NFB Re-Watches Battlestar Galactica: Razor

Don’t. Don’t do it. Don’t look back.

Air Date: 24/11/2007

Director: Felix Enriquez Alcala

Writer: Michael Taylor

Synopsis: After ascending to the command of Pegasus, Apollo chooses Kendra Shaw as his XO, an officer whose experience on the ship has made her a living embodiment of Admiral Cain’s legacy. The Fleet is forced to reckon with a Cylon legend when it comes into contact with mechanical models from another era.

Review

Razor, the TV movie that plugged the gap between Season Three and Season Four, is about choices, and specifically about choice put against predestination, a theme that really only becomes clear at the conclusion. BSG is a show that is obsessed with this dichotomy, and is only going to become more obsessed. In Razor it finds form in Kendra Shaw, a soldier who faces critical choices with momentous consequences, in Apollo who needs to choose whether he trusts his new XO or not, and in Starbuck, destiny incarnate, whose coming activities get a full-on prophecy of doom here.

The film obviously spends most of its time on Shaw, and that journey of unwinding choices is fascinating enough as its own character arc and as a deeper examination of Pegasus under Admiral Cain. She faces a lot of critical choices through the running time here. She has to decide whether she is going to get up and fight back in the Scorpion Shipyards attack or lay down and accept death. She has to decide whether she is willing to trust people like Cain as things get more and more extreme on Pegasus, and must make such choices after instances of betrayal both general and personal. She has to make a choice to be some manner of drug taker, while at the same time having to choose between being a relic of Cain or someone who can embody her legacy at the top table. The forks in the road build and build, with the dual timelines both coming to pivotal choices presented to us around the same time: opening fire on the civilians of the Scylla, and sacrificing herself to take out the Hybrid. Razor is the story of how her choices brought Shaw to both moments.

As a once-off main character, Shaw is pretty fascinating (even if there’s no good reason why we are only meeting her now, if she was such an important part of Cain’s crew). We are introduced to her in both timelines as someone of very little consideration: a careerist filling out a step in the ladder in the past, and a potato-peeling malcontent in the present. Over the course of both narratives she changes significantly with the joint-thread of her embracing her role as a soldier. In the first instance it’s a baptism into a martial way of life based on war almost for its own sake, and in the second it’s the acceptance of a leadership role with weightier responsibilities.

The better part of the episode is watching as Shaw becomes a protégé of Cain, coming to fully embody her warped values as they pertain to military life, the conduct of war and personal loyalty. Indeed, we can say that Shaw is the fullest encapsulation of Cain’s philosophy as we experienced it from “Pegasus”, “Pegasus (Extended)”Resurrection Ship (Part One)” and “Resurrection Ship (Part Two)”, as she’s someone who went from being just another cog in the Colonial military machine to being willing to shoot civilians as Cain’s command. Apollo’s elevation of Shaw to the XO position is a strategy to appeal to those who still feel Cain’s methods were worth following, and he couldn’t have picked a better officer really: as Shaw herself says “I am Cain’s legacy”. She’s what Cain was starting to do with Starbuck in “Resurrection Ship (Part One)”, and her journey to becoming an active participant in atrocity showcases the seductive allure of despotic leadership when dressed up as a necessary evil.

But such things carry with them a significant cost: one does not become a “razor” without collecting mental and physical scars. Shaw knows what occurred on the Scylla was fundamentally wrong, even if she only enunciates this guilt out loud at the conclusion. She’s looking for some kind of absolution while also reckoning with the seeming reality that she still isn’t sure what she did on the Scylla was wrong, a viewpoint that Adama of all people speaks out loud at the conclusion. This kind of warped dichotomy, one tailor made to cause mental anguish and a turn to the relief of drugs, really does add layers to Shaw. Call her a kind of BSG Javert I suppose: she was mentored by a woman who was all about the ends justifying the means to the point of murdering people, but now finds herself strained in a military where such things are shown as both criminal and unnecessary. Her only way out is to sacrifice herself to get a mission accomplished, and we sense that she makes the decision gladly: it’s her way of reconciling the obsession with the mission with the guilt of the Scylla I suppose.

