Battlestar Galactica

“Unfinished Business”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 12/1/2006
Written by Michael Taylor
Directed by Robert Young

Review Text

I'm picturing a movie poster right now that has Kara Thrace and Lee Adama, half obscured in a dark shadow, with brooding looks on their faces, their eyes cast somewhat downward as they wear boxing gloves, standing facing in opposite directions so they aren't looking at each other, and the poster tagline above them says "Love Hurts."

That might give you an idea of what the net effect of "Unfinished Business" is. Here's an episode I might be willing to label a "guilty pleasure" given the initial plot outline (crew members settle their personal pent-up frustrations in boxing slugfests while we finally are shown what went down between Kara and Lee to open the gulf between them), but once you see it and then think about it, you realize there's very little pleasure to be found here.

Either this is (a) a brilliant character study about how the damaged psyche cannot possibly be understood — not the least by even oneself, or (b) a cynical exploitation of boiling-over soap opera themes filtered through dark, exaggerated angst. I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on. Certainly, there's a case to be made for both sides.

The episode's conceit is that all the military personnel aboard the Galactica apparently know how to box, and in keeping with military tradition, they use the boxing ring as a medium for working out their issues in a Fight Club sort of way: One boxes such that one can still feel alive. You leave your rank outside the ring, and then you step inside and settle issues like man was meant to: by beating the living crap out of his fellow man.

The scenes in the boxing ring are edited together along with a series of flashback scenes set on New Caprica eight months before the Cylon occupation. Certain gaps in that missing year that I, for one, have been curious about are answered in these scenes. Obviously not everything, but a few important things.

In many ways, this episode is refreshing. It takes us away from all issues of the Cylons and focuses purely on the characters and their internal workings and assorted dramas. Specifically, this episode leads up to a climactic fight between Kara and Lee that's been about a year in the making. What happened on New Caprica to get these two characters, who once loved each other, to this point? Even more specifically: What made Lee so absolutely bitter toward Kara, and what turned Kara into a bitch and a half?

The episode's most memorable and melancholy point is in how it reveals that the Colonial settlers, had it not been for the occupation, might actually have been able to live out their days happily on New Caprica. While it was previously established that New Caprica was a cold and harsh planet, the scenes in these flashbacks reveal that there must've at least been a comfortable warm season to offer a respite. There's a community celebration that feels as if the clock has been turned back to a simpler time where human beings could simply live in peace as neighbors. It's almost depressing to think that a few months after this celebration, all these characters will be trapped once again inside overcrowded tin cans.

This realization is made all the more poignant by the wonderful performances of Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, who ponder this new, peaceful chapter in humanity in scenes that hint at possible romance without ever confirming it.

As for Kara and Lee, such confirmation will not be left to the imagination. Most series tend to have their own version of the Will They or Won't They, and Battlestar is no exception. Kara/Lee has been an implied (and later explicit) WTOWT situation since basically day one — and season two, with the introduction of Anders, only complicated/accelerated that. In the flashback scenes here, the whole situation plays itself out in painstaking detail, some of it very interesting and agonizing. Lee and Kara had drunken sex on New Caprica, after which Lee put all his cards on the table and proclaimed his love for Kara by shouting it to the sky. Would Kara reciprocate? Well, she shouts to the sky, but when she does it, we don't believe it for a second, and the moment is hit so precisely perfectly on the head — in all its awkwardness — that it's almost painful to watch. It's effective: We see that Kara can simply not return Lee's feelings, for whatever inexplicable reasons.

The next morning before Lee wakes up, Kara marries Anders, for reasons that will elude most of the audience, not to mention probably Kara herself. Certainly those reasons elude Lee, who would not have been unjustified in castigating her on the spot (which he does not). Kara's actions are nasty and inexplicable, but Lee's own previous speechmaking about marriage and the future was part of the catalyst.

Clearly, Kara has issues that go back to childhood, and those issues have impacted the adult that exists now, but to try to explain Kara's thoughts and actions is to try to employ psychology beyond its usefulness. Why would she do what she does to Lee in such a heartless way? The episode's point is that shit happens, and people do lousy things to other people that they don't deserve. Even Kara probably wouldn't try to explain or defend it. Lee's answer is to marry Dualla as a sort of consolation action, which is not a good reason to marry anybody. (I couldn't help but feel sorry for Anders and Dualla, both whom are being married for the wrong reasons. Did they even have a clue what they were getting into?)

Still, I respect the writers' willingness to confront such a mess, especially in the face of consummating the central WTOWT of this series. Messy relationships are a fact of life, and to a degree I'm in sympathy with this material. But I have reservations about taking that friction and turning it into an over-the-top grudge-match in the present, where Kara and Lee pound on each other for so long that neither has the strength to stand. (This follows logically, I suppose, from Kara's downward spiral stemming from her psychological torture on New Caprica. Meanwhile, Lee cannot be faulted for responding to Kara's blatant baiting.) The end of this fight, which for some will seem like the ultimate cop-out and yet makes a certain amount of twisted sense, is like the cleverest reset button ever concocted. Where do the characters go from here? Back to where they were pre-New Caprica? Better yet, where do Anders and Dualla go? They are like the doormat byproducts of the WTOWT.

