Production 7
Direction 7
Characterisation 8
Storyline 9
Acting 9
Fun/Sexy/Cool 8

The second season starts off moments after we last left it. Expectations were high as well as the excitement. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t as excited as others, some “arsey” fan left a sour taste in my mouth, but that’s neither here nor there. Here it is the short awaited but much anticipated Scattered…

Summary 8.0 great
Production 0
Direction 0
Characterisation 0
Storyline 0
Acting 0
Fun/Sexy/Cool 0
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Summary 0.0 terrible

Battlestar Galactica: S02E01: Scattered

The second season starts off moments after we last left it. Expectations were high as well as the excitement. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t as excited as others, some “arsey” fan left a sour taste in my mouth, but that’s neither here nor there. Here it is the short awaited but much anticipated Scattered.
Anxiety and adrenaline runs highs in the bridge as everyone takes in what just occurred in the finale of Kobol’s Last Gleaming. The medics arrive to take care of Adama, but the real problems are still on the bridge. Boomer fakes that she doesn’t know anything. She throws a bitch fit, then completely forgets what she just did. That’s what I love about this show, its so true to life, women do this all the time. Tigh has “it” removed from the bridge. Meanwhile Apollo is having his own bitch fit and complains and screams to Tigh that he can’t leave his bleeding out father. His ass is tossed in the brig too.

Later in the scene, Captain Kelly decides to show up to the bridge for the first time since the mini-series. The producers like to pull big ass things out of nowhere with no explanation, see the Cloud 9 from Colonial Day) Gaeta informs him that Adama has been shot, and that Tigh is in charge and Kelly is now second. Kelly infers that the assassination attempt is a sign of an impending Cylon attack.

And he’s right. A basestar appears on the dradis and causes the situation to get far far worse. Kelly, by way of the overwhelmed Tigh, gives the order to jump the fleet to the emergency coordinates. The fleet jumps, and so does the Galactica….
…to a totally different area! Frakin’ Ay! Can they catch a frakking break?! Jump coordinates have to be periodically updated because of inertial drift, with the new relative positions of local stars. In the excitement, Geata forgot to transmit this new coordinate system, or jump points, to the rest of the fleet. D’oh. Galactica can’t jump to the fleets position without first jumping back to cylon infested space and recalculating the fleets positions. They’ll need 12 hours to compute this location, and they apparently must do it there!

So here’s the situation. Galactica is fraked! Adama is bleeding out and Doctor Cottle is with the rest of the seperated fleet. Meanwhile Tigh is still a barely competent drunk, the President has been arrested, and the CAG is thrown in the neighbouring cell for mutiny.

Back on Kobol, we rejoin the beloved and hated Baltar and #6. Just like last season, they’re in the Opera House daydream overlooking a cradle. #6 explains that their baby will be joining them soon. Emphasis on THEIR baby. If this is a delusion, Baltar is really fraked in the head! But unlike me, he still has some sanity left and asks her what she means. #6 insists that a corporeal baby, the by product of their love, err cuming together in union, or just plain cumming, will be joining him soon. Baltar tries to understand, but does what any smart man does when his wife/girlfriend/significant other/mistress/date/screw buddy says something irrational, he smiles-and-nods to pacify her.

He awakes from his daydream to find the other crash victims trying evacuating the area. The cylons are on their way, and the need to move to the treeline for safety. A cheeky Cally tells the Vice President to carry some gear this time. In his haste to leave the area, Crashdown orders everyone to leave the area immediately and NOT take inventory of all the gear.

Predictably this will come back to kill one or more of the characters later.
Ellen greets her husband in their quarters only to find out that all hell has broken loose. She tries to use the situation to her advantage by telling Tigh to take command of the ship and be more assertive. He rebukes her and instead gives a speech to the CIC about how the Galactica is still Adama’s ship so long as he lives.

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After the quasi-powerful speech, Tigh, Gaeta and Kelly discuss their options. They have none, as mentioned earlier, they are boned. They can’t jump back and hold off the cylons for 12 hours. So they will have to think up something clever… how Star Trek of them.

This week’s Caprica scene features the only funny lines. Starbuck is a lot pissed off by the thought of Boomer being a biocylon and her sexual control over Helo. So she takes the American approach to ending the problem, senseless violence. In the spirit of shooting first and avoiding questions later, she pulls her gun on Boomer. Helo steps in front to protect her and insists that Starbuck stops PMS’ing. No luck, she fires her gun, but Helo deflects the gun over before the bullet leaves the chamber. He then bear hugs Starbuck to keep her under control and quite possibly cop a feel.