But that larger idea, that characters in BSG are currently standing at a fulcrum between treading their own paths or blindly walking down one higher powers have laid out, comes up repeatedly here too. After all the crucial choices, Shaw comes face to face with the apparent predestination of the Starbuck prophecy, as vaguely outlined to her by the Guardian Hybrid. She rails against this seeming inevitability by attempting to warn Apollo about what she has heard, but this effort to puncture a hole in the cycle of “All of this has happened before…” is frustrated by a radio outage and an imminently exploding nuke. In the end, I’m unsure as to what manner of final point Razor is attempting to make on this score: maybe that for all of the characters’ efforts to forge their own path and go out on their own terms, they are still bound to the cycle at least in part. More likely it’s just a means of making Razor a continuation of the final revelation from “Crossroads (Part Two)”, and putting a portent of doom in the audiences’ mind as it pertains to the returning Starbuck.

In a more general sense, the twin narratives of Razor are interesting enough, and especially that which takes place in the past. It’s always going to be a bit of a risk to go to the well repeatedly on this kind of stuff, that has been described in episodes but not seen: it might not meet expectations. But I think that Razor does a decent job hitting the required beats and making them both visually entertaining and engaging with what we see the characters go through.

Pegasus is just another battlestar until it manages to survive the veritable Pearl Harbour that is the Scorpion Shipyards attack. The chaos of such an event is captured so well in the madness of explosions and Raiders, and we really do feel the desperation that forces Cain into making a blind jump to escape. There are times when a mash of CGI destruction can be very beneficial, and this is one of those moments: it makes us perceive and understand the fear that is at the very heart of Cain, that Shaw chooses to overlook or is ignorant of.

Cain’s response to this fear and the larger situation is to make Pegasus a single-minded war machine, something she outlines in a speech to her crew that is chilling in its implications. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s a hint of Clauswitzian theory in this, of war in its purest form being for its own sake, but of course von Clausewitz argued against such things really: with Pegasus seemingly lacking a political objective in its military operations, it’s little more than mindless violence. But this is what Cain embraces, declaring the attacking of the Cylons an “imperative” all of its own. The mirror that Pegasus represents in comparison to Galactica comes here in its first form: we can imagine Cain’s speech coming at the same time as Adama’s at the end of the Miniseries, but they have very different goals and very different outcomes. The first full-on demonstration of this occurs as Pegasus moves to make its first attack, and Cain feels compelled to execute her XO when he refuses to obey orders he knows will get people needlessly killed. It is another one of those moments that was described so vividly before, but which gets its impact maximised in its visual representation. And that’s because it shows so vividly how much Cain has lost it.

Which brings us to Gina. This is a very different character to the broken woman we watched in the latter half of Season Two, and it’s fascinating to see the limited scenes we get with her. It’s beyond ironic that she essentially represents Cain’s humanity, a woman with which she shares affection, maybe even love, that gets destroyed in the course of this hopeless war. And Cain isn’t content just to kill this representation of the woman that she used to be, no, no, no. That representation has to suffer for her sins. Yes, Gina plays a part in Pegasus losing a 1/4 of its crew, and that’s something we must be careful not to overlook. But the manner in which Cain then goes about humiliating, torturing and considering Gina as just a thing for her to abuse goes beyond payback. She figuratively cuts out what’s left of her humanity while staring at a battered Gina, giving the Scylla order in that moment. Cain is a very different person to the one we saw when Shaw first came aboard Pegasus, and in killing her XO and then reducing Gina to a pathetic wretch she is actively destroying the person she was before war became her sole and overriding focus.

The final section of this extended flashback circles around the inevitable end-result of Pegasus and its crew being stripped of what makes them human, as the Scylla massacre takes place. Razor makes the decision to let the depiction of Shaw’s involvement play out over a long period of time, with two looks at what happened: one in which she appears to be a bystander to the violence, and then the truth, where she fires the first decisive shot. If Cain is dead inside after all that has happened, then Shaw is dying: even with how much she has followed Cain she can’t get beyond this.

