"By your command." – Old School Cylon Centurion
With one five second scene, the BSG gang made my geek center of joy overload.
But I'm jumping ahead. BSG: Razor is the new movie about our Colonial survivors during seasons one, two and three, while laying groundwork for season four. With flashbacks, it tells three interweaving stories. The common thread is before-now unknown Lieutenant Kendra Shaw (Stephanie "Farscape" Jacobson). We follow her journey from her arrival onboard the Pegasus, to becoming one of Admiral Cain's most trusted officers, then ultimately Lee (Jamie Bamber) Adama's XO.
The first storyline fills in the gaps about the Battlestar Pegasus, covering the ship's escape from the Cylon sneak attack on the Colonies, and what Admiral Cain and crew did to survive in the aftermath. We knew the highlights after the Pegasus popped up in season two, but it's one thing to hear about how harsh Cain was, and another to see the events.
Cain (Michelle "Ensign Ro" Forbes) still owns every moment she's onscreen, radiating power and command as strongly as Adama. Only now, we see her before the attack, her human face, and watch each event, every hard decision that grinds her down to the seemingly inhuman, ruthless admiral who stumbled over Adama's ragtag fleet. Through Shaw, we see these decisions drag the rest of the Pegasus crew down with Cain.
A familiar face here is the Six (Tricia Helfer), aka Gina, that the Pegasus captured. The Six models were designed for seduction. This betrayal is one more wound in Cain's soul, changing her to the harsh survivor from season two.
We also see now the toll the decisions take. We see Cain nearly break down, once during the monologue from which the movie title comes. It's a hell of a piece of acting.
The second storyline is set somewhere in season two, before the discovery of New Caprica. It starts with Lee's taking command of the Pegasus, and promoting Shaw to be his XO.
The Pegasus stumbles across a group of Cylons, but not the ones we're used to. These toasters are flying vessels from the original Cylon war. Vessels that made me cheer. They're the round disc ships, the ones from the original Battlestar series.
That's not all. Piloting them are the old chrome bucketheads, in the same two in front and commander in rear configuration, with the leader in gold. It was a wonderful touch, seeing classic Cylons and hearing their electro-voices. And after the leader gives an order, they reply with the classic "By your command," which made me insanely, geekily happy. I might have yelled enough to wake my neighbors. I watched it about ten times in a row.
The reason they're the old school Cylons ties into the third and shortest storyline. The Colonials stumbled over a faction of toasters who split off from the main group. At the end of the original Cylon war, a young pre-Admiral Adama (Nico Cortez) stumbled over a secret Cylon science project. You see more of it in the online "Razor-ettes" on the Sci-Fi website, which are apparently gone now.
Shaw and Starbuck fight the old school Cylons, only they're now CGI and look more intimidating. This leads to a final set of hard choices made by Shaw, Starbuck, Lee and Adama, and will have you on the edge of your seat for the last half hour.
BSG: Razor is intense. It deftly weaves all these stories over four time periods together in a way that is never confusing. It expands what we already knew while moving the plot forward.
It is, to be blunt, one of the best things the BSG crew have done, and is a shining example of what great science fiction can do. It's a story about humanity, horrors of war, loss, redemption, and how one bad decision can lead to another, and another, until your soul has been whittled away by inches in the name of the "greater good."
The expanded and unrated version of BSG: Razor will be released December 4, and I can't wait to get my hands on it and see what else is in there. Then the series returns in March.