Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 3

BSG - 3x00 - The Resistance (Webisodes) - Originally Aired: 2006-9-5

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 3.59

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Synopsis
The webisodes are a series of short clips which chronicle the events of the New Caprica resistance movement. Although the webisodes take place almost directly after the season 2 finale and occur chronologically prior to the season 3 premiere, they are considered an optional extra episode of the third season, as watching them is not necessary to understand what's going on in the season 3 premiere. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Tyrol's and Cally's baby was born within two months of the Cylon occupation.
- As a viper pilot, Duck has ~40 kills.
- According to Tigh, the 12 colonies had a population of approximately 20 billion.
- Tyrol's and Cally's baby is named Nicholas Steven Tyrol.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Cylons storming the Kobolian temple, killing Nora.
- Jammer: "Ten dead, twelve wounded. They shot the temple to shreds." Tigh: "Never dreamed we'd get this lucky." Jammer: "Lucky? The Cylons are cracking down. They're making random arrests!" Barolay: "1000 people protested outside Colonial One today. Temple massacre pushed people over the edge." Tigh: "Population's with us now." Barolay: "Solved our recruitment problem. More than 150 people joined up in the last 3 days." Tigh: "Hell of a bargain for a few confiscated weapons." Jammer: "What about the ten innocent people? Why don't you tell Duck what a bargain you got for Nora's life!" Tigh: "You got that ass backwards sonny. We didn't shoot those people. The chrome jobs did." Jammer: "Because we hid weapons there." Tigh: "Hey, we're not playing patty cake here. These bastards burned up 20 billion of us. You gonna say that's our fault too? Instead of bawling like a little girl you should focus on getting some payback." Jammer: "Is that all this is about to you? Blood for blood?" Tigh: "We're at war. War is messy. People get killed. Good people. Nice people. Get that through your head or get out. We don't need any crybabies in this outfit."
- Jammer meeting with Doral.

My Review
First, a few words about the concept of the webisodes. Using the internet to proliferate episodes is a good idea, but Sci Fi's implementation of the idea leaves much to be desired. We got a series of low quality short clips that follow an unusually straightforward plot. Why didn't they just give us a nice full quality episode in high definition available for download on their website instead of short little low quality clips in embedded Flash? This is supposed to be a professional production, not some half-assed YouTube upload.

A FAQ on Sci Fi's website answered the question: "Why can't I download the webisodes to watch on my computer offline?" with the response: "For legal reasons, SCIFI.COM can only offer the webisodes in a streaming (non-downloadable) format." But the reasoning behind that response is shoddy. Nothing transmitted over the internet is "non-downloadble." Just because the webisodes are not automatically cached due to the obfuscated method by which they're streamed does not mean that they are unrecordable.

Within hours of the first websisode being released, they were already being distributed en masse by third parties. Why did they even care to stop people from saving them anyway? They don't seem to care about people recording television broadcasts with DVRs or VCRs. What a silly policy, and as a result of the false sense of security they feel by distributing the webisodes this way, we the viewers had to suffer with watching them in abysmal video quality.

That said, let's discuss the plot. Even months into the Cylon occupation, the resistance movement against the Cylons is still in its infancy. I find this to be a somewhat extraordinary amount of time, personally. What have they been doing for two months? Playing cards? The webisodes are also partially disappointing in that they focus only on minor characters like Duck, his new wife Nora, and Jammer rather than giving us pertinent information about the nitty gritty details of the resistance movement's formation. While it seems obvious that leaving out some of the more important characters was done to keep costs low, you're left wondering where Starbuck and Ellen Tigh are, who are not mentioned at all. Their absence is quite jarring.

The webisodes develop slowly, giving us bits about how Duck refuses to join the resistance movement and Jammer doesn't like Tigh's idea to hide weapons in the temple. This leads to Nora's dramatic death, radicalizing Duck. But even that though left somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth, because you never actually see any Cylons come into the temple and shoot anybody. You just hear it in the background. Once again, this seems like a cost cutting move to me.

Duck finding out the root cause of Nora's death was a fun set of scenes. His moving from grieving and sadness to anger and rage was quite well done. This leads to a fascinating exchange between Jammer and Tigh concerning the morality of putting innocent lives at risk to further the resistance movement. Jammer is then taken prisoner briefly by an Aaron Doral model Cylon and a curious dialog is exchanged between them. After Duck's traumatic loss and Jammer's morality crisis, the webisodes end with both Duck and Jammer at risk of becoming collaborators.

The plot is, as I've said, straightforward. This is because the episode was supposed to have been considered optional. I'm not a fan of the concept of an optional episode in general; while I'm glad to be getting more material this season and there was value in this piece, the better side of my critical nature tells me that less is more. Brevity is often a valuable tool in writing and the webisodes truly are an optional piece. Watching them prior to the subsequent episode Occupation is really not necessary, unless you for some reason really like the characters of Duck and Jammer, as this really isn't much of a Tyrol, Tigh, or Cally piece.

The end of season 2 left us wondering not "what will happen next" but instead "why did this all happen this way?" The webisodes don't answer "why." They only answer "what." It was obvious what would happen next. At the end of Lay Down Your Burdens Part 1, I was sure the colonials would settle the planet and the Cylons would find them. At the end of Lay Down Your Burdens Part 2, I was sure a resistance movement would form and that they'd eventually escape Cylon oppression. The important question is not what will happen next, but why did this happen this way? What are the Cylons planning? A successful successor to Lay Down Your Burdens should answer that question and The Resistance does not.

So okay, big deal, right? It's an optional episode. I get that. But sometimes less really is more.

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