Battlestar Galactica season 2 episode 1 review: Scattered

The second season of Battlestar Galactica kicks off, and it's got a lot of work to get through...

2.1 Scattered

Well blimey. It’s fair to say that the fit has well and truly hit the shan.

Picking up in the immediate aftermath of the scream-at-your-telly good cliffhanger at the end of season one, there’s immediately a fair amount of business to sort out in Scattered. Firstly, Commander Adama is critically hurt, and thus the fight is on the save his life. It doesn’t help that Doctor Cottle, conveniently, is off Galactica at the time, and thus it’s left to the on-board medics to do their worst.

Then there’s the implied baby of Baltar and Number Six that we saw at the end of season one. Only it’s not implied any more; it’s a girl. This, inevitably, raises questions about what happens to a half-human, half-Cylon child, and given that Caprica Boomer’s got one in her tummy too, this is surely ripe for further exposition. Not in this episode, though.

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In the absence of Adama, Tigh takes command of Galactica, and immediately sends Apollo off to the brig for attempted mutiny. When, inevitably, Adama comes round, there’s going to be some interesting conflicts to resolve there, but given that Starbuck is still feeling the after-effects of her damaged knee, I’m not expecting a quick and simple recovery for the Commander.

During her quick stop on the Cylon BaseStar at the end of the last season, it seems that the Galactica version of Boomer spilled more than we saw, and the show gets to demonstrate what looks like an enhanced effects budget when a spectacular-looking Cylon attack begins on Galactica. Tigh orders a very quick jump, but makes his error: Galactica jumps, but when it reappears, the rest of the fleet is nowhere to be seen. It seems that Tigh didn’t check everyone had the correct co-ordinates before the jump, and it’s also the latest sign that Tigh doesn’t stand up to pressure well. Unless he has a drink in his hand.

The only solution, it’s concluded, is to jump back to the original position, calculate the co-ordinates for the rest of the fleet, and jump again. This isn’t an instant job, though, and with the Cylons likely to be awaiting them, it all stands to leave Galactica exposed in the midst of a Cylon attack force for around 10 minutes at least. More than enough to be blasted out of the sky.

Tigh, therefore, decides to break Adama’s golden rule, and gives the nod for the computers on-board Galactica to be networked. This has the upside of allowing all of the ship’s combined computer power to work on the new co-ordinates, but also, should the Cylons hack the network, it puts the entire ship at risk.

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I love the fact that Galactica is such a low-tech ship by comparison, and this for me instantly set off alarm bells as the biggest risk that the crew had undertaken to date. Granted, a five-stage firewall is erected and put in place, but everyone knows that it’s just a matter of time before the Cylons get through it.

When the Cylon virus attack comes, it reminded me of a scene in the movie Sneakers, where the tension was ratcheted up simply by the use of a graphic on-screen of a call being traced. It worked for Galactica here, too, and just in the nick of, the co-ordinates are found, and the network is taken offline. But surely, surely, there’ll be some lasting damage to come? The idea of going against technological trends is a compelling one, and for such a golden, grounding rule to be broken must have consequences. Galactica does meet up with the rest of the fleet, anyway, and the tactic proves successful for now.

We’ve got other stories scattered around, though. On the surface of Kobol, the crash survivors beat a hasty retreat when they hear enemy ships coming their way, and – to the objections of The Chief – leave medical supplies behind. That bites them on the backside when there’s not enough with them to treat Socinus, who is heavily wounded. Nothing for it: they’re going to have to go back for another medkit, a mission that leads to Tarn being killed. That survivor count continues to drop.

Then there’s Starbuck and Helo on Caprica. Mid-argument about the Caprica version of Boomer, she promptly nicks the Cylon Raider that Starbuck had utilised to get to Caprica, leaving them stranded. Oh dear.

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Back to Galactica, though, and the cliffhanger is a corker. A new type of bogey had made up part of the Cylon attack force, and we see it landed on-board Galactica at the end of the episode. When the doors open, it’s packed full of Cylon Centurions, which prompts the appearance of the To Be Continued card, and subsequently prompts me to scream at the television. Again. It’s a good job I bought the box set, because leaving a week between these episodes would drive me up the wall.

Next episode, then, is Valley Of Darkness. And I’d better submit this article pronto so I can get on with watching it…

Check out our review of the season one finale, Kobol’s Last Gleaming here.