Battlestar Galactica maintains the tension through the second episode, and deepens the puzzle of Boomer.


“Water”

Cast and Crew:

Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama
Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Grace Park as Sharon “Boomer” Valerii
Michael Hogan as Col. Tigh

Writer: Ronald D. Moore

Director: Marta Grabiak

Plot:

“Boomer” wakes up covered in water and discovers some missing explosive charges. Soon after, an explosion releases critical water supplies into space.

High Points:

The remarkable contrast between beautifully-filmed space opera– the ships in flight, the water pouring into space– and small character moments– Tigh examining his bottle, Starbuck lighting her rare cigar. With Kara, Galactica does something well which recent incarnations of Star Trek have muffed badly. Yeah, they’ve created a butt-kicking Space Babe, but they’ve made her believable, personally flawed, and filled with ambivalent attitudes towards others. Notice her interaction with Dr. Baltar in this episode, in particular. They’ve also shown no interest in gratuitous exploitation.

Low Point:

I accepted the dramatic coincidence in last week’s plot— though others found it irksome. Sometimes, coincidences happen, and in this case we don’t know for certain if the supposed presence of someone with information on Baltar aboard the Olympia is a coincidence. However, they shouldn’t have something like that happen every week.

In the second episode, Boomer’s ship happens to be the one that discovers the necessary water. The episode uses this fact well, giving us some tense moments and further insight into how the Cylon sleeper agents work. At that point, however, I start to worry if unlikely dramatic coincidence will become a staple on this generally excellent show.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6. Hard SF, particularly the earlier stuff, often based plots on the handling and risks to basic necessities in space. Such plots have been surprisingly rare in mass-media SF, however.

Effects: 6/6

Story: 4/6 The episode maintained a high level of intensity. The show’s story-arc approach works well for character development, but it also means that we can expect most episodes, like this one, will leave much unresolved. How much should we consider overall story arc– which we’ve not yet seen– in ranking an episode’s story?

Acting: 5/6. I accept these characters– though the Presidential Aide seems a little less believable than the others.

Emotional Response: 5/6 The tension remains high, and I’m starting to care about the characters. I’m particularly interesting in seeing how the sleeper agent develops– and I would refer back to my “High Points” for commentary on another character.

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Water” receives 35/42

Additional Comments:

1.We’re learning more about the sleeper agents– though we still don’t know what the Boomer on occupied Caprica intends.

2. The original Battlestar Galactica ran into a handful of alien species. This episode refers to most of space as “barren,” and suggests that we won’t be stopping in on the Tucana Lounge Singers in this new series. Clearly, the colonies are the only known easily-habitable planets. This is likely for the best, since (1) the lack of life-friendly planets makes pit stops more difficult and (2) the lack of other civilizations strengthens the conflict between humans and Cylons. Still, I have to wonder how the people behind this show would handle, say, the Ovians.