Michael Angeli picks up quite admirably from where Mark Verherden left off with the second instalment of this two parter and continues Battlestar's current trend of high quality episodic entertainment. Much of the strength of 'The Oath' is inherent in 'Blood on the Scales': the continuing use of time as a predicate for narrative progression works wonderfully in keeping the dramatic tension levels stoked. The wealth of action is also encouraging. We are barely given a chance to pause for breath as first Adama is being given the most hokum trial known to man, then the Quorum are ruthlessly slaughtered by a completely barking Zarek, then Anders is shot and lies bleeding to death after Eugene Tooms murders a rebel with a pen and then Bill is before a firing squad, facing summary execution for his apparently 'treacherous' activities. This is unrelenting, difficult stuff, refusing to bow to narrative convention or attempt to sugar coat the brutality of what is truly going on. Kudos to the production staff for being brave enough to take this complete about turn in the mechanics of the plot to its logical conclusion and not 'chicken out', if you will, from presenting the viewer with the consequences of a failed revolution. One gets the distinct impression that nothing will ever be the same on the show now that two thirds of the crew have rebelled against their leader and he's back in power. Racetrack doesn't simply bow to Adama's will: he is reticent, holding firm in his beliefs. And Zarek and Gaeta... well, we all knew Tom would hold out until the bitter end but Felix? That was a surprise, but a pleasing one. He doesn't atone, there are no epiphianic, revelatory speeches. Instead, Angeli gives us a quiet, reflective scene with Baltar that somehow manages to encapsulate the essence of the character... and then shoots the poor bugger dead, execution style. It's a harsh fate for someone so misguided, perhaps, but then, it's the only logical one within the confines of the show's pre-established militaristic politics. To have merely reprimanded him just wouldn't have seemed right. You may not want him dead but you know it's what you should get.
The writing staff certainly weren't exaggerating when they said in pre-season interviews that this would be a climate-changing, gigantic curveball of a decathlon and that, at times, it may make for somewhat harrowing viewing. However, it's all executed so elegantly, with such poise, style and sophistication, that you just cannot help but be swept along for the ride, regardless of just how damaging to your mental health it may be. Another tough forty five minutes then but like all good car wrecks, you just can't look away. Even when Roslin screams "I'm coming for you!" in the most unnecessarily hyperbolic tone imaginable.