Battlestar Galactica: Razor – Spoilers, Commentary and Discussion

Earlier today, I spent some time doing an “official” review of Battlestar Galactica: Razor. This was light on spoilers, and focused more on alerting people to its existence. Now, however, the geekiness begins. As mentioned, I am actually writing my thesis (partially) on Battlestar Galactica, specifically its ramifications on the longevity of medieval romantic tropes and heroic representation. And yes, it’s mildly crazy. However, in writing about the legacy of the Cylons and their complicated place within the idea of the heroic within the series, watching Razor has certainly opened a new portal of discussion. And, now, I want to be able to extend that discussion and consider the ramifications (or, perhaps, lack of ramifications) of this two-hour event on the series as a whole

[Warning: This discussion will feature major spoilers for Battlestar Galactica: Razor, and the series’ third season. Do not read if you wish to avoid these spoilers.]

The Hybrid

In terms of the series’ mythology, if you will, the most important revelation is the information regarding the process of the Cylons moving from the Centurion model to the biologically-advanced numbered models which we know as Six, Sharon, etc. I think one of the problems with the miniseries is that it was never allowed to become Adama’s story – I haven’t been watching the extended footage from that part of the story (to be restored on the DVD), but I do think that this does complicate his (and our) relationship with the Cylons.

While destroying 99% of Caprica’s population is obviously the greatest obstacle standing in the way of Cylon/Human fellowship, I think it’s interesting to know that their attempts to emulate the human form were done at great human sacrifice. I think it helps explain some of the Cylon complexes, especially the New Caprica arc – they worked tirelessly to be able to emulate their creators, and their occupation of the planetary colony represents their attempt to emulate them further. It is once again a diametrically opposed sentiment: while they are willing to kill human lives, there is also a clear reverence in their actions. They want to be one with humans again, but on their own terms – and yet, the binary is too strong for this to occur, and they will inevitably always be at war.

Which is why I’m curious to see more of Adama’s experience at the facility where the Cylons were working on creating athe hybrid which would allow them to develop into their new forms. How much did he piece together this complex action in his head, or was his blinding hatred for the Cylons blinding him to its meaning? He’s been warming up to Cylons as of late, considering his general acceptance of Sharon and all, but if his history is based upon human torture and suffering for Cylon progress there is clearly an underlying hatred that could emerge at any time (and has in the past).

The hybrid itself could be considered irrelevant (prognostication withstanding), but I think it does give us greater insight into the Cylon mind frame. While it was a fine excuse to bring back the 70s style Centurions and play with the show’s legacy, ultimately it serves as a reminder that the Cylons are a complex and intriguing element of this series. When I wrote a blog post during the third season that the show needed more Cylons, it wasn’t just about the action or suspense – there is a philosophical complexity to Cylon/Human relations which the rest of the show just can’t live up to (even though it tries ever so hard). We need more of this as the show moves forward, and I can only hope the 4th Season delivers the goods.

The Prophecy

Okay, I don’t know if it’s a prophecy or not, but the Hybrid’s warning to Kendra Shaw regarding Starbuck is precisely the type of thing which gets me excited for the show’s fourth season. Ever since Starbuck flew up alongside Lee in the season finale, I’ve been curious as to what role she’ll really be able to play: whatever happened to Starbuck, I have to assume that things won’t just revert back to normal with her character. If we were curious before, we’re dying to know at this point – Starbuck has certainly taken some leaps of faith (quite literally) in the past, such as her trip to Caprica to find the Arrow of Apollo, so will Adama place his trust in her? Or will he realize that there is danger in accepting her words?

The Hybrid really wasn’t clear, and obviously Kendra wasn’t able to get the message to Galactica – if she had, perhaps the rest of the 2nd and 3rd seasons would have gone most differently. The reason I liked this development is that it gave the hybrid story meaning that it would have otherwise not have – sure, I can wax poetic about its philosophical ramifications all I want, but considering it is destroyed and wasn’t important enough to actually make it into season two’s narrative, it is ultimately a piece of throwaway mythology for fans and fans only. Its element of foreshadowing to events we’ve already seen helped put the puzzle together, and certainly has me more hyped for the season ahead.

The Pegasus

Let’s be honest: in the end, we learned extremely little that we didn’t know from the sections of the story which focused on the pegasus. Kendra Shaw was certainly a welcome addition to the show’s universe, but her death was inevitable – while serving as a compelling stand alone narrative, her impact on the universe was (once again) obviously limited considering that she didn’t do anything to impact season two’s narrative. However, the sections did feature some nice tidbits: Gina and Cain being lovers was certainly a nice twist, as was the discovery of Gina’s true nature.

I also think the sections did a good job at lulling you into a false sense of security: we knew that Cain shot her XO in cold blood when he refused an order, but I had forgotten all about that in the heat of the moment. And there was certainly plenty of tension within this story, even when we knew its conclusion – it didn’t do anything to fundamentally change our understanding of these characters, perhaps, but it did certainly prove to be entertaining television.

Okay, I think that’s about it on this end. Anyone else have their own thoughts to add?


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