Despite my misgivings over all this, I'm more put off by the outcome of Adama's bout in the ring with Tyrol. It starts out with Adama's sucker-punch that seems like a cruel taunt and continues with Tyrol punching Adama where he previously had been shot. It ends with Adama going down in the ring in a sequence of painful humiliation: No one in the room wanted to see it, and, frankly, no one in the TV audience wanted to see it either. Adama seems to be making a reckless point here, but it's lost on me, because he's essentially arguing that friendships for him became a weakness rather than a strength because of the impact they had on his military decisions during a time of (deceptively) apparent peace. Given all the facts under consideration, I'm not convinced by this argument. Is Adama supposed to jettison his humanity in order to run a better military machine?

All the messages in "Unfinished Business" are delivered in a sea of intentionally murky contradiction and individual self-destructiveness, as if the whole BSG universe were a cautionary tale. Is that the point? I think it is. Should it be? I'm not sure. My own cynicism believes that when people have been through such harrowing situations, they are likely to become dark and unlikable people like the people shown here, and the writers are brave to depict that so honestly. But I'd also like to think that the message could be more optimistic. I said way back in my review of "Act of Contrition" that "this series contains more humanity than most." That was then, and this is now. Perhaps the New Caprica experience was more damaging to the human psyche than we thought.

Previous episode: Hero
Next episode: The Passage

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Comment Section

51 comments on this post

    I've got to agree with you. This episode really came off as a bad piece of fanfiction. I kept looking at that final fight sequence and seeing it as a bad music video made by someone who watches the show on a regular basis. I also have to agree with the comment about the Adama/Tyrol fight. Seeing him suckerpunch Tyrol was so out of character that I half expected William Olmos to drop his gloves and say to the audience, "Why did I just do that?"

    Yeah I never really got the downright hatred of this episode by so many, contrasted with adoration from others. There was alot wrong with it, but also alot right. 2.5 stars is a good rating I think.

    I really enjoyed this episode, and I'd have rated it 3.5 or 3 at least. It felt like a change of pace to me, but I can understand why some people might not like it if relationship DRAMA is not your thing. Me, I don't mind it at all.

    I remember finding Adama's statement about "letting everyone get too close" a little off given his history, at least the first time I watched it. It really informs his actions in some later episodes, like the cliffhanger scene of 'The Eye of Jupiter', or his ultimatum to Tyrol in 'Dirty Hands'.

    My idea is that Kara married Anders to drive a stake into the notion of relationship with/from Lee. It was a way to preserve the friendship--eventually.

    Well, now that the extended version of this episode has come out on DVD, I think I'm even more firmly on the side of "great episode, too bad about the hints at the impossibility of a quiet life in it" than the "this isn't what I watch BSG for" side. I'm not a fan of boxing, but I can appreciate very well its use as a device here. I'm far more a fan of the drunken love scenes and the smoking. And the extended version isn't better, its just MORE. And more, in this case, is still lovely. The episode gets Lee and Kara a great chance to deal with their long-term issues far better than we've seen at any time since the first season. And it's a really amazingly well shot thing, well edited, and well staged. It makes one wonder about the New Caprican "nature" and just how possible comforts or real survival and endurance might have been there.

    Jammer's review is spot on with the worry about Adama's point in his speech. But he's also proving himself, in that very human moment, to be quite the flawed voice of authority and wisdom. Sure, our foes must be fought when we mean to be soldiers, but what has ever made this man the end-all, be-all of wisdom on this show? There's a peace-loving side coming. The enemy will change its nature, and so will our human heroes. In order to survive together and get to the promised land together, this must happen. Just because he was bleeding, and partly right, for the good of the soldiers in the room, it doesn't mean he was ALL right. And this series is saying that, I think. The President is there to say that.

    I'm not sure about Anders, but I think Dee went into her marriage knowing exactly what she was getting into. I don't know what that says about Dee herself, but at least she was aware. To tell you the truth, I miss Billy.

    I'd give this a three. I think the scenes on New Caprica are standout material, but the "present day" story leaves something to be desired (but then, it's really just a framing device for the flashbacks). Even without the scenes restored in the Extended Edition (many of which make the episode even better), I'd say this is worthy of a 3 star rating, though more on par with Measure of Salvation's (closer to a 2.5 than a 3.5) than Torn's (I might even give this a 3.5).

    The extended edition also has problems in that there are some things that didn't need to be included, but I think that it is a solid 3 star story because the Lee/Kara story is only one part of the overall story, not THE story.

    I'm lukewarm on the extended "Unfinished Business." My star rating would remain unchanged between the two versions. While the show benefited from some extra scenes (particularly the Tigh/Kara scene where Tigh laughs out loud at Kara's confession, and we get an idea of how they became friends during The Big Gap in "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2"), there's also a lot of needless filler that is momentum-killing.

