Wow, who knew "Battlestar" fans were so fanatical?  My criticisms of last week's episode, "The Oath," resulted in some of the more nasty postings in the short history of this site and some surprisingly direct @replies on twitter (geez, imagine if I wrote about how horrible "Crash" was again).  And note to all twitter peeps out there, if you're really upset with my thoughts on "Battlestar," post them here so everyone can see them.  Share your pain! 

Now, I'm not going to get into a tit for tat about just how big a fan I actually am of the show, but know that as a "movie" guy I rarely follow television series.  But, "Battlestar" has been so exceptional that I've been riveted, just like you, season after season and insanely long break after insanely long break between seasons. "BSG" has had truly cinematic moments that have elevated it creatively from the traditional artistic failings of television (I'm gonna get heck from Fienberg about that comment) and any disappointment in Moore and Eick falling into easy cliches and uninspired plot devices are only because I want what's right for the show (or what's left of it. I want it to stay exceptional.  Is that too much to ask?  And with that, enough of rant.

Now, when we last left our beloved fleet, Gaeta and Zarek had staged a coup on Galactica with Roslin escaping on a Raptor to a Cylon baseship (we assume) and Adama and Tigh in an airlock facing down a squadron of commandoes with orders to kill them both.

This episode, "Blood on the Scales," was a solid improvement over the last two and almost as good as the season premiere, "Sometimes a Great Notion."

[Spoilers after the jump.]

Come on, is anyone surprised by the outcome of "Scales"?  Did you really think Adama and Roslin wouldn't get the ship and fleet back?  With six more episodes to go?  So, plot aside, let's consider some of the episodes finer moments.

  • How about that sweet CG shotof Colonial One docking in Galactica? 
  • How about that nice cameo by everyone's favorite eccentric lawyer Romo Lampkin (Mark Sheppard) bringing some charisma back to the series as he's forced to be Adama's lawyer? (And who knew he could kick a**?)
  • Um, the stunning assassination of the entire quorum without a hint of regret from Zarek?  Not many of us thought he was capable of that sort of evil deed did we?
  • And Roslin's possessed and rage-filled response after hearing about the false death of her beloved Adama that was teased in the episode preview?  It would be an Emmy moment for McDonnell if the Television Academy gave the show the respect it deserves. (Or, it's her "Mommie Dearest" moment that will live on YouTube for eternity.)


But still, seriously, the episode had its failings too -- Chief down in the engine room (where conveniently, no one else seems to be), scrambling to disengage the FTL like the warp drive at the end of an old "Star Trek" episode? Um, OK.  And yet, this seemed to be the only way the writers could devise a scenario that really puts Gaeta in his most difficult spot throughout this whole insurrection. He's already "killed" Adama and Tigh and has put seemingly out of control Zarek in charge of everything, but will he put the fleet and Galactica in harms way of a charging Cylon base ship? Will he fight that battle?

"Weapons halt!"

No, he will not.  And within minutes, Adama had retaken the bridge and all is right in the universe of "BSG"...until next week at least.

So, what did we get out of this arc?  A resolution to Gaeta for starters (in the ultimate sense).  And you have to give credit where credit is due.  After being somewhat of a caricature as a bitter, young, one-legged officer over the past few episodes, Alessandro Juliani made Gaeta much more sympathetic in his final series appearance (we assume).  It would have been nice if some of this shading had been in earlier episodes, but perhaps it just got lost in editing (sure it did).

Even more intriguing, but hardly discussed is that despite the fact he only appeared in 22 episodes, less than a third of the series, Richard Hatch's turns as Zarek have been some of the more memorable moments of the show.  Pretty remarkable for what was originally intended as stunt casting, no?  Even with Cylons lurking in space, he constantly conveyed that all was not well within the fleet and was the poster child for the political threat Roslin just couldn't get out from under her skin -- even when he was supposedly on her side.  Again, in very little screen time, Hatch did an excellent job of never really letting the audience or the Colonial fleet know where he stood amongst our heroes.  And at the end, as always, his actions were flawed and misguided as nothing could stop his hunger and justification for power.

Two questions that still remains from the episode: (1)What were the mysterious tears in the walls of the ship that Chief sees in the engine room?  What dangerous foreshadowing could that be about?  Is the ship literally on its last legs?

And (2) what is Anders fate? Is he still alive?  Will he be resurrected if he dies? 

Even better though was the sneak peek for next week's episode.  Ellen, the fifth cylon, is back, but who resurrected her and why?  And we've been teased that "she knows the truth," but what truth is that exactly?  How many more freakin' truths are left to be revealed besides what the frak Starbuck is (and word is we may never know)?  And is she good Ellen or dark Ellen?  Is she still a nymphomaniac? All questions that will be revealed in "No Exit."  Check out the sneak at the end of this post.

Also, for an extra "Battlstar" hit before next week's episode, be sure to check back for HitFix's Daniel Fienberg  interview with Tamhoh Penikett, aka Helo, about his role in Joss Whedon's new series "Dollhouse."  Plus, Penikett reveals whether there will be any more surprises in the remaining six episodes of "BSG."   Look for that midweek here on HitFix.

What did you think of "Blood on the Scales?"