Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 14

Blood on the Scales (2)

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 06, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

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  • The reckoning arrives

    In some comments to my review for the previous episode, I noted that the Zarek/Gaeta revolution was doomed from the beginning based on its own nature. As right as Gaeta might have been in his accusations against Adama and how the admiral has changed over time, and as right as some of the dissention against the Adama/Roslin Caprican power bloc might have been, neither of those considerations were at the heart of the coup.

    A revolution is seldom successful without a unifying ideal and vision. It has to be about fighting for something, rather than simply fighting against the status quo. There must be a unifying goal and dream, married to a solid philosophy, or the revolution becomes little more than directed mob action.

    Zarek and Gaeta had personal reasons for wanting to overthrow the current power structure within the fleet. For Zarek, it was a matter of taking what he felt was rightfully his to take. Adam and Roslin used Zarek on several occasions, and never gave him the authority and trust that the legal electoral system granted him. The recent installation of Lee Adama as president in Roslin's absence was just the latest insult. Zarek tried to work within the system, and he was left with the unfortunate conclusion that Capricans were still lording over those from other colonies.

    Gaeta was overflowing with hate and remorse, based on his personal experiences on New Caprica and the choices he made. His reasons for hating the Cylons were rational enough, but he never laid out the argument to anyone. He just took action out of a mixture and righteousness and revenge. Such things are powerful motivators, but in this case, they were also deeply internal. So those driving emotions never became a true rallying cry to the revolution.

    Because Zarek was using Gaeta to achieve a personal power play, and Gaeta never truly offered anything more than rage and hate as the basis for his coup, the revolution was little more than a large-scale outlet of negative emotions. There was no rallying philosophy or plan to replace what Adama and Roslin were offering; there was simply anger over the realization that Earth was not the answer to all the problems.

    The revolution never offered an alternative, however, and while uncertainty demanded a degree of chaos, it was the kind of fire that burns fast and hot. The entire revolution lasted a few hours at most, and within that time, it took mere minutes for Zarek to start lying to Gaeta to pursue his own power play. If anything, the end result (including the slaughter of the Quorum) galvanized the power structure even more around Adama and Roslin.

    Adama and his followers have been tested by revolt, and they were equal to the task. They simply won't be challenged again on any meaningful level from within the fleet. Roslin managed to bend the Rebel Cylons entirely to her will through force of personality alone. It seems like the Cylons were willing to put their survival on hold for the sake of Roslin's agenda, which has some startling implications. It certainly supports the notion that the Rebel Cylons aren't the threat they used to be.

    It also seems as if Baltar's conscience is finally beginning to manifest itself. Instead of reveling without guilt in the lovely arms of yet another version of Six, Baltar rails against his own tendency to run away from personal responsibility. Baltar's association with Adama and Roslin in this crisis will of course be noted, and it could be that this will transform the nature and purpose of his cult into something vital to the survival of Humanity.

    One unexpected side effect of this coup is the realization of just how far gone the Galactica is. The ship has been through absolute hell since the Cylon attack, and there's only so much that can be repaired on the fly. Based on what Tyrol saw in the FTL drive compartment, the Galactica is on its last legs. Cylon upgrades may be more than just a perk; they might be vital to fleet survival. In essence, this cements the notion that Adama and Roslin were right about the alliance being the only hope for the future.

    This could lead to the general recognition that Adama and Roslin are making the right call out of necessity, not out of some semi-mystical sense of prophecy. The realities surrounding Earth have led to a general distrust of prophecy, so pragmatic concerns could rule the day. This all depends on how the truth about the Final Five and Kara plays out. The writers have been knocking it out of the park for the last several episodes, so for now, they've earned a measure of trust.
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