Battlestar Galactica #9: The Young Lords

"These humanoids are not well constructed. They damage easily." "At least we don't rust."
SO SAY WE ALL: Starbuck crashes on a Medieval planet and works with kids against occupying Cylons.

REVIEW: It's getting harder and harder to take the Cylons seriously. In this episode, which has Starbuck crash land for the umpteenth time (maybe he's the one not to take seriously), the Cylons are taken down by rust and five children, most of them pre-teens. One might also start to question the value of the IL-series, with Specter a lying, jumpy sycophant, and Lucifer green with jealousy because an early model gets Baltar's attentions (there's promise of Specter's return, but it only happens in the books). It's all a little silly for machines, but if it's comedy, it's not unamusing. It's just not great at building up your big bad, is all.

At least it's not a western, right? This time, the planet (Attila) is fantasy-medieval, with big castles, winged helmets, and unicorns (either the species is native to this planet, or it's just a headdress). There's only one family left and everyone else has been killed by the Cylons (so is that helmet an Asterix joke?). The mom's dead, the dad is a captive, the kids are freedom fighters using their knowledge of the area to give the Cylons a hard time. Starbuck is to be a bargaining chip at first, but soon shows he knows tactics (AND the Cylons) better than the oldest kid Kyle, so he makes up a song to help them remember the rescue plan (which they pull off without a hitch), and he plants a kiss on the eldest daughter Miri (pre-Dallas Audrey Landers). You know, as Starbuck is want to do. Now, the kids aren't very good actors, and their dialog is meant to sound stilted and cod-Medieval, while the dad is naturalistic, for some reason. But, the story isn't without its charms, and the little song is a fun conceit to help us follow the action. When Specter talks in the middle of it at some point, it's actually shocking that he doesn't rhyme (if he had, I would have raised the score). Of course, the ending doesn't really work. All that's left of Attila's population is six blood relatives and they refuse to go to leave their home? Uhm... Especially with all that talk of Miri breaking hearts aboard the Galactica, it makes you think. Maybe the only heart she'll be breaking is her own brother's... Eeech.

Subplots are sparse. Adama is sick in bed, which gives him, Boxey (please don't tell the kid what happened on this mission), and Nurse Cass. It's their usual sweet grandfather-grandson relationship, but that's about it. Boomer's anxiety over letting Starbuck on Attila is much ado about nothing, though good emotional texture. In the end, Starbuck is easily found even if Boomer couldn't really know where his friend's Viper had landed. But there's a fun character bit when Starbuck asks for the fresh uniform he was jokingly promised. Indeed, he needed it, probably because the ladies demanded a bare-chested Dirk Benedict.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Starbuck crashing is already a silly trope, but let's talk Star Trek. Are you telling me the script isn't ripping off the TOS episode "Miri", when it has a character CALLED Miri, a teenage girl who falls for our intrepid space hero, who is basically the only man in her environment populated by children, except for one older boy who means harm to said hero?

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: All but six people on Attila have been exterminated by the Cylons.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Not without its plot holes, but it's amusing to see Starbuck leading a bunch of kids, or Baltar playing the "smart" Cylons against one another.


arw1985 said...

Oh yay... this episode. You might find that some of the single-part episodes of the series kinda suck. At least they did for me.

Siskoid said...

BSG was a series of tv movies that unexpectedly went to series, so the first few one-offs were rush jobs. We'll see how later done-in-ones fare, I don't really remember. I guess the last time I watched BSG was at least 10 years ago.


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