Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 13

The Oath (1)

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 30, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

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  • An intense, exciting witch-hunt of an episode is sabotaged by ponderous, music-less, dialogue-heavy sequences in its starting half.

    Battlestar Galactica's greatest and most memorable episodes have always revolved around music -- so why is it that an episode with so many different characters is allowed to go virtually theme-free? Forget a special theme composed for the mutiny such as "Gaeta's Lament" from Faith and Guess What's Coming to Dinner; there isn't an exciting theme to drive the action along, such as Resurrection Ship or even a dramatic one, such as The Hub. In fact, there's no music at all, except for some generic drums, an unrecognizable and unrewarding looping theme to Gaeta and Zarek's dealings, and a prominent but short-lived re-emergence of Baltar's spiritual theme. The music in TV is supposed to guide the audience along, to anchor us to the characters and reward us by evoking powerful emotions -- so why is this episode, which has the look and story of a penultimate one, feel like just another week?

    It's an intense witch-hunt and the stakes are raised early on as the new Galactica deck-chief is taken out as he follows up on suspicious activity. One by one, the main cast is dealt with, starting with the Cylons and progressing down the chain to a full-blown mutiny. It's frightening to see just how easily a trusted communications officer can sabotage the entire Galactica by continually misdirecting any raised suspicions. One of the most welcome moments of the episode is the role played by Tyrol -- true to his will to fight for the rights of his workers in seasons past, even among the Cylon-hatred the former Chief has an entire network of communication throughout the ship that allows him to secure passage for many characters. He takes command of the situation naturally and without any unnecessary hubris, playing an integral role in the escape of President Roslin. It is a subtle, brilliant acknowledgment of the character's history intertwined with his latest progression.

    Watching Starbuck back in action is a treat, as are the weathered Adama and Tigh -- but the early segment of the episode is slow and ponderous, without any recognizable musical themes to guide the audience along. It's an exciting shoot-em-up that will culminate in a dramatic showdown in next week's episode... but it could have been far, far more.
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