Razor is a Straight-to-DVD film spin-off of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica series. It is informally considered a two-part opening to Season 4 by staff, including Ron D. Moore, though its narrative links are not direct.
Set between the episodes The Captain's Hand and Lay Down Your Burdens, Part Ⅰ, it focuses on the life of Col. Kendra Shaw as XO of Pegasus under Commander Lee Adama, with significant flashback sequences to the Fall of the Twelve Colonies as well as the Cylon War. The film marked the first appearance of Cylon War-era Centurions outside of the Miniseries, which would later re-appear in Season 4, and had narrative ties into Season 4 with a scene focusing on Lt. Kara Thrace's destiny, effectively making Razor the opening to Season 4.
Following the unexpected death of Commander Garner, Major Leland "Apollo" Adama has been promoted to the rank of Commander and given command of Pegasus. Morale is low following a string of losses, and the new Commander is seen as an outsider trying to impose order where he doesn't belong. Alongside Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace's new position as CAG, Apollo searches for one of the few remaining officers from Rear Admiral Helena Cain's time to serve as Executive Officer. Among the options is Lt. Kendra Shaw, one of Cain's more competent officers who's insubordinate conduct towards Fisk and Garner landed her with a demotion to kitchen duty.
In a flashback to ten months earlier, Shaw sits at an airbase on Caprica awaiting transport to Pegasus. She does not take her assignment seriously in spite of Pegasus' good standing in the fleet, instead seeing it as a stepping stone to a desk job at Picon Fleet Headquarters. Pegasus lies over Scorpia preparing for a six month overhaul at Scorpia Fleet Shipyards; crew are disembarking on shore leave, and Cmdr. Belzen tries to convince Cain to come to Gemenon with him to relieve her stress. Shaw arrives in a Raptor, and is immediately lost having failed to study ship schematics. Though she is helped by a civilian contractor, Gina Inviere, Shaw reports late to CIC and is chewed out by Cain, who anticipated her being late and her hopes for a desk job. While Shaw is being given a tour of the ship by Lt. Hoshi, the two are thrown to the ground by an explosion. They are soon caught up by Cain, who brings Shaw back to CIC to prepare for combat. Initial reports indicate the ship has been hit by two nuclear missile, which can only mean warfare with the Cylons. Unable to engage their attackers, Cain orders Shaw abandon the shipyard and jump away, doing so seconds before two more missiles hit them.
Back in the present, Shaw continues with her meeting with Apollo, and justifies her record of insubordination as being that neither Fisk or Garner deserved respect - Fisk for his links to organised crime and Garner for his dictatorial attitudes to micro-managing. Apollo respects her viewpoint, and offers her a promotion to Major as his new XO. Soon enough, Shaw takes to her duties with pride, intimidating new recruits being trained just like Cain had done her.
Admiral William Adama comes aboard with an urgent mission for Pegasus. Adama recently provided a Raptor so a team of three astronomers could study a supernova remnant, but they and its crew are over-due; Apollo's orders are to follow their course and rescue them if needed. Pegasus jumps to their expected position, with Starbuck and Showboat searching for debris in their Vipers.
Returning to Shaw's flashback, she is providing maintenance to computer equipment in CIC while the full scale of the damage to Pegasus is being assessed. Roughly a quarter (723) of the crew are dead and more in sickbay. 31 vessels, including Vipers and Raptors are lost or irreparable. The battlestar itself is dead in space and can neither jump away or defend itself. Belzen estimates they are 4-5 jumps away from the Cyrannus star sytem, but with wireless com traffic going dead over the past two days, Cain sends out a Raptor recon team rather than wait for repairs. Shaw meanwhile has found malicious coding within the latest CNP patch which can be used as a backdoor, and suspects Cylon remote access was responsible for reports of the defense grid failing.
After seeing to the dead, Cain returns to CIC where fresh reports come in from the recon team. The scale of the destruction suggests total extermination of the civilian population, with Pegasus the sole remaining military force. To give the crew a reason to live, she has them look to revenge and to go down fighting. The crew responds by chanting "So say we all!" throughout the ship; Gina Inviere awkwardly joins in. The line officers and Inviere meet with Cain for dinner, where they discuss their luck in findind the perfect soft target to serve as a message to the Cylons - an apparent communications relay spotted by Shaw with Inviere's help. Cain opens up about her recent speech, and makes things clear to the others they will only perform textbook guerilla warfare on the Cylons. The next day, Inviere and Shaw get to work installing a firewall on every individual computer on the ship while taking the network offline; Shaw gives her her access codes to halve their time.
Back in the present, Hoshi reports they have detected unidentified vessels in DRADIS range. Having been advised to avoid unnecessary fights, Apollo orders Starbuck and Showboat home only to find their computers are failing and can no longer calculate a jump back to the fleet. Shaw takes charge and has the ship's batteries fire close to the Vipers, taking out several Raiders in the process, while Starbuck herself is almost crushed by a broken fighter.
In another flashback, Pegasus is preparing to attack the communications relay. They realise they have walked into a trap when fifteen squadrons jump in immediately after Blue Squadron's launch, outnumbering their entire Air Group four-to-one. Though Belzen and Fisk recognise the trap, Cain refuses to walk out and orders the Reserve Vipers be launched to assist in spite of fresh reports their gun batteries have inexplicably shut down. Finally, Belzen has had enough and confronts Cain about her behaviour, refusing to carry them out. Cain responds by shoot him in the head with his own sidearm. Fisk is promoted to XO in his place; though he was also opposed to the strike, he has been cowered into submission and launches the Reserve Vipers. Meanwhile several Heavy Raiders board Pegasus and their Centurion crews begin rampaging through the ship. While observing the attackers, Shaw spots a Number Six in among the boarding party and guns her down in front of a security camera. Returning to CIC, Shaw places Inviere under arrest and has the security footage put up. With her cover exposed, Inviere kills two Marine guards but is knocked out by Shaw moments before assassinating Cain herself.
In the present, Pegasus has returned to the fleet and the derelict Cylon craft is examined closely. Adama and Colonel Saul Tigh indentify it immediately as an obsolete Raider. Baltar jokes with Messenger Six about the ultimately mechanic ancestry of the Humanoid Cylons. Roslin meanwhile looks at them only as machines, and wonders why obsolete models would ever need to be produced. Caprica-Sharon suggests they are Guardians, rogue Cylons who left to protect a prototype Hybrid. This reminds Adama of the final day of the Cylon War. Following the destruction of Columbia in battle over a Cylon-controlled planet, Adama was forced to land on the surface where he discovered a laboratory for cybernetic research conducted on human prisoners. As the armistice had just been signed, Galactica did nothing to stop the Cylons' escape.
Acting on the belief they are indeed dealing with the Guardians, the Raider is analysed for its navigation data to locate the Basestar. Pegasus is to tackle the Guardians while Galactica protects the fleet, though Adama will be on board to oversee the mission due to his personal stake. Shaw plans out the battle with Apollo, intending to have Pegasus limp away feigning a problem with its FTL system; a SAR team led by Shaw and Starbuck will board the Basestar on a Raptor, rescue the survivors and remotely detonate a nuclear weapon. Before he can permit Shaw's participation, Apollo requests information regarding her involvement on the Scylla, a ship Pegasus encountered several days after the Fall. Shaw admits her involvement in the massacre of ten civilians, but Apollo refuses to have her put on trial.
In another of Shaw's flashbacks, Pegasus has come out the victor in the battle with the supposed communications relay. 32 Vipers were lost with an additional 61 badly damaged, and with a shortage of replacement parts they are as good as lost. There were 937 casualties, with 816 people dying. Shaw blames herself for the losses, having given Inviere her access codes, but Cain is more intrigued by her ability to display human emotions to manipulate. Lt. Thorne is instructed to interrogate Inviere for information, and is given a blank cheque to be as creative in his methods of degredation he sees fit. When Cain and Shaw return to CIC, Fisk reports the discovery of a fleet of fifteen civilian ships. Seeing no sense in protecting civilians of a doomed race, Cain is only interested in recovering weapons, equipment and skilled labourers, and sends Fisk and Shaw out with a team of Marines.
The team board Scylla, where they are intitially welcomed by Laird. When he discovers they are demanding their FTL drives, Laird quickly realises they are going to be rendered helpless against the Cylons. Encountering resistance, Shaw threatens to use force, and rioting begins.
One of the initial ideas for the episode was that it would open with flashbacks to the final day of the Cylon War. In one sequence, Lieutenant William "Husker" Adama would pilot his Viper Mark II in a battle over a planet housing a Cylon lab, with Galactica and Columbia engaging a Cylon fleet. In another set of flashbacks, the young Helena Cain would be introduced struggling to survive a Cylon bombardment of her homeworld, causing severe destruction to civilian buildings. An early idea for Adama's flashback which was cut, however, was that he would meet up with a Marine assault team on the surface of the Cylon plant after being shot down. In the released film there is no Marine team on the planet.
The following are listed in order of their prominence on the DVD front cover:
Michelle Forbes — Helena Cain
Stephanie Jacobsen — Kendra Shaw
Mary McDonnell — Laura Roslin
Edward James Olmos — William Adama
Katee Sackhoff — Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
Jamie Bamber — Lee "Apollo" Adama
James Callis — Gaius Baltar
Tricia Helfer — Number Six / Gina Inviere
Grace Park — Number Eight / Sharon Valerii
Michael Hogan — Saul Tigh
Fulvio Cecere — Alastair Thorne
Nico Cortez — Young William Adama, callsign "Husker"
Steve Bacic — Jurgen Belzen
Graham Beckel — Jack Fisk
Campbell Lane — Hybrid
- "Razor" at IMDb