Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 13

The Oath (1)

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

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

out of 10
577 votes
  • They actually went there

    The events of this episode were a long time coming. Tensions between the military and civilian government have been present since the very beginning, and it was only the slow and steady relationship between Adama and Roslin that brought about any sense of stability and cooperation. But the loss of hope and the death of dreams has been too much to bear.

    After so much time, it's hard not to feel like we should be on Adama's side in the conflict. We feel as though Adama and Roslin are the victims of unwarranted betrayal at the worst possible moment. We don't want to see them fall, and we certainly don't want it to be during a revolt. Yet it's hard not to recognize that Gaeta and Zarek have a point. Adama has changed considerably over the course of the series, and he is not the same man that inspired steadfast confidence and loyalty.

    It also doesn't help that Roslin has been hiding ever since the discovery of radioactive Earth. It feeds into the growing consensus that Adam and Roslin were appeasing the masses with false hope. Despite the lingering resentments of the Pegasus crew and those left behind on New Caprica, right down to those still wanting Baltar's head on a pike, the fleet was willing to hold it together. Earth broke that fragile peace. Adama's decision to keep Tigh as his XO and forge an alliance with the Cylons is just the most convenient trigger.

    Even so, the arguments of the revolution are flawed and contradictory. It's not about the rights of the civilian fleet. If it was, the revolution would have been a lot less violent. It's about anger, hatred, and bitterness, fueled by ignorance. It's about payback for perceived wrongs. Otherwise, the man who wanted to rape Athena wouldn't be looking for another shot. People wouldn't be trying to shoot Lee for defending Baltar during the trial. Even Gaeta's motivations are caught between reasoned opposition and personal vendetta.

    More to the point, too many people are claming (and believing) that Adama and Roslin knew the truth about Earth. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize why that makes no sense. If they knew that Earth wasn't a sanctuary, and they were using Earth as a carrot to dangle in front of the Colonials to maintain their control, why would they ever let the fleet get close to Earth?

    And even those who know better seem to be reacting to Tigh, Anders, and Tyrol as though they were behind the attack on the Colonies. How ironic is it that the revolution is led by someone who undermined the resistance on New Caprica by giving names to the enemy (as seen in the "Face of the Enemy" webisodes), while he rails against the continued trust in Cylons who were the leaders of the resistance?

    Even Lee seems to miss that crucial point. While there's no denying that the Cylons nearly wiped out humanity, and that it was only a few short years earlier, it's also clear that the Final Five are not the same as the more familiar enemy. Even the rebel Cylons aren't quite sure how they fit into the equation. So why does everyone assume that the Final Five betrayed humanity? Lee, the one who took the first step towards the alliance with D'Anna, is apparently just as susceptible to this lack of reason as most.

    Roslin and Adama are looking at the big picture, and perhaps there is some measure of arrogance in their sureness of purpose as well. They still believe they know what's best for everyone. It just so happens that they may be right, even if they don't truly understand why. The mystery surrounding Starbuck and the purpose of the Final Five will no doubt vindicate Adama and Roslin's confidence that an alliance with the rebel Cylons is the best course for Humanity. It may be too late for some, but the mystery wouldn't exist at this stage of the game if it wasn't significant to the resolution of the series.

    All that said, this conflict was inevitable, and with so much left unsaid over the years, it was always going to be bloody and brutal. No matter how justified the hate and the anger, however, this is the turning point. As Adama said at the beginning of the series, Humanity needs to prove that it is worthy of survival. The writers, even in the midst of chaos, leave the matter open to debate. Does survival mean resistance to the Cylons at any cost, or does it mean transcending hatred and fear and forging a new path?

    The overwhelming power of this episode is how well these concepts shine through, even as the focus remains on the mutiny and the bloodshed. Not a moment of this episode is wasted, and several characters shine. Gaeta gets his moment as the mastermind of the coup in CIC, Adama and Tigh have never been so hardcore, Roslin returns to form with her appeal to the fleet, and even Baltar displays a rare sense of decency.

    More than just the best episode of the season, it ranks among the best of the series. And with seven episodes left, the ride is far from over.
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