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Battlestar Galactica: Blood on the Scales

"It stopped."

Incredibly cool conclusion, following last week's incredibly cool part one. This might have been their best two-parter ever, and that's saying a lot.

You could see the end coming as one Colonial after another just couldn't follow Gaeta's orders any more. Hot Dog, who refused to fire on Roslin's raptor. Kelly, who overheard the massacre of the Quorum, started crying in the memorial hallway, and had to change sides. Romo Lampkin, the poster child for cynical, was unable to walk away from Starbuck and Anders. Even the Cylons came through. (Except for Tory. It's like being a Cylon gives her an excuse to be a bitch.)

It was all good. Outstanding, even. But with so much Battlestar goodness, what I enjoyed most was Adama and Roslin refusing to even consider surrender. I got a huge charge out of Adama telling Gaeta to shove it up his ass. It was such complete and total courageous defiance in the face of certain death. Did Gaeta really believe Adama would ever support him? For any reason? I don't think he'd do it even if Gaeta had a gun to Lee's head.

And Roslin had her finest moment. She believed Adama was dead. She believed that Galactica was lost. And she's a dying woman, let's not forget. "No. Not now. Not ever. Do you hear me? I will use every cannon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own eyeteeth, to end you. I swear it! I'm coming for all of you!" Her best lines ever. It reminded me of Delenn's finest moment in Babylon 5's "Severed Dreams."

It actually made me feel sick to see Gaeta in Adama's office. Even sicker to hear him give the order to execute Adama; I had hoped he wouldn't be able to do it, but he did. Zarek showed his true colors, too, with that horrendous slaughter of the entire Quorum. He wanted to just kill Adama outright. If he had, he and Gaeta might have won, and Zarek would have been the dictator he always longed to be. What a horrible thought.

Reciprocal firing squad scenes. Adama had to do it, and I knew he wouldn't hesitate. (That little smile Zarek and Gaeta gave each other in their final moments was just creepy. Maybe they were relieved that it was finally over.) But Adama didn't put Narcho and all the other soldiers like him under the gun. Interment, maybe? Is the Astral Queen still in the fleet?

One big unanswered question. Did Anders make it? Lee just lost his wife. Is Starbuck about to lose her husband?

Bits and pieces:

— This week's survivor number: 39,603. Forty dead. The number will be lower next week.

— In an obvious tribute to Star Trek, Tyrol spent most of the episode in a Jefferies tube. And just like Scotty, Tyrol saved the day. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferies_tube)

— Loved Lee and Starbuck as stealth guerrillas rescuing most of the cast in the brig. Especially Lee's bluff grenade.

— Most of the mutineers probably don't deserve to die; for them, the Cylons will always be the enemy. But what about Gage, who kept threatening to rape Athena? Couldn't they shove him out of an airlock? Maybe Helo will recover from his injuries and go kick the crap out of him. That would be good.

— This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was Gaeta's leg. It kept hurting him right up until a moment before he was executed. The pain (which I assume was the phantom pain referred to previously) symbolized all of his emotional despair as well as the wrongness of what he did.

— Interestingly, Gaius also mentioned that he should have cut off his own legs for running away from his "fan club."

— Second Most Obvious Symbolism was Lampkin using his pen to kill the soldier.

— Honorable mention for Richard Hatch. He was the star of the original Battlestar Galactica, and the old show was extremely important to him; when the new series began, he didn't keep his negative feelings about it a secret. But he gave Tom Zarek his all, and made him a memorable and complex villain. And he certainly went out with a bang.

—- Not one, but two death fake-outs. Zarek deliberately lied about Tigh's death to upset Adama. (Although Adama didn't give him the satisfaction.) And Gaeta's announcement about Adama's death was a bit premature.

— It was kind of Gaius to spend that final hour with Gaeta, who almost certainly would have had a quiet, productive, normal life if the Colonies hadn't been attacked. Loved Gaeta's mention of restaurants shaped like food. A little L.A. in-joke.


Adama: "I care too much for this ship to let it be overrun by rats."

Lampkin: "I don't suppose anyone's going to feed my dog."

Lee: "Never pulled the pin."
Starbuck: "Not funny."
Lee: "Yeah. Would have been if you'd thought of it."

Four out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Best scene ever, certainly on BSG, if not in the history of TV: Adama and his allies marching towards the CIC, with supporters quickly gathering behind him. Momentus.

  2. Before season four started, I saw a trailer for the show that had Adama blindfolded and Roslin shrieking "I'm coming for all of you" to an unknown enemy. Never in a million years did I think her outburst would be directed towards her own people.

