Battlestar Galactica put the final nail in the coffin of two major characters last week. After leading an attempted coup of the fleet, Felix Gaeta and Tom Zarek were captured and executed by Admiral Adama. It was the first real indication that the show is clearly coming to an end.
Over the past few episodes, there has been a lot of talk about a reckoning, and that came true for Gaeta and Zarek. Up until this point, the fleet was led with a sense of compassion. Gaius Baltar was given a fair trial and Adama even voted to find him not guilty, though he vowed that it was different than being innocent.
Amnesty has also been supplied frequently throughout the show. President Laura Roslin disbanded the Circle, the tribunal that investigated and executed suspected Cylon collaborators following the exodus from New Caprica. And recently, Adama agreed to full amnesty and citizenship for Cylons.
The executions of Gaeta and Zarek represent a dramatic shift in the way of thinking among the fleet's leaders. After the discovery of the wasteland of Earth, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no carrot at the end of the stick. Hope is lost.
Now all that remains is the fleet and their love for one another. Before, compassion was used because the future promised a new beginning. Now that future is gone, and Adama and Roslin are prepared to do anything they can to make life bearable.
For Roslin, that includes protecting Bill, the love of her life. As this final season began, she was despondent and lost, burning the scripture and blowing off her cancer treatments. But when Adama was taken prisoner, she demanded action, and when she thought he was dead, she vowed vengeance the likes of which we've never seen.
Adama has also changed and he no longer suffers fools gladly. In his mind, there are no longer two sides to every story. While he could pardon Gaius Baltar after the incidents on New Caprica before, the discovery of Earth has made him less likely to absolve men of their sins.
He sees the world as it is, not as he hopes it can be, and this explains his treaty with the Cylons. Adama can no longer hold out hope that they will find a planet to live on free from the Cylons, so the only option is to team up with them. Gaeta and Zarek refused to face that reality, and their mutiny led to their own demise.
As we reach the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica, it's a new show with a new order. Cylons are good, Earth was a washout, and there is no idea or concept to hope for. The best they can hope for is to live together, and anyone who can't accept that new truth will be reckoned with.