Early in the episode, it’s apparent that not all is right in the world of humans v. Cylons. Roslin has taken refuge on the Cylon Baseship, surrounded by 6s, 8s, 2s and Tory, the latter of whom seems intent on running at the first sign of trouble. Someone should tell her Cylons don’t spook that easy.
Once Roslin convinces the Cylons to stick, bigger problems are brewing on Galactica. While Lee and Kara move about the ship, shooting things, grabbing weapons and occasionally sharing a light-hearted moment (come on, Lee didn’t pull the pin in the grenade, that’s classic), Tyrol is scrounging for a weapon, while Adama waits to face trial for the crimes Gaeta and Zarek are intent on leveling against him. And it seems that no one—save Lee, Kara and the Cylons locked in the brig—have any intention of preventing the Admiral from meeting the bullet end of a firing squad.
However, what this episode truly showcases is the dynamic between Zarek and Gaeta and the sharp contrast in their methodologies. Gaeta, I believe unwittingly, became a pawn in Zarek’s never-ending quest for control. While Gaeta maintained throughout his campaign that he was attempting to do the right thing, Zarek makes no such statement. His ideals have not changed since season one (1.3—Bastille Day), when he had no qualms about taking prisoners and threatening people’s lives in order to reach his endgame—control.
And from the start of this episode, Zarek exerts his newfound control with an iron fist. Forget for a moment that he acts as sole judge and jury for Adama’s court-martial. Forget even that he lies about Tigh’s death. But remember that Zarek, in a moment of calm clarity, ordered the assassination of the Quorum of Twelve.
When Gaeta appears shocked and amazed at the levels to which Zarek will stoop, Tom relays to us what we have always known: history is written by the winners. And Zarek intends to win.
Overall, the episode was strong from start to finish. The special effects were amazing (I had no idea that’s what the FTL drive looked like); the quiet underscoring of Bear McCreary’s music was perfect; and the direction, by Wayne Rose, was spot on.
But it’s the overall theme of this episode that I think we should examine most closely. I’m going to take a liberty here and tell you what I believe the theme to be: when confronted with a choice, when confronted with insurmountable odds, what do you do?
In the case of BSG, we’ve seen time and again that they fight. But, what we saw in tonight’s episode goes beyond the knee-jerk reaction to a threat.
What we saw was Baltar realizing he has a responsibility now, whether he feels it is rightly his. We saw Kelly make a choice and follow his gut. We saw Lee decide that fighting alongside his father is more important than hanging up his wings. We saw Kara fight for and protect the man she married. We saw Roslin resume her position as president of the Colonies.
We saw Battlestar Galactica firmly assert its position as the best-acted, best-written and best-produced show on television. So say we all.
Maybe it wasn’t much of a surprise that Adama regained control of his ship and was reunited with Roslin. Maybe it wasn’t much of a surprise that Zarek and Gaeta were executed. Maybe it wasn’t even much of a surprise that Gaeta’s last conversation was with Baltar.
What was a surprise were the speed, efficiency and energy with which they told the story. And, while amazing, also a little disheartening—because we’ve only got six episodes left.
My only real sticking point with this episode is that they did not resolve Sam and Kara. I have a feeling we all know what happened, and it’s possible they will deal with it quite a bit in episode 15. However, considering the uneven terrain Kara’s been on all season, it would seem that the loss of her husband might be the final thing that pushes her over the edge. And despite Adama’s successful bid to regain control, having Starbuck bouncing around like a loose canon isn’t good for the Fleet. And least of all, the fans.