    Adama and Roslin were superb in this episode. It's such a relief to see them both firing on all four again. Seeing them succumb to despair at the start of the series was a hard thing to watch.

    And even Gaius surprised me this week. Wouldn't it be something if, even after all his arse headed behaviour, he actually turned out to be the hero of the piece? Maybe he still needs to atone for his part in all this. And was that a new six model he was getting all robo-sexual with?

    And they pranked up again...making it seem as if Adama had been shot. But of course it was just a dream....and they've pulled this one of us several times before, so we didn't feel cheated....just relieved that it wasn't true.

    Good grief, if Adama had died I'd be sucking my thumb and curled up in a ball right now - mouthing "mama mama" to my invisible friend Archie.

  3. I think they could have made these episodes even more excellent than they were by spending an extra 60 seconds and making the audience sympathize more with the mutineers. Their position was explained, and when I actually thought about it I sympathized with them, but there was nothing that made me sit up and say "Gaeta is right. The Cylons killed 12 planets worth of people and probably the human race. How can we be friendly with them in any circumstance?"

    But aside from that (very small) note, these were some DAMN fine episodes. One of the things that made them so good was that they sprinkled in just a bit of comedy amongst all the drama with the few Kara/Lee scenes, and the hilarious scenes with the Chief crawling through the ship.

    Billie talked about the "reciprocal firing squad scenes." One of the things I liked about them is that true to their characters Gaeta/Zarek were absent as they marched Adama to his death, while Adama had the balls to be present during their executions.

    I thought Baltar was very interesting in this episode. First, the Adama firing squad dream sequence didn't come from Roslin, or Lee, or Tigh, it came form Baltar. I thought that was perfect, and also a perfect was to start him on his road to redemption. I think his will be an interesting character to watch in the final episodes.

    Hehe, more sex with more robots. Spike would be so proud.

  4. Roslin's "...I will use every cannon...," speech actually reminded me of Winston Churchill in 1940:
    "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
    which I consider one of the greatest and most stirring and important speeches ever delivered in the history of Western Civilization. It was indeed her finest moment. If I had been one of the coup members on Galactica, that speech would have sent a shiver down my spine - "Oh boy we are screwed".
    Great episode and next weeks looks even better. Ellen returns and she didn't look all that happy.
    So what is with the crack in Galactica that Tyrol saw? Is our battlestar on its last legs?
    I am not a big fan of Richard Hatch. I never really liked Zarek but what I find incredible is that in the interviews I have seen with him, he actually seems to put the original series on the same plane as the new series which, even given his misplaced pride in the cheesy 1970's version, is ridiculous. No comparison at all.

  5. "So what is with the crack in Galactica that Tyrol saw? Is our battlestar on its last legs?"

    Ooh, I forgot about that. And it seemed REALLY important to me at the time.
    (And, from a sci-fi standpoint, it didn't really make much sense. He seemed to be able to stare into space through the bulkhead, and we've never heard talk of any kind of forcefields ala Star Trek.)

  6. "He seemed to be able to stare into space through the bulkhead, and we've never heard talk of any kind of forcefields ala Star Trek."

    Maybe it was because I watched the episode on Hulu, but I didn't see any twinkling little stars through that crack. I'd be surprised if there were, as the idea that Galactica's exterior can be compromised has long been established since "Water."

    Methinks this is all foreshadowing for the moment when Galactica finally goes out with a bang, not unlike Babylon 5. And it would be desperately sad, but very poetic, if Adama goes down with his ship.

  7. Oops, my bad. Just rewatched the scene and the marks are deep, and almost look like animal scratches, but you can't see outside.

  8. Possibly my favourite episode so far and that is saying something. There were 4 scenes that made me audibly gasp. Zareks order to kill the quorum, Roslins speech to Zarek over the intercom, the march of Adama to retake the ship, and the killing of Zarek and Gaeta. Ok that last one was a cheer really but still.

    I was literally shouting at the Tv for Gaeta to realise his mistake in the last few moments and to shoot Zarek in the head, but he never did. I used to like Gaeta so much, I'm so sad to see how his story ended.

    I also think that Gaeta could have been made more sympathetic and that would have made it a better story, maybe it's thise webisodes (which I still haven't watched) that would have helped there...

    Onwards and upwards to the seasons final episodes

  9. The mutiny episodes were really exciting and well done, even if I didn't quite buy Roslin going totally AWOL Still, it did make for a great scene when she reemerges to lead the fleet. And wow, Zarek was a bastard. We always knew he was ruthless, but his murder of the Quorum shocked me. It was sad that it was Gaeta's desire to be doing the right thing that unraveled him, but it was real too.


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