Reviews of Battlestar Galactica run the risk of getting boring quickly. There is only so many ways you can say “one of the two best television shows currently in production returns for its second season. Fans are not disappointed.”
As an aside, I will not be forced to pick between Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who for my personal title of “Best Television Show Currently in Production”. I will not. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a tie, and I’m strangely grateful that only one show is on the air at any given moment. Television this good needs to be savoured.
Anyway, the season two opener to Battlestar Galactica, entitled Shattered, picks up well from the events of Kobol’s Last Gleaming. Not that we actually get very far. In all of the mayhem surrounding Sharon’s brutal shooting of Commander Adama, we see people scrambling for order, rushing a jump away from an attacking Cylon basestar, and then dealing with the fact that Battlestar Galactica ends up jumping to one point in space, while the rest of the fleet accidentally jumps somewhere completely different.
The plot is extremely simple. Mayhem. Problem. Deal with it. But it’s so realistically handled, with the usual Cinema Varite style, and actors portraying characters scrambling to keep up, that the audience is swept along. I honestly didn’t have time to appreciate the episode’s technical merits, I was so caught up. And in that respect, you have to call Shattered a success.
The most interesting part of the episode comes in the form of Subcommander Tigh, swept into command and swimming with it, despite being completely out of his depth and knowing it. Tigh is someone you want to have in command during a crisis, but at no other time, and Michael Hogan plays him with aplomb. The flashback sequences, to when Tigh first met Adama, are also remarkable, although the thing I noticed most was how good a make-up job they did on Michael Hogan and Edward James Almos to make them look younger. And it’s only after the episode is over that I’m led to ask: what was the point?
The flashbacks seem to describe a time when Tigh and Adama had been drummed out of the service. Tigh almost destroys himself in an alcoholic bender, but Adama claws his way back into command, and then takes Tigh with him. It’s an explanation of their friendship and Tigh’s loyalty to Adama that’s told in the simplist terms. It drives home the point, but I’m still left wondering: why were Tigh and Adama drummed from the service? How did Adama get himself back? And what exactly did Adama see in Tigh to take him back with him? (Though, as the flashbacks are told strictly from Tigh’s point of view, we probably wouldn’t be privy to that last revelation).
And on Cylon Occupied Capra-couver, Starbuck has the arrow of Apollo, and is dealing with the surprising revelation that Helo is in love with Cylon Sharon. More on this later. The scenes with the landing party struggling to survive on Kobol are also nicely tense, but are an example of a plotline left to simmer. Next week it looks like we’ve got a monster thrash on our hands, as the forces of Galactica face down a Cylon boarding party. It’ll be good to see the Swiss Army Cylons in action, and credit goes to Ron Moore for holding off on this story until now.
Because Battlestar Galactica is meant to be savoured. It has turned into a deep, complex and multi-faceted story, with several plotlines interweaving. Once again, the show challenges its audience, demands our full attention, and rewards us every time.
It’s going to be a great twenty weeks!
Hey, hey! Canadian actor Colm Feore guest stars in an upcoming episode entitled Epiphanies, to be shown on the Sci-Fi Channel on January 20 (and on Space several weeks later). He appears in flashback as the president of the colonies as President Roslin lies dying.
Yup. Trudeau himself faced down the Cylon attack. Make of that what you will.