Sunday, February 1, 2009

Battlestar Galactica “ The Oath” Suspenseful, Unsettling

Friday’s episode of Battlestar Galactica (SciFi), “The Oath.” was probably one of the most suspenseful of the entire series. It was also extremely unsettling. Things seem to be unraveling very quickly for the crew of the Galactica and for the fleet.

A quick recap, and then my comments at the end:

In last week’s episode, “A Disquiet Follow My Soul”, we saw Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani ) conspiring with Zarek (Richard Hatch ) on how Zarek can gain complete power over the fleet and to get President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) out of power. In “The Oath”, the plan begins to unfold as Gaeta manages to utilize the other crew members he has recruited to the cause in order to break Zarek out of the brig and get him off the ship, returning him to Colonial One. Zarek gets off Galactica under the cover of clearing the flight deck from a fake fuel leak, but one crew member sees that Zarek is being spirited away.

Gaeta is also in the perfect position on the bridge as he can control many of the systems and communications within the ship and can block communication from other ships in the fleet. He uses his position to carefully control information coming into Adama, going so far as to outright lie to Adama and other crew members on the bridge so they don’t suspect what is going on, and making them think that there is a fire on board. Systematically, those crew members who have aligned themselves with Gaeta and Zarek work to take control over Galactica.

Meanwhile, Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber ) is on Colonial One, in an emergency session with the Quorum. He is trying to convince them to go ahead with the plans to incorporate the Cylon FTL drive technology, saying that it is essential to the fleet. He also states that Zarek was in custody because he was agitating against a lawful order. But Lee is shocked as Zarek waltzes into the session, gloating that even Adama knows when he holds a losing hand. What Lee does not know is that Zarek was not released with Admiral Adama’s knowledge, and when Lee tries to establish contact with his father, he’s given the brush off from his father – although this was at the hands of Gaeta.

When Lee senses something is wrong, he heads back to Galactica, and is taken into custody by the rebelling crew members. Lucky for him, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff ) has noticed that an insurrection is taking place, and she manages to arm herself. She manages to catch the crew members trying to detain Lee, and, shooting one, manages to get them to back off. She and Lee continue to work to get word to the Admiral that something is wrong, but it’s too late. Gaeta had already taken control of the bridge and Admiral Adama and Col. Tighe (Michael Hogan ) are being escorted to the brig. Lee and Kara try to find President Roslin in order to protect her and also enlist her help.

Also, Helo (Tahmoh Penikett), Athena (Grace Park), and Hera are dumped in a room with Tighe's Six (Tricia Helfer ) and Anders (Michael Trucco). Helo is bleeding and unconscious. Six thinks they are all going to be killed, because some can’t handle the thought of Cylons being able to procreate. Athena thinks they will be kept alive and used as a bargaining chip with the rebel Cylons, seemingly thinking that Anders will hold some special wisdom. But, as the final five, Anders says he has no grand wisdom to offer. Athena urges he keep that to himself.

But Tighe and Adama manage to distract their captors while being led to the brig, and shoot one and take the other hostage. Lee and Kara get to Adama’s quarters and find Roslin there, and they bring her up to speed. Roslin finally seems to get out of the funk she has been in and she decides to address the fleet. But, in order to get wireless access to get the message out and bypass Gaeta’s communication control, she make contact with Baltar (James Callis ). Tyrol is already there with Baltar, as he had a heads up about the uprising, and he’s working to protect the compound. Roslin manages to convince Baltar to let them use his secret wireless communications system in order to get a message out to the fleet, appealing to his need for self –preservation. Much to Gaeta’s and Zarek’s surprise, she does a fleet wide broadcast and appeals for calm. She says they have come to a crossroads, and that after generations of conflict and losses on both sides and with supplies running low and limited options their former enemies may represent their last and only hope. The Quorum is also listening to the message. She says that for those who reject this alliance with the Cylons, she begs them to reconsider their actions and reject the traitors who would are using fear of the Cylons to destroy Colonial civilization. Gaeta finally finds a way to cut her off.

Lee and Kara finally catch up with the Admiral Adama and Tighe, and together they work to get Roslin off the ship Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) has a way to get her off the ship, and they use a secondary storage airlock in order to bring in a ship and get Roslin out. Baltar also goes with her. But the renegade military is on their way to the airlock, and Tighe and Adama says they will stay back to fend them off to allow Roslin’s ship to depart in safety. Once Gaeta realizes what is going on, he gives the order to arm all weapons, engage the target, and destroy them. But Adama and Tighe won’t go down without a fight. As the traitorous military tries to break into the airlock, Adama remarks to Tighe "it's been an honor to have served with you my friend." The Marines roll in a grenade, and it explodes. And we're told this story will continue.

Needless to say, the Galactica is in grave peril, as is the entire fleet. In fact, they may be in just as much danger from their own people than they were from the Cylons. While many may have thought a few seasons ago that Gaeta would turn out to be a Cylon, it seems that he became an even worse threat to them by his traitorous actions. I found myself hoping that when all this is said and done, that Gaeta dies a horrible death. I usually don’t like to wish that on a character, but his actions have been the lowest of the low. Likewise, Zarek also shows that a leopard can’t really change his spots, and is living up to the conniving, scheming, power hungry man he has always seemed to be. I wish him the worst as well.

It was good to see that Roslin came to her senses, albeit a little late. Had she stepped up to her job and done it sooner, maybe this would not have happened. She created the leadership vacuum that allowed Zarek the hole he could use to squeeze in and gain control. It also allowed rampant fear of the Cylons to overcome those members of the fleet who were weakened in spirit by finding a devastated earth. So she deserves a good chunk of the blame for the environment, which allowed mutinous thoughts to fester.

All in all, a great episode that left me hanging on the edge for the continuation of the story next week. Based on the previews, I suspect things will only get worse. But, if they can purge ALL the evil from the fleet – and I don’t mean the Cylons – maybe they will still have a chance. One can only hope.

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Anonymous said...

I had no idea you were such a Galactica fan. I don't watch but my husband and youngest son are bigtime fans. They're going to be in mourning soon as they say. They won't have this wonderous show to watch anymore. Pity, that it's not watched by more. From what I gather from them it's frakkin' amazing.


I Like to Watch TV said...

Miss Kitty - I am have been somewhat of an on-and-off BSG fan. They had one season or so that was just drudgery to watch. But it has been fantastic lately, and yes, I too will be mourning it as it wraps up!