Adama in “Dirty Hands”

Yesterday and today I’ve exchanged some really informative email with some listeners, and it seems to me that I didn’t do a very good job of explaining why I was disappointed with Adama this week. I hope you’ll forgive me — I’ve had some other things on my mind, and you can probably hear that both Audra and I sound a little different than usual in the ‘cast — and give this a read as I try to share with you some of the thoughts I shared in email.

As many have commented and emailed, I totally agree that the Chief was legally out of line for his actions in calling a strike among the hands on Galactica. Whether he’s justified morally in what he did is open to argument — and right now I’m not sure exactly which side of the argument I’d eventually fall on — but there’s no doubt that Adama’s legally justified in pressuring him and even shooting him. I’ve even seen good evidence to support him legally in shooting Callie.

My disappointment didn’t stem from Adama’s reaction at the end of the episode, but from what happened before the strike — and really even before the episode began. I’m diasppointed in him for letting things get as bad as they did, putting those under him in the position of doing what they did — wrong though it was — to get his attention. In the past I’ve seen him inspire those around himto do what they need to do –even if they don’t agree — through strong leadership. He’s always seemed in touch with the ships and people under his command — at least enough to handle problems like this before they come to a head.

My father was a Major in the Air Force — and he was my moral compass. In my experience, he was a good leader, and I often remember his advice when faced with this kind of situation. He told me, “One doesn’t manage people. One manages things. One leads people.”

To me as a child, this meant that even though he had the authority (and the force to back it up) to simply command me to do anything he felt was appropriate, he often chose to explain things to me; specifically, he took the time in situations that weren’t yet critical to offer me the ability to see the nature of his decisions.

For example, rather than telling me “Don’t take your shoes off in the yard,” he’d say, “Son, I wouldn’t take your shoes off in the yard. Your Mom’ll make you wash your feet before you come in.” It wasn’t an order, so he didn’t have to punish me if I didn’t obey. Failing to comply also didn’t injure me — it simply inconvenienced me. Of course, I didn’t always do it, and I ended up having to wash my feet. My father, however, earned additional respect.

When one day my father simply said to me, “Don’t do that,” I didn’t — not just because he could make me –he could –but because I believed in him and respected his position of authority.

While Adama was justified in his reaction at the end, he failed to honor his responsibility as leader of the fleet to 1) pay attention to and correct early situations that might threaten the supply of needed goods such as tyllium and 2)to act in leadership issues before they reach a point where the only solution is to do something so extreme that it will forever damagethe source of his ability to command: respect and trust.

His dismissiveness of the workers’ concerns and subsequent portrayal of them as clueless civilians that don’t understand the importance of what they do doesn’t jive with what we saw: a group of people who work well beyond what’s healthy for them and even began to voluntarily train their children to do their job when they die. Even the “12-year-old” seemed proud to do his job and proud of its importance to the fleet. These are people who will follow when lead.

What’s more, the workers seemed to be concerned less about their own comfort than that the current production schedule could lead to a total loss of the refinery — which would prove far more dangerous to the fleet than a temporary outage. Imagine this ending: Right after Tyrol’s happy-ending meeting with the president, the tyllium refinery ship explodes from damaged equipment or tired-worker-negligence. The Cylons show up. The end.

My father also always said that “accidents” rarely result from a single error, bet rather from a chain of errors. (He was talking about aircraft accidents, but I think it applies to the outcome here, too.) Consider this:

Link 1: We know that the civilian workers had explained this reasonably through appropriate channels for some time, and we saw Adama and the president ignore them. If Rosma (Adamlin?) had taken their concerns seriously and looked into them, they could have determined if a) the workers concerns were valid (and formed a plan to work out the problems to keep tyllium supply coming without risking the refinery) or b) the workers were simply balking because they were tired (and visited them or otherwise lead them to see the importance of their work). Either way, problem averted.

Link 2: When the Chief returned to Galactica after the stoppage and beat the location of the seals out of the two instigators, Adama could have punished the two and sent the Chief back to address the concerns. He would have enforced his orders, yet avoided the nastiness at the end of the episode.

Link 3: In the end he could have threatened the Chief himself — even shot him if necessary — and likely have achieved the same results. I have to admit that I’m with Sean here: my family takes precedence above anything else, including the survival of the human race. Maybe I’m messed up, but it’s true. If Adama had threatened my family, I’d never trust him again. Ever.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that I’m not objecting to Adama’s threat against Callie, but rather that I’m disappointed that he let it come to that. The fleet — and even we as fans — expect more of him. We trust that he’ll take better care of us and spare us that kind of ugliness. It’s a big responsibility — almost too big for any one person to bear.

