The Battlestar: Galactica episode Home, Pt I showed me how easy it is to portray women as competent leaders in crappy circumstances – as easy as it is to do the same men. I need go to further in comparison then Sam Carter in Gemini.
In Gemini, Carter comes across her Replicator (evil robotic replicating devices) clone, dubbed by fans as RepliCarter. RepliCarter promises all sorts of pretty vague things, so long as the they help her. Against better judgement, Carter helps her. Except, oops, turns out RepliCarter was playing her all along – and, apparently, playing her willingness to trust in alien technology which says its sorry for past transgressions and wants to make up. Thanks to Carter’s bad jusgement, RepliCarter makes off with all kinds of intel that sets back the SGC’s war on the Replicators.
In HPI, Laura Roslin, the ousted President, is faced with a situation which involves several people pointing guns at one another and their resident Cylon (evil robots bent on eliminating humanity). She calmly, diplomatically talks the stand-off down, then calmly, diplomatically orders the Cylon to be killed. It is only the Cylon’s (Sharon) promise to deliver an advantage that will benefit Roslin politically and humanity as a whole that makes her spare Sharon’s life.
Then, Roslin works out that Sharon is genuinely in love with the father of her baby, Helo. Weather this is a result of software damage, or being a bad make, Roslin doesn’t care. The point is, she can use it. She (falsely) threatens to have Helo killed if Sharon fails to give them the intel they need. Showed quite crafty manipulation of the situation, IMHO.
From then on, Sharon is held on an extremely tight leash. She has to give huge concessions to the renegade fleet in order to get so much as an inch of leeway. Nobody, Roslin least of all, trusts her as far as they can throw her. But while she continues to give them good intel, then may as well keep her around.
Roslin’s distrust in a Cylons – the mob that destroyed her twelve-planet civilisation down to a population of fifty thousand – is understandable. Carter’s trust in a machine that did pretty much the same thing is not.