Battlestar Galactica – Season 3 Episodes 1 – 10 Review

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Battlestar Galactica’s third season is where things get really interesting… a couple of times, and the rest of the time things seem to slow to a crawl. Luckily for this review most of a slower paced, non-key storyline episodes fall in the latter half of the season, so this is mostly full of praise! Let’s take a look…

Synopsis:

Four months into the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, the resistance continues to attack both Cylons and collaborators. Meanwhile, Adama and Apollo argue over the plan to rescue the colonists.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Some of the cast… at a distance. With a badly blurred out “Blu-Ray.com” logo in the bottom right… *sigh*. I wondered how I found an actual blu-ray screencap at last…

Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) – When the Cylons invaded New Caprica, Admiral Adama had no choice but to leave them behind. He hasn’t given up on a rescue attempt, however…

Commander Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) – Apollo has let himself go since taking command of the Pegasus, and is now facing the brunt of his father’s rage over how they left the civilians on New Caprica to their fate. There could still be a way to save them, but at what cost?

Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) – Ever since the Cylon occupation, Kara has been stuck in an apartment with humanoid Cylon Number Two, otherwise know as Leoben. She is forced to repeat a false domestic life over and over until she accepts it as real…

Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) – The former President has been trying to continue to teach the children of New Caprica despite the Cylon occupation, but her hatred of them runs deep, it’s only natural that they distrust her…

President Gaius Baltar (James Callis) – Baltar became President and lived the high life for a year or so, before the Cylons invaded New Caprica. Since then he has been forced to watch as humanity is constantly mistreated by their new leaders, all the while knowing there isn’t anything he can do about it… and that he is partially to blame for the whole affair in the first place…

Number Six (Tricia Helfer) – One of the humanoid Cylon models, the Six known as Caprica Six is one of the leaders of the Cylon revolution that involves subjugating humanity instead of wiping it out.

Number Eight / Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (Grace Park) – The Number Eights in the humanoid Cylon pantheon are a mixed bunch, with one having been on board Galactica for so long she is unable to completely return to her Cylon ways, and another Eight that now lives on the Battlestar and been accepted as one of them…

Number Three (Lucy Lawless) – The Number Threes are quite ruthless, but also a bit more willing to accept new ideas and even go “off-program” if the time is right…

Captain Karl “Helo” Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett) – Helo is the XO on board the Galactica, taking over the post when Saul Tigh retired down to New Caprica. He waits on board to see if a strategy can be found to save those stranded on the planet…

Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) – Tigh has been coordinating the resistance’s attacks on their Cylon leaders on New Caprica, and has paid for it, losing an eye during torture sessions. This experience has only made him more willing to do anything to beat them… ANYTHING.

Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) – The Chief is also a member of the Resistance, though as he has a wife and child he’s more of a help and observe member than getting directly involved… That may not save his family, however…

Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco) – Sam was the leader of the resistance on the original Caprica, and now is a top member of the New Caprica resistance. He is also married to Starbuck, and spends his free time wondering if she is even still alive…

The Good:

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A Battlestar’s last stand…

The first four episodes in this season form a single story, focusing on the resistance effort down on New Caprica and the eventually successful rescue attempt by the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus. It’s compelling stuff, and an odd change of pace for the series. Colonel Tigh, a character I remember strongly disliking back when I first watched it (and based on the first two seasons, I can see why) goes through hell here, complete with losing an eye and killing his own wife when she supplies the enemy with information (in order to try and spare his life, no less). To say he becomes a changed man would be an understatement. Hell, he even convinces a resistance soldier to suicide bomb a Cylon meeting that was mostly attended by humans! That’s… unpleasant, to say the least (and very mid-2000s…) and he is rightfully chewed out for it by a number of characters.

At the same time Starbuck goes through emotional hell with Number Two and his attempts to mentally torture her into loving him, even pretending she had a daughter, which leads to a heartbreaking moment when she’s rescued. The Chief nearly loses his wife and the mother of his son, Sam Anders is once again a top notch guerrilla fighter despite being a sports personality before the war, and Baltar is being literally forced at gun point to sanction the execution of 100 people, including the former President. It’s all fun and games! It does lead to the former President forming a relationship with Baltar’s former Vice President and political extremist Tom Zarek (still brilliantly played by the former Apollo!) which is good fun.

Meanwhile in the fleet Apollo has gotten fat and unmotivated, and Admiral Adama is frustrated at failing to think of a good rescue plan. Eventually they communicate with the resistance and soon a full-scale rescue attempt is formed, lead by Cylon-turned-Galactica member Sharon Valerii (whose daughter she believes is dead is actually on New Caprica, and eventually in the hands of the Cylons, now there’s a subplot!). What’s left of humanity is saved, with the Pegasus being destroyed (in a similar manor in which it vanished in the original series, just took a lot longer to happen!) and Baltar leaving with the Cylons. *phew* It’s quite the epic, and I loved reliving every moment.

Episode 5 that follows may as well be an epilogue, as it features a group of former resistance members tracking down and killing people who joined up with the Cylon’s human police force and getting revenge. This is where it’s revealed that Navigation Officer Gaeta was the mole inside Baltar’s inner circle who fed info to the resistance. It’s also the start of another big downfall for Starbuck and Tigh, which is getting old at this point, especially Starbuck. Doesn’t harm this episode much though…

Episode 10, “The Passage”, is a good bit of sci-fi storytelling that’s not connected to the main plot threads. The fleet has to go through a heavily irradiated sector of space that has 0 visibility so viper pilots have to take the larger vessels through it via linked navigational computers. It also focuses on Kat, the pilot Starbuck had issues with last season, and it ends in her death, which is a shame, but it’s well done, especially the scene where Adama sits next to her and sees her off, so to speak.

Episodes 6 and 7 are a mixed bag, but I think I like them more than I dislike them, so I’ll put them here at the end of the Good. The best part is it has plenty of glimpses and full-on looks into the Cylon way of things thanks to Baltar being onboard a Basestar (though no big spiny chair, this time! Ha, that’s another thing I wouldn’t know about when I first saw it…) and it also has a plot thread about a Cylon virus that wiped out a whole Basestar and how the human survivors very nearly use it to commit genocide on the entire Cylon race. The old “we should do it to them before they do it to us!” “But that would make us no better than them” argument. Sadly these episodes also deal once again with drunk Starbuck and Tigh shenanigans, which I had really seen enough of by now.

The Bad:

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A former bad character leaves us forever! Yep, we’ll never see that face again…*ahem*

Episode 8, “Hero”, feels… out of place. A pilot that Adama had commanded that ended up getting captured by the Cylons (though Adama thought he’d blown him up) returns and it just plays about with the whole tough decisions in command and so on. The pilot in question, nicknamed “Bulldog”, is a likable fella, but the problem is that it goes nowhere. Bottle episodes are fine, but I know he never shows up again, so the whole episode I’m wanting to get on with the good stuff, and the story just isn’t interesting enough to pull me in.

Episode 9, “Unfinished Business”, is just not good viewing, for me anyway. Inexplicably everyone has set up a boxing ring and boxes each other to get out any frustrations… so, risking the health of the pilots for the sake of it! Great, why not a non-brain-damaging sport instead? The rest of the episode is just boxing shots and flashbacks, a lot of which just aren’t interesting. Even the Apollo and Starbuck love thing, where they both got married to other people despite seemingly connecting one night on New Caprica, is just… not interesting. I probably liked this more the first time round when we finally got a glimpse of some of the lost year on New Caprica, but now? Just boxing and dull flashbacks. I didn’t even touch the extended edition on the Blu-ray!

Overall Thoughts:

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A Cylon board-meeting, with plenty of red and white lights!

When it comes to these ten episodes, the first half is certainly stronger than the second, that’s for sure. The opening five I’d put up there among my favourites, but Episode 9 is one of my least, with a few other episodes falling in the average to bad category. Still, at least it only drags its feet a bit, unlike the next set of ten… So much so that I feel the need to separate them again… It really is getting like the original series now, in terms of mixed quality…

Episodes 1 – 5:

5 Star Watch

Episode 10 “The Passage”:

4 Star Watch

Episodes 6, 7 and 8:

3 Star Watch

Episode 9 “Unfinished Business”:

2 Star Watch

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