Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Three: The Lost Warrior

During a routine scouting mission, Apollo is attacked by a Cylon patrol attempting to find the Galactica. Although his transmissions were bait for the pursuing attack force, Apollo runs out of fuel and crashes on a planet. He is found on the planet by a young kid and his mother, who are afraid of something so dangerous that the mother asks him to leave. When he informs him that he cannot, they attempt to hide his ship.

Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, Boxey begins to worry about his foster father. Adama, Starbuck, and Boomer attempt to assuage the child’s worries. Apollo, on the other hand, finds himself with a mystery on his hands. The young boy, named Puppis, tells of an enemy named “Red-Eye.” The mother, Thella, has the boy perform chores. It becomes clear to Apollo that there is something more going on.

Thella tells Apollo that she hates all guns, because her husband was killed by a gun like Apollo’s. Apollo chastises her because his wife was killed by a gun like his as well. Puppis tells them that someone is coming to the ranch, and Apollo hides. The person coming to the ranch…is a Cylon.

The Cylon turns out to be Red-Eye. He threatens the people for information. A man comes out and diverts the Cylon’s attention, and the Cylon draws his pistol in a traditional gunfighter pose. After being slightly assuaged, the Cylon leaves, and the man comes into the house. It turns out the man is Thella’s brother, and that Thella’s husband was a Colonial Warrior.

Apollo, now curious as to why this Cylon does not act like other Cylons, goes into to town. The mystery deepens as Red-Eye is in the employ (and under the command of) a human named Lacerta. As Apollo gains the trust of Lacerta, Marco, Lacerta’s main lackey, wants to have Apollo killed. However, Apollo wants to find out if there are more Cylons or if the human is a traitor.

When Boutis decides that he’s had enough, he goes into to town and challenges Lacerta, who brings out Red-Eye. Boutis is critically wounded, and Apollo forces the people to disarm. When he finds out the truth – that the Cylon crash-landed and retained only its basic functions (and no Cylon base in the area), Apollo takes out Red-Eye.

Meanwhile, Tigh convinces Adama to send a patrol to give Apollo a beacon to return to the Galactica, and Starbuck and Boomer make their way out into space. Apollo, thanks to the help of the now grateful people of the planet, find the crashed Cylon raider – and find that the fuel cells are intact enough to allow him enough power to fly into space. At the very last second, Apollo’s Viper is spotted by Starbuck and Boomer and they return to the Galactica.

Review and Thoughts:

After taking a few steps forward with “Lost Planet of the Gods,” “The Lost Warrior” represents a step back. However, it must be noted that Battlestar Galactica could be best described as a “Space Western” more than anything else:

Think of the Galactica as a Wagon with guns hanging off of it. Think of the other ships as simply wagons carrying supplies. Translate the Colonial Vipers into horses. Give the Cylons “Black Hats” and the Humans “White Hats.” And, think of Apollo as “Butch Cassidy” and Starbuck “The Sundance Kid.” With Adama as the elder of Cartwrights (much like Lorne Greene’s other famous role in “Rawhide”).

This episode, however, carries the comparison too far…literally. The main “baddie” reminded me more of “Boss Hogg” from “The Dukes of Hazzard” – complete with the Roscoe P. Coltrane-type character in Marco.

The other thing that bothered me immensely, almost to the point of throwing up, was the sheer number of blondes in the episode. The other problem with the blonde-casting was that the “love interest” for Apollo and her young, precocious son were both blonde. Lance LeGault is a natural blonde. And the blondes were all closer to “platinum” blonde here. Part of me felt like I was watching some propaganda film – considering that the light blondes were all “on the side of good.”

The only other piece that gave me mixed feelings was the Boxey sub-story. Granted, much of it was played for laughs and cuteness (Boxey playing Pyramids with Blue Squadron for jellybeans, for example), but I think it would have helped matters a little more if there were more children onboard the Galactica – as children of some of the warriors and personnel.

Something to Watch for:

When Tigh and Adama have their discussion in Adama’s quarters about trying to find Apollo, Adama picks up a frame with pictures. Apollo and Athena are in those pictures – but no Zac.