But as they say in Star Trek: That’s what happens when you sit in the big chair.

35 Responses to "Adama in “Dirty Hands”"
  1. Armando says:

    Woo-hoo! First comment!

    I just had a chance to listen to your podcast today and I think everything you say above comes through. I also completely agree with you. I think Adama was right (but not correct) in threatening Callie. Yet, if I were in Tyrol’s position, I’d feel just as Sean described in the podcast. I don’t care how much I respect or trust someone, if they threaten my family, they have, at the very least, lost that respect almost irrevocably. (And protecting one’s family IS protecting the future of the human race. At least evolutionarily speaking.)

    I do think that both Adama and Roslin (Adamlin! I love it) have become complacent since the exodus from New Caprica. It doesn’t help that they have developed feelings for one another, which confuses the situation. They no longer keep each other in check, as they did in the early days, but seem to reinforce the worst decisions in each other as much, if not more so, than the best. I can’t imagine that this won’t come back to bite them in the posterior.

    While I’m at it, congratulations on the Rolling Stone blurb. I don’t read the magazine but now I’m going to have to look it up. Also, thanks for starting this little fan community. It’s a nice and wonderfully civil, intelligent and thought-provoking little corner of cyber space and I truly enjoy visiting with everyone here.

  2. 13th Cylon says:

    That’s some deep stuff right there!

    Does anyone else think that Adama might have just been playing hard ball? I’m not so sure he would have actually told the marines to kill Cally. That was too big of a risk for the Chief to take, so he had to give in and I think Adama knew that. He’s not a crazy man. Tigh, on the other hand… speaking of which, where did the “craap” thing come from? Was it one of the infamous webisodes? I’ve even caught myself saying “craap” after I say “crap”. lol

    Also that is so awesome about the Rolling Stone thing. Other podcasts beg their listeners to vote for them on iTunes or Yahoo, well this podcast is in the frakin’ Rolling Stone magazine. I remember a few months back BSG was on the cover. It’s funny because they used a picture of Lee in Black Market.

    See over on the left, BSG was on the cover. Ha!

  3. Browncoat Bryan says:

    You know, Armando, you hit on something here. I think the problem is that Blaura Adamalin are too close. There are no longer any checks and balances. Additionally, I think the situation got to the way it was because they have been in the leadership positions for too long. I know I start to slip up when I’m doing the same thing over and over again. As Adama told Dee in “33”, “People die when we make mistakes.”

    Bill and Laura are complacent in their jobs. They’re losing their edge. I don’t think this came out of nowhere. It actually makes sense. You start to take things for granted. You start calling people “knuckle-draggers” and “deck-hands” and then you start to dehumanize them unintentionally. Roslin’s and Adama’s mistake is that they have taken on the role of protective parents instead of President and Fleet Admiral, respectively. Think about the way Roslin acted in the beginning of the episode and compare to how she acted at the end. Roslin in the beginning was a mother who didn’t feel like dealing with her wayward teenager (it’s actually somewhat reminiscent of her role in “Donnie Darko”… but I digress). “Nope, I’ve heard enough. Go to your room!!!” But when she heard the Chief out in the end, she was the President again.

    I still have a lot of respect for Adama. I still think he’s a great leader. He just screwed up prior to this episode (in allowing the conditions to get to the way they were). I think he even knew his mistake when he was threatening the Chief. The Chief went to the extreme to get them to listen (just as Helo had to do in “The Woman King”) and Adama had to go further to bring everything back under control. I think you’re right, Chuck, because of his mistake, he could no longer lead in this situation. He had to command in order to get order back on his ship. It’s too bad, but it had to be done. I’ve screwed up a few times in my military career and had to do the same distasteful thing (for those military folks out there… how many of you had played rank poker where lieutenant bars trump enlisted insignia? When you get to that point, you know you’ve failed).

    I guess I can excuse Adama for his actions and even for slipping up on this. Command and leadership is a tiring thing. It’s why the military rotates their personnel through different billets, so complacency won’t set in. But, I don’t like the turn that Roslin is taking. She is becoming more of a dictator and not so benevolent. The thing that I really didn’t like, in addition to how she shut down the dissenting views of the refinery leader and Chief, was how she took the (comic) book pages from Baltar. That smacks of totalitarianism to me. As I’ve said before, I’m left of center, but I would fight a government move to censor Rush Limbaugh’s or Sean Hannity’s radio shows (as much as I despise what they say). I would actually fight for their right to be on the air, because I believe in free speech for all (as long as it’s legal and doesn’t incite violence). I can’t truly advocate free speech until someone I disagree with uses it. Laura “I’m seriously crushing on Bill Adama” Roslin has lost that notion. Perhaps that’s because she is feeling guilt over New Caprica.

