1.31.2009

THE OATH - REVIEW


You know, I feel like I got roughed up and punched in the stomach (like Lee here) after this ep. Egads. The bad writing bug bit. I blame Moore and the entire writers' room. Of all the choices they could have made for where to take the story and how ... hmmm. Such gimmicks. Such uninspired storytelling.

Gaeta springs Zarek and has Marines and various others involved. He takes him to the flight deck and Racetrack creates a diversion to clear the area (the main Baltar groupie is there ?!!? and
sees what's really happening). The nerd who is now the Chief (from Pegasus) follows the letter-of-protocol so Zarek brains him with a big 'ol crescent wrench (that's gotta sting) ... another red shirt dead (get that whiteboard handy - you'll be lowering the number all night).

Gaeta fools his boyfriend Hoshi in C&C (sort of) who spots Zarek's unauthorized departure from Galactica on draedus ... Adama, Tigh, et al buy Gaeta's subterfuge. Cut to Lee holding court with the Quorum on Colonial One ... DuhDaDuhDa - in walks Zarek to take over the meeting.

Cut to Seelix talking with Anders - we find out they have backstory but it's really about distraction so some of the
Sons of Ares thugs can bag Anders and pummel him (including Nowart). Back to C&C - another diversion (a fake fire) - Cut to Kara and Hot Dog have a good little scene, then the fire alarm goes off and we see the interaction from one of the Clue clips where Kara deduces the ruse and follows soldiers as they loot an arms locker. Kara goes to her stash and arms herself to the nines - from now on for this review we'll call her Kambo. She calls up to C&C and Gaeta intercepts her call and hangs up on her - Kambo knows the whoozywhatzit already. Lee calls from Colonial One and Gaeta intercepts that call too (crafty little bugger!) ... back to Lee and now Zarek is playing him - toying with him like a cat with a mouse but a couple good lines of dialog in there. Building ... Gaeta lies to Adama, saying all communications are down - Eddie Olmos gives a great reaction shot (terse, in-the-moment and faraway all at the same time) ... somehow Lee lands on the flight deck [he got a Raptor ready and flew back that quick ???] - Sucker Punch by traitorous Marines (ooh, I taste lunch) ... KAMBO arrives - KaBlam! KaBlam! Two revolutionaries, er red shirts, down lickety-split. Corny "I died once," line and amazing aim - memories fuzzy but can Kambo aim a gun!

Athena and Helo are having Mommy-D
addy time with Hera, spoon-feeding her baby-algae when the din of a riot starts to filter into their hearing range and unsettles them. Hero Helo suits up for a looksee. Oop, too late, the thugs in uniform are there already and spirit Athena and Hera away before some macho talk about past perceived wrongs on Pegasus and double-thwack - a nice rifle-butt bloody concussion for Helo. That's what you get Cylon-lover

Lee and Kambo find a temporary safe-haven and she paces like a wild animal and aggressively kisses Lee and says, "I'm feelin' right for the first time in weeks" [er, shouldn't it be months? ... but I quibble] ... once again we are reminded that she's always had bigger balls
than him. Meanwhile .... Gaeta still has them all fooled in C&C but Adama finally sends someone to go put eyes on what's really happening ... Sharon, Hera, and an unconscious Helo are put in the brig with Anders and Caprica Six - who goes on a rant about how "the humans" fear their children (oh the irony!). Adama's lookout returns huffing and puffing and finally spills the beans that it is a ruse - Gaeta puts the hammer down and his Marines pop out of the shadows and - oops! They're trigger-happy and red shirt runner gets wasted and bullets fly all around. Cue macho showdown and Eddie Olmos growl. We get a reference to the titular "oath" they all took when they put on the uniform and Adama tells Gaeta that he will die with nothing and tells those taking part in the mutiny that there will be no amnesty this time.

Lee and Kambo make it to Roslin in Adama's quarters and she is there and unmolested but her Marine guards are gone. Roslin has on her glasses [cue Wonder Woman theme song] and wig and puts on her jacket and is ready for her part of the battle, "I have an idea about the wireless" she offers ... obvious. Back in C&C Gaeta is the man in charge and barks orders and keeps his people in line. He may only have one leg but he's got two big balls.

