Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 19

Daybreak, Part 1 (1)

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 13, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

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out of 10
480 votes
  • We approach the end of the line, but beware the rose-tinted glasses

    Daybreak 1 was good. Make no mistake. Once again, BSG delivers strong drama and very, very, powerful portrayals. On its own, it is what brings BSG up to the level of that other (for the most part) magnificent space operas, Babylon 5. We're in the home stretch now, and Daybreak Part one is pivotal in moving us to the final confrontation and revelations. We see a simmering build-up as Adama comes to realise that rescuing Hera *is* important; and quite possibly not only because of her potential significance. His walk along the corridor of remembrance was possibly the most evocative moment of this episode. Not only did it serve to bring his focus down onto the girl - it served, without the need for dialogue, to remind us - to remind him - of a long standing promise he had made: to save and protect the people thrust into his care. Standing among the photographs of those lost, we saw through his eyes everything he'd sworn and fought to uphold: not just the right for humanity to survive, but for *people* to continue to live and grow. And "people" includes one solitary little girl, every bit as important to him as Kara Thrace, once stranded on an alien world after a dogfight with a raider. In coming to that realisation, Adama not only saw the importance of going after the girl, he rediscovered his centre; and from that came the dedication and determination that have previously marked him as a natural leader. Not everyone might be convinced of his goal - but this discovery of the inner man was strong enough to demonstrate to enough of the crew that he really is still a man worth following - even to death itself. And the revelations aren't just confined to Adama; in confronting Lee Adama, Baltar is forced to contend with his own nature. His lack of substance. All that has gone before not only has brought him to this point, it has left him without any real convinction. For all his postured - and quite possibly genuine - belief in the "one true God", he can no longer avoid the fact that he himself is, in the final analysis, an empty vessel. And, as anyone with an once of religious reading will know, it is only once that point has been reached, can true redemption begin. It is no coincidence that his Head Six informs him it is time for him to lead humanity in its final chapter shortly before he meets Lee Adama. At the time he couldn't understand her words - even from her expression - but now, confronted by the naked truth, he can no-longer hide. "Daybreak 1" is a dramatic episode. Even the flashbacks are beautifully drawn and executed. They provide something of a further depth to the characters they touch, and they are far from being misplaced or "out of character" as some reviewers here suggest. But - and there is a "but" here - nor are they as fulfilling or as fabulous as those heaping praise upon praise for this episode imply. Yes, the flashbacks do fit with the rest of the story but do they actually contribute anything we really need to know about the characters concerned?. Sorry, but the answer here is no; at least, not at this point in time. True, if the flashbacks continue and lead to a final moment of understand and/or revelation, then they will have worked and worked well. But if they don't....well, when one puts aside the rose-tinted glasses, it will be apparent that in terms of the *story* and the *characters* they actually reveal very little that we didn't already know - other than perhaps Baltar, where his realtionship with his father points to much of the reason as to why his became the man he is. One only hopes these new threads, woven in the form of flashbacks do have meaning and resolution in the final double episode, because then the 10s awarded this segment would be justified. But with so much to still to be played out, one feels that Daybreak 2 runs equal risk of pleasing and frustrating the audience by equal measure.