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'Battlestar Galactica': The coup's fatal flaw

FelixSo many people dislike "Battlestar Galactica's" Felix Gaeta, that you know Alessandro Juliani and the writers must be doing a pretty good job with the character and the whole coup situation.

The insurgency, and Gaeta's misguided attempt at justice, was a great way to reignite the fires that were a bit dormant at the cores of a lot of the characters.  Roslin's leadership, Adama's toughness, Baltar's instability, Tigh's loyalty, Zarek's shiftiness, Tyrol's resourcefulness and Lee's soldiering and devotion to his dad were all qualities that caused us to follow this show unflinchingly.

And Starbuck. Oh Starbuck. She wasn't looking at colorful patterns or questioning who she was and why she was here. She was walking up behind guys at a urinal in space and smashing their heads up against the wall when they looked down to do their business.

RomoThe unlikely helper/lawyer Romo Lampkin, after participating in a joke of a court marshal for Adm. Adama, joined Starbuck as they tried to save her husband, the injured Anders, while Lee, Tigh and the others raced to save Bill Adama from a firing squad.  We don't know if Anders will be the first of the final five to fall, but it looks that way.

As it became increasingly clear that Tom Zarek was the revolutionary voice behind the coup, we had to wonder if the past Gaeta, the smart guy doing all he could to help keep the ship's computer systems afloat, would revert back to the good guy who just wanted to help.  That was severely tested when crazy Zarek decided to disband the quorum by killing them all. "Shoot them." What?! Where?! Huh?!

This was a misstep, meaning by the writers. Gasp! Yeah, I said it. Though Zarek has been shown to be a ruthless and power-hungry guy, he has not been shown to be an unconscionable murderer.  There was always the sense that he really believed what he was doing was right, though under it all you knew he just wanted to be in charge.  Or at least, that's how it seemed he was set up.  When he killed his fellow representatives, he crossed the line from the people's man to the political butcher and doomed Gaeta in the process.  Obviously, the "Battlestar" story crafters wanted a dramatic shift to occur during the coup, but it felt like a little more than just "doing what had to be done."


Even then, Gaeta had a chance for redemption.  Arrest Zarek and turn back over control of the ship.  But the situation had taken on a life of its own.  The itch of Gaeta's amputated leg would bother him no more after a newly rescued Adm. Adama and his followers took back the ship and executed Gaeta and Zarek.

Other tidbits:
-- Baltar's dream sequence -- the execution of Adama -- was mean!  Misleading, cruel ... but great.  Had me going for a second.  And Baltar's guilt is catching up to him again.  At least his rambling makes sense.  His heroic tendencies seem to be turned on a little late, but they're now there.

Tyrol_2-- Chief Tyrol's redemption, to himself more than anything or anyone else, was good to see.

-- Wonder if the Cylons still think it's cool to hang out with humans who seem as if they will always fear and hate them?  Definitely bears watching, especially as the fifth cylon awakes next episode (and if you don't know who she is by now, you're just not paying attention).

Felix Gaeta: "I hope that people realize eventually who I am."

Sadly, I don't think they ever will.

-- Jevon Phillips


-- Did you know SHE was the final Cylon?
-- Richard Hatch didn't throw popcorn!
-- Michael Hogan, surprised to be a Cylon
-- 'Battlestar Galactica' on Hero Complex

Photos: SciFi.com

Comments () | Archives (15)

I don't want to offend the writer, but this piece was poorly written. There are grammatical and factual errors. I'm surprised to see such writing in the LA Times.

I recently started re-watching the show from the beginning because I have forgotten so much, and it seems like you have too. When we were first introduced to Zarek, Dee called him a "butcher." He was a terrorist who blew up a government building, so yes, he is a murderer. He even killed Laird the last episode. Killing the Quorom made perfect sense, and it was completely in character.

I’m supposed to believe that Tom Zarek, an uncompromising revolutionary who has no qualms about blowing away everyone on the Quorum, wouldn’t have killed Admiral Adama the first chance he gets?

Let's face it, there was a lot of good stuff, but there was also some conventional/cliche/weak writing in this episode. I call shenanigans.

Here's my review: http://tinyurl.com/d9nfxo

Let's not forget the HUGE CRACK in the hull of Galactica. I think that ship has seen its final fight.

Actually, the killing of the government was not out of character for Tom. Remember that way back in season 1, Tom was in prison for attacking a government building because he was angry at the mistreatment the people were getting from the government. While he hasn't shown it lately, he has shown before that he was willing and able to kill for what he wanted.

Zarek had control of black market, was going to kill Lee on Kobol, and was ready to have all the prisoner's on the prison ship killed to die a martyr. I hardly think it was leap to have him kill the quorom when it seemed he might lose control of them.

If we look through history, especially the 20th century we find many Zarek types. Lenin, Stalin to name a few. All have said they are doing things in the name of the people, but just end up being butchers! Felix Gaeta is a tragic figure who is tired of the unjust system and naively believes he can some how make it better, but ends up a pawn of the revolutionary. If the revolutionary wins, he ends up like Trotsky. If the revolutionary loses as what happened Friday night, he gets the firing squad. If the writers had decided to go the other way with this episode, then you would of seen Zarek having Gaeta killed and installing someone else who was loyal to him.

Zarek's behavior was not out of character at all, as a couple other people already pointed out. He'd killed people before, and he never said he regretted it.

My favorite moment was the very end: the look of amazement on Gaeta's face as he whispers to himself "it stopped!" On the other hand, the execution dream sequence was a cheap trick to play on the audience. About as imaginative as a pie in the face.

Speaking of cheap tricks: I'm pretty annoyed at the way the previous episode ended. There was absolutely no sane reason for Adama and Tigh to stay in the hangar. Laura's ship had already left, it's not like the marines were gonna chase it down on foot. It was obviously written that way to create an excuse for a cliff-hanger ending. And even that failed to create any real suspense; it was obvious they weren't going to let two major characters die in the space between two episodes. This is generally one of the most intelligently written sci-fi show I've ever seen, so stupid crap like this is a lot more noticeable than it would be on Buffy.

I don't usually post comments like this but I just had to address this last one regarding the cliff hanger ending. Do you really think Adama would just run off his ship without fighting for it? In my opinion that would have been inconsistent with his character and lets not forget the oath.

"It stopped"

i don't get it what's stopped?

his gross [looks like it was infected] stump stopped being itchy just before his end

"This was a misstep, meaning by the writers. Gasp! Yeah, I said it. Though Zarek has been shown to be a ruthless and power-hungry guy, he has not been shown to be an unconscionable murderer. "

Uhm... In the first story we met Tom Zarek in, he was a terrorist in prison. In the second, he tried to kill the president, then killed the would-be assassin when he failed. In the third, he tried to have Lee Adama killed.

So, uh, four times wasn't enough precedent for ya?

Excellent episode! Gaeta's downward spiral into complete and utter disillusionment was tragic culminating in his disgrace and execution. Gaeta will no longer have any say in his legacy or how history will judge him.

We have been watching since the late 70's. These new shows have too much vulgar language.It shows the new writers are not intelligent enough to write good shows without profanity.

Uh, Yvonne, what profanity? The word "frak" replaces another in use in modern English, and I guess could be mistaken for that word in some cases.

Addressing the earlier comments re Zarek - to me he seems like a Che Guevara figure - when it comes down to it, a brutal revolutionary not afraid to spill blood, but somehow able to manipulate broader public opinion to romanticise himself. Gaeta is akin to Trotsky.

Adama stayed abord his ship because he would not surrender it. Totally in character. Tigh stayed because after all that has happened, the only thing he had left was Adama.


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