Jammer's Review

Battlestar Galactica

"A Disquiet Follows My Soul"

**1/2

Air date: 1/23/2009
Written and directed by Ronald D. Moore

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"There is a languor of the life more imminent than pain. 'Tis pain's successor — when the soul has suffered all it can." — Adama's opening voice-over

That line contains a pretty good general description of how this episode feels. Last week's "Sometimes a Great Notion" was such a harrowing depiction of pain and people acting out that it was hard to imagine the series getting darker or more dramatic. The show had hit bottom, emotionally speaking (and its peak, dramatically speaking). So now we have pain's successor in "A Disquiet Follows My Soul." It's not even in the same league of compelling as "Notion," but then how could it be?

BSG has been on such an unfathomably good roll during this season and the end of season three that I've begun to feel more like a cheerleader than a critic. That's fine by me, because I can honestly say that BSG is shaping up to be among the best television series I've seen, and certainly the most gripping sci-fi. The last dozen episodes, with the plight of the secret Cylons and the rocky alliance and journey to Earth, have had the momentum of a locomotive. Now that the train has crashed and its cars are lying in ruins, we have to pick up the pieces and start from scratch. "Disquiet," as a result, has sort of a "now what?" feel to it.

It's clearly a transitional piece, and it lacks a certain spark that most of this season has had, which is that feeling that anything could happen at any moment. Instead, we have to get reacquainted to life on Galactica now that the dream of Earth is gone. The anguish is (for the most part) over, and the malaise and bitter recrimination has started to set in. Unfortunately, the malaise sort of seeps into the drama. Perhaps that's the point. I've gotten so used to 47,000 things happening on this show that when only 11 things happen, it feels like an off week.

Don't get me wrong; there's some nice stuff in this episode. But there's also an uncertainty in some scenes here that I haven't seen all season. One wonders if that's because this was the first episode filmed after the end of the writers strike, or because it was Ron Moore's directorial debut. Perhaps neither; who knows.

The plot arises from the fact that the Cylons have superior technology that will greatly improve the FTL capabilities of the entire Colonial fleet, making the search for a new home much faster. The catch is that the Cylons want Colonial citizenship, which would bound Adama, under his oath to the military, to protect them once Cavil and the other Cylons inevitably (and you know it will have to happen eventually) cross paths with the fleet. Obviously, the specter of Cylons being Colonial citizens is not going to be the most popular initiative to go before the government and the civilian populace. Zarek tells Adama straight off that this would be unacceptable.

He's not the only one who feels this way. In an early scene, Caprica Six and Tigh are in sickbay as she gets a sonogram and we see "the future of the Cylon race." As Six looks at the screen and expresses her almost giddily innocent wonderment, you realize that this woman has come so far and is on such a different path than she once was that on some level she must be living in denial. It's like she forgot that she was instrumental in the destruction of humanity and that other people know that. Look at Cottle's assistant, the way she recoils as Six talks about what this fetus represents. It's an ominous sign. Meanwhile, Gaeta sits on the other side of the room and watches while complaining about the bad fit of his prosthetic leg. He has to wait while the Cylons are attended to. He is bitter, bitter, bitter about the notion of Cylon allies. He's a ticking time bomb of discontent.

Where's Roslin during all this? Taking a break from all her worries. After her despair in "Notion," where she was burning the Pythian Prophecy page by page, she has now graduated to a sort of serene apathy, as if a weight has been lifted: Now she can live free of so many burdens, because her prophesied role as a leader was a load of crap. She even stops taking her cancer meds. This is shown in the scene where she dumps all her pills in the trash. Alas, the performance and direction here are, well, hard to describe. What's the word I'm looking for? "Weird." Then the act-out is Laura drinking a glass of water. I'll grant that not every act-out can be Adama holding a gun to his head while goading Tigh to shoot him, but — really? Drinking a glass of water?

Still, I liked Roslin's speech to Adama that she has earned the right — and for that matter, so has he — to live for today. She's not going to keep acting like there might be a tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Tyrol has a problem with pronouns. When he's talking about the FTL upgrades, he keeps referring to "we" and "they" and "us" and "you" like he's not sure whom he identifies with, humans or Cylons. While Tyrol's identity crisis has been well documented, here I thought it came across as pretty heavy-handed. It also suffers from the problem that it assumes something has transpired off-screen (which is not typically a problem except when it plays as a non sequitur as it does here.) The way he talks, it's like he's already living on the Cylon basestar.

Ditto for when Lee lets slip in the press conference that the government believes, regarding the final Cylon, that "she's" dead. The press corps is aroused. But I'm thinking to myself, when and to whom did Tigh divulge that Ellen is the final Cylon? What was the reaction? What did other characters make of it? Why was this done off-screen? And would Lee really let such a fact slip in a press conference?

Another aspect that didn't really work for me was the occasionally self-indulgent pace. Do we really need to see Adama brush his teeth twice in this episode? Or Roslin running through the corridors for so long that it's obviously intended not simply to have meaning but Meaning?

I'm not saying I disliked this episode. It's more that I was lukewarm to it. While there were things about it that didn't work, there were several things that certainly did. Like, for example: Tyrol's son is sick. The little guy has kidney problems, and what seems like a routine medical storyline suddenly and yet almost casually becomes one the most unexpected low-profile plot twists of the season: It turns out this kid is not Tyrol's. Cally got pregnant right before they were married. Cottle knew but was bound by doctor-patient privilege. So this half-Cylon kid isn't even half-Cylon at all. The writers have got to be patting each other on the back for their almost-too-simple ingenuity here. Not only does it reduce the number of Cylon children to be dealt with as story points, but it but further alienates Tyrol in his sad world of sick-cosmic-joke isolation.

