Battlestar Galactica #7: Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part II

"We are all machines."
SO SAY WE ALL: The Colonial warriors must juggle the lives of the clones with the success of their mission, as the Galactica inches ever closer to the giant gun's range.

REVIEW: Gun on Ice Planet Zero blows its wad, I'm afraid, failing to deliver on most of its promises. There are times when we lose the plot and don't even know if the suicide mission to destroy the pulsar gun is on, and part of the problem is that everyone wears huge parkas and masks, so you're not sure who you're looking at. The premise of this two-parter was that you needed a team of experts to succeed, but when they start dying or running off, you start to wonder if a Viper squadron wouldn't have been better after all. Especially since the creator of the gun gives Apollo all the expertise he needs. When the criminals do die, it falls a bit flat, because we spent too little time getting to know them. Instead, lots of clone action. Hm.

There is a semblance of an over-arcing theme at play. Lucifer - sassy, sassy Lucifer - tells Baltar we're all machines, his reaction to the villain's suicide run strategy. In other words, Lucifer considers Cylons people, lives worth preserving. The Thetas (clones) are also constructs, but more human than their creator bargained for. Nominally slave labour for the Cylons, they've started having children, sparked a rebellion, and have to be convinced (rubber arms, all) to sacrifice the pulsar gun which they planned to use to defend themselves from incoming Cylons. Their creator says he has a secret weapon, we never find out what it is, and he never shares it with the Galactica, nor is he asked to. Sigh. But even if there are suicide missions and artificial lives on both sides, the clone stuff really isn't necessary to the plot. It's a morality play where a scientist eventually faces up to the responsibilities of creation, but take that all away, and you still have a working plot, one where we can properly focus on the guest stars (the convicts). Their expertise can get the heroes out of trouble on the arctic ice instead; it would work much better that way.

Throughout, it's hard to get a handle on the stakes. The Galactica moves two-dimensionally towards a beam the Cylons are wasting as they know the ship isn't in range. Only too late are Base Stars revealed, meaning the Galactica can't stop to save a few centons while its landing party does its work. Meanwhile, Cadet Cree is never brain probed because this subplot seems to be moving at a different pace than the rest of the adventure. And what of Starbuck having made the computer choose him for the mission? Shouldn't he be punished at some key point, showing he was the wrong person to be assigned? None of that happens. He saves the kid, kills the Gold Centurion, he's a hero. Boxey's presence doesn't amount to much either (at least not in the broadcast episode, see Versions). All but one of the convicts show honor, refuse to betray the Galactica and/or give their lives. The other disappears from the script. I'm not sure the tension between them and the Colonials is milked for everything it was worth. After all, we've got blond nymphs on set for Starbuck to flirt with. At least the final explosion is awesome.

One last note on the way these episodes are arranged. Baltar has a limp in this episode's first scene, and there's talk of Epsilon Quadrant, so we can reasonably assume this actually happens right after Lost Planet of the Gods (in which Baltar was trapped under a stone), as that's where Kobol was situated. The Lost Patrol, aired earlier, has the Galactica leaving the galaxy, so must happen later.

SPACE DISCO: Those caps, man.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: Thane and Leda die on the mission. Wolfe runs into a blizzard and is never seen again. He may or may not have survived; either way, he does not return to the fleet.

VERSIONS: Gun on Ice Planet Zero was also broadcast as an expanded-length television movie. Deleted scenes make Boxey more present. For example, Starbuck orders him to keep the Theta children safe. There's also more of Starbuck's possible romance with a clone girl.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - The story had a lot of potential, but they threw too much into it and ended up paying off very little.


Anonymous said...

At least "The Magnificent Ferengi" had Iggy Pop.

Also, not that it's relevant to any of this, but lest we forget: REMEMBER BRONY


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