In the twelfth episode of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, Roslin’s absence in her role as President continues to send the fleet towards disaster as Tom Zarek’s power as Vice President continues to expand. Various members of the fleet continue to cope with the realities of Earth, their identity, and the complications of children. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
Well, everything’s a damn mess, isn’t it?
A lot happens in “A Disquiet Follows My Soul,” though I’m happy that the story itself is never confusing or incoherent. We’re given a snapshot of a fleet in panic mode; what had previously held them together no longer exists, and a limited few do their best to try and find something to unite the fleet with. It seems that Lee, Adama, and Helo are the only ones making an effort to create a sense of unity across the fleet, but this time, it appears that they’ve underestimated the number of variables working against them.
Yet amidst all this chaos, there are quiet moments of joy and calm, and this particular episode ends on an uncharacteristic high note, one I’m simply not used to this show giving me. For some of these characters, they struggle to find ways to move on, even if they don’t necessarily figure out what those things are.
“A Disquiet Follows My Soul” manages to swing from one point-of-view to another, and I think I’ll break this up that way to address the various character focuses:
I’m actually quite happy that Adama has just accepted his longtime friend as a Cylon and allowed him to retain all of the same privileges and posts that he did before. Tigh’s still the XO and the crew also obeys his orders as if nothing has changed. The man is certainly struggling with his identity, but I think have Adama’s blessing in this sense makes the whole thing a lot easier.
On top of that…well, let me just ask the obvious question first: WHEN DID TIGH AND CAPRICA-SIX HAVE SEX? I mean…this was never shown on screen, so….we can just assume it’s them? What if this is a writer’s trick and Caprica Six actually had sex with someone else? We could just be meant to assume that Tigh did this since he spent so much time with her, but then again, we never saw the act ourselves. Regardless, for the time being, Tigh is acting like he’s the father and it is EXTREMELY WEIRD. Oh, and then it’s made weirder when Caprica Six vocalizes her epiphany that the Cylons can totally survive beyond this current generation if they can now procreate. ISHAY STOP LOOKING AT HER LIKE THAT. WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING. I don’t LIKE IT.
For all the chaos that takes place in this episode, I like that Tigh’s story is…well, it’s pleasant, isn’t it? He’s surely got his own problems trying to navigate being a Cylon with being part of the fleet, but it appears people accept him and he is going to have a child! Which just means that things will be destroyed soon because this show doesn’t let us have hope. I’m trying to learn, y’all!
The man is already have enough problems as it is, and I think that opening meeting about the alliance demonstrates the difficult he is having with his identity. We have thankfully gotten a lot of his story this season, and now we watch him struggle with something as basic as pronouns. I think it’s an important scene because it shows that he doesn’t even know how to refer to himself or the other Cylons. Even though he is a Cylon, he knows almost nothing of their life and culture. He hasn’t even been aboard a Cylon ship yet; he’s had no special meetings or anything, and he feels human for the most part, too.
AND THEN HE FINDS OUT HIS SON IS NOT HIS AND THAT IT ACTUALLY IS HOT DOG’S. WHAT THE HOLY FUCK, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME??? More importantly, what are you doing to Galen Tyrol? The man finds out he’s a Cylon, then his wife is killed by Tory Foster and he’s led to believe she killed herself, AND NOW YOU’RE TAKING HIS SON AWAY, TOO? What did Tyrol ever do to you?
I really hope this isn’t leading to Tyrol doing something drastic and terrible. I mean, Hot Dog fathered the child, but he seems like the worst person to be Nicky’s father. Jesus, the awkwardness…I CAN’T DEAL.
I didn’t expect him to become the leader of a cult to begin with, so I certainly did not anticipate the BRILLIANT character turn that he’s dealt in “A Disquiet Follows My Soul.” How relevant is that episode title? The man so sure that he was an agent of God is now publicly questioning that very belief, deconstructing what he once preached, and challenging the idea that God loved them at all. I noticed that Head Six isn’t around for Baltar anymore; was she always leading him towards preaching about the one true God? Will she reappear now that he’s beginning to question and reject his faith? Will he keep his fabulous new haircut? I ask only the important questions on this blog.
I think what I love most about his story is the fact that the webisodes are integral to understanding why he makes the choices he does here. Increasingly upset at the power that Adama and Roslin have, and at what he sees as an absurd willingness to rely on the Cylons, he starts vocalizing his distaste with the entire alliance. It starts off small, with him questioning Adama in meetings and in the CIC. But he lashes out (in a wonderful reversal of roles of “Collaborators” I LOVE THIS SHOW) on Starbuck in the mess hall. I was (and still sort of am) confused as to why he chose her specifically to make that sort of scene. On the one hand, I get that she was involved in trying to execute him in season three, that her actions also led to Anders shooting him in the leg. We’d never seen him truly act out his frustrations towards any of these people before.
