Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 2 - Episode 08

BSG - 2x08 - Final Cut - Originally Aired: 2005-9-9

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.77

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Synopsis
Now that the fleet is reunited, old conflicts reignite. Criticism of the military reaches a fever pitch in the aftermath of the massacre on the Gideon. During the period of martial law, a team of Galactica's marines, led by pilot Lt. Palladino, had opened fire on civilian protesters aboard the civilian freighter.

Col. Tigh, commanding officer during the incident which left four civilians dead and a dozen others wounded, receives a death threat. Shortly afterward, he very nearly falls victim to an act of sabotage. It is decided that steps must be taken to ratchet down the rhetoric, on both sides of the dispute.

Intent on improving relations between the civilian fleet and the military, President Roslin and Commander Adama offer Fleet News Service reporter D'Anna Biers unlimited access to the Galactica officers and crew. With her cameraman in tow, D'Anna interviews a series of stressed-out pilots, crew hands and officers.

Gaius Baltar, urged on by Number Six, hopes to gain D'Anna's support in his political ambitions.

D'Anna stumbles onto one of the Galactica's most explosive secrets, however, when she encounters the Cylon prisoner Sharon, whose unborn child is saved by the quick actions of Dr. Cottle following a near-miscarriage. And when Louanne "Kat" Katraine, wired on stimulants, crash-lands her Viper, D'Anna must decide whether she'll fashion her report as a hatchet job or as a more nuanced portrait of life aboard the Galactica.

The arrival of two Cylon attack ships clarifies D'Anna's thinking, as does a potentially deadly ambush that puts Tigh and his wife in the gunsights of a crazed, would-be assassin. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Why didn't Baltar administer his Cylon test to D'Anna since she was a not fully trusted visitor to Galactica?

Factoids
- If you count the pilot miniseries as four episodes (for its 180 minute runtime), as of this episode, BSG 2003 has exceeded the number of episodes of BSG 1978.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 47853. (A decrease of two, which accounts for Tom Zarek's two men which were killed in the last episode.)
- Lucy Lawless who plays D'Anna Biers in this episode, also played Xena in the show Xena: Warrior Princess.
- This episode establishes that there are 24 hours in a colonial day.
- Dualla's first name is Anastasia.
- Gaeta's first name is Felix.
- Racetrack's full name is Margaret Edmonson.
- The music played during D'Anna's documentary is derived from BSG 1978's main title.

Remarkable Scenes
- Roslin: "People are angry. They are distrustful of the military." D'Anna: "Yeah, with good reason, ma'am." Roslin: "In some cases with good reason." I like the disappointed look on Adama's face after Roslin says that.
- Adama finding copies of the "Caprican Life" magazine and ordering Racetrack to preserve them.
- Kat's "talking out of her ass" moment.
- D'Anna confronting a half-naked Apollo, almost manipulating him into dropping his towel.
- D'Anna regarding Baltar: "What a strange little man."
- Gaeta's interview.
- D'Anna getting Tigh drunk for his interview.
- Kat botching up her landing and the revelation that she's been taking stims.
- D'Anna catching a glimpse of Boomer.
- Palladino confronting Tigh.
- D'Anna showing her documentary to Adama, Roslin, and Tigh.
- The revelation that D'Anna was a Cylon and that the whole thing was an excuse to get a status report on Sharon's baby.

My Review
This episode has some nice details here and there but is largely a flop. Simply stated, the idea of doing a documentary of the Galactica crew on a show that's already executed in a documentary style seemed redundant. Thus, much of the episode felt like filler and the upbeat feel of the documentary felt more obtuse than true to Galactica's style.

The nice bits surround the minor characters. Also, it's nice that Tigh is dealing with the ramifications of the Gideon massacre, and given the premise on which the episode was built it was well executed. I especially loved the deliberate decision to not show the battle between the vipers and the two Cylon raiders in this episode to further the documentary feel; we've never seen this perspective before which makes it fresh and interesting while at the same time a clever money saving move. ;)

However, it was fairly obvious from the beginning that D'Anna was a Cylon. She was a character that came out of nowhere and was immediately up to no good which sparks immediate such suspicion.

Moreover I'm at a loss to understand why she wasn't tested by Baltar to see if she is a Cylon. In Resistance, Tyrol was tested by Baltar and passed which exonerated him of his suspected Cylon nature and of any wrongdoing. Yet it seems after that episode no Cylon tests were ever administered again, even after Boomer told Baltar there are eight remaining Cylons in the fleet. This to me seems like a gross oversight.

I'm at least pleased with the unusual nature of D'Anna's mission. The events of the episode aren't complete filler because the Cylons deliberately wasted two raiders and used a Cylon agent to get a status report on Boomer. This brings up some interesting questions; now that Galactica is harboring the pregnant Boomer, will the Cylons stop trying to destroy the fleet? They want Boomer's baby to live as much as she does. Also, it would have been nice to know why Boomer's baby was in danger. Overall though, Final Cut is an episode that has some nice details, but in the end comes off rather weak.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From -_Name_- on 2013-07-18 at 4:31pm:
    I have to strongly disagree with the reviewer. I thought this episode was exceptional. I think "fresh and interesting," to quote the review, describes the whole thing, not just the CIC scene (which by the way was absolutely brilliant, a very effective change of perspective). There's a bit of a documentary feel to BSG in general, but this was of a different order, and served a unique function. It's easy to get bored with the same characters in more or less the same roles and combat situations. IMHO, this showing was a breath of fresh air. It allowed some of the characters to say things they otherwise would never get to say, and gave them a little bit more depth and realism. I suppose this is what Kethinov meant by "nice bits surrounding the minor characters."

    This is going to sound like a weird comparison, but it reminds me a bit of the Star Trek Voyager episode where Neelix did a TV show (but nowhere near as silly). In both cases it makes the show feel a little more real, it suggests a real ship with a real crew, not just a set of lead characters and occasionally some extras to fill the background (mostly seen wandering the corridors or getting blown up in combat).

    Finally I actually thought the ending was surprising, in fact more than once - 1) I expected Adama to censor the whole thing 2) Once he agreed to let it air, I expected the end of it to be harshly critical 3) I honestly didn't see the D'Anna-Ceylon thing coming...I don't know if that's on me for missing the signs or what, but it came as a surprise to me.

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