    The teaser draws out the boxing atmosphere unnecessarily, in my opinion, and the dancing at the New Caprica groundbreaking party goes on too long. This had more of an indie-movie feel, I'll grant you, but in terms of the rhythms that make up BSG, I felt much of the extended material in the extended cut wasn't necessary. Not hurtful to the show, but not in its favor, either.

    I agree. As Moore says on the podcasts, the best cut would have been somewhere in between the two. Where all the good scenes are there, but the filler is not.

    What I don't understand is why they didn't include that cut instead.

    "...what turned Kara into a bitch and a half?"

    A 50% interest rate. Zing!

    Don't forget the Violence and Variations piece. That's my favourite track from the season 3 soundtrack.

    I guess the ones who really like boxing would appreciate this episode, but I find boxing just dumb and ugly, and hitting a beautiful woman in the face is about the most disgusting thing I can think of. I guess if I re-watched the episode I might find some meaning in the fighting, but that's not going to happen.

    Kara's behavior isn't as inexplicable as it outwardly appears; she's driven by guilt. Remember how Kara was engaged to Lee's brother, Zak? 1) She feels responsible for his death. 2) Despite her relationship with Zak, when she met Lee they were attracted to each other (see later episodes). 3) Her relationship with Admiral Adama (with its father-daughter feel) reinforces the sibling-like bond between herself and Lee.

    All these combine to give her a truckload of guilt, which compels her to push Lee away despite their attraction. He's the forbidden love, the brother, the other son, and a reminder of her past mistakes all in one. Add to that Lee's declaration of love, and no wonder she's lashing out at him: it's because she hasn't forgiven herself. Why would Lee fight back? Sexual frustration, Kara's part in Zak's death, and good old vexation.

    In light of this guilt-ridden plot, Admiral Adama's present conflict is more understandable. Adama feels irrational (and rational) guilt over the fact that the Cylons were able to hold humanity hostage on New Caprica for so long. He blames himself for letting go of the hardened military mindset which would have kept a stronger fleet in orbit, and so lashes out as an expression of reestablishing emotional distance between himself and the crew.

    To me, this episode is in line with the series' goal: to be a drama that just happens to be sci-fi. The boxing was the crew's outward expression of pent up frustration and guilt, and was appropriate considering the science fiction military setting.

    But hey, that's just my two cents. :)

    This episode passed by quickly for me because I was totally caught up in the events of New Caprica. I loved the way that the entire episode was framed by the boxing match. Galactica finds very interesting ways to tell its stories.

    Is it me, or is President Roslin looking more beautiful every episode? I certainly wouldn't turn her down, even though she is nearly 60.

    For the first time since I started watching this series (on DVD and now via episode downloads) I came very close to shutting it off and moving on to the next episode.

    It happened right at the beginning, as soon as I realized they were going to use the hoary cliche of processing interpersonal conflicts through a boxing ring. I disdain boxing and despise the cliche. To me, it's a prefabricated cheat, using the "sport" as a substitute for meaningful and believable explorations of character conflicts. I groaned as soon as I saw boxing gloves on the screen, and started trying to convince myself that I could skip this episode and rely on Jammer's review to clue me in on any serious development that would be relevant to future episodes.

    Fortunately, I'm a lazy man slow to action, so I continued to stare slack-jawed at the screen long enough to realize there was something of value here. And the more I watched it the more I was sucked into it. Yes, the boxing device was hackneyed, but, as others noted, it was a framing device and the real point was the insights we gain, gradually, from the flashbacks. And those insights are very welcome after several episodes in which the visceral highlight is my frustration that Baltar's knee is in the way of my view of Six's naked ass.

    I disagree with the bitter condemnation of Kara's actions. As Angela points out, Kara's motivation is very, very confused at this point. Even setting aside the monstrous Cylon mind-frak she suffered on New Caprica, her whole history with the Adama's is an emotional quagmire. She's young, but she's seen enough to know that she can't move her relationship with Lee in a new direction without risking everything she already has with him and his father. And her status as an adopted daughter to Admiral Adama is a core part of her identity, we've seen that more than once.

    And she knows she's a mess. She knows she is probably going to frak up any sexual relationship she has with a man. And losing Anders is one thing, losing the Adamas is another. She'll experiment with Anders, but not with Lee.

    And Lee is being awfully blase about his marriage to Dualla. Anybody quick to judge Kara should probably stop and think about that. Disregard everything else, and a smart woman is still going to have to wonder at a guy who is ready to throw his wife in the gutter without any indication of remorse so that he can be with another woman.

    I was surprised Admiral Adama didn't win his fight. The speech he gives when his fight is over would have worked just as well, it seems to me, if he had won, maybe even better. But they deliberately deprived us of that cathartic conclusion. I'm not sure I understand why. One explanation would be that it is unrealistic to expect a man in his 60s (or more?) to out box Tyrol, a man in his early 30s at the most, even if Tyrol is looking a little pudgy these days. I think I understood the dialog between Adama and Roslin to indicate that Adama was going to throw the fight, but I'm still not sure why.

