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Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘The Oath’ And ‘Blood On The Scales’


This is the 35th in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Sometimes A Great Notion’ And ‘A Disquiet Follows My Soul’” here.

Spoilers ahead.

The fleet’s despair is capped by a full-scale mutiny more like the coup Adm. Adama once waged against Pres. Roslin than the small one attempted against Starbuck on the Demetrius. Nevertheless, Gaeta losing a leg on the Demetrius is a key factor in his plot with Zarek. Alessandro Juliani and Richard Hatch get their series exits, with the former getting more to play as the broken, conniving, but ultimately good-hearted weak link in the coup.

These episodes are well-plotted, not only in the mechanics of the mutiny, but also insofar as the resistance to an alliance with Cylons is utterly believable. Moreover, Gaeta – and even lesser mutineers like Seelix and the former Pegasus crew members – have additional personal motives for their rebellion. If there is a minor flaw, it is Baltar’s character regression, which is out of step with the ways this taut thriller is as built on the hours of backstory provided to so much of the cast.

‘The Oath’

Tigh visits Adama’s quarters to report some civilian ships continue to resist upgrading their FTL drives with Cylon technology. Tigh is surprised that Roslin is there in her nightgown. He reminds Adama that, as a Cylon, he probably should not be running point on the issue.

Gaeta springs Zarek from the brig to smuggle him back onto Colonial One. They succeed, but not before Zarek kills a Galactica deck hand. Zarek judges Gaeta’s squeamishness about the necessity of death in their coup.

Gaeta returns to the CIC, where he uses his position in communications to cover Zarek’s escape. He also manipulates the response to a false fire alarm staged by mutineers to raid the weapons locker. He further cuts off Starbuck’s warning call to the CIC and the ship’s internal communications systems.

In the confusion, Seelix and two men beat and capture Anders, while former Pegasus crewmen beat Helo, seizing him along with Athena and Hera. The captives are imprisoned with Caprica Six in her holding cell.

Apollo tries to sell the Quorum on the Cylons’ FTL upgrades. Zarek appears and quashes the effort, calling the proposed alliance a betrayal by Roslin. Zarek pretends he was released by Adama, spurring Apollo to return to Galactica, where he is captured in the hangar. Starbuck rescues Apollo, killing one mutineer and wounding another.

As the fire alarm subterfuge unravels (gas monitors suggest no fire), Gaeta and mutinying marines take control of the CIC. A young crewman dies in the crossfire. Adama tells Gaeta there will be no forgiveness or amnesty this time. Gaeta orders Adama and Tigh be taken to the brig (which annoys Zarek, who believed they would be killed).

Starbuck and Apollo find Roslin in Adama’s quarters. Roslin has them escort her to Baltar’s lair, where he is preparing to abandon his flock. Tyrol, who is assisting Baltar, tells Roslin’s party he has arranged for a Raptor to escape from a secondary airlock in an hour.

Roslin convinces Baltar to let her use his pirate wireless system. Gaeta is eventually able to jam Roslin’s broadcast regarding the coup, but not before she is heard by the Quorum and others.

While being marched to the brig, Adama dares security to shoot him. When they hesitate, Adama and Tigh subdue their guards and take their weapons. They are met by Starbuck, Apollo, and Roslin, who were headed to the brig to free them. All of them meet Tyrol and Baltar at the airlock.

Gaeta notices the unauthorized Raptor approaching the airlock and dispatches a security detail. The Raptor escapes with Roslin and Baltar. Tyrol, Starbuck, and Apollo avoid security as Adama and Tigh hold the mutineers at bay with rifle fire. The security detail lobs a grenade into the airlock. Gaeta orders the Raptor be intercepted and destroyed.

‘Blood on the Scales’

Mutineers seize Adama and Tigh. Gaeta orders Tigh imprisoned but has Adama brought to him.

Hotdog refuses to shoot down the escaping Raptor headed for the Cylon Basestar after Roslin identifies herself onboard. Roslin convinces the Cylons to move their ship among the fleet, arguing they will never reunite with the Final Four models if they escape.

Adama refuses to act as Gaeta’s intermediary with Roslin. Gaeta orders the fleet to disperse, unnerving the Cylons. Roslin buys more time with an impassioned plea, asking the Cylons who they want to be. Baltar also agonizes over his abandonment of his flock.

Zarek lands Colonial One aboard Galactica to keep the Quorum close at hand. He asks the Quorum to meet with Gaeta, but – having heard Roslin’s broadcast – they refuse. Zarek has the Quorum summarily shot. Gaeta complains, but Zarek reminds him history will be written by the victors.

Romo Lampkin is seized to serve as Adama’s counsel at a sham trial for treason, with Zarek as judge. Adama works on Gaeta’s conscience, warning the coup will fail, even after Zarek lies about Tigh being killed. Zarek finds Adama guilty and orders his execution by firing squad in the hangar.

Meanwhile, Starbuck and Apollo free the prisoners in Caprica Six’s holding cell. During their escape, Anders is shot in the neck. Starbuck remains with Anders while the rest seek to rescue Adama. Lampkin comes across Starbuck, who convinces him to help her take Anders to Dr. Cottle.

Roslin, with assistance from Leoben, transmits a five-minute ultimatum to Gaeta before the Basestar commences firing. Gaeta gives the order to execute Adama, which he believes was followed, but Apollo’s forces have the firing squad at gunpoint.

Gaeta tells Roslin both Adama and Tigh are dead, but she refuses to surrender. As the Basestar prepares to fire, Gaeta prepares for an escape jump. The jump fails because Tyrol, in the bowels of Galactica, has disabled the FTL drive.

Zarek urges an attack, but Gaeta orders a weapons hold as Adama’s forces arrive at the CIC. Adama is able to regain control of Galactica without gunfire and signals Roslin that Galactica is secured.

Baltar meets and reconciles with Gaeta (who once stabbed Baltar in the neck in a similar cell) before Gaeta and Zarek are executed by firing squad.