Her response, common of so many lady geezers out there, “My gods, men are so painfully stupid sometimes!”

Boomer uses this opportunity to get the frak outta there! Slyly of course. A few non-sexual screams from Helo and Starbuck later and we hear Raider engines firing up. So does Starbuck who runs out of the ruined museum in enough time to see the raider, presumably piloted by Boomer, fly off. Boomer is one of those love ’em and leave ’em girls.

Starbuck’s response; “Bitch stole my ride”. Great line, but it really dates the show, and it sooo won’t age well. I thought Galactica learned its lesson of putting cheesy pop culture references into the show. TOS really brings someone back to the late seventies, or so I’m told.

Adama isn’t doing so well. His spleen was hit, and there’s lot of internal and external bleeding. With no surgeon onboard, his outlook is bad. Tigh orders the medic, Ishay (played by Jamie Bamber’s wife) to perform the surgery despite her total lack of experience or knowledge. Can someone say HMO?

Tigh decides to take out his pent up aggression on Boomer. She is guarded by a half dozen marines with powerful rifles, all of which are trained on her. Tigh does the requisite amount of questioning, and she replies with the requisite tough prisoner attitude. This can only end in a beating folks! She asks quasi-sincerely how Adama is doing. When she finds out the she botched it, she replies “Thank the gods!” Then he bitch slaps her… hard. The battle of the personalities only escalates from there, and Boomer eventually tells Tigh, “Get it over with you frakkin coward”. And that’s when he goes Abu Gharib on her ass. He gets a pistol from a guard and is about to blow out her brains, much like what she meant to do to herself two episodes ago. Instead he withdraws and leaves her to wallow in her own misery.

Back on Kobol, Socinus is in bad shape. His burnt lungs require more serisonin. Uhh isn’t that an anti-depressant? But in his haste to evacuate, Crashdown and the group left the other med kit back at the crash site. He orders a redshirt Tarn. (bitch-fallguy) to go back and get the medkit. Tyrol points out the stupidity of having one man do it alone and he and Cally join Tarn to recover the medkit..
They easily retrieve the medkit. But while shooting-the-shit on the way back to the rest of the party, the three are ambushed by centurions. Tarn is shot a few times, and dies slowly and painfully while the Chief tries vainly to heal him. The whole scene is taken out of a WWII movie with one exception. Tyrol is the one who gets torn up over the senseless death and petite Cally instead has to point out the situation to him and the need to move on.

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On the Galactica, Gaeta has an epiphany whilst in the bathroom. Like many guys do. He explains this revelation to Tigh, Kelly and the audience in the CIC. His plan is to network the computers together to reduce computation time to 10 minutes. Galactica can hold off the cylons for ten minutes. But the number one rule aboard Galactica is NO NETWORKED COMPUTERS! Kelly strongly reminds everyone of this every line he has. Gaeta points out that if they don’t do this Adama will die and they’ll never find the fleet. Tigh reluctantly agrees and order the Galactica ready to jump.

Now for the cool part of the episode, the big season opener battle sequence. This was a cool one folks, you gotta watch it. Great graphics. That is except for the obviously recycled crap! Which of course is another failing of TOS.

Anyhoo, the Galactica jumps backs to the now Cylon territory. They launch their vipers in response to the basestar threat. Which itself launches a few hundred raiders of its own. Apollo leads the vipers. Yes you read that right, he is still the CAG, but on parole. He has agreed to return to his cell immediately afterwards and not try to cause an insurrection. In Starbuck’s absence, the nuggets are taking bets to see who will score the most kills. Apollo ends this discussion by pointing out the gravity of the situation. My money is on Flyboy.

Soon into the fight, the Cylons deploy a virus into the Galactica’s new network. Luckily Gaeta put up four firewalls to prevent them from taking out the ship. Before the jump Gaeta lamented that he wanted Baltar there, to do the firewall instead. But Tigh replies, “To hell with that. I’ll take your work over that shifty son of a bitch any day”.
During the battle, the Galactica takes a lot of hits. This scares the pussy marine assigned to guard Roslin. He asks for the semi-secular President to pray with him. They hold hands and he says a prayer, calling her a prophet. Word travels fast.