  4. Pike says:

    I’m really, REALLY hoping that Laura is on some sort of downward trajectory here. If she is, fine, this all makes sense. If not, WTF?

    Time will tell, I guess.

  5. A. Lo says:

    I think both Adama & Laura acted in ways contrary to their characters in this episode. (Maybe not so much in terms of threatening to shoot Callie – I know we’ve seen Adama capable of outrageous things like handing Tigh a gun and asking Tigh to shoot him) – but more in terms of the general dismissive tone like Chuck was saying. I’m more apt to point the finger at the writing – to me it felt like their actions were more of a contrivance to create the central conflict rather than what we’ve come to know/expect of them. Not that they should always behave in expected/predictable ways, but something about their behavior just seemed really forced IMHO.

  6. Moe says:

    1. I’ve changed my mind about Adama having the authority to shoot Cally. He could have eventually, but not without due process.

    2. The strike instigators were not beaten in custody. He was harming himself because of flashbacks to being in Cylon captivity. IIRC.

    3. One off glitches in personality / leadership or start of a story arc for Bill and Laura? Good question but my quarter would be on the one time event.

  7. Rorlins says:

    I think what’s getting lost here is the difference between a work strike and a mutiny. The strike on the refinery ship got their attention; or would have. They could not force everyone to work at gun point. Period. It wasn’t just a matter of missing seals, it would be a matter of “No. We’re not working”.

    The line got crossed when members of the military joined the “general strike”. They were the ones that were deciding what was “critical” and what was not, and as a deck crew that’s not their call. They don’t know all the goings on in the upper ranks and what the overall strategy or intelligence is. They don’t have access to the specific plans. For all they knew they were keeping a raptor grounded that was going out on some super-secret find Earth mission and their chioce to limit flights to “mission critical only” might have cost them finding home.

    I think that you are right: Adama dropped the ball earlier. But when the chain of command in the military branch is broken down to the point where there is a mutiny (which for intents it was) then you have a real problem. I think Adama, having backed *himself* into corner was in the right at that point. “You cannot have members of the military deciding what orders to follow.”

    I didn’t envy him for being in that position, but I also whole heartedly agree that he screwed up and got himself into a bad bad spot. His leadership led to a mutiny. But that still doesn’t put the mutineers in the right. And Cally wasn’t in danger as Tyrol’s wife; she was the one who told the deck crew to mutiny. For all intents and purposes she was indeed calpable for what befell herself for her own role. She was identified as the one who told the crew “these are the only planes we’re putting in the black today”.

    I too was disappointed by what they let happen early on; but I understood why they acted at the end.

  8. Ray says:

    I definitely agree that the Adama-Roslin alliance are too comfortable being in charge that they’re crossing that line between managing people and leading people. It seems increasingly so that when a problem arises, they stick it in the brig until they get around to dealing with it. It seems that pissing off the President really is a crime these days. And as you guys have pointed out on occasion before, she still hasn’t been elected.

    Maybe they’re having difficulty keeping an eye out for the fleet when they’ve already got eyes firmly trained on each other. This has to cause some problems down the line.

  9. rm8os says:

    The scene when Tyrol is first talking to Adama and Roslin about what he discovered at the refinery, seemed very ironic. Roslin and Adama were rebutting his concerns over the conditions that the workers were living under, basically saying how everyone is suffering so the workers should suck it up. The ironic part is they are saying this while easing back in comfortable digs sipping their wine. Too funny. I though Tyrol was going to call them on it too because there was a moment where he was looking at them and the look on his face made me feel like he was thinking the same thing.

  10. Elspeth says:

    I have yet to listen to the cast, but I wanted to get in a quick comment.

    There was a lot going on in this ep – lots of conflicting viewpoints regarding unions, leadership, classism… All really interesting how BSG was able to sway my sympathies back and forth. Still, I was struck while watching this ep how it related to my/our world today.

    I.E. How many, and how much freedoms and rights do we OR should we have in a time of war?

    For example, I think of the Patriot Act.

    Granted it is again a matter of degree. We are not on the virge of extinction, but still…

  11. Cavatar says:


    I must disagree with Adama having the right to shoot Cally; even in a time of war. My mind might be changed if they were under direct fire, but they have not had an enemy contact in about two months; so I think he was out of line. Also I might point out back in season two; just remember how shocking it was when Fisk told Tigh about the XO Cain shot. There is not much difference.

