We’ve already seen a couple of Space Western planets – ripping off Shane and The Magnificent Seven – so for the episode The Young Lords it’s nice to see Glen A. Larson and Donald Bellisario giving us a Space Medieval Fantasy planet for a change. Once again a Galactica Viper pilot – this time it’s Starbuck’s turn – is marooned on a distant planet, one once again occupied by a group of humans that are fighting for their survival against the evil Cylons.
Tonight’s story opens with Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) and Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) out on patrol, where they are attacked by four Cylon Raiders, our two Colonial warriors hold their own quite well, against superior numbers, but even so Starbuck’s ship is severely damaged, and he must land on the nearby planet of Attila, while Boomer heads back to Galactica to organize a rescue mission.
As it happens the planet of Attila was conquered by the Cylons, and is now occupied by a rather large garrison of the villainous cyborgs, and in this episode we probably see the largest group of Cylon Centurions yet. The garrison is commanded by an IL-Series Cylon named Spectre (Murray Matheson), who’s embellished reports to Baltar (John Colicos) seems to make Lucifer (Jonathan Harris) jealous. This is most certainly a strange trait to get from a robot.
Alone and wounded on this damp planet Starbuck does his best to avoid capture, but he is eventually nabbed by a Cylon patrol. Tossed over the shoulder of one of the Centurions, he is marched towards the castle garrison, where he will be presumably tortured for the location of the Galactica. Or so Spectre reports to Baltar, but things don’t go that smoothly as the patrol is wiped out in an ambush by the planets few surviving humans.
Starbuck finds himself in the company of a group of children warriors, led by their older brother Kyle (Charles Bloom), and their older sister Miri (Audrey Landers), and they’ve been making guerilla warfare against the Cylons ever since their planet was conquered. Starbuck is told that their father (Bruce Glover) is dead, but he’s actually been captured by the Cylon’s, and Kyle wants to make a trade, Starbuck for their dad.
Kyle sends a message to the Cylons about the trade, and Spectre informs his prisoner that his family will be spared if he co-operates and swears to never attack the Cylons again. The only person not down with this plan is of course Starbuck, who knows perfectly well that the Cylons will not honor any agreement that includes humans being left alive. He is quickly proven right when the Cylon’s send their prisoner across the river at the exchange spot and it turns out to be a straw stuffed dummy and not their dad.
But the final laugh is on the Cylons, as Starbuck managed to convince these young warriors to send over a stuffed scarecrow of their own. It’s then up to Starbuck to come up with a rescue plan. This then leads to the only real painful part of the episode, where all the kids “sing” the stages of the plan. It’s a clever idea for helping young fighters remember the steps of the attack, but it gets quite annoying rather quickly. Starbuck and Miri sneak in through a secret passageway, the two younger brothers plant bombs in the Cylon petrol dump, while the youngest daughter lobs grenades into the Cylons as they rush to respond to the attack. So the father is freed from his tower cell, and the Cylons go into full retreat and leave the planet, then Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Boomer arrive in a shuttle from the Galactica, and the day is saved.
As goofy as a premise this episode has it was actually quite fun; you had Starbuck leaving his comic shtick behind so that he could lead a group of kids against the Cylons, there is some great stuff between Baltar and Lucifer as the second in command who clearly knows that Spectre is snowing Baltar, but Baltar is blinded by the insipid flattery and even promotes Spectre off the planet, completely unaware of the total cock-up Spectre has made of the entire situation. Unfortunately there is a secondary “plot” that has Adama (Lorne Greene) sick in bed, being guarded over by Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang) and visited by Boxey (Noah Hathaway), and it really serves no purpose other than to pad out the episodes running time.
The episode does end on a rather disturbing note; the family declines the offer to return with Apollo, Boomer and Starbuck to the Galactica because Attila is their home, but the problem with that is we were told that the Cylons had killed off the planets entire population, and that this small family is now its only occupants. So if they intend to repopulate the planet that means they will have to…ewww!
For the index of reviews click here: Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series
Battlestar Galactica: The Young Lords
Episode Rank - 7/10
In this episode we may get our standard “lost pilot” plot line but it at least has a lot of fun with the characters in this wacky Medieval World.