Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: Miniseries, Part II

In the second part of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, secretary of education Laura Roslin faces the reality of the Cylon attack and moves to begin rescue efforts, facing resistance from the men around her. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.


I am so happy that the bulk of this second part focuses on Laura Roslin. I have a feeling that she’ll quickly become my favorite character of the entire ensemble cast, and the nuanced and touching performance that Mary McDonnel gives is a large part of that. (Which is not to ignore the wonderful writing, which I’ll get to.) There are so many layers to her story, and even though we’ve only gotten a few, I can already feel that she has such a stunning potential for fulfilling story arcs.

The break between “episodes”/parts is a bit odd, and I know it’s a little weird that iTunes splits up the miniseries this way, but aside from the abrupt beginning aboard the Raptor with Boomer and Helo, it’s otherwise a fitting transition. Even tonally, the story changes: it’s less about what has happened and more about how these people react to the surreal and terrifying news about the Cylon war. And really, there are so many moments here in part two that are just inconceivably surreal. From the explosions littering the surface of Caprica, to the image of bodies floating in space due to decompression, to Cally holding the charred body of Prosna as she cries. (WHICH SUCKS. Because I like Michael Elkund and I was excited to see more of him BOOOOOOO.)

I’m just so impressed how quickly the writers put all of these characters in impossible situations, forcing them to choose between Awful and Possibly More Awful, But Definitely Awful, Too. This is generally reserved for mid-season runs! Or end of seasons! And we’re just past the very first hour of the show!

The first of those decisions arrives at the feet of Boomer and Helo. (Kind of literally, actually.) After successfully avoiding death from the Cylon missiles, the damage they suffer forces them to land on Caprica, drifting past the remains of their fellow Battlestar ships. Even there, the signs of war are not gone. Flashes of bombs burst in the distance. (To be honest, if I’d seen those? Probably run with my tail between my legs. That is a figurative statement. I am not a furry.) And then: everything gets really goddamn awkward. Helo tells Boomer to draw her weapon, and we can tell that something or someone is about to arrive. Only it ends up being an entire crowd of survivors, trying to escape the Cylons on foot. The predicament has arrived. With a ship that’s large enough to hold only a few people, how do these two soldiers deal with a frightened, panicked crowd of fifty folks? (I don’t know that there were fifty people, but that’s just a guess from the size of the crowd.)

Both Boomer and Helo are smart enough to recognize just how quickly these people can turn hostile. They can see the desperation in the faces of everyone staring at them. There was a moment that I almost thought everything would get away from them, but the two take control: Children first, and then a three ticket lottery. And look, I’m not judging these two in any way. This is the best possible idea they could have come up with, and I respect Boomer for vocalizing it. But christ, could you imagine how hopeless you’d feel in a situation like this? These are your people, and leaving them behind could mean leaving them to die. What if the Cylon’s don’t stop bombing Caprica until every human is gone?

Which is why I could not imagine a more horrifying (and utterly fascinating) irony than Helo picking out the one man in the crowd who is essentially responsible for this whole thing and trading places with him. I don’t want to deny what a heroic act this is for Helo, though, as it is certainly something rather noble to do. And as hard as it is for Boomer to watch, she knows he’s doing something right. What else can she do now, especially since Helo’s already made up his mind? She can take off, save these lives, and return back to Galactica.

Colonel Tigh had his own difficult decision to make, too, but there’s something unexplained about his character that I still can’t figure out. I get the sense that Commander Adama (OMG I GET TO SAY THAT HOW AWESOME) trust Colonel Tigh without any hesitation, but I don’t exactly know why. I also don’t know why Tigh seems to be so close to some sort of breaking point either. What happened with his wife? Why is he now an alcoholic? Why does he second-guess himself and his abilities?

It’s unfortunate that these things seemed to come to the surface now, because Tigh had to make an awful choice in the midst of it all. Does he save the ship or does he save the crew but probably doom the ship anyway? Again, after choosing to decompress the ship, which is honestly the most practical option anyway, Commander Adama supports Tigh, this time to Tyrol’s face, who is furious that he couldn’t get just forty more seconds to save his crew.

Seriously, though: What else could you do?

The best story line in part two, though, belongs to Laura Roslin. This miniseries now belongs to her, and in just forty minutes, she commands the bulk of my attention and she’s given the most intriguing story. Putting aside her own personal trauma after learning that she has a malignant tumor, she very quickly begins to assume control on board the Colonial Heavy 798. She does so in a way that isn’t pretentious or invasive, but with respect for the gravity of their new situation. She speaks to the other passengers in a way that is wonderfully calming, too, making her quite the natural leader.

But what this part of the story does so well is introduce the idea that the men around Laura Roslin cannot seem to bear with the idea that a woman is in charge of them. Aaron Doral is the first to suggest that something is wrong with the idea of Roslin doing anything to boss another person around. Now, I’m not going to ignore the fact that it is true that Captain Apollo and Commander Adama both have more flight and war experience than Laura Roslin. It would be foolish to suggest otherwise. But that’s not the only thing at work here, and it’s coded rather obviously that the men are a bit resistant to Roslin taking charge in the way that she does. And it’s not just that she’s a woman; she’s a woman who is better at her job than they might be.

Captain Apollo is the first to yield to her, though, and I really love the scene. Aaron Doral  is basically like the school tattletale. TEACHER TEACHER THIS GIRL HAS COOTIES WHY IS SHE TELLING ME WHAT TO DO. I mean…right? That’s essentially what he does. And when Apollo watches how quickly Roslin is able to give succinct, rational orders, he realizes that she probably is best for the ship. So he obeys her orders, and the Colonial Heavy sets off to start collecting survivors.

