Look, Gaius Baltar isn't anyone's favorite character (though, if he's yours, please dive into the comments section below and tell us why). The actor, yes, we totally get that James Callis had a lot to do and that he did it exceptionally well, creating a character that we felt a LOT of things for and about.
But, wow, was Gaius Baltar just RIFE with bad decisions, wracked with guilt about them, and then somehow only good at botching attempts to make up for them.
In honor of this weekend's Battlestar Galactica marathon, and the fact that you’ll be able to watch EVERY EPISODE here starting on September 22, here is a (by no means exhaustive) and chronological list …
He let the Cylons destroy civilization because he likes sex.
We understand that Tricia Helfer is gorgeous. We understand that Caprica Six is a compelling person and that she had him fooled. But come on, you're a HUGE government scientist and she asks for access to the defense mainframe and you're like, "shrugsies, why not?" Even though he thought he was getting some sweet free tech in the bargain … dude, Baltar. Come on.
He aquires (and then loses) a nuclear warhead because a sexy hallucination tells him to.
In "Bastille Day," Caprica (Head Caprica, call her what you like), which he's still not entirely sure is a hallucination (and by the way, should be considered as such at this point in the story), tells him to get his hands on a nuclear warhead. He's on board a ship where he's the ranking scientist and he, true to form, gets sweaty and anxious and hang-wringing over it, and then talks Adama into it. All so he can build a Cylon detector he's pretty sure will never work. Later, that nuclear warhead ends up with a six model named Gina who blows up a good portion of the fleet. Thanks, Baltar.
He somehow thinks Kara's gonna be more into him than Lee.
In "Kobol's Last Gleaming," he has sex with Starbuck and she says Lee's name during the act and he spends an episode pouting about it. The loose rules around monogamy that took place on that ship is one of the grooviest things about it. But still … real talk, in what world does anyone think Gaius Baltar's got anything on Lee Adama?
He surrenders to the Cylons because he's not Laura Roslin.
Like. The ONE thing you're not supposed to do. Particularly if you're the leader of … everyone. And yet, in "Lay Down Your Burdens," having won the Presidency on shady populist nonsense, Baltar sells them all out to the Cylons. Sure, he feels bad about it. You can tell because a tear runs down his cheek. But this is the kind of thing that Roslin would have politicked her way through or died over. While it's true that the occupation episodes were among the best in the series and created a resistance that eventually won out, Baltar forced the people to turn on each other. Because shuffling around in a bathrobe and being this awful and in charge means everyone else is forced to be insufferable with you.
He gets himself caught in a Cylon power struggle again because sex.
Somewhere around "Rapture," Baltar gets into a throuple with D'Anna and Caprica. Far be it for us to judge anyone's lifestyle choices; this is a groovy set-up and everyone seems consenting. But come on, man, you KNEW how this would end.
He writes a book titled "My Triumphs, My Mistakes."
Imagine Gaius Baltar with Twitter and we're a thousand percent sure that's how insufferable that book is. In "Dirty Hands," Baltar's book becomes a sensation. First of all, how many people are writing books in the fleet? Surely, there's not a lot of new material going around, so of course this is going to do well. Secondly, he was President during an occupation, he has a right to try and explain himself. He legit did make a lot of mistakes.
Buddy, that title, though. Oof.
He becomes a cult leader because, oh Gods, of COURSE he does.
If there's a more insufferable thing you can do than buy into a cult that springs up around your own insufferability, please name it. And yet, in "He That Believeth in Me," Baltar comes across a bunch of people who have done just that. Rather than sitting them down and saying, "Okay, let's really examine what this is about" in a rational way, he prays for a sick kid named Derrick, who becomes better, and that's pretty much it. From there, it's a string of nonsense spouting from his smug, pious face.
He is insufferable even in contrition.
As part of the survey team on Earth in the series finale, "Daybreak," Baltar waxes poetic about the idea of divine intervention when he realizes he can breed with the locals. Yes, he did pull out a few wins there at the end and proved himself pretty capable. But then he gets overly contrite for all the weirdness he's caused everyone. Which somehow reduces the usually most insufferable person in the room to a helpful man-child incapable of kidding around with Adama. He goes off to start a farm that we're a thousand percent sure grows nothing but kale and flaxseeds.