Battlestar Galactica – Razor Review

BSG Razor

Razor was produced and aired in between Seasons 3 and 4, but it’s set in the latter quarter of Season 2, so I’ll put it here. To be honest, with the exception of a cryptic warning at the end of the TV film, there isn’t really any spoilers here, and even that is so cryptic that it will invoke more interest in seeing the rest of the show if you haven’t before. Either way Razor is not only set during Apollo’s start as the head of the Battlestar Pegasus, but it also features flashbacks to the several hinted-at incidents from Admiral Cain’s reign as commander, as well as a flashback to a young William Adama during the First Cylon War (at least in the extended version, I think they were online minisodes originally). Plenty of nice nods to the original series as well, which I now get! Hooray! Let’s take a closer look…

Synopsis:

On the eve of a devastating Cylon attack, officer Kendra Shaw reports for duty on the Battlestar Pegasus. When mankind’s future is forever changed on that fateful day, Kendra is reshaped into a “razor” a tool of war under the ruthless guidance of her commander, Admiral Cain.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

BSG Razor 3

Good grief, this picture is even more low-rez than it looked originally… Why don’t people take HD screegrabs of BSG?!

Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) – To call her strict would be a rather massive understatement, but when you’re convinced you’re the last of human kind and that you “need” revenge, maybe you’re capable of a lot of things…

Major Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen) – Kendra Shaw comes from military royalty and saw being stationed on the Pegasus as merely a stepping stone… To say she couldn’t see what would happen next is also a rather massive understatement…

Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) – Apollo has been given his own Battlestar to command, but knows full well it will take a while to win its crew over, especially a rather rebellious lady looking to carry on her former commander’s legacy.

Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) – Starbuck is still stationed on the Pegasus, having to take orders from her old friend Apollo. That’s preferable compared to working with some of the Pegasus crew, mind you…

Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) – Adama was once a pilot during the original Cylon War, and during the last day of that he saw something that he hoped he’d never see again…

Gina Inviere / Number Six (Tricia Helfer) – One of the human Cylons, in this case stationed on board the Pegasus during the genocide. She managed to continue on for a while afterwards, until being discovered, and … well, let’s say she got punished… Badly.

The Good:

BSG Razor 4

A scene completely lost on me originally, now means so much more…

There is a lot to like about Razor, especially now viewed as just a collection of short stories set in the rebooted BSG world, rather than a hopeful glimpse into the up-coming last season like many thought it would be when it first aired.

First up is the actual “present” story, where the a group of First Cylon War Cylons are discovered and soon Kendra Shaw and Starbuck investigate, leading to the former’s death and the latter’s request to be transferred back to Galactica. Kendra hears from an early hybrid attempt left in the base that Starbuck will lead humanity to its end on Earth, but she is unable to warn anyone. This is why people often recommend people watching for the first time to wait to watch this, but really, it’s a vague foretelling, in my eyes it just makes me want to watch more. There’s no confirmation of anything, just an unexpected prophecy. We also see Apollo have a shaky day in command, Starbuck and co. only being saved from commander Adama’s nuke by Admiral Adama’s intervention. It’s a good story, but the meat of Razor isn’t really in the present. (or Season 2, if you watched this after 3)

The biggest advertised draw to Razor was finding out what happened on board Pegasus before they met up with Galactica, and the flashbacks are good. They set up Kendra’s character in the present well, show all the horrible things Cain did that were mentioned in the series (shooting her XO in the head mid-command, and the killing of innocent civilians who didn’t want their ships to be stripped of all handy parts and be left defenseless… which is fair enough!). You don’t necessarily gain any sympathy for her, but it is still an interesting story to see play out, how a different mind decided to deal with the near-extinction of humanity. We do also get a flashback to Cain’s childhood, where she left her sister to be taken by the Cylons and hid to save herself instead, which goes some way to explain her mindset…

Finally, we get an extended flashback to William Adama during the first Cylon war, which I appreciated on a whole new level this time round, thanks to the scenes having copious amounts of Original Series references, including versions of the Original Cylons (complete with Gold-coloured commander and a few “By your command”-s!) It was obviously lost to me then, but it made me properly smirk this time. Adama crash lands and discovers the Cylon’s first human hybrid attempt that would later become the hybrid Kendra encounters in the “present”. Again, it’s a good story.

The Bad:

BSG Razor 1

Ah, another Number Six… well, we saw it before in the series, but still… You can’t escape them, they’re almost like the Rebooted BSG’s poster character.

Not much, to be honest. It’s just over an hour and a half and tells three good stories in three time periods well, and gives you a nice cryptic teaser to boot!

Overall Thoughts:

BSG Razor 2

I always liked the shipyard design. It’s pretty standard to me now, but at the time it looks pretty original.

Battelstar Galactica: Razor is a great collection of short-stories criss-crossing back and forth and mostly focusing on new (and sadly short-lived) character Kendra Shaw. Whether you choose to watch it in the middle of Season 2 episodes “The Captain’s Hand” and “Lay Down Your Burdens”, or watch it at its original airing placement of in between Seasons 3 and 4, make sure you do watch it, because it’s a fun ride.

5 Star Watch

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