Battlestar Galactica: The Plan DVD Review

“We had our foot on the throat of humanity and we failed to step down hard enough”

Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Edward James Olmos, The Plan chronicles events from the early days of Battlestar Galactica, the original mini-series right up to the finale of season two, all seen from the perspective of the Cylons, in particular John Cavil. This is essentially Cavil’s story. He was the mastermind behind the attacks on the Twelve Colonies and the chief architect of the Cylon’s infamous plan. The actually plan itself was rather straightforward; kill all humans. That’s it. Blunt, clear and to the point. A plan so simple and fundamentally robotic Bender constantly mutters it in his sleep. But like all well laid plans it eventually all fell apart.

Back in the mini the attack on the colonies was mostly depicted off-screen or only glimpsed from a distance. In The Plan we see the attack in full, up close and personal. And it is a truly awesome and horrifying sight as entire fleets of Basestars rain down devastation on the Colonies. For the first time we see glimpses of all of the Twelve Colonies as one by one they fall to the Cylon onslaught. It is by far the best part of the whole thing and here in lies the key fault with The Plan, it peaks too early. After such a spectacular opening everything that follows feels rather inconsequential.

Boiled down to it the rest of The Plan is basically a game of fill in the blanks. So much archive footage is used that you begin to think that you’re watching nothing more than a glorified clip show. Many of the loose ends left dangling from the first two seasons are finally tied up. Admittedly, some of this is interesting but at the same hardly essential to our understanding and enjoyment of the series.

It goes with out saying that Dean Stockwell is exceptional as always, relishing every Machiavellian witticism Espenson gives him. He’s at his best as the Galactica Cavil, a villain dedicated to the cause but consumed by frustration and disappointment as one by one his plans to destroy the fleet fail and his fellow Cylons continue to let him down. Special mention must also go to Rick Worthy who finally gets his chance to shine as the most neglected Cylon, Simon.

Fans hoping to see their old favourites one last time may come away disappointed, The Plan is strictly a showcase for the show’s supporting cast. Lee, Kara, Helo and Baltar only appear in stock footage, Laura is absent altogether and Adama and Tigh only have bit parts. But fans of Tyrol, Six, Sharon, Anders and Leoben will be happy to know they all get their moment in the spotlight.

Rating: * * *

DVD Extras
- Commentary by Jane Espenson and Edward James Olmos
- From Admiral to Director: Edward James Olmos and The Plan
- The Cylons of The Plan
- The Cylon Attack
- Visual Effects: The Magic Behind The Plan
- Deleted Scenes

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