Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG TOS 1978 - Season 1 - Episode 24

BSG TOS 1978 - 1x24 - The Hand of God - Originally Aired: 1979-4-29

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 3.23

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Weary of evading their relentless Cylon pursuers, Apollo and Starbuck sneak aboard a Cylon basestar to lead the Galactica crew in a last-ditch effort to end the Cylon threat forever. [DVD]

- Boomer speculates that the Apollo mission signals are most definitely intergalactic...
- Adama claims that this Cylon Basestar may be the only one in this galaxy. More absurd references to Galactica's supposed intergalactic travel...

- The Galactica was launched over 500 yahrens ago, according to Apollo.

Remarkable Scenes
- The opening star chamber scene.
- Apollo witnessing the Apollo missions. ;)
- The Cylon Basestar's appearance.
- Adama declaring his intent to attack the Basestar.
- Adama offering Baltar his freedom.
- Sheba and Apollo finally getting together.
- Boomer: "Whatever you do, don't lose that transmitter. It's the only way we'll be able to tell you from the Cylons." Starbuck: "Well if we do, we'll just waggle our wings."
- Baltar providing intelligence.
- Apollo regarding the Cylon fighter: "Know how to fly this thing?" Starbuck: "I thought you did!"
- The dogfight.
- Galactica taking on the Basestar.
- Galactica destroying the Basestar.
- Starbuck waggling the Cylon fighter and Boomer catching it.
- The final scene in the star chamber. So sad.

My Review
This episode would have well been worth a full nine points if it weren't for some nitpicking about some technical problems, including the Cylons themselves. They're far too easily fooled here by Apollo and Starbuck. One wonders, and I've mentioned this before, why the Cylons provide atmospheres aboard Basestars full of nothing but machines which don't require such provisions. Furthermore, Apollo and Starbuck encountered far too little resistance, and the Cylon Basestar's sensors were far too easily taken out. No redundancy? Finally, there's more technical trash regarding Galactica having traveled inter-galaxy. (Not inter-stellar.)

However, unlike many, many prior BSG 1978 episodes, the technical problems do not bring down the plot. Very easily the Cylons could have been outwitted by some other plot device, or hell, even not at all. The Galactica barely makes any use whatsoever of their surprise attack on the Basestar anyway as the Cylons very quickly figure out what's going on and retaliate, making for a spectacular space battle.

As an episode of BSG 1978, this episode shines. Elements of continuity from nearly all prior material is put into good use here, and the "let's stop running, turn around, and punch them in the nose" factor makes for an exciting change of pace. I grade the episode purely on these grounds, for as a finale to the series, this episode is less adequate. I am fairly sympathetic to the writers here for not taking Galactica directly to Earth in the season finale, as it's a far more complicated story than they had time to tell. Maybe the whole Terra storyline should have been abandoned and Galactica should have reached Earth instead of Terra, so the complexity of finding Earth could be explored in sufficient detail. But in the end, it's better to leave the show open ended than to totally conclude it poorly. A rushed "they found Earth!" episode at the end of the series would have been a bad thing.

When Star Trek TOS was canceled, it ended similarly to this series. Just another episode. I find the lack of closure supremely annoying, but faced with the alternative of something rushed and worse, I must once again say, what we got was pretty damn good considering the circumstances.

And so BSG 1978 goes out with a bang. This canceled series gives us one of its best outings, showing us just how good it could have become. A few more episodes like The Living Legend, Part 1, Saga of a Star World, Part 1, and this one, and a few less episodes like Greetings from Earth, Part 2, The Long Patrol, The Magnificent Warriors, The Young Lords, and Take the Celestra and BSG 1978 may well have lasted more than one season.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2011-10-26 at 2:11pm:
    I am a bit torn in my review of this episode - I give it an 8, for a lot of the points you brought up. I love the build up and the sense of real danger, Baltar works great (love that smirk as he enters the hangar). And the shots of Galactica in action with the base star. The camera work when Apollo and Starbuck are in the base star are great too - especially when they climb down that ladder. The scene in the beginning in the dome is great too - and nice what they did to Apollo + Sheba.

    But then - the episode also spent 2/3 of the time or so just talking and setting the stage. If you think back, not much actually happened in the episode. And them losing the identifier device was pretty obvious coming up.

    Interesting note: In 1978 it was obviously ok to have a drink before flying the (maybe) most important mission of your life...

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