A Fresh Look at Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
In this review, we’ll delve into “The Plan,” a special TV movie that provides a new perspective on the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica. While technically set during the latter half of Season 2, “The Plan” is best experienced after the series finale as it reveals crucial information about the “Final Five” Cylons. So, let’s take one final (unless I decide to watch the prequels later on) journey into the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica world.
Brother Cavil denies being a Cylon until he encounters a Number One from Caprica already imprisoned in the brig. Witnessing this, he abandons his pretense. Caprica Cavil informs the Cylons’ decision to spare humans, admitting their past attempts at genocide were a mistake. This revelation prompts both Number Ones to reflect on their plan…
Cast of Characters
The Two Ones, Holding Hands… Awwww.
- Number One / Cavil (Dean Stockwell): The leader of the humanoid Cylons, Cavil possesses knowledge of the “Final Five” and seeks to punish their creators for restricting their potential. However, Cavil is not devoid of emotions.
- Number Six (Tricia Helfer): Multiple models of Number Six infiltrate various areas, including the human defense mainframe, effectively decimating humanity when necessary.
- Number Eight / Sharon “Boomer” Agathon (Grace Park): The emotional Number Eights, one of whom becomes a sleeper agent under the control of the Number Ones. As “Boomer,” she develops an affinity for her time as a human, much to Cavil’s displeasure.
- Number Four (Rick Worthy): Specializing in medical science, Number Fours are fascinated by the concept of Cylon reproduction. Contrary to belief, they are not devoid of emotions and may succumb to their feelings.
- Number Two / Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie): The Twos typically remain in the background, except for their obsession with Starbuck, a female Galactica pilot.
- Number Five (Aaron Doral): The Number Fives often struggle with complex tasks and eventually become grunts for menial work. Nonetheless, they sport fashionable jackets.
- Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon): A member of the Final Five Cylons from Earth, Ellen is regarded as the “mother” of the other Cylons. The Number Ones aim to prove Ellen wrong about humanity, showcasing their loyalty to their “mother.”
- Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan): A Final Five Cylon, Tigh becomes integrated into humanity by his own creations. Rising to the rank of Colonel, he even marries Ellen, as he did in the original Earth.
- Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas): Tyrol, another Final Five Cylon, serves aboard the Battlestar Galactica and enters a relationship with a Number Eight Cylon, whom he had a hand in creating—an unconventional situation, to say the least.
- Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco): Integrated into the 12 Earth colonies as a top sports star, Sam ultimately assumes a far greater role after cataclysmic events. This development greatly displeases the Number Ones, who betray him.
- Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma): Another Final Five Cylon, Tory survives the apocalypse orchestrated by Number One and is integrated into human civilization.
That’s a Depressing Sight for a Picture in “The Good,” But These Scenes Are Excellent!
“The Plan” successfully retcons events and plot twists that were introduced later in the show, providing coherence and making sense of the earlier seasons. Exploring what the Cylons were up to during the first two seasons adds an exciting dimension to the narrative. The character development of the Number Ones and their growing respect for humanity is a compelling story. The opening scenes, with the Final Five in resurrection chambers overseen by the two “Cavils,” and their reactions when witnessing events like Tyrol’s relationship with a Number Eight, or Sam Anders leading a resistance, provide a fresh and retrospective perspective that adds depth to the series.
The scenes set on Caprica and the other eleven colonies, revealed here for the first time, create a sense of intrigue and underscore the devastating impact of the Number Ones’ war against humanity. It’s particularly unsettling to witness the Cavil who torments Ellen, despite her amnesia about her past. This portrayal allows for a well-fleshed-out “final boss” Number One, highlighting the contrasting personalities within the Cylon line. The conversation between the two Cavils in the airlock, filled with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm as the Final Five helplessly watch, adds an element of humor to the story. The “evil” Cavil’s frustration towards his compassionate counterpart, expressing a desire to “box” him, and return to kill everyone, further emphasizes the absence of any future appearances by a benevolent Number One. The final moments where they hold hands, fearing the pain of death, reveal a hidden layer of humanity within the seemingly cold-hearted Cavil.
Other Cylon models receive meaningful development as well. We gain insight into the plans of the Sixes, Boomer’s role as a sleeper agent, Leoben’s stealthy actions on the ship, and various Number Fours, including one who becomes so attached to his human family that he takes his own life to spare them. Additionally, there are amusing scenes involving mistreated Number Fives, which provide a humorous nod to their eventual fate.
It’s also interesting to witness Sam Anders’ transformation from sports star to resistance leader, providing additional backstory that, while not strictly necessary, adds depth to his character. The mission involving an attack on a massive pile of corpses is particularly gripping, albeit unsettling.
I Wonder How Many Times We’ve Flashed Back to This Location…
Given the movie’s advertised purpose, there isn’t much to criticize. Some may argue that reused footage and minimal additions to the mythos detract from the experience. However, “The Plan” was always marketed as an opportunity to witness the Cylons’ perspective during the first two seasons and to finally understand the plan they alluded to throughout that period. The plan, ultimately revealed as an intention to exterminate humanity to prove its unworthiness, may not be particularly ingenious, but it aligns with the narrative.
A Rather Harrowing Clean-up Operation…
I thoroughly enjoyed watching “The Plan.” The concept of unveiling behind-the-scenes moments from the first two seasons adds depth to the narrative, despite some retcons. The storytelling is often accompanied by a sense of fun and acknowledges how certain plot elements took on new meaning as the “Final Five” and their story unfolded. With a runtime of approximately an hour and a half, “The Plan” serves as a refreshing reminder of the earlier seasons and offers a more satisfying conclusion than the series finale.