The first episode of season four of Battlestar Galactica (mostly) did not disappoint – Kara’s back, the four new Cylons get a proper airing, and the CGI is better than ever. Unfortunately, Gaius’ predicament needs a bit of work. But let’s start from the beginning: there’s a brand new pre-title sequence, showing images of the eleven unmasked Cylons, and stating, unequivocally ‘one will be revealed’ – whether it’s before or after the split of the season remains to be seen. Yep, that’s right – if you hadn’t realised it before, the twenty episodes that make up season four will most likely be split, with ten being shown now and another ten in… 2009. Watch this space for more info…
Anyway, on to the action: the main plot of this episode is Kara Thrace’s return. She was last seen on a suicidal dive into a big swirly thing with an expression on her face not unlike a recently converted Moonie. Now she’s back, and claims to have found Earth: ‘big blue oceans, fluffy white clouds… you’re going to love it!’ Luckily, no one’s told her about egg ‘n’ ham slabs, Dream Team or Cliff Richard’s 1981 hit ‘Wired for Sound’. Yes, being rude about civilisation’s multifarious failings is never going to get old.
It’s not that simple, though… Her viper, old and battered when she left, is now shiny and new (except for the light smattering of Cylon brains), with the navigation computer totally empty (although, oddly, the gun camera has taken photographs). Kara thinks she’s been gone for six hours, the rest of the crew tell her it’s been two months and they all thought she was dead (Lee, obviously, gives her a hug of inappropriate length at this point). They also can’t find the solar system she describes as being home to Earth, with a ‘large gas planet’ with ‘rings’. Patrick Moore would be furious.
Due to all this, Roslin and Adama are understandably suspicious… is she the final Cylon? Is it all a trick? The captured Six has told Roslin that she can ‘feel’ the final five are nearby, and as such neither the Admiral or the President are paying any attention to Kara’s directions, and are instead following the route pointed out by the supernova, which Kara has been drawing all her life. Why does Kara suddenly feel this is the wrong way? Where has her special connection with the pattern gone? Every jump she claims she’s losing her ability to know the way to Earth, and at the end of the episode, she has a tantrum (i.e. knocks out two armed guards and her husband) bursts into Adama’s quarters (where Roslin just happens to be staying, nudge nudge) and confronts the President.
But enough about Kara, what about the rest of the crew, especially our freshly milled Cylons: Tigh, Tory, Anders and the Chief? While there’s a cheap scare at the beginning of the episode as Tigh imagines himself neatly shooting the Admiral through the right lens, it’s Samuel T. Anders who really steals the best reveals. Looking properly fit in a viper pilot jumpsuit, Anders heads out to fight the Cylons, but in his first head to head battle with a raider, he’s scanned, and there’s a welcome return of the red flashing last seen on naked Sharon’s spine as she’s frakking Helo back on nuked Caprica. Anders’ eyes flash red in response to the raider, who then seemingly calls off the whole attack. Why is unclear: is it because the raider saw that Anders had been activated? If so, does that mean the as yet undiscovered four will act soon? Does this mean Helo’s the last Cylon (dear gods please no)?
Finally, Gaius. Led away at the end of season three by some women in autumn colours, the theme continues as they house him in what is clearly the ‘Arabian Nights’ collection in Habitat. His status in the group is revealed by a shrine, complete with portrait and flashing fairy lights. Tasteful as all this is, the tally of women who throw themselves at the conniving ex-President is added to by some jailbait, and he spares no time in getting busy. Soon, the rest of the Movementarians, I mean monotheists, arrive and present him with Derek, a child/plot device as pasty as Chris Evans and about as sweaty. Derek serves as yet another way for Gaius to run the gauntlet of god’s will, and allows him to enunciate reaching rock bottom. In an uncharacteristic (and rather unbelievable) show of selflessness, Gaius begs for his life to be taken, and the child’s spared. As such, both are spared, and his own personal Six smirks and tells him how he just needs to trust in god and everything will be fine. She’s taken to wearing red woollen suits and looks pleased about it.
Despite this, however, all in all it was a great first episode. The CGI at the beginning should be especially commended as absolutely stunning and the stories of Starbuck and the newly revealed Cylons were as surprising as they were intriguing. They just need to stop Rev. Gaius and his band of loyal housewives from ruining all the action. Fairy lights indeed.