Battlestar Galactica: The Oath

The Galactica is throwing a mutiny, and everyone’s invited! Let’s get to it: Gaeta springs Zarek from the brig, then sets in motion an incredibly elaborate and brutal plan to overthrow Adama. Wow, when Gaeta goes crazy and evil, he commits. Skulls and Racetrack, at a signal from Gaeta, evacuate the flight deck and prepare to transport Zarek to Colonial One. Laird (remember Laird? That one guy from the Pegasus? No? Eh, doesn’t matter) tries to stop them, so Zarek beans him over the head with a wrench. Exit Laird.

Gaeta returns to the CIC and carefully orchestrates chaos throughout the ship by manufacturing a fake out-of-control fire and taking all the comms offline. While I sort of despise Newly Crazy and Evil Gaeta, I must say he makes a pretty effective criminal mastermind. Decks are evacuated due to Gaeta’s nonexistent fire, which Starbuck finds fishy. When she calls the CIC to report her suspicions, Gaeta hangs up on her.

On Colonial One, Apollo tries to convince the Quorum to accept the alliance with the Cylons. Zarek arrives and takes over the meeting. Apollo calls Adama to see why Zarek has been restored to power, but Gaeta answers and stalls him. When Apollo returns to the Galactica, the mutineers, Skulls and Racetrack among them, detain him. Starbuck shoots Skulls in the neck and rescues Apollo.

So have enough peripheral characters inexplicably turned bloodthirsty and evil yet? No? Well, here’s Seelix: she arranges to have Anders ambushed, beaten, and thrown in the brig. Mutineers invade the Agathons’ quarters and imprison Helo, Athena, and Hera with Anders and Caprica Six. Because it wouldn’t be Battlestar Galactica without the ever-present threat of sexualized violence against women, one of the mutineers threatens to rape Athena.

In the CIC, Gaeta calls in the Marines and places Tigh and Adama into custody, then takes command of the whole damn ship. Yes, I’ve been insisting for the last three seasons that Gaeta should be given a juicier role, but this wasn’t what I had in mind. Adama and Tigh revolt en route to the brig and meet up with Starbuck and Apollo.

Roslin visits Baltar, who is holed up in his compound along with his followers and Tyrol, and uses his wireless to address the fleet. She rallies the fleet to resist the mutineers, but Gaeta severs the connection midway through her speech.

Baltar calls the CIC to talk some sense into Gaeta. This is an excellent idea, except, being Baltar, he botches it. He riles up Gaeta by mentioning “our little secret, sealed with a very special pen,” so Gaeta hangs up on him and continues on with his scheduled mutiny. You know, fifteen or so episodes back, if Adama had realized that maybe his mild-mannered tactical officer was starting to go crazy and evil when he STABBED BALTAR IN THE NECK WITH A PEN, maybe all this could have been prevented. Just saying.

(Side note: Watch the webisodes, if you haven’t done so already. Not only do they reveal all kinds of fun things about Gaeta’s surprisingly active and varied personal life, but his New Caprica secret is explained in some detail. The webisodes also sort of explain why he's cheerfully gone from "mildly unhinged" to "full-tilt insane" in the past couple of episodes. Doesn't make his mutiny any less unsympathetic, but it certainly makes it less inexplicable.)

Tyrol smuggles Roslin and Baltar off of Galactica and onto a Raptor while Tigh and Adama remain behind to hold off the mutineers. Gaeta notices the Raptor launch and orders it destroyed.

Ah, Battlestar Galactica: still bringing the laughs on Friday nights.


josh jackson said…
I have a fairly predictable catch phrase. You see, at the end of the episode, my wife prompted me with "Go ahead and say it." I smiled, leaned toward the tv, and exclaimed "Are you f#$%ing kidding me?"

I guess the writers figured that since it was the end of the series, they should whack as many people as possible.

Also, was anyone else kind of creeped out by Adama and Roslin in bed together? I mean, that moment was as obviously impending as the dawn, but it was still a little ew.

BSG is my favorite soap opera. I will surely miss it when it's gone.
Morgan Richter said…
Also, was anyone else kind of creeped out by Adama and Roslin in bed together?

Yup. I went to some kind of BSG panel event last summer, for which I stood in line for hours and hours with a bunch of BSG fans. And everyone I chatted with was smart and funny and awesome, and it was great killing time with them, but they were also all, every last one, Roslin/Adama 'shippers. To which I (mentally) had to respond with your favorite catch phrase, Josh: "Are you f#$%ing kidding me?"

