As expected, Battlestar Galactica's 'Season 3.0' has come to an end, leaving our heroes dangling on a perilous cliffhanger for five weeks until the season resumes on Sunday 21 January 2007. The latter batch of episodes has restored some faith in the series, which after the barnstorming four-episode opening arc had been looking decidedly ropey.
Unfinished Business had a somewhat bizarre framing device - an onship boxing match - but the flashbacks to the year on New Caprica were interesting, showing Tyrol and Cally settling down, Adama and Laura relaxing together and, most notably, revealing the destructive events that tore Apollo and Starbuck's relationship apart. The episode has some good music and a tremendous sense of melancholy since the audience knows that the society they are building will soon be shattered by the Cylons. There is also a very funny scene where Adama and Roslin take time out to smoke a joint. There are some flaws, most notably the exercising of the subplot in which we find out how Starbuck and Tigh became buddies all of a sudden, but overall this is a satisfying episode that answers a lot of dangling questions.
The Passage is a 'prelude' to the two-parter that bridges the mid-season divide. The Galactica and her fleet have to force their way through the blinding layers of radiation surrounding a dense star cluster to reach a lifebearing planet so they can replenish their food supplies. The Viper and Raptor pilots have to guide the civilian ships through the radiation storm, but the heavy workload and stress of the mission start to take their toll, particularly on Kat, who is also being blackmailed by a mysterious newcomer. This episode gets points for the 'passage' storyline, which is nicely filled with tension and some breathtaking CGI, but the soap opera-ish elements revolving around Kat's secret past are a bit tedious.
The Eye of Jupiter is the first part the mid-season cliffhanger and is an appropriately superb episode, the best of the season since Exodus, Part 2. The Galactica and her fleet are resupplying food stocks from the brilliantly-named 'Algae Planet' when Chief Tyrol stumbles across what appears to be a temple left behind by the Thirteenth Colony. The Cylons soon show up looking for the temple and a stand-off ensures, with the Cylons threatening to destroy Galactica if she tries to recover the mysterious 'eye of Jupiter' from the temple, whilst Adama threatens to nuke the temple if the Cylons try to land on the planet. This stand-off is a catalyst for a number of impressive confrontations as various storylines that have been building over the past few weeks come to a sudden fruition: Three and Baltar find themselves working together; the deception over the fate of Helo and Athena's baby is brutally exposed; Athena and Boomer come face to face; and Lee and Anders clash over Starbuck. The episode is nicely written, not too obviously cut to pieces by the editors (a problem that has been plaguing the show all season), with a number of interesting 'firsts' (such as the first time the Cylons actually talk to the crew directly rather than just try to kill them), the multiple cliffhanger works quite well and a number of very interesting issues are left open to be resolved. A welcome return to Galactica's better form.
309: Unfinished Business ***
310: The Passage ***
311: The Eye of Jupiter ****
Forthcoming: Rapture (21/01/07), Taking a Break From All of Your Worries (28/01/07), The Woman King (04/02/07), A Day in the Life (11/02/07), Dirty Hands (18/02/07), Maelstrom (25/02/07), The Son Also Rises (04/03/07), Crossroads, Part 1 (11/03/07), Crossroads Part 2 (18/03/07)