    But, in the end, it was an exceptional episode, I thought. It was focused on the characters, and it filled in some empty spaces. Everything made sense for the characters. The scenes between Adama and Roslin on New Caprica were charming, revealing, and totally believable. It was good to see two characters who love each other expressing their feelings in a non-sexual way (although Roslin was dropping some heavy hints, it sometimes seemed), in an alcohol-addled universe where sex too often seems the wild card in relationships.

    And the contrast between Adama's fatherly love for Tyrol and Calli and his boxing match with Tyrol was powerful and effective. Tryol's casual dismissal of Adama's authority earlier in the episode demanded a response from Adama. But still, I'm not sure why it didn't demand he kick Tyrol's ass.

    Finally managed to see the extended version. It is a tad overlong and has some bits that could be excised, but for the most part, the extended cut vastly improved the episode. The way the teaser was cut was especially good, reminiscent of Kobol's Last Gleaming.

    And man, that scene with Kara and Tigh is so good. They should have cut something else to keep that in.

    I LOVED this episode and the extended version even more. I'm one of those people though, that had been shipping Lee/Kara so I loved the story between them. When Lee got up and found Kara married my initial reaction is "BITCH!!" but after watching the extended version it gives some insight into why she married Anders. Lee tells her that he needs her and I don't think that she could be that person for him and so she was not only protecting herself, but she thought she was protecting him too.

    Adama sucker punched Tyrol becuase Chief had his guard down. Tyrol wouldn't hit him becuase they were sort of friends. Adama says that you can't have friends in war and that is the lesson Tyrol learned while boxing him. That dynamic makes perfect sense to me.

    LOVED this episode. I had been looking forward to it for so long. My favorite part of this episode thought was after Starbuck beats HotDog, Tigh takes a drink out of his flask and then offers it to Kara. Loved that little comraderie between them.
    K+L Forever

    I liked this one TOO. It is such a relief to for one single episode not have those F-in Cylons trying to kill your species. I think I could have fixed this episode in one easy way. The forshadowing the Lee-Kara fight was way to obvious. If they could have made that a surpise (and BSG is great at surprising), it would have been much more raw emotionally.

    BTW, to all the female poster...I noticed alot of snide remarks toward what Lee did to Dualla, yet did not Kara do the EXACT SAME THING to Anders.... women......

    In the extended version, it's clear Dualla knows she's the second choice for Lee, and gets married with the full knowledge of it.

    But frankly I dont care, because of the way she treated Billy. Honestly, I think it's poetic justice that she gets to taste a bit of what Billy tasted. Before they killed him.

    I have to give this one (or at least its extended version - the only one I've seen) 3 stars because the scenes on New Caprica are among the best in the series' run. When Lee and Kara are dancing, there is a brief shot of his POV on her, and in that moment I completely understood his feelings for her - hell, I was almost in love with Starbuck myself. The scene where he yells out that he loves her also felt very true.

    I think you've all missed the most critical aspect of this story: The boxing ring is square instead of octagonal!!! ;)

    Seriously though, I don't know, perhaps I'm old-school (well, I am) but I still cherish ideals of fidelity, honesty, loyalty, honesty and honor. AFAIC, everyone involved in this sorry tale--Starbuck, Lee AND Dualla (remember Billy), with the probable exception of Anders--are a bunch of lowlifes, screwing around like a pack of street dogs. Unpleasant as Starbuck being viciously hit may have been (enjoy that one, Nick? ;-) LOL!), they deserve to pummel the bejesus out of each other.

    I didn't appreciate Adama sucker-punching Tyrol at all, but, then, my respect and admiration for Adam has been in free-fall ever since "A Measure of Salvation." However, his speech, particularly the part about men whom you lead not being your friends, and what followed, was fantastic.

    The flashbacks were actually--for a change--interesting and a very well-used device to tell the story here. I enjoyed the show overall and would awarded at the very least 3 stars.

    P.S. near the beginning, the sound work was atrocious. There they were, Lee and Starbuck, 7-8 feet away from each other in a crowded hall full of noisy spectators and they were conversing practically sotto voce, yet being able to hear each other perfectly.

    P.P.S. Um, Irish music and dancing on New Caprica!?! O_o

    I enjoy reading reviews of television series I follow and as I'm late to the party with BSG (recently got the Blu-ray's) it's nice to watch an episode and then read what was written when it aired.

    The whole relationship between Lee and Starbuck doesn't feel right to me, the concept of him being in love with the woman who was engaged to his brother seems both bizarre and soap opera-ish. I can understand her falling for him because she had a twisted childhood and may somehow want to be close to the fiancé she lost (in her own twisted way) but Apollo reciprocating those feelings throws me for a loop.

    I liked getting some answers within the flashbacks but the boxing seemed out of place, especially when you'd need your soldiers in the best of shape to battle the enemy. Nothing like giving someone a concussion before they have to fly a ship! I'd give it 2.5/4.

