Battlestar Galactica – Season 2 Episodes 1 – 10 Review

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My reviews of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica continue, thanks to the currently airing shows taking a break for most of December and January. The first half of Season 2 is a strong set of episodes, the first bunch of episodes being split between three locations. It also sees the debut of the Battlestar Pegasus, which given this second watch through is also the first time I’m watching after having seen the original series, it was fun to see the differences, and slight similarities, it carries over with that storyline. Let’s have a look!

Synopsis:

With Commander Adama shot in the chest by Boomer, Col. Tigh is forced to take command as a Cylon Basestar arrives. Tigh has the fleet take an emergency faster-than-light jump to escape, despite the stranded survey team on the planet Kobol. When Galactica jumps, however, the rest of the fleet is not there.

Meanwhile on Kobol, Crashdown orders the survivors to take cover in a nearby forest and on Caprica Helo stops Starbuck from shooting his beloved Boomer Cylon copy…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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For a show this popular it’s awfully hard to find good quality screenshots…

Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) – Adama is the commander of the Galactica and head of the fleet’s military. He was shot by his loving lieutenant Sharon just previously, and is now in critical condition…

Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) – Lee is Commander Adama’s son, and so has to deal with his dad’s possible death and with commanding the fighter squad all while still technically in the brig for attempted mutiny… Good times!

Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) – Starbuck took it upon herself to travel back to the ruins (or what she assumed would be ruins) of Caprica and retrieve the famed Arrow of Apollo that will lead humanity towards Earth. While there she has fought hard against a Number Six Cylon and found out squad mate Boomer is actually also a Cylon agent (little did she know that everyone else found that out at the same time…) and in this case is apparently pregnant with old crew member Helo’s baby… So, a regular day really…

President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) – President Roslin is dying of cancer, but she can’t let that stop her from reaching the planet Kobol below and finding the way to Earth, just as the ancient texts predicted…

Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) – Dr. Baltar is constantly on edge, not just because of his guilt in letting the Cylons into the computer mainframe that lead to the near-destruction of the entire human race, but because the Number Six who seduced him is constantly in his head… Oh, and he’s trapped on the surface of Kobol, surrounded by Cylons and a crew who mostly don’t know how to fight. That as well.

Number Six (Tricia Helfer) – Number Six is a tall blonde model of human Cylons. One Number Six, later dubbed Caprica Six, made a real impact on Baltar, and visa versa…

Number Eight / Lieutenant Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (Grace Park) – Number Eight is a class of human Cylons that seem to have a high success rate of integrating themselves into humanity. One such agent worked on the Galactica and seemingly successfully killed Adama, unbeknownst to her. Another is currently on Caprica and wants to fight against her own kind of protect the child she has had with human “Helo”.

Lieutenant Karl “Helo” Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett) – Helo has been stranded on Caprica since the nuclear holocaust, and has managed to survive alongside who he thought was his old friend Sharon “Boomer” Valerii, but is actually a different copy of the same Cylon human. Despite finding this fact out just recently, he also found out she is carrying his child, as hard as that is to believe…

Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) – Colonel Tigh has always been close with Commander William Adama, and now he’s in critical condition, Tigh is left in charge… much to his distress. His lack of self-confidence in the role will end up hurting people in the long run…

Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) – Chief, as he’s affectionately known, is stuck on Kobol without much hope. He pushes on though, without the knowledge of what’s happened to his former lover Boomer back on Galactica…

Plus many more!

The Good:

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Do I repeat the gender swap gag I put on the original series Cain picture? Nah, I’ll leave it.

Really the first seven episodes form one story arc, starting with the Galactica in disarray, Starbuck and Helo meeting a resistance group on Caprica, and the stranded people down on Kobol, until they all come together.

