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07 February 2009 @ 10:47 pm
BSG: "Blood on the Scales" Episode Review + Meta  
Battlestar Galactica 4.14 "Blood on the Scales"

The second half and conclusion to the multi-episode arc surrounding the created mutiny aboard Galactica. Where we left off, Roslin and Baltar took off on a raptor heading towards the Cylon baseship and Adama and Tigh stayed behind to defend the ship. This episode is a continuation from that as they are captured, Tigh thrown into the brig and Adama held and tried for treason, while Roslin tries to uphold her faith in the Admiral and the other surviving crew members aboard Galactica who aren't part of the mutineers make their way to not let the ship be overrunned by those who are. Zarek and Gaeta come to conflicting terms with their motives for their cause, but still stay together as they plan on executing Adama for his so-called crimes and want nothing to do with the Cylons. With many teaming up and others falling out, more gunfights and bloodshed and unexpected deaths, this episode provides a cold reality that even in a fictious show it can still affect you, as a viewer.

In the end, after much fighting and defending their side, Adama finally is able to gather up his many supporters throughout Galactica and take back his ship and his rightful command, and places Gaeta and Zarek out to be executed for their crimes for attempting to pin a destructive and irrational insurgance amongst his crew based on their fears and anger.

Gaeta and Zarek's Rebellion: Were they in the right or wrong?

What I'd mentioned before in my previous review, this uprising was kind of inevitable as it would've happened sooner or later, and the reasons behind people's anger and fear is understandable given their current situation, however the way it was all carried out? Definitely not excusable by any means, which is why in the end having Zarek and Gaeta meet their ends the way they did was justifiable and ironic considering what they were planning on doing to Adama and all the rest of them in the first place. Justice has been, in fact, served.

However, despite my relief of having Adama take back Galactica and end the injust insurgancy, I do have some thoughts concerning the righteousness and rightful placements for certain characters and their roles. In a recent Richard Hatch video interview in response to Zarek's fate in this episode, he talks about how perhaps despite everything he felt that Zarek had lost hope in trying to gain access into an unfair government system that'll always see him as the "terrorist" label that even without going out with a big bang like he'd thought, somehow finally Zarek is free from the forever prison they are all in. I find this interesting he says this because looking back, Zarek has always expressed his dislike for the unfair and unjust justice system and how Adama will always be in power, the same with Roslin, and how can they have a democracy without letting anyone else in for those kinds of positions.

So my question is, has Zarek been in the right mindset about that? Granted his political activism always was having his name in the spotlight and wanting a position of power himself, but after this episode Adama and Roslin return to their positions as they always have time and again, but you have to wonder if there are others who feel the same way Zarek does despite all what they've done for the survival of humanity. Though it's understandable it will always been them and no one else because we've seen others try and fail quite miserably, and nobody can be as assertive, as well-respected and as authoritarian and in position of leadership and command like Adama and Roslin. The only other one who may be in leadership as President of the Colonies is Lee Adama. Who is, yes, an Adama himself but we've seen him take control of particular crisis and situations which are a mixture of Adama's authority and Roslin's communicative skills with the people (4.10 "Revelations").

Even if someone disagrees with how Adama or Roslin deals with situations, that's how things work in the government and political settings. Not everyone is going to agree, but the difference is that they do everything for the best of the survival of the human fleet. Whereas the plans of Gaeta and Zarek were willing to place the lives of those that disagreed with them at stake because they wanted that shift in power to happen. It's an effective way to gain followers out of fear, which we saw quite plainly on many crew's faces near the end.

In this so-called revolution we have Zarek who wants the position of power, by doing that taking Adama and Roslin out of the picture, but then we have Felix Gaeta. Who doesn't seem particularly interested in such power but rather wants justice and answers for all the wrongs that have happened over the course of the years. It seems that everyone's frustrations have finally risen to the point where nothing else matters, and Gaeta's speaks volumes after all he's endured along with everyone else, which gives him the opportunity to gain such supporters since they share the same qualms regarding where everything's going with the alliance between the rebel!Cylons.

