Friday, August 08, 2008

The Original Battlestar Galactica--Commentary Part Two

This is the IL-series Cylon named Lucifer:

"The Living Legend--Part Two"
Just because I can tally this watching it through, the opening credits and music last for a whopping 1:37, then the update on what happened last episode lasted until 4:29.
The Cylons, with Baltar in that weird headgear, retreat when they see the Pegasus. I still want to know how the hell they weren't seen "coming around." How did they sneak up?
Prepping an offensve attack on the old Colonial fuel outpost known as Gamoray, now a Cylon city, has Adama and Cain argue a bit. Cain says, "As you know, Cylons have no independent initiative. Their control circuits are always centralized." So what, are they like Star Trek's Borg? And does this really make sense with the episodes we have seen so far? What about the IL-series (those Lucifer look-alikes)?
They all figure Cain is planning something crazy. So the Galactica ground force has Cassiopeia join as a med-tech with Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, Sheba (Cains daughter), and another dude from Pegasus, Bojay. The ground force parachutes into the city--how the truck did they get in close enough?? They take out the commnications depot, I guess they do. Just a lot of explosions. Sheba, showing a lot of stealth, shouts loudly, "Bojay! Bojay!" when he is hit by fire.
The Cylon Imperious Leader is now on Gamoray. This robot is never fully seen on the series as they were supposedly not happy with how it turned out. From one source, Dick Durock, who later becomes Swamp Thing for that horrible USA Network early-90s TV show, is in the costume. He is voiced by the dude who later plays Count Iblis.
Hilariously, from a cheesy standpoint, one of the IL-series Cylons sings, "Uh-oh!" when the munitions bunker explodes.
And I just love how during the mission, Cassiopeia finds a few moments to talk to Starbuck about Cain and kisses him.
Apollo hears that Cain is going to attack Baltar's forces head-on. It's actually pretty exciting at times.
Two BaseStars get blown up. The Pegasus is lost--not blown up per se, they just don't know where it is. Then the episode ends.
What the hell happened to Cain's attack on the third BaseStar? What??

"Fire in Space"

It's got a regular opening because, hey!, it's a one-part episode! Imagine that. The regular opening takes 2:40. I guess it can be seen as sort of introducing you to space for the episode, but since each opening is the same...
This one is actually a cool concept, although it fails horribly in execution. Two Cylons get past defenses and kamikaze into the Galactica. Now the ship is a burning wreck in space. So the crew all have to work on putting out the fires and saving people. Commander Adama, for one, has some "fragment lodged in the wall of his heart" that the doctor has to operate on. One group is closed off and suffocating.
Now, that part is good, but this is also where it immediately went wrong.

According to the radar-thing, the Cylons are dishing up an all-out assault, with multiple BaseStars. Cool, they got through and hurt the Galactica. Now I couldn't help but wonder why the Cylons called off the attack. Why didn't they press the attack? Why did they break off at all? To be honest, it seems that the Cylons completely wasted this kamikaze attack. This is apparently a completely devastating move as this episode shows. They should have either pressed the attack, or sat back and watched, or launched another one and then pressed another attack once they knew how well it could work. Imagine after watching this episode that the Cylons did this like two, three, or more days in a row. Bye bye Galactica. They should have been done for. The writers could still have had this episode work just fine if they had the warriors keep fighting in space, devastating a BaseStar or two with some heroism, and the people on the Galactica rescuing themselves at the same time. Just seemed a complete waste of opportunity. This is another one of those episodes where it seemed they couldn't handle their own ideas.
Now compare this episode with the new series episode 1 entitled "33" from immediately after the fantastic mini-series. You will see how Cylons can press the attack and never let up. Yet, the humans can win with dedication. "33" showcases, in my opinion, the best that the new series of Battlestar Galactica has to offer.
"War of the Gods--Part One" and "War of the Gods--Part Two"

Now this is where the casual viewer probably stopped watching back in the late 1970s. This is just either weird or way ahead of its time.
Four Vipers while out on patrol come across strange moving lights in space and disappear.

Apollo and Starbuck finish playing that weird space game called Triad (a cross of basketball and racquetball, it looks like) and then they go out to look for the missing ships on a planet that they just came across.
On the planet, they see the wreckage of a spaceship and meet a mystery man named Count Iblis (pronounced ib'-lee). He offers to help them on their quest for Earth. "My knowledge of the universe is infinite!" They take him back to Galactica.
Iblis knows a heck of a lot and seems to have strange powers, can offer and do just about anything, including increase the food supply. He says he has enemies that are worse than the Cylons. He knows all about Earth and the Thirteenth Colony and will lead them there if they put him in charge. "I've come to prepare your way to Earth." They think at first he might be an android or something.

The moving lights come to the Galactica. Colonel Tigh says, "They must be travelling at speeds beyond our comprehension."

We find Iblis has telekinesis, saying he is further advanced than humans. He has now miraculously increased the food supply. He promises to deliver their enemy Baltar to the Galactica. Then, Baltar calls Adama to come aboard the Galactica in peace. End of Part One.

(Sidebar: Kirk Alyn, who played Superman in the 1948 and 1950 Superman move serials, the first Superman in film, gets one or two lines of dialogue and gets credited as "Old Man.")

In Part Two, Baltar is immediately arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Life in prison? Only life in prison? After genocidal treason against his own people?

Baltar then has an interesting conversation with Iblis in prison, saying he has heard Iblis' voice before.

Iblis: Sit, old friend.

Baltar: I know you. I remember that voice.

Iblis: Do you?

Baltar: The voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader.

Iblis: But the Cylon's a machine.

Baltar: Yes. Now. But once they were a race of beings who allowed themselves to be overcome by their own technology.

Iblis: And when did this happen?

Baltar: A thousand yahrens ago, at the onset of the Thousand Yahren War against the humans.

Iblis: Then for my voice to be the voice of the Imperious Leader, it would've had to have been transcribed into machine leader a thousand yahrens ago. I'd have to be a thousand yahrens old.

So I am befuddled by that conversation. That's word for word, as I kept pausing it and writing it down. Based on what we find out at the end...Well, let's let that go at the end. I did have to research quickly that term "yahren." According to the Battlestar Wiki, it is roughly what we call a year. But some fans, including Richard Hatch who plays Apollo cites a yahren as being about 250 days, which coincides with what Adama says later in this episode about mankind having a lifespan of 200 yahren, or if you do the math (250*200)/365=roughly 136.9 years.

So then they go play Triad! Who the hell designed those Triad uniforms anyway. (Triad becomes a card game in the new series--although there is a similar game that the female Starbuck plays called "Pyramid" which is a card game in the original series.) Iblis wants to swing the win for the always-losing Boomer, just to show his influence. Boomer wins. They celebrate at another space disco and dance with ropes.

Iblis threatens Apollo and Adama. Adama specifically asks Iblis if he isn't "afraid of God." Ummm, I thought they had the gods, like the Greek pantheon? It's complicated, and even fans don't know the whole truth.

The strange lights come back, and even though eight ships have been lost chasing those things, they go ahead and launch another squadron. And now Boomer disappears, apparently encompassed by a strange alien ship. I still have no reason after this entire storyline why these Beings of Light took these pilots--and no explanation is ever given.

Adama showcases his own telekinesis, saying he used to bend spoons a long time ago and did some experiments for some telekinetic institute. He says that this power is in all mankind, but man doesn't live long enough to learn how to do it. "Our life expectancy is about 200 yahrens." They think Iblis is an angel, one of the Beings of Light. Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba go back to investigate the crash site--finally go and investigate it. Iblis goes after them.

Apollo surmises that Iblis is the Prince of Darkness. Apollo is killed by a bolt of energy meant for Sheba. Iblis disappears after revealing his true image, afraid of an altercation with the Beings of Light.

They are taken aboard the ship of the Beings of Light. The Beings say it is another dimension. When Starbuck asks if they're dead and if the Beings are angels, the Beings say, "Oddly enough, that is somewhat true." Apollo is resuscitated by the Beings, apparently for being a good soul. There is cryptic and wacky talk by the Beings, who cannot interfere with free choice.
Apollo, Starbuck, Sheba, and the eight missing pilots including Boomer are returned to the Galactica with memory loss of the incidents aboard the ship of the Beings of Light. However, the episode ends with them "knowing" the directional information to get to Earth.
I sort of liked this episode. Just some weird stuff to get past. Supposedly, fans of the new show surmise that the Cylon God seen so far is the Iblis character.
So now I have to ask about that conversation with Iblis and Baltar. The "old friend" is probably just because Baltar fell into evil. But that whole voice thing--are they saying that the Cylons are agents of the Prince of Darkness? If it is his voice, did he create them or did his followers create them?

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