Looking at each individually, the Galactica one is fun in a cringy way. There is some great and tense scenes in Episode 2 when a bunch of Cylon Centurions make on board and Apollo and a few other men have to take them down. It’s rare to see the non-humanoid Cylons up close so frequently. The key plot point really though is Colonel Tigh and his eventual lack of ability to lead. Admittedly he did alright to begin with, but soon his manipulative wife and alcoholic habits got the better of him… in a big way! The scene on board the Gideon, where a bunch of novice soldiers end up killing some civilians during martial law, in uncomfortably realistic. Overall it does a good job of showing someone’s downfall and certainly made you happy to see Adama back on his feet, even if he did so remarkably quickly…

The Caprica storyline is hit and miss, but is never properly bad. Starbuck and Helo are left stranded and eventually meet up with a group of resistance members, the leader of which, Samuel Anders, Starbuck ends up romantically with. There’s some decent firefights and a disturbing storyline involving a literal farm where human women are forced to try and bare Cylon children… Yeah. Starbuck is gets involved with this via an equally disturbing series of scenes with a Doctor who turns out to be a new human Cylon (Number Four, to be exact). Apollo, Helo and the returning human-Cylon baby-carrying Boomer all leave towards Galactica, with Starbuck promising to come back for Sam and the resistance.

Finally on Kobol we have the old small band of survivors being hunted by a large group situation, though the survivors are being lead by “Crashdown”, who turns out to be unable to handle the responsibilities of leadership. Eventually they try and attack a Cylon outpost that had AA capabilities so they could be rescued, but Crashdown’s plan was faulty (partly due to Baltar’s failure to scout) and he soon nearly shoots one of his own men, before getting shot himself by Gaius. Baltar is once again the star here, being perfectly pathetic and conniving, but also a rare bit of heroism… in shooting someone in the back.

Once everyone gathers back together things get fun. Commander Adama wants to eject the Caprica Boomer into space (a Boomer having just nearly killed him) but eventually she’s just locked up instead. Everyone eventually meets up on Kobol and finds the tomb of Athena, which leads to a near-fantasy scene where the ground crew and shown a star map that will help them to … a very rough area where Earth is. It’s funny to see, now I know how all this happened in the original series, which admittedly had a far more Egyptian feel in their version, and is a hell of a lot shorter.

Episode 9 “Flight of the Phoenix” is a great episode. A computer virus threatens to take out the whole ship, leading to Adama having to trust the Caprica Boomer to save the crew, and the sub-story of everyone building a new stealth fighter, with a nice emotional beat connecting it too President Roslin finding out she has weeks to live.

Finally episode 10 “Pegasus” sees the introduction of the Battlestar Pegasus and its hard-nosed Admiral Cain. It has a rather unpleasant subplot involving the crew raping and beating a Number Six Cylon they held captive, and the death of an interrogator from Pegasus who was about to rape the Caprica Boomer… so rape is unpleasant, who knew? It ties in nicely with the whole “what’s the difference?” theme present throughout the whole show, mind you. It’s also now funny to compare it to the Pegasus storyline from the original series, which saw the famous Admiral Cain clash with Adama before seemingly self-sacrificing himself and the Pegasus at the end of its two-part story. Things are certainly different here, and not just the gender of Cain either…

The Bad:

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I wanted to put a picture of the flashback versions of Tigh and Adama here, but couldn’t find any that weren’t tiny in size…

This is an extremely solid chunk of Battlestar Galactica, which is why Episode 8 “Final Cut” stands out for just being average. A reporter and her cameraman films the crew of the Galactica at their worst and best, but really it’s just an excuse to re-show the “flawed heroes” idea the show has stuck too, which we’re aware of now. It is fun to watch it now with the knowledge that reporter D’Anna Biers is actually Number Three, the only time you can watch the character like that due to her revealing her identity at the end of the same episode…

There is WAY too much use of the “Frak” replacement swearword. I forgot how annoying it gets, especially as there isn’t a replacement for any other swear, so it’s just… yeah, overused.

I have to mention the flashback to a scene with Colonel Tigh and Adama, where their idea of making them look younger was a bad wig and a moustache, respectively. Not convincing…

Oh and I still find Lee “Apollo” Adama to be boring. Sorry. Double-Oh and I still find Ellen Tigh to be a unpleasant bitch, but that’s at least what I’m supposed to feel, so I can forgive that one…

Overall Thoughts:

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*Insert your own gunfire sound-effects here*

This chunk of 10 episodes shows the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica at its best. Plenty of drama, sci-fi plots and twists. Even when you’ve seen the show before it’s still great TV, possibly even more so when you see some seeds being planted. A pleasure to rewatch.

5 Star Watch

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