Battlestar Galactica – 2×01

I’ve cracked. I can’t wait until Season 2 airs on Sky One, allegedly not until October. I’ve turned to downl… er… intuiting the episodes by examining sunspot activity. If you, like me, have all the willpower of a blancmange, read on, but beware ye the SPOILERS of doom…

Battlestar Galactica – 2×01 – Scattered

Although it would be impossible for any opening episode to match the emotional crescendo of the season finale, this episode succeeds remarkably well in presenting a more or less seamless continuation of the story. There are so many plates to keep spinning here that it’s something of a miracle that each storyline gets a moment in the limelight. They’re forced to cheat slightly, with Starbuck, Baltar and President Roslin more or less put in a holding pattern, deftly recapping their respective situations without taking them forward.

The main thrust of the episode is Tigh’s struggle to keep things together while Adama is incapacitated. Leaving aside his somewhat two dimensional Dynasty-meets-Lady-Macbeth wife, Tigh is a compelling character and it’s interesting to see him out of his depth; indeed, I could have done without him coping quite so well as he does here. The flashbacks to his early years with Adama are slight, but skilfully interspersed with current events. His interrogation of Boomer is stunningly brutal, and a reminder of why this show stands head and shoulders above other recent SF shows in presenting a believable, flawed set of characters. (One of the great things about the scattering of the colonial fleet in this episode is that it comes down, not to some technobabble anomaly, but to simple human error.)

Paralleling Tigh’s storyline are the twin threads of the medic forced to operate on Adama, and the out-of-his-depth lieutenant on Kobol. Pleasingly, not everyone rises to the occasion, with harrowing results.

The weakest element of the episode is the space battle. The special effects in the mini-series made a real impact, but since then the space battles have often seemed cluttered and unfocussed, without any real narrative thread. The problem is slightly alleviated by the appearance of a new kind of Cylon ship, but only slightly. I’m also not sure the Cylon virus made a lick of sense, but I’ll gloss over that.

Lastly, can I get a “hell yeah” for the lack of spoilery clips in the opening credits? I think I can.

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