Battlestar Galactica 3×10: Unfinished Business

It’s got punching in it, but none of them are aimed at us.

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 “Athena” Agathon/Boomer

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Aaron Douglas as Galen Tyrol
Luciana Carro as Louanne “Kat” Katraine
Kandyse McClure as Anastasia “Dee” Dualla
Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson
Alessandro Juliani as Felix Gaeta

Synopsis

Against the backdrop of a ‘dance’, where the Galactica crew fight in the ring, old grudges come to the surface and we discover some of what happened on New Caprica before the Cylons arrived.

High Point

  • ‘I’m not going to win.’ Adama is always one with an eye for the grand gesture.

Low Point

  • Nothing actually happens.

The Scores

Originality: It’s not the newest of structures for a flashback expository episode, but it’s a lot better than the version were a bunch of characters sit around a table, have a drink and tell stories. Three out of six.

Effects: Very few effects save for some of the shots of materials being airlifted for the construction on New Caprica, and standard stock footage. I can’t penalise an episode that’s not supposed to have whizz-bang effects for not having them though. Five out of six.

Story: It’s not a story which stands by itself, but it fills in the gaps in stories which we’ve already been told. Dedicated Galactica fans are bound to appreciate what it tells us about the relationship between Lee and Kara, and will be speculating wildly about the implications of this episode’s present-day events on their relationship in the future. It does not, however, actually advance anything which might be termed ‘the plot’. Four out of six.

Acting: This sort of acting is bread and butter to the Galactica cast, although I’m beginning to worry a little about Edward James Olmos. We know he is a fantastic actor, but most of his acting lately seems to have consisted of delivering long speeches. That said, he was excellent in the ring. Five out of six.

Production: Good, but unremarkable and perhaps a little boring. Four out of six.

Emotional response: How much you react to this episode is going to depend how much you care about the backstory-induced simmering that’s going on between the characters. I care quite a bit, but there were points in the episode where I was wondering if anything was actually going to happen, and that tends to damp down the mood. Three out of six.

Overall: Ultimately the episode conveys important information, but is rather unremarkable and one that people are more liable to skip once they’re going through their season DVD box set. Four out of six.

That gives Unfinished Business a grand total of twenty-eight out of forty-two. Let’s all hope that the next episode is something spectacular, as I do not believe we should have to accept mid-season doldrums from this show.

29 replies on “Battlestar Galactica 3×10: Unfinished Business”

  1. rickyjames says:

    The Great Outdoors
    A "bottle-story" like this is what you get to balance the production budget books for those early-on effects spectacular eps. I’ll bet even the in-ring steadycam is probably cheaper to use than the usual multi-angle camera setup. The various lovers-in-the-sand shots were probably all close ups of them actually laying in the boxing ring…

    What would be interesting is to find out whether or not the outdoor scenes were filmed months ago when they had the outdoor New Caprica sets up or whether those outdoor New Caprica sets are STILL up and they went on location to film these scenes. If the latter, we can look forward to more flashback eps like this in the future…

    Which may not be a bad thing. How BSG has done their timeline now is really quite clever. We know they’ve spent a LOT of time on a planet surface that hasn’t been shown. This means they can do a planet flashback ep now anytime they want now with no real disruption in series continuity. This may become increasingly important in third-and-beyond production seasons becasue the main problem with BSG is that it can easily become nothing BUT "bottle shows" as they plunge endlessly thru space.

    I think from a dramatic standpoint, allowing the story to become more disjointed in time like we’ve seen here gives the writers more dramatic flexibility to get away from "what can they do THIS week" syndrome of Just A Wagon Train. Especially since we don’t have the Alien Race Of The Week option (thank gods).

    One aspect I’ve really wondered about is the people left behind on New Caprica. There had to be SOME people that Didn’t Get Killed yet still Missed Thier Evac Ship. They’re toast…maybe killed by toasters?

    • roseblood says:

      Re: The Great Outdoors

      A "bottle-story" like this is what you get to balance the production budget books for those early-on effects spectacular eps.

      The Podcast says you’re dead on.

      What would be interesting is to find out whether or not the outdoor scenes were filmed months ago when they had the outdoor New Caprica sets up or whether those outdoor New Caprica sets are STILL up and they went on location to film these scenes. If the latter, we can look forward to more flashback eps like this in the future…

      Again, the podcasts say hello. This was all filmed at the same time as the first episodes of the season.

