Before you read this, do me a favor. Forget everything you know about science fiction television. Forget the phasers, the badly delivered lines, the complete disregard for real physics or anything real for that matter. Battlestar Galactica deserves a fair chance. Don’t hate because it’s set in space. It’s an anomaly to its network and genre. It’s like this from our SAT days. Battlestar Galactica: Sci Fi channel :: Veronica Mars: UPN. It’s a powerfully written, dynamically acted, stimulating character driven drama. In short, it’s great. So to test out my recap skills and get the world caught up, here’s a recap of “Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far” which aired Saturday night on Sci Fi. This one hour special was a recap of the miniseries and seasons one and two.
Space with a view of Galactica, a battlestar used in the first Cylon War over forty years ago. Off-camera, Laura Roslin explains how the outdated, never used Galactica was to be decommissioned and turned into a museum. Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama scowls as he lands in the docking bay. He is greeted by Chief Tyrol.
Galactica corridor. Commander William Adama practices his speech for the ceremony, his last act before he retires from the Colonial Fleet. Laura Roslin, the Colonies’ Secretary of Education, arrives for the ceremony.
Officer’s Lounge. Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace is schooling the men at cards. Her gloating angers Colonial Tigh. He dumps the table over so Starbuck swings at him. But he’s her superior, so she’es thrown into the brig. Apollo greets Starbuck. They have a deep history that fuels an awkward and torn present. Apollo’s brother Zack was Starbuck’s fiancée. Since Zack’s death, Apollo has been estranged from Starbuck and his father, Commander Adama.
The planet Caprica, one of the twelve Colonies. Dr. Gaius Baltar, the Colonies biggest brainy celebrity, defends his position promoting further artificial intelligence research. His views are controversial as the Cylons are artificially intelligent robots created to make life easier. But they nearly wiped out civilization in a rebellion against the humans. Truthfully Baltar only cares about two things: himself and himself. Naturally he doesn’t ask many questions of the beautiful and mysterious blonde in his bed whose spine glows red when they are together. And by together I mean, any closed off room of Seattle Grace Hospital. Hot Blonde asks if Baltar loves her and he finds this strange since he doesn’t even really know her name.
Galactica. Cmdr Adama gives his speech at the decommissioning ceremony. It’s gripping and off the cuff. Adama’s a man of few words, so people listen when he speaks. Roslin continues in voice over explaining the neutral meeting place for the Cylons to negotiate peace with the humans. For forty years, the humans have come to the meeting, only to be stood up. This year is different. The doors open as two Cylon Centurions, robots you’ll come to call Toasters, enter followed by Baltar’s Hot Blonde bedmate. The Cylon’s have evolved. They are machines who look, speak, feel and think like humans.
Baltar’s house. Hot Blonde ‘fesses up. She’s been using him to get into the Defense Mainframe. She wants to save her lover from the impending destruction of all mankind. She also can’t die. Once her body is killed, her memories are downloaded into a new identical body somewhere else. There are 12 Cylon models and she’s Number Six. Baltar, caring again only about himself, cries that he doesn’t want to die. So she blocks him from a nuclear explosion that blows his home to pieces.
Space. Mushroom clouds erupt all over Caprica. Adama announces to the fleet that they are again at war. In a sucker punch attack, the Cylons annihilated all twelve Colonies including Caprica. Only a few thousand human survivors remained. Apollo and Starbuck lead the air battle against the Cylon raiders.
The news is grim. All of the battlestars have been destroyed. Galactica is the only remaining military vessel in the universe. Adama starts to take control of the fleet, when they realize that Laura Roslin, 43rd in line of succession, is now President of the Colonies.
A handful of humans survive the nuclear holocaust on Caprica, but they are in danger of radiation poisoning. A raptor from Galactica piloted by Helo and Sharon arrives to take what survivors it can. Despite Sharon’s protest, Helo gives up his seat in exchange for Dr. Gaius Baltar. The doc looks out into the crowd and sees Six for just a moment. Sharon bitterly watches as she leaves Helo behind on Caprica.
Apollo struggles to live in the shadow of his father. Adama tries to express his confidence in his son as the new commander of the air group, but Apollo thinks the crew would prefer Starbuck to command. On Colonial One, Baltar begins hearing and seeing Six. Baltar tells her that she’s just a figment of his mind and yet he continues to talk to her and kiss her. Because nothing eases the agony of knowing you helped wipe out your species like making out with a hot blonde.
Adama knows the constant fighting, running and death is nothing compared to the internal struggles amongst the humans. He conspires with Roslin to build morality by telling the fleet that they are headed to Earth. To the Colonials, Earth is a legend and while they aren’t sure where it is or if it even exists, Adama’s determined to get there. “Because it’s not enough to just live, you have to have something to live for. Let it be Earth,” he concludes. The war with the Cylons is lost. The humans, on Galactica and a few civilian ships, less than 50,000 people in all, are left with one option: run.
