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Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some troubled episodes, but the conclusion makes up for it, January 5, 2009
This review is from: Battlestar Galactica - Season 4.0 (DVD)
Season 4 starts with dealing with the fall-out from the S3 finale. Four regular characters discover they are Cylons, Starbuck has reappeared despite last being seen in a Viper exploding above a gas giant and the fleet, having undergone a mysterious power failure, is under attack by a colossal Cylon fleet. The opening episode gives us the most impressive space battle yet as the fleet sustains heavy losses as it tries to escape. It's not too much of a spoiler to reveal it does escape, but the victory is marred by discontent over Starbuck's return and her claim that she has been to Earth. Adama decides to trust her and gives her a ship and crew to see if they can locate the planet, but Starbuck's orders do not prove popular and soon she has a mutiny on her hands...

Meanwhile, the Cylons are in turmoil with the revelation that the mysterious 'Final Five' models are in the human fleet, and it isn't long before the gulf between the models begun by events on New Caprica explodes into a fractious civil war. Back in the fleet the four Cylons try to work out what is going on whilst concealing their identities, and Apollo begins a new career in the fleet's political system. Baltar finds himself the leader of a new cult fascinated by the Cylon's belief in one true god, and Roslin, dealing with the return of her cancer, is confronted by the prospect of her own mortality.

Season 4 raises a lot of interesting issues and the story does move forward in an intriguing manner. However, the fact that what were supposed to be two full 20-episode seasons have been compressed into one is painfully obvious at times: Apollo's meteoric rise through the political ranks in just a few episodes and weeks of time in the series would have made more sense spread across a whole season and maybe a year of narrative time, and the Cylon Civil War happens mostly off-screen due to time and budgetary constraints. All of this really hits home in Episode 8, 'Sine Qua Non', which is possibly the most confused, bemusing and borderline nonsensical episode the series has ever done, moving characters into the positions they are needed in for plot purposes by having them behave totally out of character (Adama especially).

However, once that painful act is accomplished, the final two episodes of the half-season return the series to a form it hasn't enjoyed since early Season 3. The controversial alliance between the humans and one of the Cylon factions raises a number of very interesting questions about the nature of both humanity and the Cylons, whilst the attack on the Hub is nothing short of breathtaking. But it is the mid-season finale, 'Revelations', which impresses the most. The best episode since the 'Exodus' two-parter, it moves quickly but doesn't feel rushed and is packed with moments of stunning acting (Eddie Olmos as Adama and Michael Hogan as Tigh give us the most dramatically intense scene of the series to date, whilst Jamie Bamber delivers his best performance as Lee is put in a really difficult position). The final two minutes or so of the episode represent one of the most talked-about moments of television in the last year, and will ensure that everyone comes back for the second half of the season, regardless of how much they charge for it on DVD.

BSG: Season 4 is not the series at its best, but it does undertake a lot of necessary plot movements to set things up for the show's grand conclusion, and the episode 'Revelations' justifies the price of the set by itself. Recommended. Also remember that the final episodes of BSG begin airing on 16 Jan 2009 in the USA and 20 Jan 2009 in the UK.
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Location: Colchester, Essex United Kingdom

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