SciFi Sunday: Battlestar Galactica (duh!)

by Susan Getgood on April 6, 2008

in Science Fiction, TV/Film

This post has spoilers for the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, He That Believeth in Me. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, and want to remain spoiler free, go read last week’s SciFi Sunday review of the Stargate SG-1 film The Ark of Truth and enter my SG-1 action figure giveaway.

Or go watch the ep on SciFi Rewind, then come back when you’re done.

A pretty good start to the season. As with most Battlestar episodes, there are three storylines. This year, it looks like they are going to play out as:

  • The Adama arc: Storyline generally involving Adama, Roslin, Lee and Kara. Often includes Helo & Athena, and I suspect will include the Six/Sixes on Galactica
  • The Baltar arc: Baltar’s storyline, including “Head Six”
  • The Cylon arc: The seven, the four, the one

Let’s start with the A-storyline, the first he that believeth, Lee believing in Kara. My little shipper heart was warmed by the welcome Lee gave Kara (and the welcome she did not give Sam) as well as Lee’s immediate acceptance of her. Mary McDonnell’s performance was excellent, but I think the character is in the wrong this time. Think about it — she can have visions under the influence of drugs and send Kara on the mission to Caprica, but now she is completely closed to the possibility that Kara is right. Odds are, Lee is absolutely right — what they were meant to find in the nebula was Kara.

The two best scenes in this storyline were Adama and his children. When Kara asks him to believe her, it is heartbreaking that he can’t. That the counsel he seeks is Lee’s is heartwarming, especially given how estranged they had been over Baltar’s trial. Lee rewatching Kara’s “death” also evokes the episode Scar, another important episode in the Lee/Kara storyline. I loved how Lee makes it clear that it makes absolutely no difference to him what Kara is or isn’t. He has her back, literally and figuratively, and that’s all that matters.

Of all the characters in this episode, clearly the character of Lee has had the most visible character growth, although I expect that Kara has changed tremendously as well; we just don’t know the extent of it. Adama and Roslin, though, seem to be repeating old patterns. All this has happened before and will again….

Now to the B-storyline. Don’t need to draw us a map on this one. We get it. Baltar is a Christ-like figure, at least in that his followers believeth in him even though we know he doesn’t believe in much other than saving his own skin. I love watching James Callis perform, even though the character is mostly despicable. It will be interesting to see if/how Baltar is or is not redeemed. That said, I thought some of these scenes dragged a bit.

Finally, the Cylons. This episode focused on our friends the final, or frakked, four, and their determination to believe in themselves, as the individuals they’ve always thought themselves to be. Michael Hogan (Tigh) owns the screen when he is on it, so I for one am glad he is one of the four as that means he’ll get plenty of screentime. I thought it was particularly effective the way they had the four in various scenes discussing the possibility that Kara might be a cylon. Everything said, by them and others, in those scenes refers more to them than to her, and you can clearly tell that they know that. And what happens when Kara discovers that Sam is a Cylon…

Grade: A-/B+

Preview for next week:

Warms this fangirl’s heart, although I hope they resolve Starbuck’s headache soon. Katee Sackhoff is an excellent actor, but watching her scream “we’re going the wrong way” over and over is going to get old, fast.

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