Isn’t that an interesting contrast, though? Roslin sets out to find survivors, and Commander Apollo sets out for war. Even more intriguing to me is the fact that both of these people come to power in the second part of the miniseries through the sheer fact of being alive. Adama takes command of the fleet after losing nearly every other Battlestar, and Roslin, over forty positions down the chain of command, is unbelievably made President of the twelve colonies. (And look, I don’t even know why, but I already teared up during her confirmation scene. WHY WAS THAT SCENE SO TOUCHING TO ME???) It sets up an unexpected character conflict that will certainly be explored in the future. It certainly doesn’t help that Apollo is on board with Roslin, and that Roslin doesn’t know about the emotional rift between the commander and his son, making the already tense confrontation a hell of a lot more awkward.

I refuse to believe that the cliffhanger that Part II ends on is real. I can’t. As two Cylon Raiders launch nuclear missiles at the Colonial, those on board the Galactica are soon witness to the oncoming destruction as well. It’s actually an interesting choice aside from the drama it provides because it’s this huge moment of catastrophic violence that is viewed from afar by our main characters. That’s a large part of what happened with the Cylon attack. Aside from Baltar’s scene, we were never actually on Caprica to experience the start of the war. Like that, we see Apollo activate those pulse generator things, but everything else is from the perspective on the Galactica.

I can only hope that the Colonial survived through some stroke of luck, but for now, I’ll appreciate how bleak this first half of the mini-series is. Edward James Olmos is not particularly flashy as Commander Adama, and I like that about his character. He expresses things quietly, calmly, and with reserve. And even when he is witnessing the apparent obliteration of his son and the president of the Twelve Colonies, he can only observe in silent horror. He says absolutely nothing.


  • So, it took me until this specific part to put my finger on it, but I noticed how crisp all of the space flight scenes are. Even the method the camera uses to focus in on specific ships makes it look like it’s not drenched in CGI. I’m actually impressed by how detailed a lot of the external shots are.
  • The music in this miniseries is kind of minimal some of the time, even allowing some scenes to play out entirely silent. The thing that’s used the most–and brilliantly so–is a constant heavy rhythm. Deep drum beats are used often and I find they work a lot better then tense, high-pitched strings in some of the more thrilling passages.
  • I find it fascinating that Commander Adama does not shout at Chief Tyrol. I think any other show would have played that scene very loudly.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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153 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: Miniseries, Part II

  1. Jenny_M says:

    Unnnnngh Laura ROSLIN. Please come over to my house and tell me what to do.

    That's seriously the only coherent thought I have about this part, and that is not much of a thought. But.

  2. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I am so happy that the bulk of this second part focuses on Laura Roslin. I have a feeling that she’ll quickly become my favorite character of the entire ensemble cast…

    Went to read review. Had to stop right away to squee at this. FAVOURITE CHARACTER FOREVER.
    Mark, if you end up having the same favourite character as me in yet ANOTHER thing, I'm going to start suspecting you of witchcraft.

    …oh wait.

  3. Geolojazz says:

    Oh so thrilled to watch you watch this!! Ah Baltar.

    My husband and I are incredibly divided on Roslin…I liked her from the get-go, and he never did. I've met a lot of Battlestar fans (dudes mostly) who feel the same way. Hmm…

    Also also, Mary McDonnell! From being the President's wife (ID4) to the President!

    • Manself says:

      Count me as a dude who wants Laura Roslin to be president of my life.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Yeah, I've spoken to a few guys like that…who are all for the hot, kick-ass young female pilots, but don't at all get on with the strong, intelligent older woman giving out orders.
      Of course it's fine not to like the character, that's just a matter of opinion, but there are definitely some people for whom the phrase 'lady's in charge' still grates.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Hmm. I wonder what they would think of other powerful lady in fiction. DelWitt from Dollhouse? McGonagall from Harry Potter?

  4. NotusLethe says:

    First of all, I am so freaking excited you're starting this amazing series. It is one of my favorite, despite its flaws, and I rewatch it periodically.

    Secondly, I don't know how you're watching it (I assume Netflix??), but the opening sequence ALWAYS reveals vital information to the forthcoming episode. It is very annoying and spoilery. When I watched it on TV, I would just cover my eyes until the opening music was over. I would suggest skipping this somehow, as to not ruin the episode for you.

    • cait0716 says:

      This is something my boyfriend and I can never agree on. I love the opening scenes. They come between the credits and the first act, so I feel like they're very much a part of the episode and set the tone for what's to come. But he thinks they're spoilery and refuses to watch them. They don't start until the series proper, though, so be on the lookout in the first episode, "33" if anyone does care to skip them.

      • NotusLethe says:

        Rewatching them, I appreciate what they add to the atmosphere and I can see your point. I guess it just depends on how spoiler-free the viewer wants to be.

      • shoroko says:

        Yeah, I always liked the opening sequence, too. But I'm really, really not spoilerphobic, so I can understand why people who are would be bothered by them. I never remember thinking "well, now that's not a surprise because I saw it in the opening sequence!" but if you want to go into the episodes "pure" so to speak, yeah, you have to cover your eyes. But the music will pretty much tell you when it's over, so I don't think it's too difficult.

      • nanceoir says:

        They're spoilery in that they show you snapshots you haven't seen yet; they're not spoilery in that the people making the show want you to see them (I've never seen another show do this, so I have to believe it's intentional and not something handed off to the network PR people or something).

        Also, context is everything, so what you think you see isn't necessarily what you see. You know?

        • cait0716 says:

          Definitely. It's like how Death was always "spoiling" The Book Thief

        • @sab39 says:

          NCIS does it too in that it gives you a freezeframe at the beginning and right after every commercial break that's the last thing you'll see before the *next* commercial break or the last moment of the show. Not quite as much as BSG but it's the same basic idea – you see a fraction of a moment in isolation, but the drama is in *how did that moment end up arising*.

