11:04 AM

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Battlestar Galactica Episode 308(?) "Unfinished Business"

Back on track!

The hateful Colonel Tigh and President Laura go at it in Season 2

Standard Spoiler Alert. Not very serious this week.

NOTE: I'm not sure about the episode numbering. I'm seeing references to UNINISHED BUSINESS as being number 308, but some folks are combining EXODUS and counting that two-parter as a single episode.

Much as I liked HERO (last week), it really falls outside of the story arc somewhat; it could have been there or not been there and it wouldn't have any effect on the continuous progression of the BSG story arc. THIS week's episode, "Unfinished Business" definitely falls within the arc of the show. I also think it might be one of the best WRITTEN shows this season. Ron Moore does wonders on a tight budget. I know (from listening to his podcast) that he has a budget that he has to work with and he can't exceed it. MUCH of his season budget went into the incredible effects that were displayed in EXODUS. This episode demonstrates that in the hands of a talented writing staff, a constrained budget and a looming deadline, wonders can still be worked. Almost ALL of the episode takes place in the hangar bay set (again, inside knowledge from Ron Moore). And all of the footage is framed by a boxing match scheduled by Adama. Apparently it's a tradition in the Colonial fleet to have these things-- it relieves tension and allows the crew to "settle unfinished business" without bloodshed (clever, no?). The tension, mostly, is between those who stayed "upstairs" with the fleet during Occupation, and those that went down on the ground. Many flashbacks filmed back when the New Caprica set was intact are intercut in the show, and we see nary a Cylon throughout.

It was a good decision on Moore's part, to reaquaint us with some of the folks that have been on the periphery of the action lately. We learn (almost entirely from flashback) that Adama didn't want to release the Chief from active duty to become a civilian== being softhearted, he caved in, and he resents the chief for creating situations where lives might have been lost. He then proceeds to challenge the chief to a fight in a very memorable line (Hey, Chief, get your lazy fat ass up here!). The chief is cocky, thinking he will go easy on the "old man".. but Adama (who we already know boxes for fitness) knocks him down and almost out with a single punch. The denouement of this sequence is shockingly gory and very well played by that consumate actor, Eddie Olmos.

We also learn that maybe, just maybe, the Admiral and Laura might have a "thing" for each other, as they gaze at the sky, smoking big fatboys from the local New Caprican wacky tobacky and drinking skullcrack whiskey. And maybe, just maybe, they did something about it. Who knows? We definitely see other sides of their characters as they briefly let the masks down (Mary certainly looks fetching in that red dress... but I've carried a torch for her since DANCES WITH WOLVES, sigh...). MOST startling was that we learn the source of the serious Starbuck/Apollo rift. To nobody's great surprise, they admit they love each other (DUH!) but might be repelled by each other (DUH!). They have their wild romp, even though both are "goin' steady" with other people (Duala and Anders). Lee wants to make their relationship an open matter; Starbuck agrees, then wakes up the next morning and runs off to get married... to ANDERS. Lee's hungover, hostile and betrayed. The actor, Jamie Barber, played this one to the hilt, striding up the ramp to the shuttle in whitehot, hungover fury, and then *seizing* Duala and kissing her at the top of the ramp.

So the Anders and Duala relationships are BOTH rebounds, eh? My prediction: some convenient character deaths are coming up in the show. I wouldn't be betting any money on the longevity of the Anders or Duala characters.

The climax of the show is when Starbuck goads Apollo into fighting HER in an incredibly gory, protracted fight sequence. It's obvious that Starbuck, always mentally unstable, sees this as fitting punishment for her treatment of Apollo-- to have Apollo beat the crap out of her. A very complex, interesting and incredibly entertaining episode, right on par with EXODUS, and without the gazillion dollar special effects budget. Just good writing and good acting. I loved it!