Battlestar Galactica Review: “Blood on the Scales”

Last week’s coup leads to civil war and general kickassery as folks loyal to Adama try to reclaim the Galactica and the folks of the Quorum develop grave doubts about Zarek.

Title: “Blood on the Scales”

Cast and Crew

Written by Michael Angeli
Directed by Wayne Rose

Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama

Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
Michael Hogan as Colonel Saul Tigh
Alessandro Juliani as Lt. Felix Gaeta

Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek

James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Grace Park as Athena/Number 8
Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol
Michael Trucco as Samuel Anders
Tricia Helfer as Number 6

Bodie Olmos as Brendan “Hot Dog” Costanza
Mark Sheppard as Romo Lampkin

Premise

The divided colonists face off against each other.

High Point

The show couldn’t sustain this sort of combat week after week—- that would grow boring and predictable. However, these last two episode have shown how effectively they can stage hand-to-hand combat, without losing the human dimension.

Low Points

I found this episode compelling. It had, however, a few too many plot contrivances and narrative tricks. We didn’t need, for example, the second imagined death of Adama; the story holds up fine without that sort of trickery.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6. The chief villain reveals that, whatever valid concerns the rebels may have, he really is evil. The brave band of heroes work together. Pressure brings out the best and worst in people. Someone crawls through the shafts and vents. Key developments happen at the last possible moment.

Effects: 6/6. Galactica sets the current standard for visuals in SF television.

Story: 4/6. This resembled last week’s episode, but more so. Zarek behaves in a way that eliminates any sympathy for the rebels. Our heroes, including the lawyer, show themselves to be hard-fighting toughs. Nevertheless, Galactica presents a gripping narrative the leads to a strong conclusion, and leaves many questions to be answered.

Acting: 6/6. In an episode focused on action, we still see many strong personal moments and plausible character development.

Emotional Response: 5/6.

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6.

In total “Blood on the Scales” receives 34/42

20 replies on “Battlestar Galactica Review: “Blood on the Scales””

  1. jesusX says:

    Great ep, better than last week’s
    Last week’s seemed to under deliver a little, but this week’s delivered in spades. I was very glad to see how the shooting of Adama and Roslyn yelling "I’m coming for all of you!" fit into the story. I will admit I’m a little tired of Balter frakking everything he meets, but at least he seems ready to break that mold too. I was surprised at Tricia, it seems she’s put on JUST A LITTLE weight from the first half of S4, and it looks fantastic on her, much healthier, much prettier.

    Also, we keep losing people. Billy, Ellen, Starbuck (yes, her because she WAS DEAD, we’ll just have to wait to see who this is), Cally, Deanna, then Dee, and now Zarek (who I won’t miss) and Gaeta (who I kind of will.) I think Gaeta snapped just like Dee did, he just took another path to suicide. I don’t think he ever really expected the coup to succeed. He’s military, aside from anything else, and his passion against the Cylons proves he knows what you have to do to your enemy, and he wasn’t willing to do it to Adama. I liked the little bit before be was shot too. "It stopped!" Fitting end for him, he found peace.

    As for Anders, this will be interesting. I’m not sure if they’re going somewhere with this, or this was to break Starbuck’s "I’d shoot you between the eyes" demeanor and demonstrate to us and her she’s changed. I’m pretty sure we’ll see a living Ellen again (not just a flashback), and if Anders dies I wager we’ll see him again too, in teh reveal of the proto-resurrection ship that brought back our final five after the Earth holocaust, and what helped recreate Starbuck.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: Great ep, better than last week’s
      proto-resurrection ship?
      ship of light!

      Loved this ep. The Chief’s ship-long crawl through maintenance passages was great. He spent the entire episode making that trip, and arrived at the FTL drive just in time to do what he needed to do. I also enjoyed seeing the FTL drive itself.

      When President Roslin went postal, I believed her when she said she’d fight down to her teeth if she had to. Good character moments all around, I think. I believed the motivations of each character, including Lt. Cade Foster, erhm, "Narcho."

      • manly says:

        Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

        I also enjoyed seeing the FTL drive itself.