And the Gaeta storyline is strong. There's a scene where Gaeta gets right in Kara's face and calls her out for being married to a Cylon — the same Cylon, by the way, who shot his leg off. Gaeta's evolution as a character, from an almost happy-go-lucky optimist to an utterly bitter man drawing his lines in the sand, has been inspired. This guy is absolutely fed up with the Cylon coddling, and he's ready to take action. He begins sowing the seeds of a mutiny.

Meanwhile, Baltar's words feel vividly nihilistic. Perhaps God is wrong, he says, and we should all be demanding He ask us to forgive Him. Baltar's speech happens while Tyrol meets eyes with Hot Dog — the actual father of Cally's son — and they get into a fistfight in the middle of Baltar's service. Baltar doesn't even bat an eye; he just smokes nonchalantly.

And then there's Tyrol's crash-course for Hot Dog on fatherhood: Lesson No. 1 in hospital situations: Someone has to sit by the bed the whole time; I'm gonna go get drunk; don't leave until I sober up and come back. One wonders if Tyrol is simply going to check out of the whole fatherhood thing now that he knows he's a Cylon, Cally's dead, and Nicky is not actually his blood.

I still haven't gotten to the main plot of this episode, perhaps because it lacks a certain urgency. Basically, the Quorum, taking Zarek's lead, passes a law that allows civilian ships to reject the installation of the Cylon FTL technology. This is Zarek taking a position against Adama that can in no way be realistically sustained by a civilian government that doesn't have the guns, but I guess Zarek has decided he's not going the quiet route he took in "Sine Qua Non." Subsequently, crews in the civilian fleet start to mutiny, and then the tylium fuel ship jumps away, upping the stakes. A lot of this to me felt more like a rehash of second season's "Resistance" than something fresh and worthy of season four.

So Adama has Zarek arrested. He knows Zarek can contact the tylium ship. Adama's game is to threaten to expose Zarek for engaging in various government pay-to-play schemes, using Zarek's self-image as a martyr (and a folder full of incriminating evidence) against him. Adama predicts that Zarek would rather cave than be exposed as a dirty politician. (Here Ron Moore shows his knack for clairvoyant allegory about my own state's Gov. Rod Blagojevich, removed from office just yesterday for his own alleged pay-to-play schemes, among other things. Oh, that remark about clairvoyance is sarcasm, by the way — and also a reaction to my own surprise that Illinois politics would somehow find their way into a Battlestar Galactica review. Blagojevich, it should be noted, would never have caved to Adama. Why do that when you could go on The View?)

It turns out the folder of incriminating evidence was actually just "laundry reports" and Adama was bluffing his way through, correctly guessing Zarek was in fact dirty. This to me feels a little too TV-contrived for BSG. I'm also not sure it's even necessary to make Zarek a dirty politician. Zarek is interesting precisely because he advocates a particular point of view and not simply himself for power's sake. This is the guy who resigned from Baltar's administration during the New Caprica debacle, after all. Making him dirty doesn't negate his positions, but I don't think it makes Zarek a more interesting character.

However, the prospect of Zarek conspiring with Gaeta for what's clearly a brewing mutiny is intriguing, and proves that this episode, more than anything, is simply laying the groundwork for bigger developments to come. It's just too bad it sometimes feels like it's spinning its wheels with what's actually happening here.

Lastly, I'm not sure I needed to see Adama and Roslin finally consummate their relationship. Yes, I understand the point here. And these two characters, more than probably anyone in the fleet, deserve to take some time and enjoy life in the moment. But somehow, seeing it on-screen feels unnecessary and unsatisfying. Maybe it's because the pitch-perfect moment when their love was finally vocalized in "The Hub" could not possibly be topped. But this feels like a TV show trying to satisfy a TV audience with an obligatory payoff. This scene is a microcosm for my feelings about the episode. It's not bad, and I appreciate what it says and tries to do. But there's something about it that doesn't quite work and feels a little off.

Previous episode: Sometimes a Great Notion
Next episode: The Oath

Season Index

54 comments on this review

Josh - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 3:37am (USA Central)
D'oh!

The first episode this season to be below three star. That's such a shame.

Most jarring was the jump away from the mythology. The stuff in this episode was important and necessary, but we want to know more about the thirteenth tribe! I complimented the previous episode on the way it revealed the final Cylon by using the reveal as an insight into the bigger picture rather than just a reveal for its own sake. Without a bigger picture here, it kind of diminishes it a bit.
Paul - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 4:58am (USA Central)
To me the final scene of the episode had an almost ominous feel to it, although I don't think that was intended by the writer/director. Here they are, Adama and Roslin, in bed together, when the news comes that the attack team returned with the tylium ship. And reaction from both of them is - I don't care. Again, I presume the intention was to simply show that Adama and Roslin are finally living in the moment, dedicated to each other, if only for a short while. But, to me it felt extremely strange. You have the president that's given up on her job, VP is in jail, Quorum is (probably) preparing some sort of mutiny of their own (judging by their stance previously in the episode), people are getting killed in the fleet, ships are rebelling, and all Adama has to say say is - I don't care?

If that was the point of the scene, I guess I could've gone along. But since I think it's not, it only adds to this "off" feel I've had with the episode.

