Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E01 – 33

In the first episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, the Cylon force relentlessly pursues the remaining survivors by ambushing them every 33 minutes. As the strain builds up on the survivors, Roslin, Adama, Lee, and Starbuck all have to make a difficult decision. Also BEST SEASON OPENER EVER?!?!?!? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

I am a tad worried about pacing at this point, but for the time being, I am enamored. I’m not quite ready to announce my love of Battlestar Galactic quite yet, as it’ll probably take a full season for me to get fully into this, but the ride I’ve been on so far is immensely enjoyable and entertaining.

Right from the first moments of “33,” which picks up just a few days from the end of the miniseries, it’s clear just how serialized BSG is going to be. The writers don’t ignore the ramifications of the end of the miniseries’s story, and we’re dropped into a situation of exhausting terror: The Cylons followed the survivors out of the galaxy and every thirty-three minutes, they ambush them just before the ships are able to make a jump to a new location. The entire format and function of this episode lends itself to some of the worst tension I’ve ever felt. And I don’t mean this in a negative way, but halfway through “33,” even I was tired.

Much must be said about the acting and make-up work done on the actors and actresses throughout the episode. It sold the exhaustion to me. Look, I’ll just be upfront about it: These characters look absolutely awful throughout “33.” They’re all clearly tired beyond comprehension, their eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep, sweat building on their foreheads and their cheeks losing color. Tigh’s stubble is closely approaching beard status, and Starbuck is literally falling asleep on the job. A good story is certainly important, but the actors and actresses on this show take the tremendous story, and they give it a life of its own.

There are more difficult decisions to be made in order to guarantee the survival of the human race, but I found myself drawn more to the story of Gaius Baltar. I still don’t necessarily like him as a person, but he’s already getting the most fascinating story of them all. I don’t think I really need a reason why Six keeps appearing to him, though I can’t deny I’m a bit intrigued by the concept. Six helps Baltar. Sort of? But now the issue of faith becomes much more blatant than before. The Cylons seem to believe in some sort of God (capitalized, I assume) that resembles the Abrahamic God in our world. (Though I admit there’s no reference to Christ at all.) The humans worship the gods of Kobol, so their religion is polytheistic. (Is that image all the fighters touch of one of the gods of Kobol? That’s rhetorical, by the way.)

I don’t imagine that a clash between these two religions will be ignored, but for now, they exist separate from one another. The survivors mostly likely are ignorant of such a faith, since the Cylons have been absent from their lives for so long. “33” serves more to add a mysterious introduction to the idea that God is ruling the lives of everyone in existence, and that disobeying God has harmful and negative ramifications. It’s hard to ignore what happens here: Six seems to be telling the truth. I wasn’t surprised that Baltar is a scientist who is also an atheist. And there’s no sense discussing it in terms of science and religion coming together at this point. I know atheist scientists and religious scientists. (More of the former, but that’s another discussion to have!) Baltar resists what Six tells him during his “visions” because they don’t fit his version of logic. In that sense, he’s an atheist that’s familiar to me. I relate to it somewhat, but perhaps not entirely. I do reach out and try to understand the world with my own personal logic, and I certainly feel that the world is full of absurdity.

So when Six tries to tell Baltar that God is watching them, and specifically punishing him for his sins, he can’t believe it. It’s an absurd notion, one detached from his understanding of the world. I like what he says about it: Random chance would eventually bring about an unbearable sense of coincidence, and it’s no reason to ascribe it to a god. Why would God protect Baltar by eliminating the ship Dr. Amarak was onboard, ending 1,300+ lives in the process? Doesn’t that seem like a bit of an overkill?

But Six insists. She persists. And in the face of some good fortune, Baltar denies the existence of God directly to Six. And the Olympic Carrier, holding Dr. Amarak, re-appears. The one person who might be able to expose Baltar for his complicity in the Cylon plan is back.

It’s a tricky situation, isn’t it? Of course, my mind would naturally claim coincidence, but Baltar is in a bit more of a desperate situation than I am. I’m just watching this. He’s about to be exposed. Is God real? Is what Six tells him the truth? Is he really being punished for his actions? Does being punished mean others must suffer for one’s mistakes, too? I don’t know what the writers are planning for this plotline, but I’m totally enamored by it. Because even aside from Baltar’s part in all of this, this episode is just as riveting and exciting. The re-appearance of the Olympic Carrier is yet another instance where multiple characters are forced with an uncomfortable reality. Why was the ship so late to make the jump, and, more important than that, WHY DID THE CYLONS ALLOW THE SHIP TO SURVIVE FOR SO LONG? Adama instantly recognizes what a problem this ship presents. The Cylons have been shown to be completely ruthless and without a shred of mercy. If all of the ships jumped but this one, it stands to reason that they would have destroyed it in a second.

Yet there it is, floating in space. And the crew seems to be fine, according to whomever radios them.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I thought to myself. It has to be a trap, right? Here is what works so brilliantly about this episode: This same event means different things to each of the characters. The return of the Olympic Carrier is Baltar’s figurative (and possibly literal) death sentence. It’s a sign of impending doom for Commander Adama. It’s initially a force of hope for President Roslin, but then a source of guilt and terror when she must ultimately decide what to do with it. And for Starbuck and Lee, the Olympic Carrier will soon be a victim of the fire power, of the clash between personal morality and military duty.

In short, this ship brings out the worst fears in each of our characters. It’s a subtle message, but it’s there. Roslin struggles with an ever-shrinking populace, and the prospect of being able to count those 1,344 souls in the population tally means so much to her. She takes it personally when another life is lost, and you can see how much it hurts her to adjust the count and drop it below fifty thousand. I’m interested to see how the show will explore this side of Roslin as a president, especially since I’m the kind of person to take things personally when it’s probably impractical to do so.