    Also I had a thought about something that was said in the podcast, when something to the effect was said on how Adama was possibly one of the best Military leaders even before the attack. My thought was, there was no doubt that then Commander Adama stepped up to the challenge placed before him when the attack occurred; but maybe that is exactly what happened. Perhaps Adama is NOT the leader we thought he was. We could be now seeing why after over 4 decades in the fleet he was only a Commander and not something more.

    I also hold to my point, had the chain of command been enforced; much of this does not happen.

    Lastly, I could be wrong; but I got the impression sometime ago they had two refinery ships. Am I wrong?


  12. Rabbit Ritto says:

    I understand your point…up to this point Adama has been very benevolent. In reality he’s been breaking the rules of command left and right. I’ve noticed several incidents of insubordination, gross dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming, assult (the list goes on) that have gone unpunished. I realize that this has been done because the Admiral has to maintain command so he lets a few things slide in order to keep the peace. But ultimately for anyone to have and keep command he has to have the power to make those under him obey and maintain their posts. An example of what I mean is Exodus pt 1 where almost EVERYONE has mustered out and gone down to the planet. Things got too lax…too complacent. Adama began to loose command. He relized this later and began to fix the problem (i.e. his speech after getting pummelled by the Chief in the boxing ring)
    I agree…he should have been on top of this thing. ESPECIALLY with something as critical to fleet survival as the fuel supply. My thinking is that he took a stand just as our government takes a stand against terrorists…we don’t negotiate. By letting this thing be negotiated (skipping the fact that it should have never gotten to this) Adama would have given the green light to everyone else who had a grievence to strike as well and ask for whatever they want. He had to make Tyrol back down…and he knew how to do it….Callie. Was it a low blow?…most definately…but Adama knew that he had to squash this quick before it got worse and he knew Tyrol wouldn’t risk his wife knowing that Adama could do what he was threatening by military law. In the end I think Tyrol knew that…he even said “You won’t do it” but he backs down anyway…why else would he have NOT told Callie what was about to happen…so it could stay just between he and the Admiral.
    These people weren’t asking for anything that couldn’t easily be given. The Chief’s suggestion of crew rotations was a good one. BUT it should extend to all systems….Food production, waste management, maintenance, security, AND command level positions. You never know when something might happen…for example lets say the entire crew of the refinery ship contracts a virus that is fatal in 24 hrs with no cure. In short order you are out of people who know how to even run the machinery and you’re dead in the water and a sitting duck. In such a small society as they have EVERYONE should be cross trained. That way you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. And in doing may find someone who has a talent for the job or a new idea that could improve or speed up the process.

  13. Rorlins says:

    Why does everyone assume that Cally was targeted only as Tyrol’s wife? She was the one who relayed the chief’s general strike order to the deck crew. She was the one who said, directly, “guys nothing but the CAP goes up today”.

    If she had been sitting quietly in her bunk, and had no part in the mutiny then involving her would have been very different. Instead she was a very active participant. Was the fact that she was also his wife a factor? Sure. But if the chief had been thinking, he would have told her to take the day off and let someone else “be the leader” so that both of them didn’t end up in hot water. When push came to shove then it would be up to Adama to involve someone’s wife, not a fellow mutineer.

  14. Jaelstruth says:

    After listening to your podcast, I found myself watching season one. I have to disagree about either Bill or Laura acting out of character. Adama was willing to perform a military coup over a simple challenge to his ability to make the decisions regarding a military asset, never mind there was no agreement with the civilians this was to be a military asset. Adama has shown that when challenged, he will do ANYTHING that suits him to put down the challenge. His better nature is ONLY displayed when he feels confident. Granted, the show would be better if it were about the challenges bringing out the best in all of us but the writing is stuck in the current earth-based thinking of shoot first, ask questions later. Likewise, I have yet to see Laura hesitate to act in her own interest on anything and finding a weakness in Bill’s chain-of-command is not unique to this episode.

    Sadly, I’m beginning to believe that both Bill and Laura are just flip sides of the same coin as Gaius Baltar. All three are very self-serving and all three only ACCIDENTALLY help the human race survive. There’s no vision among the three of them except to help themselves. In Bill’s case, this means running a tight ship, leading people or commanding people, is only a peripheral consideration when he’s not being pressed. In Laura’s case, when she’s not dealing with her God complex (truly comparable to the boxed Cylon) that demands she get her way, she might do something to help others. Gaius, on the other hand, is always focused on how to help Gaius but his genius just happens to have some positive side effects for others to which Gaius never puts his mind to preventing.

