Saturday, February 18, 2006

Battlestar Galactica –The Captain’s Hand

The upshot: Apollo works alongside the new unstable Battlestar Pegasus commander when a Raptor scouting party goes missing. Meanwhile, President Roslin's relationship with Vice-President Baltar continues to strain during a political crisis pitting personal liberty at odds with humanity.

Standard spoiler warning…don’t read further if you missed BSG on Friday and are waiting to catch the encore on Monday, 11 p.m. E.S.T. (check your local listings).

That old Vulcan proverb… “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few”...likely was never intended to cover the dilemma that President of the Twelve Colonies Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) has to grapple with in this latest BSG.

The dilemma starts when a pregnant teenage girl from Geminon is discovered on Galactica stowed away and seeking an abortion from the ships doctor. Despite abortion being legal under colonial law, the ultra-religious Geminese consider the termination of any pregnancy murder and a political hot potato to Roslin, who is ramping up for the fleet’s first elections.

Despite Roslin’s inclination to grant the underage girl’s request for asylum and permit the abortion, Admiral Adama reluctantly points out Roslin’s own words following the Cylon attack—that the future of the human race depended on the survivors’, now counted at some 49,500, ability to start making babies.

Roslin reluctantly announces an executive order outlawing the termination of any pregnancy throughout the fleet in order to begin repopulating the species. Although it wasn’t mentioned, Roslin must have noted the irony from a couple episodes ago when she ordered the forced abortion (later rescinded) of the Cylon Sharon’s human/Cylon fetus for the security of the fleet.

For his part, Dr. Baltar, vice president of the colonies, is encouraged by Tom Zerek (Richard Hatch), the former terrorist and political opponent of Roslin, to challenge Roslin for the presidency. Baltar makes his move during Roslin’s press conference to publicly admonish the president for her curtailment of civil liberties and announces he will run against her.

Meanwhile, what was billed in all of the previews actually turns out to be the “B” plot. The new Pegasus commander—guest star John Heard—the ship’s engineer has been promoted beyond his ability and butts heads with Starbuck. A newly promoted Major Lee Adama/Apollo has been dispatched from Galactica to lend a hand as the ship's executive officer and to keep Starbuck in line.

The commander rashly jumps the Pegasus to find the missing raptors only to come under attack by three Cylon baseships. Apollo is left in command while the commander goes below to fix the ships faster-than-light (FTL) drive—he succeeds with his dying breath, allowing the ship to hyper-jump to safety.

Following Apollo’s impressive command under fire, Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) promotes Apollo to commander and gives his command of the Pegasus.

If the point hasn’t been made before, let’s be clear—Battlestar Galactica isn’t a sci-fi show, despite that fact it’s on the Sci-Fi network. It’s a political drama punctuated with space action.

For all of the press that ABC’s Commander and Chief has received, President Geena Davis hasn’t had to make half of the tough calls that Mary McDonnell’s character has made—that is one tough broad.

Also, the two Stargates—Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis were also decent.

Stargate Atlantis-- Coup D'etat

The Upshot: When the Atlantis team finds out that the Genii have grown into a new menace, they realize that the armistice with their old enemy may soon come to an end.

This episode was pretty good—more than a couple plot twists. We like the Genii—they are belligerent, untrustworthy and so fun to hate—think the Soviet Union under Stalin…in this case played by Star Trek: Deep Space 9’s Colm Meaney.

Stargate SG 1---The Scourge

Upshot: While a group of foreign delegates are touring the Gamma Site, a swarm of alien bugs linked to the Ori escapes containment...and adapt to become carnivorous.

Not a bad episode but the bugs reminded us of The Mummy, with a little bit of Tremors mixed in. Actually we do like the political tension with the United States led Stargate program as the other nations—particularly the commie Chinese want a piece of the action. Something to watch in the future.

A special thanks to FanBoyWonder’s good friend Dr. William Marcus for lending the FBW family his West Virginia cabin for the weekend. There’s nothing like roughing it in the woods with Direct-TV and a king-size bed. –Thanks Bill!


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