Battlestar Galactica: 33

My beloved series begins properly, with the humans on the run and the Cylons running after them, showing up every 33 minutes.

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

“Weeping, I drew away from our old country,

Our quiet harbors, and the coastal plain

Where Troy had been; I took to the open sea,

Borne outward into exile with my people,

My son, my hearth gods and the greater gods.”

- Aeneas, Book III, 14-18, Fitzgerald Translation

 

Head Six was sooo right; God did have a plan Gaius Baltar. God went and turned a righteous atheist into a true believer. And God went and kept the frakker alive the whole time just to overdo the point. Bastard.  

The whole “God did it” explanation is a bit unsatisfying, but you have to give them credit, they did set that up pretty early. Head Six never lied to him.

While I thought Baltar’s big speech to Cavil in the finale was the worst part of the episode, that speech was one of the driving points of the entire series, and it begins here; Gaius, the most human of humans, needs to put all that aside to save a little girl whose genes will let the best of humanity live on.

The speech was still lame, but that does make me feel better about it.

 “33″ was actually my first “Battlestar Galactica” episode, and I’ve never quite forgiven it for being so damn confusing. Aside from that, I think it’s actually a solid start to the series.

The conceit of the episode, that everyone has been awake for the past five days as the fleet’s been on the run, is pulled off quite well. The Galactica crew, especially Starbuck and Callie, looks like they’re on heroin. Roslin and Adama (not in love, or even friendly, yet, bless them) look better, but they feel worse.

Sure, the past week or so has been a bit rough, but they feel the burden differently than the crew. They’re in charge, and for better or worse, they just became parents to 50,000 people and it’s beginning to dawn on them that their quest is a bit on the hopeless side. Adama and Roslin have been my favorites from the beginning and here, right at the beginning, I can see why.

The Olympic Carrier is their first test, and they pass, but 1,300 people die because they ordered them dead. It’s a harsh lesson, but they learn how to keep making these calls. Again, for better and worse.

The worst part of the episode isn’t so much in this episode, it’s just what comes after. I think that while Season One is a good start, it’s the weakest season, mainly because the way the story is split between the Fleet and Helo’s adventures on nuked-out Caprica.

Helo was not supposed to survive, and while I’m glad he did, because I like his character and soo many good things came out of this (Hera, Anders, Athena, just to name a few), but the idea was better than the execution. I could tell that the writers didn’t have a strong direction for what to do with him, and he floundered for a long time.

I was so, so happy when they finally ditched Caprica, that I had serious reservations about watching the new series.  Fortunately, I was persuaded away from those feelings, but it’s a grey mark on the season.

Next up: “Water”