The Cylons are not discouraged by the chase because they have multiple Cylon agents in the fleet, most notably Sharon. The humans wise up fast to the whole “Cylons look like us now” and oh, yeah, there are duplicates of each Cylon and some Cylon’s don’t know they are Cylons but actually believe they are human. Point Cylons.
Six continues to torment Baltar who claims he is on neither side, the fence-sitting traitorous coward. In space, President Roslin is leading the Colonies, writing policies about rations, dying of cancer and now takes on the roll of prophetess. That’s what I call multitasking. In space, no less.
Back on Cylon-occupied Caprica, Helo meets another Sharon. Helo doesn’t know she’s evil. The only flaw with the Cylon body is they can’t have children. They use this Sharon to experiment with a willing and unsuspecting Helo. He’s in love and Sharon gets knocked up. Love is the missing ingredient. Point Humans. Helo finally figures out his baby’s mama is a toaster and decides they can make it work. Oh Helo, where do I start with you? Seriously.
The Sharon on Galactica, meanwhile, doesn’t know she’s secretly evil and goes to Dr. Baltar to be tested with his Cylon detector. The test is positive. Baltar freaks, lies to Sharon and goes about his business with full knowledge that she is a Cylon. A good rule on Baltar is figure out the right thing to do and he’s the one sprinting in the opposite direction. Greasy, selfish toaster lover.
Starbuck, on a mission for Roslin, returns to Caprica and gets in a seriously wicked awesome cat fight with Six. Helo saves her and then Starbuck freaks because she sees a duplicate Sharon. Helo pulls the whole “you can’t kill her she’s carrying my baby” card. Starbuck doesn’t trust Sharon but agrees to play nice. But this doesn’t say anything new about Starbuck as she can’t trust anyone ever. Back on Galactica, someone flips the Cylon switch on that Sharon and she shoots Adama in cold blood, nearly killing the old man.
While she’s being moved to her cell, Galactica Sharon gets a cap popped in her. She downloads into her new body and can’t handle the Welcome the Cylons parade. She would rather be human. Caprica Six, the one who loves Baltar so much she saved him, downloads into her new body and hates her new found War Hero status. She would rather be with Baltar and I’m quickly finding another serious flaw with this Cylon.
Starbuck and Helo stumble upon a resistance group living on Caprica, led by Samuel T. Anders. Pardon while I wipe the drool off the keyboard. Between Apollo, Helo and Anders, you can see why I can’t take my eyes off of the screen. If you’re an emotionally unavailable, uber tough chick, what better time to fall in love than the end of the world? Starbuck promises to return to Anders and rescue him from Caprica and I nearly cry my eyes out during that scene.
Starbuck returns to Galactica with Helo and Sharon. Roslin threatens to send her out the airlock, but Sharon promises to lead Roslin to Kobol. She needs the help and relents. Kobol is part of the map to get to Earth. Needless to say, everyone’s a tad paranoid when it comes to the new Sharon on board. Apollo, in mult-stages of grief, anger, regret and sorrow, accidentally on purpose tells Starbuck he cares about her. She responds by mocking him. I can’t decide if they are better as brother and sister like or in this fifth grade flirting stage. Mostly I hate to choose because I love Anders.
On a need to know basis, Sharon has her baby. That’s right: half-human, half-Cylon baby. Roslin switches the baby with a still born human child, turning our “But I’m good!!” Sharon into Psycho! Sharon. Roslin hides the baby and all is forgotten.
Apollo is promoted to commander of another battlestar they found along the way, but he has to leave Galactica behind. Baltar runs against Roslin in the presidential race. Everything was going fine in the election until they discover a planet that can sustain human life. Baltar uses this as his platform. The planet is hidden and they could feasibly hide there. He proposes that they stop running and settle. Roslin and Adama knows this is not the wisest choice, but Baltar is elected anyways. Roslin is especially annoyed because she’s fairly convinced of his traitorous ways. He takes the oath of office and immediately orders settlement on New Caprica.
Fast forward a full year on New Caprica. The climate is bitter cold, the living conditions are harsh but the humans haven’t seen or heard from the Cylons. Baltar rules over the planet with his usual greasy and disgusting way. Chief Tyrol is using the worker’s union to plot an overthrow of Baltar. Roslin teaches in the school and watches over the Cylon baby. Surprise! Starbuck has grown her hair out gorgeously long and has married Anders! A small and crippled fleet led by Adama and Fat!Married!Apollo orbit New Caprica. Without any warning, the Cylons’ entire fleet arrive. Judgment Day. Galactica and the small fleet in orbit have to jump away and leave the settlers behind. Baltar quickly surrenders to the Cylons. Cylon Centurions march through New Caprica with stunned and hopeless humans watching. The Occupation has begun and Galactica has run away.
Right now! Ten Webisodes of Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance are on SciFi.com. The first six are already up and a new one airs each Tuesday and Thursday. The webisodes are the fill in the gap between the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3.
Season 3 premieres Oct 6. The miniseries, Season 1 and Season 2 are available on DVD.