In the end, in our last flashback scene, Shaw is left with yet another choice, albeit one that is taken out of her hands by everything that happens in “Pegasus” and after (curiously, no explanation is ever offered for where Shaw is in that time). Cain praises Shaw as a “razor”, someone willing to become an incisive instrument with no pesky thoughts, feelings or morals to get in the way of them doing their job. In essence, she’s complimenting Shaw for taking on the persona of some kind of machine, which is about as hideous an irony as you can get. This is the pre-Fleet Pegasus: one where the most human person aboard is the woman being tortured and raped in the brig. Shaw, I think, seems to realise the horror inherent in this contradiction, but before she gets the chance to perhaps face the implications, Pegasus stumbles into Galactica and that’s all she wrote for Cain.

Which brings us back to Pegasus in the “present”. BSG gets a little strange in this plotline admittedly, using ideas and influences that are unique for the show’s run. The first mission Apollo brings the ship on smacks of old school Star Trek plot of all things, with a science team that needs rescuing from the strange alien creatures. We then go into the story of the “Guardian” Hybrid and a Cylon legend. It adds something to the Cylons as a whole that they have such things I suppose, their own dark secret that borders on myth, but it’s all undeniably quite odd, and doesn’t mesh at all well with the revelations of Cylon history that are coming in Season Four. In truth I suspect that there was a bit of putting the cart before the horse here, with the idea probably being to use the old Raider, basestar and Centurion designs, and to find a way to make this possible, rather than the Guardian Hybrid concept being given those old designs to work with.

Not that it isn’t neat to see BSG using those old designs, tying itself very directly to the style and form of the 1970s show by making that the reimagined versions past, something that had already been done to an extent with the old theme tune being the Colonial Anthem. But then it turns again through our interaction with this particular Hybrid itself, which lands us back in Cronenberg body-horror territory that we won’t have seen since the early episodes of Season Two, like “The Farm”. In the end this many influences, ideas and themes don’t mix very well together in my estimation, and none of them alone gets much time to breathe and be their own thing: the old designs end up seeming more like a gimmick, the action set pieces are limited and the Hybrid seems to exist just for one more addition to Starbuck’s destiny. Shaw trying to be a good XO and chafing under that level of responsibility is also an undercooked sub-plot, and isn’t a patch on what we see in the flashbacks.

While Razor is largely the Shaw show, there is still space for Apollo to get in a bit of character study himself, alongside his father. Coming off of the sundering in “Crossroads (Part One)” it’s perhaps a little trite for us to step back a few years and magic up some conflict between the two that far predates that deeper schism. Apollo, Pegasus’ fourth Commander in a matter of weeks or months, is very much under the microscope here, feeling the pressure from the people he leads, from the lingering shadow of Cain and from his father most of all. Being the CAG was one thing, but now he’s in charge of a whole battlestar, and having to fight the perception that his father “threw him the keys” like it was a new car. Lee doesn’t do a terrible job at all through the course of Razor, making difficult choices and sticking with them, but he comes up against his father towards the end.

As soon as Adama invites himself along for the SAR mission, we know it’s going to be a problem. How could it not be? As much as the Admiral wants to be present to see the end of something he has been involved in since the start, he’s also there to observe Apollo, and test him. Apollo visibly chafes under this observation, and this leads him to struggle with one of those hard choices a battlestar commander has to routinely make.

I think it’s a case, in an effort to appear decisive and being able to make the kind of human sacrifices he thinks a CO needs to be capable of making, Apollo chooses to take what is, in effect, the easy way out of the dilemma he faces at the end of the episode. Adama is forced to step in and delay what Apollo is trying to do, and there’s nothing else to say about this moment then it makes Lee look extremely bad: here is the captain of the boat being undercut by both his superior officer and his father, and all in front of his crew. Indeed it’s not the best look for Adama either, to be so publically hamstringing his son like this, or of pushing for a solution that will involve the death of Starbuck. That Adama ends up being right only makes up for it a small bit, and the best that Razor can say is that the plot-line represents a learning moment for Apollo, on the nature of confronting hard choices.

