I'm a little astonished — and I suppose I should be embarrassed, but I'm not — by how I behaved watching Battlestar Galactica this past Friday night. Exodus: Part 2 was one of the most exhilirating and most moving episodes of the entire series so far.
It was one of those episodes that makes the exceptional pilot miniseries — which I just saw again last night showing it to a friend who was a Babylon 5 fan but she never had seen any Galactica — almost pale by comparison.
Chris at Monolithic Sketchbook writes:
I was so worried at the end of the second season of Battlestar Galactica that the whole of season 3 was going to be Hogan's Heroes in space, only minus the comedy and 90% of the color. But so far, the writers have done nothing but surprise me at every turn. This week's episode Exodus: Part2 was one of the best episodes of the entire series, and set a new standard for TV visual effects.
* spoilers follow after the jump*
The “Exodus” conclusion was really the resolution of a cliff-hanger introduced at the end of Season 2 last spring, but it was done so well that it had me in tears at some points and shouting alone in my home at others. Moore kills off his characters, destroys his settings, and puts his surviving characters through hellish trials that all come across as entirely real while remaining compelling at the same time. This episode he apparently pulled out all the stops - he admitted in his podcast that he put himself in a financial hole doing the special effects for this 2-part episode - and it shows. If this episode does not win at least Hugo award I would be surprised.
Really, the whole show knocks other television shows of any genre out of the water, and this episode was a real topper.
I gasped when Galactica jumped into the atmosphere of New Caprica to launch its (very effective!) surprise attack.
That was the moment when I was jumping up and down, screaming. That was just amazing! It's screaming down, belly flat, blazing through the atmosphere. Vipers launch. And then the Galactica jumps away when only a few hundred feet above the surface, leaving in a cloud of vapor and a crack of thunder. I didn't see that coming. No way.
All the battle scenes in the series are excellently done, but this topped them all so far. —And I'm not one for the big effects stuff, mainly because it can get boring. As Claire says:
Not into space battles (though why wouldn't you be?)? Rest assured, there's lots of story and character development framing everything. There's some seriously cool drama afoot.
And that's what Battlestar Galactica is all about. Characters. Story. People.
Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money is one of a few bloggers who question the tactics that led to the destruction of the Pegasus, which, if a ship had to be destroyed, would have been preferable to the Galactica. Of course, they'd have to rename the series Battlestar Pegasus, which really doesn't have the same ring to it, so never mind that notion.
What really connected with me, though, was the ending of the episode. Tigh is clearly left haunted by what he did. And Starbuck — to have what you believe to be your child, a child you only reluctantly accepted but finally came to love, to have her suddenly taken away by the real mother....
The hangar deck is full of celebration. The crew carries Adama on their shoulders, a hero's honor. And though they've just escaped a horrific, brutal, Nazi-like occupation, where death was staring them in the face every day, both Tigh and Starbuck stand apart, isolated in their own loss, their own devastation. I cried both times I watched it. (Thank you, SciFi, for doubling up your airings.)
And for YouTubers out there, here's a pathetically low-res clip of what really must be seen in full broadcast, if not high-definition. [Edit: Video taken down.]
Laura Scott is a designer, tech geek, fiction editor, and author.