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Battlestar Galactica 4.16 (4.14): “Blood on the Scales” Summary and Analysis

Posted by Mister Random on February 7, 2009

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Be aware that this article contains spoilers for episode 14 (4.16) “Blood on the Scales” 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

Adama gets his ship back, and the cull of minor characters continues

Plot Summary

The episode opens with Narcho ordering Hotdog to shoot down the presidents Raptor, he refuses when he follows protocol challenging them first and then discovers the president is aboard, Narcho has no problems with shooting, but misses hitting the baseship and the raptor manages to get on board the base ship . In the airlock however Adama and Tigh get captured by the marines with Adama taken to the bridge and Tigh thrown into the brig with Helo, Caprica 6, Athena and the rest. On the baseship Roslin manages to convince the cylons not to jump away and instead use the civilian fleet for cover.

On Galactica Zarek arrives with the Quorum of 12, Starbuck and Lee watch but cant do anything. Gaeta and Zarek talk with Zarek reluctant to grant Adama a trial. Tyrol hides in air ducts and sees Romo Lampkin being taken to meet with Zarek and Gaeta to act as Adama’s lawyer, where we learn that Zarek will be the trial judge in what is clear will be a show trial.

On the baseship we see Roslin continually failing to send out a message, and the cylons decide to have a private meeting to determine their next move given the increasing boldness and aggressiveness of the Colonial Vipers.

On Galactica Zarek addresses the forum in an attempt to get their support, in which he fails. As a result he orders them all killed, he then tells Kelly who looks shaken to bring Gaeta to him. Gaeta is upset at what Zarek has done, as it undermines any moral authority he had, to which Zarek reminds him that they are attempting a Coup.

Back on the baseship Tory tells Roslin that the cylons are going to jump away. Roslin manages to convince them to stay through her faith in Adama and telling the cylons that Adama will know who was on his side when he retakes command.

On Galactica, Tyrol gets caught by Kelly when he enters an arms locker through an airduct, instead of taking him into custody or killing him, Kelly lets Tyrol go after they have a fairly friendly conversation. In Adama’s quarters Romo tells Adama that he has people mobilising he just needs to give them time.

By the brig, Lee and Starbuck manage to kill the guards with Lee using a starbuckesque tactic of throwing a grenade without pulling the pin. They then manage to free all the prisoners. While escaping Anders gets shot and severely injured. Starbuck stays with Anders while everyone else escapes.

During the “trial” Adama continues to rattle Gaeta with his responses to the questioning. Zarek then gets told that Tigh escaped, but tells Adama that Tigh was killed trying to escape. Zarek then proclaims Adama guilty. Just at that moment Roslins voice appears over the radio telling everyone what happened as she managed to get past the jamming with a Leobens help.

While being escorted away, Romo and a marine encounter Starbuck and Anders, Romo uses the distraction to kill the marine with a pen, when Starbuck asks for his help, Romo initially walks away before changing his mind. In response to Roslins transmission 10 ships power down their FTL drives so Gaeta says not to give them jump co-ordinates. He then orders marines including Kelly to escort Adama to his exection in a launch bay.

During the walk Kelly walks away and breaks down. Kelly is then run into by Lee’s group and tells them were Adama is being taken too, Kelly then decides to join them to help. In Adama’s quarters Gaeta phones Narcho and tells him to execute Adama to which Narcho affirmitively responds, but it turns out he is being held at Gunpoint by Tigh, and Adama is free.

Zarek in response to a threat by Roslin, contacts her telling her that both Tigh and Adama are dead and asks her to surrender. She refuses and says she will fight to the end and the baseship starts to arm itself. Gaeta fed up of the killing orders galactica to jump away. Tyrol at this time is by the FTL drives anticipating the order to jump and manages to deactivate them. As Tyrol recovers from his exertions he sees large cracks in the bulkhead next to him and quietly goes “Oh No”

At the same time Adama has aquired a large force of loyalists and is moving on the bridge. Gaeta when the jump fails seems stunned as if he realises he has failed and orders a weapons hold in response to Zareks request to launch vipers at the baseship. Adama manages to retake the bridge a moment later and contacts Roslin to tell her to stand down.

