Thursday, December 8, 2011

Battlestar Galactica--"The Living Legend, Part II"

Arm yourselves with the rotten tomatoes you more dedicated fans will feel compelled to throw at me, because I think “The Living Legend, Part II” does not live up to the setup from part one. It is not a bad episode by any means, but the story is written in order to establish a new status quo by the end without much concern for logic. It is still one of the best episodes of the series, but you have to accept a lot of implausible elements in order to appreciate it.

For one, the cliffhanger resolution is every bit as lackluster as its set up. We do not care if Baltar is about to be attack by the Pegasus. He is the bad guy, for heaven’s sake! His escape involves the brilliant strategy of…moving out of the way and retreating We are also supposed to from his glorious final assault on the Galactica. The respective crews forget they were at daggers drawn over Adama’s plan to siphon fuel from the Pegasus, which is fine, because so does Adama. He relents to Cain’s plan to raid Gomoray for fuel.

For another thing, an attack on Gomoray, which looks amazing like the campus of the University of California at Northridege, is not as challenging as one might think. Chalk it up to overconfidence, but they allow a ship to fly over the capitol city and drop in a team of saboteurs while the Imperious Leader is in town. Do these Cylons not have radar? Air patrols? How about binoculars? If security is lax enough for a ship to hover over the city, I do not see why it cannot land rather than parachute drop the commandos in, particularly when a ship has to land in order to pick them up. Granted, the commandos have set off mass explosions of the air defense system at the time--highly effective system, no/--as a distraction, but still. The parachute drop is a much for the sake of drama as the tight leather outfits on Sheba and Cassiopeia are for…thrills, shall we say.

The final implausible plot element is Cain himself. He is on a suicide run the entire time. Apollo and Starbuck know it, but no one else seems to even when he deliberately places Sheba on the Galactica before he breaks ranks with Adama. Adama, not to his credit, never suspects a thing until it is too late. The attack on Gomoray was a diversion. All the Cylon Raiders were to abandon the basestars to defend the planet while Cain went after Baltar. The plan sort of works. Two basestars other than Baltar’s are destroyed. Cain disappears, much like he did after the colonies were destroyed. In the end, we have gotten rid of Cain and added Sheba and bojay to the cast. No one, of course, bothers to confirm whether cain is dead no matter how much they worshipped the guy.

In all fairness, Cain was slated to return for future episodes, but the series was cancelled before that could happen. It makes sense in that regard to keep his fate ambiguous, but he still strikes me as abruptly abandoned. So is the romance between Sheba and Bojay in favor of Sheba and Apollo starting to hook up, but that is a story for another time. Dare I even mention the strafing run on the basestar’s cannons by Apollo and Starbuck looks eerily similar to the trench runs on the Death Star? One of those 34 distinct points in the copyright suit, I imagine.

There are some definite issues with “The Living Legend, Part II.” Among them is a disconnect with the dramatic points of the first part, the overwhelming odds of attacking Gomoray not being all that overwhelming, the cylons not appearing to care too much Imperious Leader is vulnerable, no one realizing cain is not on the same page with everyone else even though clues scream it out, and everyone just accepts he is either dead or missing or whatever…roll credits, will you? It is an entertaining hour, but it does not measure up to the first part.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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