I've backed Zarek pretty strongly these last weeks. Well, like Felix Gaeta, I didn’t inspect his character carefully enough. After failing to convince the Quorum, he simply has them all executed. I really wish BSG had kept Zarek a more nuanced individual but with that act (and killing Laird last episode) they’ve made it easy to hate him. We lose the sympathy we might have had for his death-by-firing-squad because he's written off as a bastard. But there was righteousness in the cause Zarek took up; at episode's end an upstanding soldier faces Adama defiantly: I’ve always respected you, but I hate the Cylons and I can’t take orders from a leader who won’t fight them. It’s an understandable attitude.
Roslin & Adama, the devils we know, appear back in charge. I’m fine with that; I love Adama just like the next viewer. I’ve enjoyed seeing the show truly question the actions of their leaders. I wish they'd faced even more of a reckoning than they did but at least they put those arguments out there. And the point is: they are the best this fleet has to offer and yeah, they’re imperfect, fracked up humans like you and me. Someone needs to be all like Give me the damn sit reps! next week and it sure as hell couldn’t have been Felix Gaeta.
While Gaeta’s plan to take over the ship worked quite well, his skills as a leader proved to be a tad lacking. But honestly, only just a bit: he does a reasonably good job. A number of rational colleagues agreed to follow him, he must be capable. But in the small details we see he just isn’t ready for this. My favourite being when the missiles fired at Roslin’s Raptor go astray and hit the Basestar instead. Did Gaeta not consider this might happen? Like, DUH?! That might be a bad thing? I don’t think he did. Doofus Monkeyboy!!
Gaeta is instead concerned with extracting explanations, or apologies, from Adama. Like, really? That’s less likely than George W. Bush waking up one day and realizing holy shit, what have I done? I must make amends. Privately Adama has contemplated his failures but he’s not giving frack all to Gaeta.
Remember how forgiving Adama was of Tigh? When Adama was shot, Tigh declared martial law and almost brought the fleet to ruin. Adama just poured the two of them a drink and told Tight that now he knew it wasn't so easy to sit in the big chair. Adama knows they haven't always made the best decisions, but he'll be fraked if he's going to be lectured by anyone who hasn't sat in that chair.
Throughout the episode, Gaeta was like Lando Calrissian, realizing he may have made a very bad bargain. Tom Zarek instinctually realizes this trial idea is a bad one; it allows more time for things to go wrong (which they do). Gaeta is trying to do what is right but Zarek's pragmatism is taking them down a different path.
Also, his stump itches.
God, I am so glad we are never going to see that stump ever again. It felt good to see Gaeta and Zarek sitting afront the firing squad. Gaeta went out with honour though. Zarek urged for them to go down fighting but Gaeta realized the jig was up. He yelled out Weapons Hold and prevented more killing.
Oh, topic change: It was only a brief moment, but it was Baltar, so y’know I’m going to comment. Baltar turned down hot sweaty six sex because he felt guilty for leaving his nymph squad? And finally I have the questioned answered: when you have your own religious cult, how do you go about mentioning that fact, conversationally, to someone else. If you’re Baltar, you describe it as a sort of fan club. Do you have to collect Ovaltine receipts and do you get a secret Baltar decoder ring when you’re done? I’d say Baltar’s just as likely to change who he is tomorrow. He doesn't fully believe everything he spouts but he's begun feeling responsibility toward his cult. And that’s just cool. I really really like that Baltar has changed so much over the series run. He used to be just “the traitor who sees imaginary people”. HeadSix doesn’t even make appearances any more (although I presume we’ll see her sometime before the series ends). And Baltar, well he’s uniquely fascinating and awesome with cherries on top.
My favorite plot thread, definitely: Lieutenant Aaron Kelly. If you don't remember Kelly from previous episodes, go read his character bio. He's been around from the mini-series until he most recently became a mad-bomber, killing Baltar's first lawyer (mad bomber. that was stupid). Since then Kelly has alied himself with the uprising and finds himself guarding a weapons stash that the Chief crawls into.
Kelly's hesitation at pulling the trigger says much about what's going on. The Chief's a Cylon, but even still, one on one, Kelly is seeing the man he knew. He's thinking about the Galactica he remembers and what's happening around him, it's not how things should be. Instead of pulling the trigger, he jokes about the Chief's unfaithful (murderous) dead wife. The entire scene is such a small random moment within the thick of battle that's engulfed the ship. After the chief says That’s right I’m a machine, what does that make you? A dumbass? they laugh and then pause. The unspoken wrongness of everything just comes to a head. What the hell are they doing to each other? Kelly finally pontificates This was a helluva ship once And from there begins a chain of events that ends with them ultimately saving Adama. And restoring the Galactica that was. It's this lovely, human moment that underpins all the big events that's happening. Man, I just love the hell out of that scene.
What the hell was that giant metal