Blog Archive

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Battlestar Galactica: The Lost Warrior - Review

Have you ever wondered what Shane would have been like if Alan Ladd had to shoot it out with a robot instead of Jack Palance?  Well that’s a question writer Donald P. Bellisario thought to answer when he penned this episode, and I think maybe he should have kept that answer to himself. The Battlestar Galactica pilot and the two part follow up Lost Planet of the Gods were both solidly written science fiction episodes; space battles mixed up with Egyptian and Mormon mythology worked well together but deciding to throw westerns into the mix was maybe a bit of a misstep this early in the series.


This episode begins with Apollo (Richard Hatch) on a long patrol where he attempts to lead a Cylon squadron away from the Galactica’s location. He is successful at fooling the Cylons but unfortunately he runs out of fuel and has to make an emergency landing on the planet Equellus in the Hatari Sector. Moments after making a successful safe landing Apollo meets a young boy named Puppis (Johnny Timko) and his over-protective mother Vella (Katherine Cannon) who live on a nearby ranch. It seems Apollo has landed on a planet that is almost as technological advanced as the American Old West circa 1800; they ride horses, gamble in saloons, but apparently never developed firearms as their guns use air canisters.

You can tell it’s a Space Western because of the metal cowboy hats.

The turd in the punch bowl of this idyllic western life comes in the form of Lacerta (Claude Earl Jones) a fat evil man who demands tribute from the poor beleaguered farmers. His “protection racket” is enforced by the mysterious “Red-Eye” who is indestructible and has killed all who have stood against Lacerta. When Apollo lays on eyes Red Eye he is shocked to discover it is a Cylon, and confused because a Cylon should be wiping out all the humans on Equellus, and not following the orders of some two-bit Boss Hogg.

Red-Eye and his silly armored horse.

The Cylon sports multiple dents, most from the unfortunate people who thought an air rifle could penetrate Cylon armor, and one bigger dent on his head that apparently gave him amnesia when he crashed on this planet ten years ago. (I wonder if Brad Bird was a fan of this show and took some of these ideas when he made The Iron Giant) Puppis’s Uncle Bootes (Lance LeGault) is excited to learn that Apollo is a Colonial Warrior because his laser pistol is the one thing that can end Red-Eye’s reign of terror. Apollo gives some bullshit reason about not wanting to alert possible Cylons in the area for not using his gun on Red-Eye, of course the real reason is to pad out this episodes running time because there really isn’t much of a plot. We do occasionally cut away from this riveting storyline to find out how Boxey (Noah Hathaway) is handling his missing step-dad.

Card Shark Boxey takes everyone’s jellybeans.

Meanwhile back on Westworld a drunken Bootes is fed up with losing his herd to Lacerta and informs the villainous crook that he will no longer be giving him any more tribute. At a signal from Lacerta Red-Eye insures that this will most definitely be the case and blows the poor drunk rancher away. Apollo, Vella and Pupis had run into town to stop Bootes but were too late, and finally we get the showdown between Red-Eye and Apollo that really should have happened the second Apollo saw the walking toaster. So in a completely anticlimactic fashion Apollo finally faces off against the Cylon, worse is that when Red-Eye spots that his opponent is sporting a laser pistol the Cylon actually says, “Uh-oh.” That's comedy folks.  Then of course Apollo beats him to the draw sending Red-Eye flying back in a shower of sparks.

Maybe if we all clap and say "We do believe in Cylons" he will return.

This was a poorly written episode of television; this would have been a lame episode of Gunsmoke but for a science fiction show about killer robots it’s beyond the pale. We have Apollo bonding with this kid because he hasn’t seen Boxey for two days, he starts making moves on the mom even though Serina body is barely cold, and then we have the fake drama of Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) not wanting to risk lives on a search party for Apollo because he’s afraid people will call it favoritism. That’s some hard-core bullshit right there.

But sir, he’s one of the show’s main characters. We have to go find him."

We never learn much about this planet’s history or how they are connected to the 12 Colonies, only that ten years ago a Colonial pilot was shot down over it and eventually married Vella only to be killed a year later by Amnesia-Cylon. When Apollo gets fuel from Vella’s husband crashed ship he leaves but only after telling Puppis he will return some day. How in the hell can he make that promise? He’s rejoining a rag-tag group of ships that are fleeing across unknown space from hordes of killer robots, how could that be possibly be conducive to him ever returning to this backwater planet?

Mom, he was totally shitting me, wasn’t he?

What is never addressed is that these people are all going to die if a Cylon scout ship ever stumbles on this planet, and being the Cylons are in the neighbourhood searching for the Galactica the odds of this happening have increased dramatically. So Apollo may have saved this small community from a ruthless thug and his pet robot but he’s also probably doomed this whole planet to extinction. Well done Apollo.

No comments: