Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Battlestar Galactica: Occupation & Precipice

The Upshot from Sci-Fi: SEASON PREMIERE! The Cylons have occupied the human settlement of New Caprica, and it's been four months since the Galactica, the Pegasus, and a handful of ships escaped into deep space. But the fight is not over. On New Caprica, a resistance has begun — and despite having only a handful of untested pilots at his command, Admiral Adama is committed to risking everything on a daring attack to rescue the people he left behind.

[Sorry for the delay: We’ve had this review of BSG in the can but technical difficulties kept us from posting until now.]

In all of the pre-season press, the cast and crew promised that Season 3 would be even darker than before and they are well on their way to delivering following the 2-hour premiere of Occupation and Precipice.

You know, running an underground insurgency is all fun and games…until Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) loses an eye.—Sorry we just couldn’t resist.

During our review of last month’s BSG The Resistance webisodes, we had noted that while others were more reluctant freedom fighters/insurgents/terrorists, Col. Tigh was clearly enjoying himself as a warrior who needs a war.

Well as we see with the opening of Occupation, he’s not having so much fun now. Following weeks of captivity and torture that cost him his right eye. “They tore it right out and showed it to me…looked like a hard boiled egg.”

If the gloves weren’t off before, Tigh takes the insurgency up a notch by employing suicide bombers. Faced with nothing to lose following his wife’s death by the Cylons, Duck—whose back-story was really fleshed out during the webisodes— is employed as the first (but not the last) suicide bomber.

But the tactic is by no means universally lauded among the resistance. Former President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell)—who herself has been gathering names of known and suspected New Caprica Police collaborators—is appalled by the use of suicide bombers.

Yet Tigh doesn’t give an inch. He essentially tells her to frack off; he’s got a war to fight then instructs the bombers NOT to avoid human casualties—especially if they are collaborators.

A recent article in Newsweek magazine www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15134627/site/newsweek/
recently compared Tigh to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—noting how both characters are relentless ball busters who despise any suggestion of weakness or retreat. (The comparison only goes so far however—at least Col. Tigh knows how to competently prosecute a war—but we digress.)

Speaking of collaborators, Jammer—who was also featured in the Webisodes—had made his choice to join the New Caprica Police. But he is conflicted and getting in deeper and deeper when he is ordered to round up 200 insurgent “suspects” in the dead of night, including Callie—Chief Tyrol’s wife—forcing her to leave her newborn baby behind alone.

The suicide bomber tactic really rocks the Cylons, who we see are divided in the best way to oversee those they have conquered. Dean Stockwell as the Cylon Brother Cavil runs away with his part. Each of his Cylon models (in a clever body double scene) press to “instill fear” among the human populous “to serve God’s will.”

In a darkly amusing scene, he suggests publicly executing puppet Colonial President Baltar (James Callis) while he’s in the room. When it’s decided that the people would actually cheer Baltar’s death, Cavil presses on proposing random arrests and executions and finally perhaps even culling the humans down to a more “manageable” population if they can’t get a handle on the insurgency.

Speaking of Cavil, Tigh’s whack-job wife Ellen affects the Colonel’s release the old fashioned way—quid pro quo—her body for his “influence” but as we see, he has his own reasons for releasing Tigh.

Elsewhere on occupied New Caprica, the Cylon Leobon has been keeping Starbuck captive in a cell outfitted with all the comforts of home in a ploy to get her to love him. In the best tradition of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, she’s been “killing” him each chance she gets, he downloads into a new body and his infatuation continues.

The drama gets taken up a notch when Leobon introduces Kara to Kacey—her alleged daughter. Leobon explains that when Starbuck was a prison in the Cylon hospital, one of her ovaries was removed, he inseminated it and the child was born—this would make Kacey the second human-Cylon hybrid.

But given Leobon’s penchant for deception, it’s entirely possible Kacey is a human child not related to her in order to confuse Starbuck. When Kasey is seriously injured while Starbuck was in the bathroom, we can see Leobon is playing on her guilt.

Meanwhile, the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus along with the remainder of the fleet—some 2,000 souls, attempt to work out a rescue mission with only skeleton crews made up of the junior varsity.

Commander Adama/Apollo has really become “soft both mentally and physically” during the year in orbit of New Caprica as essentially a peacekeeping force and he continues to butt heads with his father Admiral Adama. Not only has Apollo he’s lost his edge as a warrior he’s lost his confidence in himself.

After some soul searching with newly sworn-in Lt. Sharon Agathon, the one-time Cylon prisoner advises Admiral Adama that he needs to forgive himself before doing what he needs to do. He’s had enough of leaving people behind and he’s taking Galactica back to New Caprica. This fight has only just begun.


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