    Just when I thought that I couldn't dislike Starbuck any more than I already did, this episode comes along. Selfish, bratty, whiny, self-centered, egotistical, cowardly, bitter, a poor loser; yes, indeed, Kara Thrace is all these things and more! The laundry list of horrible character traits goes on.

    Seriously, what the hell. Lee proclaims his love for her, she does the same, then runs off and marries Sam. Then when her marriage to Sam falls apart, as was inevitable considering her horrible personality, she blames Lee for having ruined her chances from the start. Then she has the nerve to be mouthy and rude and provoke him into a boxing match; THEN, when knocked to the mat by Lee's superior skill, she, of course, starts fighting dirty and throwing kicks to the face.

    Could this bitch be any less likeable?

    Unfinished Business is probably my most disliked episode though it has some bright spots; I'd say 1.5 stars. It would be completely unwatchable for me if it wasn’t for:
    1) Nice flashbacks of New Caprica with Gaius not being evil and Gaeta being a hard working idealist.
    2) Adama and Roslin letting their guards down and fantasizing about a possible future together.
    3) Tahmoh being able to use his real life martial arts expertise; he’s actually a good Thai kick boxer.
    4) Athena being able to be excited, happy, and just part of the crew for the first time - much more like Grace Park and not acting out terrible suffering and angst filled situations like poor s2 Athena.

    But … [you knew a “but” was coming! :)] … 3 things really brought this episode down for me:

    1) The amount of blood and violence was blech; I know it’s boxing and I’ve succumbed and enjoyed boxing matches in my day but this went on and on despite the flashbacks. And the blood was ridiculous; I think Moore & Co. just liked it gory and over the top so we get an almost completely red faced Adama for his dramatic speech – it looked like a slasher film at times and took away from the acting and story.

    2) Starbuck just gets worse and worse. I have 3 phases for Kara:
    phase1, mini to 1.11: “up and down” – I didn’t like her lashing out at Tigh about his wife and drinking but her back story with Zak and 1.04/1.05 were good. She was also cool in 1.10 Hand of God. She could be a little jerky but there was balance.
    phase2: 1.12 to 2.20: “the jerk phase” – Now she’s just a jerk. Siding with Roslin, shooting at Athena on sight over Helo’s objections (which she does again to a Marine during the mutiny) then calling Helo an idiot in the least supportive “pep” talk ever, her wrecking Kat’s moment of glory in Scar, etc ... the writers needed to round off her harsher moments and add a few of her deleted scenes to make Kara more like her “up and down” phase1.
    phase3: 3.05 to the finale: “repulsive, simply repulsive” – I give Starbuck a pass for 3.01 to 3.04, what a terrible torture she suffered and why, why was Leoben obsessed with her “loving” him? (we never find out) Anyway from 3.05 Collaborators onwards she was just repulsive, I’d look away during her worst moments and this was on my first viewing! From her saying "I want to tear your eyes out" to her policy on violence towards the handicapped she was 100% repulsive.

    As for Unfinished Business, her turning around and marrying Anders after a night of sex with Lee, who bares his soul to her, is unconscionable. I know about Zak, the Admiral as a father figure, her broken fingers issue from her childhood – I don’t care. You don’t cross some lines without personal responsibility kicking in and her marrying Anders like she did is way over the line into repulsiveness. And her baiting Lee around the ring was terrible. I’m 100% against violence of men vs women (and just violence in general) but I uncomfortably found myself wanting Lee to beat the tar out of Kara. And despite Lee getting softened up by Helo, Starbuck being very fit, Lee being hesitant to go full force, and Starbuck sweeping and kicking, she should have gotten her arse kicked by Lee. Just a single 80% punch from Lee should have put her down, probably for the count. The fight realism isn’t really a big deal here; I just hated her and wanted her to get beat.

    3) The worst part of Unfinished Business is the shameless, grotesque blending of a man and woman’s personal relationship problems with violence, bloody violence. I know BSG extended boundaries and was an intense human drama but there are things I don’t want to see no matter how much the writers rationalize it as part of a character or a story. For example, Simon the Cylon (that sounds so funny, like he’s a children’s cartoon character!) in 2.05 The Farm tells Kara about radiation sickness: “… cell death in the gastric and intestinal tissue causes massive diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, and loss of water. It’s not pretty.” Did the writers visualize this for us on screen? No! It would have been too much and not added to the story. I feel the same way about the writers having Lee and Kara beat the bleep out of each other and finally saying I missed you. Gross, just gross.

    My mom who's 70+ and got hooked on the show (she calls it "Masterpiece Theater with lots of action") said at the end of Unfinished Business that "if this was the first episode of BSG I had seen, I'd never watched another" and it was over Starbuck's horrible relationship actions. This episode just wasn’t a dud to me like Black Market which simply lacks good qualities; Unfinished Business had some good qualities but its badness overwhelms them. A real miss for me.

    I found the shot of Doc Cottle enjoying the gory fight hysterical. The episode is well made and I thought the New Caprica scenes were excellent. I have a hard time with the sexual relationship between Lee and Kara. Nothing about it adds a necessary dimension to them or the show. The brother/sister angle is more than sufficient to explore their back stories and the sex scenes always feel uncomfortable and gratuitous. I enjoyed "Hero" much more overall. 2.5 stars from me.