      One aspect I’ve really wondered about is the people left behind on New Caprica. There had to be SOME people that Didn’t Get Killed yet still Missed Thier Evac Ship. They’re toast…maybe killed by toasters?

      This is an episode I’ve been waiting for. Echos of Sharon and Helo on Caprica, now being played out on New Caprica.

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: The Great Outdoors
        Has the podcast audio quality improved? have they gotten rid of that god awful beep? I had to turn it up really loud to hear while going to work and then that freakin beep about made me wreck my car. I’ve not listened since.

        • roseblood says:

          Re: The Great Outdoors

          Has the podcast audio quality improved? have they gotten rid of that god awful beep? I had to turn it up really loud to hear while going to work and then that freakin beep about made me wreck my car. I’ve not listened since.

          ]

          In the version that comes down the itunes feed there is no beep. Grace Park came in to guest star on the podcast for this episode.

  2. Jethro says:

    Ah, payback for all those wonderful SFX
    Yeah, I too think we’re paying for that whole thing where we got to see Galactica do an atmo jump. Oh well, it was worth it.

    I agree with the "nothing happened" low point. My high point was the whole "They’re trying to kill each other!" "That’s one perspective…" exchange.

    I’m almost tempted to listen to the podcast to see if there’s any production notes as I have some of the same curiosities as rickyjames, but I don’t want to hear what’s going to be going on in the next 5 episodes.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: Ah, payback for all those wonderful SFX

      Yeah, I too think we’re paying for that whole thing where we got to see Galactica do an atmo jump. Oh well, it was worth it.

      I agree with the "nothing happened" low point. My high point was the whole "They’re trying to kill each other!" "That’s one perspective…" exchange.

      I’m almost tempted to listen to the podcast to see if there’s any production notes as I have some of the same curiosities as rickyjames, but I don’t want to hear what’s going to be going on in the next 5 episodes.

      Coming into this episode I knew it was a bottle episode, but I have to say I liked it much more than I expected to.

      My highpoint was the end of Lee and Kara’s fight.

      I thought it was a very good small episode for BG.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: Ah, payback for all those wonderful SFX

        My highpoint was the end of Lee and Kara’s fight.

        I thought it was a very good small episode for BG.

        "I missed you."

        That’s a helluva way to say it. Instead of saying it with flowers, they said it with fists. :)

        -Joe

  3. joe__gee says:

    I enjoyed the ep
    A lot of decent character development, and I note that Sharon is really beginning to reintegrate with the crew. Jamie Callas has had very little to do over the past two episodes, but at least in this one he has a speaking part, as opposed to last week’s episode where he had to lay in bed asleep with two Cylon chicks.

    Looks like next week should be another effects heavy episode. An irony would be Sharon dying, resurrecting, and discovering Hera on board a base star. :)

    -Joe

    • Jethro says:

      Re: I enjoyed the ep

      A lot of decent character development, and I note that Sharon is really beginning to reintegrate with the crew.

      You know, funny thing. You’d think someone would want to beat the crap out of Sharon. Heck, you’d think a lot of people would.

      Jamie Callas has had very little to do over the past two episodes, but at least in this one he has a speaking part, as opposed to last week’s episode where he had to lay in bed asleep with two Cylon chicks.

      Yes, that must be terrible for him. (:

      Looks like next week

      Oi! Spoiler-cut stuff for next week! I almost read that!

      • roseblood says:

        Re: I enjoyed the ep

        A lot of decent character development, and I note that Sharon is really beginning to reintegrate with the crew.

        You know, funny thing. You’d think someone would want to beat the crap out of Sharon. Heck, you’d think a lot of people would.

        You know she is the one who will never put her dog tags in the ammo can!

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: I enjoyed the ep

        Jamie Callas has had very little to do over the past two episodes, but at least in this one he has a speaking part, as opposed to last week’s episode where he had to lay in bed asleep with two Cylon chicks.

        Yes, that must be terrible for him. (:

        Looks like next week

        Oi! Spoiler-cut stuff for next week! I almost read that!

        LOL Re: the six and the three in bed with Baltar. :)

        As for the spoiler stuff, that’s only my conjecture, more than likely it’s not *going* to happen. :)

        -Joe

  4. FujiSkunk says:

    I (mostly) liked this one.
    I can appreciate lulls in the plot when we’re getting good character development in its place. That’s why movies I count movies like Unbreakable and Napoleon Dynamite among my favorites. Plus, it’s the OMG-the-ship-is-in-danger-AGAIN-this-week!! mentality we saw in episode after episode of shows like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that really wore me out and made me tire of those shows. This was a nice refresher.