There is something wrong with this episode, and it's not easy to see what exactly.
Greg - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 8:58am (USA Central)
You say that the episode has a 'now what?' feel to it and I think that is exactly what is going on here. Adama still wakes up every morning and does his routine and Roslin is off living life to the Fullest. There's something ominous (as the post above me says) about it that seems sitting under the surface. Coupled with Gaeta and Zarek's politicking, there's something very, very unsettling of how unaware Adama and Roslin are of their sleeping together to be maybe the final happy moment of their lives.

I think of a number of the episodes transitions speak to that as well. One being a Wire-esque shot that follows Adama coming out of his quarters as he passes by the lunchroom only to move away and join in on Kara and Gaeta's mutinous exchange. Another is after Adama's discussion in the hall with a jogging Laura, and the next scene begins before the camera even leaves Adama's face - Baltar's wild (and drunken) rabble rousing rants about God. Not to mention the frustrated Quorum and Zarek scenes throughout and we have an episode that seems to point towards a very ugly end to, as Zarek calls it, the 'Roslin/Adama administration'.

What makes this all the more intriguing to me is that the Zarek/Gaeta potential mutiny isn't without merit. In fact, I even question the merit of the idea that Adama and Roslin are STILL in command after what has just gone down. Something's got to give here and Bill and Laura don't see it as being them.

I agree with Jammer on the pacing of the episode slightly. Sure, we didn't NEED to see Tyrol identifying with the Cylons or Tigh telling about his wife (because we assume it happened -- or do we?) but a reference of some sort might have been nice. I have read though that the 4.5 DVD will contain several extended episodes that have been cut down due to time with one of them being 'A Disquiet...'

In the end, however, one's enjoyment of this episode comes with how much one accepts the presentation. It's a bit of an oddball for BSG, but I certainly didn't have a problem with it -- although I can see why others might. On my non-existent rating scale, I'd give it a *** stars.

All in all, I'm surprised to see Jammer rate this as the weakest episode of season 4. I mean, what about 'Sine Qua Non'? Kidding.

Good to be back reading reviews at the same pace as the episodes air. Keep up the good work!
Jason K - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 9:31am (USA Central)
Adama popping mystery pills and almost obsessively brushing his teeth might be a bad sign :)
Joe - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 11:13am (USA Central)
Jammer, in one of the few instances I've disagreed with your reviews. I gotta say: I'm throwing caution and logic to the wind. I LOVED SEEING ROSLIN AND ADAMA IN BED TOGETHER. That moment made me very happy. Yes, it's a treat for the fans. But also, it's inspiring, in a way. Relationships never evolve so completely and maturely in TV (or real life, for that matter). Moore is atoning for the sins of Star Trek --- our Janeway and Chakotay, our TNG "Attached"...
Bryan - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 11:48am (USA Central)
Heh, good point Joe. Janeway/Chakotay was an enduring disappointment.

My thoughts on the episode before reading any reviews pretty much track Jammer's:

--------

Not much happened except stage-setting. The brewing revolt. The rebels have a point. No more info on the new Cylon except that Lee let it slip that it's a "she" who they believe is dead. So Tigh must have briefed the higher-ups on his "vision."

Starbuck still thinks she's the Cylon herself of course (and maybe she is). It was interesting to watch the Gaeta-Starbuck scene with that in mind. Gaeta is BITTER isn't he? Good reason to be, too. As the webisodes showed, he trusted a cylon once, and ended up sending a lot of his friends to their deaths (his lists on New Caprica). He doesn't want to trust them again. And he is right to question Adama's absolutism.

I was disappointed that Adama was able to bluff Zarek with a made-up folder of "evidence" of Zarek's misdeeds. For some reason I had a better opinion of Zarek that apparently was not justified. I thought he was a populist idealist.

What is the point of us suddenly finding out that the chief is not the baby's father. I'm not sure what the point is, ie not sure what possibilities this opens up. Seems to be just an little twist with character-development potential for Tyrol.

And what about that Baltar scene. "God should apologize." Where are they going with that


---------

After reading the review and the comments, I'd just reiterate that I agree with Greg that the nascent mutineers have a point, and I agree with Jammer that it was disappointing and unnecessary to suddenly turn Zarek into a "dirty politician."

B
Brendan - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 11:53am (USA Central)
I agree with everything you said. Definately the most lacklustre episode of the season (or maybe second to the Road Less Travelled, imo).

However, regarding Zarek and Adama's extortion... I didn't get the impression that Zarek actually WAS dirty... it seemed to me that Adama was saying he had fake evidence that would ruin him, even if it wasn't true, and Zarek knew it. So I don't take that to mean he was actually corrupt, just that he's very ego centric about his ideals.
Niall - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
I liked this episode and felt it was pretty compelling. However, I did have problems with it, which Jammer highlights - namely the missing time between this episode and the outstanding "Sometimes A Great Notion".

- Tigh's reveal that Ellen was the final Cylon has happened off-screen, adding anticlimax to anticlimax. WTF?
- There is no follow-up to whether D'Anna really did decide to stay on Earth. (Obviously this is because the episodes were filmed months apart and Lucy Lawless is expensive. I thought her write-out in SAGN was pretty transparent, really.)
- We don't get to see Dualla's funeral - in fact, there's no mention of her at all. Everyone including Lee seems to have completely recovered. Seeing as we got to see Cally's funeral, who was arguably a less sympathetic and compelling character, I'd have liked to have seen Dee's - it would have nicely wrapped up the Earth storyline and the emotions surrounding it, and allowed character to pay their respects and draw a line under the disappointment of Earth
- I share Jammer's view of Tyrol's sudden identification with the Cylons.

