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Recap / Battlestar Galactica 2003 Razor

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Season 4, Episode 00:


Flashing back to the period of time just after Lee Adama inherited command of the Pegasus, the film begins with Lee accepting the position in a formal ceremony by Roslin. He promises to make sure the crew of the Pegasus are looked after, and appoints Kara as CAG.

Elsewhere, a Pegasus crewman, Lieutenant Kendra Shaw, finishes listening to the speech and injects herself with a drug, then flashes back to her service history leading up to the present day...



On the day the Colonies fell, Shaw is travelling to the Pegasus for her first day of duty, and is overwhelmed by the size of the Battlestar, which is undergoing refits at the Scorpion Fleet Shipyards. Onboard the ship, Admiral Helena Cain is going through crew reports and tells her XO, Colonel Belzen, that she doesn't want to take shore leave.

Arriving onboard, Shaw walks through the ship and meets Gina Inviere, a technician who has been helping with the refit. Gina guides Shaw to CIC, and she meets Cain, who chews her out for being late. However, when a sullen Shaw leaves, Cain reveals that she was just joking at the lieutenant's expense.

As Shaw is being guided to her new quarters, the ship is rocked by a massive blast, briefly knocking her unconscious. She is discovered by Cain, who slaps her in the face when she doesn't respond, and they head to the CIC together.


Once there, the pair discover that many of the command crew are unconscious, and Cylon Raiders conducting missile strikes against the vulnerable Battlestars in the shipyard. While Cain gets a status report that the ship has power but no weapons or navigation, several other Battlestars are destroyed. Cain gives the order to make an emergency jump, and the ship barely warps out before a missile strike impacts it.

Two days later, the ship has made it to relative safety and Cain surveys the damage - most of the Vipers and Raptors have been destroyed, and a quarter of the crew are dead. Elsewhere, Shaw is trying to restart the navigation and defense systems when discovers Cylon computer code hidden within the ship's navigation program, which was down at the time. Shaw reports the matter to Cain, who orders the program to be purged from the system.


After ordering a reconnaissance mission to check the status of the Colonies, Cain reports the grave news to the crew - the Colonies have been destroyed, but they have to avenge their fallen citizens by taking the fight to the Cylons. The crew cheers in response. In a meeting later with the upper command crew, it is revealed that Cain and Gina are in a relationship, and the group comes to a decision to firewall of the ship's networks to prevent Cylon infiltration attacks.

Several days later, the crew launches a surprise attack on what appears to be an abandoned Cylon relay ship, only to discover that the vessel is more heavily defended than they realize. Cain orders the available Vipers to attack anyway, and they are surprised by another group of Raider squadrons jumping into the area. Shaw reports that the ship's weapon systems still aren't responding, so Cain orders reserve Vipers to be launched. When Belzen refuses to carry out her order, citing they would lose a lot of Vipers in the process, Cain pulls out her handgun and shoots him in the head in front of the crew.

Cain turns to a stunned Colonel Fisk and tells him he is in charge and orders him to carry out the order, which he does immediately. The resulting skirmish ends with the Battlestar being breached by Cylon Heavy Raiders, and Centurions exit the vessels and attack the crew. Cain orders Marines to combat the Centurions and for Shaw to head to the ship's secondary damage control juncture to stop the Centurions from venting the ship's air and killing the crew.

On her way to the juncture, Shaw encounters Gina and orders her to the CIC, but is shocked a few moments later when she sees a copy of Number Six walking through the halls. Realizing that the Cylons are now in human form, she kills the copy of Six and runs to CIC, where she sees Gina standing behind Cain. Shaw orders Gina to surrender, and shows Cain security camera footage of the dead Six. In response, Gina shoots two of the CIC staff and attempts to execute Cain, but cannot bring herself to do it before Shaw knocks her unconscious with a rifle.

In the aftermath, the crew surveys the damage - many crew members have been killed and most of the Vipers have been destroyed or can't be repaired, but the relay was destroyed and the attack was repelled. Cain, looking on at Gina in a holding cell, orders Lieutenant Alistair Thorne to interrogate Gina using whatever methods he sees fit.

