the X-Files always made me crazy: it always seemed like the episodes after they found some definitive proof of aliens and a deep government conspiracy, Scully and Mulder would be chasing ghosts. And I’d always shout at the TV, "why are you chasing ghosts when there are fucking aliens out there! Aliens!!"
Right. In any event, this is what the "Face of the Enemy" webisodes are about: ladling even more shit upon the head of Felix Gaeta, who is currently in the CIC of the Galactica, and Col. Tigh is informing him that they need to propel this particular story arc by sending him off to another ship for much, much, much needed R&R. A full week’s worth, as a matter of fact, which means that despite the fact that Earth is a hellhole, and they have no plan, and there are still Cylons out there who want to destroy humanity — or at least give it a stern talking to — they can afford to send a valuable crew member for a week’s R & R. Imagine somebody getting R&R during "33."
This is also a huge red flag: in all of the history of Sci-Fi, has there ever been "much needed R&R" that has ever gone remotely well? Where the person comes back tanned, rested, laid, and ready for duty? Maybe Riker, once. Maybe.
And Gaeta should know this, but instead of saying "Sorry, Col., but these mandatory R&R things never go well," he trundles out of CIC with his artificial leg and crutches, only to be stopped by his boyfriend, who is in the process of enabling him with a few hits of yummy yummy Morpha. Suddenly, the R&R is looking up! What could possibly go wrong?
How about this: the Shuttle he’s sharing with a deckhand, a couple of Sharon skin-jobs and a pair of pilots is caught up in an emergency jump situation, and naturally, the coordinates for their jump are all wrong, and they’re marooned somewhere in space. Who would have seen that coming?
Webisode 2: While the shuttle crew takes stock of their situation; realizes that it was an accident and their main problem is that they’re going to run out of air soon, back on Galactica, Gaeta’s boyfriend — Communications Officer Louis Hoshi (no doubt named as a shout-out to the late, unlamented Enterprise) begs Tigh for a raptor for a search & rescue mission. Tigh says he’ll run it by Adama, who is of course, wayyyy too smart to be found in any of the webisodes.
Webisode 3: Back on the shuttle, one of the Sharons reveals to Gaeta that she was his accomplice while he was trying to play Schindler during the occupation — you see a quick flashback of him giving her a list of names — and the other Sharon is electrocuted while trying to fix something or other underneath the control panel.
Webisode 4: Naturally, foul play is suspected, since it’s determined that the pliers dead Sharon was using had no insulation, and as they bury her in space, the other Sharon comes up to Gaeta and says, "I’ll bet this isn’t what you envisioned when Tigh reminded you to always split Eights." Or maybe she told him that she had a plan for getting them back to the Fleet, and that he should trust her. Just as he trusted her during the flashback.
Webisode 5: After a quick, oxygen-starved nap, Gaeta realizes that he’s got a stash of yummy, yummy Morpha, and shoots up. Slice, bleed, sigh. That’s the ticket! Except that it triggers another New Caprica flashback. Seriously, why take that powerful of a drug if it’s just going to send you back to one of the worst periods of your entire life? Must not be the really really good stuff.
In any event, back on New Caprica things aren’t going so well with Gaeta’s List, and the New Caprica Sharon is in tears, and then smooching on Mr. Gaeta. Because it’s always good to out a character, and then say, "hey, about that whole gay thing? We were just kidding!" Or maybe, we can give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was kissing her because he wanted to continue using her to save his people and he thought that’s what she wanted at the time.
It would be ironic if Mr. Gaeta ended up sleeping with her, while the Sharons still haven’t made Baltar’s list of "Sexy Killer Robots That I’ve Banged."
But we ain’t going to find out right now, because he’s dragged out of the flashback by the Sharon, who informs him that she’d like to revisit a plot point from an earlier season, and interface with the computer, er, directly. Except the before they can do anything, it’s discovered that the deckhand has overdosed on Mr. Gaeta’s yummy yummy Morpha. Before Gaeta can make a calculation on how much that leaves him with, the Sharon is tied up by the pilots.
Webisode 6: Remember the search & rescue mission that Hoshi begged Tigh to let him go on? He’s corralled Racetrack to go with him, and it’s not going so well. That’s because they have no idea of where they’re looking, which means automatically that they are going to stumble across the shuttle eventually. Because space isn’t, you know, infinite.
