Battlestar Galactica #89: Razor Flashbacks

"Nothing but the rain, sir!"
SO SAY WE ALL: 7 minisodes set on the last day of the First Cylon War, as young Bill Adama raids a Cylon facility building a superweapon.

REVIEW: I don't think they're pitching a Young Adama spin-off with this short series, but its time frame does hamper what could be done with one (we'll return to this idea when Blood & Chrome rolls around). This is the last day of the First Cylon War, and Adama has never engaged them in combat before. And won't have to again. So when would you set a Young Adama series, when what's really exciting from the audience's point of view here is seeing the classic series Centurions and raiders in action again, with modern effects? Whatever missions lay ahead for "Husker", they wouldn't be Cylon-related. But we're not reviewing a possible series, we're reviewing a seven-part flashback essentially taking place in Adama's head just before the decommissioning/inauguration ceremony aboard the Galactica at the very start of the series.

And it's an exciting memory. A Battlestar going down. Adama flying through the clouds of an ice planet. Ejecting and fighting a well-animated Centurion in freefall (some of it looks a little wonky on Adama's side of things, but never too long). Cylon-vision with the red scan going back and forth. A crash through a facility and Adama clubbing the robot to death. And then of course the big reveal that the superweapon was a human-ish Cylon. Prisoners being experimented on, gory body parts, and though the tub of goo is empty, Adama gets a psychic vision of the creature inside, a thrilling horror moment that gives him just enough information to make the leap he does when he meets Leoben in the mini-series, but not enough to know what's going on. The flashback will take on its full meaning when it is reintegrated into Razor, but I do feel the need to question whether Fate takes too much of a hand here, even by the show's standards. How big a coincidence is it that the future commander of humanity's last is also the Viper pilot who liberated the lab from which human Cylons seem to have been born (at least in prototype form)?

While most of this will be edited into Razor, the first two episodes aren't. These introduce us to Jaycie McGrath, Adama's bunk mate, fellow pilot, and lover. Her death after being gruesomely wounded informs his Starbuck-like determination and anger, and is probably enough to give him a hatred of the Cylons despite not having seen much combat against them after all. We also hear some of the lines pilots use in the modern era, which speaks to a tradition handed down through the military from Adama's commander down to his current pilots. And Nico Cortez, as Young Adama, does the whispery voice to my satisfaction.

CAPRICANADA: Jaycie McGrath is played by Canadian actress Allison Warnyca. Though she also landed roles in Smallville, The 4400 and Supernatural, a credit for a Moosehead beer commercial stands out to me as a lot more Canadian. The exterior of the Cylon base was shot at Vancouver Film Studios; the interiors in Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN:
Obviously, the Centurions and their raiders from the first war are identical to those used in the original series. There's a slow arrangement of the original series' theme playing over the Columbia's destruction. The superweapon on an ice plans recalls the events "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero".

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: 41 years ago, on the last day of the First Cylon War, Adama lost his bunk mate Jaycie, but many more lives were lost, including the entire crew complement of the Battlestar Columbia.

VERSIONS: Episodes 3 to 7 (except for the latter's coda) were integrated into the extended cut of Razor.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium, though technically Medium-Low - An exciting little adventure that's relevant to our interests, but everything you need is repeated in Razor, and what isn't is just color.

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