When Cain arrives in the CIC, she is informed that the DRADIS has picked up a fleet of civilian ships. While the command crew is overjoyed to see other civilians who survived, the mood turns dark when Cain orders them to scavenge needed parts and civilians from the ships, and leave the rest to fend for themselves.

Onboard one of the ships, the Scylla, Fisk and Shaw lead a boarding party with other Marines, and meet mechanic Peter Laird, who welcomes them. When they order the crew to give them their FTL drives and needed parts, the scene turns into a riot, with Shaw and the Marines eventually executing several families on Cain's orders when they don't comply. Laird can only stand and stare in shock, while Shaw is horrified at what she has done.

Afterwards, Cain promotes Shaw to Captain, and tells her that they both have to do things they don't want, but they've put aside their fear and hesitation to complete the task. Cain then concludes her lecture by calling Shaw her "razor"...


Back in the present, Shaw is called to Lee's office, where he discusses her service history and how she was demoted to kitchen duty for being insubordinate in the wake of Cain's death. Lee promotes her to XO to show the Pegasus crew that Cain's legacy can be upheld.

Shaw quickly proves to be a natural in the position, while Lee is given his first mission as Commander: find a Raptor that went missing after a science mission. While Lee is conducting the search, the dispatched Vipers (led by Kara) are attacked by Raiders who look like ones from the first Cylon War. Many of the Raiders are destroyed, but one crashes into the Pegasus' flight pod after Shaw orders the ship's guns to target the Raider and the pursuing Vipers. Kara chews out Shaw for her actions, but Lee defends her.

On the hangar deck, Bill, Roslin and Tigh inspect the downed Raider, and Bill has a flashback to his days in the First Cylon War...


Onboard Galactica, a younger Bill and his co-pilot, Jaycie, are having sex in one of the bunk rooms, and they talk about an upcoming mission to attack an ice planet where a supposed Cylon superweapon is being built. They also discuss the rumors of the Cylons signing a peace treaty, but are interrupted when she is called for a mission briefing.

A short time later, Bill reports for the mission, entitled Operation Raptor Talon, but is shocked to discover that Jaycie was badly wounded on her reconnaissance mission. He promises her that she'll be okay, then angrily gets in his Viper and launches.

Above the surface of the ice planet, Bill and other Vipers fight numerous amounts of Raiders. As the battle continues, the Battlestar Columbia is destroyed, and Bill pursues two Raiders heading towards the planet's surface. His Viper is unexpectedly struck by one of the Raiders while flying through a dense cloud and he is forced to eject, then fights the Centurion that bailed from its Raider in midair before deploying his parachute.

After crashing through the window of a nearby facility while landing, Bill finds the Centurion that crashed into the landscape and takes its weapon. He then investigates the facility, only to discover that it is a laboratory where humans have been experimented on, as well as torture victims being kept as captives, who beg him to release them. Although he tries to break open the door, he is unable before the facility starts shaking.

The trapped civilians tell Bill to report what he found to his the rest of the fleet, and Bill reluctantly leaves. He barely clears the facility before it is revealed that it was actually part of a Basestar, which takes off and leaves the planet's orbit. Bill then receives a radio transmission indicating that the Cylon War is over and an armistice has been signed...


In the present, Bill realizes that the pilots were likely captured by the same Basestar he saw during Operation Raptor Talon, and orders Lee to ready a mission to attack the ship. Shaw drafts an attack plan while will use a diversionary tactic to get the Raiders out of the way so a strike team can land and destroy the vessel from within. Lee confronts her about Cain's actions and says that the massacre on the Scylla wasn't her fault.

The assault on the Basestar begins, and Kara, Shaw and the strike team barely manage to board the vessel after being pursued by two Raiders. Onboard, they discover the mutilated remains of the missing Raptor crew and are attacked by Centurions. In the firefight, Shaw mercy-kills a Marine being dragged off for experiments by the Centurions, but not before being shot in the stomach.

The strike team's plan to use a nuclear warhead to destroy the Basestar is also put in jeopardy when the automatic timer is damaged, forcing someone to stay behind and detonate it manually. Lee reluctantly orders Kara to get the strike team to an evac Raptor and detonate the warhead herself, but Shaw takes matters into her own hands and forces Kara to give her the remote control at gunpoint. Kara thanks her and leaves with the team, while Shaw walks through the ship.