    I especially enjoyed what we learned about Apollo and Starbuck. That explains a lot about the way they have been acting since the 3rd season opener. In particular, Starbuck’s easy dumping of Anders, which I complained about in the thread about the "Collaborators" episode, makes more sense now.

    (potential spoilers ahead)

    The problem I had was with Adama’s speech. Apparently, according to this episode, not only has he been racked with guilt about letting some of his crew leave the Galactica and settle on New Caprica, he believes he shouldn’t ever become "too friendly" with the crew under him. That would be understandable from someone who is a career military man, but it struck me as out of character, given the way Adama has behaved throughout the series, someone who seemed to place as much importance on personal relationships as professional. Maybe I read too much into it, but the speech seemed more like something Kain would have said.

    Back on the positives, I also liked how nobody was trying to stop these fights. The impression I got from the teasers was that perhaps somebody would go "too far" and this would convince everyone that these "dances" weren’t "healthy." As anybody who’s ever known a military person, sometimes they just want to fight, even knowing full well it won’t solve any problems, and you may as well let them. I’m glad to see the show writers agreeing with that. Seeing Doc Cottle and President Roslin get in on the action were especially nice touches.

    So, overall, good show, but Adama’s speech still nags at me.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

      I agree. I didn’t quite buy the speech, coming from Adama, but I liked the fact that Galactica was willing to do a character episode with no great overriding danger to the ship. It might have been better, but I enjoyed it, and it shows they’re willing to take chances of a kind not seen on Trek.

      I’m uncertain how healthy fights of this nature would be, but they make sense as a part of the culture we’re seeing onscreen.

      And Tigh has a decent eye-patch.

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

        And Tigh has a decent eye-patch.

        But its still not BLACK!!

        • Kaki says:

          Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

          And Tigh has a decent eye-patch.

          But its still not BLACK!!

          Yeah, and it looked like it was cut badly, with little rounding of the edges. I suppose we are supposed to think he made it himself? As quick as he could or something.

          Didn’t someone around here predict a flesh-color? So as not to remind himself in reflections or something.

      • roseblood says:

        Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

        I agree. I didn’t quite buy the speech, coming from Adama

        I think Adama was channeling Admiral Kain a we bit there. He put the welfare of some individuals above the welfare of his charges.

      • TomSwiss says:

        Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

        I’m uncertain how healthy fights of this nature would be

        Quite aside from any morale issues, I’m wondering how the ship will function for the next several days, with many people recovering from concussions and other injuries. A whole lot of these fights were ending up with people layed out on the canvas, which is dramatic and all but a real K.O. (not just a T.K.O., but an actual lights-out) is significantly bad for the brainbox.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: I (mostly) liked this one.

      The problem I had was with Adama’s speech. Apparently, according to this episode, not only has he been racked with guilt about letting some of his crew leave the Galactica and settle on New Caprica, he believes he shouldn’t ever become "too friendly" with the crew under him. That would be understandable from someone who is a career military man, but it struck me as out of character, given the way Adama has behaved throughout the series, someone who seemed to place as much importance on personal relationships as professional. Maybe I read too much into it, but the speech seemed more like something Kain would have said.

      I think you may just be seeing his speech in too harsh a light, though coming as it did after knockdown, dragout fight with a crew member, that’s understandable.

      I don’t think he’s placed that much importance on personal relationships outside of what he would probably consider his "family" (which would include Apollo, Starbuck, Tigh and Roslin). It’s more that he’s placed importance on "people." In other words, he probably believes that he should care about each member of his crew and each person in the fleet because they’re all valuable, but he also believes he crossed the line when he cared too much about their personal lives (represented by his decision to let the chief go because he wanted the family to be happy).

      Kain, on the other hand, saw her people as expendable, not caring if they lived or died as long as her authority was absolute. She would not only have made the chief stay, but probably would have punished him for even making the request.

      So, while Adama might be somewhat more willing to sacrifice the few for the many in an effort to stay removed from his crew, I don’t think the speech, and the attitude behind it, was quite as dark as it seemed.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Remember the Ovians?

        Especially since we don’t have the Alien Race Of The Week option (thank gods).

        Yeah, and yet…. I wonder what the people behind this show would do with an alien race. It would either be a monumental shark-jump (as the concept makes an uneasy fit with this show), or something really interesting.

        • joe__gee says:

          Re: Remember the Ovians?

