Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG) on the Sci Fi Channel is coming up on April 4th. To bridge the long gap between seasons three and four, Sci Fi aired the TV movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor back on Nov. 24th. I know it's a little late for this review, but since it's now on DVD and the new season will begin in about a month I thought it was still worth doing.
For the consummate BSG fan, Razor tells the untold story of the Battlestar Pegasus, commanded by Admiral Cain (played by Michelle Forbes). It begins with the destruction of the twelve colonies by the Cylons and ends with the ship's encounter with the Galactica. We experience new angles on the Cylon attack and some new insight and history on the chilling development of the Cylon "skin jobs."
Razor starts with a quick recap of the Pegasus as it meets up with the Galactica, Admiral Cain being assassinated by Number Six (Named Gina, who Admiral Cain was having a relationship with.), and Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) being given control of the ship by Admiral Adama.
If you haven't seen the movie, and plan to, the rest of the post is spoilerish.
Razor begins with Lee Adama being sworn in while a disgruntled Lt. Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen) listens in, playing with a switch blade.
Lee assigns Kendra the XO position in order to try to spark unity in the crew of the Pegasus in light of his "outsider" status. She was under Cain's command and they know her and he figures she can act as a bridge. While he's explaining his intent, the first flashback to the Cylon attack on the Colonies and Cain ordering an emergency FTL drive jump without any calculations shows us her survival edge.
Other ensuing events show us the difference between Adama's survival mode and Cains revenge mode. We watch moments that define Cain for us:
- Executing her own XO for refusing an order;
- Discovering her lover is a Cylon;
- Ordering the execution of civilians to obtain their FTL drive parts for the Pegasus.
These events were hinted at in BSG, but seeing them still hits like a shock to the emotions of the moment.
The movie's name comes from a line by Cain as she explains to that becoming this hard and cold in the face of such tragedy turns you into a "razor" and that this war is turning everybody into razors. She says this with an ever brooding sadness, while playing with her switch blade.
In the present, the Pegasus finds some old styled Centurions (As we remember from the original series, those baritone mechanical voices echoing "By Your Command") who's guarding a Cylon Hybrid that gaps the Cylon legacy between the older toasters and the present day "skin jobs".
We flash back again (I think they took their cue from the old Kung-Fu series) to see a young Bill Adama discovering a chilling Cylon human experimentation lab where they are trying to develop the skin jobs, but as he discovers this lab, a ship escapes at the same time the Cylon / Human armistice is agreed upon, so this lone ship gets away with whatever was on board.
Back in the present, Kendra and Starbuck are on a mission to destroy the base of older Centurions. In the process, the trigger on the nuke goes awry, and Kendra stays behind to detonate the bomb manually. While Kendra awaits her destiny, she encounters what could possibly be the "God" that Cylons speak of, the origin of all skin jobs, in his gooey regen tank.
He tells her "All this has happened before and will happen again..."
In a confusing conversation, he asks Kendra if she wishes to be forgiven, and tells her a secret: That Kara Thrace will lead humanity to their end. She is "the herald of the apocalypse, the harbinger of death." Kendra tries to warn the Pegasus, but is pressed into setting off the nuke.
The end of Razor included a preview of season four coming in April, but I think I've told you enough already.
If you didn't see it and you know someone who purchased the DVD, you may try to convince them to have a Battlestar Galactica party so you can catch up on this connector episode/movie between seasons three and four.
It's worth it.
Don’t forget: On March 28, a week before Season 4 arrives, the half-hour specials Battlestar Galactica: Revisited and Battlestar Galactica: The Phenomenon will air on Sci Fi.