Shaw eventually comes upon a being floating in a resurrection tank, who calls himself the Hybrid and says that he knows her name. He tells her that the Cylons treat him as a god, and says that Kara will lead the human race to its end, and that she is a harbinger of death. Although Shaw tries to radio the information back to the Pegasus, her radio cuts out and she detonates the warhead, killing herself and destroying the Basestar.

Afterwards, Kara recommends Shaw for a posthumous commendation. Bill agrees with the recommendation, but Lee counters that Shaw was responsible for the Scylla massacre. Bill tells his son that he could have gone down the same path, but was kept in check by people like Roslin and Tigh. He also tells Lee that his decision to sacrifice the strike team wasn't wrong, just necessary from his point of view.

Lee meets with Kara afterwards, who tells him that she has requested a reassignment back to Galactica because she thinks Lee wanted to get her killed. Jokingly, he asks if she would have deserved it, while Kara counters that she wants to fight for her own destiny...


  • Body Horror: The Hybrid.
    • When young Bill touches the Hybrid's tank, he has visions of humans being experimented on by the Cylons, including one man being skinned alive!
  • Boom, Headshot!: Cain shooting Belzan in the head.
  • Broken Record: The First Hybrid's final words:
    All of this has happened before, all this will happen again. Again. Again. Again. Again...
  • Call-Forward:
    • In Bill's flashbacks, his fellow pilot/lover Jaycee McGavin uses the term "nothing but the rain" during their post-coital conversation, mimicking the catchphrase Bill would later say to Kara throughout the series.
    • The Centurions' attempted method of using the Secondary Damage Control system to vent the ship's air is used again by the Centurions in "Valley of Darkness".
    • Bill's fight with the downed Centurion echoes his fight with Leoben Conoy aboard Ragnar Anchorage in the miniseries.
    • Cain tells Shaw that she needs Marines who are "razors", echoing what she would later say to Fisk in "Resurrection Ship, Part 2".
    • In the extended cut, the Hybrid makes reference to the Number Three model being boxed, which would happen later (in the show's timeline) in "The Ties That Bind".
  • Continuity Nod: When Shaw is turning the radio dial near the beginning, she comes across a report discussing Roslin's unexplained cancer recovery, referencing the (then-recent) events of "Epiphanies".
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Cain losing her sister to the Cylons just before the armistice is signed leaves her bitter and prone to her actions after the Colonies fall.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film is noticeably more violent than most episodes of the series, and includes a man being graphically shot in the forehead, more violent confrontations (including a character being gutshot) and more foul language.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The Hybrid, just before the Basestar is nuked.
    All of this has happened before, all this will happen again. Again. Again. Again. Again.
  • Field Promotion: Shaw being promoted to Captain by Cain, and later to XO by Lee.
  • Framing Device:
    • The present-day events are one for Shaw's flashbacks to past events.
    • Bill's flashbacks, as originally aired, are one for him reminiscing over an old-style Centurion in a display case two days before the events of the miniseries.
  • Free-Fall Fight / High-Altitude Battle: Bill fighting the Cylon above the surface of the ice planet.
  • A God Am I: The hybrid states that his Centurion guardians believe him to be a god, and he doesn't dispute the claim. He certainly seems to be all-knowing, but as the protagonist proves, not immortal. Provided of course that all this doesn't happen again, and again, and again, and again...
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Cain and Gina were involved in a relationship before and after the attack on the Colonies, making Gina's subsequent torture and shooting of Cain (coupled with her final response to the former, "You're not my type") much darker.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shaw detonates the nuclear warhead herself so that Kara and the strike team can escape the Basestar.
  • His Name Is...: Shaw tries to relay to the Pegasus what the Hybrid says about Kara, but her radio cuts out and the Basestar is destroyed right afterwards.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Discussed at the end. Bill tells Lee that his decision to sacrifice the strike team (until Shaw overruled him) wasn't wrong, just what he felt was necessary at the time.
  • Interquel: The film takes place between "The Captain's Hand" and "Downloaded" in the second season.
  • Last Stand: Cain's backstory involved her using a knife against a Cylon after being cornered, and lasting long enough until the armistice was signed.
  • Mad Oracle: The Hybrid.
