I first caught the new Battlestar Galactica not when the miniseries aired, but right as season one was starting. They replayed the miniseries, then they aired the first two episodes. And I was hooked.
I didn’t always keep up with it, and it was definitely a show that worked well by watching it in marathons. For instance, I remember marathoning season 2 just in time for the start of season 3… and being cliffhung even for a short time – during one day! – was hard to bear.
It was a great show, with some great moments, and some great episodes. So here is a list of five of my favorite episodes, stretching out throughout the series. So let’s go in series order!
The miniseries was good. But this episode cinched it for me – I was going to watch this show. If you haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica, or maybe only watched the miniseries, you stopped one episode early. Watch 33. And then BSG. So really, from here on, spoilers.
The acting in this episode is great – they really seem to be strung out, and if I recall, they were. Five days running from the Cylons, no sleep, no stopping. You wonder for a moment if the whole show will be like this. It sets a tone.
And then, hard decisions must be made. Not the only ones; no, only the beginning.
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
So then, in the opposite vein, not gritty or dark but funny and thoughtful – Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down. This episode was directed by Edward James Olmos – Commander Adama himself – and somehow he got something amazing going. The pauses are a big part of it, giving you a chance to think about what has been said.
It also does a great job of playing with our fears – who do we trust? Who is a Cylon? Is Adama a Cylon? Can we trust anyone? And when you only have one Cylon detector, and it takes eleven uninterrupted hours to complete the test… hijinks ensue!
Also starring booze!
Exodus Part 2
With what is maybe one of the most tactically interesting moves I have ever seen in science fiction, and one of the most breathtaking to watch on screen, Exodus Part II is great. It takes an odd sub-plot – colonization – and puts the show back into its old trajectory.
This is the episode that sets up the whole rest of the series. The Galactica is heavily damaged. People were for or against the colonization.
The Pegasus is lost. Also a great scene.
From here, we also keep watching a lot of what’s happening with the Cylons; they’re no longer a mystery to the audience. And somewhere in there, they had a plan, and it kind of falls apart.
Crossroads Part II
And then, as a part of the show getting to work through all of its plots, we get some major reveals. Someday, they had to tell us about the Final Five, and who they chose – you would never have seen it coming. Enter Crossroads Part II.
The Resistance members, the ones who fought hardest and most against the occupation of New Caprica, and even on the original Caprica in some cases… the unlikeliest folks, aside from the biggest name characters… they are Cylons.
But its more than the existence of the reveal. It’s how they do it. Bear McCreary’s All Along the Watchtower is haunting and beautiful. Its use in the episode… even moreso.
It’s coming out of the walls!
Really, the one thing that would be better is if they had kept Billy around, as his replacement character was never quite the same. It should have been him.
Someone to Watch Over Me
The final trilogy of episodes of Battlestar Galactica were good, finished things off, all that, but if I’m picking an episode from season 4, it’s Someone to Watch Over Me. The final episodes I think I still need some time on. But this episode… we’re back to music, I suppose, and it’s great in this episode.
Starbuck and her mystery piano player have stuck with me, years later and shows away. And then they use it to pull how many plots together? Oh, what’s that? All of them? Well played, piano man. Oh, what’s that? You weren’t real? Awkward.
These are just my reminiscences of the show. What other episodes would you add to this list?