Full spoilers for "Blood & Chrome" episodes 3 and 4 lie ahead! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
It’s weird getting used to new “Battlestar Galactica” every week after such a long drought. For some reason, Syfy and Machinima released episodes 3 and 4 of “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” as a single Youtube video; which allowed both installments to play uninterrupted. But the transition between them was a little jarring.
Episode 3 was the stronger of the two, as William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) and Coker Fasjovik (Ben Cotton) had to deal with last week’s cliffhanger in the form of three attacking Cylon raiders. The “Blood & Chrome” creative team have done a great job with the space battles so far and this didn’t feel like a repeat of anything that we saw on the “Battlestar Galactica” TV series.
If anything, Adama’s plan to “thread the needle” through the destroyed Battlestar’s FTL felt more daring than most of the space battles previously portrayed. It was exciting and tense; which makes it easy to forget that “Blood & Chrome” would still probably play better on TV.
As if Adama’s ego wasn’t big enough, his success gives him the resolve to actually shout down Coker when he tries to scrub the mission and return to the Galactica. I had been under the impression that Coker was the ranking officer of the two, so that caught me off guard. But it did show a little bit of the fire that Adama had later in his life.
Episode 3 also made the attempt to flesh out Dr. Beka Kelly (Lili Bordain) a little bit as she revealed that she was married to one of the dead Colonial war heroes whom Adama admires. Adama is so infatuated with Beka that he’s probably not cognizant of how creepy he looked watching her sleep. For Beka’s part, she asks to stay with Adama and Coker during episode 4. But she’s the cipher of this trio and she needs a lot more development to become a viable character.
Coker’s still a bit of an ass, but he gets his moments of humanity when he runs into an old buddy of his in episode 4. That was the first time that Coker didn’t come off as a huge jerk in this story, but I have a bad feeling that his friend will be going the way of Biggs Darklighter.
The idea of a “ghost fleet” of Battlestars previously thought to be destroyed was very clever, both in and out of the story. Within the “BSG” universe, it makes perfect sense. If the enemy can monitor electronic transmissions about humanity’s forces and how many ships they have, this is the perfect way to hide their real strength from the Cylons. From a writing standpoint, it was a creative use of the Colonial forces and an effective way to get “Blood & Chrome” into what will presumably be its primary storyline.
That said, the transition from episodes 3 and 4 was really abrupt. So much so, that it felt like we were missing several scenes that took place between the two installments. The Commander’s briefing was a good way to get the exposition across, but neither she nor the crew of her ship registered as characters. They felt more like props in service of the story than anything else.
One of the bright spots (and I don’t mean the lens flare) of episode 4 was that it made the Cylon Basestar intimidating again. The fear on the faces of the crew told us everything we needed to know about going up against a Basestar; which made the Commander’s decision to engage it seem brave. But not everyone else on the ship seemed so eager to fly into a battle they may not be able to survive.
We finally have some idea of what’s going on with Beka’s presence on this mission. There’s something important to the Cylons on this ice planet, and Adama and Coker are going to be her chaperons for the rest of her trip. If “BSG” history has taught us anything, it probably means that the planet is the site of the Cylon’s experiments with more human-like robots. Although it seems like that ground was already covered in the “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” TV movie.
Aside from Beka’s lack of real development and the previously mentioned rocky transition between episodes, there’s not much to dislike here. This is the “Battlestar Galactica” prequel that we wanted. And while it has quite a ways to go before it matches the creative heights of the reboot series, it’s still pretty fraking enjoyable.