Battlestar Galactica: Unfinished Business (extended)

The crewmembers of the Galactica are enacting an old tradition of boxing out their issues with their shipmates, which leads to some interesting pairings as well as some revelations about the crew’s time on New Caprica.

 

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.

Even when it comes to my beloved BSG, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, “Unfinished Business” being my Exhibit A.

 

I love this episode; it’s one of my favorites from Season Three, and it’s a contender for my favorite episode of the entire series. I love that the extended cut gives us 25 more minutes of this glorious episode, but I must betray that part of me that always wants more; the extended cut is not superior to the broadcast cut.

They’re both pretty good episodes for me (and the broadcast episode is an A+ effort), and while the extended cut delivers, there are parts that are so, so unnecessarily slow. Even on his commentary, Ron Moore himself said the best cut is somewhere in-between the two we’ve got, and damn if he’s not right.

But enough of that…let’s get to the good stuff…

The episode comes down to two halves of a story and to two sets of couples. On side one, you’ve got the crew acting out their own fight club where Starbuck and Lee’s animosity and Admiral Adama’s guilt reach new heights. They are also some other fights in there, but really, the Adama boys’ fights are the important ones.

All season, we’ve been left hanging about what exactly happened between Lee and Starbuck, and now we know; they slept together and declared their love to each other and the stars above, and the next morning she dragged Anders to a preacher and married him. In response, a wounded Lee proposed to Dualla and most likely married her soon after (something tells me engagements are kept short in the fleet).

For one night, Lee got the woman he’s been circling around since he met her; through one obstacle or another, she’s been off-limits to him, and even when he finally gets to hold her, she ditches him and marries her boyfriend. It’s brutal, but really, if Starbuck really and truly wanted to be with Anders, it was the only kind thing to do for Lee, cut him off with no hope of a relationship.

But see, that’s not Starbuck. Yes, she picked her path and she stuck with it, but while her pilot instincts are damn near infallible, she can never pick a path in her life and really believe that is was the right one. Even after 17 months of fighting with Lee, she still can’t resist taunting him into fighting her; remember, the whole point of the boxing matches is to resolve differences, and Starbuck gets her wish. She gets her best friend back. She needs his love, even she can’t return it the way he wants her too (no wonder she was pissed at him).

Even through this episode, I can still love her, and Lee too. But you really have to feel for Anders and Dualla; they both went in to their marriages with eyes wide open, but they never knew how much their spouses would put them through. In this show, devotion will suck you dry (just ask Gaeta).

On the other side of the story, we get flashbacks to New Caprica, one month into the settlement. Baltar’s has enacted a Founders Day, lots of new structures are coming up, and the settlers are throwing a party with drinking, dancing and pot for those so inclined. In a rare move, we actually get to see our crew happy and enjoying themselves (in sunlight no less!).

The New Caprica stuff is really more of Papa Adama’s area. He “let his guard down” with his crew, and gave up the fight too soon. That part of him that is the father to 40,000 people was swayed by love to let his crew pursue happiness on a new world instead of staying where they were needed.

One of the reasons (who am I kidding, the only reason) I put up with the extended cut’s slowness is to get to spend more time with Adama and Roslin on New Caprica. For the first time, they are free of their professional boundaries and they can be more open with their feelings. I’m a shameless shipper for these two, and dammit, I’ll take what I can get.

Adama pulls Chief in to the ring to teach him a lesson he’s been dealing with since the Cylon occupation (in many ways, all the ways that count really, Chief Tyrol is Adama’s heir). Just like Adama, Chief needs to harden up, be tougher on his crew and get the job done, regardless if people’s feelings get hurt. Adama spends all of Season Three coming to grips with that, and he gets rid of his earlier softness (just like Roslin does). He is Papa Adama no more.

Stray thoughts:

        Gaeta, although mainly in the background, has some interesting shots this episode. He’s the bookie at the fight, he stands on stage during the Founders Day ceremony (and keeps Roslin and Adama away from their joint), and he shares a cute dance with Dualla. It’s moments like that that make me weep for his future.

        Ellen and Tigh: damn show, you always aim for the gut, don’t you?

        Alternative career: Laura Roslin, boxing coach. Doesn’t surprise me, but it made me laugh.

  Next up: “The Passage”