The third season of Battlestar Galactica kicks off with a bang. Several of them.

Cast

James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama
Mary McDonnell as 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
Dean Stockwell as Brother Cavell
Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek
Kate Vernon as Ellen Tigh
Luciana Carro as Louanne “Kat” Katraine
Kandyse McClure as Anastasia “Dee” Dualla
Callum Keith Rennie as Leoben Conoy
Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson
Christian Tessier as Tucker “Duck” Clellan
Michael Trucco as Samuel T. Anders
Alessandro Juliani as Felix Gaeta
Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster

Synopsis

Four months after the arrival of the Cylons on New Caprica, the anti-Cylon insurgency adopts new and more dangerous tactics. On Galactica and Pegasus, Adama and Apollo clash over the appropriate course of action when the Admiral initiates a risky plan to liberate the human colony. Collaborationist President Gaius Baltar has to make an impossible choice as his conscience starts to bite.

High Points

  • All the Starbuck/Leoben scenes
  • Adama’s conversation with Boomer
  • Gaeta and Tyrol’s meeting
  • Jammer’s actions near the end

Low Point

Right now I can’t think of one. Sure there are parts of these two episodes which aren’t high points, but none of them strike me as particularly low.

The Scores

There are a lot of parallels — a lot of parallels — with the current world situation, although viewed from the opposite side to that which most viewers will be familiar with. It also brings to mind various other stories of life under enemy occupation. That said, it doesn’t feel like a rehash of old ground. Perhaps these stories can always be told. Four out of six for originality.

As one would hope for a season opener, the effects were on top form. My misgivings about the robotic cylons at the end of last season have eased; they looked much better this time. Six out of six.

It’s difficult to judge the overall story from two episodes’ worth of what is a very closely-tied arc, but nothing which came in these two episodes disappointed. Six out of six.

Fortunately during the season break it appears that nobody lost any acting ability. What a terrible shame about Edward James Olmos and that moustache though. Six out of six.

Production was excellent. New Caprica looks exactly as it should — a not-quite-good-enough settlement suffering after four months of enemy occupation and insurgent activity. The Battlestars look undermanned, underpowered and undermaintained. Six out of six.

These two episodes will leave your heart beating faster. After the last two seasons I care about what happens to these characters, and past experience combined with events in these episodes show us that we can never rule out what’s going to happen to anybody. In addition, the actors, writers and directors are superb at generating tension and cutting away at just the right (or wrong) moment. Six out of six for emotional response.

Overall, six out of six. While the direction shift at the end of season two may have been a bit of a shock and came very quickly, this proves that at its heart, it’s still the show we know and love. We can easily sit down and get lost in the action and the drama going on, but underneath it there’s a deeper plot which has already got me impatient to see the next episode.

In total, that leaves Occupation and Precipice with a grand total of forty out of forty-two.