The film largely leaves its final comments to Adama as it happens, as he sits with his son and shares some whiskey, a set-up that seems like an intentional allusion to a very different environment that the two shared at the end of Season Three. He’s gentle enough when it comes to a final summation on Cain, and on what just occurred: in the first instance he provides a very neutral sounding opinion that the Admiral did nothing wrong from a military perspective, and in the second that he and his son were both right (you’re waiting or a Simpsons-esque continuation: “…of course in a much more accurate way, I was correct”). The thoughts on Cain echo those of Starbuck’s eulogy in “Resurrection Ship (Part Two)” and don’t really fly with me, with it pretty obvious that Cain’s military record is spotty at best and reprehensible at worst, but I do like Adama’s addendum, that he had Roslin and Tigh and most importantly Apollo keeping him honest. Shaw was a surrogate daughter in some respects to Cain, but Adama’s actual son had a much deeper power to effect his behaviour, and to remind him to treat those under his command and his care like family, and not tools. This is essentially BSG’s final word on Cain and Pegasus, and if it sounds a little wishy-washy that’s because it is. But it’s a wishy-washiness that fits, and allows us the chance to consider how Adama will get on without his son there to keep him honest in Season Four.

We should take a moment before we conclude to discuss the structure of Razor, which is something commonly dubbed a weakness. What else can you say, when the overarching narrative is already a flashback, which then contains another flashback that takes up a big part of the running time, and then yet another flashback within a flashback (and it gets worse in the extended version, which I will get to). For the most part I think Razor does fine with this, but there are a few moments when it does effect things in the negative, most especially when we go back 40 years to William “Husker” Adama’s part of affairs. Every change in timeline conspires to pull you out of the moment that came before. There was a lot that they wanted to include here, and you could have made the better part of four regular TV episodes out of all of the material that eventually constitutes Razor, the Adama flashbacks and the extended version of the film. Instead it’s all packed into one space, and there are times when it strains under all of that volume.

And we must also consider the wider point of this whole exercise. From a practical standpoint it seems the creators/network wanted something to bridge the typically long gap between seasons, and fixed upon what I can only presume were some previously discarded ideas for the Pegasus plotline to do it. In a narrative context, the film obviously dedicates some time to Starbuck and her destiny at the conclusion, but otherwise operates firmly as its own stand alone story, to the point where it can be considered redundant to the larger narrative. It’s one that doesn’t really tie into Season Four much as I recall, and so must be largely put down to a flight of fancy that could actually be watched between “The Captain’s Hand” and “Downloaded” without messing up narrative consistency that much. And it won’t be the last time BSG pulls the trick either. We’ll be sticking with Razor for another couple of weeks, so I’ll have more closing thoughts at the end.

You’re born, you live, and you die. There are no do-overs.

Notes

-We open with, of course, a look at a literal razor. The use of the object will get more heavy-handed.

-“We’re born, we live, we die”. Shaw is only missing the “Life sucks”, but this opening line ties into the deeper theme of free will vs predestination.

-It’s notable that the first character seen fully in shot is Starbuck, as if the lengthy “Previously on…” section wouldn’t have tipped you of that this is well before “Maelstrom”.

-A nice touch as we get to grips with Pegasus again is a look at its built-in radios, which are considerably fancier than the models on Galactica.

-Shaw is listening to some kind of wireless talk show, where, in a nice bit of continuity, people are discussing Roslin’s cancer recovery from “Epiphanies” and her abortion ban in “The Captain’s Hand”.

-Shaw’s first memories of the Scylla will bring up Laird again, a character who I don’t think has even been seen since “Resurrection Ship (Part Two)”.