Also, when Tigh orders the launch of the patrol, Boomer’s launch occurs without a hitch. When Starbuck runs his launch, there is a moment that was supposed to be “cutting room floor” material – he ‘smiles’ at the camera during his.

Colonel Tigh:

We learn in this episode, in an almost throwaway line, that Tigh is a former Viper pilot. Even though he was still not allowed to have an idea of his own (since the “send a patrol out to allow Apollo a way back to the fleet” was Starbuck’s idea), he was allowed to be right in terms of what Commander Adama should have done with regards to finding Apollo.

Lt. Boomer:

Boomer spends much of the episode as a “tag-along” with Starbuck and Boxey. From my ancient memories about the series, this begins the slow and arduous process of having Boomer pushed to the side for one reason or another.

The Galactica Crew:

Just the usual one or two in the background. No one gets a speaking part during this episode.

The Inhabitants of “Western World”:

Not surprisingly, there are no people of darker hues on this planet.

Final Rating:

[Just Surrender] 1.0 of 10 points. If there were an episode that took many giant steps backwards on many different levels, it would be this one. On some level, it looked like it was supposed to be an argument on gun control – and it failed regardless of whichever side you happen to be on. On another, we were supposed to share Apollo’s reluctance to use his blaster against a single Cylon because he did not have any reliable intel regarding the Cylons on the planet; again, that failed. Then, on a story where Thella and Boutis both knew of Apollo, having been married and related to a Colonial warrior, acting as if they did not know what or who Cylons were – despite being from the Colonies and part of the 1000 year war with the Cylons – Fail. Why? Because it was never made clear that they were doing this for the sake of Puppis – or for some other reason.

In other words, this episode was rushed out the door, and it shows in the end.

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2 Responses to Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Three: The Lost Warrior

  1. Mike in NYC says:

    If you buy (or rent) the dvd’s for this series – Glen Larson makes the reason for alot of the plot fails clear. His original idea was never to have BSG as a weekly series. It was supposed to be a series of ‘special events’ that would have given them more production time – however NBC wanted to capitalize on the Star Wars craze and pushed for a weekly series. Alot of times the story lines were cribbed from well known movies because everything was rushed into production. For example … THIS episode was a a ‘re-shoot’ of the movie Shane (reluctant gunfighter drawn – no pun intended – into local problems) … Gun on Ice Station Zebra was a re-shoot of the Guns of Navarrone … and so on. None of this, of course, makes up for the way that black characters are depicted. The only thing that can be said about that …. you HAVE to consider the time period we’re talking about here. This series was produced in the late 70’s and other than caricatures of people (see Good Times, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons, etc.) blacks were always a plot conveyance for whites.

    • Heavy Armor says:

      Mike in NYC,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      First, it was ABC, not NBC, that wanted to cash in on the Sci-Fi Shoot’em Up Craze. NBC was busy with negotiations with Paramount over “Star Trek: Phase II” at the time, before they balked on the final numbers (Trek’s budget was projected to be as high as Galactica’s) and Paramount turned Phase II into “The Motion Picture.”

      Second, I am aware of both the rushed nature of the production AND the cribbed plotlines. Many of the cast members spoke about their script rewrites often coming to them in the middle of filming the current episode in question.

      Third, I no longer “consider” the time period in which these shows are filmed. If you are a real student of media history, you would realize that these kinds of depictions did not just start in the so-called golden age of television. These depictions of Black People, as well as of Asians and First Nations people had been around for as long as film existed, which would make that over 70 years by the time Larson’s Galactica appeared. Now, when you consider that the same stereotypes and bigotries continue to appear on big and small screen alike TODAY, you are now talking about over full century. And yet, the excuses continue, just as unabated as the stereotypes and the bigotries…and the lies. And, as a footnote, these stereotypes are offshoots of the Jim Crow Minstrel Shows, which adds anywhere from 30 – 60 years MORE.

      Isn’t it time to address these all, and let them go?

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