Using the sport of boxing as a metaphor, members of the Battlestar Galactica crew step into the ring to settle private personal conflicts by beating the frak out of one another. Gods, say it isnâ€™t so — not another Sci-Fi sports-themed episode!
Forget that thereâ€™s a war going on, and that murderous robots are stalking the last remnants of the human race. The crew sure has! Smack-dab in the middle of one of Galactica‘s flight decks, a boxing ring miraculously appears. It’s the perfect forum, we’re told, for the battle-weary troops to let off some steam.
In this corner, weâ€™ve got Helo, who pounds the fleetâ€™s CAG into a bloody stupor. Next on the card is a hilarious and embarrassing match pitting Starbuck against Hot Dog, who looks like anything but. Another top pilot goes down for the count, unconscious after a few love taps. (Luckily for the civilian populace, the Toasters are lying low this week.) For no good reason, Admiral Adama — fresh from saving mankind from the Cylon occupation of New Caprica (and, lest we forget, with two open heart surgeries under his belt) — hops into the ring to take out his aggressions on Chief Tyrol. The main event, however, is reserved for Starbuck and Apollo. Seems theyâ€™ve got some unfinished business — the business of mad, crazy love. They express it by smacking each other around the ring. Apparently, there just arenâ€™t enough targets out there in the desolation of deep space for our heroes to shoot.
“Unfinished Business” sinks to a lower low than even last seasonâ€™s abysmal “Black Market” — it could just be the worst episode of the entire series. Filler episodes like this usually present us with the chance to explore the inner workings of a showâ€™s main characters, but by the time the bell tolls, there isnâ€™t much thatâ€™s likable about Galacticaâ€™s. In flashbacks, we see the early days of New Capricaâ€™s settlement. Tigh still has both eyeballs, not to mention his wife Ellen. Baltar throws a Bacchanalian soirÃ©e to celebrate groundbreaking on the new Presidential offices, in which everybody gets drunk and dances. Adama and Roslin smoke locally grown wacky-weed behind the bleachers, and the following morning, he suffers a serious case of the munchies. Apollo and Starbuck gleefully forsake their relationships with Dualla and Anders and declare their love for one another before awkwardly frakking the night away. Their limerence proves short-lived — Apollo wakes alone and discovers that Starbuck has run off to marry Anders. Thus, we finally learn the catalyst behind Apollo’s morbid weight gain aboard the Pegasus.
To this point, Galacticaâ€™s third season has been a roller coaster ride of high marks. We had the rescue from New Caprica, which kicked off with the breathtaking sequence of the battlestar FTLâ€™ing into the planetâ€™s atmosphere, only to drop like a fiery rock while launching waves of rescue Vipers. (For those keeping count, the Toasters are down four — count â€™em, four — basestars since the liberation.) Even the unforgivable act of sacrificing the mighty Pegasus was done in honor of the men and women weâ€™re cheering for to win this war. Now, “Unfinished Business” threatens to spur many viewers to switch sides and root for the Cylons to finish the job.
Sci-Fi/sports episodes arenâ€™t a new fusion of genres, but rarely do the two seem to mix well. In 2000, Star Trek: Voyager brought The Rock onboard for “Tsunkatsi,” an episode aboutâ€¦ well, wrestling. (The ep provided a way for UPN to capitalize on its new wrestling deal.) A year later, the production staff hit the NASCAR circuit with “Drive,” written by Michael Taylor — coincidentally, the scribe responsible for “Unfinished Business.” In a rare exception to the rule, Rod Serling successfully blended boxing and science fiction TV in a famous episode of The Twilight Zone. But Michael Taylor is no Rod Serling, and “Unfinished Business” is no “Steel.” This one leaves a taste on the tongue as tinny as the gore-drenched mouth guards repeatedly spat out from between our heroesâ€™ split and bloodied lips.
Next up: The crew takes desperate measures to replenish the food supply as famine sweeps through the fleet.
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