Galactica jumps into final season

For three seasons, viewers have been following the remaining survivors of the 12 Colonies of Kobol, and possibly the human race. Nuked out of their planets by their mechanical creations – the Cylons – the fleet continues its journey across the galaxy in search of the 13th colony, Earth.

Battlestar Galactica‘s Season 4 kicked off quicker than a Faster Than Light (FTL) jump, picking up right where it left off, with no time gaps. Producers assure via TV teasers that all will be revealed in the show’s final season.

With a renewed budget, the audience can expect an array of special effects, unlike the moderate visual slump of last season. Most of the show’s funds were depleted on episode four of last season, “Exodus Part II.” Although the money was well spent – it won the show a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series – it forced the rest of the season to rely on character plot lines, which slowed down the pace.

The show has 12 Humanoid Cylon models, which are beings that look and feel like humans. So far, 11 have been revealed to viewers, but the human and Cylon characters know of only seven. Some of the humanoid models have been programmed to believe that they are human. These models are known as sleeper agents and were created to infiltrate the human colonies.

Last season, four crewmembers found out they were Cylons, but still chose to serve the Colonial fleet and keep their discovery a secret. In the first battle of the season, a Raider – a ship being of the Cylon race – activates one of the sleeper agents.

The first episode of Season 4 begins with the return of prodigal daughter Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Kate Sackhoff). Uncertain of whether or not she is a humanoid model, Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) meets her with Marines at the hangar deck.

Starbuck was presumed dead after her ship blew up in pursuit of a Raider. The result is a time-perception disagreement – she thinks she’s been gone for two hours, but to the crew she’s been dead for two months. Starbuck proudly states that while she was away she found Earth, and that she’ll lead the fleet there. The crewmembers are shocked by her return, with reactions ranging from relief to disbelief. Adama is torn, however, and struggles with whether he should celebrate the return of his surrogate daughter or treat her as a Cylon.

Brilliant scientist Gauis Baltar (James Callis) is back to his narcissistic, humorous ways. Last season, he faced execution and then went on trial for human deaths on the planet of New Caprica, but was ultimately acquitted of the charges. Now a free man, Baltar eventually joins a cult that worships him like a god. With the excessive attention from the cult, Baltar is reminded of his role as the most important person in his own life. While in the company of the cult, his once-frequent hallucinations of his Cylon love interest, Virtual Six, return. Although no one else can see her, he can feel and speak to her, which makes the character amusing to the audience and weird to those around him. His odd behavior adds a nice touch of humor that Season 3 lacked, as Baltar was too preoccupied with his survival.

Major Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) announces to his father, Admiral Adama, that he will not return to active duty and will pursue instead a role in the colonial government.

As the fleet continues its path to Earth, Starbuck insists they are going the wrong way. The episode ends in true Galactica cliffhanger fashion, as it leaves viewers with Starbuck holding a gun to the President’s face.

Season 4 promises to be action-packed. The Centurions – robotic Cylon models – are reported to rebel against their humanoid counterparts, which is contrary to the models’ programming.

The four crew members who now know they are sleeping agent Cylons will struggle with their identity, all while pretending to the humans that are unaware of their true nature as the fleet continues its FTL jumps toward Earth.

And the question still remains: Who is the final Cylon?