Season Premiere – Battlestar Galactica Season Four – “He That Believeth In Me”

“He That Believeth In Me”

April 4th, 2008

I had said earlier this week that I was going to spend copious amounts of time analyzing the third season of Battlestar Galactica…and then proceeded to spend copious amounts of time watching it instead. As a result, I expected to enter into this episode ready to compare it to the season which preceded it.

Instead, I’m comparing it to Lost.

Like any good serialized show of this nature, Ronald D. Moore and Co. ended last season on a cliffhanger, something it has done in past seasons. However, something was different this time around: I don’t know if it is that the stakes are lower, or the action slower, but something has changed. My point of comparison is this season’s Lost premiere: we had the revelation in the previous Finale, so the premiere will pale by comparison.

I think, in this case, I had already watched this episode in my head: the new Cylons happening to stumble into scenarios where people question their humanity unknowingly, Starbuck struggling to return to the real world after her absence, and everything being very bizarre for Gaius Baltar. I think the problem was that the episode never went beyond that: it was great for what it was, but having already deduced much of this myself I was sort of behind.

I actually quite loved the episode: laughed out loud, gasped in horror, loved the acting, etc. It’s just that after such a huge revelation, what was put on the screen was everything we had already imagined as fans of the series dealing with a year-long hiatus. And, well, that’s kind of a let down. But, let’s discuss further.

Let’s start with the most telling moment: Anders is in the Viper, the Raider turns and scans his victim, and then the Cylons fly away. It raises a lot of questions, which perhaps made it more frustrating that we don’t get any of them until next week. I will presume that the Five will become more important to the Cylons just as it is to the humans: the changed text at the episode’s opening is telling of that.

“There are twelve Cylon models. Seven are Known. Four are Hidden. One Remains.” I think that’s at least close to the new text that has replaced the opening explanation, a sign that we’ve moved past the pre-existing binary to a larger question, larger than humanity vs. Cylons. I like this, and wish that we could have seen more of it in the episode.

What we got instead was the logical scenarios: newfound Cylons share telling glances, newfound Cylons have secret meetings, newfound Cylons have awkward moments with members of the crew. We had Tigh’s vision of shooting Adama, Tori’s awkward “It could be something else” moment with Roslin, Tyrol interacting with Athena (Sharon), and of course Anders with Kara. They were all played well, but were also all pretty obvious.

I was more impressed with how they handled Starbuck, if only because it was slightly less predictable. The questions that everyone asked are the same ones the audience did: the point is to get us asking the question of whether she is a Cylon. I don’t think she is – the Cylons wouldn’t bother risking sending her back if that was the case. I like that there is no logical explanation for her return: it is a question, an unresolved mystery that has already begun to haunt Kara. I don’t know if I buy the cliffhanger (She isn’t going to, seconds after deciding to go talk to her, kill Roslin), but I thought that Sackhoff nicely walked the line between smarmy pilot and, ultimately, tortured soul.

And yet, for me, my favourite storyline was the one not connected to any of this, the salvation of Gaius Baltar by, apparently, a cult of women. I think there were a few men, but it’s dominated by females who seem to operate some form of harem considering how many of them desire to sexually engage with the good doctor. My favourite moment in the entire episode was Baltar’s hilarious assurance that he had been praying for Derek, a wonderfully played moment from James Callis.

I think I liked this storyline best only because I don’t know where it’s going: I don’t think Baltar healed the child (I think he went and got medicine from the clinic, he was looking at the door one second and then not the next – I think time passed), but what if he did? And is he willing to die now that he has his freedom? It’s an intriguing question, the one true unknown: we knew things would be complicated, but will he find the one true God in the process.

For next week, though, we follow through on what Caprica Six feels: she feels the Final Five near here, which does give creedence to theories that a member of the crew is, in fact, the remaining member of the five. Either way, we are clearly heading towards earth, and in the process we will hopefully be breaking some new ground. As it stands, I’m still waiting to receive the vision for the final 19 episodes to come.

Cultural Observations

  • Let’s discuss Starbuck’s story: she goes into the gas giant, she wakes up orbiting Earth (And remembers Saturn and a comet), and then suddenly she’s back at the nebula in time to talk to Lee. It’s very strange, and one wonders where the Cylons were even directly involved. Kara thinks she followed a Raider, but there’s no proof of that – what if it’s God himself? Cylon seems to easy, at this point.
  • Disappointed we didn’t get to spend much time with Roslin and Adama together – I appreciate Roslin/Six, but I felt like they needed a really involved strategy session that they never got to have. I can’t wait for Adama’s eventual siding with Kara (It’s gotta happen), and the fight that ensues.
  • My runner-up for favourite moment? When Lee asked his father what he would have done if Zack had gotten out of that viper. It was a ballsy call on his part, and even though we got only a glimpse I think I like this new Lee. Plus, it’s the night’s “Oh Snap!” moment.
  • In case you were wondering about my thoughts on Season Three: Opening great, Love Square Awful, Unfinished Business unfairly criticized, Eye of Jupiter decent, Rough patch leading to finale, Strong Momentum. As for how that continues…ask me next week. Then we’ll know.

1 Comment

Filed under Battlestar Galactica

One response to “Season Premiere – Battlestar Galactica Season Four – “He That Believeth In Me”

  1. Pingback: Preparing for ‘Revelations’: Revisiting Battlestar Galactica Season Four Thus Far « Cultural Learnings

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