Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: Razor

In the very first Battlestar Galactica movie, officer Kendra Shaw is a badass and Admiral Cain is back and a badass and then everything gets awful and uncomfortable for an hour. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Razor.

I have so very many feelings right now. I HAVE FEELINGS. CAN I SHARE THEM WITH YOU???

The Good

  • Now I understand that the Razor Flashbacks webisodes are actually scenes from the extended version of the movie. And in context, they are made A THOUSAND TIMES MORE HORRIFYING.
  • Which only means that it is beautiful that we get to see Nico Cortez as young William Adama again, which means all is right with the world.
  • STEPHANIE JACOBSEN. YOU ARE THE VERY BEST KENDRA SHAW IMAGINABLE. God, the casting on this show is so impeccable. An actress of color who is also from Australia/Hong Kong? YES. YES PLEASE. ALL IS PERFECTION. But I can’t praise her performance enough; she nailed this character with what little time she had, taking the idea that Kendra came from a politically significant family, combining that with arrogance and assurance, and giving us a portrait of a woman who looks up to Admiral Cain and tries to be like her.
  • oh god MORE ADMIRAL CAIN. That means that Razor was already perfect from the start because she is my true love. But that aside, what impressed me so much about the expansion of her character in this movie was being able to see why she was the way she was, through flashbacks to her childhood and by seeing the events that shaped her behavior as Admiral of the Pegasus.
  • Which…let me first just say this: YES. MORE QUEER WOMEN. i mean it would be nice if this relationship wasn’t coated in layers of fucked up tragedy, but STILL. BAM. HELENA CAIN LOVES WOMEN AND SHE WILL EVISCERATE YOU IF YOU ARE A BIGOT TOWARDS HER.
  • OH GOD THE EXPLOSION OF THE SCORPION FLEET SHIPYARDS. holy shit. I will never stop being impressed by how spectacular the special affects are on Battlestar Galactica. It always looks so real!
  • The entire “cup of coffee” introduction between Shaw and Cain. A perfect representation of how Admiral Cain ran her ship, and how she was also capable of having a laugh with those she trusted.
  • A blind jump. SWEET CHRIST.
  • Actually, on that note, it is a feat of creativity and beauty that this movie shows us things we already know have happened, and they’re still shocking and exhilarating to us. We knew the shipyard exploded. We knew that Cain executed an XO, that she raided a group of civilian ships for supplies and left them behind. AND YET I WAS STILL SURPRISED BY ALL OF THESE THINGS HAPPENING.
  • Omg how amazing is the scene where Cain asks Shaw how long she’s been working on the computer systems??? Just in that tiny moment, Cain is able to distill this belief to Shaw, to tell her to hang on to all the anger she has, to use it as a weapon if she must, and it’s the start of Cain favoring Shaw in a way that shapes her as a person. And I can’t deny the parallels to Starbuck, either. UGH THIS SHOW.
  • The death of XO Belzen is just too much for me to deal with. I knew it was going to happen, and it still overwhelmed me.
  • The betrayal was inevitable, but I thought Razor dealt with Gina Inviere well. It was still as terrifying and depressing as any Cylon revelation, maybe even more so because it showed the entire crew of Pegasus that even Admiral Cain could be manipulated. That is scary. What’s more frightening, though, is how personally Cain takes this moment, so much so that it directly influences her decision to mistreat Gina so badly.
  • Okay, so I don’t find the massacre on the Scylla to be GOOD, so I know it’s weird to put it under THE GOOD, because obviously it was a HORRIFIC MOMENT IN THIS SHOW. But the show did not sugarcoat this scene in any way, and it did not glorify Shaw for pulling the trigger. Instead, it showed us the motivations of Shaw and Cain; we got to see how Gina’s Cylon nature affected Cain. Even if she wouldn’t have admitted it later, I think she knew that it was a mistake to make that call. For just that moment, she allows her emotions to distract her. That’s not to say that she would never have made this decision at all; Admiral Cain is a pragmatist to the core, and she would find any way to get what she needs anyway. But in those unspoken seconds when we see how hurt she is by Gina Inviere, we get insight into how the massacre on the Scylla even happened.
  • I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but Fisk’s method of comforting Shaw was ridiculous. “Oh, you won’t have to kill any more people, so you’re fine!”
  • Flashbacks are fun; I generally like them in fiction, but I especially love them when they’re done as they are in Razor, by framing so much of it around Kendra Shaw, giving them contextual meaning. And we even get a flashback from Adama, too!
  • SHAW’S TRAINING SESSION. oh my god, she is so much the new Cain on the Pegasus.
  • oh god i am going to have to watch that scene a million times in a row.
  • oh my god Lee and Starbuck are being nice to one another.


