This week’s Battlestar Galactica sees two stand alone episodes before we plunge into another two parter. The art used to illustrate this installment of the Bellasrio & Cannell comes from Ralph McQuarrie’s preproduction art and book cover art from the episode’s novel adaption by David Shleinkofer.
First up is The Lost Warrior, which aired October 8, 1978. Written by Bellisario, this plays as a western with Red-Eye a defective cylon, recovered from a crashed raider, as the baddie and thug for Lacerta (Claude Earl Jones) the local crime boss, who’s using the threat of the cylon, and his laser blaster to have the people do what he wants.
There are a number of silvery plastic cowboy hats thrown in to make it look more future like.
Apollo (Richard Hatch) is forced to crash-land on a planet and is taken in by a young boy, Puppis (Johnny Timko). His father was a warrior, something his mother kept hidden from him. Also around is the boy’s uncle (Lance LeGault in his first BSG appearance) who along with Puppis upon seeing Apollo and his blaster becomes convinced he can take on Red-Eye and win!
In typical western fashion, Apollo, who refuses to fight, is accused of being a coward until, finally, he is forced to face Red-Eye down.
Meanwhile back at the fleet Starbuck (Dirk Benedict), Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.), Giles (Larry Manetti) and Jolly (Tony Swartz) distract Apollo’s son Boxey (Noah Hathaway) by letting him spend the night in Blue Squadron quarters drinking fruit juice and playing pyramid.
The story is pretty lame, a bit Shane, a bit High Noon, and very campy… Red-Eye’s boss is dressed as Boss Hog and the thing I most remember about this episode, is that when we played Galactica in the yard, I always made my sister be Red-Eye.
An interesting point in the episode features Adama (Lorne Greene), who is hesitant to send rescue squadrons out to search for his son because he fears people will see it as favoritism. Tigh (Terry Carter) is quick to point out that the commander would do that for anyone.
Maybe the next episode stands up a little better…
In the Long Patrol, which aired October 15, 1978, (also penned by Bellisario) we learn that the fleet is finally leaving their star system and entering a new galaxy. Needing information, the Commander orders Starbuck on a deep space probe. The flight will also allow for the testing of a new viper with an expanded onboard computer, named C.O.R.A.
But first Starbuck balances a dinner and a date by slipping from room to room seeing both Cassie (Laurette Spang) and Athena (Maren Jensen) at the same time on the Rising Star. And when the girls find out, neither one of them seems particularly upset, they just shake their heads and share a smile… Oh those wacky seventies!
Starbuck comes to aid of an unarmed freighter, but when they land, and he discovers the freighter is carrying a giant shipment of a very rare liquor, ambrosia, the pilot lays Starbuck out and steals the viper, leaving our poor hero to be captured by the authorities and sent to prison for his actions.
The prison he ends up in is an interesting idea, in that the people have been there for generations, serving out the sentences of their ancestors, taking their names from the family crime. They labor daily to make more ambrosia, believing it to be sent out to the colonies, but it languishes on the dock.
Apollo and the fleet arrive just in time, but Baltar’s (John Colicos) basestar is still trailing the Galactica, and sends out a squadron as well, and forces clash, the ambrosia is destroyed, but Starbuck is safe.
Happy ending! This one is the stronger of the two stories, but that’s not saying a lot. The series definitely plays to the younger viewer, which is too bad. It could have been really smart and engaging television like the re-imagining (I may have to revisit that in the future), instead it’s just 70s camp in space.
They get a clue to Earth though… Boxey draws a map for everyone, but Starbuck tweaks it, from an image he saw on the prison wall…
The journey continues…
Next time is the two parter – Gun On Ice Planet Zero!!!