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Battlestar Galactica 4.15 (4.13) “The Oath” Summary and Analysis

Posted by Mister Random on January 31, 2009

Be aware that this article contains spoilers for episode 13 (4.15) “The Oath” of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica so do not read on if you have not seen the episode and do not want to be spoiled

One Sentence Review

The Coup begins and things look bleak for the Adama faction

Plot Summary

The episode opens a few days after the ending of the last one in Adama’s quarters with Tigh reporting that there are still problems with civilian ships causing problems over the cylon upgrades. Tigh is then slightly unnerved when Roslin appears. Adama tells Tigh to have Lee deal with the Quorum but Tigh says due to the cylon issue Adama should be the one leading this initiative. After Tigh leaves despite claiming she is not going to get involved Roslin gives Adama advice on how to handle the situation.

In the brig Gaeta arranges for Zarek to be freed and then escorts him to the hanger deck, which Racetrack arranged to be cleared of civilians by claiming she had a fuel leak, Jeanne however (one of Baltars followers) hangs back on the Catwalk unseen and watches what happens next. Zarek and Gaeta arrive to be intercepted by Laird, Gaeta tries to talk his way out of it but as Laird turns away to go confirm the story, Zarek hits Laird on the back of the head with a tool killing him. Gaeta arrives back in the CIC and then starts running interference as his plans are set in motion.

On Colonial one Lee is shocked when Zarek arrives at the meeting of the Quorum of 12. When Lee tries to report it, Gaeta says Adama is not there and that he does not know what is going on. Zarek then manipulates Lee into going over to Galactica by claiming that Adama is going to get rid of the civilian government completely.

Back on Galactica Seelix talks to Anders and distracts him as he is captured. On the bridge Gaeta fakes a fire and then convinces Adama that it could be sabotage so that C deck is cleared.On C deck Starbuck gets suspicious after she sees Narcho in charge and sees Gaetas forces raiding a small arms locker and when she tries to report it Gaeta cuts her off. As his next move Gaeta arranges for all communications to be cut off. Lee arrives on Galactica and is captured by Gaeta’s forces on the hanger deck, he is rescued by Starbuck however and escapes.

Gaeta’s forces then take Helo, Athena and Hera hostage, Helo is beaten up by Gage as payback for him and Tyrol killing Thorne when they saved Athena from him and Gage tells Helo that he is saving himself for Athena. They are then taken to the brig and put in the same cell as Anders and Caprica 6.

On the bridge Hoshi reports that the trace gas readings on C deck are normal indicating something is wrong. Adama then orders a manual check on C deck. When the private reports back that the array has been altered, Gaeta makes his move and takes Adama and Tigh prisoner, however the private is killed saving Adama’s life as the marines open fire before Gaeta can stop them. Before he leaves Adama says that there will be no forgiveness or amnesty for anyone involved. Later on Adama and Tigh manage to free themselves and take one of the marines hostage

Starbuck and Lee arrive at Adama’s quarters and inform Roslin of what is going on. Roslin seems re-energised by the crisis and says she has an idea of how to get a wireless and they head to Baltar’s “enclave. In the enclave Tyrol has taken charge and has contacts throughout the ship informing him of what is going on (probably thanks to Jeanne’s giving them time to take action), Tyrol also has a plan to get Baltar  and anyone else off the ship which Baltar seems in two minds about. Roslin arrives at the enclave and asks to speak to Baltar. Roslin then asks to use Baltars wireless, and despite opposition from one of his followers and his initial denials that he has one, agrees to her request.

On the bridge as Gaeta is informing Zarek of the current state of play, they are shocked to hear Roslin speaking against their actions and for the cylon alliance, and it is a while before they can cut her off. Near the brig Starbuck and Lee meet up with Adama and Tigh, and inform them of Tyrols plan. Starbuck tries to kill the captured marine with Adama but Adama stops her and lets him go.

Tyrol manages to get himself, Baltar, Roslin, Lee and Starbuck onto a raptor but Adama and Tigh stay behind and fight off marines who throw in a grenade. On the bridge Gaeta orders the Raptor shot down

My Thoughts and Speculation

Gaeta’s coup takes place and at the moment it looks like he has won. This is an action packed episode yet I personally found it to be slightly disengaging, most probably because we keep on jumping from place to place to keep up with the developments when it may have been possible to get the same information across without actually seeing the events allowing for a more coherent narrative.

Their was also an instance of supreme stupidity from Gaeta when he only has 2 marines escort Adama and Tigh to the brig, and also does not have them restrained in any way. There is also the question of why he didn’t at least attempt to have them order all forces loyal to them to stand down. Which brings up my next question is there anyone still loyal to Adama and what are they doing, the impression given from the episode is that Tyrol is in charge of what limited counter insurgence their is. Regardless of that it is clear there was fighting still going on on Galactica and for Gaeta to just have 2 marines escort Adama and Tigh unrestrained, is tantermount to asking for them to escape or be rescued.

What does seem to be clear is that this is the start of the cull of the reoccurring characters, Laird is gone, Gaeta and Zarek seem virtually certainties to be gone with Racetrack, Seelix, Gage and Connor likely to join them, though I suspect at least a few of the coup members may switch sides before this is done. Despite what Adama said there are a sufficient number of people involved that he has to forgive some of them.

On the character development side we see the continued rapprochement between Roslin and Baltar and this incident may finally get Roslin to do her job as much of what has happened may have been preventable if she spoke out instead of feeling sorry for herself. One thing that I was not clear on was did Baltar want to leave or not since while at the start I was sure that he did want to leave, his conversation with Tyrol gave me doubts on that and rewatching the scene while I think he did want to go and was being insincere about not wanting to I am still not 100% certain of this especially as the suggestion he should leave comes from Tyrol.

Looking ahead, I suspect the rebel cylons will be key to resolving this with Adama still in charge as it is too early in the season for him to be permanently removed from command, the only question will it take 1 episode or 2 as we still have the Cavil faction situation to resolve and how many minor characters will be culled in the process. It is also the sort of situation that could lead to the death of a major cylon character and I would not be suprised if Athena was killed in one of the next 2 episodes.

Overall though I was dissapointed with this episode as it was jumped between too many small plot lines, hopefully with the upcoming cull and most of the characters grouped together in fewer places the upcoming episodes should not have this problem.

Episode Rating

6/10 – An action packed episode but sadly disjointed


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