    I still can't fathom what the Admiral was attempting to achieve with his little stunt. Sucker punching the Chief was just bizarre and counter-productive. Way to go Bill, CREATING resentment among the crew. It's good that the guy whose job first and foremost is to fix planes now won't let his guard down when boxing. Funny - I thought the crew implicitly trusting their superiors was a good thing for military efficiency.

    Adama could have achieved his stated purpose (if he really had it and wasn't just trolling) by purposely remaining aloof from the crew and avoiding events like this.

    I find it interesting that the Kara/Lee fight seems to make a lot of guys uncomfortable, whereas most girls I talk to seem to enjoy it. One thing I have consistently liked about BSG is that these humans aren't bogged down by the typical gender stereotypes we are used to. Our society treats women like fragile objects that should be put on a shelf and protected, but the women in BSG have to fight just as hard as the men and don't get any special breaks because of their femininity. The idea that a man should never hit a woman, even in a fair fight, shows a level of paternalism that the men on BSG refreshingly don't share.

    I particularly liked when Anders makes a comment to Dee about Kara and Lee trying to kill each other, and Dee says "That's one way to look at it." I see the fight as more sexual than anything. Sex isn't always about "making love." Sometimes it's about our savage nature coming to the surface in a fit of passion. That's what I saw between Kara and Lee--not really violence, but PASSION!

    Right. I absolutely loved this episode, and it is possibly my favourite so far. Even putting aside the beautiful formatting and music, the different interweaving plot lines are just fantastic.
    There's been some unjustified criticism over Adama's motives in this one. It's perfectly clear and also in keeping with his character. Adama is constantly blaming himself for the tragedies that befall them, and sees himself as the one who must accept responsibility, that's his nature! He's just so damn noble! And he sees the whole debacle that was New Caprica as his responsibility, he was supposed to protect them and yet he had to flee. His speech after throwing the fight is yet another demonstration of the goodness of his soul. He loves his crew unconditionally but blames himself for letting it cloud his judgement (he can't see it as the thing that defines it).
    And by the way, his growing love with Roslin is just perfection! I hope to the bottom of my heart that they end up together! At the start of BSG I had reservations about Roslin, I questioned her integrity. But now, she's undoubtedly one of my favourites. I frakking love her!
    Now, Lee and Kara. Lee. And. Kara. You have to be blind to try and deny that they are soul mates. The flashback of some of their most romantic moments at the end was so emotional. It's obvious just how frighteningly much they love and need each other. Kara was so scared by the intensity of this realisation that she turned to Anders. This was just denial. And the brutal fight allowed us to see her coming to terms with her true feelings. Just look at the expression on her face when she first saw Lee fighting Helo from the balcony. The first time I saw it I was beyond ecstatic to find out the truth about the rift between them. And frankly, if Starbuck and Apollo don't end up together, I will personally complain to the writers.
    It's clear that Starbuck is deeply tormented by horrors in her past, exacerbated and drawn out painfully by her ordeals with Leeoban. And it's written in the stars that she will finally find peace in her love for her soul mate... Apollo.
    I have become such a massive fan of Katee Sackoff because of this show, and Kara Thrace is hands down my favourite character, one who inspires me in my own writing (yep, I write science fiction).
    This show is frakking incredible, undoubtedly the best that has ever been seen on television.
    And this episode was beyond perfection.
    I would give it 5/5, 10/10, hell, 100/100! And Kara and Lee BELONG together. This is not something to be disputed. It is embedded in the very workings of their souls.

    P.S. Lee and Dualla's relationship is so wooden and crap I could cry. They're so wrong for each other. It's sickening. She should have been with Billy.

    Horrible episode filled with horrible people being horrible to each other. Adama's bit almost makes me laugh it's so silly. There's not a military commander in the world who would think it was a good idea to let one of his enlisted men beat the hell out of him in front of everyone, and that he does this to get Tyrol -- TYROL, of all people -- to take his job more seriously is just mind-boggling. Episodes like this are what makes me wonder how anyone could be disappointed in some of the things that came later.

    As much as I agree that violence vs. women is horrible, that's not the issue with the women who got into the ring in this episode. The BSG universe is very different w.r.t. to gender roles. Females take on all combat roles (not like the U.S., at least not yet), the bathrooms are co-ed, and the females acquit themselves quite nicely in the ring (cf. Starbuck>Hot Dog or Muay Thai Starbuck). I was not at all bothered by the fact that Starbuck was being pummeled or dished out punishment in that setting.

    Unfinished business was a bad episode, but extented cut was one of the best Galactica episodes!

