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News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

My Top 15 BSG Episodes

With the penultimate helping of Battlestar Galactica fast approaching, I began thinking about which episodes have been my favourites. I found the top 5 easy to compile, because these are the episodes I’ve rewatched time and time again. But below that there were some tough choices to be made! I’ve cheated slightly in counting two parters (if called part 1/part 2) as one episode…

There are a few spoilers in the list, but I’ve tried to keep things as vague as I possibly can. If you’re yet to jump on the BSG bandwagon (what are you waiting for?!) I leave it up to you whether or not to take a peek.

15.

Act of Contrition

Act of Contrition

A shortage of pilots leads Adama to appoint Kara head of training. Overcome by guilt at her role in his son’s death, she struggles with the task.

This is a simple episode, but I am a sucker for the father-daughter relationship between Kara and Bill.

14.

Miniseries

Miniseries

The good ship Galactica is on its last legs and is about to be decommissioned, along with her veteran commander Bill Adama. Meanwhile, on Caprica, arrogant scientist Gaius Baltar discovers his new girlfriend is more than she seems, and the Twelve Colonies are plunged into a fierce war with old foe the Cylons.

The hairstyles are awful and in comparison to the later series it’s a little simplistic, but then again I watched it after finishing series 1-3, so the impact was lost. If you watch it first, it’s a pretty awesome introduction.

13.

33

33

The fleet are staying ahead of the Cylons by jumping randomly through space. Thing is, they can only go 33 minutes without being found. It’s a race against time to discover a solution.

This is regularly touted as the best episode ever, but I find it a bit straightforward. The 33 minute device is a great tension builder, however, and the relentlessness of the Cylon attack is certainly emphasised.

12.

Flight of the Phoenix

Flight of the Phoenix

Chief Tyrol takes on a new project – building a stealth viper. At first the crew are sceptical, but soon rally round to help him. Meanwhile, a Cylon computer virus puts the ship in danger, and there’s only one person who can stop it…

This is the closest Galactica gets to heartwarming, and it is certainly uplifting to see Chief succeed against the odds. The naming ceremony brings a tear to the eye!

11.

Flesh and Bone

Flesh and Bone

A copy of dangerous Cylon Leoben Conoy has been found on board a ship in the fleet, and Kara is sent to interrogate him. It’s a battle of wills as Kara attempts to use logic and then force to get him to reveal the location of a hidden bomb. Leoben, however, knows more than he’s letting on.

The relationship between Kara and Leoben is fascinating, and it is interesting to see its origins here. His assertion that time is merely a cycle forms the cornerstone of much of the rest of the show. It’s also a topical look at torture.

10.

Sometimes A Great Notion

Sometimes A Great Notion

Everyone is devastated by their shocking discovery in ‘Revelations’. None more so than Dee, who struggles to keep it together, and Laura, who withdraws from her duties. Meanwhile the Final Four begin to remember their past, and Tigh realises the truth.

The bleakest episode of Galactica, which really punches you in the gut with certain unexpected events, then builds to a dramatic conclusion with the final revelation. Some great acting, and beautiful cinematography.

9.

Colonial Day

Colonial Day

Laura tries to re-establish democracy by setting up a ‘Quorum’ and holding elections. Tom Zarek, however, has other ideas, and tries to get himself a position as Vice President. Kara and Lee pursue a possible assassin.

A politically themed episode is not to everyone’s taste, but personally I love the insight into Colonial democracy. Baltar is at his hilarious best here, and the episode arguably provides the foundation for a lot of his plotline in series 2 (and 3?). Plus the dance at the end is the last moment of true happiness for most of the characters!

8.

Maelstrom

Maelstrom

Kara, still suffering from the trauma of New Caprica and the events on the Algae Planet, becomes dangerously erratic in the cockpit. Matters aren’t helped when she starts seeing her mandala everywhere, even in the shape of a storm which she is strangely drawn to…

Kara is my favourite character, so a whole episode devoted to her is a natural choice for my list. Maelstrom slowly builds a sense of dread, dragging you into Kara’s gloomy mental state. Again, beautifully shot, with Kara’s ‘paintsex’ nightmare a standout sequence suggesting the violating nature of destiny.

7.

The Oath

The Oath

Felix Gaeta, finally at the end of his tether, orchestrates a mutiny on Galactica with the help of Zarek. Only a few remain loyal to Bill Adama, and it’s a tense race to get Roslin to safety and avoid capture. Everyone kicks ass.

High octane action, heart pounding tension and buckets of moral ambiguity? Make for one of the most exciting episodes of the whole show.

6.