-The look from Starbuck when Apollo announces her as Pegasus’ CAG. Very amusing.

-Apollo asks Shaw a direct question in evaluating her: “Who are you?” It reminds us of the persistent question “Are you alive?” asked by Cylons.

-“Gina Inviere” is the full name of the Six onboard Pegasus, and it’s apparently an old language word meaning “resurrection”: that’s pretty clumsy as a name when you think about it.

-The dress down from Cain is pretty perfect: we can see the hints of the person the Admiral will become in it, but also the difference between post and pre-war Cain.

-“My mothers dead sir”. Talk about wielding a sledgehammer with that bit of info.

-Colonel Belzen is played by Steve Bacic, best known for Andromeda but whom I know best as Camulus from Stargate: SG-1.

-Being stuck in slow-motion after a bang is a bit of a cliché, but it is so because it fits the experience of having your bell rung. BSG does it OK here.

-Love that backhand Cain gives Shaw. She isn’t messing around.

Razor has a bit more in the way of budget than your typical BSG episode, and that shows in this Scorpion Shipyards sequence, short but very impressive.

-The fear in Cain’s eyes as she orders the blind jump is really well pulled off. Michelle Forbes does another great job with the character, tying this moment in nicely to her description of the same in “Pegasus”.

-Shaw sums up Fisk and Garner in terms we’ve already heard from other characters, adding to the recap of earlier in a more natural way.

-Lee’s solution to the issue of Pegasus’ CO’s is to try and half-and-half things, installing Shaw as his XO to appease those still enamoured with Cain. It’s not a bad idea, but then again the question could be asked as to why a war criminal’s memory is being respected like this.

-The rifle deconstruction drill Shaw leads with the Marines is standard stuff really, but still cool to see in this context. You can’t forget the firing pin kid.

-Adama is openly discussing the competence of Pegasus’ XO in the hallways with Apollo, which seems out of character for him. I get that it’s a cinematography choice, but doesn’t feel right.

-Like that visual of having to scrape dried blood from the CIC consoles on Pegasus. Even here the place is fundamentally stained.

-Pegasus loses a quarter of its crew in the first attack, which is fairly enormous. And it’s only going to get worse.

-Shaw doesn’t even realise that she’s been at her station for two days, which is a sure sign of some form of concussion.

-A quick montage shows Cain as a leader, checking on the living and dead members of her crew. It’s a bit cliché, and probably doesn’t do the coming turn much help really: this is something Adama would do.

-Pegasus gets a picture of ruined skyscrapers, that sort of matches the “Why We Fight” image that was a key prop of Season One. Not quite as dramatic though.

-“When faced with untenable alternatives, you should consider your imperative”. A cool line, but one that leads to dark places.

-Like the conclusion of the Miniseries, Pegasus gets its own version of a mass “So say we all” recital, but the difference is clear: this isn’t mourning, it’s a militaristic call to arms.

-Gina’s hand on Cain is a nice touch. We’ll never really know the extent of their relationship, but we can presume it was at an advanced enough stage.

-Cain’s plan to hit the Cylons is basic enough really, and points to the lack of direction in her thinking: this kind of pinprick has no point.

-Gina isn’t willing to spill much details with Shaw on her and Cain: “I thought we were being discreet”. Is this part of her subterfuge, to undercut Cain on an emotional level, or has she really fallen for the Admiral?

-“We’re all just human”. Subtlety of a brick there.

-I like the old Raider design, this flying wing that looks functional but also ancient.

-The crash in the landing pod is a nice set piece for the episode, and carried off pretty well by the CGI team.

-“Questioning orders is a bad idea on this ship”. You’re telling me.

-Cain’s pig-headedness is another one of her many negative traits, and there’s perhaps no better example of it then here, when she pushes ahead with an attack that has no worthy purpose knowing it will get numerous people killed. Her crew have become expendable tools of her revenge.

-Belzen’s death occurs pretty much exactly as Fisk told it to Tigh, but is still all the more shocking for that. Fisk’s reaction is the last point when Cain could be stopped, but he doesn’t have it in him to oppose her.

