BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - 'Sine Qua Non'


(Gratuitous Jamie Bamber image!)

SkyHD - 27th May 2008 - 9.00pm

Gosh, we got this four days ahead of the U.S. Now, what do I say to those American viewers chomping at the bit waiting to see this? Oh, you've probably caught it on a streaming site somewhere by now!

If you're looking to torrent the episode: Pirate Bay

(Spoilers ahoy if you haven't seen it)

Roslin, Baltar and half the pilots are gone. Immediately, the power vacuum gets the sharks circling and Tom Zerek has his eye on the Presidency. There ensues a bit of a power struggle between him, Lee and Adama. Adama can't cope with the thought of Zerek being President and him having to work alongside the man. Bad day at the office. To settle the issue Lee approaches Romo, the strange little lawyer he worked with at Baltar's trial. Romo will sort it out, apparently.

The playing between Jamie Bamber and Mark Sheppard is again, excellent, and their on-screen chemistry keeps some of the very long-winded scenes moving. But then there's a load of flummery about dead cats and Romo pulling a gun on Lee after a dragged out sub-plot of drawing up a list of potential Presidential candidates. Look, we all know it'll be Lee who takes the chair and it's very obvious from the outset but this episode spends rather too much time avoiding having to actually come out and say it. Thus we get the somewhat tedious back and forths between Romo, Lee, Zerek and Adama. Brilliantly acted but I have to admit I really didn't give a toss in the end as much of the drama practically crawled along at a snail's pace.

Adama's pining for Roslin and the prospect of working with someone like Zerek prompts him to resign and put Saul Tigh in charge. Is that wise, Mr. Adama? Yes, he cocked it up last time when he left him in control but the added complication now is that he's a ruddy Cylon! So Adama flounces off in a Raptor, much to the concern of Lee, Starbuck and crew, waiting for Roslin to reappear as the rest of the fleet jumps away to find Earth. He's left sitting reading a rather burnt looking book! Awwwww!

Beyond the turgidness of the Lee/Romo/Zerek tussle for the Presidency, with dead cats and whiteboards, the real meat of the episode lies in the revelation that Tigh has impregnated the captured Six. Now this is what we want...shocking revelations. Poor old Tigh, so bewitched by that naughty Six he's done the dirty with her, and now put in charge of the ship. Will that good eye finally pop out of its socket under all this strain? The punch up between him and Adama is the stand out moment in the episode and they go at each other like brawling sailors. As a symbol of their disintegrating friendship even the lovely Airfix model ship that Adama has been patiently building gets flattened in the melee. It's sudden, brutal and leaves both men shaken and more importantly perhaps, changed, despite the scuffle being offset by a humourous coda.

There's also the spooky exploration of a devastated Raptor and the remains of a base star to keep us happy as the crew painfully try and locate the vanished Roslin. The consequences of Athena's shooting of Natalie are followed up with Athena thrown in jail. Adama, the old softy, later relents and send little Hera to go and share the cell. I bet they never had family visiting rights in Guantanamo Bay!

The slow pace and the often baffling dialogue do hamper this one and it's a bit of a disappointment after such a cracking episode last week. I have no problems with the overall quality of the show - the direction, acting, design are all superb - but this season's constant navel gazing and sluggish pace have contributed to a feeling that this season has never really got going. The chin stroking through endless scenes has become rather off-putting and the writers need to get the whole thing moving. I'm almost hankering after the episodes set on the Demetrius. Oh, that reminds me, where was Gaeta? We didn't hear one of his lovely songs this week. It might have done well in Eurovision along with all the other crap.

Previous reviews:
Guess What's Coming To Dinner?
Faith
The Road Less Traveled
Escape Velocity
The Ties That Bind
He That Believeth In Me & Six Of One

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