Resurrection Ship

Resurrection Ship

The Pegasus, Galactica’s warped alter ego, has joined the fleet and its megalomaniac Admiral Cain has taken control. The two ships nearly come to blows over the fate of Helo and Tyrol, trapped in the brig for protecting Sharon; Baltar falls for abused Cylon Gina; Bill gives Kara a dangerous mission; and the humans get the chance to score a huge victory against the enemy.

The Pegasus arc is incredible, and these two episodes manage to combine thrilling space battles with the intimate intensity of Cain vs Adama.

5.

Faith

Faith

During her cancer treatment, Laura meets fellow patient Emily, whose outlook on life and death she finds refreshing. On the Demetrius, time is ticking away for Gaeta, whilst the others search for answers on the wounded baseship.

This episode left me sobbing. Laura’s acceptance of death is immensely moving and brilliantly acted by both Mary McDonnell and Nana Visitor.

4.

Kobol's Last Gleaming

Kobol's Last Gleaming

A scouting team arrive on Kobol to find that the Cylons have beaten them to it. Kara takes the raider to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo, prompting a coup back on Galactica as Laura is put in the brig. Boomer’s self doubts are confirmed, and her copy on Caprica is in danger as Helo realises the truth.

Plenty of action and adventure in this one, mixed in with a hefty dose of mythology. The opening montage of KLG part 1 is one of the best episode openings I have ever seen – certainly on my original viewing, this was the moment I knew I was completely hooked. Seeing Boomer repeatedly put the gun in her mouth and then actually shoot herself? Galactica goes where other shows wouldn’t dare. Not to mention the nail biting cliffhanger! The music in this one is beautiful, too – Bear McCreary’s Passacaglia and its partner piece The Shape of Things to Come are hauntingly lovely.

3.

Home

Home

Laura’s gang head to Kobol to find Athena’s Tomb. The planet turns out to be far from the paradise they’d imagined, and the danger is only increased by the threat of Cylon attack, and Zarek’s scheming. Bill realises it’s time to put his anger aside and he joins the group in time to make some startling discoveries.

Another ensemble adventure that takes the mythology forward. I could watch this again and again – it has everything you could want from an episode of tv – exciting battles, scheming villains, a ‘magical’ star map…

2.

Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

With tensions running high, Bill sets up a boxing tournament to help the crew unwind and work out their differences. Soon everyone is thinking back to their last gathering, the ground breaking on New Caprica. Lee and Kara, in particular, have a lot to work out, and they take their grievances into the ring as each blow reminds them of that fateful evening.

This one divides most fans between those that adore it and those that think of it as ‘that one with the boxing’. However, in my opinion it is a masterpiece of editing that constructs a lyrical, poetic narrative mingling flashback and fight. It may be a character focused piece with not a space battle in sight, but such is the beauty of Galactica – there is as much room for such an exploration of relationships as there is for the blowing-stuff-up.

1.

Exodus

Exodus

The resistance cell manage to contact Galactica, putting into motion a grand escape plan that sees Adama pull the most ambitious stunt yet. Before they can leave, the resistance must deal with a traitor, and Kara struggles to defeat Leoben. Meanwhile D’anna’s prophetic dreams lead her to Hera, and Baltar’s fate hangs in the balance.

The New Caprica arc is, imo, the greatest achievement of the show. On first viewing I found myself at every turn thinking ‘they went there?!’. The real world analogies may be a little heavy handed, but they make for a gripping and heart wrenching set of episodes. If you don’t cry at any point during ‘Exodus’, you have no heart!

Honourable mentions go to: Scar, The Farm, Lay Down Your Burdens, Rapture, Crossroads and Revelations.

My five least favourite episodes are:

5. Hero (aka ‘the writers don’t check their own canon’)

4. Black Market (aka ‘Apollo vs the paedophiles’)

3. The Woman King (aka ‘Helo vs the racists’)

2. Deadlock (aka ‘quick we need to end this badly thought out plot’)

1. Sine Qua Non (aka ‘the one with the dead cat’)

All images in this entry are taken from daydreaming.

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2 Responses to “My Top 15 BSG Episodes”

  1. Hey just wanted to give you a shout out. Great list. I couldn’t agree more. Although I would have put the final episode “Daybreak” in there somewhere. Tough to pick from so many good shows.

    I would like to link to your article on my blog with your permission.

    Great Article,
    Cy
    RedEyeRogue.com

  2. Thanks RedEyeRogue, go ahead and link 🙂

    I had mixed feelings about Daybreak at the time that have gradually dulled to hatred…so it wouldn’t feature on my list! But I know many people love it.


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