Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Ten: War of the Gods, Parts 1&2

During an extended patrol, Bojay, Jolly, and the rest are accosted by globules of light that travel much faster than even their Colonial Vipers. Nothing appears on the scanner, but then, another ship made almost entirely of light appears behind them, engulfing the flight team, not to be seen again.

Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, a game of Triads is taking place, where Apollo and Starbuck face off against Boomer’s team. With a last-second maneuver, the Apollo/Starbuck team wins. The celebration is cut short with word of the scout team’s disappearance. Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba attempt to search for them, and find a planet suitable for human conditions.

When they land, however, they find a strange man who seems to be unharmed or unfazed by their presence. They also find the remains of a crashed spaceship that is giving off radiations that they cannot approach without special gear. The stranger identifies himself as Count Iblis, and the warriors take him back to the Galactica.

Once aboard, Count Iblis uses his power of persuasion to make Sheba take him to the bridge. Once there, the instruments start encountering interference. As Adama chews out his crew for such a debacle, he and Count Iblis meet. Apollo and Sheba have a confrontation over her actions concerning Count Iblis. And Adama has his own confrontation with Count Iblis, as he reveals even more powers – and challenges Adama for leadership.

Meanwhile, Cassiopeia and Dr. Welker explain that Count Iblis has been able to elude medical scanning techniques currently being used. While Apollo and Starbuck try to figure out the secret behind Count Iblis, he continues to use his powers of persuasion on Sheba, who seems to be falling for his charm with every passing moment.

The light globules fly through the Galactica and the rest of the fleet, which sends Red Squadron to intercept. Greenbean and Bree find themselves unable to maintain pursuit of the light balls, only to be intercepted by the large light ship from earlier.

As tensions grow between Sheba and Apollo over Count Iblis, Adama decides to confront him once and for all. Things turn even more tumultuous when Count Iblis begins to display even more powers and agrees to some tests of his power in exchange for his leadership.

Meanwhile, the light balls start harassing Baltar’s Cylon basestar. Lucifer and Baltar come to the conclusion that either Adama has made a tremendous breakthrough in technology, or they have encountered a new power in the galaxy that eclipses even the Cylon Alliance.

Back within the Colonial fleet, Count Iblis displays even greater powers by making the crops aboard the agro-ships bloom. With people now beginning to show support for this new stranger, Adama finds himself at a loss. The Council decides to make the first test to deliver their enemy unto them – Baltar. The second test, plot an accurate course to the 13th Colony – Earth, was also cast. The third was not chosen. Count Iblis uses his powers to read the minds of the Council and decides to use his powers to deliver Baltar to them.

Aboard the Cylon basestar, Baltar decides to find out for himself if the humans are actually using a new technology by sending out a signal towards the Galactica and flying to rendezvous with it.

The Council sees Baltar and finds him guilty for his crimes against the Colonies and sentences him to life without parole aboard the prison barge. As he protests, Count Iblis forces him to bow before the Council and accept his punishment. Unable to resist his powers, Baltar warns Adama of the evil behind Count Iblis. The Council is ready to make Iblis the new President, but Adama asks for adjournment until later.

Boxey gets teased by the kids at school because they had heard that Apollo was not going to participate in the Triad game. Apollo finds himself unable to find a moment’s solace, and finally decides to play in the night game. Meanwhile, Boomer laments never being able to ever beat Starbuck and Apollo at Triads and Count Iblis displays another power – to be able to “play through” someone else and gives Boomer and his teammate the edge that was needed to beat Apollo and Starbuck handily.

After a night of celebration, the light globes fly through the fleet once more. An alert is sounded, but the pilots are all slow to respond. Once Count Iblis threatens their positions onboard the Galactica do they actually move with any alacrity. Adama confronts Iblis, and Adama believes he may have found a ‘weakness’ within Iblis that he could exploit.

Boomer, on the other hand, launches his Viper, and attempts to shoot down one of the light globes. This earns him a trip onto the “Light Ship” as a penalty.

As the situation begins to look hopeless for those who support Adama, Apollo finds that his father has some of the same powers that Iblis has been using. They discuss some of Adama’s past, and of a legend that sounds somewhat similar to the story of Lucifer (the Biblical Legend, not the Cylon) – and that the key would be found aboard the ship that Iblis crashed in.

Apollo and Starbuck leave the ship in an attempt to go back to that planet. Count Iblis, unfortunately, uses his mind reading skills and convinces Sheba to commandeer a Viper and pursue them. When they land, there is a confrontation between all four involved. That is when Iblis shows his true form: The Horned Prince of Darkness (The DEVIL!). Apollo’s blaster is useless, and Satan uses his power in an attempt to strike down Sheba. Apollo, however, takes the full force of the blast. This act makes Sheba break her daze about Count Iblis and now she refuses to follow him.

Before Count Iblis can continue any more acts of retribution, the light globes appear once more, and Count Iblis disappears. As Starbuck and Sheba mourn over Apollo, the Light Ship appears once more. The Light Angels explain the situation in general as well as who Count Iblis really was. When all was said and done, the Light Angels revived Apollo and returned the captured Viper pilots back to the Galactica.

As the Adama family has dinner, they attempt to explain the circumstances behind their return, but find the memory of their experiences aboard the Light Ship blocked. But it would be at this point when Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba would begin reciting coordinates to some faraway place – which could be Earth.

Review and Thoughts:

Sometimes, a writing and production staff can be enamored by their new toys that their existing premise gets lost in the attempt of bring the new stuff front-and-center. For example, Jolly as Flight Sergeant got tossed, shredded, and was subsequently taken down about 6 pegs. Why? Because the writers and producers were convinced that Bojay, that hotshot pilot from the Pegasus, was considered more important. So, important, in fact, that they made him a Flight Leader – and relegated Jolly to “idiot pilot” status. Of course, Bojay’s disappearance was supposed to be the excuse to have Sheba request that she go along with Apollo and Starbuck for the search-and-rescue mission.