  • Admiral Cain is still dead. 🙁
  • Kendra Shaw is dead. 🙁
  • I know nothing about what the fuck is going on.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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43 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: Razor

  1. Kara Thrace, harbinger of doooooooooooooom!!

    [youtube vMbQNu-d7QU youtube]

  2. Ryan Lohner says:

    On the commentary, Ron Moore regrets…not so much making Cain a lesbian, but the way it looks like he's pandering to people who think homosexuals are evil, given all the bad stuff we saw her do before. On the plus side, now Gina telling her "You're not my type" before killing her is even more awesome.

    • tanbarkie says:

      Well, more that now "You're not my type" makes sense at all. I didn't like the line originally, as presented without context, because it felt like the sort of sarcastic, smartass quip heroes are supposed to say right before they take out the villain. Not something you usually see on BSG, for which I am thankful.

      So I liked that "Razor" gave the line context, and gave it personal meaning that would have been understood by Cain and Gina. Even if it did so in a retconny sort of way.

    • BSGfan1 says:

      I was grateful that Razor cleared up why Gina said that. That always bothered me, because it made Cain seem like she was chasing around a woman who had no interest in other women. At least now we know they had a full on relationship and in that context it made sense.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      It's interesting – I've never seen Razor, but I always loved the 'You're not my type line'. To me, that was all but confirmation that they were in a relationship before she was revealed as a Cylon. When we see Cain and Gina together in 'Pegasus', it's clear from how Cain acts that she takes the betrayal personally. That line (and the resulting look of Cain's face) to me was a kind of 'Ohhhhhhh…' moment, making me really understand just why Cain hated her so much. I was pretty surprised that other people were confused by it.

      I like that the movie shows us more of their relationship, but I didn't think it was necessary to understand it. I thought it was pretty clear in just the episodes.

  3. Clare says:

    Kendra Shaw is fabulous. If you liked Stephanie you should check out her role in The Sarah Connor Chronicles. again, she had little time with the role and little development but my god she was phenomenal in a role any other actress would've made forgettable. she had this one episode that will break my heart forever.

  4. stellaaaaakris says:

    Unrelated remark first: Since I watched the last epi of Season 3 the Friday before last and couldn't watch Razor until this Saturday, I had a lot of free time (most of the shows I watch were on hiatus due to baseball) so I decided to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. And it was amazing! Took me completely by surprise how into it I was. I finished Saturday and all I really want to do is go back and watch everything again while knowing how it ends. My only regret is I didn't watch along with you all because the comments are hilarious and insightful and this is such a lovely community.

    Now back to BSG! So, I'm not too keen on Razor. To be fair, my roof started leaking around an hour into watching this and I had to pause which slowed down the momentum and took me out of the moment. But also I never liked Cain, she legit freaks me out (although her backstory with Gina was really interesting). And there was no Helo! And minimal Athena (before she was named Athena and she was still in those chains which upset me)! This is simply not acceptable. I also thought the entire thing was going to be about the First Cylon War because of the word "Flashbacks" from the webseries, so I was confused right from the start when we saw Lee and everybody's not as gloomy as I've been used to lately. I don't even know. It was all in the past, just not as far back as I would've like it to go. And way to ruin the joy I've still been feeling about Starbuck's return. "She'll bring the human race to its doom" or whatever. What a downer. Which brings me to a question: If Shaw hadn't taken the bomb, did that mean that Lee basically ordered Starbuck to die since he told her to complete the mission? They seemed rather chummy after the mission if that was the case. On a totally positive note, Stephanie Jacobson was fantastic. As was Michelle Forbes. And, you know, everybody else.

    • monkeybutter says:

      1) Yay, a new Avatar fan!
      <img src=""&gt;

      2) I agree about Cain. I really liked getting backstory on her, but I still hate what she did, and I think the fleet is better off without her. It was sad seeing her lose grip on her life-saving pragmatism because of personal betrayal, though. Michelle Forbes and Stephanie Jacobsen were great.

      3) Yeah, I was kind of surprised that Lee gave that order, though he was choked up about it. And Starbuck did say she was leaving because he kept trying to kill her off, haha.

  5. NB2000 says:

    I'm so impressed by the structure of this movie. Like Act of Contrition this movie covers a lot of time periods but I never feel confused wbout when the events on screen are taking place.

