Battlestar Galactica Round Table: “The Oath”

And we’re back with the round-table style discussion about this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, “The Oath”, and then we open it up to the rest of the Tor.com community for a big ol’ discussion. The participants this week are Torie Atkinson, Threresa Delucci, Rajan Khanna, and Pablo Defendini. The conversation starts after the cut, and there are many spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the episode, please stay away from this post!

Pablo: Last night’s BSG was so good, I had to watch it twice in a row. [soapbox rant—A word of advice to Hulu: if you stop posting Battlestar Galactica the morning after it airs, as seems to be your plan after the first five episodes of season 4.5, I—and I’m sure many others—will go back to BitTorrent. As it stands, failing posting right on the air date/time, this is acceptable. Please keep it up—end soapbox rant]

Last week I didn’t understand why the writers were going to waste their time with a mutiny plot this close to the end of the show, but now I see: it’s facilitating a return to form for many characters: Roslin finally snaps out of her silly funk and starts being a player again. Zarek’s out for blood, power and the presidency. Starbuck’s back to kicking ass and being an adrenaline junkie: “Take a breath, Lee. It feels good being alive.” The Old Man and Tigh play buddy cops. Gaius “I have no desire to leave you, but I have to go” Baltar is back to his self-preserving ways. Hilarity ensues. That said, his try at a back channel conversation with Gaeta was admirable, and it was good to see the return of the dynamic that’s been developing between him and Roslin since they were both back on the base star during the attack on the resurrection hub.

It was frustrating how long it took the CIC to realize what was happening, and it was hard to watch sleazy Gaeta fooling everyone on the phone. Although he’s right about one thing: Adama’s not the leader he was when they started.

The dramatic performance by Tigh’s Eye when he finds Roslin’s been shackin’ up with Adama was priceless. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Michael Hogan can emote more with that one eye than most actors can with their whole damn faces.

And frakking Gaeta needs to be airlocked ahora. Preferably by Laura “Airlock” Roslin herself; she hasn’t lived up to that nickname in far too long.

Torie: I thought this was a truly stand-out episode. It was the first great one of the season, and my only wish is that it had happened in Season 3 instead of so close to the end of the series. It allowed each and every character to get in touch with the reasons why we loved them so much early on the series: Starbuck finally stopped being a crazy religious nut and went back to kicking ass; Lee snapped out of his politician mindthink immediately and became Apollo again; Roslin got her shit together, finally; and the Old Man and Tigh got a chance to be close again, without any of that I-don’t-know-what-you-are bullshit.

I really liked the way that Gaeta very quickly finds that he doesn’t have the charisma or the sheer power to command loyalty the way that Adama does, and I just know that’s going to be his undoing. I’m hoping Adama himself will get to airlock the bastard, but Roslin would be an acceptable replacement. Zarek was merciless and brutal as always—it’s good to be reminded that for all of his talk of rule-by-the-people he’s still a goddamn terrorist.

This is the first episode in a long time that made me excited and impatient for next week. I can’t wait. I hope it ends with a bang.

Theresa: I also enjoyed this episode so much I had to watch both airings. 

I, too, think Moore & co. are bringing the characters full circle… yet completely changed. Adama isn’t the leader he once was. (Loved his “It was an honor to have served with you,” an echo of his words when Galactica was saved from Cylon attack by the Pegasus.) Roslin’s not the same president, Kara’s not the same soldier, Lee isn’t just his father’s son. And I don’t think the mutiny is a waste of time. The fleet has every right to be pissed, hurt, fractioned, and, frankly, I think they are entitled to completely distrust the Cylons. The human genocide was only, what, about three years ago? I can understand where Gaeta and Zarek are coming from on some level. Adama and Roslin continually, often forcibly, demand that the fleet just trusts them and they all get led down dangerous paths that usually have little reward. 

I’m hoping me see more of tough-gal Kara. I missed her trigger happy ways. Loved the snark between her and Hot Dog. Come on, after last week that is a fitting call sign. And Kara has frakked half the fleet.

Also happy to see clever, self-preservation mode Baltar. I was getting tired of his Cult of Lonely Women. Also thought this mutiny was a great way to integrate him into the main story again. Finally! He and Roslin do have quite a bit in common, aside from horrible aides. But that was a great point, too. Who else missed Billy in that moment? Best. Aide. Ever.

Some of the conspirators surprised me. Et tu, Seelix? It sucks to see Gaeta turn into such a slimy villain. While I can understand his hate of the Cylons, his anger at the Adama administration, he just doesn’t do his cause any favors. I am still really surprised by this character’s arc. He is so uncharismatic, so… not threatening. But I believe he was acting more to prop up power for Zarek, not for himself. How could he ever think he could be a leader? At this point, I’m positive he’s getting airlocked. Poor Mr. Hoshi! 

I loved the Laura/Bill romance. Playing house together, saying that sad goodbye. Good to see the Old Man making his stand with Tigh by his side again. Full circle, but completely different. Bill has his ship to regain and his love to fight for. Adama’s back! Bust out the flashlights!

Finally, can people stop threatening to rape Athena? It’s become her distinguishing feature now or something.

Raj: This was the perfect episode after last week. Last week was set up, this week was the explosion. I was glued to the screen, though I had to pause it at several times, just because I needed to take it all in and I didn’t want it to be over with so quickly.

I was a little pissed that we finally got to see some of Helo and then he gets knocked out.

Gaeta is completely slimy, I agree. And he has to die in some completely fucked up way now. Roslin’s “I am coming for you” line is now understandable.

And as others have said, I loved the return to form (though as Theresa said it wasn’t a complete return). I loved Kara shooting the mutineers. I loved seeing Kara and Lee tear shit up again (face it, Lee’s been boring since he started wearing the suit).

I’m looking forward to seeing the stand-off with the base ship. It’s been done before, but I do love those stand-offs. I don’t believe that Tigh is going to die (they still haven’t brought back Ellen), but I think Adama is entirely vulnerable.

And they did better on the Baltar, but I still want more.

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