Now *That*’s a Baltar I can believe in! (The Starlost, Episode 3)

Episode Three finally grants us the John Collicos we’ve been waiting for. He plays a smarmy evil guy, which I know is a stretch for this actor.
Arriving in Omicron (a dome to which they got directed by the frozen guy), our heroes get captured by guards, who totally freak when they discover Rachel’s boobs: this is a society that did away with women centuries ago during a great catastrophe, and have had to subsist on artificial gestation ever since.
John Collicos, the local despot, explains that everyone thinks Rachel is the reincarnation of their goddess, and while he’s far too canny to buy into that, he does realize that it would be excellent political capital if he married her, especially since he’s a tyrant in the old-school sense of the word: he’s only allowed to rule so long as he kills anyone who challenges him to single combat (hint hint).
Unfortunately for Devon, what few books weren’t burned are now strictly limited to the local priestly caste, who won’t let them read, even though they do let him and Garth hide in their temple.
John Collicos makes his plans to marry Rachel. He quite likes this talk of “love” that she keeps going on about, but he wishes she wouldn’t say it around other people, what with it being a scary alien concept to their all male society.
The Original Baltar also has a weird homoerotic moment with the head priest when he says “A man who spends part of each day on his knees can’t be all bad.”
Though the priest has forbidden them to see the holy texts, one of the lesser priests can’t help showing off some of the work he’s done interpreting the writings, which makes Devon and Garth realize that a bunch of dense technical writing is sufficiently mystifying to a couple of Space Amish that even if they did get to study them.
The head priest manages to negotiate with Quinn The Renegade Alien to have Devon and Garth exiled instead of executed, but in return, he agrees not to prevent the marriage.
Collicos makes some smarmy stabs at convincing Rachel that he’s in love and can become a good person with the love of a good woman. She points out that she would totally challenge him for the throne if she were a man, and Collicos weirdly replies that she would be the man he feared most.
Fortunately, Devon and Garth storm in, having convinced the palace guard that their beloved governor is forcing the goddess into marriage. Unfortunately, John Collicos’s creepy homoerotic posing and shouting makes the captain of the guard wet ’em, and when they back down, Devon does the thing they’ve been telegraphing all episode in addition to showing in the pre-title teaser: he challenges John Collicos to single combat for rulership of Omicron. John Collicos is compelled by local law to accept, and they fight using the traditional Vulcan Omicron stick-with-weighted-ends weapons while the Kirk vs Spock Fight Music Starlost Fight Music plays.
Devon gets totally owned, because he is a simple farmer, while John Collicos is the tyrrant who rules by force, but then he for no clear reason just turns around and sort of grunts a bit, and Devon takes this opportunity to hit him in the head.
Under the code, Devon may now kill John Collicos by cutting his head off… With… The… Weighted… Stick. But, of course, Devon is a TV hero, and refuses to kill him, instead letting Collicos live, shamed by his defeat.
Instead of the governorship, Devon asks to see the writings and be allowed to leave in peace. John Collicos points out that he is entirely untrustworthy and will not keep to this agreement. But as he’s just been publicly shamed and shown to be entirely vincible, he’s probably going to be busy fighting off every Johnny-Come-Lately who wants to kill him.
The ancient writings turn out to be entirely indecipherable, but when Garth mentions the Ark, the priests remember some ancient legends they have about avoiding a firey demise by going to the nether-regions of the Ark. Devon, who has read the script, concludes that this indicates the existence of an auxilliary bridge, presumably in the ship’s ladyparts.
John Collicos, having reasserted his dominance, shows up to capture the heroes just as they make good their escape, but then for some reason lets them go: much to his surprise, he’s found that this whole “Love” thing is not entirely unpleasant, and, knowing that Rachel loves Devon and not him, doesn’t want to force her into marriage any more. Moreover, despite the fact that, logically, he must have just murdered half his palace guard, having been publicly shamed by Devon twice in one day has given him the idea that it might actually be fun to try a new style of governance which isn’t based on killing anyone who disagrees with you. Public shamings might work even better.
Much like the public shaming I feel now for having spent another hour of my life on this show.

2 thoughts on “Now *That*’s a Baltar I can believe in! (The Starlost, Episode 3)

  1. Jimmy

    I started reading your Starlost reviews and have been sitting here laughing away to myself. I recall I used to watch the show religiously in the early 70’s until it fell out of syndication. Lord! I remember thinking this show was fantastic (mind you I was 12). Anyway, love reading your reviews. Well done.

  2. Pingback: Thesis: The Prodigal Son (War of the Worlds 1×15) | A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

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