    I got the impression that Kara was so frightened by the intensity of Lee's declaration of love and how she felt about Lee in return, that she
    ran to marry Sam, so that Lee's feelings would be sabotaged. In Kara's fucked up head this was a good idea. While I'm sure that Kara loved Sam, it never seemed that her feelings for him were near what they were for Lee so the marriage was doomed from the start. The unrealistic parts in this episode are of of course that first of all I don't see Lee just letting something like that slide without a confrontation. He would not just stand there with a wounded look on his face while Kara just looks oblivious to all like she did not do something that most anybody would consider hateful much less heartless. NO WAY. My second problem is this - I don't care how tuff Starbuck is supposed to be. Lee is an athletic, heavily muscled man. He is quick and strong. I figure he is around 175lbs or so versus Kara's what 120lbs tops. He has 50 plus pounds on her. He has the reach advantage. I am not buying that she is staying on her feet after Lee got in several CLEAN unanswered punches. In most scenarios she would be lucky to leave without brain damage. Anyway bottom line is Kara's behavior in both the flashbacks and present time sequences is abysmal and total unsympathetic.

    I've read several comments about Kara having married Sam to protect herself and Lee & also to preserve the existing relationship. I also dont think her out loud declaration of love were false or forced. I think it was more like her realizing that she did love Lee and finding herself scared witless at her feelings for him and her admission. She believes her love of Zack killed him First of all if the episode had been truer to the established character behaviors, Lee would have confronted Kara immediately. Secondly if the admiral had been a little more observant of Lee's agonized visceral reaction to the news of Karas marriage I think the admiral would have been horrified at her cruel heartless downright hateful treatment of his son. I think that would have damaged the relationship severely. The only reason she married Sam was to drive Lee away. Folks are also forgetting that she offered to leave Sam if he left Dee. the problem was she wanted an on the spot decision and Lee remembering how she had thrown his heart back in his face could not decide.

    I really appreciated the flashbacks in this episode, they gave me a lot of insight into "present-day". But, call me crazy, I just don't believe in hitting a woman. I don't care if it's Starbuck and she is the toughest broad on the planet and could definitely beat the snot out of me in a boxing match. Maybe I'm a chauvinist pig, but that's just me.

    .....I would have appreciated an episode that flashed back to New Caprica to fill in the back stories and skipped all the boxing crap.....

    .....This series has had some wonderful moments up to this point.....Action, graphic effects, music, writing, direction, acting (not necessarily in that order) have often been gratifying emotionally and dramatically.....having said that, I think I'm starting to lose it with the series.....

    .....I had difficulty sitting through this episode.....I just can't care about Apollo and Starbuck.....WTOWT?.....siblings?.....lovers?.....what's at stake?.....Bupkus!.....

    .....Tyrol has been an immature jerk since the wonder Adama felt like kicking his ass.....but stepping into a boxing ring with someone thirty years younger simply isn't credible and his point in doing so seemed pretty muddled.....

    .....and Dee.....beautiful woman, dumb character.....she's been a doormat far too long.....she just comes off as a masochist.....might have been more interesting if she had been "sacrificed" instead of Billy.....

    .....and (apart from this particular episode) the drift of the Cylon mumbo-jumbo about God and re-birth, personal identity, "will I ever know love?" has become tiresome.....

    .....too many of these latter episodes seem to just mark time until the inevitable "living together, Cylon and Human, in harmony with the universe la-dee-do-da-day" conclusion.....

    .....I hope the series takes a new's turning into a soap opera.....for me.....

    Dualla is a whore for doing what she did to Billy, but Lee is just as bad because he was complicit in the Billy thing AND he cheated on Dualla with Starbuck.

    Neither of them are likable characters at all.

    TBH only Anders and Tyrol are likable characters at this point and even Tyrol hasn't been great since Season 3 started.

    In the opening, Dee is talking to Adama how people are getting sloppy and things not getting taken care of. I think Adama is frustrated, and when he sees the Chief and his deckhand (who should be fixing a bird) at the boxing, he realizes *he* needs to take out some aggression. For the whole premise to work (and I don't think it would), it has to be about hitting someone, not necessarily winning the fight.

    And I don't think Adama "sucker-punched" the Chief. The bell went off and Tyrol didn't have his guard up. He should have; he didn't, and he got decked. I thought that was a point Adama wanted to make -- there are times you can't let your guard down.

    Lee and Kara. Yawn. Yes, they're hoplessly in love. But Kara is so messed up..... If I were Lee, I'd take up drinking; in the long run it will do less damage. And yeah, Lee should have stomped her.

    Dee. I don't understand the dislike here. I like her, I liked Billy. I liked her and Billy much more than her and Lee. I don't think she was unfaithful, or unkind, or whatever to Billy. I think Billy read in something that wasn't there and maybe moved too fast. I think she was truly blind-sided when he proposed to her. When Lee and Dee are in the bar and Billy comes in and Dee says "It's not what you think", I believe her.

    I think Angela nailed it re: the motivations of the characters. She'll presumably never see this comment since it's been 7 years, but I thought her insight was great!


    Sorry Dee and Billy was a thing. Dee kept asking Lee are they a thing...will dating Billy.

    She and Lee are cents.

    When it isn't being trite it is simply unconvincing. The worst episode of the whole series thus far. One star.