Meanwhile down in the Baltar messiah subplot zone they are moving around silk pillows or something and Tyrol is there ??? [groan] Baltar explains to his main groupies that he must flee. Really, are they that stupid? It is just tedious and insulting to watch at this point his contempt for them as a wink to the audience while he shmoozes the
m - this is so played out. This subplot must die. Tyrol has a walkie-talky so he kinda knows what's going on. Back to the corridors where some people just cower, others seem dazed and not knowing what to do, Kambo and Lee lead Roslin down to the Baltarzone and Tyrol allows Roslin to get to Baltar's pirate radio and tells Lee that if he can get his father Adama to the heretofore unknown "secondary storage bay" within the hour "I can get him off the ship."

Only Marines Nowart and Moldonado escort Adama and Tigh somewhere and in a well-directed scene Adama confronts them verbally and then gets close enough to go for M's rifle and rat-tat-tat he's dead Jim ... Tigh is impressed. [Now, if Tory suddenly realized she had great strength while making love to Baltar way back when, why doesn't Tigh just use his Cylon superpowers and take out these two? But I quibble ... again]

Back down in Baltarland a stupid exchange between Roslin and Baltar takes place and dumb-bunny groupie number 2 gets in the mix wasting like 2 minutes we could be finding out what the hell is up with Cavil, or what Head-Six thinks about things, or if D'Anna went for a swim on radioactive cinder Earth and if she's eating that rattlesnake weed ... the exchange does end with two good lines, especially Roslin's "Maybe we're both frauds and we have one last chance to atone," or some such.

Gaeta calls Zarek and they discuss the status of their coup when Roslin's voice - like a beacon in the night - gently rings out
true across the cacophony of fleet hails trying to find out what's going on. We still never see any of the other ships or the people there - are they in support of the revolt? Roslin makes her plea - ridiculous staging as she is positioned to look like a beat poet in a speakeasy down in Baltarcafe ... we see reaction shots from the Quorum and elsewhere to her words - Gaeta has to "find the frequency" [what's the frequency Kenneth!?!] himself since the I-wanna-rape-you-Athena Pegasus knuckledragger can't do it to end the transmission.

With all the pandemonium somehow Kambo and Lee happen upon Adama and Tigh - cue showdown over killing Nowart "they are not your men anymore, they are the enemy" Adama let's Nowart flee - and Kambo'
s amazing clone aim fails her this time.

In special holding room 2 - or whatever Tyrol called it - Roslin and Baltar cool their heels and discuss how they both made bad choices in selecting their aides d'camp (remember it from the Clue site clip?) Baltar calls Gaeta in C&C [guess communications are working again] and pleads with him to stop "this madness" - Gaeta, fully committed, hangs up on this tedious fool. Back in unknown-room-introduced-in-Act-III a Raptor docks and out comes a Cylon Sharon and Kambo, Lee, Adama, and Tigh enter at the same time and Poppa and Momma kiss for all to see. Kambo and Lee leave up a ladder for more fighting on another deck in the next episode [did Tyrol go with them or the Raptor - don't remember, don't care], and Cylon base ship Sharon takes Baltar and Roslin on the Raptor and th
ey skeedaddle. Butch and Sundance, er Adama and Tigh, hold the fort as the rebellious Marines approach. The Raptor takes off (for the Base Ship no doubt) and back in C&C Gaeta gets the first taste that things are going wrong ... but he orders that his Pegasus collaborator Nacho (oh, Narcho) to shoot it down.

We close with Butch and Sundance saying their macho goodbyes as they jump off the cliff into the river below - er, I mean shooting their automatic rifles into the small opening in the blast doors the traitorous Marines have opened - they respond with a flash grenade and we fade out.

