Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 12

A Disquiet Follows My Soul

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 23, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

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  • Sometimes, this show blows us away. And, unfortunately, other times, like with A Disquiet Follows my Soul, it makes us wonder if the writers even know what they're doing. A tremendous fall after last week's spectacular premiere.

    Battlestar starts off season 4.5 with one of its greatest outings yet. And then you have a disaster of remarkable proportions, like this episode, which really makes you question if the writers of this show have any idea, at all, what they're doing. It speaks to the horror of what's on the screen when the best thing to say about this episode is: "The season would have been ten times better if it simply disappeared from existence." The problems are far too numerous to count, but I'll make an attempt anyway.

    Why the creators of the show would imagine that a political plot between Gaeta (a secondary character at best) and Tom Zarek (most definitely a tertiary one) would be interesting enough to hold our attention for an hour is mind-boggling. We are not invested in these characters enough to care so deeply, and attempting to (re-)characterize Gaeta now in season 4 by pitting him against characters we like (Adama, Tigh, and Kara) is all the wrong ways to do it.

    But let's say they want to split the Fleet anyway, since this is good drama, right? And mutinies are always interesting, right? Then don't show it from a MILE AWAY. This is TV 101. Battlestar can get so wrapped up in showing how everything happens that they remove any iota of drama that could have been gleaned out of it. I was watching the previews for the next episode -- with Gaeta staging a mutiny in the CIC -- and the only thing I could think of was that that would have made a much better episode this week. Not only would they have skipped a lot of boring, terrible dialogue had they skipped this episode's events entirely, they would have also made the next episode's events that much more exciting because they would have been a plot-twist.

    These problems are all compounded by horrible writing. Every second line that comes out of Gaeta's mouth is so bad I can't believe it was written into the script ("A pity frak's out of the question?!" he shouts), and his whole rant about how he almost died at the hands of the Evil Cylons & Wife in season 3 had me waiting for Kara's reply: "Yeah, and those are the same people that lead the Resistance and made sure you got off of New Caprica alive you ungrateful SOB." That would have put things in perspective... but it would also highlight the inconsistency in turning the likable Felix Gaeta into a ranting, raving lunatic.

    And let's not forget Tyrol's part in this episode, which is a retcon of laughable proportions which only serves to make DIFFERENT scenes make no sense. Okay, so they didn't know back in season 3 when Chief and Cally had a baby that he'd be a Cylon, and that a half-Cylon child would take away from Hera's thunder. So now they have to retcon away that Tyrol's not Nicky's real dad (can someone get Maury?), emphasizing their earlier mistake by this crappy resolution. As if that's not bad enough, now Cally's attempt to airlock the baby in season 4 makes even less sense -- it was always questionable that she would try to kill herself instead of alerting the Fleet (at least before killing herself), but we could rationalize it by a desire to not confront the shame of bearing a half-Cylon child. But wait, she knew all this time that Nicky was human? So her first instinct was to go and kill a perfectly fine baby when she found out there were Cylon stowaways onboard the Galactica? Riiight.

    So we spend half of the season 4.5 episode characterizing Gaeta and Zarek, and we spend the other half fixing a plot hole from yesteryears. And some other half breaks all sort of mathematical laws that we previously took for granted, to show that Roslin is getting on with her life. In a greater episode, that could have been a subtle, critical characterization -- in this one, it is simply more filler. Baltar's appearance attempts to redeem the whole mess, and even then, his destitute countenance only graces us for some thirty-odd seconds.

    This show is not about Felix Gaeta or Tom Zarek, and it's far too late to change that. Which means that focusing on these two characters as they go about building a resistance for an entire episode has the dramatic depth of a random character, say, Helo, going about his daily routine, say, locking up crazy doctors. Didn't we already try that? It didn't go over so well. What they should focus on is the reaction to these events from the characters we do care about, and it looks like next week will be about just that. The question remains, "What in Gods' names were they thinking?" Additional points docked because this episode actually makes others (the next one; Cally's suicide; anything with Felix) worse on re-viewing.

    Apart from appreciating the political action for its theoretical depth, there's just absolutely no way to positively look on this episode. This isn't bad Battlestar, which usually has very high standards... this is bad TV.
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