We see Zarek trying to push Gaeta to move forward, but Gaeta refuses, wanting to take his time getting those answers, possibly to have his ego stroked by having the Admiral under arrest and to have such questions be answered by him admitting his wrongdoings, which he should know were never wrong to begin with. However this gives those fighting against the insurgancy time to regain their status and gain control of the situation again. However I definitely think Gaeta didn't expect it to go as far as it had, even though he understood the consequences for doing so. He says this: "One day soon there's going to be a reckoning..." very quietly, almost in a haze, as they realize the FTL drives have been put offline. He realizes that his time is up and there's nothing else he can do; he's in no position to lead this fleet anymore than anyone else, because he has limited experience with dealing with something like that. Zarek was flailing wildly and telling Gaeta to WAKE UP! And Gaeta did.

Everything these last two episodes provided the clear dividing lines within the fleet, and that fear does make people do irrational things, and that not everyone is on the same page as most of our main characters are about joining forces with the Cylons, or even anything else about moving forward into a hopeless abyss.

Where Do We Go From Here?

That is the essential question now, isn't it? Where do the humans and the rebel!Cylons go now, what is their exact destination and how will Adama and Roslin convince the rest of the fleet that these particular Cylons mean them no harm? From the insurgancy it's clear that the lines have been divided with those who are willing to be open-minded and give the benefit of the doubt towards the rebelling Cylons, and those who are still deep in their hatred that they can't possibly be behind anything involving any decision to have these Cylons within their fleet. Norcho, for example, has deep respect for Adama but cannot set his dislike for the enemy aside to follow him through with his decisions. I'm sure there are many others who feel the same way.

I'm sure Roslin will convince the fleet that with the cooperation of the Cylons it'll benefit their survival, since their technology is more advanced. I just hope that no other attempted mutinies are in the future, because them executing Zarek and Gaeta is a clear message that something like that failed, and it is treason and a crime against humanity even if the intentions behind the idea were good to a point.

Adama will no doubt be in command again, making it clear what happened was in bad faith but understandable based on everyone's exhaustion and frustration and unconvinced notions about where things are heading.

But there's still other factors to be considered for their fates here. There's the issue of Cavil and the others out there, loaming about wondering what to do because of their lack of resurrection. How many of their basestars survived? What about Boomer, and now the discovery that Ellen is one of the Five and how/where/when she was resurrected (as judging from the preview)? What secrets and truths does she know, and will she be the guiding light towards their new destination? Kara Thrace, what is her connection and what exactly is she? Laura Roslin, Athena, Caprica-Six and Hera -- what is the significance of the Opera House and will this be revealed as well? What will the fates of both Cylon and human be?

So many questions left unanswered, and only six more episodes to go.

Memorable Moments from the Episode:

++ ADAMA AND TIGH = BFFS FOR LIFE! I've already addressed this in the previous episode, but it's worth mentioning again. Their bromance cannot be denied, and is a representation that even though Tigh is one of the Final Five and Adama's reaction to that in the beginning wasn't good, all in all they'll place that aside and remain best friends because in spite of that, Tigh has been and always will be a dedicated member of the Colonial fleet and the beloved heterosexual life partner for William Adama. Trufax.

++ I am still reeling from the fact that this show has the balls to kill off two major characters. Yes, I consider Zarek and Gaeta major characters because they've been on the show since the very beginning and have made such a huge impact on the series, and even though they deserved what was coming to them it's going to be a great loss. I enjoyed Alessandro as Gaeta and will definitely miss him, the same with Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek, and who was the only tie linking the new BSG to the original BSG. It's interesting reading his reactions to his character's demise and what he believes should've/could've gone with his character, but overall I'm happy with the outcome myself even if a bit stunned to actually accept it.

++ In case anyone was wondering, there's more info regarding AJ and Richard's responses to their characters from over on Bear McCreary's blog. I really like AJ's idea for a Gaeta and Hoshi spin-off, myself! *g*

++ Roslin is majorly badass. It's such a refresher knowing that in spite of everything, losing her religious faith in terms of the prophecies it takes something like this to bring her springing back into action. Also notice that despite her lacking in that faith of the prophecies she shows immense faith in Adama and that they will pull through this particular crisis, like they have many times before? That's the kind of faith they need to rely on now if nothing else. The fact that they've endured so much yet still are standing means something, not the scrolls of Pythia or whatever.