    Assuming there isn’t some turn-around in Blaura’s behaviors, Gaius will ultimately have to get let out of serving any sentence for his crimes because they’ll run up against some scripture that will essentially say, let those without sin cast the first stone. Wish that Adama and Roslin had been written more like you suggested with vision, compassion and real leadership. Maybe this show is starting to become about what we do when leadership fails us.

  15. Babs says:

    I believe Roslin is at a disadvantage without Billy. She still feels his loss very much, and while Tori is capable, she doesn’t share that human ‘connect’ that Billy did. He was like a son to Roslin, and his loss was felt as deeply. He stood up to her when his beliefs differed. He was a moral reminder and unafraid to show it. A respected voice of dissent.

    Tori fixes elections. Billy would never have done that. To Roslin, Billy was the human face of the people. Roslin has lost her way without Billy’s sense of honor to balance her.

    I believe Adama was making a hard point with Tyrol, though I agree it shouldn’t have had to get that far. Tyrol is a military man. He understood most of what Adama was doing and why. He saw the bigger picture. He recognized the position Adama was in. He did the right thing. His fib to Callie may come back to bite him in the butt- and this is Galactica, so that seems inevitable.

    Tyrol’s surprise at his new duty to represent the workers displayed the sense of humility a true Representative needs to do the job right. It’s basically a Cabinet level position.

    Roslin and Adama are human beings. The responsibility of their respective positions is immense. Given what they have both been through, I’m not surprised at the clouded judgement. Too often the easier road is the wrong one. Look what Baltar did with it. I do not excuse them, I expect better from them. Roslin has seen what power in the wrong hands can do, and I’ll bet she’s terrified at what can happen again. She needs someone to help her loosen her grip so the people don’t slip away. Right now, that’s the Chief.

    There will never be another Billy…sigh.

  16. Browncoat Bryan says:

    Amen, Babs.

  17. Luc says:

    I like that they are willing to present every character on the show as flawed, even the leaders.

    These people are coping in an incredibly bad situation. They occasionaly make bad calls, even Adama (ex: leving behind part of the fleet then reconsidering during the Kobol arc). But you know their intentions are good, they are battling their demons. It makes them more human, more real. Adds to the dramatic value.

  18. Dan, the Lord of Kobol says:

    I agree, Chuck. Adama should have seen the problem with the Refinery Ship coming and acted before it became too late.

    However, I don’t necessarily think it’s entirely Bill’s fault. Yes, he should have done something about it as soon as Chief said something about worker malcontent, but let’s not forget that civil matters like labour and fuel production fall into the jurisdiction and responsibility of Schitzo Roslin. So, if anything, I’d say the Refinery-Labour aspect of the episode is mostly Roslin’s fault. It also explains why Bill didn’t do anything about the Refinery Ship initially – I think he felt it would be over stepping his bounds to act on it.

    As for Adama’s behavior, I can sort of see where you’re coming from. It’s out-of-character that he didn’t *convince* Chief to call off the stoppage as much as he *forced him* to. It shows a distinct lack of the usual charismatic leadership-type qualities that Adama usually has.

    But I can see why Adama acted the way he did. I think ever since New Caprica, Adama’s sense of responsibility for the human race has really been bearing down on him, moreso than it was before New Caprica – there’s reference to it in Hero, AMOS, Unfinished Business, Day in the Life, Dirty Hands. Adama knew how damaging the work stoppage on Galactica could be and that it might spell the end of the human race if the Cylons attacked, so he overreacted based on his sense of responsibility for the survival of humankind.

  19. The 13th Cylon says:

    Yeah, it’s clear that Adama has been changed as much as anyone else (right up there with Tigh, even though he seems to be back to his old self) since “New Craaprica”. I’m going to go ahead and claim that one if it catches on lol.

    And Audra mentioned we have a 9 month break, well I’ve got us a new song! Lately I’ve been in a Bowie phase and the first song from “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” goes something like “We’ve got 5 years…” and there’s all this chaos at the end of the song. Well we’ve got 9 months…

  20. Baltar The Great says:

    you make a lot of excellent points chuck. I agree that Adama has dropped down a few pegs because of his actions this past episode. I understand that preserving the human race is priority one, but some his actions say otherwise. I think Laura was behaving rather irrationally, but then suddenly agrees with the chief at the end of the episode. I really don’t know what to think of Adama and Laura. Baltar, however, has become my new hero.

