The mutiny is a key event in the second half of the final season, when the battle lines are really drawn and the fleet might seriously tear itself apart. They had always alluded to dissension among the civilian ships and arguments between the people on Galactica, but there had never been an outright mutiny. This was the time to bring that to fruition.
In early drafts, Adama was more secretive that he and Laura are sleeping together. He came to the door and got the coffee from his orderly to protect the fact that Laura is there. The writers wanted to make it more overt, they’re not trying to hide it, it is what it is. They have Laura walk out and play it like it’s no big deal. They knew Michael Hogan would do a great job with Tigh’s reaction and Mary would enjoy playing off Micheal’s reaction. Laura and Adama are making no bones about being a couple and she’s not even trying to be the president. They’re just being domestic. Ron likes the feeling of domesticity of the scene and it’s a counterpoint to the mutiny underway.
We miss a beat of Gaeta laying out the plan, which is intentional. We go with it and experience the mutiny as it happens.
The time and location stamps were added late in post production. Ron watched early cuts and while the story was really moving, he felt like it was taking too long. Shouldn’t Adama figure this out by now? If they put the location and time up periodically you can see where you are and how fast it's happening. It made it feel like it was roaring ahead at a breathless pace.
It was not originally scripted that Zarek picks up the wrench and kills Laird. Ron thought they needed something more brutal and uglier in the teaser. It was also important to see the plausibility of the plan. Gaeta had ways of covering all the possibilities. He had excuses and answers for Laird’s logical questions, but Laird needed to follow procedure. Gaeta didn’t think Laird would push it so far. Zarek, who has been involved in coups and revolutions before, knows when he has to take matters into his own hands. He knows when you have to step up and spill some blood. Skulls reaction to Laird’s death shows how deep the divisions really are on Galactica and how a mutiny could take place at all. Zarek and Gaeta have conflicting agendas; Zarek is much more pragmatic.
Ron talked about the director, John Dahl. Terry Moore had actually worked with John on all his films. Most of the talk involved his directing style and how he was able to make the ship look so big.
Anders and Seelix is one example of making efforts to connect disparate threads. They acknowledge the relationship that never quite got off the ground. And the attack shows the brutality and anger they have towards the Cylons.
The mutiny was made plausible by Gaeta’s unique position. He’s trusted and works communications as well as damage control. He has the ability to manipulate perceptions. You have to put yourself in Adama’s place; he would believe everything Gaeta was telling him. It was very important that the mutiny took place in a believable way so Adama didn’t look like a fool on his own ship. (Sorry, Ron, I don’t think you quite succeeded there. ;)
Another thing that made the mutiny possible was Galactica is severely undermanned. Word would not travel fast. The Galactica had a skeletal crew to begin with, since it was going to be decommissioned, and they have lost people since then. Big areas of the ship would be empty and security would be a fraction of what it should be. Gaeta is using their weaknesses against them.
In early drafts, the situation with Zarek and the Quorum happened faster. Zarek declared Laura was incompetent or at least had abandoned her post. He wanted to be declared president, the Quorum went along with his reasoning, and did what he wanted. Lee refused to accept his authority and it drove him back to Galactica to get Laura to take control of the situation. Ron didn’t want the Quorum to turn to him so quickly. The coup had to take place at a slower pace.
The scene where Kara saves Lee was an opportunity to bring back the Starbuck we knew and loved. It was nice to put guns in her hands again and watch her kicking ass and taking names.
The scene with the Agathons is a scary one. It bothers Ron every time he sees it. In bringing Gage back from ‘Pegasus’, he wanted to put faces to the mutineers as well as bring continuity back into the show.
The episode reminds him a bit of ‘Valley of Darkness’ (me too!). While it has certain overtones of that episode, this is scarier because you don’t know who is friend or foe. It feels as if everything is spiraling out of control.
Gaeta is right and has a legitimate point of view. Adama is leading them to hell. Their greatest enemy is now supposed to be their friend. Earth turned out to be crap. Why should they listen to him?
Gaeta is driven by losing his leg, but also by legitimate concerns. He’s always been skeptical of the Cylons. He worked with Baltar on New Caprica and saw the occupation. He can’t believe where the Admiral and President are taking them all and has been railing against the leadership since serving on the Demetrius. When Adama announced they would be putting Cylon technology on the ship and forming an alliance, he snapped. He’s only go so far and no farther.
The scene where Lee and Kara find Laura, it’s the moment where Laura Roslin is back. When the shit hits the fan, she’s there. She steps up. She’s not sitting on the couch bemoaning her fate and wanting to be left alone to die. She steps to the fore.
The scene with Baltar shows how the people are on their own. They are trying to protect themselves the best they can, barricading their sections of the ship.
It was fun to put Lee and Kara back together with guns in their hands, fighting side by side. Their circumstances have changed so much. It’s iconic to have Apollo and Starbuck together fighting the good fight, guarding one anothers backs, and it was great they could get back to that idea as they approach the final few episodes.
The events from this point to the end of the series – seeds are germinating in all these episodes. Things that, in retrospect, got us to the end of the series were born here. You can’t see the pattern right now, but there is a pattern going on.
Zarek knows Adama should have been executed immediately, but Gaeta has a different agenda for the Admiral. This difference will be their undoing.
Laura speaking to the people is the moment where Laura assumes the reigns once again.
Gaeta and Baltar had gone by the wayside, but there had been an affinity between the two, and they wanted to bring the relationship back. Baltar is willing to pick up the phone and try. The two men are going in opposite directions. Baltar is trying to crawl into the light, the best he and in his deeply flawed way, and Gaeta is going into the darkness
There is a missing element to this episode. ‘The Oath’ was shot before the webisodes so the relationship between Gaeta and Hoshi, which is romantic and probably sexual (Probably???), is not addressed. Had they known what they were going to do with the webisodes there would have been a stronger Hoshi element and more fallout. What side is Hoshi on? Ron liked the idea of the relationship and that Gaeta had that in his life. There is nothing to contradict what happened in the webisodes and Ron feels you can rationalize we just aren’t seeing those scenes between the two. (Uh Huh. I’ll refrain from a diatribe here.)
Ron loves Apollo and Starbuck’s reaction to the Adama/Roslin kiss. They are almost deliberately doing it in front of them. Lee and Kara look at each other like ‘Look at what Mom and Dad are doing' and 'I don’t know what to make of this’. They are making the relationship public and this is the way it’s going to be.
Will Gaeta give the order to shoot down the raptor or not? It’s one of the points of no return. He’s making a further commitment.
This week, Mo Ryan conducted an interview with Mark Verheiden regarding 'The Oath'. Mark touches upon some of the same things as Ron does in the podcast and affirms fan opinion. No spoilers beyond the episode.
And chalia43 has created an awesome Lee/Laura vidlet that can be found HERE. Oh, Lee! Oh, what could have been!