Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 5

The Road Less Traveled (1)

3
Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 02, 2008 on Syfy
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

8.2
out of 10
Average
501 votes
  • The most painful part of the episode is that every once in a while, there will be a scene worthy of Battlestar Galactica season 3, just to remind us what we're missing.

    7.5
    The 'hidden' Cylons don't know what to do with themselves, Gaius Baltar's religious following is growing, and on the Demetrius people are questioning Kara's judgment (and identity). If this sounds familiar, that's because we've been treading and re-treading this ground in nearly every episode this season.

    HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

    Then every once in a while, a scene will come along to remind us just what we're missing out on. Tyrol finds himself attending one of Baltar's sermons (why? he doesn't know either) and Baltar attempts to draw him out with petty callbacks to the former Chief's deceased wife in an obvious ploy to get such a popular figure to side with him. This leads Tyrol to an outrage reminiscent of his attack on Callie which ends with him nearly committing suicide in his own quarters. More proof that Aaron Douglas is one of the finest actors on this show, capable of both incredibly subtle performances and explosive, emotional outbursts when provoked.

    This story culminates with Gaius showing up to visit Tyrol to express his apologies in private and for the first time this season explain just what's going on in his head and what his goals are. This allows the two men to bond in a touching moment that shows that Baltar truly has grown from previous seasons, as the handshake he was looking for came not in front of the entire fleet, but in private, and he was earnestly, genuinely happy to have earned it. He did this for himself and for the former Chief, not for the publicity or the glory, which marks a true stepping stone for him as a character.

    On the Demetrius, the crew is pushed to the brink as one is lost following Starbuck's guidance, and even Helo can take no more and calls for mutiny. Gaeta seconds his decision, and we know that Athena stands with them. Sam, and possibly Hotdog, are the only ones left to stand by Kara. The situation is finally tensing up and looks like we'll be getting somewhere. So what's the problem?

    The problem is this takes up about four to five minutes of the episode, the rest of which is a dense re-tread of everything we've seen so far. Starbuck's crew continues to make rude remarks about her inability as captain for more than half the episode, every time culminating in her appearing from behind them and ignoring them. Baltar is preaching... and preaching... and preaching. Tory is acting all high and mighty.

    The only characters who are consistently engaging remain Tyrol and Anders, who is finally taking a side with more than words. Lee, Adama, and Roslin are nowhere to be seen, and Tigh appears only for a brief moment to show that his resolve to "be the man [he] wants to be" may not be enough. The moment shows potential for the future, but that's the problem with this season so far.

    Everything is being built up as potential for the future without giving us the dramatic resolutions we want - and deserve - right now. There's only so much set-up viewers can take, and while I will remain a fan of this show no matter what I know that the season has already cost the show some viewers because of its slow, ponderous pace to get somewhere we don't know it's going. It doesn't help that the characters insist on not getting anywhere. Kara, especially, comes to mind as someone who, seemingly, will do everything BUT decisively settle the issue of the crew being there to follow her orders -- why not say, "The Admiral trusted me, that should be enough for you, and if it isn't, you're all going to be in trouble once we get back!" and bring the chain of command in here, not as herself, but remind them that she is not acting alone, but with the consent of Adama and Lee? And what the hell happened to all of the music on this show? The emotional music that comes in to guide us through these characters' complex relationships, that serves to ease us into the show and make the entire experience more magical? Seems to have disappeared with the intensity of season 3.

    Not all is lost, of course. The potential is still being built up for this show to do amazing things, as it has done in the past. But five episodes in, it would be nice if some of that potential started paying off, and some of the characters decided on a stance - any stance - and started successfully working away at getting toward their goals, however dark they may be. The only character consistently not treading the same ground over and over is Lee, and this reviewer wonders if his limited screentime this season has had to do with that. If he'd had any more of it, he'd just succeed at dissolving Roslin's attempted dictatorship and get elected President... before the series finale!

    -pW
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