Boomer finds herself tested as Galactica faces its next crisis, in the next Battlestar Galactica Revisited from Baz Greenland.
Ronald D Moore’s re imagining of the 1970’s sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica set a gold standard, both for sci-fi and TV reboots. The darker, grittier re imagining, that saw a fleet of human ships fleeing the dreaded Cylons in search of Earth, won a whole host of awards and critical acclaims over its seven-year run. With the series looking to go through another quasi-reboot under show runner Michael Lesslie, we look back at the first reboot that defined the early days of twenty-first century television. Now we continue the journey with the second episode of season one…
The mystery of the human-Cylons – and who might be one – was one of the best arcs running throughout the first three seasons of Battlestar Galactica. Having already revealed two minor characters, Leoben Conoy and Aaron Doral, alongside Tricia Helfer’s Six in the mini-series, the big twist surrounded the identity of Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii in the closing moments. A sleeper agent, she had no idea that she was working for the enemy she was trying so desperately to escape.
33 saw a second Valerii appear to rescue Help on Cylon-occupied Caprica and this episode continues on that theme, with an unwitting Hel0 placing faith in Valerii to evade the Cylon forces. But the real meat of Water is the fate of Boomer back on Galactica. For the first time, her mission as a sleep agent kicks in, with dire consequences for the fleet. An explosion, planted by Boomer, rips through the water tanks, depleting sixty percent of the water supplies the ship – and the rest of the fleet – so desperately depends on.
Grace Park presents Boomer as an incredibly sympathetic character, awakening soaked in water with an explosive device in her bag, with no memory of how she got there. In panic, she turns to Tyrol, as she uncovers several more triggers missing – just before the explosions occur. Boomer has been presented as a character with plenty of warmth and integrity up to this point; scared by what she might have done, her Cylon programming feels as much an insidious infiltration of her personality – later, when she uncover water on a survey mission, her programming kicks in again, almost costing the fleet the supplies they so desperately need. The panic and confusion in Boomer is difficult to watch, particularly when consider her fate to come as the season progresses. It is something akin to a slow death of a beloved character.
While Boomer’s journey into darkness is at the core of Water, there are plenty of other interesting moments at play. Baltar’s first encounter with Starbuck is a lot of fun, as is his continued mind-game relationship with Six in some very awkward moments. The unease between Adama and Roslin also continues apace, both forcing themselves to indulge the pomp and circumstance of the President’s visit to Galactica because they think the other wants it. Their moments of reflection with Tigh and Billy respectively add a touch of humour and warmth to their characters among the grimness of their predicament. There is also the first hint at the relationship to come in Adama’s gift of a book to Roslin. They will come to odds more than once, but that connection that will carry them through to the end is forged in moments like these.
Water is another compelling episode, driven by panic and paranoia as Boomer takes the first dreaded steps to realising that she might be a Cylon. But it is also balanced with some nice little character moments that progress that overall plot nicely. It doesn’t have the racing tension of season opener 33, or the bigger episodes to come, but there’s plenty to enjoy as Battlestar Galactica settles into its groove.
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