Thoughts On Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 So Far

We’re four episodes into the final 10 of Galactica, and I thought I’d talk a bit about what’s happened so far.

WARNING: Spoilers abound below so don’t read if you haven’t seen any of the new episodes.


First and foremost, it’s become very obvious that the writers know how to write combat scenes. Whether it be ship to ship or person to person, they write very tense, gritty combat. I’ve always like the dogfights in Galactica, and starting with the coup detat episode, “The Oath”, they also show they know how to write close range, shipboard combat as well. The overthrow of Galactica‘s command structure was done extremely well, with all of the tension and confusion such a coup would entail on full display. Even after the successful overthrow, Gaeta and Zarek never could feel in full control of things.

But with the last episode, “Blood on the Scales”, I felt the writers wrapped up the rebellion way to easily. The whole thing just felt rushed, from the ease with which Tigh and the other captured prisoners escaped and stopped Adama’s execution to the rest of the crew on board the Galactica helped take back the ship, I didn’t buy into the swift resolution. And with the inevitable execution of Gaeta and Zarek, I’m not sure what to feel. Zarek was a decent character, conniving and evil, but Gaeta never really did much for me. Yeah, I can see how his actions over the course of the series would lead him to do what he did, but I never really cared, one way or the other, for his character. That’s probably not a good thing. And speaking of not a good thing, I’m not sure there is any one particular character that I really care about. Sure, everyone is in a bad place, but up until now, no one’s been acting too heroic. Maybe that will change.

Even so, I still prefer these last to episodes (except the whiny Baltar) over any of the episodes about the ‘final five’ Cylons. The whole Cylon mythology surrounding these five is just poorly done and obviously not thought out in advance (we know this because Moore himself has said the final five thing was adding during a writers session well into the series run), but rather has been retroactively forced into the story. As such, and given what we know so far, I just don’t get any ‘coolness’ vibes coming from this storyline. Instead I find it boring and unbelievable. Sadly, with the coup over with, we can look forward to 6 more episodes about the ‘final five’.

I’m still going to stick it out though. Six more episodes isn’t too much I don’t think, although I don’t have a ‘feel good’ about how this will all end. I can understand wanting a more ‘realistic’ tone to the series, but ending a relentlessly grim series on a down note won’t sit well with me. I’ve seen people bandy about the ‘best SF show ever’ title for Galactica. For my money, that went out the window during season 2, but I think Galactica should be on that list. Just behind the best of all time, Babylon 5.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts On Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 So Far”

  1. Spell check! One “to” when you meant “too” (“…rebellion way to…”) and second “to” when you meant “two” (“…last to episodes…”)!

     

    The Fab Five killed the show for me, but it was on life support before that. The Cylons had a plan…but they never told the writing staff what that was. Running that theme in the credits every dang time made me belief there was something interesting going on that we’d eventually see, but nope.

     

    The up-close and space-to-space combat is OK, and they capture many other aspects of military life somewhat accurately, but in many other areas they fail again and again. Sure, the Galactica was being turned into a museum, etc., but have you ever seen a more screwed up batch of dysfunctional people in your life? It’s a wonder they can function long enough to blast any Cylons from the sky!

  2. I liked Gaeta, gonna miss him. Zarek too, but not as much (I always found it hard to credit he got as far as he did and managed to remain VP for so long, though I was impressed by his killing the colony reps. He finds his Stalinist mojo and then gets himself executed).

    A thing that jarred for me was when they’re on Earth (at last! I think…) and digging up skeletons and bits of unknown model centurions the Cylons managed to tell the bones were Cylon bones (they’re Cylons Jim, but not as we know them) – now wouldn’t you think with all the testing and stuff the humans did seasons ago they would have found that there were skeletal differences between humans and Cylons? If only Baltar had known he could’ve built a working Cylon detector (X-ray them all) and saved everyone a whole bunch of problems…

    Hopefully Baltar will get it together and drop this hippy religious leader crap and go back to his evil self soon.

  3. Having spent four years on active duty in the Army and another two in the National Guard, I’d like to say that the dysfunctional behavior depicted by the crew of Galactica pretty well matches the extremely dysfunctional behavior of a signal battalion I was assigned to in Korea back in 1992.  Rampant addictions to alcohol and sex were common.  Violations of the chain of command were common.  Some folks were severely punished while others seemed to be carrying an Exempt Card (like Starbuck). 

    I find it believeable enough.  The only problem I have is that the dysfunctionality of the crew hasn’t resulted in their demise far sooner.  I’m almost certain that if we went to war in Korea back in 1992 that many of my peers were goners. 

    Respects,

    S. F. Murphy

  4. Thank-you for mentioning Babylon 5.

    I don’t think the series ever gets all the notice it deserves.  Although it has its weaknesses, it still told a complex, engrossing and utterly believable story about what it is to be human.  I believe it was truly a pioneer in science-fiction television serial story telling, but its existence never seems to be mentioned in that context.

  5. Amen, brothers.  B5 was great in a large part because of the cohesive overarching plan.  We need to mostly ignore season 5 because it was an after thought after the series was essentially wrapped up at the end of season 4 becuase of the expected cancellation.

    A major BSG disappoint is that although the Cylons supposedly had a plan the writers didn’t.  Therefore it looks like the Cylons was stupid, ridicolously complicated, and destined for failure.  And they end up having to retcon things like Tyrol not being Nikki’s daddy.  That’s a fine plot point to let us in on when it happened.  Sticking it in several years later to make ensure that Nikki isn’t a Cylon half-breed really fell flat.  The fifth season didn’t need to be cluttered with that.

    The whole season has been very enjoyable, but parts feel rushed.  Like the military leadership never dealt with Anders shooting Gaeta.  I look forward to the end, I hope they end on an upbeat note by finding a new livable home, but this is Galactica.  It achieved true greatness in 33 where there was nothing upbeat at all. 

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