          I am generally fairly spoiler-phobic, and I think when I watched BSG I was ambivalent about them. Sometimes they did a really good job of being tantalizing and/or misdirecting without giving away much of anything, other times they felt spoilery. I can't remember whether I ended up making a point to watch them, making a point to avoid them, or going back and forth from episode to episode, or glancing away for that part of the credits if I happened to notice it was happening in time…

    • karate0kat says:

      To elaborate, there will be a portion of the opening that is always the same (though it varies from season to season as many shows do) which has pretty music (god I can't wait for you to get to the series proper and the genius that is Bear McCreary's score) and visuals and the actors names. Then, when it seems like the credits are winding down, suddenly there will be drums! Lots and lots of drums! The drums go over fast paced clips of the coming ep, so just shut your eyes for the drums and you'll be fine (although, some eps, like the series finale, do forgo the clips altogether…I've always found the music trailing off instead of going into the drums really…affecting for some reason…'cuz you know shit is going to get so real they don't want to tell you about it)

  5. So, it took me until this specific part to put my finger on it, but I noticed how crisp all of the space flight scenes are. Even the method the camera uses to focus in on specific ships makes it look like it’s not drenched in CGI. I’m actually impressed by how detailed a lot of the external shots are.
    The special effects in this series are fantastic. Zoic also did the effects for Firefly, which had a similar camera-in-spaaaaaaace feel.

  6. redheadedgirl says:

    The scene where Roslin takes the oath of office is delibertaly evocative of LBJ taking the oath on Air Force One after Kennedy was assassinated. And I love the beat where her voice cracks and she needs a breath as she takes it.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I love the part where her voice almost breaks…and then she looks at the cameras and recording equipment and visibly pulls herself together. It's such a brilliant, subtle moment, showing her already realising that she doesn't have the same luxury of doubt as everyone else any more. She's President, and has to act like it, even if it's come at the worst possible time.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Agreed. AGREED.

      • Like the moment where she asks the man on the radio whether the (now dead) President of the Colonies offered to surrender. She pauses in the middle of the question, visibly realizing how awful it's going to sound, but it has to be asked, so she does.

        Mary McDonnell: Her acting makes telepathy redundant.

      • notemily says:

        I love how the reporters are still filming. I mean, I would too, but how are they ever going to broadcast it?

        • redheadedgirl says:

          The important thing is the record. Who knows what's going to happen at this point, but they'll have the record, even if it's the record of the finals days of the human species. Broadcasting is tomorrow's problem.

    • pill says:

      gah. you beat me too it. i thought i would get to the punch with the LBJ thing first. next time i'll read all the comments befor posting.

  7. cait0716 says:

    "Lady's in charge"

    That is seriously one of my favorite lines in this whole thing. Apollo's immediate recognition of her leadership skills and the way he yields control to her just make me so happy.

    On rewatches, though, I'm a bit sad by how much Laura Roslin physically resembles Sarah Palin. I mean, that's where the similarities end. But my brain always throws the connection at me, and then I'm thinking about Palin, and then I'm sad.

    I love that BSG opens with the genocide of the human race. How much more bleak could it get?

  8. LucyGoosey says:

    This particular part always reminded me of the Pat Frank novel Alas Babylon, a novel published in the late 50's about the aftermath of a nuclear strike. One of the signs of how badly the country and its population were devastated, was that in a year when they were putting back together the government, the new President, the next in the chain of command, was the female Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

    My parents were both fans of the cheesy 80's original series and insist to this day that its the better one. While many characters do have counterparts, even if their not quite the same (Starbuck was a man, Boomer was too, Baltar was a Count), Roslin was a completely new character and one I cannot imagine the show without at all. The actresses in this show were its backbone.

  9. Manself says:

    The music is fantastic in this series. Richard Gibbs composed a majority of the music for the mini-series, but Bear McCreary takes over for the rest of the series and does an unbelievable job. Anybody who has watched the entire series and is interested in TV scoring should definitely check out his blog.
    [youtube IXS41T5SSfk youtube]
    WARNING: Avoid the related videos at the end, just in case. A few of the titles might be considered spoilery.

    • NB2000 says:

      I forgot to mention it yesterday but I love the piece that accompanies Colonial One (okay it wasn't at the time but you know what I mean) arriving on the Galactica.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I LOVE Bear McCreary's music, it's simply gorgeous.
      I can't really flail about my favourite tracks yet because even some of the track TITLES are spoilery, but suffice to say that I bought all the soundtracks on CD and listen to them constantly.

      And one of the tracks is my 'top played' on my iPod. 😛

  10. Kaci says:

    I am watching this along with you, Mark, as difficult as that is, because I finished this part yesterday and immediately wanted more. Surely Roslin can't be dead, right? RIGHT? YOU CAN NOT TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME.

    I actually said to my friend, who has seen the entire series, "OMG, can she be president of everything? Including MY LIFE?"

    I also commented to said friend how happy it made me to see an entire cast of awesome female characters who are already awesome despite the fact that I've only seen an hour and a half of the show. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.

    I also asked her how on earth the network afforded those kind of production values/CGI because they look amazing.

    Then I screamed at the screen, "DON'T YOU DARE GIVE UP YOUR SEAT TO THE GUY WHO CAUSED ALL OF THIS! I CAN THINK OF LOTS OF REASONS WHY YOU ARE BETTER!" And then I raged for awhile. Although I can't see a show like this letting him stay a character I so unilaterally hate for very long–it seems like the kind of show that deals in gray areas, so maybe he'll have some redeeming moments, soon. I hope so. He's virtually the only character I'm not already half in love with.

    • monkeybutter says:

      He's virtually the only character I'm not already half in love with.

      Same. I suppose I don't know what to make of Tigh, either. I also like that the show seems to wallow around in grey areas, so Baltar and Tigh should probably keep things interesting. I guess that makes up for Helo giving up his seat. Maybe.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Re: Baltar

      He's the one with all the Super Knowledge, so they are going to need him, he needs to earn his redemption, and now all those survivors left on Caprica have Helo there to help them out. At least, that's my thought on how this is all probably going to go down.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        That's totally spot-on, I think. I mean, the show has set him up to fall miserably by inadvertently causing the destruction of the human race, so he has to go up, right? RIGHT???

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I definitely see where your coming from. I don't know where his character arc (if he has any, that is) leads him. All I know is that he hasn't really shown any regret, except in connection to himself and what it will mean for his standing.