All that said, I was fine with the rest of the episode, including the Roslin material. Adama's repeated morning ritual strongly reminded me of Kira's morning ritual in DS9's "Rocks And Shoals" - I think they were going for the same effect of the "daily grind". And I thought the final Adama-Roslin scene was beautiful. Not overdue, but just at the right moment. I'm glad we saw it.
Daniel L. - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 2:41pm (USA Central)
Hey Jammer.

Just a question: What do you mean when you say the remark about clairvoyance was "a reaction to my own surprise that Illinois politics would somehow find their way into a Battlestar Galactica review"?

The something in this episode that is "off" was, I think, in part something that was "in" on The Next Generation and subsequent Star Trek series (but most notably TNG) over which Ron Moore presided: the oft-inability to successfully blend scenes aimed at developing "character" with scenes aimed at furthering the "plot." One of the biggest storytelling irritations on TNG was its A/B or A/B/C storytelling structure; the A, B and C stories often stubbornly refused (i.e. the writers were lazy) to somehow interact with each other, such that episodes often felt internally incongruous, scattershot and unfocused (look! Data learns to love his cat! Oh, wait, the Enterprise must avoid being torn apart by a quantum fistula (or is it "fissure," heh heh)! See, Data really DOES love the cat, even though Riker hates it. Wow, the Enterprise averted tragedy at the last second!) Weirdness, abruptness and awkwardness stand out more when the narrative framework forces the viewer to watch self-contained sequences.

BSG is great not just because 47,000 (Menosky reference?) things are all going on at once; it's great because these things on a good day produce an episode that is the equal (or greater than) of the sum of its parts; we get the "character development," development of the plot, and so forth, in the same scene - simultaneously. ("They breathe as one," as Annorax from Voyager's "Year of Hell" two-parter stated).

Maybe Moore's freshman directing effort was an understandable effect of his having written (and presumably watched) so many of his Star Trek creations
Daniel L. - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 2:49pm (USA Central)
Jammer,

Maybe I'm missing something, but regardless of whether the "laundry" reports about Zarek had real dirt in them, or whether Adama knew or did not know that they did, or that Zarek was dirty, wasn't the recording of Zarek telling the civilian ship to disobey a military order sufficiently "dirty" in and of itself, as far as Adama (given how he wanted to expose Zarek and what Adama regards as "dirty information) was concerned, sufficient? I mean, you had the Vice President practically instructing the civilian government to disobey a (presumptively) lawful military order. This is tantamount to a Vice President (not Dick Cheney, but A Vice President) telling the population of a state that it must resist the deployment of federal troops into that state to deal with a national emergency (the only difference - an immaterial one - being that in the U.S. the President is the civilian leader and the Commander in Chief as well; Roslin is not both and Adam is not both, but then again, neither our Vice President, nor Tom Zarek - both, either).
Occuprice - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 3:36pm (USA Central)
I do think this episode has problems and felt a little off. And it was certainly a disappointment since it's the first thing Moore has written since Occupation/Precipice, and he's an outstanding writer (I WOULD attribute the problems to him not having written in a year and a half, but he's written other non BSG screenplays in that time- so no excuse).

I did, however, enjoy his direction this episode. And I thought the Roslin story was superbly handled.

All in all, it's one of the weaker episodes this season, but I think it still ranks higher than The Road Less Traveled, and it certainly doesn't have the problematic Romo Gun climax that Sine Qua Non had. I'd give it a 3 star rating. There is a lot I liked, a lot I was uncomfortable with, but ultimately, on the second watching, I thought it was a good outing. But I'm hoping for better.
Gene - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
A lot of the issues with this episodes are quite clearly the result of the strike hiatus and the fact that the previous episode was pre-strike. What we're seeing here is a misplaced hiatus between episodes -- we waited all that time to see SAGN, when in fact the hiatus should have come before ADFMYS. After a long hiatus, we viewers probably wouldn't have noticed that there was no mention of Dee, Tyrol was moving toward a more Cylon outlook, Tigh & Adama were back to their old relationship, or that we never saw Tigh mention Ellen. 'Cos for the audience as well as the BSG characters, months had passed.
Probably these issues could have been cleared up by one quick and easy fix: a chryon saying "3 months later..." at the top of the episode.
Matt L. - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 5:49pm (USA Central)
I really can't agree with you on this review. This episode had me really engaged with the characters. I agree it was a transition episode, but so what? Sometimes there have to be transition episodes, and I thought this was a really great one. I actually found the episode tough to watch just because it was so tense. It's like a rubber band being stretched further and further and you just know that any second it's going to go flying off.

That scene of Lara and Adama in bed together is probably the most ominous scene in the entire episode and I almost can't believe that you'd simply attribute it to being some kind of cheap pay-off. Here they are happy and nearly oblivious to the fact that their entire world is about to be turned upside down. It's poetic irony at it's best--we know something they don't know and that makes it all the more painful to watch. Well, for me at least ;-)

I don't need to see the scene where Tigh tells them Ellen is the fifth Cylon--what are we missing really? How stunned would anyone really be by it after finding out the other four are Cylons? I'm guessing the reactions of the crew would have been mostly the same kind of reaction the audience had to the discovery. The only person who it really matters to is Tigh, and we've already seen his reaction.