-Why send a Six with the boarding party to Pegasus? The Cylons must know they already have a Gina onboard, why risk her discovery?

-Gina has the chance to kill Cain here, but doesn’t shoot. One must presume some manner of affection stays her hand.

-Sharon as a prisoner gets seen here briefly, which is a blast from the past.

-What we see here constitutes most of the last “Razor Flashback”, and we’ll be looking into them more shortly.

-“All of this has happened before” and we’ll be hearing that plenty more times over the course of the rest of the show’s run.

-The voice of this Hybrid is markedly different to what we are used to: it has that sort of booming, rolling quality, and it’s not hard to see why matters of prophecy were put in it.

-In edits where Razor is cut in two for certain TV broadcasts, the first part ends here, which is a random cut-off really.

-Roslin and Baltar remain in the literal background here, with Callis especially underused and McDonnell just around for a few lines. I suppose it makes sense, given this is supposed to be at the start of the electoral contest between the two.

-Hey, it’s the figurines of Vipers and Raptors in the Ops room. When was the last time we saw those? “Occupation”?

-Like that pan over the damage in the flight pod, which is such a minor thing but does emphasise the wreckage that was created.

-Between the losses in the first attack, which were described as a quarter of the crew, and the losses at the hands of the Centurions, it seems like Pegasus has lost half of its compliment. You’d think that would have drawn more comment in the episode “Pegasus”.

-Gina is immediately dehumanised in her captivity, in both the way she is clothed and in the manner she is observed by Cain. She’s a thing now.

-The torture talk is alarmingly casual from Cain, but it’s worth nothing she doesn’t explicitly order for Gina to be sexually assaulted. It’s what she wants of course, but she’s too much of a coward to say it out loud.

-Later, Cain observes Gina again, as she is contacted about the Scylla, and it’s the wrong environment for her to be making that kind of call. If Cain was betrayed by Gina, why should she care about the lives of these people?

-Fisk was always a bit of a coward, and you can see that here. He won’t confront Cain directly, he won’t attack the civilians. So he does nothing.

-Like our look at the cargo bay of Colonial One in the Miniseries, the Scylla appears to be another spaceship with a concrete floor.

-Here is about the only moment when the score of Razor really stood out to me, as the Pegasus away party boards the Scylla. I think it’s an excerpt from “Major Kendra Shaw”?

-“We have orders”. Ah yes, the catch-call of the atrocity.

-It’s something to make your skin crawl, the way that Gina attempts to cover more of her body with the sackcloth Cain has granted her. The lack of dignity is very obvious.

-In this first depiction of the massacre Shaw appears to do nothing, merely reacting after the gunfire. Is this representative of her own efforts to absolve herself in her own mind?

-Starbuck describes her drinking and Shaw’s drug use as them “both trying to take the edge off”, drawing a line between the two characters that is important for what’s to come.

-“Sometimes we have to leave people behind so we can go on”. Now that is the kind of philosophy that will lead the human race to destruction.

-This pontification from Cain about razors really isn’t anything to do with Shaw, she’s justifying her actions to herself first and foremost. She’s more than a little self-obsessed.

-It’s a very sudden cut to the battle happening with the SAR mission, a sign of TV ad breaks being difficult to accommodate.

-I like the concept of Marines jumping out of the Raptor like paratroopers, it’s something BSG could have returned to.

-Love that interior of the old Raider, with three pilots and one in gold. It’s so kitschy.

-“By your command”. I can practically hear the fanboys cheering.

-“Holy frak”. Think that’s a new use of the term? It suits what the SAR team discovers.

-The old Centurions, I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. Sure they look goofy in the environment, but it’s just so neat to see them in this context. Won’t be the last time either.

-Shaw’s decision to kill da Silva reflects the Cain mindset, and shows she hasn’t got beyond it much. It isn’t like they couldn’t try and rescue the guy, and killing him like this makes less sense in the context of the nuclear bomb they are going to be setting off.

