In-Detail: If you have to get divorced in order to see this episode, it’s definitely worth it.
I’m not going to waste time providing an episode summary, since Mr. Cogley did a far better job at this than I ever could.
The mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica, ‘Revelations’, is a sheer masterpiece of television production. Almost sublime pacing, fantastic effects, and a musical score that would rival Hollywood productions; the episode brings months of plot movement to a satisfying conclusion and readies the show for progression into a new, different era.
As I said, this is not a recap, so I just want to comment briefly on some of the episode’s strong and few weak points.
In terms of performances, full marks this week to Edward James Olmos (Adama), Michael Hogan (Tigh) and Jamie Bamber (Apollo). The Adama breakdown scene was one of the most human, sincere and well-acted scenes I have ever seen on television; the intensity of emotion as he lay in Lee’s arms was hair-raising.
Also impressive was Tigh’s long-awaited confession to Adama of his Cylon nature. I must admit, I didn’t know if Tigh would confess or if Adama would find out in the end, but I’m glad the writers went the confession route. Scenes between Olmos and Hogan generally are excellent to watch, but this week’s raised the bar.
Jamie Bamber’s Lee Adama really seems to perform well in the Presidential role – Bamber seems to enjoy playing it, and his performance this week was typically gutsy and determined, but most importantly, believable.
Honorable mention to Lucy Lawless, who has reversed my “talentless waste-of-space” first impression to “rather talented individual”. Innuendo thy name is not.
The pacing, one of Battlestar’s weaker points this season, was fantastic. Each scene was perfectly timed with meaning and importance. The plot drove forward steadily without seeming too rushed (often the problem with mid-season finales [and this feels like a full season finale, given the 2009 return date] – for examples of how not to pace your season finale, see ’24’).
If I had one criticism in terms of the pacing, I would say that the jump to Earth perhaps came a little too quickly. Since it supposedly took weeks for the Cylon basestar to get back to Galactica, it seems almost implausible that one jump should take us to Earth. Although perhaps there was another break in the show’s chronology here, it still seemed a little rushed. Minor nitpick though, but you know how I love those.
Standout mention to Bear McCreary‘s musical score this week; the effect of the deathly vocals coupled with trademark McCreary drums and the subtle Celtic influence that runs through Galactica playing over the image of Saul Tigh, standing in the airlock awaiting death, was simply sublime. Top grade material.
The ending. I won’t say how it ended: I don’t want to risk someone accidentally jumping over the page and spoiling something: check out Cogley’s review if you want to know. I have to say, I didn’t really get the sucker-punch that many viewers described. I’ve seen this one coming for a very, very long time – in fact, it just seemed naturally like what would happen, given the amount of time that had passed since all the scriptures had been written. Maybe I was alone in that, but I didn’t feel the shock. I knew something had to be coming – it was all too easy. Believe it or not, I’d managed to avoid all the spoilers (even the ones posted on my own website, does that make me a hypocrite?) so I honestly didn’t know how it was going to end. Nonetheless, I can’t say I was surprised.
But that’s not to take away from a simply fantastic hour of television. It’s definitely amongst my top three ‘Battlestar’ episodes of all time; which co-incidentally are possibly my top three episodes of anything, perhaps with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “In the Pale Moonlight” the only real challenger to break into the top five. It’s forty-two minutes that roll by, and leave you wishing for more. I pray there’ll be some BSG TV movies to whet our appetite in the mean-time – a 2009 return date is positively painful to even think about.
Grade: 98% (A)