So, yeah, loved the episode. I probably would give it 3 and 1/2 stars.
Occuprice - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 7:33pm (USA Central)
I agree about the final scene being ominous. Laura doesn't care anymore, and Adama, at the very least, can see her point of view.

Earth's gone. They've got nothing to live for in the future.

When you can't live for tomorrow anymore, you have to live for today. From the look of this last scene, Adama understands that. He might not be ready to give into that view and shirk his responsibilities yet, but... it's somewhere in the back of his mind.
Nolan - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 8:22pm (USA Central)
One thing we should remeber is that this episode is at least 9 days after "Sometimes...", so there is a hiatus there, even though we did not get to see all the things we would have liked to see (ie. Dualla funeral, or Ellen's reveal to the main characters.) We do now however do have a time frame where we knew these things happened.
Jason K - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 10:12pm (USA Central)
Hehe. I can't even talk about this episode anymore after "The Oath". What I just saw tonight was in a word "RIVETING", but I'll leave it until Jammer puts out his review.
Nan - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 7:16am (USA Central)
Thanks for sharing your reviews - I'm speculating wildly (not necessarily coherently)so far this season.
However, I have one observation on a minor point - back in Black Market, one of the final scenes showed Zarek mingling and conversing with unsavory characters - apparently picking up the threads of the underground inside the ship whose name I can't remember. While Adama was bluffing (imo) there isn't any reason to believe that Zarek couldn't be dirty.
knitpicker - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 8:46am (USA Central)
Tyrol - since the final 4 have been outed, I saw Tyrol's fumbling more as him trying to get used to the new status quo. Other's no longer regard them as human, but they are used to referring to themselves that way.

Gaeta - he was "responsible" for the murder of many people in the resistance. He seemed to be overcompensating a bit in his attack on Kara.

Niall - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 11:01am (USA Central)
Everyone is making good points (particularly Matt L, Gene, Greg, Joe). I liked this episode - but then I also liked Escape Velocity, another low-key bottle show a lot of people disliked. On my scale, both are between *** and ***½. But after seeing "The Oath", all I can say is: holy frak! Can't wait for the next review.
Joe H - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 11:48am (USA Central)
I also thought Gaeta was over the top on his Kara attack, but that was before I actually watched the webisodes after Disquiet. After watching that, I understood more where he was coming from. I also think his attack on Kara was more of an over-the-top thing to get her out of the room for his conversation with the other crew members. I am surprised that all of the people in there were for the mutiny, and not one spoke up.

With Tyrol, I actually loved the fumbling words. It's been 7 months since we saw revelations and his admittance, but it's only been weeks in the BSG world.

Kara confuses the world out of me. I have no idea what direction they're going with her...
Josh - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 4:12pm (USA Central)
This episode had one of the best delivered lines of the series. "You know, there are days when I really hate this job." Great moment, good episode.
Jhoh - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 6:29pm (USA Central)
This is one of the only reviews of yours I disagree on. I can understand how the episode moves slow and seems to be uneventful, but I thought it was great, because it was continuing the gradual self destruction of the fleet and how only chaos and good TV could come of this. I thought all of the character events were completely natural, even Zarek's. I felt this was more of a 3 to 4 star episode myself. I knew that this was just another step in the many events that would lead to the end of the show, and I think that may make it harder to judge based on its actual events. Of course, now that the following episode has aired, it's even easier to say this, since all sorts of shit goes down in The Oath.
knitpicker - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 10:50pm (USA Central)
Oh, my word - "The Oath" - serious nail biter. Can't wait for Jammer's take on that.

misterd - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 12:59am (USA Central)
A little harsher than I would be but I see where you're coming from. This is definately a setup/transitional episode, and with so few hours remaining, we want them all to be gangbusters. But you need to take the time to set up the dominoes before you can watch them fall.

The only complaint that I completely disagree with you on is your take on Zarek. Zarek has always come across to me as Galactica's Al Sharpton (if I can toss my own state's politics in this). He's a guy with a cause, a cause he may actually believe in and at times a cause very worthwhile, but deep down you can't shake the feeling that it really is all about HIM. In many ways he doesn't want the problems solved because then he wouldn't have a platform to stand on. Remember, this is a guy who tried to have Roslin killed in season two, and may have been involved in an assassination in season one. He's a smiling villain, a villain often on the right side of a losing cause, but he is still a villain.

And that brings me to the laundry reports. I agree that came across as preictable, conventional television. But while like Adama I suspect that Zarek has been using his position for personal advantage. if Adama had REAL evidence, he would have used it long ago. He hates this man,and would love to see him out of power. As a member of the Quorum, he's dangerous. If Adama had ANY evidence on Zarek, he would have used it long ago.
Paul - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 5:15am (USA Central)
Yeah, I agree with misterd on Zarek. There's a duality to this guy that's been evident since, well, episode 3 of season 1. On one hand, he is a revolutionary idealist that truly believes in his cause, BUT precisely beacause of this he is willing and able to go down some pretty dark roads to accomplish what he wants. So, he's not dirty in the traditional sense, but he probably did all sorts of nasty stuff pursuing his goals. In other words, he is "selectively dirty". This is the guy who was willing to kill Roslin and Apollo, but on the other side said no to black market proposals offered by Commander Fisk.
Jerry - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 6:38am (USA Central)
Zarek only claimed he said no to the black market proposals offered by Fisk. At the end of that episode you could see him on "the prometeus" which proved that in fact he had more to do with the black market than he had let on...
Keith Dalton - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 8:26am (USA Central)
The laundry reports bit harkens back to Joe Mccarthy during the 1950s red scare. McCarthy gave a speech in Wheeling, WV where he held up a list of names claiming it was a list of 100 known Communists. It was the hotel's customer laundry list.
Paul - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 10:54am (USA Central)
Jerry,

Yes, I see your point, and I remember it as well, but I had RDM's podcast of that episode in mind where he wonders about that "Zarek-on-Prometheus" scene, saying that he himself doesn't exactly understand what it means.

