Battlestar Galactica: Final Cut

Commander Adama and President Roslin grant reporter D’Anna Biers full access to the Galactica to make a film showing the human face of the military.

Cast

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

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Lucy Lawless as D’Anna Biers

Synopsis

Commander Adama and President Roslin grant reporter D’Anna Biers full access to the Galactica to make a film showing the human face of the military.

High Points

  • The final scene
  • Kat’s interview
  • Gaeta’s interview

Low Point

Baltar. He was irritating rather than interesting, this week.

The Scores

So how original is the reporter-makes-a-film plot? Not at all. This is a superb example of it, but a lot of the effects the camera has on the crew we’ve seen in other shows before. Four out of six, because they did take what we know and add a healthy dose of Galactica-style spin to it.

This week the effects were mostly flawless once more. I found the post-process effect on the reporter’s footage to be a bit strange, but there’s nothing actually wrong with it and that’s probably more of a production decision. Nothing to really blow you away this week. Five out of six.

The story could have been a filler, but it wasn’t. They don’t do fillers on Galactica, I’m pleased to say. It slots in perfectly with the existing arc, moves it along on several levels, and shows us interesting aspects of characters we were starting to take for granted. Five out of six.

I was not particularly encouraged to find that Lucy Lawless would be in this episode, as I’ve never felt that her performance in Xena: Warrior Princess could really be classed as acting. I’m glad to find that she can actually act, and does so in this episode. Good performances from everyone else, but particularly from the actors and actresses behind Gaeta, Kat and Tigh. Five out of six.

This kind of episode will either deliver no emotional response or lots. For this episode, they went for the latter. It won’t have you crying, but it did make me laugh out loud in places. Five out of six.

The production – so why does the video shot by the reporters have that strange effect on it, and why does it have the corners cut off like all their paper? For that matter, why does the paper have its corners cut off? Thoughts like that detracted somewhat from the otherwise excellent production, and perhaps I should just accept it but I’m afraid I can’t. Yes, you need something to distinguish the reporter footage from the normal view we get into that world, and yes it’s better than the white rectangle and flashing ‘REC’ used by so many less imaginative productions. But it just isn’t quite sitting well here. Four out of six.

Overall, I’m going to give this episode five out of six.

And that gives us a total of thirty-three out of forty-two.

21 replies on “Battlestar Galactica: Final Cut”

  1. Babbster says:

    Agreed And I’m An Idiot
    Specifically, agree that it was a good episode and that the cut-off corners are vaguely annoying. Every time someone on Galactica is shown holding a report of some sort with the cut-off corners I die a little inside. Rectangles seem so fundamental, and these colonists are supposed to be human, that it just doesn’t make sense to adopt a more complex shape for something as simple as paper. I can forgive it a bit more for video because once you’re making something that complex I can see putting a little “flair” into it.

    Why am I an idiot? Because I didn’t pay any attention to the credits on the episode, thought I recognized the reporter’s voice and just couldn’t get it because of her blonde hair. One would have thought that her face and body should have tipped me off. She makes a great blonde, though. :)

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Agreed And I’m An Idiot
      Aye, she does make a good blonde. It looked very fake, but it did suit her quite well, and really did get away from the whole Xena look, which of course would be entirely inappropriate on BSG.

      I was just amazed how she seemed to be a completely different actress – she can act after all! What a relief. Using her native accent (which apparently she’s never used on screen before – she’s a New Zealander) may have helped though.

    • rune says:

      Corners

      Rectangles seem so fundamental, and these colonists are supposed to be human, that it just doesn’t make sense to adopt a more complex shape for something as simple as paper.

      I always imagined it was so it would be easier to stuff the papers into the slots that they seem to use in lieu of an email system. On a TV screen on the other hand…

      Must be some cultural legacy. After all, here on Earth, the Americans somehow prefer their “letter” and “legal” paper sizes over the much more practical ISO standard. :-)

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: Corners

        Rectangles seem so fundamental, and these colonists are supposed to be human, that it just doesn’t make sense to adopt a more complex shape for something as simple as paper.

        I always imagined it was so it would be easier to stuff the papers into the slots that they seem to use in lieu of an email system. On a TV screen on the other hand…

        Must be some cultural legacy. After all, here on Earth, the Americans somehow prefer their “letter” and “legal” paper sizes over the much more practical ISO standard. :-)

        Theres a bit on the podcast where Moore talks about the corners. Yes, its purley a stylistic production decision, but the way he says the line is pricless. “In Galactica’s universe they HATE corners.” It was pretty funny. It would be a neat side bit somewhere in the series to get to a mythical or spiritual reason about why corners are so hated. Make it some sort of superstition in the fleet IMHO that would be cool.