        That was pretty cool – it’s nice to see an SF engine which isn’t just a glowing light :).

        I think that was the first FTL engine shot in the show?

        • Nightwanderer says:

          Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

          I also enjoyed seeing the FTL drive itself.

          That was pretty cool – it’s nice to see an SF engine which isn’t just a glowing light :).

          I think that was the first FTL engine shot in the show?

          Was I the only one that thought "Chompers" when it showed up ?

          Although, I must say this was a very well written episode.

          • joe__gee says:

            Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

            Was I the only one that thought "Chompers" when it showed up ?

            Although, I must say this was a very well written episode.

            Me too, but that wasn’t what Sigourney Weaver said. :) Interestingly enough, in the compers scene Sigourney dropped the f-bomb, which you can easily lip-read her saying.

            :)

            -Joe

      • Scifi^2 says:

        Re: Great ep, better than last week’s
        Those were probably my two of my high-points from this episode. The exchange in the weapons locker was probably my third. It showed just how deep the mistrust ran on a personal level and not just the superficial "Cylons are bad M’Kay?". Similar to last weeks exchange in the locker room. It wasn’t just lashing out in irrational fear.

        Finally it was a good end for Gaeta. He made a (seemingly well-intentioned) deal with the devil and it backfired. In the end he seemed to realize this which gave us the nice goodbye with Baltar. I had to chuckle at his brilliant "Restaurants that look like the food they sell" idea.

      • jesusX says:

        Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

        proto-resurrection ship?
        ship of light!

        I didn’t say what it had to look like, just what I think it will be. ;)

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

        proto-resurrection ship?
        ship of light!

        Loved this ep. The Chief’s ship-long crawl through maintenance passages was great. He spent the entire episode making that trip, and arrived at the FTL drive just in time to do what he needed to do. I also enjoyed seeing the FTL drive itself.

        When President Roslin went postal, I believed her when she said she’d fight down to her teeth if she had to.

        Roslin had such a Delenn from "Severed Dreams" vibe going with that speach it was awesome!

        • Fozzy_Bear says:

          Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

          Roslin had such a Delenn from "Severed Dreams" vibe going with that speach it was awesome!

          I think I’ve mentioned it before… but I personally consider "Severed Dreams" to the be best hour of Television ever produced.

          – IMHO… since you brought it up…

          .

          • J_W_W says:

            Re: Great ep, better than last week’s

            Roslin had such a Delenn from "Severed Dreams" vibe going with that speach it was awesome!

            I think I’ve mentioned it before… but I personally consider "Severed Dreams" to the be best hour of Television ever produced.

            – IMHO… since you brought it up…

            .

            Yes, you’ve said it before and yes it is….

  2. Tekzel says:

    Very pleased
    I really dug this episode. It shows off why Battlestar Galactica has to be, at least in my opinion, one of the finest shows to ever be put on television. Certainly one of, if not THE best sci-fi show ever. I hated Gaeta and Zarek in a great way. I just couldn’t wait to see them catch a bullet. The ending with Gaeta talking about his childhood, then the itch stopping thing was just great. Very deep. It looks like this show is going out with a serious bang.

  3. Damien says:

    Confused at first
    I was a little confused at how to take it all, in ways it seemed to fit together too neatly.

    That said, I really did appreciate several points.. Gaeta realized that the coup was pushing too far beyond his comfort level and that his naivety in believing Zarek’s intentions to be honorable were way off, so I thought how Gaeta stopped the execution and decided to just jump was a fitting resolution. Of course then when the FTL drives stopped working you could tell he knew it was over and it seemed like he was then just waiting for Adama to return, accepting his defeat.

    It was a little strange to see the all the cylons on the baseship appear to be incapable of making & following through with any decisions – Roslyn pretty much took over control as soon as she landed.

    I’ll agree with the other commenter on the Starbuck/Anders subplot, they’re definitely building up to something there..

    Am looking forward to the remaining episodes.

    Damien

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: Confused at first

      I was a little confused at how to take it all, in ways it seemed to fit together too neatly.

      ….

      It was a little strange to see the all the cylons on the baseship appear to be incapable of making & following through with any decisions – Roslyn pretty much took over control as soon as she landed.

