The thing with shows such as BSG and the simply brilliant cop drama The Wire is that they set the bar so high in terms of sheer entertainment, that it is almost impossible for them to consistently deliver the levels of excellence we’ve greedily come to expect.
This week’s episode was actually not all that bad, in fact it was pretty good, but compared to the pant-wettingly brilliant instalments the previous two weeks it felt like a bit of a let down. It’s ridiculous, of course, almost like complaining about the lobster because I’ve been spoon-fed foie-gras for the last few weeks.
Jumping between present-day Galactica and a resurrected Ellen (who is resurrected 18 months ago after being poisoned on New Caprica) the episode is crammed full of plot development and revelations about the final five. Ellen’s rebirth marks one hell of a transformation for a character we last saw sleeping with the enemy. She looks ten year’s younger for a start and has the kind of sass and intelligence we never saw in her time with Colonel Tigh.
We quickly learn she was the leader of the final five and the driving force behind their escape from Earth and journey to the colonies. There’s also a very interesting conflict set up between her and John with some superb lines of dialogue exchanged between the town as he laments his biological form and strives for machine-like perfection whilst she extols the beauties of human life from creative to compassion and love.
I think in these two, the lines are being drawn for the final battle and the fact that the conflict between humanity and hardware could interestingly be played out by Cylons rather than humans. There is also a neat bit of explanation as we learn the vindictive John is responsible for boxing the final five models and scattering them amongst the humans as a form of petty revenge, neatly wrapping up their integration with the fleet.
Sam is another pivotal figure in this week’s episode, with the bullet lodged in his brain from last week providing an insight into around 3000-odd years of lost memories. This leads to a pretty detailed back history of the final five’s journey from earth and the origins of the Cylons’ religious beliefs. There’s too many to list here and almost too many for the whole episode; I just have to wonder with so much of the story left to tell how the writers are going to fit it into a measly handful of episodes.
Finally, back on Galactica, their continued flight from the Cylons continues to take its toll: the wounded line the corridors outside of the medical bay, the president laments over the loss of the Corum and all but gives up power to Apollo, and the ship itself is rotten to its very core. The scars of battle are inescapable and it is perhaps telling that Adama must cast off his own fears to find a Cylon solution to a human problem, injecting the machines into the bones of the Galactica, for so long the final bastion of human hope.
As I’ve already said, it’s a good episode, but not great and I must admit I’m starting to get a little nervous that there is still so much left for this show to say in such a short space of time.
Check out a review of episode 14 here.