        • nkuzmik says:

          Re: Corners

          Rectangles seem so fundamental, and these colonists are supposed to be human, that it just doesn’t make sense to adopt a more complex shape for something as simple as paper.

          I always imagined it was so it would be easier to stuff the papers into the slots that they seem to use in lieu of an email system. On a TV screen on the other hand…

          Must be some cultural legacy. After all, here on Earth, the Americans somehow prefer their “letter” and “legal” paper sizes over the much more practical ISO standard. :-)

          Theres a bit on the podcast where Moore talks about the corners. Yes, its purley a stylistic production decision, but the way he says the line is pricless. “In Galactica’s universe they HATE corners.” It was pretty funny. It would be a neat side bit somewhere in the series to get to a mythical or spiritual reason about why corners are so hated. Make it some sort of superstition in the fleet IMHO that would be cool.

          The rumor I heard was that the clipped corners are an allusion to the “cutting corners” in order to produce the miniseries.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Agreed And I’m An Idiot
      You’re not the only idiot. Even while reading the review I”m thinking ‘where the
      heck was Xena? I don’t remember her, was that a cameo?’

      Wow, talk about not being stereotyped into a character. I had no idea that was
      her. Now to be fair I don’t think I watched more than 5 minutes of Xena
      anywhere other than the bits on ‘I love the 90s’ or something.

  2. GrimSean says:

    Emotional Response
    I rather thought the use of the classic theme in the closing of the report was a nice touch, although the whistling janitor was nearly a bit much. That coupled with the big reveal of Xena: Warrior Cylon (I really should have seen that coming, but I was impressed by Lawless’ work – a good thing, I suppose, as she’ll definitely be returning now) made for a nice roller coaster emotion-wise.

    • babasyzygy says:

      Re: Emotional Response

      I rather thought the use of the classic theme in the closing of the report was a
      nice touch, although the whistling janitor was nearly a bit much.

      The “classic theme” was already established in the miniseries as being a military
      music standard in this world.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: Emotional Response

        I rather thought the use of the classic theme in the closing of the report was a
        nice touch, although the whistling janitor was nearly a bit much.

        The “classic theme” was already established in the miniseries as being a military
        music standard in this world.

        Ahhh. Well, seeing as I haven’t seen the miniseries since it first aired like a year and a half ago….

        Still, synth music as a military standard? That seems a little strange, don’t you think?

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: Emotional Response

          Ahhh. Well, seeing as I haven’t seen the miniseries since it first aired like a year and a half ago….

          Still, synth music as a military standard? That seems a little strange, don’t you think?

          In the miniseries it was played on Real Instruments(tm)

    • Sprydle says:

      Re: Emotional Response

      That coupled with the big reveal of Xena: Warrior Cylon (I really should have seen that coming, but I was impressed by Lawless’ work – a good thing, I suppose, as she’ll definitely be returning now) made for a nice roller coaster emotion-wise.

      Um, I thought something like that was going to play out, just not exactly in the way it did. When ‘Xena’ palmed the tape, I had a feeling the Cylons would get a copy of it, somehow, just not from that source!

      Let’s just hope that Moore doesn’t waste the remaining number of different Cylon models on non-name actors! Then again, using a ‘name’ would kinda ruin the surprise of the Cylon Reveal, as it were.

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: Emotional Response
        Well I spent most of the episode thinking she was going to show the
        fleet the ‘real story’ as part of her ‘journalistic integrity’ or some thing like that. I
        was completely snowed that she was a cylon. I spent most of the episode
        thinking ‘yeah, this would make sense for her to be a cylon but then it makes
        sense for Tigh’s wife to be one too so they won’t do that since
        it’s so obvious’ and then SMACK, sure as hell. Nicely done

  3. pdavis says:

    Corners & Acting
    Lucy Lawless can certainly act… she is no Kevin Sorbo :) Checking out the last few seasons of Xena will show this. As far as the corners are concerned, I like them and was glad to see that they took the look and used it elsewhere. They have done a very good job, I haven’t noticed any books with corners either. I think that there are several practical reasons that you would want to get rid of corners on books and papers and do not find this distracting or annoying in the least. Overall another great episode in a steller season!

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Corners & Acting

      Lucy Lawless can certainly act… she is no Kevin Sorbo :) Checking out the last few seasons of Xena will show this. As far as the corners are concerned, I like them and was glad to see that they took the look and used it elsewhere. They have done a very good job, I haven’t noticed any books with corners either. I think that there are several practical reasons that you would want to get rid of corners on books and papers and do not find this distracting or annoying in the least. Overall another great episode in a steller season!