  • Matrix Raining Code: The Cylon Hybrid chambers feature raining red faux-Chinese characters.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Shaw's reaction to the massacre aboard the Scylla.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The early model Cylons that rebelled in the first Cylon War are identical in design to the original series Cylons, and appear in all their glory, complete with synthesized voices and the Catch Phrase "by your command".
    • Likewise, the First War-era uniforms and equipment are similar to that of the old show.
  • Nepotism: Extensively discussed.
    • Shaw has a chip on her shoulder against Lee regarding the fact that his command of the Pegasus was given by his Admiral father, which she likens to "tossing you the keys to a new car". However, Bill only appointed him to the post after first going through two senior officers who both died in quick succession.
      • She also concedes that he's an improvement over Fisk, the crooked sell-out, and Garner, the incompetent micro-manager.
    • In turn, Cain accuses Shaw of only getting a position on the Pegasus because she used her mother's connections, making this irony in light of the above example.
  • Not So Different: Kara and Shaw both realize they have substance abuse problems (alcohol for Kara, drugs for Shaw), and discuss how both of their mentors (Kara's mother and Cain) both told them to repress fear and hesitation.
  • No Warping Zone: Briefly discussed. The Pegasus is forced to jump out of the shipyard after the Cylons launch a surprise attack against them, resulting in a large amount of fire and debris being pulled inwards from their immediate exit. It's explained that it isn't safe to do such a thing, but that they have no choice.
  • Once More, with Clarity!:
    • The episode shows us several off-screen events that were alluded to in the episodes "Pegasus" and "Resurrection Ship" from the last season, notably the Pegasus's escape from Scorpion, the death of XO Belzen, and their encounter with a fleet of civilian ships.
    • Shaw only appears to have a peripheral role in the Scylla massacre. It's later revealed that she fired the first shot, deliberately aiming at a young girl.
  • One Thing Led to Another: Gina's description of how she began a relationship with Cain.
  • P.O.V. Cam: From a Cylon Centurion's perspective as it battles with Bill in the upper atmosphere of the ice planet.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The majority of the film follows the perspective of Shaw as she witnesses the fall of the fleet shipyards, Cain's actions and eventual service under Lee's leadership.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Shaw.
  • The Reveal: Shaw started the massacre.
  • Remember the New Guy?: A particularly notable example - Shaw was apparently onboard the Pegasus through a substantial chunk of the second season, is only seen on-screen in this movie and dies at the end, and is never referenced by anyone else in the series proper.
  • Retcon: When Lee took command of the Pegasus in "The Captain's Hand", he teased Kara about not coming to be his CAG, and she says she'll settle for being CAG of Galactica. However, in this film, which shows the start of his command in more detail, he does install her as acting CAG of Pegasus (because the plot needs her to be present) and she subsequently asks for a transfer back to Galactica after Shaw's sacrifice.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: In a Deleted Scene, Starbuck and Apollo repeatedly (and obsessively) play footage of the Olympic Carrier's destruction and mull over whether there was anyone alive onboard.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Start of Darkness: The episode shows how Cain went from a relatively-stern but fair Admiral to a vengeful tyrant who only cares about destroying the Cylons at any cost.
  • Stay Frosty: A deliberate shout-out to Aliens, one of the Marines (Hudson) says this while the team is boarding the Basestar.
  • Survival Mantra: "Fear gets you killed. Anger keeps you alive."
  • Title Drop: Cain's expectations of Shaw include making her into a "razor", someone who has no fear or hesitation in battle.
  • The Unfettered: Cain, who repeatedly stresses that she and her command crew have to be like "razors", people devoid of fear or apprehension.
  • Webisode: The film had a tie-in series of flashbacks from Bill's perspective, which were later included in the extended cut.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained whether Jaycie survived her injuries from Operation Raptor Talon, although a tie-in comic book later stated that she died.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The survivors aboard the Scylla, when the Pegasus crew come aboard demanding parts and able bodies instead of helping them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Shaw deliberately picks a young girl as her first target, so determined is she to follow Cain's ruthless philosophy.


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