++ Oh, and Roslin is super frakking scary when she's uber pissed. Like seriously, you do not fuck with either Adama or Roslin. What were they thinking, tricking them into believing falsehoods that someone they loved has died? Zarek and Gaeta pretty much sealed their fate then and there.

++ "No! Not now, not ever! Do you hear me? I will use every canon, every bomb, every bullet, every weapon I have down to my own eye-teeth to end you! I swear it! I AM COMING FOR ALL OF YOU!" SEE WHAT I MEAN?! Pissed Off Roslin is not a woman you want to triffle with! *cowers away slowly*

++ How much do I love Adama? "Shove it up your ass!" HEE! He totes was thinking that Gaeta's so-called claims about his "treasons" were such a joke. Him scoffing and just being all "SRSLY?" was hilarious, but I also wanted to smack Gaeta because he was acting like such a pompous frakking git at that point. All smug and shit. I mean, I loved Gaeta before but that just really triggered something inside of me that I'm like dude, you're so gonna get busted by the end of this.

++ KARA AND LEE SAVING THE DAY YET AGAIN! They make such an amazing team together. I swear, there should be a spinoff or some webisodes of them just shooting things together. Hee, I loved Lee's fakeout with the gernade (Malcolm Reynolds from Serenity, anyone? HEE!)

++ Know what I really liked about this episode? The reactions from other characters, like Norcho and Kelly. Just the expressions on their faces as they realized what was happening, what the coup meant on their ends and just their reactions, especially Kelly's. He was so affected by the execution of innocents by Zarek's command that he couldn't take it anymore, and decided to desert that and go against them.

++ I am SO SO HAPPY nothing happened to the Agathon family. Srsly. However, SAMMMM!! D: OMGOMG PLZ DON'T DIE SAM, PLZ!

++ I kinda love Romo. I've always had a liking for his character, but he was just awesome in this episode.

++ Gaius frakking Baltar, how I love you so frakking much. He's changed significantly since the beginning of the series. His epiphany about leaving all those people behind and that he needed to return to them, to his lovecult flock, because they were dedicated to him and believed in him and, despite their cuckooness, he feels responsible for them. It's the same with the ending with him and Gaeta before he's executed, it's like he's giving a sense of release for Gaeta, to confess his sins or just to have some kind of solace. Awww Gaius, your humanity is showing, and that is just awesome.

++ "Are you injured?" "I believe the word is damaged." Awwww, Gaius/Six. A new!Six mind you, and quite frankly very short scenes with them, but still it was Gaius/Six material which we've been very deprived of lately this season. Plus, this Six was absolutely gorgeous, like a Greek Goddess. How appropriate, hahaha. AND I WANT HER HAIR, DAMMIT! *pouts*

++ Caprica-Six being all maternal over Hera was adorable. Though Athena girl, I love you but seriously, you shot Natalie because you thought she was taking Hera away. But what about Caprica-Six, the one who is actually sharing your visions? Srsly. But again, it's the hecticness of the situation in these last episodes that really sets the tone of it. But really, I still am all grrrr over Natalie's unjust death.


++ BTW, that whole scene afterwards with Tyrol looking up and seeing the damages, the scratches on the walls of the engine room. Yeah, totally foreshadowing. Galactica's getting older, weaker; she's losing the spark of life she used to be, and seriously how long can an old beaten up vessel warcraft ship like that survive out in space, constantly getting more knocked around and jumping? It's definitely a metaphor for the entire fleet too, them being torn apart and weakened by dividing forces.

++ That ending scene montage with Adama walking with his many men and supporters behind him as he's about to take back his ship and command = MAJORLY BADASS YO! That's his way of sticking it to Zarek and Gaeta, going "you have your own little posse and I've got mine, so what'dya gonna do now?" I LOVED IT!

