Battlestar Galactica Review: “Daybreak,” Part One

The end begins.

Title: Daybreak, Part One

Cast and Crew

Written by Ronald D. Moore

Directed by Michael D. Rymer

Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Grace Park as Athena/Boomer/Number 8
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
Michael Hogan as Colonel Saul Tigh
Kate Vernon as Ellen Tigh
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin
James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Dean Stockwell as Cavil
Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol
Tahmoh Penikett as Karl ‘Helo’ Agathon
Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster
Alexandra Thomas as Hera
Tobias Mehler as Zak Adama
Michael Trucco as Samuel Anders

Premise

The show juxtaposes the past, before the Cylon attack, with the present, before Galactica’s end. The past sequences show us key events in the life of several major characters. The present shows us their reaction to the dismantling of the Galactica, and the dangerous final mission which Admiral Adama proposes.

High Point

Many moments credibly depict the response of the characters to their situation. Consider, for instance, the conversation between the Admiral and one of his men regarding the dismantling of the ship. It’s a small moment, but I believed in it, and in the character’s concerns.

Low Points

Cavil’s actions and comments are in character, and Dean Stockwell keeps things in check, but push this characterization a little further and we have cackling cartoon supervillainy, someone a little too close to, say, the Baltar of the original series. This Galactica usually manages with greater subtlety.1

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6. I don’t think Galactica has mined its past in quite this way before. The idea of showing us the past as we see the conclusion isn’t new, but I think it has merit. Likewise, the dangerous final mission of the dying ship seems a predictable twist, but sets up for a riveting story.

Effects: 6/6.

Story: 4 or 5/6. More than ever, I feel I cannot fairly evaluate the story. We not only have a story-arc heavy series, but a multi-part episode.

Acting: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6. This will likely be stronger in total, once the final part has played, if the conclusion lives up to the series’ best episodes.

Production: 5/6.

Overall: 5/6. The show has always used recognizable real-world reference points to build the series’ world, and I accept such things as nineteenth-century-style Euro-American military uniforms, champagne, Classical gods (which may even make internal sense, given this universe’s backstory), suits with ties, and so forth. Caprica, however, seems a little too familiar and contemporary. Surely the technology evident on the ship would have a greater impact on the society?

In total “Daybreak,” Part One receives 33 or 34/42

Notes

1. Another former child star goes over the edge?

17 replies on “Battlestar Galactica Review: “Daybreak,” Part One”

  1. spideylinux says:

    Regarding the Note
    All I have to say is, Huh?

    • Tekzel says:

      Re: Regarding the Note

      All I have to say is, Huh?

      I am equally confused.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Regarding the Note

        All I have to say is, Huh?

        I am equally confused.

        Dean Stockwell, who plays Cavil, was once a major child star. Child stars have a (somewhat exaggerated) reputation for going off the deep end as adults.

        His character is going off the deep end, therefore….

        Okay, maybe it doesn’t work.

        Erm. Right.

        About this week’s episode… Huh? Huh?

  2. joe__gee says:

    I’ll be sorry if Chief doesn’t kill Torrey.
    On the other hand I don’t want to see his sorry ass out of the brig.

    I don’t know which one is more difficult to see in decrepitude, Galactica or Laura. :( I hope both of them have noble deaths.

    I actually thought Baltar might cross the line, but then again, Lee has him pegged pretty well. *Baltar* has himself pegged.

    For our friends in the UK and Australia, are you seeing this the same time we are in the States?

    -Joe

    • quantaman says:

      Re: I’ll be sorry if Chief doesn’t kill Torrey.

      I actually thought Baltar might cross the line, but then again, Lee has him pegged pretty well. *Baltar* has himself pegged.

