Sunday, December 11, 2011

Battlestar Galactica--"War of the Gods, Part II"

“War of the Gods, Part II” is the only concluding episode that has surpassed its set up. The episode set up what was to come had the series continued passed a lone season--a larger battle, on a moral and spiritual level, of good versus evil. Again, the remained series took the idea and ran with it, but we will never know how the original series might have played out.

As has happened in previous two part episodes, the resolution of the cliffhanger is whirlwind fast so the real story can begin. Baltar is tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison right there on the spot. The hurried nature of Baltar’s end is the only real detriment to the episode. An entire episode could have been done on his trial. Granted, he was supposed to return later as the main villain, presumably in charge of Cylons once again, so a dramatic trial would have been anticlimactic considering his days of evil were to continue. Still, the series did not go on long enough, so handling Baltar’s fate so tritely feels like a missed opportunity.

The Quorum and people are so thrilled to have baltar in custody, they are eager to hand over leadership to Iblis and head off to the fleet’s equivalent of Club 54 to celebrate. Adama and Apollo are the only two who hold any skepticism regarding Iblis. They have good reason. Baltar recognizes Iblis’ voice as that of Imperious Leader. Iblis allows that the now extinct race who built the Cylons followed him to their doom. We soon learn the ship that crashed on the planet on which iblis was discovered followed him to their doom, as well. Now the fleet is ready to march to the oblivion, too.

Adama sends Apollo back to the planet to investigate the wreckage for clues as to iblis’ true identity. Starbuck goes along under the rationale that since he now knows what Apollo is up to, Iblis might read his mind and find out. Iblis discovers Apollo’s mission anyway takes off after him. Sheba, still enamored, follows him. They wind up in a confrontation on the planet’s surface in which Apollo declares iblis to be the prince of Darkness. He is correct. Under the rules of their religious belief, Old Scratch can only harm those who willingly follow him. Sheba is the most inclined, but before iblis can kill her, Apollo intervenes and is killed himself. The floating white balls of light return, so Iblis beats a hasty retreat. Starbuck and Sheba gather up Apollo’s body for the trip back.

On the way back, they are overcome by the Ship of Light. It is manned by incorporeal beings beings who say they have been mistaken for angels before. They are giides not allowed to directly interfere. Iblis used to be one of them, but rebelled in order to corrupt others under his spell. As said above, he can only kill those willing, so Apollo is brought back to life after some existential about sacrifice, moral worthiness, and evolution into higher beings. I am certain I have seen lady GaGa wearing the angels’ outfits, so the pure atmosphere has lost something over the years. The angels return our trio of heroes and the other pilots, granting them the coordinates of Earth as a gift.

Three things stick out in my mind about the climax. One, Iblis’ demonic true form, which is visible when Starbuck shoots him, is a laughably bad design. I have seen better masks at hubby shops. The glowing special effect does not improve its appearance. Two, the red tint of the planet is gone upon Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba’s return. Perhaps that can be reconciled. Maybe they visited last time at night or vice versa. But the third issue cannot be--sheba flew to the planet in her Viper, but travels back in the shuttle with Starbuck. Why did she leave her Viper behind? There is no reason other than the dramatic necessity of her being there with the grieving starbuck and Apollo’s body. It still does not make practical sense.

There are problems with “War of the gods, Part II,” but it is a good overall. I appreciate the shift in story arc introduced. I appreciate the shift enough to regret the series did not last long enough to flesh it out. While it is true the original series is far more trite than the remained version, I am certain it could have elaborated on the bigger spiritual issues in a fascinating manner. Too bad we never got the chance to find out.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment