Battlestar Galactica – The Plan Review

BSG The Plan

“The Plan” was a special TV movie released after the series ended, showing the first two seasons from the perspective of the Cylons, specifically the Number One models. Technically this should be listed on my page as during the latter half of Season 2, but given it reveals all the information about the “Final Five” Cylons that were key in the final season, it’s best to keep it at the end, for spoilers sake. So let’s take a final (unless I watch the prequels down the line) look at the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica world…

Synopsis:

Brother Cavil is brought to the brig protesting that he is not a Cylon until he sees a Number One from Caprica already in the brig, at which point he stops pretending. Caprica Cavil announces that the Cylons have voted to give the humans “a reprieve” because they have decided that their attempts at genocide were an error. This makes both Number Ones reflect on their plan…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

BSG The Plan 1

The two Ones, holding hands… Awwww.

Number One / Cavil (Dean Stockwell) – The Number Ones are the leaders of the humanoid Cylons, even if the other six models believe they make decisions in a fair and balanced method. The “Cavils” retain their knowledge of the “Final Five”, the Cylons who created them, and wish to punish their creators for giving them a limited human body and not something more befitting of their abilities… That being said, they’re not all unable to feel…

Number Six (Tricia Helfer) – The many Number Six models have gotten everywhere, but one was responsible for infiltrating the human defense mainframe and therefore wiping out most of humanity, so they get the job done, when needed…

Number Eight / Sharon “Boomer” Agathon (Grace Park) – The Number Eights are an emotional bunch, especially one who was turned into a sleeper agent by the Number Ones. As “Boomer”, the Number Eight began to like its time as a human, much to Cavil’s displeasure…

Number Four (Rick Worthy) – The Number Fours specialise in medical science and are all fascinated by the idea of Cylons being able to reproduce. They’re not as emotionless as you’d think though, even they can surrender to emotions…

Number Two / Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie) – The Twos are a Cylon model that mostly just stay in the background… except their tendency to harp on about female Galactica pilot Starbuck…

Number Five (Aaron Doral) – The Number Fives are… well, they’re a bit crap really. They fail at most complex tasks and eventually end up as grunts to do some unpleasant work around the place… They have nice jackets though!

Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) – One of the Final Five Cylons from Earth, Ellen is seen as the mother of the five “parents” of the other Cylons. Certainly the Number Ones see them this way, wanting to show their “mother” how they’re right and she’s wrong about humanity…

Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) – A Final Five and the first to be integrated into humanity by their own creations. Tigh would rise to the rank of Colonel and even end up marrying Ellen, much as he did when he was on the original Earth…

Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) – Tyrol is a Final Five Cylon who would end up working on board the Battlestar Galactica, and would eventually end up in a relationship with the a Number Eight Cylon model he had a part in originally creating… which is a bit weird when you think about it…

Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco) – Sam Anders is a Final Five Cylon who was integrated into the 12 Earth colonies as a top sports star. Despite this he would become something far greater after the bombs dropped, much to the annoyance of the Number Ones who betrayed him…

Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma) – Tory is a Final Five Cylon who would also be integrated into human civilization, only to survive Number One’s apocalypse…

Plus more!

The Good:

BSG The Plan 2

That’s a depressing sight for a picture in “The Good”, but these scenes are good!

Now you can be cinical and say this “film” is retconning the events and plot twists that were pulled out of nowhere later in the show to make them make sense in the earlier seasons, and while that’s true, it does it really well! Something about seeing what the Cylons were up to just before and during the first two seasons is a fun concept, and the Number Ones and how even one of their own can gain a respect for humanity is a good story too. Seeing the Final Five in resurecction chambers at the start, with the two “Cavils” lording over them, and how we see them laughing to themselves when they see things like Tyrol sleeping with a Number Eight, or how Sam Anders survived and ended up leading a resistance is good fun, and is pretty much what I was thinking my second time round watching. It obviously wasn’t the plan at any point in these early seasons, but it’s fun to retroactively look at them.

The scenes on Caprica and the other eleven colonies (seen for the first time) is good fun, and makes the impact of what the Number Ones and their war against humanity did all the more awful. The Cavil that stays with Ellen and torments her, even though she has no idea of her past, is particularly creepy. In fact that Number One, the one that would be the “final boss”, as it were, is well fleshed out here. The idea that the Cavil on Caprica becomes good and favours humanity, while this Cavil ends up stabbing a little boy to death in his cabin just after he got the boy to admit they were friends shows how wildly different these clones can be. The conversation the two of them have in the airlock is great as well, lots of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, like when (coincidentally!) the Final Five are gathered and watching them as they’re about to be killed and one just says “Not how I imagined it…” made me laugh. The “evil” Cavil getting annoyed at his other self and saying he was going to box him and come back and kill everyone is another fun indication of how the good Number One is never seen again, nor is any other Number One who shows any compassion. The final moments when they hold each other’s hand because they still fear the pain of death is also… I don’t want to say heartwarming or anything, but it does show that even the cold-hearted Cavil is still more human than he’d like to admit.

Some of the other models get some good development too. The Sixes are still wildly different, but we get to see their plans from Cavil’s perspective, the same goes for Boomer and her sleeper agent plan, which we see the head Number One personally plan and control, and then get disappointed at her humanity. We see some extra scenes with Leoben and his sneaking around the ship and listening to Starbuck on a radio, we see a couple of different Number Fours, who were quite rare in the TV series, including a Four who becomes so attached to his human family that he kills himself rather than hurt them. We also get a few jokey scenes with some Number Fives being treated like crap, which was funny because… well, that’s how it turned out in the end…

I’ll also add that it was good to see how Sam Anders went from sports star to resistance leader, it was a bit of backstory we didn’t necessarily need, but it was good to see. A mission involving attacking a giant mound of corpses was particularly unpleasant but compelling viewing…

The Bad:

BSG The Plan 4

I wonder how many times we’ve flashed back to this location…

Not really a lot bad, given how it was advertised. You can complain that it re-uses footage or that it doesn’t add much new to the mythos, but “The Plan” was always just advertised as seeing the first two seasons through the eyes of the Cylons, to finally see “The Plan” that they were advertised as having through out the first few seasons. I mean, “The Plan” turned out to be “kill humanity to show our creators that humanity deserves to be killed”, which isn’t much of a plan, but hey-ho…

Overall Thoughts:

BSG The Plan 3

A rather harrowing clean up operation…

I really enjoy The Plan. I like the idea of seeing “behind the scenes” during the first two seasons, and they manage to weave a lot of story in and around what we saw in the original series. Some of it is awkward retconning, but it’s often done with a sense of fun and acknowledgement of how certain things they wrote in the past took on a whole new meaning when they revealed the Final Five and their story in the latter quarter of the series. It’s a fun hour and a half, and a nice refreshing reminder of how the series used to be, a much nicer end than the actual end…

5 Star Watch

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