        • pica_scribit says:

          True. That could still be shock and denial, though. "This isn't really my fault; I never meant for it to happen." This type of character generally needs to hit rock bottom before finding redemption, and can often only do so through self-sacrifice. I think his will be an interesting journey to follow, and I'm looking forward to it. Also, he looks somewhat distractingly like Rufus Wainwright. And Tigh looks like John McCain.

    • I don't know what's wrong with me, but I fell in love with Baltar pretty much instantly. Baltar and Six had me hooked.

      Then again, I have always found the bad guys sexy.

      • pica_scribit says:

        He's *interesting*. His story is complex and filled with conflict, which is so much more entertaining to watch than straight-up good vs evil. Also, yeah…. He is a bit sexy, isn't he?

        • James Callis is absolutely sexy. So are scientists. So are interesting, morally complex characters. So… yeah. I would definitely like to have some quality alone time with Gaius Baltar.

  11. monkeybutter says:

    Even more intriguing to me is the fact that both of these people come to power in the second part of the miniseries through the sheer fact of being alive.

    I love how they come to power, too. And it's not just that they're alive, both of them know that they have to assume power and they do so wonderfully. I love Roslin already. First internal bleeding, then breast cancer (was it breast cancer? Am I internalizing Mark's theories?). Mary McDonnell seems like she's meant to make me worry about her mortality. I like that it's unclear whose priority is right, Roslin or Adama, because they're both doing what they need to do.

  12. echinodermata says:

    "The music in this miniseries is kind of minimal some of the time, even allowing some scenes to play out entirely silent. The thing that’s used the most–and brilliantly so–is a constant heavy rhythm. Deep drum beats are used often"

    Welcome to BSG! Commenting on this is a rite of passage, I think.

    The two moments of this part that hit me hardest emotionally were the lottery on Caprica, and then immediately after with Roslin first calmly explaining the message about needing to find the highest political official alive, then her getting sworn in. Goddamn, that is some intense shit.

    All in all, I think this is a brilliant entrance into a tv show, and would that all shows have such a strong beginning.

    In conclusion, I live a lensflares appreciation life. Yay for space shows!
    <img src=""&gt;
    (This was actually a moment from the previous part, but I wasn't sure of that yesterday so I took it out then just in case. Not that it's spoilery for anything, but it's a good practice.)

    • Manself says:

      Thanks to Fringe Bloggers, I now always assume that whenever there is a lens flare in a TV show or a movie, it means that whatever is happening is related to a parallel universe.

  13. NopeJustMe says:

    There's is something wonderfully calming about Laura's voice. I can't quite pick out what it is. I think it's because she genuinely reminds me of my previous headteacher when she had to announce various tragedies. (We had three in a row when I was about nine, a boy in our class died. Then 9/11 took place. Then our teacher died.)

    The reactions to the genocides of various planets are heart-rending. Especially those who are desperately trying to find out if various family members are alive. Though it was really the pilot of Laura's ship that got me. The whole shaking hands bit was very touching.

    Though to have one president over 12 planets was…surprising. I could only imagine the level of peace in the worlds as well as organisation they would have to have to be able to run that kind of government.

    I don't think Lee's dead. Seems very unlikely at this stage, though I'm beginning to think this is one of those 'anyone can die' things. Speaking of which, the explosions on the planets are…nuclear? Or not? What's going to happen to the human survivors because the Cylons don't seem interested in taking prisoners.

    Baltar saw Six in the crowd! Looks like the pressure is getting to him.

    • I don't think it's a spoiler to confirm that they're nuclear. Ron Moore comments on it on the commentary track for this part. They deliberately used mushroom clouds because we as a culture know what that means. No need to explain space-weapon technobabble (such as on Moore's previous show, Star Trek, heh) — boom, mushroom clouds, hoshitnuclearwar, we get it.

  14. NB2000 says:

    Okay playing it safe about what's in this part.

    LAURA ROSLIN I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. She's so pragmatic about the fact that the best thing the civilians can do is get the frak out of the way of the fight and hide somewhere. We also get to see her interacting with Lee and I have to say rewatching these early episodes reminded me of just how much I love their dynamic (I don't ship it, not even close, but I love the way they interact). The scene where he asks her about the line of succession is really good and I love that he was their with her during the inauguration (love the historical paralell in that series and the cute moment later onwhere the pilot changes the callsign to Colonial One).

    HELO, I understand why you did it but NO DON'T STAY BEHIND ON CAPRICA ALONE *cries* look I love him shut up. Trivia note, the young-ish woman with long hair who wins a seat on the Raptor is played by EJO's wife.

    Somehow Gaius managed to change his clothes between his house exploding and suddenly appearing in the field, I think that will always remain a mystery.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Somehow Gaius managed to change his clothes between his house exploding and suddenly appearing in the field, I think that will always remain a mystery.

      Maybe his clothes got blasted off and he had to find new ones. 😛

    • NB2000 says:

      (cont. because I thought of more and didn't edit quickly enough)
      The sequence leading up to Starbuck joining the fight against the raiders approaching Galactica is really well done. We've already been told that she's one of the best pilots on board and the scene does a good job of building up to the moment where she FINALLY gets out there to join in after the failed launch, which also lets us see how the deck crew operate and interact with the pilots.

      This may sound weird but the shot of the nuclear bomb detonating on Galactica ant the light from the blast washing over the hull is one of my favourite effects shots in the series. It's a terrifying thing to think about but it's such a beautiful visual.

      • Stephen_M says:

        Weirdly I sorta didn't like that battle scene. Yeah, Galactica was being retired but there's no indication she's carrying a crew of rookies or particularly poor pilots and I can't help but wish they'd been doing a bit better before Starbuck joined the fight.

        As for Helo, no don't stay behind, chuck the kid out and take his place, kids in sci-fi shows inevitably end up being either useless mewling plot devices or ridiculously smart and annoying plot devices! Either way we don't need one infecting this show!

