Stargate Archives

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 8 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 8)

War of the Gods ( 1 & 2 )

We are once again graced with a two parter which like the previous one easily
ranks near the top of any fan favourite list. Not only do we get a classic good
versus evil plot but an excellent guest star with Patrick Macnee and in a 
surprising revelation some of the back story to the Cylons themselves.
For my own benefit I'll be covering the two episodes as one feature
and certainly in a rewatch it would be better presented that way, factor in the
credits, theme and then the previously there is a lot of "dead" runtime.

So the story begins with a Viper squadron on a long range patrol and for once
it's not any of the main cast so no surprise when it comes to a sticky end, that 
said they did deserve it.Lets be honest, if you spot fast moving alien ships or
entities then you communicate that face to the fleet straight away, you don't
wait just to see what happens next. It's interesting to see that the large city like 
ship that they encounter has a very vibe of Close Encounters and many years later 
the same feeling you get from Atlantis when she is in space.  Anyhow back on the 
Galactica Apollo, Boomer and Starbuck are engaged in a game of Triad with one 
other guy and boy does this sport look pathetic but lots of manly sweat and skin 
on display so perhaps that was one factor that came into play.
Thankfully the pilots of Blue squadron were not needed until just after the game
so it's no as if they were derelict in their duties being you would assume full time
combat crew. 
If this was a womans sport not a raised eyebrow
Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba look for the lost pilots and find a strange world
with no life forms detected and on the planet a large crash site and to their surprise
a man who claims to have been a survivor and goes by the name Count Iblis.
The Count is smooth and charming and once returned to the Galactica puts a whammy
on Sheba who allows him to visit the bridge and we see a definite effect on certain
electronic systems. We finally get to see Adama throw a fit with the lax security on
the ship which is long overdue but slowly but surely the Count is influencing the crew.
Continuity be damned but it seems the sole surviving Agro ship has now been fully
repaired and is flourishing with the crops from the seeds gathered a few episodes ago.
This is a very good looking scene making use of the ship design use in Silent Running
and it also comes across as very creepy, forget the age difference we also have the
insidious mind powers of Iblis securing his hold on Sheba.
The annoying thing is that everything the Count says is reasonable and that is I guess
where the flaw in the human species lies, we can be convinced to do pretty much
anything. Iblis visits one of the ships carrying just passengers and uses the lack of food 
to drum up support and also to offer leadership, in other words give him your soul and 
you'll get what you want but eventually you will pay the price.
What is interesting in this is that despite seeing most of the Galactica crew living pretty
well especially the officers it seems much of the fleet are still on severe rations and very
poor habitats, this dynamic only really got addressed properly in the BSG remake as
telly in 1978 really wasn't addressing that social and political issue.
Iblis offers the Council 3 wishes, yes I know but he delivers as the crops begin to
flourish and for some strange reason Baltar turns up and is taken into custody, this is
where we see him recognise the voice of Iblis which is as we know the voice
of the Cylon Imperious Leader. That begs the question did the Cylons come under
the influence of Iblis in one form or another and did that turn them into genocidal
killing machines or where they well on the path anyway?
Eventually convinced there is no long term benefit from complying with Iblis Adama
sends Apollo and Starbuck back to the planet where they found the Count and Sheba
tags along. They discover something in the wreckage which shocks them and then
Iblis turns up as if magic and calls to Sheba to stand by his side. Apollo stands his 
ground and in an attempt to kill Sheba to prove his power Apollo is struck down
and then the mysterious lights return and Iblis in a panic flees.
Threats with Style
Once again we have the religious aspect of the devil having dominion over those
who have fallen or given themselves to him but defying the order of the universe
by striking down an "innocent" seems to bring down the wrath of the beings of light.
I have to admit it was a good scene but maybe a little heavy handed but then again
that kinda sums up the whole double episode.

The story starts to wrap things up as the light ship captures the returning ships
and now all dressed in white the status quo is explained to Starbuck and Sheba and
an offer made. If they were willing to offer themselves freely to save another just as
Apollo did then he would be brought back to life, they agree and Apollo rises from
the dead and they are all sent back to the Galactica.
The episode concludes around the dinner table (no mention of those barely getting
by on dodgy food in the fleet) with the intrepid trio only recalling a sense of goodness
and peace. Adama seems to understand that they have encountered Angels of the
light and have been center stage in the eternal struggle between good and evil and then
one by one as promised Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba offer forth a set of navigation 
codes and a description of Earths solar system.
Weak willed Woman, it was the 70's
War of the Gods is an excellent double episode of Battlestar Galactica, it's a good
story and very well produced with little reused stock footage and as I mentioned 
the scenery chewing Patrick Macnee as Count Iblis. The religious or spiritual tone
of the show really comes to the front but in an even handed way, the war between
good and evil is pretty much ingrained in our species and certainly applies to life 
without the structure imposed by an organised religion so is easily adapted to any
series without alienating any of the audience one way or the other.
The added twist of the Imperious Leader being Count Iblis was absolute genius,
it opens up so many questions in terms of the show and it's back story when dealing
with the Cylons. To sum up War of the Gods is a jewel in the classic Battlestar
Galactica series, it's dated yes but the core elements are strong and can match 
some of the best delivered from the shows more modern version years later.

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