    Has anyone ever considered the fact that Kara is mentally ill? Likely brought on by her childhood and other crap that happens to people rendering them mentally ill but to me this is what seems to be going on with her, especially her erratic behavior. I mean, she ditched Lee, married Anders and yet here she is, in the ring, engaging in what I can only surmise to be foreplay. We all know that if there wasnt an audience, these two would jump each other. She is playing with his feelings and the worst part is he plays along, all to the detriment of poor Dualla.

    Anyway, her erratic behavior and not being able to decide on one man is part of her ongoing mental anguish. Remember the episode she brought Anders back and how they were in the crew quarters and she kept doing shots and these exaggerated, obnoxious "HAHAHAHAAHA"s and "BOHAHAHAHHAHA"s? That was all just Kara using laughter to mask her inner dysfunction and turmoil and how out of the step with the world she is. I think she was having a manic episode then. You know the harder she laughs, the sadder she is.

    It is almost like she is bipolar and going back and forth between depressive and manic episodes. That would explain the extremes between which she is going back and forth. Scream out Lee's name, but screw Anders. F-ck Lee and then marry Anders the next day. Then want Lee back and so f-ck Anders the next day...

    I think you have to evaluate her behavior and fickleness from within that context of her mental illness cause when you are that impaired your judgment is too. You dont know what you want and if what you even want is based on the most sound judgment. In her case, she was first all hung up on Anders, so she acted all self destructive and hysterical and manic and then when she got him he quickly became old news and she wanted Lee instead. Then she had Lee and so it wasnt good enough anymore, so she went back to Anders. Now she has Anders again, but wants to go back to Lee. If she had gotten together with Lee, in a short time she'll likely want Anders back and on and on.

    Point being: she seems to just constantly want what she cant which, in turn, appears to be a function of her mental illness.

    As a side: Kara's hair extensions are really badly done, you can totally tell when her real hair ends and her fake one begins.

    Also, Adama going back to boxing a year after someone empties two rounds his abdomen. I dont buy that....

    A final note: these people clearly seem to have all been behind this whole moving to Capirca 2 thing and were happy. That they then end up solely blaming Gaius for what happened next is preposterous. They wanted to be there, that is why they voted for the guy. No one made them, not even Roslin who, also, seems to have had plans to settle there with her cabin by the lake.

    Doing my rewatch I opted for the extended version. I think it's just a good 3 star episode and I wound up having much less of positive/negative mixed response than I
    expected. Just some good shit.

    I enjoyed it, but I did so by viewing the New Caprica flashbacks as the A story and the boxing as the B story.

    The NewCap stuff was great, especially Bill and Laura.
    Intercutting it with the boxing was, essentially a thematic device to justify the flashbacks. The show needed a modern setting and reason to reopen (and hopefully close for good) those old wounds.

    Look at the episode from the writers perspective...

    You've got all this great NewCap stuff but you cant air it during Lay Down Your Burdens 2, becuase the time jump and cylon arrival is your cliff hanger. I suppose you could show all of it in Lay Down 2 but then you're stretching the episode to close to 2 hours and really killing the pacing of the season finale.

    No, it was right to get to the cylon invasion as soon as possible, but you also don't want to lose things like Lee and Kara having their falling out or Bill and Laura getting high.

    So they created a framework and gave it a justifiable premise: characters let all their pent up frustrations out in a boxing match (fighting but with a sense of control) and allow the viewer to go back and see how it almost was a dream come true before it all came crashing down.

    The execution might've been "only okay" but I appreciate the idea behind the episode and the highlights are really great.

    3.5 stars for me, or 9/10

    I don't know if anyone will read this, but what does WTOWT stand for? I can't find it anywhere.

    @ Kirk Walker,

    Based on context, I believe it's supposed to mean "will they, won't they" Mostlikely a typo of the initialism.

    “Bitch ‘n’ a half” would make a great T-shirt.
    3 stars from me.

    This is the first BSG episode that I truly did not enjoy and I could not wait for it to end. How long does it need to go on for to make it's damn point? Kara was back to her super-annoying (and now we learn duplicitous and heartless) self and Lee is hopelessly confused or something. These 2 are mostly fine characters when they're not together but I'm just not into this kind of love-hate BS.

    Also really not a fan of the premise of this episode that people can take out their frustrations on each other in a boxing ring. If this is some kind of military tradition, it doesn't make sense to me.

    But it is interesting that there's a rift that Adama really feels about splitting up the "family" with some wanting to stay on New Caprica while other are probably seen by him as being more duty-bound and staying on Galactica. Did he have to get absolutely destroyed by Tyrol to explain himself out loud?

    So I think the Cylons are too stupid but these humans have all their flaws and they introduce a massive new one here...

    1.5 stars for "Unfinished Business" -- an interesting idea of various duos working out their grudges with flashbacks about New Caprica, but it really dragged for me. We have not seen the last of Lee and Kara (unfortunately for me). Roslin and Adama at least have some maturity about their friendship / romance.

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