Teaser for the next ep sho
ws Leoben growing some facial hair and looking fatter - guess finding the dead Kara caused him to blow a fuse and I was really wrong about some earlier posts where I thought it was a guest actor (but the eyes are a different color - maybe a filter effect from how they shot the scene). Some political jockeying goes on at the Base Ship and the game of brinkmanship [X37] has it arming weapons and the Roslin line "I'm coming for all of you." She's going to beat them with her wig?

Yikes, where to begin ... This episode, The Oath, was a waste of John Dahl's talents. The story choices are just becoming terrible. It's pretty clear to me now that Ron Moore and David Eick just lost interest in this show around the middle of the 3rd season. They both got their big production deals and high art like Bionic Woman beckoned. Once Moore got his damn Dylan song in there he was basically satisfied I think and has since felt put-upon to wrap up the show. The lofty brilliance of this incarnation of Battlestar Galactica has never come close to the heights of the miniseries and first season and a half save for a few eps here and there. We're three episodes into the final ten (so seven eps or eight 42 minute installments sans commercials to go) and it is underwhelming thus far. I would gladly like to be proven wrong in the next few eps.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the Final Five aren't the Final Five Significant Seven Cylons and are just the Final Five Earth Cylons? Could there be Millions of Five Models we haven't seen?

radii said...

If there are many more episodes like this one and the last, I just won't care anymore.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. The first season had me on the edge of my seat. the last season and a half has had so many filler and setup episodes it's gotten boring! Imagine that BSG is boring! I never would have thought that would happen. The only reason I watch now is that after 4 years, I'd like to see how it ends.

Anonymous said...

I loved this episode.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought it was great, but each to their own. Kudos to you for taking out the time to write up a detailed review for a show you don't even like, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I thought this review was dead wrong. This was definitely one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. I loved the action and I loved the characters. I can't wait for next week.

Athelstane said...

I could not disagree more. Violently.

Are we watching the same series?

I didn't think they could ever top "33." But this episode is in the running.

This story choice was not "terrible" it was, in fact, inevitable. But when you make a choice with the story, there is always the risk that you alienate some viewers. And I think that's behind at least some of the "it was all downhill from season one" criticism.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to put down the hateraie. This EP was fantastic and full of action and cliffhangers.

How could you not like it? And what was so bad about it anyhow? You never pointed out anything specific and just made broad generalizations that did not even fit.

Once more after reading some of your thoughts about leoben and how you did not think it was him and how the picture may have been filtered leads me to think that the only thing thats been filtered is your judgement. Relax, its a tv show.

Chris said...

I couldn't agree more - this show just keeps jumping sharks to the point that when it ends - unless there are some major changes - it won't be a sad parting but more like watching a limping mangy blind dog finally being put out of its misery. This whole story arch is just a waste of time because they had x number of episodes to do but not enough orginal ideas.

radii said...

@Chris: "like watching a limping mangy blind dog finally being put out of its misery"

very evocative ... I'm so worried that you're right

i'm still optimistic that the show will end well but I now put the odds at 3:1 against

Anonymous said...

Colorful review (in so many ways).

Tomislav said...

You are such a rabid flaming idiot that you haven't even bothered to notice that it was Racetrack who flew Adama back to Galactica.

Add to that your opsessive-compulsive spamming of various BSG related boards and blogs, it all equals you being a attention-seeking trolling moron.

radii said...

Tamislav,

I don't care about Racetrack - she bores me to tears

I hate Spam

I have not been diagnosed as opsessive

Tomislav said...

Links to your blog here, links to your blog there, links to your blog everywhere...

'Please come', whines Radii. 'Look at me, look, I'm sooo big and important, I can flame BSG!'

radii said...

@Tomislav

Read the reviews for Sometimes A Great Notion and Faith ... high praise when it earns it

Anonymous said...

Tomislav needs a hug. Or something. Listen, at least Radii says it like he sees it...I see nothing but an uncritical slobbering lovefest for BSG on the net. In reality, The Oath was underwhelming and Moore and Eick ARE mailing it in. The first episode back held such promise...too bad we have to bear witness to an unravelling mess. The further they go the deeper they dig and someone's got to say it.