Skip to main content

I Believe: An Advance Look at "Battlestar Galactica" Fourth Season Opener

I've been breathlessly waiting for the start of Battlestar Galactica's fourth (and sadly final) season for quite some time now. The two-hour telepic Razor last fall helped ease the withdrawal pains a little, but I am glad that Sci Fi will finally give the fans the BSG fix they so desperately need.

I was fortunately to be among the lucky few who were sent an advance copy of the Battlestar Galactica season premiere ("He That Believeth In Me"), airing tonight on Sci Fi, though I did have to sign a non-disclosure agreement that put the episode's spoiler-ific plot under embargo. (So no worries, there are no spoilers here, just vague allusions.)

That said, the fourth season opener, written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson and directed by Michael Rymer, is a simply breathtaking and brilliant installment of a series that has redefined not only science fiction but the television drama, effortlessly weaving together a collection of three-dimensional characters, metaphors for the gripping issues we all face today (everything from abortion, genetic cleansing, and religious persecution to xenophobia, terrorism, and the rights of workers), and breakneck plot twists... all set against the backdrop of space.

"He That Believeth In Me" doesn't disappoint an iota. It deals head on with the implications of both Starbuck's return (and seeming resurrection) along with the revelation in last season's finale that she has been to Earth. Her reappearance, several months after her presumed death, opens up a Pandora's box of questions for the crew of Galactica: Is this really Starbuck? Did she die? Was she brainwashed? Is she a Cylon? A clone? Or something entirely different?

After watching the episode, I'm not sure what to think but there are clues aplenty that point toward some a larger question mark about her miraculous return, especially the condition of her Viper... Not only does her return to the ship--and the land of the living--present some plot implications, but it also signals internal conflict among the crew, each of whom grapples with Kara's reappearance in different ways and her sudden presence opens all matter of old wounds.

The episode also deftly incorporates the stunning season ender reveal that four trusted members of the Colonial fleet were in fact Cylon sleeper agents and had been from the start. Awakened by the strange musical stylings of Bob Dylan, four of the final five Cylons have now been revealed and they are forced to deal with the fallout from this personal revelation. Just how will Colonel Tigh--who killed his own wife for collaborating with the Cylons while waging a war against them on New Caprica--deal with the sudden realization that he is himself one of the enemy? How will Presidential aide Tory, a heartbeat away from Laura Roslin, deal with the emotional and psychological fallout? Or Chief Galen Tyrol? Or Starbuck's estranged husband Anders? The reveal forces us to question the selection of these individuals as well; it's apparent that they were selected a long time ago and seeded into positions of power or prominence among the fleet... and activated now. But for what purpose? And can they be sensed or detected by other Cylon models? (You'll have to wait and see on that front.)

Look for Tigh to have a massive internal conflict in the first half of this episode, during a scene that deftly echoes an earlier episode and is, well, pretty frakking awesome. Baltar's new role is equally tantalizing, with allusions to certain, er, religious cult behavior that would echo our own culture. And look for Starbuck to directly face the consequences of her death... and her return. Just what does it mean when she says that she's been to Earth? And why is she such a pivotal instrument on the path to the blue planet?

Ultimately, "He That Believeth In Me" is the perfect beginning to what promises to be one of the very best seasons of Battlestar Galactica yet: taut, haunting, and filled with emotional resonance. There are Big Ideas at work here and I wouldn't have it any other way. While this space opera might be coming to a close soon, it's obvious that BSG plans to go out with a big bang rather than a whimper.

Battlestar Galactica's fourth season kicks off at 10 pm tonight on Sci Fi. Catch an encore of this week's episode next Friday at 9 pm.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Ghost Whisperer
(CBS); Amnesia (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown! (CW; 8-10 pm); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular (CBS); Dateline (NBC; 9-11 pm); Duel (ABC); Canterbury's Law

10 pm:
NUMB3RS (CBS); 20/20 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8-11 pm: BBC America.

If you happen to be staying in after a long work week, why not do it in true Anglophile style with back-to-back episodes of Coupling and new sketch comedy series That Mitchell and Webb Look, from the stars of Peep Show?

10 pm: Battlestar Galactica on Sci Fi.

It's here! The beginning of the end has arrived with the premiere of BSG's fourth (and final) season. On tonight's episode ("He That Believeth In Me"), Starbuck's inexplicable return to Galactica (and the land of the living) throws the crew into confusion in the middle of a Cylon attack. And what's up with those four sleeper Cylons? Find out tonight.


Anonymous said…
You are one lucky sombitch! The only consolation we poor mortals have is that we've still got it to look forward to!

I can't imagine anyone who watches BG isn't already really stoked about seeing tonight's episode, but thanks for ramping up the expectations even higher.

You talk of the foresight of the Cylons in seeding the four sleepers long ago, but it was pretty damn omniscient of them to seed Anders who was part of a rogue bunch of survivors on Caprica all those episodes ago. That will be interesting to explain.

Good that you'll have a meaty drama to get your teeth into covering so well again...
This series may be set in space and feature robots but it's one of the most grounded, truthful, important dramas ever to be on TV. I know this final season is going to be incredible and I can't wait!!!
The CineManiac said…
I can't wait to see this tonight I'm going to rewatch the season finale and then head into the opener.
You're a lucky bastard.
The CineManiac said…
LOVED IT!!!! But Why do they have to leave me hanging like that, I mean Come on!!!! Can't the just release all 20 episodes tomorrow so I don't have to wait?

Popular posts from this blog

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous season

Pilot Inspektor: CBS' "Smith"

I may just have to change my original "What I'll Be Watching This Fall" post, as I sat down and finally watched CBS' new crime drama Smith this weekend. (What? It's taken me a long time to make my way through the stack of pilot DVDs.) While it's on following Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights (10 pm ET/PT, to be exact), I'm going to be sure to leave enough room on my TiVo to make sure that I catch this compelling, amoral drama. While one can't help but be impressed by what might just be the most marquee-friendly cast in primetime--Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Jonny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, and Franky G all star and Shohreh Aghdashloo has a recurring role--the pilot's premise alone earned major points in my book: it's a crime drama from the point of view of the criminals, who engage in high-stakes heists. But don't be alarmed; it's nothing like NBC's short-lived Heist . Instead, think of it as The Italian