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Battlestar Galactica 3.09: Unfinished Business review

US air date: 1/12/06

AIR-DATE: 1/12/06

Written by: Michael Taylor

Directed by: Robert Young

Starring: Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon, Donnelly Rhodes


The One Where: Apollo and
Starbuck have a punch-up and a

17 months ago: the
ground-breaking ceremony on
New Caprica and happier days
for Apollo and Dee, and Starbuck
and Anders. The celebrations
continue into the night.

The Chief asks Adama if he
and Cally can leave Galactica so
their baby can be born planetside.
Initially Adama refuses.
Later he has a change of heart.

Starbuck and Apollo wander
off into the fields, where Apollo
questions whether Starbuck really
wants Anders. One thing leads to
another and they make love.

When Apollo wakes up
Starbuck’s disappeared. He
wanders back into town, where
Adama breaks the news that
Starbuck has just gone through a
quicky marriage with Anders!
Lee’s not best pleased...

The present: old resentments
rise to the surface at a belowdecks
boxing night, where the
crew let off steam by beating the
crap out of each other. It’s all very
sweaty and testosterone-soaked.
Adama calls out the Chief,
goading Tyrol into giving him a
walloping (he’s punishing himself
for letting the crew split up,
y’see). Starbuck goads Apollo
into getting in the ring. A bruising
battle ends with the two lovers in
a punch-drunk embrace, both
muttering “I missed you”.

This character
interlude just doesn’t work. Maybe
it should. It should scratch that
old itch of annoyance created
when Galactica leapt forward a
year. But here’s the thing: as
viewers, we’re now committed to
Galactica’s “present”. We don’t
really want to go back to the past.
So even though it does explain
why Apollo turned into a self-pitying
tub of lard, we couldn’t
really give a gnat’s knackers.
Frankly, we’d almost forgotten
there was ever anything between
these two, anyway. And seeing
Apollo bawling, “I love Kara
Thrace!” like he’s in a bad John
Hughes movie is embarrassing.

Then there’s the boxing. Good
lord, it’s dull. Why do American
SF shows do this kind of thing?
You never see Doctor Who
suddenly doing a football-themed
episode, do you? You
can imagine the writers’
conversations: “How do we show
that there are conflicts amongst
the crew?” “Well, how about
them having them literally
punching each other in the face?”
“Gee, you don’t think that’s too
subtle, do you?” Argh!

The episode’s structure (cutting
between past and present) means
that for the first half hour it’s all
boxing and barn dancing. By the
time interesting revelations do
turn up, it’s too late – the
preceding tedium’s already made
you throw in the towel. This is an
episode that fannies about
weaving and dodging for far too
long before delivering a sharp jab.

Adama: “When
you fight a man he’s not your
friend. Same goes when you lead
men. I forgot that once. I let you
get too close. All of you. I
dropped my guard.”

Ian Berriman

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