With the two-part series finale all that remains, we looked back and chose the 25 absolute best episodes of this fraktastic series.
#25 “The Son Also Rises”
Romo Lampkin is a true “love him or hate him” character, and if you love him as I do, you understand why his fantastic introductory episode makes this list.
#24 “Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down”
This light season 1 episode deserves a place on my list simply for my love of 1920s screwball farce comedy. Ellen Tigh’s first appearance was full of hilarious mix-ups and raucous dinner parties, all brought together by Gaius Baltar’s Cylon detector being in high demand. I had no idea such a dark series was able to do such light, frivolous fun.
I like to call this episode “Reason #216 Mary McDonnell Deserves an Emmy.” Her heartbreaking scenes as she dealt with her cancer treatments were some of the finest acting any TV show has ever seen.
In the midst of the Iraq War, who could’ve guessed that the most thoughtful discussion of suicide bombings would occur on a sci-fi TV show? But that’s just what happened as Laura Roslin and Gaius Baltar went toe-to-toe debating the resistance and the occupation by the Cylons.
#21 “Flight of the Phoenix”
After the fleet was brought back together in the middle of season 2, the people needed a reason to keep going, and Tyrol gave it to them in this inspirational episode where he decided to make his own Viper from scratch.
#20 “Final Cut”
This fascinating episode introduced Cylon D’Anna Biers as a documentarian filming the Galactica crew. However, it’s Jamie Bamber’s infamous towel scene that leaves this episode seared in fans’ memories forever.
#19 “Six of One”
It was very strange to see Boomer vote against the rest of the Number Eights on the issue of lobotomizing the Raiders. But it started on of the show’s most intriguing storylines, the Cylon Civil War.
#18 “Resurrection Ship, Part II”
Things got hairy when the Galactica vs. Pegasus battle was interrupted by a Cylon attack, and this crucial episode pitted Lee and Kara against one another on rival assassination missions. Thankfully, Helena Cain’s tenure as military leader of the fleet was short-lived and Adama was given a much-deserved promotion.
#17 “Sometimes a Great Notion”
The season 4.5 premiere had everything fans could’ve asked for. We learned that the 13th tribe living on Earth was all Cylon, we saw the Final Five living on Earth 2,000 years ago, we saw Kara find her own dead body, we saw Dualla commit suicide, and we met the final Cylon, Ellen Tigh. It answered just about every question fans had, and raised a ton more.
#16 “You Can’t Go Home Again”
Starbuck is truly a bad-ass, and she proved it in this season 1 episode. After crashing on an unknown planet, she busts into a Cylon Raider and teaches herself to fly it so she can get back to the fleet. Anyone else would’ve died in that situation, but Starbuck had no fear.
#15 “The Oath”
I always liked Gaeta, until he joined Tom Zarek’s mutiny. However, this episode was exhilarating from start to finish as we witnessed every step of an extremely well-executed coup d’etat.
After one year on New Caprica and several months under Cylon occupation, season 3 began with the characters more miserable than ever, broken and battered by their circumstances. It was chilling and a little hard to watch, but above all, it was the start to arguably the best mini story arc in the series’ history.
#13 “Someone to Watch Over Me”
It may be a very recent episode, but learning about Starbuck’s history and finding out that her dad was possibly a Cylon who taught her to play “All Along the Watchtower” on the piano was as shocking and awesome a reveal as the show has done.
#12 “Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part II”
Season 1 ended with a bang, literally, but there was a lot more going on than Boomer’s assassination attempt. On Caprica, Starbuck and Number Six faced off in one of the best and sexiest fight scenes in the history of television.
#11 “The Hand of God”
Starbuck stepped back and revealed her considerable tactical skills in this brilliant episode that featured Emmy-nominated visual effects as the fleet fought off the Cylons who took over a tillium mining planet.
#10 “No Exit”
It’s hard to make an interesting episode that’s almost all exposition, but that’s just what the show did in this episode. On one side, you have the humanoid Cylons gathering around Anders, who suddenly remembers everything about their time on Earth. On the other hand, we see flashbacks of Ellen Tigh’s resurrection and her conversations with Brother Cavil about the entire Cylon backstory.
The arrival of another battlestar was good news for about two seconds before the cruel Admiral Helena Cain took over and arrested Tyrol and Helo for protecting Sharon. The ending with the Galactica-Pegasus stand-off could be one of TV’s greatest cliffhangers.
#8 “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”
Having the evil Gaius Baltar win the presidency and establish a colony on New Caprica would’ve been more than enough to close out a season. But then the show did a shocking one year jump forward in time and ended the season with Baltar surrendering to the Cylons. What followed were seven of the most excruciatingly long months ever for viewers.
#7 “Crossroads, Part I”
Gaius Baltar’s trial was a true spectacle, and in part one of the season 3 finale, Saul Tigh and Laura Roslin took the stand leading to two emotionally charged and brilliant scenes.
The humans and Cylons agreed to work together to find Earth. And that’s exactly what they did. The final long tracking shot of everyone’s faces as they take in the desolate wasteland of Earth was pure cinematic poetry.
I’m not afraid to admit that I cried the first time I saw the final scene of Starbuck dedicating a drink the everyone who has died, slowly and loudly listing off all their names. I cry every time I watch it. I’m welling up right now just writing this. That is pure magic, and easily my favorite single scene in the history of the show.
After a brilliant miniseries, BSG established itself as a fantastic series with this complex, heart-pounding first episode that saw the fleet having to jump every 33 minutes to keep away from the Cylons.
#3 “Exodus, Part II”
It started with Saul Tigh killing his wife and ended with the battle-weary Tigh reuniting with his best friend aboard the Galactica. In between was an action sequence so extraordinary it won the show its first ever Emmy. I still can’t decide which was more awesome: the Galactica jumping into New Caprica’s atmosphere or sacrificing the Pegasus to take out two basestars.
What happens to Cylons after they die? This episode answered that question as the show went back to let us know what happened to Boomer after she was killed. Seeing the resurrection process for the first time was shocking, as was the fascinating journey of Boomer and Caprica Six as they tried to start a peaceful revolution.
#1 “Crossroads, Part II”
Explaining why this is the best episode of Battlestar Galactica ever is as simple as listing off what happens. Baltar is found not guilty, the Cylons return to fight, four of the Final Five Cylons are revealed and Starbuck comes back from the dead. Toss in Bear McCreary’s unbelievably amazing rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and you have one of the most shocking, exhilarating and brilliant episodes of television ever.