        • @sab39 says:

          But of course she's carrying a crew of rookies! There's been peace between the colonies since the last Cylon war, so the only people who have any real battle experience are too old to have the reactions to be pilots any more.

          I can't imagine that there's any kind of training program that the crew of Galactica could possibly have been in that truly prepares you for *actually fighting for your life* for the first time ever shortly after most of the human race may have been wiped out.

          • Stephen_M says:

            But a) would that not apply to Starbuck as well? and b) Military training is kinda designed to prepare you for this. In the same way that modern day fighter pilots are trained for an air war even though it's been a LONG time since they were actually in one.

            Eh, it just bugs me that one pilot seems to turn the tide like that and be the only one shown to do much. For that matter why the hell do the rest just sit back and watch when the nukes are launched at Galactica? Surely pulling a few off to fly cover for Starbuck would be a good idea under the circumstances?

            • My impression is that Starbuck ended up on Galactica because of the intersection of two traits, both visible and referred to in this part: She's an insubordinate hothead, but Commander Adama has always had a soft spot for her. Maybe this was a posting to keep her out of trouble (or out of the brass's eye) or to get her to turn her shit around.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Your comment reminded me of something else that impressed me about this show: the deck crew gets a lot of attention! They get camera time instead of just being there to help the pilots, and I love watching them interact. And man, I loved Starbuck's frustration about not being able to launch, and then how comfortable she was once she got into the battle. It's a great dramatic build-up, like you say.

    • LucyGoosey says:

      HELO, I understand why you did it but NO DON'T STAY BEHIND ON CAPRICA ALONE *cries* look I love him shut up.

      No need to apologize :joins you in loving Helo: And it doesn't even have to do with my love of Tahmoh Penikett (which only grows everytime I hear a coworker speak of him)

    • pica_scribit says:

      Helo's not alone! He's going to heroically help all those people survive! Right? Right? At least, I hope so….

  15. Albion19 says:

    I'm glad you picked up on the music. You'll notice it more and more as you watch along but the soundtrack is utterly wonderful. Bear McCreary is a god, seriously.

  16. psycicflower says:

    ‘Lady’s in charge.’
    Hell yeah she is!

    I do love the contrast in Roslin's and Adama's priorities. They're both understandable choices, especially given their backgrounds, but it's interesting to see the conflict between a leader of civilians and a leader of military in such a serious situation.

    Also I bet Gaius would've stolen that old lady's number if Helo hadn't spotted him.

  17. knut_knut says:

    A brief tour of my emotions during part 2:



    lol Gaius


  18. fandomphd says:

    My notes for this part (I'm taking notes! Because I'm more-or-less watching along with Mark! Even if I'm also like 11 episodes ahead because I couldn't stop watching!) largely consist of Laura Roslin's name with lots of hearts and stars and sparklies all around. When I was watching, I paused the show so I could FB-messagedmy friends who have watched BSG about how awesome Laura Roslin was. <3, Also, this is where I started madly shipping Laura Roslin and Lee Adama.

    Everything else in my notes is just disbelief at how epic (and amazing) BSG was and how I can't believe my friends didn't get me to watch this earlier. (Which … they tried. Clearly they didn't try hard enough.) Also, I wanted Sexist Reporter Dude to DIAF.

    And then, there were my many and varied thoughts on the scene where Boomer and Helo face down the civilians which boiled down to:

    1. You could have just lied and told them you were repairing your ship and directly going off to fight Cylon ships. I doubt they would have been so eager to join you then.
    2. What … exactly did that one civilian guy think he was going to accomplish by jumping on the ship? Did he really think he would hold on while they passed through the atmosphere and traveled in space? Panic makes you do desperate things, I guess …

    • NB2000 says:

      2. What … exactly did that one civilian guy think he was going to accomplish by jumping on the ship? Did he really think he would hold on while they passed through the atmosphere and traveled in space? Panic makes you do desperate things, I guess …

      I guess he probably thought someone would open the door and let him in? Still a pretty stupid thing to do but like you said he was probably panicing

  19. Araniapriime says:

    Roslin, over forty positions down the chain of command, is unbelievably made President of the twelve colonies. (And look, I don’t even know why, but I already teared up during her confirmation scene. WHY WAS THAT SCENE SO TOUCHING TO ME???)

    <img src="; />

  20. pill says:

    pointless fact

    laura roslins swereing in was jiggered to resemble lyndon b johnsons swereing in in the wake of john f kennedys death. johnson was sworn in on air force once

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=",_November_1963.jpg/200px-Lyndon_B._Johnson_taking_the_oath_of_office,_November_1963.jpg"&gt;

    sorry bout the image quality.

    • NopeJustMe says:

      Am I the only one who thinks that the woman next to Lyndon looks a bit like Laura?

      • NB2000 says:

        The one to his left (right of the picture)? That's Jacqueline Kennedy, and yeah I think it's the hair but there is a resemblance from that angle.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Yeah, definitely, at least from this angle.

    • Sadie says:

      As a new viewer, I saw the resemblance as soon as the scene began; absolutely heartbreaking and very powerful.

  21. pica_scribit says:

    My main thought coming away from this is that of course Baltar had to be saved, because he has the knowledge most useful in defeating the Cylons, not least because he was BONING ONE. Also, if he doesn't get some sort of redemptive plot arc, I would have to punch him in the balls or something.

    And yes, Roslin is unbelievably awesome and almost every scene she is in is very moving.

    Oh, and the music. I ended up with the soundtrack for this randomly several years ago, and even though I am completely unfamiliar with the show, a lot of it is SO GOOD!

    • ChronicReader91 says:

      Yeah, I feel the same way about Baltar. During the lottery scene, I thought it looked like he was considering switching his number and the old woman's. I'm not sure if he didn't out of guilt, or just becuase he didn't think he could get away with it. out of some kind pf attempt to redeem himself in a small way, or just because he didn't think he could get away with it.
      Of course, then he gets chosen to be saved anyway.

  22. diane says:

    Love it love it love it. Having watched the whole series 3 or 4 times, I need to be careful what I say. NNNNNGGGGGHHHHH…..