  21. Poe says:

    After listening to your podcast, I have to say, I disagree with just about everything you said. For starters: Bill and Laura were completely acting within their characters, particularly since the exodus from New Caprica. Most of the reasons have been stated already but let us not forget that in Season 1 Adama simply ended an investigation because he didn’t like how it was going and Laura, regardless of how many people seem to have liked this moment, airlocked a POW without trial or due process. And while I understand your disappointment with Adama in that he let the situation get that far, I think it ignores one of the major points of the episode – that neither Adama nor Roslin have the capacity to view the situation outside of Caprican privilege, that is until they are forced to.

    On a different note, you made the statement that people in the fleet need something to look to so that they don’t give up. I’ve heard this complaint levied on BSG and other shows by various sources and it never ceases to infuriate me. The argument reeks of a sort of passive ethnocentrism. The fact is that most people in the world live with little or no opportunities for upward mobility and yet those people never give up. In fact, if you look at suicide as the ultimate act of, “giving up,” then the poor and downtrodden of society are statistically less likely to do so. Human beings keep going, no matter the adverse conditions they face because that’s what human beings do.

  22. Chuck says:

    Poe: Thanks for commenting, and your points are well taken. For what it’s worth, I’d agree that Bill and Laura have changed significantly since Caprica, in some very significant ways. Adama seems to have lost some of his connection with his people, and Roslin seems to have become a bit drunk with her returned power — a power which I’d imagine isn’t going to last forever if she keeps using it the way she has.

    I also agree that both of them — but Roslin especially — was having trouble seeing beyond Caprican privilege, and of course this was one of the themes of the episode. That kind of theme is a big reason I fell in love with BSG in the first place: they love to make us think about real issues, but in a much less “green people vs. blue people” way than Star Trek. When the Chief exposed the issue, it did resonate, and Audra, Sean, and I found ourselves thinking, “Wow, we’ve seen this since the beginning!” — which is doubly cool considering that this episode was written far after those.

    Maybe Bill and Laura each represent the pinnacle of personality change on each side of the New Caprica “adventure” — Bill representing the “we almost lost the fleet and have to be the uber-military to protect them” feelings of those who were fleetside and Roslin representing the “no one who wasn’t there understands how bad it was on New Caprica and things are all different now” feelings of those on the planet.

    Regarding the need for the hope of something better, I never intended to suggest that the people in the fleet aren’t capable of generating that hope on their own; in fact, I’d say they’ve been doing that for some time. That doesn’t however, relieve their leaders of the responsibility of giving them something to hope for. Everyone needs hope, and though we can provide some of it ourselves, we need an injection of it from outside from time to time as well.

    But you’re absolutely correct — if anyone in the fleet has proven their ability to hang on in the face of adversity, it’s the downtrodden civvies in the fleet, as we saw this week.

    Again, it’s good to hear your thoughts.

  23. Travis says:

    Adama and the President knew they were wrong. That’s why they eventually took the Chief and the Union seriously. But, the Chief went about getting them to notice thier error in te wrong way. Tyllium is as important to the fleet as oxygen is to an individual human. what the ore ship folks did was the equivalent of strangling a person until the person caved in to their demands. That’s extortion at best, and terrorism at worst. Adamlin (I like that) did the absolute right thing by not negotiating from a position of weakness.

  24. Armando says:

    I’m sorry, Travis, but “terrorism?” Let’s not forget our Karl Marx: the workers control the means of production. 😉

  25. Poe says:

    Travis: I have to say that I’m frightened by the prospect of a universe in which workers don’t have the power to not work if conditions are substandard. The only power that workers have is the ability to not work at all. Take that away from them and you literally and figuratively get drones in their stead.

    Chuck: In a somewhat ironic twist, while I don’t think that human beings actually need hope, I do think that we as viewers need to see these characters have some semblance of hope in order to fully identify with them. However, many people in this world go through their existence doing one job that was passed on to them by their parents and will be passed by them to their children. Is this to say that these people live without hope? No, but I do think that hope, at least in so far in the context we are discussing it, doesn’t exist for them. I could be very wrong.

    I really do feel that you’re spot-on when you say that Roslin has let the power get to her head somewhat (though I would argue that this has been the case since the mini-series). Let’s just call a spade here; this is a character who not only has never been actually properly elected, but when faced with defeat due to her own political shortcomings was fully prepared to steal an election. This is the height of arrogance. It does make me wonder, while I have no doubt her feelings for Adama are in some way genuine, how much the flirtation with Adama is so she can have any legally suspect act she wants rubber stamped?

