Battlestar Galactica – Sine Qua Non – Review

LeeAdamaA few weeks ago, I wrote of my disappointment with Battlestar Galactica’s recent progress.  I criticised a slow-down of pace, a lack of movement, and my fears that the show might fade to a whimpering finale. 

I am very pleased to report that following the episodes of the past three weeks, and the episode due to air this Friday on Sci-Fi, that reports of Galactica’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Gone are the long episodes of few developments; we had them in abundance this week.  From Lee’s appointment to the Presidency, Adama’s resignation to Saul impregnating the captured Six.  Suddenly, each scene has a definite meaning, where before they would bear little consequence on the rest of the plot.  Now, there’s almost too much going on!  That’s not a complaint, this time, it’s refreshing.

Noteworthy performances this week came from Jamie Bamber and Mark Sheppard conjuring up fascinating scenes between Lee and Romo.  The two play well off each other, and the drawing of the weapon as Romo threatens to kill him works extremely well, dramatically.  If ever a Galactica character was unpredictable and difficult to understand, Romo fits the bill.

RomoHowever, the stand-out acting award this week really must be between the ever-steady Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan for producing one of the most noteworthy Adama/Tigh sequences in recent seasons.  The violence of the punch-up, the shock as Tigh ruins Adama’s model ship which we have watched him perfect for years; even the sudden switch to humour after the final blow – it’s a sign of such a strong character dynamic.  The Adama/Tigh friendship is the sort that takes seasons for form, and it’s paying dividends here.  Magnificent. 

The directing was strong, again.  Perhaps not as powerful as last week’s show, but still tidy and efficient, with some of the shots proving particularly smooth; for instance, Adama inspecting the wreckage of the Raptor while Tigh climbs up the ramp to speak to him.  It doesn’t sound impressive, nor will it probably seem that impressive to watch, but the slick level of professional directing that pulses through Galactica really makes the show standout.  In the context of BSG, the shot doesn’t stand out miles – on any other show on Sci-Fi, the quality would scream out to the viewer.

If I ha any criticism of the recent weeks (and I am scraping the barrel here) it would be the increasing volume of metaphorical dialogue.  Especially notable in Adama’s goodbye to Lee and Starbuck tonight, there essentially was not one word spoken other than reciting old lines for poignant effect.  This can be stunningly effective, but I don’t want to see Galactica overplay this card, especially coming into the final half-season.  The writers are more than capable of writing stand-out character interaction, but sometimes falling back on either previously-spoken lines or emotive metaphorical diction can have the opposite effect.

Stand-out star: Edward James Olmos (Adama)
Rating: 4/5
Final Thoughts: Strong, pacy and full of great performances.  Roll on next week!

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