Battlestar Galactica – Season 4 Part 1. Starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McCormack, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff and Jamie Bamber. On DVD December 3.
There are few shows on television that make you sit in awe and ask, “how the hell are they going to top that?” There are even fewer that actually do top themselves each week. Battlestar Galactica is one of those shows. It’s fourth season arrives under the weight of expectation – it has to follow the revelation-heavy Season 3 finale, and set up the final episodes of this modern classic. Amazingly, it succeeds, providing some of the most shocking, heartbreaking, and life-affirming moments of the series so far.
For those outside the loop, Battlestar Galactica follows the last surviving humans of an apocalyptic attack. The fleet of survivors set out to locate and inhabit the fabled Earth, before they are hunted down and wiped out by the Cylon race (robots who have evolved into sentient, almost-human beings).
At the end of the last season, four members of the fleet discovered they were in fact cylons. At least two of them were genuine surprises, although one had been suspicious in previous seasons, and the other, well no one really cares about her. Gaius Balter was also found ‘not guilty’ of war crimes on New Caprica, thanks to a last minute speech by Lee Adama. Lee later resigned from his position as CAG to enter the world of politics. And in a final twist, the supposedly dead Starbuck returned with directions to Earth.
Season 4 offers even more highlights. The newly identified cylons must deal with their identity, as well as hide it from their loved ones. One main character meets an undignified end after discovering the final four’s horrible secret. Starbuck leads a small contingent in search of Earth, but her crew threaten mutiny when she enlists the help of the cylon Leoban. All is not well amongst the cylon ranks either, as the Sixes lead a coup within their ‘Government’.
There is plenty, plenty more, but I would hate to be the one to spoil it for you. There is a surprising team up between two warring factions; one character goes through with an amputation; and one of the unresolved romantic story lines finally comes to fruition. And we also get to see Baltar back as his crazy self, this time as the head of a monotheistic cult.
However, nothing will prepare you for the jaw-dropping season finale. It is one of the most thrilling episodes of the series so far, and the final scene delivers such a shocking sucker-punch, it will haunt your memory for days. Although we won’t see the final episodes of the show until January, make sure you acquaint yourself with the series now. Shows like these come around once a millenium.