Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix

Against a backdrop of increasing frustration and despair on board Galactica, Chief Tyrol decides to build a new fighter from parts. Meanwhile, the safety of the fleet is put in jeopardy when Galactica‘s computers start to malfunction.

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
Michael Hogan as Col. Tigh
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Grace Park as Sharon “Boomer” Valerii

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Aaron Douglas as CPO Galen Tyrol

Synopsis

Against a backdrop of increasing frustration and despair on board Galactica, Chief Tyrol decides to build a new fighter from parts. Meanwhile, the safety of the fleet is put in jeopardy when Galactica‘s computers start to malfunction.

High Points

  • Roslin’s meeting with the doctor
  • The scene in the firing range
  • The naming ceremony

Low Point

  • The continued ‘what the hell is she doing?’ at the critical moment. I thought it was pretty obvious what she was doing.

The Review

The originality suffered a bit because we’ve seen both parts of this episode’s primary plot before, and they didn’t have a significantly unexpected twist to either of them. Not that it isn’t a good treatment of the material, but you do feel that you’ve seen it before somewhere. Three out of six.

We were treated to some more excellent effects this week with some large-scale space scenes at their usual quality. Once more I cannot fault these. Six out of six.

Although it lost out on originality, the story was excellent, if surprisingly predictable in a couple of places. It did leave us with the usual array of questions – we’ve got some more hints, but as usual they just raise more questions. Five out of six.

The acting was excellent. We’re starting to see a lot of characters who are at their emotional limits, and that leads to some severe demands on the actors, but everybody held their end up extremely well this week. Five out of six.

There are a couple of scenes of strong emotional response in this episode. It feels teased out in an extremely natural way, because the writers have you caught up in the characters before you realise that they’re the ones making your heart beat double-time. Six out of six.

I’m not going to complain at all about the production this week. It wasn’t breathtakingly good, but they got everything right to the point where you just don’t notice it anymore. Five out of six.

As an overall score, I’m going to give this episode six out of six. Although it’s not really perfect in most respects, it’s extremely satisfying and gives us a nice dose of information, intrigue and character development.

In total, Flight of the Phoenix receives a very healthy thirty-six out of forty-two.

23 replies on “Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix”

  1. nkuzmik says:

    Random Thoughts
    Normally I don’t like shows/stories that seem to constantly abuse characters, but RDM puts a little bit of spin on his floggings. Instead of spending an episode that focuses mostly on Tyrol and his deck crew heading for a melt down, he trusted the audience to know that was coming. So he starts the story with the Tyrol about five minutes away from ending up like Kat, Tigh or Baltar(the stark raving mad part), but RDM gives Tyrol a moment of introspective clarity. Tyrol realizes that he must do something, else he would have an emotional collapse. In a choice borne of desperation to save not only the fleet, but himself, he falls back on something that unites engineers, mechanics, gearheads and tinkerers alike; It feels good to build something. At the end of the day, the Blackbird doesn’t save the fleet, but it does save Tyrol. RDM doesn’t pull any rabbits out of his hat. The fleet isn’t any better off than before. They have one new fighter, which even their best pilot can barely control, to replace the one fighter that was grounded. But the big difference is Tyrol now thinks that if they think outside the box, if they work hard enough, then some day, they might just win.

    A minor point on the construction of the Blackbird. If they had that much carbon composite laying around, and they know it doesn’t read on DRADIS, why haven’t they used it before? Also, Starbuck said the Blackbird was build for speed more than maneuverability, with is probably a good thing. Composite materials tend to be heavier than metals.

    Greviences: Why did they destroy all those Raiders? They were shut down. Tow them in, yank the brains out and learn to fly them!!!!! At the very least, strip them! Based on what we saw with Starbuck’s Raider, the Colonials and the Cylons use the same ammo in their guns, use that. In the long run it would be easier to mount guns scavenged from the Raiders to a Raptor than to try and maintain the origianal weapons as they wear out.

    Although, the moral boost after that… that wasn’t a fight, the only description I can think of is “turkey-shoot,” must have been tremendous.

    Okay, I’ll stop talking… for now.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Random Thoughts
      Yeah, I’m going with the morale boost being better than picking up the dead raiders. Also, they’d only have the capacity to pick up a few of them and make them ‘safe’, so it’s possible a few were saved. But if that was important they’d have mentioned it.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Random Thoughts

      Although, the moral boost after that… that wasn’t a fight, the only description I can think of is “turkey-shoot,” must have been tremendous.

      Okay, I’ll stop talking… for now.

      You can still scavenge the “dead” raiders for spare parts. I can see recovery crews sent out among the raiders to pick up metal, and even organics. Any new material would be very important in a situation where you have an essentially closed biosphere, even seventy-some ships have limited resources at the end of the day.

      Did anyone else notice the new special effects with the raiders, that when they were blown apart they also gushed blood and sinew? Looked excellent.

      How ironic that Laura dying just as her popularity seems to be reaching an all-time high among all segments of the fleet’s population. I wonder if everyone in the fleet now knows she is dying, or is it just the higher-ups? And I wodner if the Pegasus has any more modern medical facilities?

      -Joe

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: Random Thoughts

        How ironic that Laura dying just as her popularity seems to be reaching an all-time high among all segments of the fleet’s population. I wonder if everyone in the fleet now knows she is dying, or is it just the higher-ups? And I wodner if the Pegasus has any more modern medical facilities?

        -Joe

        They might at least have another doctor.

        • nkuzmik says:

          Re: Random Thoughts

          How ironic that Laura dying just as her popularity seems to be reaching an all-time high among all segments of the fleet’s population. I wonder if everyone in the fleet now knows she is dying, or is it just the higher-ups? And I wodner if the Pegasus has any more modern medical facilities?

          -Joe

          They might at least have another doctor.

          I doubt it would make a difference. If I recal, her cancer was terminal before Caprica was destroyed.

          • joe__gee says:

            I suspect she’ll be around for a long time though …

            I doubt it would make a difference. If I recall, her cancer was terminal before Caprica was destroyed.

            Yup. That scene is the scene where Serentity makes a cameo. :)

            But I suspect they’ll want to keep the actress around for a while. I’m not certain how much time has elapsed in the BG universe since humans were exiled from the colonies. Maybe six months of their time will be long enough to complete the series, but I doubt it. I do suspect we’ll see some sort of cure for Laura’s cancer, perhaps of Cylon origin, before all is said and done.

            I know that doesn’t fit in with the Pythian scrolls. Interesting conundrum, wouldn’t it be? I could see the Cylons doing something like that just to “frack” with the humans some more. Sharon or the version of Six that actually appreared on Galactica curing Laura would call Laura into question. :)

            -Joe

    • vanyel says:

      Re: Random Thoughts

      Greviences: Why did they destroy all those Raiders? They were shut down. Tow them in, yank the brains out and learn to fly them!!!!!

      That scene bothered me for another reason entirely: yeah, it was the right thing to do, because you just can’t trust that the virus has permanently killed them, and the cylons could come and fix them anyhow if you left them behind (and I don’t think they have the cargo capacity to have hauled off the lot of them)…but somehow it just seemed wrong to me to be blasting away at what amount to defenseless (at that point) lifeforms. Especially with glee. Yeah, in their place, I probably would too, but as a viewer who’s been led to wonder just what they’ve got in mind, and to even be sympathetic to at least one of them, and then showing them blowing up with blood and guts… It seemed to me more like something you do because you have to, not because you’re enjoying it.

      That was more of a little pop-up thought at the time though, overall, I agree with the comments about how good it was and particularly the emotional response at the end. I think my high point was Tyrol jumping in to save the bottle of (presumably) rare ambrosia ;-)

  2. J_W_W says:

    Love the nods
    I really love the nods to the old series that we are getting with the new one. The experimental fighter for Starbuck to pilot really remindes me of the reconnisance viper they built for Starbuck in the original, minus of course the cheesy “kit” computer voice.

    I’m sure we’ll see this stealth fighter doing reconnisance work against the cylons someday.

    All in all this episode really felt like a great filler episode. And they didn’t have any Baltar and Six, oh and I didn’t miss it AT ALL. They did some really great character work this episode.

    As for next week. Commander errr Admiral? Cain a Woman. Ok , Starbuck’s grown on me but enough already!