I still think that Zarek's shadiness only goes a certain distance, and can be put in context of his larger cause. I do not think of him being corrupt in the traditional sense of the word.
knitpicker - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 1:12pm (USA Central)
Gaita & Zarek - it was Zarek's executive order that created the secret tribunal that almost put Gaita out the airlock after New Caprica. On New Caprica, he supported Baltar of all people - here again his misguided attempts to play by the rules / play fair, led him to allay himself with a seriously sleezy political operator.
Jason - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 7:22pm (USA Central)
I would have given this episode 3 stars. That half star less seems somehow...wrong, and I was suprised to see it. This episode felt like it was needed. I didn't love it as much as some of the other recent episodes (or the episode directly following it)...but this felt very necessary. And I didn't feel there was anything wrong with it per say.

I also didn't mind them referring to things happening off screen that we didn't see. They only have so much time left on the series, and while seeing those off screen scenes play out would have been enjoyable (especially the Tyrol stuff, IMO) - hearing the references was a fun little shock, that I found satisfying in a completely different way. It also somehow felt very adult; like they trusted the audience to understand that things happened without walking us through them... Which also leaves certain aspects up for interpretation, which I also find satisfying.

I look forward to your reviews of the final epsidoes of the series.
misterd - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
@Paul

Few people are corrupt in the popular sense of the word. There are few who are so naked in their amorality. Most people rationalize their behavior. Zarek seems one of those able to use his "good cause" to justify whatever he does, but in the end, its only Zarek who actually benefits.

I have to say on other sites there is remarkably little sympathy for Gaeta here. Truthfully, I think it hard to sympathize with Adama. Just a few weeks ago these cylons were trying to blow them all up. Now they are being trusted to tinker with the most essential systems on these ships? And Adama is simply ignoring civilian law because he decided this was a crisis. The president has disappeared in Galactica's belly, Adama's son is put in her place, and Adama's advisors consist of 4 Cylons and their spouses. No, there's nothing suspicious about this at all.
Brendan - Sun, Feb 1, 2009 - 8:51pm (USA Central)
By the way, interesting note about Adama's opening voice over that you note explains the mood of this episode so well: it was totally random. Eddie Olmos just picked up a random book and read a random line on a random page and that's what came out... it was meant to be a silent scene but he read it aloud. Feels like a Criss Angel mindfreak.
Paul - Mon, Feb 2, 2009 - 3:06am (USA Central)
Yes, there is an extraordinary number of Gaeta-haters out there. It seems every forum is bursting with them. Personally, I've always liked him as a character and Juliani as an actor. And yeah, I can really understand his motivations - are they really that different from Adama and Roslin deciding to assasinate Cain? All three of them truly believed they were acting in the best interest of the fleet. After this, and the next episode, I like Gaeta even more. I hope they give him a dignified exit, old-fashioned officer style - here's a gun with one bullet; we'll leave you alone.
Jason K - Mon, Feb 2, 2009 - 6:33am (USA Central)
The funny thing about Gaeta is that he looks ten times more sinister with the fake leg, cane, and red rings around the eyes. In fact, had Anders not shot him, I don't think he'd be capable of convincingly pulling off this mutiny. I love what they've done with his character. Early on in the series, you would never have guessed that he was capable of things like this.
knitpicker - Mon, Feb 2, 2009 - 7:59am (USA Central)
Gaita - on the podcast, Mrs. Ron complemented makeup for creating a slightly crazed look for Gaita (pale skin, shadowed eyes, slight greying), so that his behavioral transformation is believable. He really does look like he's been through hell. The tragedy of Gaita for me is that he's desperately trying to do the moral thing, he is repelled by amorality, but it only drives him to something worse (Laura stuffing the ballot box sends him to Baltar, which sends him to the 8, etc.)
I'm happy to see that so many of the chickens are coming home to roost (it's so rare that bad personal interactions have ramifications outside of an immediate story arch).
Niall - Mon, Feb 2, 2009 - 11:58am (USA Central)
I've never liked Gaeta - he's always been somewhat childish, naive, and misguided. He's driven by morality and a sense of what's right, but fails to look at reality and practical consequences. As "knitpicker" highlights, he's always trying to to the right thing, but his meddling and refusal to stick to the side he's chosen always just make things worse.

The more I take a step back from the show though, the more it looks like he's in the right. As far as your average person in the fleet is concerned, there's been a Cylon coup. Suddenly the XO - Adama's oldest friend and right-hand man - is a Cylon, Roslin's aide is a Cylon, there's a base ship in the fleet, and the Cylons want to mix with the human populace and install Cylon technology on every ship in the fleet. Adama's son has been installed on the Quorum, the deck chief is a Cylon, Anders is a Cylon, and his wife Starbuck has come back from the dead in mysterious circumstances. Given Lee's slip-up in revealing that the fifth cylon is female and was dead, many people probably think it's her.

