...and now the conclusion to Galactica 1980.
The title is rich. The Return Of Starbuck is laughable for many reasons not least of which is that it misleads you to think he's returning to the Galactica. Not so.
So the question is, does it refer to a return of the glory days of Battlestar Galactica? Does Dirk Benedict [Starbuck] redirect the course of Galactica 1980?
The fact that this is the last installment in the series speaks volumes, but the answer in short is NOT A CHANCE!
I have read on ocassion this one episode alone single-handedly rights the ship and validates the purchase of Galactica 1980. I'm hear to say it does not, so save your money.
The story begins with young, miracle child Dr. Z narrating as he speaks with Commander Adama about his dream of a warrior named Starbuck. This is the backstory of Starbuck's disappearance. Following a firefight with the cylons [alongside partner Boomer], his viper is hit and he and a cylon raider crash land on an unknown, but habitable planet. The story begins well. Credit goes to Herbert Jefferson and Dirk Benedict for raising the bar of this episode's results above the rest. It's better initially, but goes south quickly for the second half. The first half is kind of like Galactica's version of Castaway.
Here's a decent scene from the first portion of the show.
Eventually, Starbuck, clearly not a rocket scientist, somehow activates one of the centurians and its companionship serves up a second half that is like a perversion of Enemy Mine . The two work together for mutual survival. Actually, it's more for Starbuck's survival since the cylon is nothing more than a walking tin can. Where is Starbuck getting food from on this desolate planet? The cylon [dubbed 'Cy' by Starbuck] departs the encampment and brings back a "wo-man" for Starbuck albeit out of thin air. Where the hell did she come from? She's also preganant! Huh? Starbuck is dubbed the father and makes the baby a cradle! WTF! You see, it goes wrong quickly. Logic flies out the window at the half-way point and it becomes just another piece of hot, steaming Galactica 1980 crap. Oh, by the way, McCord and Van Dyke apparently got their walking papers because they're nowhere to be found!
Here's a scene from this complete debacle of a second half that degraded into utter kookiness.
In the end, more cylons land and it's a shootout, but Cy stands by Starbuck's side because they are "friends." Thank God this was the last episode. Have mercy. I couldn't take another morality play of this caliber again. Starbuck assembles a spaceship out of the scrap heap of parts. Hmmm, maybe he is a rocket scientist. Starbuck launches his "wo-man" into space with their newborn baby and he remains behind to die a lonely death. That baby turns out to be stupid Dr. Z. Thankfully Larson addressed this question because it had been really gnawing at me since the beginning to find out more. Dr. Z was such a well-defined character and such a likeable addition to the cast! NOT! Stupid! Die!
More importantly, what the hell happened to Apollo? Remember him, Adama's son. Yeah, the guy who made Battlestar Galactica special. That was the series and the man that helped propel the powers that be into spawning a modern day reimagining. Fortunately, Richard Hatch saw the writing on the wall, or the lack of writing perhaps, and stayed far away from this Galactica meltdown. It's like the space version of Titanic.
Had the episode killed off Dr. Z and Cy, left the woman out, gone with a sharper script and concentrated solely on a deserted Starbuck being hunted by the cylons you may have had an entry that belonged within the classic Battlestar Galactica cannon. The bottom line, Larson lost his way or was rushed or whatever. More importantly the original cast had charm and chemistry, which explains why Dirk Benedict elevates the material here briefly. Galactica 1980 missed all of that. Benedict, as good as he is, just can't save this poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly executed show.
Worse yet for me personally, I'll never get this time back.
The Return Of Starbuck: F
Galactica 1980: F