    I absolutely hated her the first time around but I do appreciate getting some more layers to Cain here. We see a more human side to her through her interactions with her XO (when she agrees to possibly visit him and his family), her relationship with Gina and the scenes of her childhood (oh god her sister screaming for her). It's so sad watching as she becomes the character we were first introduced to.

    Stephanie Jacobsen is AMAZING. She just leaps right into the role. It could have easily felt like yet another case of "remember the new girl" but the character is integrated so well and Jacobsen makes her so compelling that I don't care.

    Because it needs saying again: HNG Steve Bacic as XO Belzen. It's a shame he didn't get a chance to add to the Arm Porn of BSG because: I say again, HNNNG

    The scene of everyone gathered on the hangar deck to view the recovered Raider, it's weird to say I'm nostalgic for something from the previous season. Very little screentime has really passed but the characters are in such a different place to where they were in those scenes (Gaius as VP! Sharon still in chains, and if I'm right possibly still pregnant?). It's a sign of how this show is constantly moving the story forward.

  6. clodia_risa says:

    Razor is flawless. Full stop.

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    Gurl qvqa’g rira unir n cyna sbe gur raq bs gur arkg frnfba lrg, nf V erpnyy.

  7. who_cares86 says:

    Off-Topic but totally awesome Doctor Who vids that hit the net over the weekend.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


    • BSGfan1 says:

      I saw a tweet from Barrowman that these were meant to be a private thing for Russell and Julie. I felt kind of bad afterward for watching them. Because I could see why it was a private thing.

      That said, one of the best things I've seen in a very long time, especially "The Ballad of Russell and Julie". I love them to pieces.

      • who_cares86 says:

        Yeah I know we were never supposed to see them. They were made for Russel, Julie and David's departure party. God knows who leaked them but that doesn't stop it from being awesome.

        • BSGfan1 says:

          I wasn't chastising. Just saying I felt bad myself afterward…lol. Sorry if that came across otherwise.

  8. knut_knut says:

    AS;DKLFJA;SLJFD;AKLJ KENDRA SHAW. KENDRA FUCKING SHAW. I can't flail enough. Why are you gone??? 🙁 🙁 🙁

    SO UNPREPARED FOR SEASON 4. AND SO FULL OF QUESTIONS! Do they hybrids age? Or was that hybrid made from an elderly man? I guess if they age they should probably die at some point…Anyway, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH KARA THRACE?!

  9. VoldieBeth says:

    Razor is amazing! I love how your Bad list is so small! Season 4 tomorrow!!!!! So excited!! I can't wait for more!

  10. kristinc says:

    I really wanted to be excited about Razor, but … I just wasn't.

    IDEK, because everyone saying the acting was flawless and the writing superb is completely right. It was really, really well-made.

    I just couldn't get it up to feel invested in anything until the actual BSG cast showed up. Like, I know, show, you're going to tell me important things, but where are my Helo and my Starbuck and my Space Mommy and Daddy? I guess I hadn't realized that I was going into it with an expectation that the usual cast would be there, because when they did show up then I was really interested. But I had a super hard time feeling invested in what happened to these other characters, particularly The New Girl We Just Made Up that I knew wasn't going to be involved in any of the story after Razor's chronological continuity.

    Okay but I was still excited once my regular BSG crew was on the screen, so don't kick me out of the club okay?

    And wtf, the first Hybrid is God? does this mean that every time the Cylons talk about God's commandments they're just repeating something that hybrid babbled? HORRIFYING.

  11. notemily says:

    YOU GUYS. I had a thought. We know Pegasus was able to escape the initial attack because their network wasn't online, and we know Gina was working on the network. What if Gina delayed the fixing of the network ON PURPOSE, because she was in love with Cain? 🙁 🙁 That would just make what happened to her EVEN MORE TRAGIC.

  12. I have babbly things to say! Besides "Razor is my favorite BSG thing ever and ever, unto the end of time, so say we all, amen."

    1. I saw it for the first time (before it aired) in a movie theater in downtown Seattle packed to the roof with fans, people from the show, and Xbox representatives handing out swag because … this is a geeky part of the world, you could say. Jacobson and Bamber were there. They are short! And fabulous (but I was surprised by the short). Gary Hutzel, the sfx lead, and some of his team were there; they got huge applause when the MC called them out in the crowd. As for the actual act of seeing this huge, beautiful, scary, incredible movie on a movie screen? With fans who gasped and cried and cheered at all the right moments? ("By your command" nearly brought the house down.) Amazing. Worth waiting in line for two hours.

