Battlestar Galactica Revisited: 2.04 Resistance
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. We continue with season two's Resistance and the dramatic fall out of Tigh's declaration of marshal law...
The long-form narrative of season two really kicks up a gear in the next episode of Battlestar Galactica. Colonel Saul Tigh continues to remain hopelessly out of his depth, turning to the bottle and his twisted, destructive relationship with Ellen in the outcome of his declaration of marshal law. As the incarcerated President Laura Roslin laments early in the episode, something terrible is coming and soon enough, the military seizure of power turns to bloodshed and mutiny.
There's a terrific pace to the episode; no sooner as Saul dissolved the government, then the crew of Galactica are turning against him. Apollo and Dualla's daily conversations on the way to the brig, plotting to find a way to undo the colonel's actions, frame the fallout day on day. In the space of one episode, Dualla, Racetrack, Doc Cottle and a number of soldiers readily engage in Apollo's plan to sneak Roslin off the ship and start a resistance in the fleet. Everyone knows just how dangerous Saul Tigh is and how his actions will leave humanity easy pickings for the Cylons.
Roslin's escape is packed with tension - not least in the surprise confrontation with the guard who dithers on whether to follow protocol or her conscience. Gaeta remains another wild card. While Dualla is strong in her convictions to help the building resistance, Gaeta remains a by the book officer through and through. He surely suspects Dualla of her complicit actions, but he won't go as far as to involve himself too. And that's the real tragedy of the events unfolding in this episode. The inevitable deaths of civilians as the fleet holds resource and the military is sent in to seize supplies is just the prelude to civil war. Billy choosing not to follow the President shows just how tough the choices are everyone in the fleet is forced to make.
In all this tension and conflict, poor Chief Galen Tyrol finds himself suspected of being a Cylon after his actions in season one covering for his former lover Sharon. You can't help but feel sorry for the man; he still loves Sharon, despite the fact that she is a Cylon, making her betrayal of him almost as bad as the attempted assassination of Commander Adama. There's some terrific work this episode from both Aaron Douglas and Grace Park as the two characters share a cell, feeling all the loss, hatred and suspicion their circumstances find themselves in.
It's hard to tell at this stage whether Sharon telling Gaius Baltar that there are eight other Cylons in the fleet is born more out of her programming or her desperation to save the man she loves after Gaius poisons him. That scene is a tragic mirror to the end of the episode as Sharon dies in Galen's arms, shot dead by the vengeful Callie. It's a bleak ending to her story that has grown steadily more tragic over the course of the previous season. Of course, Park will still remain a big presence on the show, thanks to her alternate self last seen abandoning Helo on Caprica. And - spoilers ahead - there's still more to come from this version of Boomer later this season as the exploration of the human Cylons deepens.
Talking of Caprica, we finally start to see the wider impact of the Cylon nuclear assault on the planet as Helo and Starbuck encounter other survivors in the wilderness. Michael Trucco makes his debut on the show as Samuel Anders and there is instant chemistry with Katee Sackhoff's Kara Starbuck Thrace. The addition of new survivors takes the Caprican occupation story in an interesting new direction after the relatively solitary narrative of Helo's tale in season one.
Resistance ends with plenty of intriguing storytelling opportunities. Apollo and Roslin are now in hiding, working with the enemy of their enemy - Tom Zarek - while Tigh's actions are splintering the fleet with staggering speed. Sharon Boomer Valeri makes a tragic exit from the show. And Adama returns! Edward James Olmos has been a missed presence from season two and it's great to see him back as the fractured nature of season two civil war arc builds towards its conclusion.