++ Adama and Roslin reunion again = LOVE! ♥

++ "It stopped." Oh Gaeta, somehow I think his anger was also tied into the fact of his leg and how much it was itching, until suddenly when it stopped was when he life was going to end. :(


Overall: This show is just so frakking epic, I don't think I can squee and flail anymore about it than I've already done. This is a prime example of how absolutely hardcore they can make it, and again we're reaching the end, so at this point the more epic they can make it the better. There are just so many things that these last two episodes presented that matched what this show is all about; humans and humanity, the lengths people will go underneath extreme pressure, underneath their own doubts and anger and hatred and fear, and the decisions we make under those circumstances when hope seems to have been lost. And did anyone notice that the side that took over was the one with both Cylons and humans, that they all helped and worked with each other to have Adama back in control again? Yeah. I love this show so frakking much, as dark and gritty and realistic it is, I just love this show.

Honestly, I am so in love with this show right now I am in a BSG high. How will we survive for the remaining six episodes of the series, I don't even know. But they've raised the bar higher and higher every time, and I am just, lj;alsdjfl;aksjdf. Yeah. Really folks, if you haven't gotten onto the Battlestar Galactica wagon yet and started watching this show....WELL THEN GET STARTED ASAP! SRSLY!
Current Mood: enthralled
rawthorne on February 8th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
It's interesting because I've seen people on other blogs (who don't usually talk TV, hence another sign of BSG's medium-transcending awesome) comment on Roslin/Adama being in bed together as a sign that the president's office and the military are in bed together - which, admittedly, would be bad in a democracy. And those same people were commenting on the value of the Gaeta/Zarek uprising in that they saw the abuses of the government.

My problem with that kind of discourse is that this isn't a democracy. And it shouldn't be. When you're fighting to survive every minute of every day, with resources running out, the last thing you need is elections. Or debate. You need a leader to make decisions, fast and stand by them.

Which is me trying to say I agree with your point. Ultimately, Zarek's role was to disrupt rather than strengthen the fleet and no matter which way you turn this, it still weighs rather heavily against the whole concept of opposition, dissent, democracy and so on.
Renée: Six. Seeing what others do not.rogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting thought and connection, about the office and the military being "in bed" together, which from Gaeta's statements and what I've been reading elsewhere is that it's because of Adama and Roslin personal affairs that their attentive leadership in their roles disabled temporarily. I'm also kind of returning back to what Adama had said back in S1, something about separating military and police or political figures, and that mixing the two would have the people becoming the enemies of state or something to that affect.

My problem with that kind of discourse is that this isn't a democracy. And it shouldn't be. When you're fighting to survive every minute of every day, with resources running out, the last thing you need is elections. Or debate. You need a leader to make decisions, fast and stand by them.

Precisely. What I'm reminded of is Lee's speech during Baltar's trial, that they are no longer a civilization and have to break and bend the rules and laws in order to survive. Even though it's understandable the frustrations and shaking of heads of some of the decisions Adama and Roslin are making, sometimes you have to make those tough calls and risky decisions for everyone's survival whether or not people agree with them. Also, had Zarek and Gaeta's plan succeeded in the end would they be willing to make such tough calls? I highly doubt it.

The assassination of the Quorum I felt was symbolism of that exact thing, that they really can't have a democracy in such desperate times.
helio, helium girl: bsg - lee thinks that's shinyheliotitans on February 8th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Hee, I loved Lee's fakeout with the gernade (Malcolm Reynolds from Serenity, anyone? HEE!)

I want you to know that you have made me HAPPY!
Renée: BSG. FOR THE LULZ.rogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
"Sure would be nice if we had some GERNADES, don'tcha think?" HEE! XD I couldn't resist!
(Deleted comment)
Renée: Six. It's good to be a Cylon.rogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Hee! ;D

These last few episodes have been sky-rocketing into great lengths of epicness that I just can't see how anything else can surpass these last two. I mean, it was just packed with action and high off of adrenaline kind of stuff. I just can't wait to see how the last episodes are going to pan out.

I love the rebel Cylons too. Hell, I'm just pro-Cylon, bb. ♥
The Large Purple Weed: Gaetatracy on February 8th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Just got done reading both meta posts -- you know, as much as I disagree with how Gaeta handled his frustrations, I'm not sure it could have gone any other way. He did try to talk to Adama about it. at their FTL discussion meeting, and then later in the CIC (and you alone get to make that decision?).. and both times Adama completely failed to even listen to him. The first time brushed Gaeta off by saying he'd consult Roslin, and the second time he brushed Gaeta off by saying "yes, I alone get to make that decision, got a problem?" so.. I mean, what else could Gaeta have done?

I think his wanting Adama to admit to his wrongdoings was less of an ego stroke for Gaeta and more of a.. seeking some measure of understanding from Adama who he has for so many years considered a distant father figure, I'm sure. To assuage his guilt a little.

But for all this discussion, I am just still deeply depressed about Gaeta. :(
Clarryhoo: gaetabaltar betrayalisours - cylune9nomorefrostbite on February 8th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
comment hijack time
You're the only person in my entire flist who DOESN'T hate Felix :( :(

Renéerogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: comment hijack time
To be clear, I never once implied that I hated Gaeta. I disliked his way with going about things based on his romantic notions of a perfect government and righting those wrongs, but as a character? No. I understand his reasons for it, but it doesn't make what he did excusable.
The Large Purple Weed: Gaetatracy on February 10th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: comment hijack time
Clearly you need to friend more people at gaeta_squee!
Renée: Kara. Lost all hope and reason.rogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
It's heartbreaking seeing Gaeta coming at his wit's end after attempting to go to Adama and Roslin, and having nowhere else to turn to other than Tom Zarek, who would no doubt listen to his frustrations and in turn help him out with his so-called revolutionary shift of how things have been going within the government. He was then setting himself up for anything, but he didn't quite expect it to go as far as it had. But yes, what else could he have done? Nobody was listening to him, he had to go somewhere -- which is the heartbreaking thing, in the end, talking with Baltar. "I just want people to know...who I am."

Yeah, going back to "The Oath" and hearing Gaeta exploding at Adama I can definitely hear the disappointment within his rage. He's served on Galactica for seven years he says, and he's probably seen Adama's change and wants to know the reasons why, to have answers, to have something to justify his decisions he's making now.

I'm depressed about Gaeta too. It was inevitable as he sealed his own fate with Zarek once he went to him, but it's still very sad about how it all happened. :(((
Clarryhoo: bsg gaeta iwanttolaugh - menomorefrostbite on February 8th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
everyone on my flist hates felix :(
We see Zarek trying to push Gaeta to move forward, but Gaeta refuses, wanting to take his time getting those answers, possibly to have his ego stroked by having the Admiral under arrest and to have such questions be answered by him admitting his wrongdoings, which he should know were never wrong to begin with.

I totally disagree with this assessment!! And so does Michael Angeli (writer of Blood on the Scales):

Q: Why did Gaeta insist on a "trial" of Adama? Was it because he wanted to hang on to the idea that this coup was a legitimate transfer of power? Was it because he needed to hear Adama to say that Adama was wrong? What was that about?

Angeli: For whatever else he was (or might’ve been) Gaeta was an idealist and despite his near occasions of peevishness, he was a romantic. He believed in the idea of government, laws, leadership, service, etc. and if you look at his behavior away back on New Caprica, there was a certain nobleness to his intentions. He wanted to do things right, he was an advocate of justice, fairness.

So, it’s not surprising that even with a coup snowballing, he’d want some form of a trial. But more importantly, Gaeta was conflicted. He loved Adama and just couldn’t get around to killing him. Gaeta was the romantic; Zarek was the realist. For Gaeta, the “trial,” was a stall. And having Adama admit that he was wrong was really about Gaeta convincing his own intellect that Adama should die – because he, himself admits he’s wrong.
Renéerogueslayer452 on February 8th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: everyone on my flist hates felix :(
See my above comment. I don't hate Gaeta, and I do admit those choice of words seemed rather harsh. But his attitude and behavior in this episode seemed kinda of smug considering. I'm sure that wasn't his intention at all, and he only wanted answers, but his idealistic romantic notions weren't realistic and he was blinded by his frustrations, his attitude towards Cylons (especially from the Eight in the webisodes and of Anders who shot him) which to me definitely seemed like he was relishing the fact that he had Adama arrested and was questioning him, even though he was only trying to make sense of things he didn't understand by the recent military and government actions.

I do think he was more disappointed and finally had a chance to right the "wrongs" he believed were happening underneath the Adama-Roslin administration, but again, idealistic at best and everything from fear and hatred and anger and guilt were mixed into one, which resulted into what happened.