We then see Gaeta and an visibly upset Baltar talking and sharing a drink and cigars, before we move to the airlock and see his and Zareks execution take place. A second before he dies Gaeta’s leg stubb stops hurting.

My Thoughts and Speculation

Overall I thought the pacing of this episode worked a lot better than that of last weeks episode even though it was in the same editorial style.  This was presumably because the stories linked together better, when last week it almost seemed that they were showing people for the sake of having them in the episode. Related to that is what did Helo do to annoy RDM as his main role in this and the last episode seemed to be to play unconscious.

So Gaeta’s mutiny fails and the cylons through their loyalty may get what they asked for a few episodes ago in a seat on a new Quorum given all the members apart from Lee are now dead. We also find out through an otherwise pointless appearance from Romo Lampkin that the reason for the small number of forces escorting Adama last episode was probably due to most of the ship still supporting Adama (as seen later on) but just not being able to do anything. Romo’s appearance did not really seem that necesary though and it seems to me that it was put in to remind people he existed and is capable of killing if the need arises.

Ironically while many people died in his failed coup, Gaeta’s coup may help the fleet in ways he did not intend since before his coup everyone was in a downward spiral, while after it most people seem re-energised with a renewed purpose after realising just how important it is to survive. Now the phase of hopelessness has gone from the trailers it appears that the main plot is about to start up again next week with movement on the Ellen front and in the how did the final 5 get to the colonies front as well.

We also saw some character development on the Baltar front as it becomes clear that he regrets running away again, and thinks he should have stayed. While in his defense it seemed to be Tyrol who gave him the opportunity this time, this may be setting things up for a noble Baltar death in the last few episodes where he stays when he normally would have run and survived.

The standout minor character in this episode was Kelly though, who we last saw thrown in the brig for killing Baltars lawyer, who goes through the process of Gaeta’s underling to Adama loyalist in the space of the episode in a natural way, so the question is will he be thrown back in the brig or will it be too full of mutineers for Adama to bother? If there is one unanswered question it is what will happen to people who joined Gaeta’s mutiny, will they all be killed or imprisoned or will they be pardoned, I hope that this is a subplot nextweek or at least mentioned rather than forgotten about as seemed to have happened with several plots this series.

My final question is what was with Tyrol and the damaged Bulkhead at the end? Somepeople have suggested that it was open to space and if that was the intention the editors did a bad job of showing it as it is not clear that is the case and steam from the FTL drives is not heading towards the damaged wall. I personally think his concerned expression about it is due to him recognising some danger in the nature of the damage, or it may indicate that Galactica is structurally unsound. Hopefully this will be cleared up next week.

Episode Rating

8/10 – An action packed episode that also allows for decent character development

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3 Responses to “Battlestar Galactica 4.16 (4.14): “Blood on the Scales” Summary and Analysis”

  1. Langley said

    I would guess that what Tyrol saw, is evidence of major structural damage gone unnoticed in Galactica’s superstructure. We had a hint of this when Gaeta claimed that Zarek’s raptor was a dradis ghost and Tigh commented on how long it has been since the ship had been in for repairs and maintenance; and again when Kelly comments to Tyrol in the weapons locker, how Galactica once was a great ship.

    I would guess that the writers want to introduce a sense of urgency in this now open-ended journey of the fleet; perhaps Galactica is capable of only a few more FTL jumps before the entire skeleton of the ship starts to come apart.

  2. Mr Random said

    I agree with you and suspect that in the Final episode we will see the death of Galactica, the only question being who dies with it?

  3. […] escape (which eventually led to Tyrol disabling the FTL drives) and he told Starbuck and Lee Battlestar Galactica 4.16 (4.14): “Blood on the Scales” Summary and Analysis – randomremarks.wordpress.com 02/07/2009 Be aware that this article contains spoilers for […]

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