If I were a true cynic, I would say Ronald D. Moore and the Battlestar writing staff have set out on a mission to force me to swallow my words of disappointment about the show’s progress. The last few weeks have certainly served to eradicate my fears.
It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve been so hooked on an episode of this show that it never lost my attention. Why? Maybe it’s because I find Roslin, Helo, Baltar and Boomer far more interesting than Romo and Apollo, or maybe it’s because this episode actually furthered the plot, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it worked.
|“Nothing gets the blood racing like Cylon raiders whirring past nukes in a galactic battlefield…“|
Standout performances this week from Mary McDonnell and James Callis for Roslin and Baltar respectively, especially with regards to Baltar’s humorous scenes trying to convert the Centurion, but perhaps more notably his laying injured explaining his fervent belief to Roslin. Magnificent. Captivating. Outstanding. These are the kinds of scenes Galactica can pull off where no other show on television would succeed. The depth of performance, the production and the music all seem to combine to produce scenes you just can’t take your eyes off. Roslin believing Gaius to be dead (and what’s more, that she let him bleed out for his crimes) is a perfect example. Full marks.
Kudos also to Edward James Olmos for another convincing performance as Adama, despite not having many scenes to do so.
The pacing of the episode was top-notch also (something few episodes this year have achieved) with just enough of the Roslin jump/dream sequences to ensure the Adama/Roslin reunion at the end has poignancy, but not enough to cause them to become clichÃ©d and dull. It’s also nice to see a good balance of action and character development this week; for instance Boomer feeling hurt by Helo’s betrayal after capturing D’anna.
The boundaries between Cylon and Human blurred further this week, with the Hub’s destruction meaning no more resurrection capability for the human models. This gradual process of making the Cylons more human seems to be heading towards something; perhaps Cylons and Humans will, in the end, co-exist peacefully? Would that be a disappointment to the fan base?
Bonus marks to this episode for the return of Lucy Lawless and another showing for Dean Stockwell’s model, and also a special mention to the VFX team which produced another stand-out display in television effects. Nothing gets the blood racing like Cylon raiders whirring past nukes in a galactic battlefield.
If the episode had any negative aspect, I would continue to say I’m just not sure you can pick up and drop entire storylines for weeks at a time. I think Battlestar’s fourth season is working out best for DVD viewing; in other words, multiple episodes in quick succession. With no real appearances from the likes of Tigh, Tyrol, Zarek, Starbuck or Apollo this week, it’s sometimes difficult to pick up plots that may not have been dealt with for two/three weeks. Yes, this allows the writers to focus in great detail on each plot, and sometimes churn out fantastic episodes like this one, but when it doesn’t quite work it can affect both that episode, and those around it. Admittedly, I’m just nit-picking, but it’s worth mentioning.
It’s a shame too, since I feel this is the only issue that’s really stopping this season from fledging into something truly magnificent.
Next week, will D’Anna reveal the Final Cylon? Unlikely. Knowing this season, it’ll be another two episodes before we’re back on the Roslin story, and in the mean-time we’ll be watching close ups Tyrol getting paranoid that his tool-kit’s a Cylon spy or somesuch. You never know, though, I might be surprised.
Grade: 93% (A)