Battlestar Galactica’s minor stars: Jammer

Treacherous. Reactionary. Dead. The best characters always die young on Galactica...

Jammer

I suspect the writers of Battlestar intended the most fun characters to be the pilots. Hotheaded and always up for putting their lives on the line for a bit of gung-ho action, they’re the characters to love, right?

Well, try and think your way across them. Starbuck is only fun when she’s away from the vipers. Helo and Apollo could bore the Cylons to death. It was a bit of a relief when gobby Kat died. And ex-deckhand Seelix has got gradually more self-important since she got into pilot school.

Seelix would have been best off staying where she was, as the best characters are really the deckhands. You suspect that the entire fleet would fall apart if it wasn’t for the Chief. That goes for most of the knuckledraggers, actually; while the pilots have landed, whooped a bit and gone off to play with awkwardly-shaped cards, they will still be busying themselves away, industriously working on extra-curricular shipbuilding and/or brewing some intergalactic hooch.

But don’t let it be said that they are boring. The Chief was examining the internal workings of Sharon long before she was discovered as a robot, and Cally deactivated her shortly afterwards. Cally, Socinus and Tarn were always prone to running around like impish children on a school trip to the hangar deck, under parents Chief and Figurski. Most storylines have at least some of them rattling around in the background, adding subtle texture in between the show’s worthier characters. It also means they are more likely to die, and everyone loves you when you are dead.

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Jammer, who carked it in the second series, seemed to epitomise the deckhands, and therefore makes number four in our minor constellations. Although he would always be working away, there was a definite streak of pissy insolence, fuelled by an astounding lack of smarts, to keep him in the scene as a reactionary character to everything around him.

His progress through the series went something like this. Series 1: there are Cylons on the fleet! Let’s trust no-one and be a bit of a donut about it. Series 2: let’s mock the creation of a new spaceship, before joining in because everyone else is. Series 3: let’s join the insurgency on a religious bent, before double-crossing the humans and killing dozens! It’s akin to arming a leader writer from the Sun and putting them in space.

He wasn’t even too great at being a member of the terror police, missing his chance to polish off Cally at the execution site. He was eventually killed by the Circle, the vigilante self-help group with an uncanny ability to shove folk out of airlocks (supposedly for being a member of the New Caprica Police, but more likely for missing his chance to bump off Cally).

The deckhands are the most grimy, hardworking, fun bit of the programme. After a spate of killing them off, here’s to the show bringing in some new deckhands – and some new unhinged reactionaries – to keep things interesting.