      I don’t really find the corners annoying, I just find that they jerk me out of my contemplation of the episode’s story because I want to know why they’re there! Although I now do, as someone posted the answer above, bless them.

  4. nkuzmik says:

    Production values
    Your grievances with the news footage notwithstanding, how would you rate production of this episode?

  5. nkuzmik says:

    Random thought
    When Kat was trying to land her Viper… how can you have a glide path when your ship is not gliding? I know it is probably a hold over term, but work with me. Fly straight into the landing pod, fire retros and come to a stop, then goose the dorsal RCS thrusters and float to the ground.

    They said many times that there are no replacements coming, other than what may come from the fleet, so why risk a pilot who is obviously having problems in a non-crisis situation.

    I understand the need to practice things like hot landings and such, but this seemed like a special case, even before the stims came out.

    Other thoughts: I wonder what will happen to recruitment now?

    • Gaewyn says:

      Re: Random thought

      When Kat was trying to land her Viper… how can you have a glide path when your ship is not gliding? I know it is probably a hold over term, but work with me. Fly straight into the landing pod, fire retros and come to a stop, then goose the dorsal RCS thrusters and float to the ground.

      Ok… my guess is that since they have artificial gravity that it does extend beyond the skin of the ship at least a little and hence they do have a non-linear path. We know at least that the artificial gravity extends into the tubes and landing hangers so…

      • drazaelb says:

        Re: Random thought
        Hope this isn’t too late. I’m a bit behind on the torrents.

        Ok… my guess is that since they have artificial gravity that it does extend beyond the skin of the ship at least a little and hence they do have a non-linear path. We know at least that the artificial gravity extends into the tubes and landing hangers so…

        I’ll buy that. The glide slope I saw on the displays looked a lot like a regular aircraft landing.

        And who says Vipers even have retros? Who needs brakes on a fighter? I don’t think they have vertical thrusters either. Think about the way they get launched. They don’t launch Raptors that way. Their launch method for Raptors appears to be lift it straight off the deck with a camera-toting reporter some 20 feet away (assuming no equipment failures). I’m happy to believe that a Viper is made up of the bare-bones minimum amount of equipment necessary to get in to the fight, anything else is just unnecessary weight.

        It’s like the difference between your mom’s minivan and a formula 1 race car :-).

        If that’s true, then I’m guessing there really isn’t any other way to land a Viper. If it doesn’t have retros, then you need some way to stop it. They said Cat missed the trap, which I’m guessing is like the arresting cables on an aircraft carrier. Basically to land a Viper you fly in to something that stops you and hope you don’t hit anything else in the process.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Random thought

      When Kat was trying to land her Viper… how can you have a glide path when your ship is not gliding? I know it is probably a hold over term, but work with me. Fly straight into the landing pod, fire retros and come to a stop, then goose the dorsal RCS thrusters and float to the ground.

      They said many times that there are no replacements coming, other than what may come from the fleet, so why risk a pilot who is obviously having problems in a non-crisis situation.

      I understand the need to practice things like hot landings and such, but this seemed like a special case, even before the stims came out.

      Other thoughts: I wonder what will happen to recruitment now?

      See, I thought that was a normal landing that she mucked up. They always do hands-on hot landings on Galactica, because the ship doesn’t have the computer systems to do anything else. That was in the pilot.

    • babasyzygy says:

      Re: Random thought

      When Kat was trying to land her Viper… how can you have a glide path when
      your ship is not gliding? I know it is probably a hold over term, but work with
      me. Fly straight into the landing pod, fire retros and come to a stop, then
      goose the dorsal RCS thrusters and float to the ground.

      Ron Moore answers this in the podcast.

      All landings on the Galactica assume that the pilot is being pursued by Cylons
      and needs to get down and into protection fast. Even when they’re not, that’s
      the normal mode of operation because the Galactica is a warship.

      Still seems a little thin to me, considering that they can handle shuttles and
      damaged vipers – but perhaps they don’t allow viper pilots to make “slow”
      landings unless their ship is damaged as a matter of policy… if a pilot can
      just say “I’m freaking out,” he or she might chicken out when it really matters.

  6. p4poetic says:

    Lucy was good as Xena too
    QUOTE – "as I’ve never felt that her performance in Xena: Warrior Princess could really be classed as acting. " – END QUOTE.

    Sorry, but if anyone truly watched any Xena, Lucy was acting just as good as she does in BSG. First of all, she completely disguised her acting so well I wouldn’t have believed she was from New Zealand (and the fact that her natural Kiwi accent is so strong only makes it more impressive). People need to stop dissing Xena, cause she was great.

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