Tired of waiting for Battlestar Galactica to frakking return already? The fourth and final season of Sci Fi Channel's space opera won't start until April, but a special two-hour extended episode — Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Saturday, Nov. 24 at 9 pm/ET on Sci Fi) — arrives Nov. 24 to bring relief to the show's hard-core addicts.
It's also a chance to raise the dead. Razor flashes back to the eve of the first devastating attack on humans by the robotic Cylons, when Helena Cain — the deliciously maniacal admiral played by Michelle Forbes — was helming the battlestar Pegasus. Cain, or "Saddam Hussein in bangs" as Forbes calls her, was big with fans but was assassinated by the Cylon agent Gina (Tricia Helfer) in Season 2, something executive producer Ron Moore regretted even as it was happening.
"Cain was ripe with possibilities and Michelle was sensational," Moore says. "In the middle of her last episode, we were going, 'Wow. It's too bad we're killing her off. Are we crazy?' But we'd boxed ourselves into a corner." No prob. Razor remedies that, plus it throws in a jaw-dropping revelation — Cain and Gina had a lesbian fling goin' on! — and drops some seismic scoop about Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) that's sure to shake up expectations for Season 4.
"Like BSG, Razor doesn't mess around," Forbes says. "It hits you with those tough moral questions and then doesn't answer them because there are no answers." Razor boasts sharp supporting turns by several BSG heavyweights — Sackhoff, Helfer, Jamie Bamber (Lee Adama), Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama) — but it primarily focuses on Cain's mentoring of Kendra Shaw, a young officer played by Aussie newcomer Stephanie Jacobsen. She eventually becomes a razor — military-speak for an unflinching warrior determined to survive.
The BSG execs were dazzled by Jacobsen when she auditioned for the lead in Bionic Woman (David Eick produces both shows). On the Razor set in Vancouver, it's easy to see why. Though a short slip of a thing, Jacobsen stands tall and tough amid a sea of extras who are playing freaked-out civilians. Under Cain's orders, Kendra is leaving these humans to almost certain annihilation by the Cylons in order to protect the human race as a whole. As lunch is called, Jacobsen is clearly shaken.
"This is so difficult, because I'm really a good, compassionate person," she says. "The only way I can do this is to stay focused on Kendra's goal — to preserve the species." But the actress eventually lightens up. "This beats the hell out of wearing a floral dress and being someone's weepy, pouty girlfriend," she notes with a laugh. "I could be quite happy playing this kind of character for years."
Forbes is equally jazzed to be back in command. "After they killed me I became a real fan of BSG," she says. "I returned to the show in awe and a little bit shy." Well, not that shy. In BSG lore there are 12 Cylon models that look like humans. So far on the show, 11 have been revealed. Says Forbes, "I'm dying to know the identity of the last Cylon, so I was asking everyone on the set, 'Who do you think it is? C'mon, tell me!'" She got nowhere.
Forbes' Cain isn't the only one who's back from the dead. Fan favorite Graham Beckel returns as Col. Jack Fisk, who took charge of Pegasus after Cain's murder but was himself garroted soon after. "My son read on the Internet that I was going to be playing Fisk again and I thought, 'No way!'" Beckel says. "Sure enough, a few days later I got the call. I think the audience is gonna go crazy for this."
That's the plan. An extended-cut DVD of Razor hits stores Dec. 4, and Moore fancies "there are more bits of BSG lore than could be similarly expanded." That would get Forbes' vote. "I'm as gutted as everyone else that we're coming to the end," she says. "I understand wanting to go out in a blaze of glory, but I hope this universe doesn't die altogether. There are so many more stories to tell."
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