    Love to watch Mark and everyone who's new to BSG start to pick up on threads and themes. Some right, sone wrong, but no one is prepared. This is why BSG has such a powerful reputation; it really is as good as everyone says it is!

  23. barnswallowkate says:

    I am too scared to spoil to actually comment but:

    LAURA ROSLIN <3 <3 <3

    STAAAAAAAAARBUUUUUUUUUCK! She's like my #1 TV Girlfriend forever and ever.

  24. Suzellle says:

    "The thing that’s used the most–and brilliantly so–is a constant heavy rhythm. Deep drum beats are used often and I find they work a lot better then tense, high-pitched strings in some of the more thrilling passages."

    This show has one of the most brilliant soundtracks I've ever heard 😀 😀 😀

    Also, I love how quickly you've picked up the fact that Mary McDonnell is the MOST AMAZING at her job. I'd never seen her in anything before BSG and after had to watch her in everything she's been in–she's the best!




  25. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I like how while I was watching, I predicted that by the end of the entire show Commander Adama would have gained control of the entire fleet (and would retire at the very end as a military hero) and Secretary Roslin would be sworn in as president in the very last episode.

    I think we got mention of new colony names in this section, Tauron and Arielon (well, some form of Aries, anyway)? I also noticed that in contrast to Six saying that she believes in God, some of the people from Caprica were saying something like "Gods/Lords of Kobol," suggesting some form of polytheism. Maybe they believe in the Greco-Roman pantheon?

    I was a bit shocked to see Helo give up his place on the ship for Dr. Balthar, but I think it was just because I was distracted by OMG a wild Cylon-woman appears during the interview scene where his clout is actually established. He's obviously going to end up on the Battlestar Galatica at some point, but I wonder if he's going to end up telling others about the security breach and the existence of humanoid Cylons on the colonies, given how worried he is that his role in that will be discovered. He could say "a little Cylon-bird told me" and try to spin it as an act of supreme heroism that he's even telling them anything at all, but I'm not sure I could really see him risking that, and I have to wonder if he's going to be spending the rest of however long just mucking up even more things until someone finally figures out what he's done and kills him (and there will be much rejoicing).

    I realized that this is more to do with the previous section (for some reason it was in the wrong place in my notes), but I do wonder why Six would even tell Dr. Balthar about her Cylonishness and the incoming invasion. From her point of view, it doesn't seem like it would make any difference whether he knows about it or not; it seems like the only thing that could possibly happen with that is that he gets that information back to the government somehow ("and knowing is half the battle," etc.). But then again, she did it right after meeting with some unknown person, perhaps one of the other humanoid-Cylons, which might suggest that she told him because she was ordered to. So maybe she actually told him because she believed that he'd disseminate that information? Certainly, knowing that there are Cylons who look like humans would probably do a lot to cause panic and destablize the colonies, if the invasion/destruction process takes longer than expected.

    My very last note on this section, preserved for posterity: WTF they can't be dead, right? There's no way they all died. I have no idea how they would've survived that, but they can't be dead. Maybe they were taken captive and they later escape? I needtend to think that maybe the BSG was wrong in their impressions of what happened, because the Cylon ships were obviously funking up their radars and all even before that.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      a wild Cylon-woman appears

      Six used Attract! It's super effective.

    • Manself says:

      It's spelled "Aerilon" FYI. Not sure why that's important to me.

      • Are you an editor? That's my go-to reason. 🙂

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Ah, thanks! I got spoiled for a few things just from looking up some names I wasn't sure about (in some cases literally the first word on the page was a spoiler), so I didn't want to potentially have that happen again.

        And I also just realized that I've been misspelling Dr. Baltar's name the entire time…dang it. I'm pretty sure I'm trying to turn it into something more like "Balthazar" for some reason.

        • Manself says:

          Oh, that really sucks. I learned that lesson the hard way back when I first started watching. The Battlestar Wiki should definitely be avoided at all costs by anybody who doesn't want to be spoiled.

  26. who_cares86 says:

    I think it's an interesting parallel that both Adama and Roslin while both proving to be great leaders always have just this tiny bit of vulnerability simmering right under the surface which has to be credited to both Mary McDonnel and Edward James Olmos' acting.

  27. Kirby_T says:

    Does anyone know where I can watch the miniseries? I'm in England, so Netflix is out. If not, will it matter if I just start with the main series when Mark does? How much stuff will I miss/ Will things not make sense? Thankies xx

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Hey, I'm afraid I don't know where you could watch the miniseries online. But I would definitely recommend seeing it before season one if at all possible. I accidentally didn't watch it until I was about halfway through S1 and I was hopelessly confused.
      Since you're reading Mark's reviews though, you might have enough of an idea about what's happened anyway? It's up to you of course, but you could always just buy the DVD? You can get it for under £5 on Amazon.

    • notemily says:

      can you buy it on iTunes? I don't know how the iTunes store works in places that aren't the US.

    • Openattheclose says:

      You can buy individual episodes from Amazon's video library. You can download them instantly that way.


    When I first started watching the show (back in, um, 2008?) I thought it was a bit as if Laura BUSH had become president, but didn't mind that, since the thought of a sane, rather moderate librarian in charge of things cheered me much more at the time than the thought of her husband.

  29. Maya says:

    Ugh yes, the music for this show. Gibbs did a great job on the miniseries, but OH MY GOD BEAR MCCREARY. That man is GENIUS. Seriously, he's absolutely genius and his music for the show is absolutely something to look forward to. Heck, I would recommend watching "Caprica" just for his inventiveness with creating music for different colonies (also because "Caprica" is awesome)

  30. lyvanna says:

    The lottery was definitely the best way to go about things, but it still felt majorly harsh – but there is no good in that situation. That one guy thinking he could buy his way onto the flight was kinda hilarious, what did he do when the blasts went off? Run straight to his safe? Don't they have post-apocalyptic lit on Caprica, that guy should know that money is rarely important in those situations – a chicken or a box of strawberries might have served him better.

