Beginning of the end


It is difficult to overstate the zealous devotion of “Battlestar Galactica” fans, or their devastation, when it was announced that this, the fourth season, would be the show’s last. Providing balm to their wounds, however, is the season premiere, a much-anticipated two-hour movie that looks back rather than forward, giving viewers a chance to wallow a bit in this finely constructed alternate universe of the 12 colonies and their deadly enemies, the Cylons.

The episode, “Razor,” is a rock ‘em, sock ‘em exploration of Lee Adama’s first mission as commander of the Battlestar Pegasus and, through flashbacks, events aboard the Pegasus from the time of the original Cylon attack on the colonies to the ship’s meeting up with the Galactica. The title refers to a type of warrior so tempered by battle that she becomes a human weapon, as dangerous to herself and her compatriots as to the enemy. The term applies both to Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes), former commander of the Pegasus, and her young protege, Kendra Shaw. As events unfold, Cain hones Shaw into a deadly likeness of herself.

The series earned its rabid following by balancing sci-fi pyrotechnics with rich character development and good storytelling. Creator Ron Moore is not afraid to take on the big issues -- God, love, war, death -- while still noting the significance in the quotidian, from a character’s drinking problem to child-care issues. “Razor” creates a intriguing and satisfying back story (so that’s why she was so mad at Gina!) for Cain’s character, as well as enriching our understanding of Lee. All that and some fracking awesome fight scenes -- if “Razor” is any indication, “Battlestar Galactica” is going out with a bang.


-- Mary McNamara

(Sci Fi Channel, Sat., 9 p.m.)