Concerns raised by civilians and by Gaeta have not been addressed. Adama has moved towards military rule and is just forcing his decisions through without even listening to the public. The only person who made a genuine effort to explain the alliance to the civilian fleet was Natalie, whose presence is sorely missed. At the end of the day, Adama and Roslin are past the point of caring. They're broken, and they no longer have the energy to care. As far as they're concerned, they've served their role - now it's their time to enjoy themselves while all hell breaks loose around them. The discovery of Earth was just too much to bear.

So really speaking, their geese are coming home to roost. We only see things the way they really are because we're the viewer and we're privy to this information. The average person (Seelix, Racetrack, whoever) doesn't know what's really going on and thinks the fleet has been compromised. Though why Zarek is a better alternative is anyone's guess.

One quibble though: how on earth was Gaeta able to organise this in secret and get so many people involved without anyone giving the game away?
John Pate - Thu, Feb 5, 2009 - 4:25pm (USA Central)
I don't understand why they're in quite such a hurry to leave Earth without some serious archeological investigation, at least a comprehensive search for public records and databases. Even a mention of Cavil's forces being likely to find them if they didn't keep moving putting some kind of fire under somebody's ass (maybe the Cylons who are with them even who've been largely invisible so far, could have suggested it's an urgent issue) would maybe have helped. It's hard to see how a planet nuked two millennia ago that they were OK to wander about on wasn't habitable in large areas in spite of residual atmospheric radiation. The storytelling is getting a bit slack, IMHO.
Jack Bauer - Thu, Feb 5, 2009 - 4:53pm (USA Central)
Thats why I was thinking, them leaving Earth, and the scenes where the fleet was melting down should have been a "1 month later" type deal.

But they did indicate they did do surveys and digs, and quite frankly, Earth is uninhabitable, lets move on. We cant live here, we cant settle here, theres nothing of value here, whats the point of being in orbit.
Occuprice - Thu, Feb 5, 2009 - 9:25pm (USA Central)
I think the reason Adama left Earth so quickly is because it was a painful revelation. And he wants to just get away from that pain. From the disappointment.

A one month later deal wouldn't have been any good because what matters is the effect Earth has on them when they find it, not how they're able to pull themselves together a month later. And with all the balls in the air, skipping a month would've meant you'd return to a changed show. I don't think Gaeta would've held off his mutiny for a month just because they're still over Earth.
Jason K - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 6:38am (USA Central)
The probably had no choice to leave. With no way to truly survive on the planet, an extended archaeological dig could have been hazardous to a crew with already dwindling manpower and supplies. I'm sure they brought back a few things to examine on board the ship, but have not gotten around to it yet due to the mutiny.
Niall - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 12:54pm (USA Central)
The fleet probably wouldn't have stood for it if they had stayed in orbit while science teams investigated the planet. They'd have wanted to move on.
Jack Bauer - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 1:09pm (USA Central)
"I don't think Gaeta would've held off his mutiny for a month just because they're still over Earth."

Well Gaeta's mutiny is a result of many things, all of which transpired after leaving Earth.

-the fact that earth was a sham
-getting his leg amputated because a cylon shot him
-and most of all, the growing partnership between the humans in the fleet and the cylons. The same cylons that got them into the shape they are in.

Gaeta is very anti-cylon and its those actions that are the main reasons why he revolted. One month later or any kind of time gap doesnt make a difference in that.
Niall - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 1:31pm (USA Central)
Plus the very same resistance which Gaeta risked life and limb to help on New Caprica - and who then tried to put him out of the airlock for being a collaborator - turned out to be made up of Final Fivers. I was glad they touched on that in this episode.
Occuprice - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
After a month in orbit of Earth, either the Cylon human alliance is broken, and we have that story to tell, or it's continued and strengthened and Gaeta's mutiny happens, and we have that story to tell.

The other two things you don't need to leave Earth for.

I agree that a time gap doesn't make a difference, which is why it would happen at about the same speed and after a month, you'd be in the middle of the mutiny as we are now.
Jack Bauer - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 3:48pm (USA Central)
My only reason id would have to like to see a "one month later" type deal is to explain how the fleet has gone to hell in a handbasket so quickly. How we went from, YAY we found Earth, to fist fights between the crew while spray painting "Frak Earth"

But thats been done once before on New Caprica so maybe it was an unecessary option.
Occuprice - Fri, Feb 6, 2009 - 3:53pm (USA Central)
Well. You get to Earth. In a moment your hopes are crushed, and in a moment you go from euphoria to emotional hell. I don't think you'd slowly seep into depression and slowly lose your will to live. I think it would happen just as fast as the revelation about Earth did: in a moment.
Nolan - Wed, Jul 29, 2009 - 3:12am (USA Central)
Just saw the exteneded version of this episode, and, I gotta say, it seems like a completely different episode. So much seems to have been taken out, and seeing everything RDM envisioned really helps this episode. However, I may also be affected by the fact that I know what's coming in the next episode, and thus my judgment is skewered.
Jamie - Sat, Jun 12, 2010 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
I've only seen this episode twice; once when it first aired, upon which I found it mediocre at best as far as I can remember. And secondly, tonight, upon my rewatching of the entire series this past couple of weeks. And I'm surprised. I honestly found this one to be a disquieted gem of sorts, and yes, quite a counterpoint to the brutal two episodes that come before. In a way, it feels like the quiet before Yet Another Storm and I appreciated that. Maybe it has a bit to do with the fact that I watched the "Unrated" version which I hadn't seen before, but I truly felt this was a flawless hour of TV. Sure, not a lot goes on, but I guess that's what I liked about it. It was introspective and very at ease with itself.
Nick P. - Mon, Aug 8, 2011 - 1:45pm (USA Central)
Gosh, Jammer, you are being harsh on RM directoral debut. I agree with you on alot of the issues with this episode, but I feel like these are problems that have tended to plague this series. The biggest was one that you mentioned, the huge plot piece we are never shown. I agree completley that Tigh telling everyone about Ellen would have been FAR FAR FAR more compelling than Adama brushing his teeth, and Roslin joggin weirdly down the corridors for 7 years. Plus, there is nothing we REALLY learned in this episode that we did not already know last episode except Callies little secret.