Oh, yeah, no one's making it to the end in one piece. Quick poll: Is Gaeta more likely to meet his inevitable violent end by being lined against a bulkhead and shot, or through a close and personal encounter with an airlock? I figure those are pretty much his only two exit strategies, though I'm hoping for a longshot redemptive death where he sacrifices himself while making amends for his actions. I have much love for Gaeta, but damn, I can't follow where he's going.
Ingrid Richter said…
Haven't seen the episode yet, but your review reminds me a bit of the MST3K classic "Space Mutiny." Or maybe every mutiny in space is like this?

As long as Adama and Roslin forswear the silver jumpsuits and blue lame' miniskirts, I'm cool.
Morgan Richter said…
Ingrid, I'm ashamed to say I thought of Space Mutiny (which, for the record, is my pick for the hootiest MST3K ever) while Gaeta was stumping around on his fake leg and being all evil and stuff. Remember the evil crippled mutineer in Space Mutiny? Yeah, that's where my brain went.

BSG is Space Mutiny minus all the unintentional hilarity.
Dan said…
Just finished watching the episode and, I gotta say, I really liked it. Especially after all the misery guts antics of the last two episodes.

Sure, Starbuck tried to start up with the 'hey, let's be a bitch to everybody' stuff (sooo the previous episode) but she soon came to her senses and joined in the madcap fun of fighting a mutiny.

Question: Can somebody clarify why, exactly, Tigh and Adama had to stay behind? I know they said something about making sure the Raptor got away safely. But I'd have thought the mutineers coming down the corridor were less of a threat to the Raptor, than, say, the Vipers about to be launched to destroy it.

Or maybe Adama and Tigh knew the Raptor was dead meat once it actually got into space and preferred to take their chances against the corridor mutineers.

Oh, and Gaeta's totally going out the airlock. But not before Starbuck rags on him a bit more for being a cripple.
Morgan Richter said…
It was no Space Mutiny. That's all I'll say. (Click on the link! You'll see the stunning similarities to BSG! Added bonus: awesome Eighties space fashions!)

No idea why Tigh and Adama thought they had to stay behind and prevent the mutineers from, er, standing in the airlock and shooting the (safely launched) Raptor down. I wasn't clear on that. Still, they got to look manly with big guns while grenades were tossed at them, etcetera.

I don't know. BSG is just making me sad and tired this season. I think I'm going to go rewatch Space Mutiny for renewal of purpose.
Dan said…
It was no Space Mutiny. That's all I'll say.

No. I stand corrected. Clearly, BSG still has much to learn when it comes to crafting compelling space opera.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah. I mean, if this current mutiny arc ends with a madcap Zamboni chase in the lower decks of the Galactica, maybe I'll reconsider. But as of now, the edge goes to Space Mutiny. Clearly.
Dan said…
Also, Roslin and/or Starbuck and/or Baltar totally need to have Gaeta perform laser dentistry on them as a form of torture.

(Semi-related: I totally love Baltar's treatment of his adoring flock. "No, thank you for the statue. That's truly wonderful. But, hey, why don't you keep it.")
Morgan Richter said…
No matter how grim BSG gets, Baltar always brings the laughs. I suspect James Callis thinks he's on a totally different show from the rest of the cast (a much more entertaining show, I'd argue). Starbuck? Starbuck never brings the laughs, cripple jokes notwithstanding.

(I think last week Starbuck may have edged out Roslin for my prestigious Least Favorite Character on Television award. She's been perfectly vile for a couple seasons now, but the cripple jokes finally put her over the top.)

Oh, yeah -- the mutiny plot really needs some dental torture. Good call.
Dan said…
Actually, I've changed my mind.

Adama needs the laser dentistry torture.

Can you imagine EJO in the dentist's chair, furying it up at this heinous orthodontic maltreatment? That'd be Totally Awesome™.

"Put that mirror DOWN, Mr Gaeta."

"Get out of my bicuspids, son. You swore an OATH."


Oh! And also, in an earlier scene, Roslin could have been shot by a passing Centurion.
Jason Gilman said…
I wouldn't be all that shocked if Tigh and Adama are in fact dead, but it also seems likely that the grenade was just a concussion/flash grenade. Why they stayed behind in the first place does seem pretty inexplicable though.

At least the Monday NBC lineup is returning tomorrow. The musical Super Bowl promos were actually kind of amusing.
Morgan Richter said…
I figure if Tigh and Adama really were dead, the last shot would've been a loving pan over their torn-apart corpses lying amidst all the ruin. Because that's The Battlestar Galactica Way.

Oh, those musical NBC promos. I didn't mind so much that the Heroes and Chuck folks were forced to participate, since both casts have a known propensity for cheerfully making asses of themselves to promote their respective shows. I did wince a little that classy, reserved British actor Jake Weber of Medium got dragged into this nonsense, as he always seems like a terribly serious fellow who might not want to bop around in a Super Bowl ad.

I also dug the Heroes-versus-John Elway commercial (er... that was Elway, right? That's just about the limit of my football knowledge), though somewhere out there, poor Ali Larter must be hopping mad that she got suited up for the commercial (she's in all the behind-the-scenes footage, in full uniform)... and yet she doesn't appear in the finished product. Anywhere.

Whoah -- just checked my site keywords again, and here's where people's heads are these days:

"sealed with a very special pen"
"our little secret sealed with a very special pen"
"our little secret" "sealed with a very special pen"
"a little secret sealed in a very special pen"
"battlestar galactica" "special pen"
"our little secret" special pen battlestar galactica
baltar gaeta "our little secret"
baltar sealed "special pen"
battlestar oath baltar secret pen

...and about forty other variations on this theme, no fooling. All I can say is, watch the webisodes, everyone, because it's addressed there, and I doubt it'll be addressed anywhere else in the series.
Jameel said…
I'm shocked at the utter lack of humility displayed in this post. Good for the laughs? That severely offends me and the other millions and millions of people who recognize that BSG is the single greatest accomplishment in the history of film, theater, science fiction, and television.
Granted, I as did many other people reached a breakpoint after episode 14 of Season 4 when the weeks went by this January and the episodes seemed inexplicably headed toward utter cliffhanging town, and I even made a special Baltar jumping the Galactica picture to commemorate that BSG had finally jumped the shark, but good for the laughs? Please I suggest you not watch anything if you're going to approach it with a smartass attitude rather than actually open your mind and think about the story. Nothing has been funny in Galactica for a long time, not since the beginning of the show. Gaeta's mutiny was not remotely inexplicable or random, Skulls was not shot in the head (Skulls is the black guy she shot in the shoulder, the guy that got headshot is a random marine, as are 99.9% of the marines in the series.) To the comments....please get a clue. Adama and Tigh aren't leaving their ship. They failed their way through their colonial careers to gain this one last chance at commanding a battlestar and there's no way in hell anything is going to stop them from staying on it (DUH)

You're all stupid, please get off the internet. There will be no naysaying about Galactica. It is 150% pure amazing and I suggest you retract your stupid rhetoric now in hindsight.

To josh jackson: Olmos said that its very possible everyone would die in Season 4. Everyone did die, so the people that died explicit deaths actually were done a favor.
Morgan Richter said…
Jameel, let's start by recognizing that opinions will vary. You may think that BSG "is the single greatest accomplishment in the history of film, theater, science fiction, and television"; I disagree, strongly. That's fine, and you're welcome to express your opinion here. However, you're going to have to treat everyone -- myself and anyone who comments here -- with respect and not resort to language like "You're all stupid, please get off the internet," or I'm going to delete your comments for being abusive.

(I know who Skulls is, by the way. Notice I said Starbuck shot him in the neck, not the head.)

If you can calm down, show some maturity, and state your views rationally and respectfully, we can have a conversation about this. If you just want to hurl insults, there's no need to for me to give you a platform on which do it.
Ingrid Richter said…
Wow. I had no idea that Jameel owned the Internet.

It must be hard to have a religion based around a tv show...
Morgan Richter said…
Well, I understand loving a television show so much you feel automatically defensive whenever anyone says anything negative about it. I felt that way about BSG up through about the first half of the third season. But there are effective ways to handle this (either by ignoring negative remarks and moving on with your life, or by crafting an intelligent, insightful, respectful argument to support your opinion), and less effective ways (by calling people stupid and telling them to get off the internet). One of these paths is guaranteed to get better results than the other.

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