Battlestar Galactica #24: Galactica Discovers Earth Part 3

"Time has a way of moving very swiftly."
SO SAY WE ALL: After stopping him in Nazi Germany, our heroes must track down Xaviar in 1980 before he travels to another time.

REVIEW: As with Part 2, we spend the length of an act resolving the previous week's episode, and then we're off into the next installment proper, only to end with a cliffhanger. In this case, it is NEVER RESOLVED as plans are changed after the three-part pilot. And maybe we're thankful for that. In short, it describes Galactica 1980 as principally a time travel show, in which our two Colonial Warriors, with "history expert" Jamie (by expert, we mean she frowns a lot while trying to remember what she was taught in high school), follow the villainous Xaviar around Earth history as he tries to change it so Earth is more advanced when the fleet gets to it. The point of this very episode, once he fails in Nazi Germany, is to get his hands on a history book. Thankfully, the guest physicist has one in his apartment. At the end, Adama sends the team to the American Revolution where he knows (somehow) is Xaviar's next target, and Jamie happily joins up on those terms. Except... that story was never made, and the time travel concept was apparently abandoned. It's abrupt in the context of the series, but I can't help but feel relief. Unless it had cleverly changed its name to Galactica 1944, Galactica 1776, and so on - which might have at least been a little clever - it's not what Galactica is really about, is it?

In any case, I don't even think changing history is possible, as shown here. If Xaviar introduced the V-2, and Jamie knew all about it (as do we), then he changed nothing. The scientists working on the program would end up at NASA, help get America into space, and so on. If Xaviar did anything, it was already part of history. So it's a non-starter, no matter how you dress it up with blasters shooting at missiles, or Jews escaping the Holocaust thanks to a raid by flying motorcycles. Nobody is very careful in this not to corrupt the timeline, and yet, there isn't even any anxiety about it when they get back to 1980.

But then the production team just doesn't care. This is Dumb Television and it has no ambitions beyond that. To list but a few frustrating features... Nobody notices Jamie in an oversized guard's uniform even though she's in plain sight. The military swears Willy, a little boy, to secrecy concerning the Vipers he found, and he cries about nobody believing him, but the damn things are in plain sight, ON THE SCHOOL BUS ROUTE! The military compounds its absurd incompetence by leaving the Vipers where they are visible from the chain link fence, then letting Jamie slip by the door, and finally by letting Professor Mortinson, who obviously knows what's going on, leave without further questioning after the ships take off. There's also a comedy cop in there somewhere. Dillan lets Xaviar escape by not taking his invisibility bracelet. Speaking of which, there's a painful scene where little Willy gets to wear one so he can humiliate his bully; Troy leaves Colonial stuff with the boy, a secret Willy keeps for about half a second. And they were going to let Jamie keep hers?! The Vipers draining energy from a nearby generator is also very convenient.

It's not unwatchable, mind you, and there's an easy camaraderie between the three leads that helps pass the time, but it falls apart with even the most cursory of examinations. The best bit is probably Xaviar hitching a cab with the police, but that moment's telegraphed. Still, it plays better as a misunderstanding than Dillan and Troy's clueless shtick.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Troy makes Willy an honorary warrior, just he himself was as a kid named Boxey.

VERSIONS: The novelization has many more time jumps, including attempts to interfere with the American Civil War and Moses' Exodus. Unproduced scripts stemming from this premise include visits to the Ancient Egypt and Rome, but a story in which Xaviar goes to Revolutionary America was never scripted at all!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - The first story concludes with a promise it doesn't, nor shouldn't, keep. The characters are starting to grow on me, but it's really a case of familiarity more than fondness.



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