Saturday, April 05, 2008

He That Believeth in Me

Battlestar Galactica returned with a bang last night, an enjoyable experience highlighted by the Sci Fi Channel HD, a recent addition to my cable package. And what a night for HD! Season four began right where season three left off, as Starbuck returned just as mysteriously as she disappeared, right in the midst of an all-out Cylon assault. The visually stunning opening bang soon gave way to the mystery of the fourth season- the identity of the last remaining Cylon and the truth of Starbuck's experiences.

Over the past few weeks I've read more than a few criticisms of the show as a whole and I'll get to those in time, but for now lets just say that last night's season premier renewed my faith in the show's never ending ability to reinvent itself. What's truly great about Galactica is it's ability to seamlessly shift from the political to the personal to the mystical. Last night, after the initial special effects extravaganza, the mystical was on display as Starbuck cliamed to have found earth. Problem is, she cliams to only have been gone six hours, while the rest of Galactica had thought she'd been dead for several months. And to top it all off, the viper she returned in was not the well-worn fighter she'd left in, but some sort of brand new, unscathed duplicate.

The cliffhanger ended with Starbuck pointing a gun at President Roslin. The tone of the episode leads you to believe that Starbuck is the 12th Cylon, but her behavior on her return should make it obvious that she's not- Starbuck's experience was clearly religious in nature and her role this season will be to further pursue that religious experience. Meanwhile, the other lead contender for the part of the 12th Cylon model, Dr. Baltar, finds himself the focus of a religious cult, populated by numerous attractive young women and one sick little boy. Even my fiance, half-watching in the background, was quick to notice the Jesus parallels- the cult of personality like attraction, the belief in one true God, and of course, the Jesus-like facial hair.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the show this season, even more so than the search for earth, will be the exploration of spirituality and God. We have several characters with intense spiritual connections and beliefs- Obviously there's Dr. Baltar and Starbuck, but let's not forget Laura Roslin and her shared visions with the captured Number 6 of the opera house on Kobol. Not should we forget the most spirtual Cylon, Leoben, who, all the way back in the first season, told Starbuck that she would find Kobol and Earth. For those who would doubt the importance of spiritual beliefs this season, just look at the episode titles- in addition to last night's "He That Believeth In Me" there are also episodes on the schedule (according to Wikipedia) entitled "Faith" and "Revelations."


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