  26. 13th Cylon says:

    I happened to be thinking about her defending the teachers when Adar wanted to shoot them for striking as I was listening to RDM’s podcast today. It’s kind of an ironic parallel to “Dirty Hands”.

    Poe- I don’t think Roslin is into Adama for her own gains. If anything, I think that they have the most genuine relationship of any two people on the show because they like to hang out. Most of the other ones involve frakking, alcohol, and more frakking. I’m not sure if it was this podcast or RDM’s, but in some ways the other person is the only peer either has.

    Roslin’s antics lately can be attributed to being around Tory instead of Billy. I mean, you’d go crazy too if the person you’re around most had a claim to fame of “almost winning a rigged election”. Frakkin’ Geata and his Jheri curls!

  27. Writch says:

    Ooops. I posted my Tory-as-Cylon post on the “Podcast #31” thread and not here as intended.

    Please jump over there to have a read, since its more relevant here and I shouldn’t multi-post.


  28. Lt. Slingshot says:

    I understand many people’s feelings over the actions of Adama last week as being a bit out of character. I felt them myself. The command versus lead comparison is a fair one. You can certainly make the argument that the Admiral didn’t handle things the best way and may have even made things worse but as a commanding officer the moment your crew stops following your orders you are required to correct that. Chief doesn’t get a pass here. Imagine the reaction of a CO of an aircraft carrier in the Gulf being informed that his deck crew had decided the war was immoral and they would only provide maintenance for the F-18s that flew CAP? Every one of them would be sitting in Leavenworth right now with life sentences. Adama at least had the humanity and pragmatism to give Chief the access to the president once he backed down and return him to duty. He still had every right to line up everyone who disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer and put a bullet in their head. RDM said in his podcast this was the one episode that he really did inject his politics because he supports unions but within that framework I never thought the characters strayed too much from what we know. RDM made his union point with the civilians but I’m also perfectly fine with a strong reminder that these are military people that don’t get to pick what orders they want to follow.

  29. Armando says:

    I just watched the three episode tryptich of “Pegasus” and “Resurrection Ship I and II” last night and it brought this question to mind. It seems that Adama is acting no differently than when Admiral Cain summarily executed her XO for refusing an order to attack a Cylon position after the attack on the colonies. Yet when Cain was said to have done this, we were meant to think of her as a menace and perhaps even insane. When Adama threatens to execute Cally in order to break the work stoppage aboard Galactica, is he not acting in the same way?

  30. Lt. Slingshot says:

    The exchange between Tigh and Fisk was definitely meant by the writers to help paint her that way but that was never the reason I had a problem with Cain. Most of the things she did including shooting her XO, torturing a prisoner and sentencing Chief and Helo to death could all be justified by the military code of the Colonies as it has been explained to us. Harsh? Definitely but legal. The only truly reprehensible act that she did was stripping the civilian ships of parts (weapons and FTL) and leaving them for the Cylons. There’s even a difference between the conscription into military service Cain did while leaving family members behind and what Roslin did with the worker lottery. At least the people in the fleet still have a chance to live another day. Think about that deleted scene with Helo when he wanted to confess. Adama asked him if really want to have the conversation because he would be charged with treason, court-martialed and probably face a firing squad.

  31. 13th Cylon says:

    Hey, if Adama was more like Cain, we’d me without Helo! lol

  32. Elspeth says:

    I finally got a chance to listen to the cast. (House renovations always take 3 times as long as you think). The cast was wonderful as always.

    In effect, Adama does have almost all the power. If he were Cain (as a few other posts have pointed out), there really wouldn’t be much preventing him from just popping away from the rest of the fleet. Or using that as a threat. We know that they need tillium and algae, but isn’t the Galactica mostly self-sufficient?

    Wouldn’t it be interesting that if a ship of the fleet revolted, you threated them with being out on their own. Kinda like scorning a lover. You and the rest of the fleet could get new coordinates, pop away and leave the misbehaving ship behind. They prob would not be breaking any real laws – because we don’t know who’s laws to follow. Or next radation cloud you could lose a few “problem” ships along the way.

    Adama IS mostly honorable. Adama is a military man, he is used to getting orders. Rosalin wasn’t the only one who was bumped really far up the food chain with the destruction of the colonies.

    I think Adama is in a lot of ways stuck, between the role he used to play and the role he has now as almost a co-president.

