Battlestar Galactica: Razor

Six: "Trust me, Lieutenant. In the end, we're all just human."

We all knew basically what happened on the bad ship Pegasus. But actually seeing it unfold was something else again.

The scenes in the "present" (which was actually near the end of season two) were an intentional contrast to what happened on the Pegasus "ten months ago." We saw many of Admiral Cain's choices in comparison with the Adamas, senior and junior. Adama made the survival of the human race his ultimate imperative, while Cain chose revenge. Adama and Lee carried out a risky rescue of a handful of civilians, while Cain destroyed a civilian fleet. Adama created an alliance with Sharon/Athena, and we all know what Cain did to Number Six.

Adama said that he might have made the same choices if he had been in Cain's position without Roslin or Lee to advise him. But I just don't believe it. Yes, Cain had only herself, but that was because she didn't even attempt to solicit the opinions of others. She terrified her soldiers into submission by executing her XO right in front of them. She turned her crew into mercenaries, looting and killing, leaving devastated civilians in her wake. She sacrificed lives recklessly when she knew the human race was about to go out forever. The people on the Galactica struggled with the same problems but for the most part, retained their humanity. Cain threw away her chance to lead and inspire, and became a ruthless dictator... and all the while, she thought she was doing the right thing. What a monster.

The writers skillfully connected the past and the "present" with a completely new character, Kendra Shaw. Her journey from bright-eyed, inexperienced young aide to brutal soldier capable of slaughtering unarmed civilians under orders was disturbing and powerful. She initially bought into Cain's world view because it was a lifeline after her world literally came to an end. But unlike Cain, Kendra wasn't a razor. She couldn't live with what she had done, which was why she took Starbuck's place on the suicide mission. Interesting that Kendra Shaw died in much the same way that Gina Six did, voluntarily pressing the button on a suitcase nuke. They were both victims of Admiral Cain, when you come right down to it.

Since we already knew a lot of the story, the biggest surprise for me was that Admiral Cain and Gina Six were lovers. It certainly gave context to what Gina Six said to Cain before killing her. ("Frak you." "You're not my type.") And it partially explained Cain's inhuman, pun intended, treatment of Gina Six.

The flashback to the first Cylon war forty-one years ago was good, too. I think they cast young Adama very well; I believed it was him. And we were left with the male hybrid's pronouncement that "Kara Thrace will lead the human race to its end. She is the herald of the apocalypse, the harbinger of death. They must not follow her." That's depressing. That had better not be the way the series ends, or I'm going to be seriously put out. No, they wouldn't do that to us. Would they?

Bits and pieces:

— The credits were the same as a regular old episode. Dan said it felt like a really good two-parter, not a special movie.

— The survivor count was given as 49,579. I kept track of each episode's survivor count, so this number puts the action somewhere around the episode Downloaded.

— Gold acting stars for Michelle Forbes. Not an easy acting job, and she even managed to give Helena Cain a believable human side. Gold acting stars for Stephanie Jacobsen, too, who made Kendra Shaw distinct and memorable, as well as sympathetic.

— It sort of shocked me that Lee was able to order Starbuck to carry out a suicide mission. No wonder she transferred. Even though she would have carried it out.

— Number Six had infiltrated as Gina Invierre (spelling?), the network administrator. Her job was probably to make sure the network would go back up in time and the Cylons could take out Pegasus. Except she didn't pull it off.

— Admiral Cain saw herself as a knife, an unthinking weapon that causes harm. Note that in the end, Kara had the knife. Fitting for her future role as destroyer of humanity.

— Another interesting thing: Cain didn't allow anyone other than herself to sit down, so no chairs. No one was permitted to be comfortable, to relax. That fit her character.

— We got some "old toasters" from the original series. There was even a "by your command."

— Young William Adama's call sign was apparently "Husker."

— Adama called their ship logs "history's first draft." I really liked that.

— At the end, we were told to watch for new episodes in March. March? I thought we were getting new episodes in January. Is this because of the writers' strike?

Quotes:

Adama: "I didn't think it possible you could find an XO meaner than Saul Tigh."

Hybrid: "All this has happened before and it will happen again." Uh huh.

Lee: "She and Kara don't exactly get along."
Adama: "I'd like to sell tickets to that dance."

Starbuck: "I guess you're stuck with me 'til the end." I guess that was supposed to be ironic. The end, literally. Weird.

I was semi-disappointed with season three; I'd almost forgotten how good this show can be. "Razor" was excellent. Maybe BSG just got its mojo back. Four out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

2 comments:

Patryk said...

No mention of the hybrids earlier ramblings about the final 5 and the 7 that are now 6? I think those lines confirmed that Tori, Sam, Saul and Tyrol are infact Cylons and it cast a big suspicion on Kara being the 5th of the 5 so probably she isn't after all.

Maybe the end will be of both races and there will be a new human/machine hydrib race. Prophecies do have twists all the time so i'm couting on it.

As for the not-future related stuff it was excellent. Reminds me of Babylon 5 and In the Beginning, also a full movie with lots of backstory flashbacks. I love this kind of storytelling.

They managed to show the Pegasus and didn't destroy anything from the powerfull arc in season 2. I think they even strenghtned it. Kudos to the writing team. I hope this will continue in season 4 and we will put the missteps of too many standalones of season 3 behind us.

Baz said...

I liked it, but I didn't love it... I'm not sure why. I preferred the flashbacks to cain's reign to the present stuff. And didn't much care for the flashbacks to CW1 either. Maybe it was because i was doing laundry throughout the movie so I didn't pay enough attention... I don't know, something just felt off.

Though I must say, the male hybrids prophecy does add some extra weight to the final season! Especially with Kara looking to take the fleet to Earth in the near future...