    Do we think Dr. Baltar would have stolen that lady's number if he hadn't been recognised? I think possibly not but he did seem to consider it.

    Damn Helo 🙁 Why so heroic 🙁

    Roslin is a million kinds of awesome. Can't even imagine the horror of becoming President in that situation, including knowing that the 40 or so people before you have all just died.

    The closing off of the decks thing reminded me of possibly the scariest bit in James Cameron's Titianic where the lower decks are closed off in an attempt to save the ship and some of the guys working down there don't manage to escape. Claustrophobia and hopelessness.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I thought the lottery was a good idea in theory, but when that old lady won…I don't know, it sounds awful, but I feel like someone with more life ahead of them should have gotten her place. Is that terribly ageist of me?

      I didn't want them to force her to stay behind, that would have been so unfair. But if I were her, I would have given up my place to a younger person. I have to admit, I was sort of surprised when she didn't. Nothing particularly noble about it, it just logically makes more sense. After the apocalypse, they're gonna need young healthy people to survive.
      I'm 19, and I would expect an old lady to give up her place for me. Similarly, as I'm legally an adult I would automatically give up my place for a younger child.

      Whatever. It's one of those hypothetical situations that's interesting to discuss, but I guess it's different when it really happens. Maybe I'd turn out to be a total Baltar in the end?

      • notemily says:

        The converse of that, though, is that older people are less likely to survive on a post-apocalyptic planet.

      • lyvanna says:

        I agree, I'd like to think I'd give my seat up too in that situation (did any of those kids have family members being left behind?). But maybe I'd be the crazy guy who jumps onto the ship as it takes off.

        I'm glad that no-one protested on that issue (well, as far as we can tell, there is a lot of shouting) and the lottery was kept simple though. If they'd started making divisions by age who knows where they'd have stopped. And if the lady was going to give up her seat, does she get to choose who gets it, because that could also be problematic (not least for her as she gets left behind with all the people she didn't pick). I suppose if she was going to do that she shouldn't have entered into the lottery at all.

    • @sab39 says:

      A box of strawberries would totally get you on board if the ship was Serenity, anyway…

  31. Ryan Lohner says:

    It's pretty fun to watch the opening scene of the remake of 12 Angry Men after seeing this show. Mary McDonnell plays the judge, and Edward James Olmos is one of the jurors.

  32. msmcclanahan says:

    I have never watched this series before and I am already in love! I need Boomer to come be my best friend and Laura Roslin to come tell us what to do and life would be perfect.

    I don't know whether Dr. Baltar would have taken the lady's number or not, but all I could think of as he boarded was "Hm, Zuko is going to have to share his not-as-big-of-a-jerk-as-you-could-have-been award…"

  33. Appachu says:

    LAURA ROSLIN 2012!

    ….I'd vote for it.

  34. karate0kat says:


    <img src=""&gt;


    <img src=""&gt;

    I keep wanting to be all deep and introspective and this show makes me SO FLAILY YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. I'm hoping that once we settle into the series proper and everything isn't so shiny and new to Mark that I will be able to control my inner 12 year old and contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way.

    The music from this show is, legit, the most played music in my iTunes library. You think the drums are good now? Oh my god, you are so not prepared. Yeah, that's right, I pulled out a not prepared for the score.

    In conclusion, dear Doral, kiss Laura's well toned ass.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • cait0716 says:

      Warehouse 13 Love!

      Why yes, I did only start watching it because Sean Maher and Jewel Staite played a couple in the second season. But I love it!

    • fantasylover120 says:

      Gave upvotes for Warehouse13 gifs 😉 I just started watching this show in the last month and that and Eureka have become my geekfests.

  35. knc says:

    I have seriously been waiting SO IMPATIENTLY for you to start watching BSG. It is without a doubt my favorite sci-fi show of all time, and I am absolutely loving seeing your reactions – I forgot how fun it was to read you guessing at stuff!

  36. @clodia_risa says:

    Who totally expected Baltar to steal that old lady's ticket? I think they were setting him up for it, but I really thought he would.


  38. notemily says:

    I think it was the Television Without Pity reviewer who started calling Doral "Leisure Suit Larry." It fits him. Frak you, Leisure Suit Larry. Roslin is IN CHARGE. I love that moment where Lee is like "looks like she's got this covered, you sexist asshole."

    I like how the refugees are like "PICK ME!" actually WAVING THEIR HANDS IN THE AIR. You fail Rescue Class.

    Aaaaand here's the part where Tigh kills some guys. D: I always hate those kinds of military decisions. There's one in Master and Commander that always kills me.

    Fuck you Gaius Baltar, you don't deserve to get rescued any more than anyone else. Just because you're some scientist dude. AND NOW HELO IS STUCK ON A NUKED PLANET. HELOOOOOO.

    I just want to say, FUCK YEAH LAURA ROSLIN, PRESIDENT OF THE TWELVE COLONIES. FUCK. YEAH. I know a lot of people had to die for her to get there, but man. "Strike that–this is Colonial One."

    And Adama gets to be in charge of the fleet, too. Although there isn't much left of it 🙁

    "Is this a joke?" Ahahahaha. Unstoppable force versus immovable object, round one. "And you're taking ORDERS from a SCHOOLTEACHER?" Well, yeah. Everyone takes orders from a schoolteacher at some point. Don't you want to pass Rescue Class?

    • Aaaaand here's the part where Tigh kills some guys. D: I always hate those kinds of military decisions. There's one in Master and Commander that always kills me.

      The one in the storm? 🙁

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          Oh noooo that scene always kills me too…

          Though I have an even harder time watching the scene where they have to chop the kids leg off, or when they operate on that guy's brain.

          Jeez, why do I even like that movie? Oh that's right, because it's awesome.