      I’ve been thinking that was going to happen since the first season but he always makes the same decision, they might have changed the formula now that the end is nigh and they still might. It sounds like Baltar has built a significant force for himself, I think they mentioned being the majority on some of the ships? I’m sure the writers haven’t built up that storyline for nothing, Baltar’s going to do something with those forces. It’s possible he still may find some way to cross the line with his forces, or he’ll launch a rebellion. Considering that The President, the Admiral, the Prime Minister, and the final five are all going on a potential suicide mission the time would never be better to make a move.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Would they dare?

        It sounds like Baltar has built a significant force for himself, I think they mentioned being the majority on some of the ships? I’m sure the writers haven’t built up that storyline for nothing, Baltar’s going to do something with those forces. It’s possible he still may find some way to cross the line with his forces, or he’ll launch a rebellion. Considering that The President, the Admiral, the Prime Minister, and the final five are all going on a potential suicide mission the time would never be better to make a move.

        The best and noblest all die on a suicide mission, after learning the truth about Hera. Meanwhile, Baltar’s people take charge as humanity settles on a new planet, and we know they’re going to set up the same kind of society which will breed Cylons, then war with them, and bring about the end of things….again.

        All this has happened before and will happen again.

        • jayhawk88 says:

          Re: Would they dare?

          It sounds like Baltar has built a significant force for himself, I think they mentioned being the majority on some of the ships? I’m sure the writers haven’t built up that storyline for nothing, Baltar’s going to do something with those forces. It’s possible he still may find some way to cross the line with his forces, or he’ll launch a rebellion. Considering that The President, the Admiral, the Prime Minister, and the final five are all going on a potential suicide mission the time would never be better to make a move.

          The best and noblest all die on a suicide mission, after learning the truth about Hera. Meanwhile, Baltar’s people take charge as humanity settles on a new planet, and we know they’re going to set up the same kind of society which will breed Cylons, then war with them, and bring about the end of things….again.

          All this has happened before and will happen again.

          You know that would be so horrible for us who have so much invested in the show, but at the same time, it would be so incredibly glorious of an ending, I’d have to endorse it.

      • octa says:

        Re: I’ll be sorry if Chief doesn’t kill Torrey.
        I have a ridiculous image of Baltar wearing Han Solo’s outfit coming to Lee’s rescue at the last minute :)

      • jayhawk88 says:

        Re: I’ll be sorry if Chief doesn’t kill Torrey.

        I actually thought Baltar might cross the line, but then again, Lee has him pegged pretty well. *Baltar* has himself pegged.

        I’ve been thinking that was going to happen since the first season but he always makes the same decision, they might have changed the formula now that the end is nigh and they still might.

        I’ve been thinking for a long time that Baltar is going to somehow redeem himself for all he’s done. He may not mean to do so, instead have his followers dragging him kicking and screaming to his redemption, but I do think it will happen.

        As far as the Chief/Tory goes, I’m thinking she gets spaced during Galactica’s battle, in the ultimate Karma Kill, since they made such a point of taking her along.

    • fsphil says:

      Re: I’ll be sorry if Chief doesn’t kill Torrey.

      For our friends in the UK and Australia, are you seeing this the same time we are in the States?

      The UK gets the episodes four days after the US, on a Tuesday night. That’s the closest they’ve been since the first series.

  3. y42 says:

    Oh ho..
    Black hole? Accretion disk? Singularity? Jump drives? Event horizons?

    This is starting to smell kinda time-travelly…
    Baltar is gonna be a Lord of Kobol! Oh noes!

    • quantaman says:

      Re: Oh ho..

      Black hole? Accretion disk? Singularity? Jump drives? Event horizons?

      This is starting to smell kinda time-travelly…
      Baltar is gonna be a Lord of Kobol! Oh noes!

      Oh dear.

      That actually makes a lot of sense.

      a) It would explain the prophecy, the "All this has happened before…", the supernova and all that.

      b) It actually gives the colonists the home, we’re in the last two episodes and we have the Cavil plotline outstanding (though set up for a conclusion) but absolutely no prospects for long term settlement of the fleet. Either they get a peace treaty with the evil cyclons, and settle on their world, or they manage to settle an existing world such as going back to the 12 colonies or Kobol. It’s a little late in the game for them to stumble across a new habitable world.

