Again, a bit of a gap between last episode and this one. Part of that is life and part of it is a vague recollection of the western episode and not really wanting to watch it. But, for completeness’ sake, I did. It’s part of the show, after all. So, let’s dive into the
Overly Long Synopsis
Which might be a little shorter than the last few. This is, to be honest, a light-weight episode and there’s not a lot to chew on.
We open, once we get through an opening credits sequence that’s starting to feel really long to me, with Apollo under attack, outnumbered a mere four to one. On the Galactica’s bridge, Adama insists that he’s actually leading the Cylons away, or trying, and this is born out by his reaction a few centons later.
But he’s still in trouble after blowing one up and getting away from the rest, because he’s out of fuel and doesn’t have a lot of landing options. Still, there’s one good one, at least, and he coasts in, crash-landing a la Skywalker on a planet named Equellus. He’s found by a boy and his widowed mother along with a horse that growls.
They cover the viper with branches to hide it and go back to the homestead to have dinner. There’s a visit from Red-Eye, a brain-injured Cylon who thinks he’s the enforcer for a local tough guy.
Back on the Galactica, Boxey has a sleepover with the pilots to avoid anyone telling him his father is missing. They eventually wind up drinking fruit juice and playing Pyramid (Poker) for jelly beans. Cassiopeia is not impressed and takes Boxey off to get ready for bed. Boomer and Starbuck try to figure out what they’re going to do about their friend’s disappearance.
The air rifles people carry on Equellus can apparently kill a wolf lupus at 10 metrons if you hit it right. We should probably remember that.
Apollo learns more from Vela and her brother Bootes about the local situation. There’s a sort of local warlord who collects tribute from everyone and has an enforcer named Red-Eye who happens to be a Cylon covered in dents from shootouts with people using those air rifles. Puppis (the kid) is the son of a colonial warrior named Martin, whose ship crash landed out in the desert years ago. And mom is super anti-gun.
Now, Apollo has a mystery to solve so goes into town, alone, and unarmed. There’s only one place to go, apparently, a pretty horrible-looking “old west” saloon with a few electronics hanging around to give it that 1970s SF feel.
Apollo orders a beer or a mug of wine or something, has an almost run in with Lacerta’s lead human goon and then goes to have a drink with the Cylon where no one will bother him. Apparently, this is all to impress Boss Hogg Lacerta, who at least is amused, controlling his robot with finger snaps. And apparently, Lacerta controls everything, at least this town.
Returning to the farm, Apollo finds Puppis is out hunting the lupus and he gets there just as Puppis gets it. With his second shot. Apollo gets to give some fatherly advice, which pays off when they get back to mom.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, uh, Galactica, Tigh talks Adama into sending out a patrol and slowing the fleet down to give them a little more time. Amazingly, Boomer and Starbuck are sitting in their fighters ready to launch.
In the bar, Bootes is busy getting drunk and being an idiot. There’s an almost duel and he gets shot in front of a crowd. Red-Eye looks to be going on a rampage, but Apollo saves them all at the price of being marked a coward by destroying a couple of guns and talking them down.
In the alley, one of Lacerta’s serving girls lets him in on some secrets and we find out Apollo brought his gun with him this time. Fingers twitching, they stare each other down for a few tense seconds. Red Eye is fast, but Apollo is faster, and better. Red-Eye goes down with a nice explosion and Lacerta sneaks away with his toady.
Later, on the farm, Apollo gives a quick lecture on killing and seems to feel genuinely bad about offing Red-Eye. As a result, Vela admits she knows where her husband’s dead ship is, maybe has fuel.
Starbuck and Boomer, somewhere in space, finally have to admit that they’ve failed and turn around, but then Apollo comes sailing in. I guess the crashed ship was pretty close and the fuel wasn’t too heavy. To celebrate, Boomer gets into the cowboy spirit, Yee Ha! In the closing micro-scene, Vela and Puppis both seem to think Apollo promised he’d come back someday.
Fleeing from the Cylon Tyranny…
This episode Seems like it was based on Shane, which has a very similar overall plot: mysterious warrior befriends a widow and her son and has to stand up to the bad guy. It doesn’t work as well, possibly because it’s too compressed, possibly because the merger with SF tropes makes it come across a little on the silly side. However I might want to look at it, the overall episode is the weakest one yet.
I have to wonder how many little western towns there are on this world and why everyone crash lands near this one. Vela’s husband, a Cylon raider, and now Apollo. It’s the improbably string that holds the story together, but it’s not a very good one.
Starbuck’s line, “Boxey’s already lost one parent. He’s not going to lose two,” rings a little false. Apollo is Boxey’s step dad. The kid has already lost two parents, and he’s bearing up surprisingly well considering it was just last episode he lost his mom. Apollo would be three. He’s also the hero, so we know that’s not going to happen.
I will say that the shoot out works rather well, likely due to the acting ability of Richard Hatch and the implacability of the Cylon waiting to draw. Music from a spaghetti western with just a touch of SF works well to heighten the tension, but it would have worked nearly as well with the sound of wind in our ears.
I already noted Mr. Hatch as doing well, at least in the shootout. The young fellow playing Puppis is inconsistent, coming across wooden and flat in his first couple of scenes, and running the gamut from okay delivering lines to pretty good when he needs to convey some significant emotion. This seems more likely attributable to direction.
No one else really stands out to me, but then most of the characters appearing here weren’t given a lot to do. Cardboard cutouts to round out the scenery for Apollo.
Questions I want to ask:
If Equellus has humans on it, how did the Cylons miss that in their extermination campaign?
Wait, aren’t we on the far side of known space? How can Puppis’ dad have been a colonial warrior?
They still have daggits here? Good thing Apollo didn’t hear that comment or he’d have to get one for Boxey (a promise he made to get him to eat his “primaries” way back in the pilot).
Nothing really new in the colonial side of things, but almost every extra name used in this episode is the name of a constellation: Lupus, Bootes, Puppis, Vela, Lacerta, Equellus.
Ships and Technology
We’re the victim of recycled footage again, not that we shouldn’t have expect that, but while Apollo is supposed to be flying a solo patrol, there are flashes of the wing and tailfin of another Viper on the left edge of the screen where it wasn’t quite edited out.
The air rifles the western folks use are called numos. Pneumatic maybe?
While not strictly a ship or technology, aside from growling like a cougar, the horse Apollo rides has stripes painted on it.
It had a couple of moments, but the things that make the episode memorable are mostly the things you wish you could forget about it. To much cheese, not enough actual story. 5 dented Cylons out of 10.
Next up, Starbuck in prison. “The Long Patrol”.by