Thursday, June 26, 2014

Battlestar Galactica 1.10: “The Magnificent Warriors”

Airdate: 11/12/78

Better than Charles Nelson Reilly!
A Cylon attack on the Galactica renders their farming unit nearly devoid ofvaluable seed, so Adama devises to trade a highly-coveted “energizer” for seed on the farming planet Sectar. One problem – he needs an untraceable energizer (lest the Cylons find it), but the only one without any identification belongs to a vampish woman named Belloby, who agrees to give up her prized possession in return for a courtship with Adama, whose feelings are not exactly requited. Everone heads down to Sectar, but it turns out the agricultural colony is terrorized by a marauding horde of alien thugs known as the Borays; they regularly plunder the town for grain (and woman) and always kill the town constable – no wonder the job has such a high turnover! The mayor, Bogan, schemes to trick Starbuck, who’s trying to win some money at cards to buy seeds and get back their recently stolen energizer. It works – and poor Starbuck is stuck doing the job that no one in the town is exactly clamoring for. It takes a full-on assault by the Galactica crew to check and further Boray advances, and Starbuck even talks the brutish leader into assuming the constable position!

Finally! Episode #10 marks the first halfway decent episode of the series – the plot is relatively straightforward, the dialogue clear and entertaining, and the action makes minor use of the same recycled shots of fighter planes, joysticks and explosions. Veteran TV action Barry Nelson is great in the supporting role as bad guy/good guy mayor, and Match Game regular Brett Somers (yes, that Brett Somers) is an absolute hoot as Belloby, although one does wonder why on earth she’d be in possession of such a coveted piece of hardware as an energizer. As its title hat-tippingly suggests, this episode bears more than a faint resemblance to the Western classic The Magnificent Seven; sure it’s a rip off, but unlike the previous disaster, “Ice Station Zero,” it has some fun with the premise. It reminded me of some later-to-come tongue-in-cheek adventure movies from the 80s, full of dime-store costumes, eye-winking dialogue and rousing, rooting climaxes.

Rating:  ***

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