    I really do think that the episode seemed to write our two leaders too unevenly, too extreeme, but these two (Adama and Rosalin) were in essence thrust into leadership positions from middle management. Adama has not found the balance. I dare say neither has Rosalin.

    Additionally, I just want to mention (maybe should be in the other thread?) that I really shiver at the idea of the caste system, because that is what we are really talking about here with jobs passed from parent to child.

  33. sacotex says:

    I think that the issues raised in “Dirty Hands” was less of a moral argument on Adama or Roslin’s part, but of the issue of maintaining the integrity of the military in the fleet. THere is a decided difference between the environment onbaord galactica versus that of the rest of the civilian fleet. Was Adama showing an uncharacteristic harshness in his actions? Personally I believe that he was, but I feel it was in response to the degradation of the military personnel left on New Caprica. In “Unfinished Business” we see Adama beginning to remind his crew of what their purpose is, to protect the civilian fleet, in his fight with Tyrol. Shooting Callie in the head may have been a drastic step, but ordering the deck crew to stand down could indeed be mutiny. On the civilian side of things, a labor union is a necessary step to protecting workers in a large industry environment. The workers were being taken advantage of. The issue was that simple. Tyrol is a dynamic character in that he can bridge the military/civilian gap, but the divide between the two must remain. The military cannot go on strike.

  34. storyknife says:

    I don’t have TV or cable so I’ve been downloading and watching on my iPod, and I just discovered the Watercooler. You people talk like I think, I’m so happy I found you.

    Okay, enough with the best butter–

    Adama doesn’t have the luxury of caring for Callie, or for any one human being. In the BSG reality there are 41,000 human beings left in all of the universe, every one of them depending on Adama’s ability to lead them to safety. Tyrel was wrong to go on strike. However long it took, and yes, however many 12-year olds were mangled and even died, he should have continued to represent his concerns about the refinery until he got Adama and Roslin to listen and act.

    Adama’s threat to shoot Callie got Tyrel’s absolute attention and immediate obedience. It was brutal and effective. It stopped the strike and the refinery went back to work producing the fuel necessary to protect those 41,000 humans, which is Adama’s only moral imperative. Touchy-feely doesn’t cut it in a leader, you have to be able to make the hard and sometimes no-win decisions when peoples’ lives, and in this case the future of an entire race are on the line.

    And even then, Adama doesn’t courtmartial Tyrel for mutiny, which he would be perfectly justified in doing. He let’s him go present his case to Roslin. And Roslin, almost certainly because Adama asked her to (okay, off camera, but given her previous attitude I think a reasonable assumption) listens. I think that was an implicit acknowledgement that Adama let this situation spiral way out of control, and his way of making amends for it.

    So you know, my father was a union man, and I studied the Wobblies in college. In a stable, viable community where capitalism has run roughshod over the worker, it is the worker’s right and I may say duty to protest to better their station and to provide for their families. But the Colonial fleet isn’t a stable, viable community, it’s the merest scrap of a race hanging on by its fingernails. Remember when Adama sacrificed the ship that had the beacon on it that the Cylons were using to chase the fleet? How many people were on board?

    The only thing I didn’t like about this episode is that it was too short. I’d like to have seen this made into a multiple episode, even season long arc, and more.

    Off topic, I have a question that’s been nagging at me since the beginning of the series. Assuming it’s there, is the fleet going to lead the Cylons straight to Earth? I’m thinking Earth isn’t going to be all that overjoyed to see them with the Cylons breathing down their necks.

  35. Cameron says:


    I have served most of my young adult life in the Army Reserve and 9 years on active duty. I have ben an enlisted soldier on the “gun line” humping 99lbs rounds and understand what it means to get the sh#*t jobs. As I an officer, I have lead teams in combat while deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. I say all this because you are just wrong!

    Admiral Adama was not only right and justified to kill Calli, I would have ordered it too. There is a fine line between order and chaos and the Chief and Calli crossed. I would have shot Calli not because she is the Chief’s wife, but she was an instigator of the strike on the Battlestar.

    If I have to kill one person in order to prevent chaos on the ship I will do it. Panic and chao are contageous and it can spread quickly. An officer’s job is to maintain order at all cost. That is his or her moral compass. Anything less than that would beimmoral.

    And your comment that he should have never let it get to this point. Maybe? President Clinton should have gotten an UN resolution before starting the Kosovo War in 1999 so President Bush would not have the precendent to go to war with Iraq in 2003… mmmmm… Like Adama, I don’t look back and stew on what should happen, I deal with what happened. and, Adama did.

    Finally, what your dad said is true. What Adama did do was lead!

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