Battlestar Galactica: Blood on the Scales

Mutiny continues to cast shadows all over Galactica, as sides are chosen and friends are lost.

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

Who is Felix Gaeta?

After last week (and let’s face it, way back when the episode originally aired), I was willing to write him off as a frakked up malcontent who couldn’t cope with his situation, so he turned to the one person who would listen to his concerns. He has been continually screwed as the show has gone on, and for all his good deeds and intentions, nothing ever works out for him.

But still, he threw in his lot with Zarek, a former terrorist, and now this is the world he has created.

While that’s all true, after “Blood on the Scales” wrapped up with his execution, I really got a sense of just how sad he is.

He was a man that continually broke; first the Cylons, then Baltar, then his leg, then Earth, and then he just couldn’t handle all that grief, and he decided to strike back.

And he was right (at least in his eyes). The machines that started all this horror should not now, not ever, be the fleet’s allies, and that’s just what Adama and Roslin made happen. His mutiny was all about restoring common sense and good ol’ fashioned hatred back into the ranks, and it nearly worked.

It was never going to work, and as viewers we know that, but the real moment the mutiny died was when Gaeta looked at what his partner, his fellow crusader for justice, had done for their cause. Zarek played his hand, and when the Quorum turned down his bid for power, he had them executed in one of the series’ most chilling moments.

Gaeta and his cohorts are guilty of that crime, and Gaeta’s heart broke for the last time. He had the truth and light on his side, but he didn’t understand how coups work (something Tom Zarek knows all about). They are bloody and violent and lots of people on both sides die; like his dealings with his Eight, he wanted to believe that he could execute an orderly and just takeover of a military vessel where nobody would get hurt.

It’s his fault he didn’t know what would happen. It’s his fault all those people died. Death must have been such a relief for him.

So, who was he? He was a broken man who never learned to heal himself. He was an idealist who always believed the best about people (to his detriment). He was a man of principle, even at the end.

He was Felix Gaeta. RIP.

While we are eulogizing him, it can be pretty hard to talk about Gaeta without talking about Baltar.

For half the series, the two of them were always together, and while Gaeta sure felt a lot for his president, I doubt Baltar ever really thought about Gaeta.

Sure, he could help Baltar in his lab (even if Gaeta wasn’t as good a scientist), and he was a useful aide (even when he was admonishing Baltar’s administration abilities), but when he wasn’t around, Gaeta was just no longer in Baltar’s thoughts.

Baltar has come a long way since the miniseries, and he’s still got a way to go, but for the first time he’s beginning to see what he owes the people in his life. He ran away to the Basestar to stay away from Gaeta’s wrath, and he left his people behind to face the armed mutineers alone. Baltar didn’t think about them at first, but eventually, he remembered them and he was ashamed of his behavior.

Baltar finally takes some responsibility and is there for Gaeta before the execution. He comforts the condemned man as best as he could (in another moving and somber scene in an episode full of them), and he even attends his death.

It’s a little step for the improved Baltar, and it’s a huge step for the selfish, weak man we began the series with. He only gets better from here.

Stray thoughts

  • As much as I love this episode, and I even like it better than part one, it’s not without its flaws. For one thing, Chief’s story line was right out of a mediocre “Star Trek” episode (and I say that as someone who loves “Star Trek”). It’s been done, and been done better, and I wish the writers could have found a more elegant solution. The other thing that just doesn’t sit right is Adama and crowd’s walk to CIC. Sure, it’s a good visual, but it comes across as cheesy and an unearned rah-rah moment. But really, minor quibbles.

  • As the series winds down, more and more of those background characters are getting one last hurrah, and one of the best was Captain Kelly’s confrontation with Chief. Presumably, Kelly (who last time we saw him he was trying to assassinate Baltar) went along with the mutineers because they unlocked his cell, but really, he didn’t blame the admiral for what happened to him. He choose to be a better man despite his troubles. A good send off for a forgotten character.

  • One of my favorite visuals: Lee and Starbuck’s timed double shoot. Maybe I am an action-film lover at heart.

  • Line of the night: “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!” (do I really need to credit this???)

 

Next up: “No Exit”