    2. Hard science fiction about mothers and daughters what is this impossible alchemy. As a woman, I've just gotten used to having my Hollywood SFF be all about boys and their dads, and this is not! This is Cain and Shaw and Starbuck. Shaw and her mother. Starbuck and hers. Shaw and Starbuck. This is the Bechtel test blowing up like the Scorpion shipyards. This shouldn't be that rare or amazing on TV or in movies, but it still is. My old DVD copy even had almost all of the characters on the cover be women: Cain, Shaw, Starbuck, Gina, and Roslin, plus oh, yeah, those Adama guys on the edges. It's inspired me to work harder to make sure there are women in the SFF I work on (video games) because we need our stories told, too. And not everything in the goddamn world is about daddy issues.

  13. ChronicReader91 says:

    I have to admit, when I saw that this movie would bring back Cain, I was excited. Galactica rarely lets me out-and-out hate any character, so naturally I expected to have my opinions of her from the Pegasus arc challenged. Many a time it has made me squirm in discomfort as it forced me to see that one character or another didn’t fit into the neat little boxes of “good” or “evil” I had decided they belonged in. And I like that. In a weird, masochistic way, I look forward to the squirming. During her episodes, as much as I disliked her, I assumed there MUST have been some other side to Cain’s actions that I just didn’t see. But seeing the circumstances – that giving Thorne the order to do whatever he wanted to Gina (and though she didn’t outright say the word “rape” it was pretty heavily implied that she was condoning it) at least partially prompted by her own feeling of betrayal; that the decision to raid the civilian ships and leave them was seemingly made in a split second, without even a thought about protecting the people who are, for all she knows, all that remains of the civilian population; and that the order to shoot the families was also based on an impulse- didn’t make me squirm AT ALL. Just made me feel DEEP SEETHING HATRED. Anyway, the point of all this is so y’all understand that I’m not just being a CAIN BIGOT when I say that those parts of the movie were disappointing to me.

    Moving on to what I WASN’T disappointed by:

    – KENDRA SHAW. No disappointment there. 😉 She was a great character, even though I was kind of wondering how she was Lee’s XO for a time and we never heard about her.

    – Seeing Gina, and her life on Pegasus. Before we only knew the tragedy of what ultimately happens to her. I was completely taken by surprise by her relationship with Cain (are they the first openly gay characters we’ve seen on BSG?) And Inviere is the coolest last name ever.

    – Even though I had already seen them out of context, Adama’s flashbacks.

    – That bombshell dropped at the end. WHAT. But… but… but… she found Earth! Not doom- Earth! You must be mistaken, Mr. Hybrid. Clearly you’re thinking of a different Kara Thrace. Maybe Kara and Thrace are EXTREMELY COMMON NAMES in colonial culture. Something like Sarah Jones is for us, maybe. You can’t just assume he’s talking about the same Sarah Jones THAT JUST CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD, right? Right? (Also, is it just me, or did it sound like the Hybrid’s voice was the one saying “All of this has happened before” in Adama’s flashbacks? )

    – A lot of really cool space battle-y special effects.

  14. Helldars says:

    Fun fact: Campbell Lane, the actor playing the Hybrid in Razor, voiced another character whose body is merged with a spaceship, Bentus in the Homeworld series. These games also had religious themes integral to their story like BSG, except that it was more influenced by Oriental beliefs than Western ones.

    Here's a video of him, spoiler warning for the first Homeworld game.
    [youtube -coMknSMHDw youtube]

  15. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    oh god i cannot handle the premiere of season four

    someone hold me right now.

  16. BSGfan1 says:

    I was so hoping you would liveblog the premiere. I thought it was just as intense as the s3 finale.

  17. Brian Fowler says:

    One of my favorite parts of the entire B*G run. Stephanie Jacobsen as Kendra Shaw is just so fucking incredible. I mean, I would have been more than willing to have her survive and get a "The Adventures of Kendra Shaw" spin-off show that I watched every week.

  18. quenstalof says:

    Yay, now that you've seen Razor, I can link this beautiful Gina/Cain vid set to Love Lockdown. It only includes footage from Razor and Seasons 1 and 2, so no spoilers.

    (I don't know if I can embed it since it's not on Youtube and I've never figured out how to do html here so you'll have to copy and paste the link. Sorry :-/)

  19. slybrarian says:

    You know, the problem with rewatching on iTunes or DVD is that you don't get the commercials. "Did you know that Admiral Cain and Gina Invierre are lesbians? Brought to you by Quiznos!"

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