Last week when I suggested that people should watch Battlestar Galactica, I was a little scared that lots of people would watch, but then the season premiere would be sucky, and people would take my recommendations on television programming like I take music recommendations from my parents, ie not often and with lots of reservation. Thankfully, the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica kicked some ass, especially for people that knew what to expect, from season one. It was a lot to take in, but let’s try and set things up for a very exciting season.There are some people who call Battlestar Galactica nothing but a soap opera in space and question some of the science fiction aspects and whatnot. I have not been to a Star Wars convention or dressed up as my favorite character from Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/The Matrix while waiting in line to see them the first day, so I could give a shit about some of the more arcane and trivial details that bug some people. Just enjoy the show and those things won’t bother you.
For those of you who were kind of wondering what was going on at the beginning of the program, here is the basic premise. Humans created robots, robots got fed up with humans and evolved. Some of the robots now look human. All of the robots want to kill the humans. Robots nuke human worlds into oblivion, leaving alive only the people who happened to be flying in space at the time. Being outnumbered by about 10,000 to 1 and having only one military ship, Battlestar Galactica, in existence, they decide to run. While on the run from the robots, lots of shit happens, like prison ship riots and assassination attempts. Since some of the robots (they are called Cylons) look human, they can do shit without being detected, although the Cylons aren’t necessarily doing all the bad stuff. In fact, some Cylons don’t even realize that they aren’t human. That is the case with Sharon “Boomer” Valerii.
Boomer believes she is human, and even has a boyfriend (a couple actually, but we’ll get to that). Seemingly against her will, she has been at the center of many a ship disaster, including the loss of the water supply, various bugs placed around the ship, and the big one, shooting the captain. She was so good at what she did, not even her own suicide attempt (gun to the mouth) could stop her. But how did we get there?
Well, it’s basically because the President of the colonies has cancer. I want to explain it in some other way, but that is the gist of it. The President was Secretary of Education before the nuclear holocaust took care of the first 20 or so in line for succession. Considering what she has had to do, you have to give her credit for keeping people together. There was a point where she kind of lost her way, however. When morale was particularly low and people thought that the human race was doomed to fly listlessly through space, Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) said that they were going to go in search of Earth, which in their religion is a homeland that the thirteenth tribe of mankind inhabited. I would think of it is some sort of Atlantis: some people believe in it absolutely, while some people think it is a bunch of bullshit.
Anyway, Adama told the President that the legend of Earth was fake, but a funny thing happened while he was lying about the legend. It turned out that more and more of the legend has started to come true. As more things that were supposedly legends came true, the President started believing in more of these legends, including one prophecy which seemed to say that an ill leader (cancer is an illness, remember) would lead the remainder of the colonies to Earth. All she needed was to find Kobol, the planet where their holy texts say mankind originated, and Apollo’s arrow (I believe it was Apollo, I am slightly sketchy on some of these details, feel free to correct me) and they would be taken to the promised land, Earth. The only problem was that the Arrow of Apollo was on Caprica, which had been nuked fairly heavily by the Cylons in their original raid on mankind.
Luckily for the president, there are a lot of people who believe in what she has to say including Kara Thrace, call sign “Starbuck.” Starbuck was originally played by Dirk Benedict of A-Team fame, and having Starbuck played by a woman is one of the interesting twists the series has put on the original. Starbuck is a loose cannon, but a great pilot. She crash landed on a planet, but was able to get out safely by stealing a Cylon Raider, a type of aircraft. If you needed to get the Arrow of Apollo from a Caprica that is crawling with Cylons, the best way to go undetected would be to fly one of their own ships in, right? Kara has had a couple of epiphanies since civilization was wiped out, so she decides to go along with the plan.
Upon returning to Caprica, Lt. Thrace gets the arrow, but Six, the leggy blonde Cylon that is always invading Dr. Gaius Baltar’s (the smartest man in the known universe, who actually helped create Cylons) brain and making him continually horny, wants to kill her. Starbuck almost dies in the fight that ensues, but is able to win in the end, and who does she see but Lt. Karl C. “Helo” Agathon, who has been living in hiding on Caprica. His co-pilot was Boomer, but she was forced to go back to Galactica during the original attack of the Cylons, with Helo giving his spot to Dr. Baltar. While he was evading the Cylons, he was captured and then rescued by…Boomer? Yes, since the Cylons can have multiple copies, they had a copy of Boomer pretend to rescue Helo, with the intention of getting information from him. Trouble is that Helo and Boomer always had a thing, and being what they believe are the last two humans alive on Caprica, they get closer, much closer. Yes, that close. Helo has some hot sex with an Asian Cylon.
Eventually, Helo learns her secret, but he still has feelings for Boomer, and she is apparently pregnant. We don’t quite know the details of how that one is put together, but I think we’ll soon find out. Now, Starbuck was around the Galactica long enough to know that Boomer is a Cylon, which means any copies are Cylons. She wants to kill Boomer, but Helo stops her. He is a father and after all that radiation exposure, he can’t be sure how long his little boys are going to be active. Before sterility, he figures it would be nice to have a kid, even if that kid is born of a woman who was sworn to kill him. Boomer doesn’t stick around to wait and see if Kara wins the argument and flies off with the Cylon Raider, which was the only way the humans were going to be able to get back to Galactica.
So what is this about Dr. Baltar? Well, he has quite an interesting past. He was a scientist on Caprica, and helped create the Cylons and the technology that was supposed to defend us from them. I am not sure why any of these ultra-nerds on TV always have hot wives/girlfriends, even if the nerd has the dashing good looks of Joseph Fiennes crossed with Kevin Sorbo, but they always do. Baltar is no different, except the hot girlfriend is the Cylon Six. She most likely used him to help take down mankind, but he still can’t get over her. She often comes to him in his dreams day or night, and is often having sex with him in public places. It seems shocking, but since nobody else can see her, Baltar just ends up making smooching faces and noises in the air while people stare at him and wonder what the hell is going on.
Baltar worked on a Cylon detector (it worked, but he lied about the results to Boomer), as he is the chief scientist of the colonies, and in a twist, also the vice president. He was sent to check the surface of Kobol with a military team, but was shot down. Now, he had been convinced to join the landing party by Six, who convinces him to do a lot of things, right down to believing in God. Yes, the robots in this movie are religious. While he is hallucinating after the crash, he even imagines that Six is showing them their baby. Yes, another crazy robot is pregnant!
Even though Baltar and some other people crashed on Kobol, there was little chance that Galactica was going to send anybody down to save them. They had plenty of stuff to worry about on their own. Remember Boomer? Well, we found out she was a Cylon and she tried to kill herself, but she was pressed into service and helped the Galactica destroy a Basestar. It was only when on the Basestar that she realized she was a cylon. As she left her ship to arm the nuke, she noticed that there were about a thousand people who could have been her twin, and they were all naked. Upon returning to Galactica, something clicked in her head, and while she was gaining praise for helping out the fleet, she put two bullets into Commander Adama’s chest.
Whenever the Commander is incapacitated, they always have to call on Colonel Tigh, who is the Executive Officer and second in command. Colonel Tigh is a recovering alcoholic, and by recovering, I mean he only has half a bottle of liquor a day instead of three. As difficult as it was to have Adama fighting for his life, Colonel Tigh also had to deal with the fact that the fleet was basically running under martial law. When the President authorized Starbuck to go back to Caprica, Adama said she was crazy and had her put into restraints along with his own son, Lee “Apollo” Adama, the best pilot in the fleet. And if martial law wasn’t bad enough, another Cylon Basestar appeared. He didn’t want to leave anybody on Kobol, but he knew the fleet was a sitting duck and decided to execute a FTL (faster than light) jump to get the hell out of there.
So, they had to jump, but at least there was time to regroup and form a strategy, right? No, you’re wrong. During all of the martial law declaration and assassination attempts, the crew member responsible for transmitting the jump coordinates to the fleet messed up, and Galactica jumped to a portion of space where none of the other ships of the fleet were. This was quite bad news for the fleet and Galactica.
Now, I know what some of you are saying. Why don’t they just recalculate the coordinates and make the jump again? See, the problem is that the Cylons, being robots and all, are pretty good at computers, and they are able to hack any sort of network. The only reason why the Galactica was able to even survive the Cylon attack was that it was so old that it didn’t have many computer systems, and those that were on the ship were not networked, thanks to some paranoia from Commander Adama.
The Cisco routers are self-defending! Oh sorry, wrong series.
Adama and Tigh go way back. Some of the funniest scenes from this episode were the flashbacks to when the two of them were working on merchant ships. Adama essentially married his way back into the Galactic fleet, and he brought Tigh along. The problems with these flashbacks is that they had to try and make the two of them look like they are thirty years younger, which is just an absolute joke. When I first saw Adama, I thought they took some file footage of Edward James Olmos from his Blade Runner days. Olmos never gets old because all of the pock marks on his face probably had him looking 50 since he was about 25.
The point in all of these flashbacks is that it reveals that Tigh never really wanted a command, or even back into the fleet. Although his wife (who sleeps around like crazy) wants him to be a little more opportunistic, Tigh is only trying to get the ship back with the rest of the fleet. Like I said before, the computers aren’t networked, so to caculate the jump to where the rest of the fleet was would take 18 hours. Not a bad wait, but it also required 18 hours from the time when they last jumped. With all of the Cylons around, they would surely be dead. Tigh makes a tough decision to network the computers. The same crew member, Gaeta, who messed up the coordinates, also says that he can create a firewall to buy them some time before the Cylons hack them. Although Commander Adama never would have allowed a networked computer on the Glactica, Tigh is forced to out of necessity. Oh, and since the only doctor on the Galactica was not aboard the ship when they jumped, he has a medical intern perform the surgery on Adama that was going to save his life.
As disastrous as this all sounds, it doesn’t go all that badly. The Galactica jumps to Kobol, the Cylons attack, the firewall holds up, Adama lives, and they make the jump back to the rest of the fleet. He even manages to squeeze in some torture of Boomer along the way. None too shabby.
But for all of the good that is happening, there are still some questions to answer. There is still a bunch of people on Kobol being chased by Cylons, and they are being picked off slowly. The Cylons also managed to crash a troop carrier into one of the hangar bays of Galactica. Nobody knows it, but some of the robotic Cylons have made it onto the ship, and from the previews, they are looking to wreck shit up. And what about all of the trouble the President went through to get the Arrow of Apollo? Helo and Starbuck have no way to get back anywhere, they are a little stranded. I wonder if Helo will knock up Starbuck as well?
There were some flaws to the story, but I think anybody who tunes into the show for a couple of weeks will get hooked. And as you can see, the plot is quite often more than robot sex. What did you think of this season? How do Helo and Starbuck get back? What about the crew stranded on Kobol? Will they ever find Earth? Shouldn’t the president have died of cancer by now?