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Love the nods

      As for next week. Commander errr Admiral? Cain a Woman. Ok , Starbuck’s grown on me but enough already!

      It’s Michelle Forbes, so any sex-changing complaints are moot. She rocks!

      • Cerberus7 says:

        Re: Love the nods
        Holy crap! I didn’t catch the preview on my recording this weekend, so I had no idea. This should kick ass!

    • nkuzmik says:

      Re: Love the nods

      I really love the nods to the old series that we are getting with the new one. The experimental fighter for Starbuck to pilot really remindes me of the reconnisance viper they built for Starbuck in the original, minus of course the cheesy “kit” computer voice.

      I’m sure we’ll see this stealth fighter doing reconnisance work against the cylons someday.

      All in all this episode really felt like a great filler episode. And they didn’t have any Baltar and Six, oh and I didn’t miss it AT ALL. They did some really great character work this episode.

      As for next week. Commander errr Admiral? Cain a Woman. Ok , Starbuck’s grown on me but enough already!

      It would be interesting to see how efficient a manufacturing infrastructure you could setup within the fleet… I mean how many ships in the fleet meant for extended duration trips where you would have to do your own repairs? If there are more than a handful, they might be able to setup a distributed component assembly system.

      Building something like this is by no means simple but making the pieces can be. But if you have the right a good instructional diagrams and jigs you could tap some unexpected resources, children. “Put this jig on this piece of metal, take this sharpie and mark all the holes”

      If you plan things really well, you can massivly reduce your build time. Look at that scene where Cally helped Tyrol do something because his hands wouldn’t fit. A more refined manufacturing method would have made that connection before all that other stuff was put in the way. Another way to speed things up would be to use common parts. Look at the 2 1/2 ton trucks from WWII. If you take one of the horizontal crossmembers from one truck, flip it over and it becomes an engine mount.

      Okay enough time fooling around, time to write that paper.

      • joe__gee says:

        Child labor!!! :)

        But if you have the right a good instructional diagrams and jigs you could tap some unexpected resources, children. “Put this jig on this piece of metal, take this sharpie and mark all the holes”

        If you plan things really well, you can massivly reduce your build time. Look at that scene where Cally helped Tyrol do something because his hands wouldn’t fit.

        To quote Emo Philips, “Remember the good old days, when children worked in factories?” :)

        -Joe

        • nkuzmik says:

          Re: Child labor!!! :)

          But if you have the right a good instructional diagrams and jigs you could tap some unexpected resources, children. “Put this jig on this piece of metal, take this sharpie and mark all the holes”

          If you plan things really well, you can massivly reduce your build time. Look at that scene where Cally helped Tyrol do something because his hands wouldn’t fit.

          To quote Emo Philips, “Remember the good old days, when children worked in factories?” :)

          -Joe

          First off the second paragraph you quoted me on was poorly written on my part. That was meant to illustrate how some planning could reduce manufacture time, by installing components during the phase in which the are most accessible.

          Children have traditionally been exploited because they were powerless. I was suggesting that blackbird consruction could be broken down to the point where children who aren’t even going to school could contribute to the fleet’s survival.

          • joe__gee says:

            Re: Child labor!!! :)

            But if you have the right a good instructional diagrams and jigs you could tap some unexpected resources, children. “Put this jig on this piece of metal, take this sharpie and mark all the holes”

            If you plan things really well, you can massivly reduce your build time. Look at that scene where Cally helped Tyrol do something because his hands wouldn’t fit.

            To quote Emo Philips, “Remember the good old days, when children worked in factories?” :)

            -Joe

            First off the second paragraph you quoted me on was poorly written on my part. That was meant to illustrate how some planning could reduce manufacture time, by installing components during the phase in which the are most accessible.

            Children have traditionally been exploited because they were powerless. I was suggesting that blackbird consruction could be broken down to the point where children who aren’t even going to school could contribute to the fleet’s survival.

            I understood you. I was making a joke. :)

            • nkuzmik says:

              Re: Child labor!!! :)

              But if you have the right a good instructional diagrams and jigs you could tap some unexpected resources, children. “Put this jig on this piece of metal, take this sharpie and mark all the holes”

              If you plan things really well, you can massivly reduce your build time. Look at that scene where Cally helped Tyrol do something because his hands wouldn’t fit.

