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Boris Layupan
Sat, Dec 1, 2007, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Razor

Hi Jamahl,

I came across your site a few weeks ago and am enjoying the reviews. If you decide to post some thoughts on SG 1 and Atlantis, I'll read 'em. =)

It's my pleasure to post a pre-review comment on "Razor":

Being hyped as a tele-event on Sci Fi for months, I found "BSG: Razor" to be more of a souped up season 2 two episode parter rather than a feature extravaganza. But by BSG standards, that's really good.

Two storylines were combined here: the first days of Lee Adama in command of the Battlestar Pegasus--with the backstory of Admiral Cain and the Pegasus spoonfed in--and an encounter with the Protectors, a force of active original mechanical cylons, and the hybrid organic cylon they were protecting. Admiral Adama almost stumbled across the cylon organic experiments 40 years earlier on the tail end of the 1st Cylon War in the recent SciFi miniepisode series (November 2007) on a young Bill Adama.

I won't go into too many specific plot spoilers here so much as speak on general story points and character developments.

Personally, I feel that Season 2 was the highlight of the new BSG series with Season 3 (especially the second half) being a disappointment. I want the the producers to prove to me and the rest of the core viewership who're left that Season 4 will be up to snuff.

That said, "Razor" fit the tone of Season 2 perfectly and added another magnitude of drama to that chapter in the series.

It was great seeing Admiral Cain again, and awesome to see the events alluded to by Colonel Fisk in "Pegasus." We're tied into Pegasus' past following the Cylon attack that obliterated the Colonies and the "Present" of Season 2 through the character of Kendra Shaw. For those who want to know, the survivor count hints at the time of "Downloaded."

Watching Kendra go from raw aide to ruthless soldier under Cain's guidance is spellbinding to say the least. And watching her butt heads with Starbuck as Lee's new XO is a treat. Being
"Cain's legacy," she wouldn't hesitate to do what Tigh only dreamed of in putting Starback in her place. It would've been interesting to see how her and Starbuck would've gotten along is she hadn't been killed off at the end (more on that later).

Seeing Lee command in his own right was a pleasure. I can only imagine what would've happened had the the producers decided to not have the Colonials settle on New Caprica and set in motion the events that led to Lee sacrificing the Pegasus. This "what if" of Lee's development as a battlestar commander tantalizes me.

Cain was what we expected her to be: equal parts hero and villain. Sequences that show us Cain as a girl who was left an orphan by the 1st Cylon War weren't shown with the telemovie. But they're part of the extended version on the upcoming DVD (12-4-07). These sequences help us understand why Cain turned out to be a military die hard who sees herself as an unflinching weapon. A razor (though she was holding a folding knife at one point while imprinting on Kendra in a dramatic speech). Seeing Starbuck holding the knife following Kendra's death hints that she's the current holder of "Cain's legacy" (which doesn't bode well for the remnants of humanity in Season 4). What I don't understand, though, is why Cain didn't have the nerve to go through with her assasination plan of Adama in "Resurrection Ship (RS), Part 2," but she shot her former XO (who she'd served with for years) in the head with his own weapon without a blink. What accounts for Cain's sporadic flashes of humanity (in "RS, part 2") and hesitation? Something that I missed also was why Cain was so inflexible in pursuing an attack on a cylon station against odds of 4 to 1 when she'd assured her command staff in private that she wouldn't waste lives and resources on "a mad quest for revenge." Either this is inconsistent character development or Cain was lying to eveyone--and herself.

The fact that Cain was revealed to have a relationship with Gina, a version of organic cylon model number 6, didn't have any impact on the story and could've been omitted completely. Something not dramatized on the telemovie, but I'm sure will be included in the DVD version, is the torture (beatings and gang raping) of Gina. These events will show how a Nazi fascist state comes into being on Pegasus under Cain's aegis in contrast to the morally grey, but still humane family atmosphere that Adama preserved on Galactica.

The Protector cylons were pretty lethal for outdated models. The impression given is that there was one base star's worth of them, but it's mentioned once that a "fleet" attacked the Pegasus at one point. A slip I'm sure. The scene with the three cylon fighter pilots and a "By your command" line was priceless. When Kendra leads Starbuck and on team onto the old base star to rescue some human hostages, I found myself wondering how they could find their way around, how many cylons were guarding the vessel, and why all opposition on the ship had vanished as Kendra got a warning from the hybrid about Starbuck being the "destroyer" of humanity just before Kendra nuked the ship.

The warning about Starbuck from the hybrid nicely foreshadows one of Season 4's main issues. I'm still on the fence about that, though. I wondered why the hybrid offered Kendra the heads up? It indicates to me that this particular model wasn't such a bad person. And I wondered why the Protectors didn't seem to be taking orders from the hybrid?

Kendra blowing herself up tells me that she feels remorse about what she did as a soldier under Cain's command, but her taunting the hybrid "You should be afraid" struck me as insensitive and contradictory. But then she's human--and flawed. So where's the line between humans and organic cylons?

At the end, Adama tells Lee that without him, Tigh, and President Roslin keeping him honest, he might've done some of the same things as Cain. I can see Adama being darker, but not going quite the same route as Cain. For one thing, Cain ignored and then shot her former XO, Colonel Belzen for not following questionable orders. Belzen was the closest thing to family and a conscience she had. Adama shooting Lee, Starbuck, Tigh, Helo, the Chief, etc is unthinkable.

All in all this is a strong episode, tele-event, what have you. "BSG: Razor" was meant as an entree for Season 4, which was originally scheduled to air on Sci Fi in January 2008, I believe, but was pushed back to at least April 2008 because of the bloody WGA strike. (Hopefully the studios and networks will see reason before too long.) I expect it'll have to hold us over for a while.

I wanna give "Razor" a 5 out of 4 stars, but I'd say it rates more like a 3.95.

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