The space battle just gets more spectacular with every frame, except for the obviously recycled crap. Seemingly Galactica takes no losses, but the raiders sure do. Soon a new player emerges on the scene, a Cylon heavy raider is on a collision course with the Galactica. Hotdog spots it and tells Apollo. Kat and Apollo take pursuit. Apollo and the heavy raider exchange fire with each other, but only do superficial damage.

The suicidal craft flies into Galactica’s flak cloud, forcing Apollo to pull out before he can get a kill shot. The heavy raider flies through the exploding flak and straight into the starboard flight pod. Remember that this is the non functional and uninhabited museum. It appears that there is now a new exhibit on display! I wonder how much they’ll charge admission?

With three of the firewalls down and the fourth being hacked to pieces, the calculations are soon done. Gaeta breaks the network by yanking out cables, and effectively kills the Cylon virus. Tigh orders the Vipers to land and the Galactica to jump.

They successfully jump, right into the middle of the colonial fleet. It’s a wonder and contrivance that they didn’t jump into another ship!
The last live action scene shows Tigh visiting Adama in sickbay. Ishay barely kept Adama alive during the Cylon attack and her impromptu surgery. Actually she didn’t keep him alive, as he was technically dead for a minute there! With Adama in critical condition, Tigh admits to him that he never wanted to command, and that Adama shouldn’t have brought him back into the fleet.

Flashbacks were spread throughout the episode showing younger (but still very old looking) Adama and Tigh on a freighter. I hate writing reviews with flashbacks, so you’re getting them all in one paragraph. Be grateful I don’t do “Lost” reviews. Both were trying to get back into the fleet. Adama got back in through his wife’s political connections. In a final scene, reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, guards come to Tigh slum flat to tell him that he’s been reinstated. If you spotted the floozy on his bed in that scene, give yourself a silver star. If you noticed that it wasn’t Ellen, give yourself a gold star! If you didn’t notice any of that, drink a shot of your favourite liquor and try to watch it again
The season opener ends with Cylon Centurions being activated in the crashed heavy raider. They look menacing and start egressing the crashed vehicle with the intent of destroying the Galactica, or visiting the exhibit about the Cylon War era Centurions.

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This adrenaline pumper gets a 18,045 out of 10 with points taken off for recycled CGI crap.

Dissecting the Episode:

In 33, it took no longer than 32 minutes to plot a jump. Why did the Galactica require 12 hours to plot the jump to find the rest of the fleet? In the pilot, Tigh mentioned that it was difficult enough plotting a jump every half hour. It was implied that more jumps could be plotted in that time, but without much certainty. However that applied only to jumping from point A to point B, somewhat blindly. Gaeta only had to make sure that the fleet ended up in empty space somewhere in a given area. In this instance though, the jump had to be more precise and accurate. Roundoff error could throw the Galactica days away from the fleet. So more computing time would have to be required.

Additionally, the computers had to extrapolate the locations of previous “landmarks” to further extrapolate the RTF’s jumping position. This requires a lot of computations, again with very exact calculations. I haven’t sat down to work this out exactly, especially since I don’t know what exact equations are needed to plot jumps, but I’d expect 5th or 6th order accuracy to be required to jump the Galactica directly to the fleets position. In today’s society, such calculations are rare (except in the most select fields) and will often take days or more to run on super computers. As an example at the time of this writing, I am running an “elegant” particle tracking code of second order, that will take about 3 days to create all of the data I need, and this is running on a lesser “super computer”.

Fair enough, but how did the computing time drop from 12 hours to 10 minutes?Parallel processing can speed things up dramatically. I’m not an expert on parallel computing so I’ll refrain from saying more, but I think that dropping the computing time by a factor of 72, seems high. Furthermore, Gaeta did a very quick job networking all the computers for parallel processing AND set up four different expert firewalls. This is a classic Star Trek solution and something I wouldn’t have expected Ron Moore to stoop to.

Where has Captain Kelly been all this time?He’s been on the Cloud 9 with William Grey and a bunch of other big characters TBA that will be pulled from thin air when the writers need them.
Is the Baltar-#6 baby real?Maybe, maybe not. It’s clear that the two were frakking like rabbits back on Caprica for about two years. #6 could have easily been knocked up during that time. Baltar doesn’t strike me as the kind of geezer to use birth control. #6 could have had her fertilized egg(s) removed for later implantation and use. Or Baltar could just be out of his head!

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Battlestar Galactica reviews are © 2005 Ryan Bechtel
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

Battlsestar Galactica names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, NBC-Universal and R&D Television.

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