      Am looking forward to the remaining episodes.

      Damien

      As has been noted recently, I think these particular Cylons have lost the plan…. ;-)

      It was great to see them acquiesce to Roslin however. She really showed how great a leader she is through her actions on the Cylon ship.

      • jesusX says:

        Re: Confused at first

        It was great to see them acquiesce to Roslin however. She really showed how great a leader she is through her actions on the Cylon ship.

        Also, they want to be part of the fleet, running from the rest of the Cylons. Their best hope of that is helping Roslyn and Adama regain control. Also, to be part of the fleet is to obey the rules of the fleet.

  4. grimjack says:

    What’s up in the engine room?
    After crawling through the ship for the entire episode, practically ripping his hand off to disable the FTL and having in between saved Roslyn and the good guys, The Chief is in a bad spot. At the end of the show, he doesn’t look tired, he looks sick. Why the big pan up the bulkhead to the crackling and peeling paint? Is it an image of the virgin Pythea, or be there bad radiation here? No good deed goes unpunished, and I think that Tyrol is next in line to pay the bill.

    • Nightwanderer says:

      Re: What’s up in the engine room?

      After crawling through the ship for the entire episode, practically ripping his hand off to disable the FTL and having in between saved Roslyn and the good guys, The Chief is in a bad spot. At the end of the show, he doesn’t look tired, he looks sick. Why the big pan up the bulkhead to the crackling and peeling paint? Is it an image of the virgin Pythea, or be there bad radiation here? No good deed goes unpunished, and I think that Tyrol is next in line to pay the bill.

      Sick with fear I think. That appeared to be fatigue cracking to me. Meaning that whole nacelle bracing needs to be cut out and re-cast/forged/welded. A major overhaul, refit type job of months, most likely. time they don’t have with the other Cylons coming . Remember, Galactica is an OLD ship, ready for retirement when we first see her. But it has been in running combat, fighting for four years (or however long it has been in show time). There will be a price to pay.

      As a comment on the long crawl, I didn’t like it. too contrived. It think the payoff needed to be at the end of the episode, as it was. But mostly it just didn’t give Tyrol enough to do.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: What’s up in the engine room?

      No good deed goes unpunished, and I think that Tyrol is next in line to pay the bill.

      Not until we deal with Cally, and Torry. :) And those were big stress fractures. That ship will not make it through to the end of the series.

      -Joe

  5. joe__gee says:

    My high point? Laura.
    Everything and anything about her. Any time she was on the screen. The strength of her voice ringing through the command room of the base star. The vulnerability that she still managed to convey. Her speech about the Admiral. The way the Cylons just looked at her in awe.

    You can say what you want to about the *story* of BSG, but this series has *hands down* the best acting I have ever been privileged to enjoy in a sci fi series. These final episodes are proving to me how extraordinary this cast has been.

    -Joe

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: My high point? Laura.

      Everything and anything about her. Any time she was on the screen. The strength of her voice ringing through the command room of the base star. The vulnerability that she still managed to convey. Her speech about the Admiral. The way the Cylons just looked at her in awe.

      You can say what you want to about the *story* of BSG, but this series has *hands down* the best acting I have ever been privileged to enjoy in a sci fi series. These final episodes are proving to me how extraordinary this cast has been.

      -Joe

      I agree. There are a handful of actors that dominate this show and they were all in top form this week.

      As mentioned before Roslin was portrayed amazingly this episode and the Adama character almost exuded an air of "I cannot be stopped" this week with every action he took…

      However, I do agree completely with the low point for this episode. Baltars "vision" was completely unnecessary and was done purely to mess with the viewer….

      • visionary_coward says:

        Re: Baltar’s dream

        However, I do agree completely with the low point for this episode. Baltars "vision" was completely unnecessary and was done purely to mess with the viewer….

        I agree it was partly done to mess with the viewers, but also to move Baltar along. It was his nightmare, and afterwords he seems to admit that he has a responsibility for his "fan club" on Galactica. He wanted to go back, even though he believed in the dream. How many times before have we seen Baltar show concern for someone else above himself?

        -vc

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