Television Review

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  • Reviewed Format: TV Show
  • Network: Sci-Fi Channel
  • Original Airdate: 12 August 2005
  • Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park
  • Creator: Glen A. Larson
  • Developer: Ronald D. Moore
  • Writers: Carla Robinson
  • Director: Ron Hardy


Could you love a machine?

By Jason Davis     August 14, 2005

Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama and Mary McDonnell as President Roslin on BATTLESTAR GALATICA.
© Sci-Fi Channel

Love a machine? Maybe. Love a TV series? Abso-fracking-lutely. With the Colonel Tigh's martial law shenanigans taking the back burner this week, "The Farm" offers up a much needed dose of Katee Sackoff in a haunting little tale that continues this show's passion for densely layering philosophy into its narrative. On Caprica, the resistance plans to capture a Cylon raider, but things go awry when Kara Thrace is wounded in an ambush. The bulk of her storyline plays out in a hospital where, as viewers have come to expect, not everything is as it seems. More on this in a bit.

It's great to see Bill Adama back on his feet and one feels a strong sense of relief for the beleaguered Colonel Tigh as the burden of command slips, with a thud, from his trembling shoulders. A walk past the reaper has not weakened Adama's resolve as far as the ex-President, fugitive according to Tigh, goes and the old man immediately sets about hunting her down before her dangerous religious ideas infect his beloved fleet. Though this reviewer missed the early part of the first season (I promise I'll catch the DVDs at the earliest opportunity), the question of Adama's devout atheism seems an interesting item for further examination, if such has not already occurred. Typically, individuals adamantly opposed to religion have a good reason to distrust it and no doubt those reasons will shed some very interesting lights on Adama's past. His comment that "love is thoughts" offers up some more intriguing ideas while complicating an already rich characterization.

From her reception aboard the Astral Queen, President Roslin seems to be headed toward a cult of personality that exalts the individual over the message. Like BABYLON 5 before it, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA seems quite interested in people who find it easier to follow the flesh and blood personification of their faith than to understand the abstract notions behind it. Of course, this sort of thing is one of society's oldest double-edged swords as no human ever fully lives up to the philosophy they espouse and a martyr is often easier to rally around as they don't argue their followers' interpretation of doctrine.

As promised, things come back to Starbuck. Katee Sackoff never ceases to astonish with the naturalness of her performance. Not only does she look and sound real--she feels real. One of the undoubted joys of this series is its roots in realism and no where is this more apparent than its casting. It's easy to suspend one's disbelief if the people one watches seem real enough to buoy their fantastic world. Each twist in Kara's story leads the audience closer to what they knew from the first moments was the case of her captivity, but the horror of the Cylon experiments still carry the full weight of surprise kick to the gut. That Simon recognizes the violence of her childhood, understands the psychology behind her actions, and begins a redefinition of her character in the context of her role in an endangered species, is an elegance and economy of writing that rarely holds sway on television. Such work should be relished and appreciated for the rare gift that it is.


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