-Adama takes over the mission as he tells the CIC crew to belay Apollo’s orders. For all I dislike this action from a character perceptive, it does speak to Adama’s decisiveness.

-This mission indicates the existence of short FTL jumps, between relatively small distances, in the Colonial military, something we’ve only seen with Cylons up till now. If possible you wonder why they don’t do it more, it would seem like a significant tactical benefit.

-“We are completing this mission” Shaw says, and we can tell that completing the mission is the most important thing to her. It’s all she has really.

-“Complete your mission Captain”. I think we’re supposed to infer from this line that Apollo is basically ordering Starbuck to kill herself? That seems like something neither Apollo nor Adama would go for.

-The set-up at the end is a bit cliché – the bomb that can only be set off manually I mean – and then we go through the rigmarole of a goodbye salute. I really don’t dig this finale.

-We start getting more flashes of the Scylla here, and I suppose if I am to give the ending of Razor credit for something it is that it makes an interesting revelation out of what happened there.

-I don’t know if we should look too much into the fact that this “Guardian” Hybrid is male. More interesting is that it appears to have a very notable longevity.

-“Are you a God?” Shaw asks, which I’ve never liked. What we have seen so far does not indicate a woman who buys into this stuff.

-“Do you wish to be forgiven?” The Guardian Hybrid certainly seems to think he is some manner of deity anyway.

-If nothing else, in a story where we see the consequences of hesitation play out negatively, Shaw doesn’t hesitate. She takes the shot on the Scylla, and is prepared to live with it.

-The Hybrid prophecy can obviously be read a few different ways, and that with the benefit of hindsight. On the face of it though it seems unusually doom laden, this talk of leading humanity “to its end”.

-Shaw’s last message is suitably garbled, but still contains enough details that you’d think Apollo would follow-up with Starbuck about what Shaw could possibly have been trying to warn them about.

-“And again and again and again”. It really paints a grim picture of all of these people being trapped in this cosmic Groundhog Day, even if it might take thousands of years to reach the return to zero.

-Posthumous commendations are lined up for Shaw, which seems especially pointless in the surrounds of BSG. It doesn’t retally seem as if anyone really liked Shaw all that much.

-Adama declares that it is “hard to find fault” with anything that Cain did, which seems like a stretch of unimaginable proportions. What about executing her XO? What about condoning the rape or torture of a prisoner?

-The differences between what Cain had, and what Adama has, are stark. The triumvirate of Roslin, Tigh and Apollo is more than enough to keep him honest.

-Adama hits the nail on the head when he tells Apollo that “You see yourself reflected in their eyes” regards parents and children. If Pegasus was a mirror, darkly, for Galactica, Adama had his own mirror ensuring he stayed on the straight and narrow, just about.

-“You did nothing wrong, neither did I”. Really? I would have said that Apollo most certainly did something wrong.

-“History will make its judgments”. Adama echoes lines he said as far back as “Water” to the same person. They simply aren’t in a position to spend too much time worrying about this stuff.

-Starbuck’s transfer confuses me a little bit. At the end of “The Captain’s Hand” she had already been moved back to Galactica, so is this a continuity error?

-Starbuck plays cute about her experiences with Leoben in “Flesh And Bone”, saying that she had “her palm read by a Cylon”. She won’t be joking about it much longer.

Overall Verdict: I’m a bit ambivalent about Razor in retrospect. The character journey of Shaw and the deeper examination of the Pegasus journey are certainly interesting, but much of what else takes place is really struggling for grip: the Apollo stuff isn’t really palatable, the Guardian Hybrid plot seems really out of left field with resort to cheap gimmicks and it’s difficult to come up with a good reason for this project to exist as it does. In other words, a film that was conceived to fill a gap can be viewed largely as filler really: often entertaining filler that expands our knowledge of the larger narrative, but filler nonetheless. And we aren’t done yet.

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9 Responses to NFB Re-Watches Battlestar Galactica: Razor

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