Robert Maxwell wrote:
One area where I think the show failed--and bear in mind I consider the show mostly successful--is that it never took Tom Zarek's concerns seriously. Specifically, the concerns he raised in "Colonial Day" were only paid lip service and never really addressed.
Why do people continue to do these jobs? They aren't getting paid. Their lives are not going to improve. The fundamentals that make human society possible are gone. All you have left is a small city's worth of people, on the run from monsters that want to wipe them out for good. What's your motivation for doing anything except mere survival?
I think the strike in "Dirty Hands" should've gone all-out. Not just the tylium ship and deckhands, but every ship in the fleet where people are doing crappy jobs in crappy conditions for basically no benefit but the "privilege" of living to see another day. Putting a few heads against a wall is no big deal. Could they afford to do it to hundreds? I doubt it.
But in the end, Roslin just says "sure, we'll rotate some people around, no more caste system," and all is well with the world.
Things did fall apart pretty badly after they found "Earth," though, just not to the extent that they probably should've. Then you had Zarek take control through a bloody coup, which didn't exactly put him on a good moral footing to reshape their society. I suppose that was always his flaw, though: he would pay lip service to political process, but in the end he'd use force to get what he wanted. It didn't matter that he had the right ideas, because he couldn't achieve them through legitimate process.
Anyway, that is one facet the show brought up from time to time but never really dug into. They never came up with a good reason to keep doing what they were doing, other than "it's the only way we can survive," and after a while that's just not good enough.
To be fair to Zarek, he only took control through a coup after exhausting other options. There was a string of episodes where it was repeatedly driven home that Adama was shutting him out and refusing to deal with him despite repeated attempts from Zarek.
Where Zarek lost a lot of legitimacy was when he just murdered the quorum in cold blood for no reason. Up until that point, I think that he had the high ground considering what a dictator Adama was becoming.
But of course they had to make him a murderous thug because the audience was supposed to be rooting for Adama.