              To quote Emo Philips, “Remember the good old days, when children worked in factories?” :)

              -Joe

              First off the second paragraph you quoted me on was poorly written on my part. That was meant to illustrate how some planning could reduce manufacture time, by installing components during the phase in which the are most accessible.

              Children have traditionally been exploited because they were powerless. I was suggesting that blackbird consruction could be broken down to the point where children who aren’t even going to school could contribute to the fleet’s survival.

              I understood you. I was making a joke. :)

              …there’s really nothing I can say without looking foolish, is there?

              • joe__gee says:

                Re: Child labor!!! :)

                …there’s really nothing I can say without looking foolish, is there?

                You’re not foolish, just human like the rest of us. :)

                -Joe

  3. Trekkie says:

    Best. Episode. Evah. (so far)
    Honestly, from the previews, I was thinking ‘oh god, another star trek computer virus bullshit filler episode’

    Oh how stupid & wrong I was.

    The virus, while fun and uniquely handled was a subplot to me. The plot was the borderline breakdown of the crew, and at the very end of the episode my eyes watered pretty heavily and I was quite happy my wife wasn’t in the room to make fun of me. Not the naming of the ship part, just the whole sequence and rather emotion filled release at the end of a simple thing called hope. Having the entire squadron get to shoot to shit all those cylons like was done to their friends, family, countrymen, to their race and to laugh about it, have fun, blow off on of the biggest relief valves ever. Man that was awesome.

    Next week, holy hell. I saw ‘pegasus’ in the TiVo list and popped off a school girl giggle kind of thing and my wife goes ‘what, that look familiar to you or what’ and I tried to explain the pegasus idea and then kinda stuttered to a stop with a ‘oh, never mind, long story’ type of thing. The preview sure makes it look a lot more interesting, and Admiral Cain and all that change sure was welcome. I can’t wait.

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: Best. Episode. Evah. (so far)

      and at the very end of the episode my eyes watered pretty heavily and I was quite happy my wife wasn’t in the room to make fun of me

      ditto

  4. Jethro says:

    Gah! Spoiler-cut talks about next week!
    That’s #1 – some of us make it a point to skip previews and Next Time Ons. Please spoiler-cut those for us! Thanks.

    Second, who else thinks that:

    (A) Adama could’ve been a TEENY bit nicer to Sharon after she saved the entire fleet? Just a teeeeeeeeeeny bit?

    (B) The cylons would have NO problem sacrificing several hundred (or thousand?) raiders in order to make Adama trust Sharon a teeeny bit more?

    (C) The blood and guts splashing out of the raiders was cool?

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Gah! Spoiler-cut talks about next week!

      (B) The cylons would have NO problem sacrificing several hundred (or thousand?) raiders in order to make Adama trust Sharon a teeeny bit more?

      I dunno, but if I was lookingat a thing that shot me, that killed my wife and everything I loved, and killed my entire race almost, I don’t know how soon I’d be happy to see them just for killing off a few machines.

    • nkuzmik says:

      Re: Gah! Spoiler-cut talks about next week!

      That’s #1 – some of us make it a point to skip previews and Next Time Ons. Please spoiler-cut those for us! Thanks.

      Second, who else thinks that:

      (A) Adama could’ve been a TEENY bit nicer to Sharon after she saved the entire fleet? Just a teeeeeeeeeeny bit?

      (B) The cylons would have NO problem sacrificing several hundred (or thousand?) raiders in order to make Adama trust Sharon a teeeny bit more?

      (C) The blood and guts splashing out of the raiders was cool?

      It also depends on how the Cylons view the Raiders/Heavy Raiders? Remember that Boomer-G described Starbuck’s Raider as something akin to a dog or other pet?

      • Jethro says:

        Re: Gah! Spoiler-cut talks about next week!
        How hard would it be for the cylons to create a ew thousand ‘fake’ raiders that don’t really have a brain or personality?

    • Espy says:

      Re: Gah! Spoiler-cut talks about next week!

      (C) The blood and guts splashing out of the raiders was cool?


      Oh hell yes.

      SP

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