Don’t You Hate to Be Proven Right?:

Anne Lockhart was supposed to be “new sexy” for the cast. And what is the first thing they do when she gets added to the “Also Starring” list of people? Send her out on a mission with Apollo and Starbuck. Boomer, of course, gets left behind in the name of ‘keeping experienced pilots on board in case the Cylons attack.’ However, once you get beyond the game of Triad that Boomer participates in against Starbuck and Apollo – and paired with some nameless white guy; and, of course, Boomer loses – his appearances which would have been logical, considering that he is supposed to be a Flight Leader along with Starbuck, are far and fewer between with Sheba’s presence.

And While I’m on the Subject of Sheba:

She gets saddled with this plot of Count Iblis as a seducer.

Sheba is Seduced by the Dark Side of the...Huh?

Sheba is Seduced by the Dark Side of the...Huh?

What this was supposed to do, was show the audience that Sheba was more than a ‘Colonial Warrior’ who could fight, but that she was also a woman – who can wear opulent and sometimes sheer dresses that accentuate her beauty.

110-thenewtriad

However, because Sheba fell for Count Iblis, and Apollo resisted to the very end, when he “dies” and is reborn, this was supposed to be the “rivals square off for Sheba’s affection” bit. Now, this, of course, is going to lead to Sheba becoming Apollo’s new love interest. Mark my words. It will happen.

Foreshadowing:

Patrick Macnee plays three roles on Battlestar: First, he is the narrator of the opening sequence heard in the first 14 episodes. Second, and most importantly, he plays the voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader. Third, he plays the nemesis of this Chapter, Count Iblis. Baltar, through his own ways, confirms that the Cylons were themselves corrupted by Count Iblis – with the creation of the Cylon robotics. The Cylon robots themselves use Count Iblis voice as the Imperious Leader – and it is possible that Count Iblis himself was possessor of the previous Imperious Leader, based on how he addressed Baltar. This important plot point, however, was treated as throwaway once done with.

Clothing Choices that Don’t Make Sense:

A Dinner With the Adama Family

A Dinner With the Adama Family

For an informal (or not) dinner, Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer are in Colonial Warrior Dress Uniforms. Adama is in his formal council uniform. So tell me, why are Athena and Sheba not dressed similarly, considering that they are also Colonial Warriors? Or, for that matter, why were the men not given “off-duty casual dress” clothes – which would actually make more sense?

Oops.

Lt. Boomer:

Herbert Jefferson, we hardly knew you. In the first part of the chapter, once we get beyond the Triad game, isn’t seen again. Then, in part two, we learn that Boomer so wants to win a game of Triads against Starbuck and Apollo, that he is willing to make a deal with the devil to do it. Then, after a big celebration, Boomer is stuck with a hangover that requires Apollo AND Count Iblis to chastise him before he can respond to the Red Alert. After this, once he launches, he gets a bead on one of the light globes, fires, and is subsequently taken aboard the Light Ship. We won’t see him again until the end of the episode.

FAIL.

Colonel Tigh:

Writing about Tigh is as tiresome as fixing a tire that keeps going flat after putting the car in drive. First, he gets suggested by a lower-ranked pilot that Count Iblis be sent to the Life Station; then he gets chewed out by Commander Adama because Sheba falls for his charms and takes Count Iblis to the bridge while under his influence. Even worse, Tigh gets mind-raped by Count Iblis trying to find out what Adama is up to.

FAIL.

The Council:

This council has changed. The first “new” council was filled with old white men. This one was now includes an older white woman and an older Asian woman – I’m left with a guess of either Japanese or Korean.

The Civilians, The Battlestar Crews:

We get to see a non-descript Asian kid (best guess Korean) as a walk-on role (when Count Iblis and Sheba tour the Gemon Freighter near the end of Part I. There is young African-American boy in the same scene, and farther back is an African-American male. There is also a dark-skinned woman who sits near the top of the screen of the same scene.

In the crowd during the Triad games there are people of various obvious ethnic backgrounds.

However, in neither of these are any of them given any individual speaking parts or “close-ups” of their own.

Superhero Connection:

Kirk Alyn

Kirk Alyn

Kirk Alyn, who plays one of the Colonials on the ship Count Iblis visits, is famous (or infamous, maybe) for playing Superman/Clark Kent in the 1941 movie serials.

Final Analysis:

[Just Surrender] 1.3 out of 10. Ever try to believe in something that logic tells you that it not and it seems, never will be true? Well, this is what Battlestar Galactica TOS has become now. Boomer has pretty much become the scratching post for much of the bad stuff that happens – and Tigh is just being run over by pretty much everyone.

Maybe this is why it is better to leave happy memories where they stand – happy memories.

Understand, I can take single incidents. I can even abide by some “stringing.” But nothing happens in a vacuum. Ever. Sheba’s presence pushes Boomer aside. The role of Colonel Tigh is undeserving of Terry Carter; Tigh seems to be full of fail – and the writers (all of them) need to die. In. a. Fire.

Baltar as a cardboard cutout villain doesn’t work. I wish the producers would have seen this one coming. The “Lost Planet of the Gods” Baltar makes a cameo appearance here. This is the Baltar that works better for Galactica’s grand scale theme.

Apollo being always right, Starbuck being always lucky (except against little kids), and Adama being always wisely and sage drags the show down on its own. And Dr. Welker is played too much like the absent-minded professor – in other words, for laughs.

Grab the monkeywrench, it’s time to fine tune this show.

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