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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

‘Battlestar Galactica’ blogging: “The Oath”

(lots of spoilers! assumes you’ve seen the episode!)

(previous: “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”)
Bad things, but hardly surprising things:

• Algae coffee tastes gross.

• Gaius Baltar turning weasel to save his own neck… again.

• “Four years without a pit stop, the equipment is sketchy as hell.” foreshadowing

I kid to cover up how disturbing this episode was. I thought last week was intense, but at every turn here, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Gaeta leading an uprising. Zarek escaping from the brig. Starbuck shooting people in the back. Skinjobs getting beaten up and rounded up. Everyone turning on everyone else.


The thing is, I’m not sure who’s right and who’s wrong in all this. I’m not sure that anyone is wrong, actually. Gaeta, for one, was right in the thick of it when humans collaborated with Cylons on New Caprica. He saw how badly that went. He’s exactly the person to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It is pretty frakked up to see an alliance between humans and Cylons. I’m not sure I wouldn’t do the same thing in Gaeta’s place. I do think Gaeta’s intentions are honorable. I don’t think he’s looking for power for its own sake.

Zarek’s a piece of work, though. He’s using Gaeta and surely knows that he — Zarek — cannot lose by doing so. If the uprising succeeds, Zarek gets the credit; if it fails, Gaeta takes the fall. Gaeta is frakked no matter what happens.

Little moments were so startling here: Starbuck calls the CIC and Gaeta hangs up on her. Lee calls the CIC and Gaeta puts him off. I mean, of course Gaeta would have to do those things, but there’s something sort of shocking about how in control he can be from his perch at the switchboard. It’s as if Uhuru were leading a mutiny on the Enterprise. It almost sounds silly… until you see it in action, and you can’t believe how smoothly it seems to be working.

Oh, Starbuck would feel alive in the midst of all this, wouldn’t she?

Watching this episode, I thought: This really is the best show on television at the moment, isn’t it? The writing is so tight yet so fluid. We know that Moore and Eick did not have all the details of the series’ big story planned out in advance, maybe didn’t even have the grand overarching story itself entirely figured out, but you’d hardly guess that from what we see in this episode, which feel like it’s all about huge bouquets of diverse tendrils finally coming together in ways no one could have foreseen. And maybe it’s because much of it was not planned that it works so well: because the characters’ actions and motives feel organic, and not forced. It makes the show a real pleasure to watch apart from my own involvement in the story and the characters: to see a supremely well-crafted show, and to hope that it will inspire other television, of any and all genres, to come up to meet the bar that BSG has raised so high.

But this story: Oh, it is all going to hell. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if Zarek won, if the admiral died, if more terrible things happened to ensure the ultimate death of humanity and Cylon-ity. Because right in the middle of this mess, right where we are right now, I can’t see the end of it.

39,643 survivors at the beginning of this episode. A lot fewer at the end of it.

(next: “Blood on the Scales”)

(Watch full episodes and get recaps at Sci Fi’s official site for the show.)

MPAA: rated TV14-LV

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
tv buzz

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