Anyways, remember how the Sharon was tied up? She’s not so much any more, which means it’s time to draw a parallel with Felix shooting junk by showing the insertion of a fiber optic cable right into her hand. Slice, bleed, insert! See, it gets her off just like the yummy yummy Morpha.
Which, yup, flashes her back to the smooch on New Caprica, which dissolves into a kiss right there on the shuttle, even after Felix says he "has somebody." Such is the awesome power of the Sexy Killer Robots! Or maybe it’s the awesome power of unrealistic, made-up plot points, I’m not sure. Speaking of which, the shuttle smooch is interupted by the Sharon announcing that everything is fine, she’s found the fleet.
Which is weird, because there are still 4 webisodes left to go. You’d think that they’d stretch it out some. Guess not.
Webisode 7: A quick shot of Hoshi & Racetrack are still doing the impossible odds search & rescue, just so you aren’t surprised when — I mean, if — they find the shuttle. If. Just like the chick whispers during the post-webisodes Sci-Fi bumper.
Meanwhile, Gaeta & the Sharon are jumping the shuttle to no avail. And, oh by the way, the throats of the two shuttle pilots have been slit. So now it’s just Gaeta and the Sharon. Gaeta is furiously trying to remember the rules for Crazy Eights.
Webisode 8: It’s that time on the search & rescue mission where Hoshi comes to the realization that the whole thing is utterly futile, so they decide to give up and go home. So you know what that means!
Felix is getting his ass kicked in Crazy Eights: not only does the Sharon tell him that she killed the other people on the shuttle, she — oh yeah — used his New Caprica list not as names of people to save, but rather people to kill! D’oh! What would Stephen Spielberg think?
Webisode 9: Slowly and sadistically, the Sharon reveals how much she lied to him on New Caprica, and then gives him the face (and sexuality)-saving "I didn’t seduce you; hope seduced you. And the more you ate of it, the less you saw." At this point, "The Face of The Enemy" finally runs right off of the rails for me. The Sharon is ranting about war strategy; Gaeta is whining about trusting her and then, suddenly there are flashbacks to when he confronted Baltar in his cell and stabbed him.
Not helping: Grace Park’s flat, affectless line readings, like she had lost everything that she’s learned about acting since the Miniseries.
This really confused me the first few times I watched it, so I actually had to look this up on the Battlestar Wiki to figure out what was going on: the point is that Baltar knew about Gaeta’s list, and when Baltar let Gaeta know that he knew, it triggered Gaeta’s attack on Baltar. Remember when we were all wondering about that? No? Not really?
Um . . .OK. Meanwhile, the flashback to the attack on Baltar quick-cuts into a much more successful attack on the Sharon. Slice, bleed, die!
Webisode 10: Everybody on the shuttle is dead but poor Felix Gaeta. Who is running out of air. And yummy, yummy Morpha, to boot. Luckily, there’s two more shots, so barkeep, make it a double! Except, that at the last moment, he holds off on the second shot and goes back to his singing. For that, he sees the white light of Heaven, and thinks — wait a second maybe the Cylon concept of God is right!
Except, of course, it’s the search and rescue raptor. It’s a twist! Because they told us that they were going to give up searching! And yet they found him! Who knew that was going to happen? Oh, right. Everybody.
Back aboard CIC, Tigh says this about Gaeta coming back by himself with 5 of his crewmates having been brutally murdered: "Strange things happen when you’re away from the fleet like that. I wouldn’t even trust your own memories on this."
Like, for example, when at the end of Season 4, the entire Fleet jumped away and left Adama all alone, waiting for the Rebel baseship to show up at the predesignated coordinates. You know what strange thing happened? He got caught up on his reading. Oooh, scary.
Luckily since Gaeta is human, no consequences! However, he really really really doesn’t trust Cylons anymore. Which makes sense, considering that they constantly betray him, or shoot him, or — worst of all — send him off for some R&R.
And — in the entire thing that you need to know about the webisode: he now has some kind of plan that might jeopardize the entire Human-Cylon alliance. So maybe we shouldn’t pity Felix Gaeta that much after all.