I liked this episode, but I do feel like it would have fit better before Earth.
Nic - Tue, Nov 15, 2011 - 8:17am (USA Central)
(Note : I have only seen the extended version)

I like this episode. Sure, it’s not as riveting as “Sometimes a Great Notion”, but I think the series as a whole would be weaker without it. It’s kind of a transitional piece, allowing the characters to deal with what has happened before and then move on (kind of like TNG’s “Family” or DS9’s “Image in the Sand”). I loved Tyrol’s “we/they” line, it was funny and made sense. I also enjoyed Laura’s running, especially the music.

Strangely enough, the one thing I disliked in this episode was the part Jammer thought worked: finding out that Nicholas Tyrol is not Galen’s son. It felt more like a soap opera – and I have a hard time believing that Cally cheated on Tyrol, even if they weren’t married yet. It’s also pretty obvious to me that the writer’s didn’t realize that Tyrol being a Cylon meant having two hybrids, so they used the TV-Cheat-Sheet to get out of it.
Michael - Fri, Dec 2, 2011 - 8:29am (USA Central)
Well, unlike many I was exceedingly happy to see all the mythological crap dispensed with at last. That nonsense almost totally ruined Season 3 and a good part of Season 4 for me. Back to realism.

The political farce continues: The so-called president is totally out of it, Zarek--who, after Baltar, has the strongest popular mandate--is contemptuously ignored and threatened, and Lee Adama who is no more than a (appointed) Quorum member is admitted into the highest political and military decision-making processes, all under the auspices and patronage of his daddy. And that same daddy insists on consulting what's left of the "president" on the cylon alliance because "it is a political decision," but rides a carriage and horses through other rules, as he sees fit. Not all that big a wonder seeing as the "consulting" takes place in the sack. It's totally absurd; Adama doesn't have the scruples to be a second lieutenant, never mind an admiral. Then again, he was appointed admiral by a president who was not elected president, so it figures. I see he has started popping pills, too. Ugh.

Now, I actually think the alliance is a good thing as is installing cylon technology aboard the Fleet vessels. But I likewise firmly hold that Adama has ridden roughshod with his and Roslin's totalitarian methods for way too long, and I don't blame Gaeta and others one bit for mutinying.

And rather than learning his lesson, Adama again acts like a despot with flagrant disregard for the views of the people and their representatives. Arrest Zarek and murder him if he resists. Egregious. Doesn't anyone other than Gaeta have the balls to tell him he's out of order and out of line???

Of course, Zarek's turning out to be just another venal charlatan politician (even if that file was a bluff he fell for) was very convenient. How would Adama have handled it and how would it all have evolved if Zarek was squeaky clean?

Though defeated, I loved how Zarek humiliated Adama by throwing him a scrunched up piece of paper on the floor. Here, doggy, here are your damn coordinates.

Whether the mutiny succeeds or not (and call me cynical but I have a pretty strong feeling it won't), Adama deserves to be seriously rattled and have some sense knocked into him.

* * *

I couldn't care less whose son Nicky is, and I didn't get connected to that subplot in the least.

* * *

This was a really good show. We're back to action and intrigue on the ground, rather than rummaging through someone's head or chasing someone's "visions," analyzing some wacko's dreams, and interpreting fantasies. The gods of all flavor are out of the picture; it's back to the real world.

It is this kind of episode that god me hooked to B.S.G. Welcome back, old friend!
Nebula Nox - Thu, Jun 6, 2013 - 5:08am (USA Central)
I, for one, was glad that Nicky turned out not to be Tyrol's. Although Cally had a few good points, she often seemed whiny and weak. I don't know how Tyrol can have any regard for her memory given that she (a) murdered Boomer in cold blood and (b) let him think that Nicky was his son.
Tloser - Mon, Nov 4, 2013 - 12:34am (USA Central)
It's interesting how many have lined themselves on one side of the BSG separation of powers debate, i.e. with the quorum. I've always thought it was interesting that the BSG powers debate has really been between the pres and the military, but the quorum is coming into its own now. I know that in the US, we are used to quite a different type of political system where the POTUS is the commander in chief. But the BSG alignment is what happens in many countries, i.e. where a coup leads to a new president or a junta. I think the fact that it's still a time of war means that the quorum should be a bit more deferential to the military. Civilians would be totally frakked without the military's protection. So why are they being such an ass? Haven't they heard of the phrase, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?
Cureboy - Sun, Jan 12, 2014 - 9:51pm (USA Central)
Am I the only one who thought that Baltar was going to be the father of Cally's baby (I love it when I talk like a soap opera)

When Tyrol went to Baltar's commune, I really thought that was going to be the case. They mentioned how Cally kind of respected Baltar. Didn't Baltar shoot a Galactica crewmember to save Cally on the Kobol planet?

That would have been a neat twist.

I am glad I am not the only one who thought Roslin and Adama hooking up was a comment on the fact that Chakotay and Janeway never really explored their relationship, which they should have.

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2014, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer