Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 4 - Episode 12.5

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 4.74

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Synopsis
A series of "webisodes" featuring Felix Gaeta, two Sharons, and a few of humans who end up stranded on a Raptor and mysteriously begin to die one by one. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class - Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs.
- These webisodes were filmed after the rest of the series. The sets were torn down right after filming these scenes.

Remarkable Scenes
- One of the Sharons electrocuting herself to death.
- Gaeta killing the other Sharon.
- Tigh: "Cylon technology is gonna keep this fleet moving, Mr. Gaeta."

My Review
(Note: I do not recommend watching these webisodes until after you watch the next episode Sometimes a Great Notion, as these webisodes take place canonically and chronologically after that episode.)

After what was such an incredibly satisfying pair of episodes, the steam effectively runs out here. Some of you might be wondering, "hey, wait a minute, did I miss an episode? This 'Face of the Enemy' thing wasn't aired on TV, was it?" No, it wasn't. This is the second installment of webisodes to grace the show; they were shown exclusively on Sci Fi's website.

The webisodes are considered optional episodes. I discussed why this is a bad idea in my review season three's webisodes (The Resistance), but I suppose it's time to elaborate further. Like the last installment, this episode requires the distinction of the new term "webisode" because the content and the method of delivering the content differs to much so from that of a regular episode. In short, both the quality of the storytelling and the video quality of the webisodes are far, far below average.

What's worse is when combined with those facts, branding episodes like this with the term webisode seems to imply that the web simply cannot be used to deliver high quality content, which is as patently false as it is offensive. In addition to these low quality webisodes, Sci Fi has offered the ability to watch full regular episodes on their website as well, though unfortunately at the same terrible video quality. But the important thing is Sci Fi's implied assumption that the web cannot be used to deliver quality storytelling seems be contradicted by their own actions of offering good episodes in this format too. Why aren't those episodes called "webisodes" too? I'll tell you. Because they don't suck.

As for the video quality, if Sci Fi embraced Bit Torrent, they could easily distribute much higher quality video without exacerbating their bandwidth costs. Moreover, Apple already distributes 1080p movie trailers on their website and they don't even use Bit Torrent to offset bandwidth costs. Sci Fi needs to get their web act together and stop putting out these half-assed webisodes. I would rather there be no webisodes at all than have them presented at this level of storytelling and video quality. For that matter, let's do away with the whole concept of webisodes entirely. Just make regular episodes and distribute them on the web in 1080p already! This YouTube quality material is unprofessional.

That said, onto the plot. Like The Resistance before it, this webisode picks up on the previous episode's cliffhanger in an incredibly lackluster way. Though this time, the offense is perhaps more grievous. Instead of showing us the fallout of discovering Earth a devastated wasteland, we arbitrarily skip ahead nine days for no apparent reason where we subtly learn what essentially amounts to a number of spoilers in an incredibly anticlimactic way. This is an unfortunate consequence of airing these webisodes earlier than the next episode, Sometimes a Great Notion, which should have aired first.

Thanks to this webisode, we now know that the fleet leaves Earth within nine days of its discovery for some reason, Tigh is still the XO, the alliance with the rebel Cylons continues, the rebel basestar is still traveling with the fleet, the rest of the Cylons are still hostile; tracking the fleet down and attacking it, and the rebel Cylons are sharing their technology with the fleet ostensibly to keep it flying.

As for Gaeta, his story just wasn't compelling enough to justify all these tangential plot reveals. I mean really, why are we skipping ahead of the good stuff and incurring all these negative side effects just to see a Raptor murder mystery? One with an unusual amount of gratuitous gore and a weak justification for why they jumped to nowhere in the first place? (A high energy discharge of subatomic particles corrupted the hard drive data? Yikes! Where's a flux capacitor when you need one?)

Moreover, how do the events of this story realistically lead Gaeta to thinking the whole alliance with the Cylons is a bad idea? Just because one Sharon has a thing for being duplicitous and going on murderous rampages doesn't mean the whole deal should be called off. How short-sighted is that?

Worse yet, the hoops we must jump through just to watch this material is as painful as sitting through all that gratuitous gore. On top of seeing way too many recycled clips from previous episodes and hearing far too much recycled scoring, there are whole scenes actually repeated as a consequence of splitting up the webisode into 10 parts. And for anyone lucky enough to have watched this when it "aired" on SciFi.com, I think I speak for everyone when I say if I have to see that Underworld Rise of the Lycans ad one more time, I might have to strangle somebody.

All in all, this plot is irrelevant and out of place. This could quite possibly be Battlestar's worst offering. Very disappointing.

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