That’s what the two hour premier of season three of Battlestar Galactica was.
I’ll tell you what: you KEEP your “we’re oh so smart and witty” season premiere of Lost, and I’ll take the riveting drama that is BSG any day.
This was two hours of absolutely riveting and for lack of a better word, uncomfortable TV viewing.
The episode opens with almost six months having passed since the Cylons invaded New Caprica and have been ruling the colony with a heavy hand.
The human-looking Cylons are experiencing some internal conflict concerning how to rule or get along with the human residents. Dean Stockwell is influencing the majority of ruling Cylons that there should be mass executions, whittling down the number of surving humans to a “manageable” number of about 1,000. Two of the others, specifically one of the “Boomer” models and Number Six are aghast at the way the situation is developing, since they broke away from the rest of the Cylon fleet presumably to live in peace with the humans.
The Cylons are rounding up, imprisoning, torturing and interrogating members of the population. Among those captured and tortured are Col. Saul Tigh who now thanks to the Cylons, has only one eye. He is released and if you thought he was cranky and angry before, watch out… that was nothing compared to his mood now. Starbuck (in the only Lost-ish scene that had me worried) is being forced to live with a Cylon who says he wants nothing more than for her to fall in love with him. She seems to be going along with it, but then murders him, only to have him reappear resurrected shortly thereafter, and we discover that this is the fifth time she’s “killed” him. She is truly in Hell.
The rebels (called “insurgents” by the Cylons) have had enough, and with Col. Tigh now pretty much out for blood, they pull out all the stops and even resort to suicide bombings. The president (Baltar) is his usual spineless self until they want him to sign off on something so heinous that even he balks at it.
The battlegroup, which took off when the Cylons arrived 6 months ago has it’s own problems, with minimal and inexperienced crew that can’t even complete training exercises correctly much less face battle. Apollo looks shockingly plump and has lost his “edge”, and Adama (his father) is none to happy about his son’s slide from self-discipline in every regard.
Of course the thing that jumps out while watching the episode is the obviously intentional parallels that they are trying to imply between what’s happening between the Cylons and the “insurgents”, and the current war in Iraq. That was part of what made me uncomfortable with the episode, as we watch the humans get to the point where they are willing to strap on bombs and murder their own kind.
I’m sure people will argue the point, but to me there really isn’t a valid parallel, since the Iraqi insurgents/terrorists and those who blow themselves up in Israel are not being subjugated. They in fact want to subjugate everyone else into living under Sharia law, and that is quite different from what is happening on Battlestar Galactica.
In any case, it’s all thought provoking and gripping stuff that had me glued to the TV and I can not wait to see how this season pans out.