    • TomSwiss says:

      Re: Oh ho..

      This is starting to smell kinda time-travelly…

      It’s worse (or better) than that. This is a "naked" singularity, something which isn’t thought to actually exist because it would be a point where all the laws of physics break down. *Anything* can happen.

      I’m predicting a bizarre ending that’s going to befuddle most viewers as much as the Jupiter scenes of 2001 or final ep of The Prisoner: 60% of viewers will say "WTF?!", 20% will say "OMG that rocked!" and 20% will say it was the suck.

    • Ogre says:

      Re: Oh ho..

      Black hole? Accretion disk? Singularity? Jump drives? Event horizons?

      I couldn’t help but think of the Disney movie "The Black Hole" when all that came up. From the link"

      "The surviving crew of the Palomino pass through a cathedral-like crystal tunnel, with their small craft eventually emerging from a white hole in the vicinity of a planet."

      A black hole as a portal to an alternate universe were the remainder of humanity settles on a habitable planet, then spreads out and colonizes several other planets, creates a slave race of machines, goes to war with them…..

      "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."

  4. J_W_W says:

    33 or 34?
    How does this episode rate a 33 or 34?

    Here are my Low Points:

    Flashbacks to the past, waste of time. Walking around Galactica hemming and hawing, waste of time. Over half the episode… boring waste of time.

    Its like they had 15 minutes of show, the suicide mission selection, and the reconnaissance for getting Hera. Everything else was filler and fluff. The flashbacks were utterly meaningless. We need to learn to care about what happened to Laura’s family or Baltar’s dad _before_ the attack that killed everyone? During the baby shower scene, I thought, too bad that baby won’t make it since the attack is coming. Having that character killed off earlier did nothing for the show. The flashbacks were utterly useless. Also, didn’t Lee and Starbuck know each other much longer than the scene where they met let on? Although this show sometimes doesn’t value continuity that much.

    However, the utter boringness of the opening of this episode did serve to make walking across a line seem much more dramatic….

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: 33 or 34?

      How does this episode rate a 33 or 34?

      I give them the benefit of the doubt with reference to flashbacks. They could be quite significant to the story; we don’t know until the three-hour episode finishes.

      Learning a little more about their past right before the end could be hugely significant, and it’s certainly been done to good effect in literature. I’m betting on Moore knowing what he’s doing.

      I could be wrong, of course, but I’m hoping otherwise.

    • y42 says:

      Re: 33 or 34?

      How does this episode rate a 33 or 34?

      Here are my Low Points:

      Flashbacks to the past, waste of time. Walking around Galactica hemming and hawing, waste of time. Over half the episode… boring waste of time.

      Its like they had 15 minutes of show, the suicide mission selection, and the reconnaissance for getting Hera. Everything else was filler and fluff. The flashbacks were utterly meaningless. We need to learn to care about what happened to Laura’s family or Baltar’s dad _before_ the attack that killed everyone? During the baby shower scene, I thought, too bad that baby won’t make it since the attack is coming. Having that character killed off earlier did nothing for the show. The flashbacks were utterly useless. Also, didn’t Lee and Starbuck know each other much longer than the scene where they met let on? Although this show sometimes doesn’t value continuity that much.

      However, the utter boringness of the opening of this episode did serve to make walking across a line seem much more dramatic….

      Boring, yes. Waste of time, I think not.

      All those characters are thinking about the people they have lost. The helplessness of not being able to do anything about it. And there is Helo, and he’s lost his loved one, like everyone… but they CAN do something about that. They can do it for hope’s sake.

      Baltar had his burden removed, he doesn’t cross the line. Roslyn lost everything twice, she crosses the line even though she can barely stand. It’s not fluff: it’s deep.

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