Battlestar Galactica: Razor
For the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to figure out if I liked “Razor” because it was a really cool two-hour episode of one of my favorite TV shows or if it’s just that it’s been so long since we had any new Galactica that you could have shown “Black Market” and I’d have loved every last second of it.
Honestly, I think it’s a litle of both. Yes, “Razor” was pretty darn good, but I think the fact that it’s the first new Galactica since March also played into it.
Watching “Razor,” it’s easy to see that was intended as a love-letter to the Galactica audience. If you’re coming in as a new fan, you’re probably not going to enjoy this one. I can see how SciFi might have wanted a two-hour movie event, ala Babylon Five’s “In the Beginning” to help new viewers get a taste of what the show was about and why people love it so much. But “Razor” is no where near as new-fan friendly as “In the Beginning” was, though both do give away SPOILERS for events that happen later in the series.
“Razor” is fully intended for the Battlestar fan who is keeping up with things. I think a big part of it was to remind us that season four is coming and to whet our appetites for it.
In that case, mission accomplished.
“Razor” follows, for the most part, a couple of missions of the Battlestar Pegasus. One storyline follows it from the time of the Cylon attack on the colonies to its meeting with Galactica in season two. The other Pegasus-centered storyline follows one of Lee Adama’s first mission as the commander of Pegasus, purusing a scientific expidition that’s gone missing. Each story is tied together by the character of Kendra Shaw. The title refers to Shaw’s going from a blunt rookie to a sharp, pointed officer who become an extension of the command style and leadership of Admiral Caine. The story also fills in some gaps, such as why the Gina Cylon sought out and killed Caine when released by Baltar as well as showing us the scene where Caine gunned down her XO for disobeying orders (we’d previously heard it referenced).
The character examination of Caine is meant to be a mirror held up to what Bill Adama could have been. Whereas Adama decided to lead the fleet on a mission to ensure the survival of humanity, Caine decides to lead her ship on a quest for revenge. Part of this is she’s having a relationship with the Gina Cylon before the attacks. Adama admits in one of the late scenes that were it not for having Roslin and Lee around, he could easily have gone down the same path of obsessed revenge that Caine does. It also brings up the question of–does the end always justify the means, esp. in times of war? And what are the personal consequences to that. At one point, we see Shaw in a standoff with a civilian freighter of Caine’s orders. Caine has decided what parts her ship will take and which personnel. She’s leaving the rest to die, but doesn’t care. It’s Shaw who starts a riot by shooting part of the mob protesting these orders. This decision haunts her throughout the story and leads to her eventually sacrficing herself in an attempt at some kind of personal redemption.
But while it shines a new light on some familiar ground, “Razor” also drops hints for the fourth and final season of Battlestar. The oft-used “All that has happened before and will happen again” line comes up, but this time we get a new prophecy–that Kara “Starbuck” Thrace will lead humanity to its destruction. Of course, only we the audience know this, so it should be interesting to see if and how this plays out in season four.
There’s also the interesting possibility that by having some old-school Cylons and Cylon ships in the show, that Ron Moore may be trying to tie the new Galatica to the old Galactica. The whole ‘This has happened before and will again” could play into that. I’ve heard the old-school Cylons we saw here may be back for season four.
For now, “Razor” did what it needed to do–reminded me why I love Galactica and how season four can’t get here soon enough.