TV Review: 'Battlestar Galactica: Razor'
It's all happened before, and will all happen again
With the telemovie "Battlestar Galactica: Razor," we find out what really happened before the Pegasus and Galactica reunited. In the words of too many Cylons, this has all happened before, and it will all happen again.
"Razor," which airs at 9 p.m. Nov. 24 on Sci-Fi, twines two plots. The more recent takes place during season two, just after Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) is given command of the Pegasus. A Raptor has gone missing while running scientific tests on a nearby supernova, and when Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) investigates, she's ambushed by mysterious Cylon ships. Mysterious, oval-shaped Cylon ships piloted by old-school Centurions...
In the second plot, Lt. Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen) joins the Pegasus crew just before the Cylon sneak attack that kicked off the entire series.
The Shaw storyline is by far more interesting, beginning as it does with a breathtaking view of the devastation that marked the end of civilization. A softer Cain learns quickly to walk the razor's edge (hence the title) between sacrificing soldiers and preserving the human race. Unfortunately, a surprising betrayal sends Cain over the edge psychologically, with soldiers like Shaw somewhat too eager to follow her descent. Here we also learn how the Pegasus survived (the ship's network, being serviced by bio-Cylon Gina (Tricia Helfer) was down for maintenance the day of the attack).
The Centurion storyline brings back the 1970s baddies as a now-obsolete elite force during the first Cylon War. These elder toasters are guardians of a lost basestar containing a failure on the Cylons' path to become biological. And now, with all those tasty humans around, the hybrid wants more fleshy bits to complete its transformation. It's up to Starbuck, Shaw and the Pegasus crew to make" sure that doesn't happen.
"Razor" is a delight, not only because we get to hear "By your command" the way it was meant to be droned. The special effects are worthy of the big screen (and in fact "Razor" did screen in select cities at the beginning of November). As mentioned above, the Cylon nuke attack on the colonies is terrifyingly beautiful. The characters are more problematic. Cain falls too quickly into a win-at-all-costs mentality. Shaw, too, goes from seemingly normal to sacrificing civilians, and we're never given a decent explanation as to why.
As usual with "Battlestar Galactica," the writers want us to see both sides of the razor. With the exception of Gina's torture, Cain's actions are very nearly defensible in the context of survival. They are also easily forgiven in a society where, in an echo of current events, military action is venerated above the civilian life it supposedly defends.
Try and count the jumps back in time: '70s Centurions, a flashback (starring young Adama) within a flashback within a flashback, catchphrases thrown around since the beginning of the series. We can safely say the fourth and final season's theme will be that this has all happened before, and it will all happen again.