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An Open Letter to Colonel Saul Tigh

Last updated on April 10, 2018

Dear Colonel Tigh,
Saul, we’ve known each other a long time at this point, you and I. I’ve been watching you intently for three and a half years as you’ve wrestled with the Ambrosia-drinkin’ and put-a-gun-to-your-head demons in your mind and you’ve failed more often than I know you’ve wanted to, but I’ll come right out and say it, Saul – you’ve always been my favorite on “Battlestar Galactica”. Others may think that Adama is king or Starbuck is the coolest or Lee is too pretty for words and he gets all the lucky breaks, but for me it’s you, Saul. It’s your craggy ways, your hard livin’, hard drinkin’, always ready for a fight lifestyle, your eye patch, your ability to sum up every situation by cursing. For frak’s sake, you killed your own wife for collaborating with the enemy! You loved her and you poisoned her and held her while she died! Yes, you did cry afterward rather than drink and curse, but you killed someone you loved! Do you think Roslin would, could ever do that? No. It’s one of the things that I love about you that just makes you, you.

After that first Cylon war years ago you were drifting, floundering here and there, drinking, getting into fights, until that one bar where you met Bill Adama and the two of you pledged to each other that no matter what happened the two of you were going to get back into the fleet. And you did. That took guts and guts you have, my brother.

You were crafted by war, Saul, and war needed you. When the Galactica had been hit by nuclear missiles during the initial volleys of the Cylon War II, you had the hulls sealed off and then the airlocks opened to put out a fire that was threatening to take out the entire ship. In the process you shot many living people into space, but you saved the ship. You killed your crewmen but you did it for the greater good and it was a shining moment in your dented and scarred career. Who else would have had the stones to do that? Few men, I tell you.

And when the war came again you found your place. You hated Cylons with a white-hot Tilium-burning passion and that hate has gotten you this far, but now you’ve come to a HUGE crossroad, my friend – you’ve discovered, along with three other people on board the Galactica, that you’re Cylons. You’re part of the fabled Final Five which makes you special, very special. Suddenly your life has tremendous meaning – you’re now more than just a man, you’re a symbol to some, a god to others. You’ve been killing Cylons for fifty years, from the first rebellion to the holocaust of the human race to New Caprica, and now you find out you’re a Cylon? You yourself are one of the enemy? Well, that’s almost too much for an ordinary man to bear.

But damnit Saul, you’re no ordinary man! You’re Saul Tigh, the most rip-snortin’, butt-kickin’ Colonel, XO and one-time dictator in the entire human race! Man up, son! Get yourself together!

Oh sure, it was soul cleansing when you told Adama that you were a Cylon. But what did you think he was going to do, kill you? Would that have made everything better? That would be too good, too easy for you. He handed you over to his son who almost killed you, but Bill never could kill his best friend. You think The Old Man could really have done that to someone he loves almost as much as his own son? Never. I even had in my mind the way I thought you would go on the show but as the midpoint of season four showed us it won’t happen. Here it is though for you –

Adama knows you’re a Cylon. He’s in a rage, holding you up against the bulkhead and has a gun to your chest.

ADAMA : You want absolution, Saul?! What the frak did you think I was going to do? Kill you so you wouldn’t have to?

TIGH : No Bill. I couldn’t let you do that. It wouldn’t be right.

And then you shoot yourself in the head and as your body falls to the floor of the airlock Bill bursts into tears as his best friend dies in his arms and he weeps over you because he knows that part of his soul is now gone and can never come back no matter how many model ships or mirrors he destroys.

It would have been an amazing way for you to go and it would have sucker punched me in the stomach to watch you die. But you’re not dead yet, Saul. You have to keep going. The race isn’t over yet, brother. You said it yourself : you’re Saul Tigh, XO of the Battlestar Galactica, and whatever you were then, that’s the way you’re going to be until the day you die. That’s quite a mantra to live by Saul, given what’s happened to you.

Toughen up, Saul. The worst may be yet to come. Good luck and gods’ speed, friend.

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