But I think Gaeta is taking things too far, insulting Anders merely for the sake of it. I am not even sure he believes that the Final Five Cylons had anything to do with what happened on Caprica, but he’ll tell himself that to help lead a mutiny. So I do understand why he eventually teams up with Tom Zarek at the end, as much as I don’t want to see it. It can’t end in anything but disaster. However, Gaeta is furious at the very existence of the Cylons because he can trace every terrible thing that’s happened in his life back to them. Why would he want to be their ally at all?
Oh, my goddamn heart. Laura’s story is about acceptance, and as much as Adama wants her to follow his idea of what she should do with her life, we see her reject all of this. She throws away her pills. She pushes Adama away when he tries to force her back into the political world. She decides she’s going to work out simply because it makes her feel good about herself, and appearances be damned! The truth (which she vocalizes to Adama) is that she is sick of playing a role. It is one without choice. She is done playing the “dying leader” in a prophecy that proved fruitless. Instead, she chooses to accept who she actually is, and she chooses to accept her life as it is. Contrary completely to what Tom Zarek is preaching to the Quorum, Roslin has not a single aspiration towards power. She is doing nothing to stay in power, and I believe we’ll see her give that power up completely in the next episode or two. She wants ordinary things, and I honestly can’t blame her for it. Her life for the past three years has been absurd, dangerous, and tragic; why would she want to keep pursuing that?
Which leads me to…
It looks like fatigue is finally catching up with Adama himself. Is he just as tired of living an extraordinary life? To be fair, he does initially choose a different route than Roslin post-Earth. He chooses to present himself in public, to continue running Galactica and the rest of the fleet, and he chooses to face a number of politically difficult decisions. Does he outfit the fleet with Cylon FTL technology, and does he force the other ships to comply? Does he give the rebel Cylons citizenship and the protections that come with them?
Even though we see Adama and Zarek butt heads yet again in “A Disquiet Follows My Soul,” I was fascinated by how different the dynamic is this time around. I mean, I genuinely never thought we would see Zarek beyond season one, and now he’s a key player in his “revolution” against Adama. Like most things in this show, the writers take care to make sure that there is truth and fairness to what some of the opposition power says in conflicts like this. As difficult as it is to accept, there’s precedence and a mighty fine point at the heart of what he does here, but Adama knows that when it comes down to it, Zarek is wrong about him and about Roslin.
Out of his own selfishness, he begs Laura to return. And let’s be frank about that: his requests are selfish, and that’s why Laura refuses all of his offers. She is a person with her own life, and she’s not going to parade that (and her failures) out in some absurdist celebration of the unnecessarily complex political process that the fleet has devolved into. Honestly, it’s a clever move on her part. Zarek now has more power than he’s ever had, the government has crumbled, and things are fractured. Why on earth would Roslin choose to face all of that now?
Adama, instead, has to face this on his own, and when the Hitei Kan mutinies (on Zarek’s orders), he has Zarek arrested and thrown in the brig. In one of my favorite moves in Adama history, he lays it out for Zarek: Adama could destroy his reputation as a political hero and martyr with evidence that he’s actually a political criminal, selling bits and pieces of Roslin’s government. You can’t be a hero if you are corrupt. It works, and Zarek gives up the location of the tylium ship.
AND THEN WE FIND OUT ADAMA HAD NO EVIDENCE AND WAS JUST BLUFFING AND THIS IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL AND OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT MAN SO MUCH. If he can’t beat Zarek through the proper public channels, he’ll sure as hell play his game to keep him down.
or will he. Oh god what are Zarek and Gaeta planning JFC
But honestly, all of this review is basically garbage when you think about the final minutes of “A Disquiet Follows My Soul.” I have had the rare chance to develop my first hardcore ship between characters, and then have that ship confirmed by the show’s canon. If I could have just rolled around on the floor screaming when the camera panned out to show Roslin and Adama in bed, I would have. But my roommate was asleep and that’s really rude okay.
I don’t want to ignore this, though. Adama met Roslin on her terms. He forsook his role as Admiral for just one night, and the two of them were just ordinary people sharing love for one another. Even if Adama is going to have to give that up again (and lord knows that whatever happens next is certainly not going to be a walk in the park), they had that moment again. I even noticed that Adama didn’t look as tired as he had earlier in the episode. Was it working? Was the disquiet in his soul being driven away? For a show as bleak and destructive as Battlestar Galactica, I was genuinely touched that, just for one episode, we could end things with an actual moment of hope. Not a sign of it, or a hint of it, but a moment that could show us that things were perfectly okay for this brief flash of time.
I’m sure this show will take it away from me soon enough, but you allow me this goddamn moment, okay?