          • redheadedgirl says:

            It's Lord Blakney's arm, not his leg (but he grows up to be Octavian in Rome, so it's all good, really). Plus Admiral Lord Nelson had only one arm, and he'll be a fighting naturalist, so… (I adore that move SO MUCH)

          • notemily says:

            One of my favorite movies of all time, even though it fails the Bechdel Test horribly. I remember going into the theater like "oh, this is gonna be some movie with a lot of action and not a lot of character development or good writing," and it surprised me in all the best ways.

            Plus, the fact that it's filled with hott dudes doesn't hurt.

  39. fantasylover120 says:

    Oh, I'm not the only one who noticed the music thing. That was actually rather interesting to me. In most of these sci-fi shows you get big sweeping epic music to carry you to the moment like the music in SG-1 for instance or Star Wars. But BSG it's quiet and actually rarely used. Which I think is a good thing because it doesn't distract as much from the story or characters.

  40. TheMoonSheep says:

    Laura Roslin is the best. My peeps and I had a ritual the first time she showed up in each episode:

    "I say Laura, you say Roslin! LAURA!"




    Clearly, cheesy cheers are the best way to show love.

  41. hassibah says:

    Did anyone else think that when the lady with the glasses on her head asked the scientist guy to read her ticket that he was going to steal it from her? I watch too much tv apparently, but I was kind of relieved the cliche didn't play out, even though I wouldn't be surprised if he did.


    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I thought it was deliberately left ambiguous whether he was planning to steal her ticket or not. I felt like he was just in the middle of deciding what to do when Helo called his name and the choice was made for him. It's kind of a shame, because there was his chance at redemption, to be a decent human being and think of someone else for once, and we never find out for sure if he would have taken it.

      • I agree. That had to have been deliberate, to make us keep guessing about what kind of guy this Baltar is. If they'd indicated that he would have definitely not stolen her ticket, then there's not much drama about whether he can ever redeem himself; we'd see that path already open and waiting. Conversely, indicating that he totally would've stolen it might have cemented the "wow, he really is a selfish asshole" feeling (inspired by, y'know, GENOCIDE TRADED FOR SEX), and there'd be no drama for his arc that way, either.

        Summary: awesome frakking writing.

        And I always love how Baltar actually looks at her glasses, perched atop her head, a little incredulously before answering. James Callis is great at nonverbal acting. Along with pretty much the rest of the cast!

      • hassibah says:

        Ah nm I see lots of people mentioned it, it's been a long day. Honestly the idea of ambiguity didn't even occur to me cos I am right now in the do not like camp.

  42. HungryLikeLupin says:

    I have few coherent thoughts at the moment, curse my oppressive schedule, but this show always makes me want to sit down with TV and movie writers/executives and say, "See? Do you see? THIS is how you write strong female characters. They've even given you several different types from which to choose! I hope you're taking notes

  43. Openattheclose says:

    PRESIDENT LAURA ROSLIN IS A BAMF. She might even put all other BAMFs to shame. I'm still thinking about it.

    This is most inappropriate, I know, but I have to laugh at the scene with all of the Caprican refugees running in the field. There is a guy running with a stack of books and another guy like sprinting along on crutches in a very unrealistic way. Out of these people. it's BALTAR that stumbles. As a glasses wearer, I love that the winning lottery lady's misplaced glasses are on her head.

    • notemily says:

      I noticed the guy with the stack of books! I was like SERIOUSLY GUY. I mean I get the importance of books but TRAVEL LIGHT.

      Yeah, you can see Baltar look at the glasses on her head, then back down to the lottery ticket… it's a funny/sad moment.

    • lyvanna says:

      But the guy running with the pile of books is totally Mark. y/y?

  44. ChronicReader91 says:

    Count me in the Laura Roslin fanclub. Just the fact that she’s so calm and in control in the face of unbelievable circumstances… both the attacks and suddenly having the position of President thrust upon her. She treats the people around her with respect and courtesy; she thinks rationally but still compassionately in trying to find survivors. I love that Apollo, having seen her work for only a few seconds, recognizes that, and is basically like “Yeah, she’s in charge.” B) In fact, I really like the almost instantaneous respect she and Lee have for each other. There’s no power play or anything- they have complete confidence in each other to do their jobs. (OK, I also find it cute that she insists on calling him “Captain Apollo”.)

  45. StatSig says:

    OMFG you have no idea how excited I am that you are watching BSG. This is my first comment on a Mark ___s ever because BSG OMG OMG OMG OMG.

    Roslin is so amazing. Mary McDonnell just nails her quiet strength so perfectly. And our introduction to her of breaking down crying over cancer and then so quickly being thrust into this unbelievable position of responsibility is just… crushing and amazing.

    (And this is a Part I comment, but I was in love with Starbuck from the moment she punched Tigh over the card game. Just… fantastic.)

    • StatSig says:

      The music, btw, is fantastic for this show, I agree. Bear McCreary just *makes* this show with his music. I'd avoid listening to anything from the show on Youtube, because (as someone else mentioned), lots of the titles are spoilery. But his music just underlines the tension and power of the show.

      • StatSig says:

        Oh gods I'm so excited I can't stop posting. Anyway, Roslin's swearing in is TEARS FOREVER. I have no emotional connection to Lyndon B Johnson's swearing in, I'd never even been exposed to it before as far as I can recall. But just Roslin's FACE on that scene. Not only is she taking on this monumental task that she NEVER anticipated, but she's just been dealt a ginormous personal tragedy *AND* been told about a mass genocide of her people. I MEAN REALLY. And she ISN'T BREAKING DOWN. She is silently and solemnly accepting her duty and battling to keep her shit together. It is just. amazing.

  46. Brandy says:

    I am so happy to be back here – I haven't followed along (books or tv) since Firefly, and I'd nearly forgotten how great it is to see things through new eyes!

    The swearing-in scene is so emotional, I think, because on the one hand it conveys the utter desperation of the situation – who knew the sec of education was even in the chain? How lucky is it that #40 was spared, how far down could they have gone? Yet at the same time it has a very life goes on feeling – we're not giving up yet, even if we have to go 40 places down we still have a president gods damn it! The combo is really affecting.

  47. Frakker says:


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