          Yeah, and yet…. I wonder what the people behind this show would do with an alien race. It would either be a monumental shark-jump (as the concept makes an uneasy fit with this show), or something really interesting.

          It would be more amusing having the Cylons encounter the aliens. :)

          All of the sudden the Cylons disappear — they’re a in a battle against a superior threat and need all their resources to survive. The humans are left on their own, with no idea what’s going on. Maybe some of the Cylons approach the humans, asking for help in exchange for peace?

          THERE’s a plot twist. :)

          -Joe

          • roseblood says:

            Re: Remember the Ovians?

            they’re a in a battle against a superior threat and need all their resources to survive. The humans are left on their own, with no idea what’s going on. Maybe some of the Cylons approach the humans, asking for help in exchange for peace?

            THERE’s a plot twist. :)

            -Joe

            The Cylons then turn over their newest most advanced warship, "The Adama", over the the colonies of man. After a few tense moments they use The Adama as bait, and self destruct it in an effort to destroy a few of these alien ship . . . it just seems so familiar for some reason.

            • Cerberus7 says:

              Re: Remember the Ovians?
              Good one! But, how about this:

              There’s a skirmish between a small Cylon force and some Vipers. An unknown enemy jumps in and slaughters everyone, save for a Raptor that manages to jump away to Galactica. The Raptor pilot screams for help, and while arguing about what just happened with Dualla (and just after uttering that fateful phrase, "you weren’t there! You don’t understand!") a group of unknowns jump in behind the Raptor and blow it straight to hell. Cut to opening credits. MUAHAHAHAHAAA!

              • hck says:

                Re: Remember the Ovians?

                Cut to opening credits. MUAHAHAHAHAAA!

                Then a wormhole opens up and Voyager cames through after killing the queen and the Cylons never were invented in the fist place.

                "Computer, exit." and Lee leaves the holodeck to confront his father about the Pegasus

                • roseblood says:

                  Re: Remember the Ovians?
                  A small shuttle flies out of the wormhole and is promptly crashed into by some Raptor pilot with a brother high who happens to command the lead vessel of a small task force, who then becomes obsessed with the thought of revenge against the wormhole traveling shuttle pilot. Of course the Astral Star (a prison transport vessel) takes the shuttle pilot aboard. The crew will consist of a priestesses, a soldier imprissioned for impersonating an officer, and a dispossessed member of some osbcure royal family. The shuttle pilot will of course be thrown in the same cell as a [totally hot] female pilot from the task force belonging to the revenged obsessed officer.

  5. rickyjames says:

    You Know What Woud Be Interesting?
    Boxing ring sequences are about as cheap as you can get to produce and could be made even cheaper if filmed thru a fixed webcam as a kind of jerry-rigged patch-to-the-rest-of-the-ship conceit. I say that we as fans lobby to continue the webisodes past the New Caprica ones and do polls on who we’d like to see beat the crap out of who online. First up – Rosalin and Tom Zarick (she can take her glasses off…) !!!

  6. smeep says:

    Filler Episodes
    As filler episodes go, I really enjoyed this one. The backdrop of the boxing was an interesting device. As for the complaints of Adama’s speech not quite being in character, I’d have to disagree. I think his character, being career military, probably would have feelings of guilt about becoming friends with his crew instead of sticking to the book. I think that he would feel that if he hadn’t let down his guard, the cylon occupation wouldn’t have occurred.

    So how many episodes before Adama and Rosalyn get together?

    • rickyjames says:

      Re: Filler Episodes

      So how many episodes before Adama and Rosalyn get together?

      This ep established for me that they HAD gotten together. My question is how much of his speech was directed to HER and was a true formalized pulling back emotionally from her.

      Such a fine line well walked, keeping their true relationship ambiguous…

      • babasyzygy says:

        Re: Filler Episodes

        This ep established for me that they HAD gotten together. My question is how much of his speech was directed to HER and was a true formalized pulling back emotionally from her.

        Such a fine line well walked, keeping their true relationship ambiguous…

        The podcast makes it pretty clear that they didn’t – that while they were both open to it and comfortable with each other, they didn’t actually get to that point.

  7. lost says:

    Apollo vs. Starbuck
    When I watched the match between Starbuck and Apollo, I was struck by the similarity to a sword fight in Red Sonya. (Between Sonya and the prince character.) The parallels in the situation seem somewhat appropriate. I wouldn’t be surprised if that particular similarity was intentional but I suppose it could also be accidental.

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