But it’s still Baltar’s story line that holds my interest the most. As it is discovered that the Olympic Carrier is non-responsive and carrying nuclear devices, the bulk of the tensions rests on Baltar’s decision. Using the man’s desperation, Six feeds him the idea that only a true repentance will stop the oncoming disaster. The ship holds the man that will bring him down, and if he is to survive, he must repent in order to save everything. So which side does that place Baltar on? Does Six genuinely believe that Baltar will continue to aid the Cylons? Hell, does Baltar himself believe this? Did he genuinely believe that God would save him if he repented?

I have to respect the writers for taking all of these questions and then REFUSING TO ANSWER THEM. At the end of “33,” we still are no closer to learning if the Cylon God is indeed real. We don’t know if there were 1,344 survivors on board the Olympic Carrier. We don’t know if they were all killed before the jump, and the Cylons sent an empty ship. All we got was a glimpse in the windows and it seemed that there was no one aboard. But did anyone know for sure? Were 1,344 lives lost when Starbuck and Lee fired upon the Olympic Carrier?

“33” doesn’t concern itself with that. Instead, we’re left with people broken and exhausted by the Cylon ambushes who will forever have to live with the idea that they just killed off 2% of the remaining human population. They don’t know that the ship might have been empty, and it doesn’t matter. They’ll live their lives knowing it probably happened anyway.

At the very least, though, there is one final beacon of hope, and one that hits President Roslin rather hard. Amidst all of the fighting and the terror and the chasing, a child was born. The human race just added a single member to their ranks.

And Roslin will take any joy that she can get from this.

THOUGHTS

  • So I didn’t fit it into my narrative above, therefore we must talk about it now: I never thought we’d see Helo ever again. When “33” flashed to Caprica and we saw him running through the forest, sick with radiation poisoning, my first thought was, “Is this a dream sequence of Boomer’s?” Then I thought: “Can Cylons even dream?” Then I started thinking about Phillip K. Dick and got distracted. Anyway, when Six appeared in the forest, I leapt from my seat on the couch and just yelled at my television. (I swear, I either have to be the most entertaining or the most irritating person to watch TV with.) Seriously, how creepy was that? The fact that Six was wearing white made it all the more unsettling. AND THEN BOOMER CYLON SHOWS UP TO SAVE HIM. oh god OH GOD THIS IS SO AWFUL. I don’t like this oh god.
  • How great/hilarious was Starbucks angry rant to Lee that devolved into laughter? Probably my favorite part of the whole episode.
  • Can Cylons even haveΒ children? Are they fully functional humans as well as Cylons?
  • HOW GOOD WAS THIS PREMIERE????

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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195 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E01 – 33

  1. HOW GOOD WAS THIS PREMIERE????
    On a scale from 1 to 10?

    33.

  2. monkeybutter says:

    What the heck. Baltar must have put on his four-leaf clover underpants while running out of the door. Or, there is a God, a Cylon god, who is very demanding of its people. Or that Six is totally screwing with him. There are so many options! Will he go back to resisting the existence of God once he's not as exhausted and terrified, will he waver on the subject for the foreseeable future, or will he accept that there's a higher power that likes the Cylons? Whatever the answer, I'm sure it's just going to add another facet to his not-on-anyone's-side positioning. I think I'm going to love to hate him.

    Whatever, I don't care how scary and ominous it is that he's being tricked by a Cylon, or if he possibly has radiation sickness, Helo's alive!

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/iqvlv5.gif"&gt;
    Oops, forgot: you say that everyone looked like shit, but at the beginning of the episode I thought "gee, Boomer's still looks fantastic," and I thought that it was just Grace Park magic. But nope! It's because she's a Cylon! When Starbuck teased her about it, I just about died. I love you, dramatic irony.

    • cait0716 says:

      <3 Helo! I'm so relieved he survived. So far anyway…

    • NB2000 says:

      Yay for Helo! <3<3<3

    • hpfish13 says:

      Another possibility is that Baltar is dealing with his own culpability in all of this and Six is his own subconscious telling him that God is punishing him, rewarding him, etc. Hmmmmmm…..but how would Baltar have formulated the idea of the "one God" if his society's concept of the gods doesn't have that at all. Now I'm confusing myself…….

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Well, on Earth polytheistic religions tended to dominate, until eventually monotheistic ones became the norm. True, this change was catalysed by philosophers who dedicate their life to this kind of thing, and Gaius doesn't sound like the type, but you never know. He's a clever guy.

      • notemily says:

        Well, Baltar is a genius on some level, right? Presumably he could conceive of the idea of a monotheistic religion, and even make up "commandments" inside his head.

    • rabbitape says:

      Seriously. I'll take Helo + radiation poisoning over no Helo at all.

      Population – 1,344 + 1 baby – 1 Helo = NO THANKS.

  3. who_cares86 says:

    What's the difference between Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica? Star Trek has Stardates. Battlestar Galactica has the whiteboard of extinction.

    And now for the first petpeeve I have with this show. Scenes from each episode being shown during that episodes' opening credits. DO NOT WANT. Thankfully you can just close your eyes when the drumming starts and open them again when it ends but still annoying.

    Also isn't it funny how many alien planets look like forests near Vancouver?

    • echinodermata says:

      Agreed on basically everything.

      And I love playing Canadian Bingo with this show.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I LOVE the whiteboard of extinction! …but not in a creepy way.

      Best scene of this episode – Roslin adding one more to the board. Such a perfect way to end it, after all that horror…a tiny ray of hope.

      • who_cares86 says:

        Apparently that scene wasn't in the original version of the script thankfully they realised their material was far too dark and bleak as it was and that they needed to add a bit of hope.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Also isn't it funny how many alien planets look like forests near Vancouver?

      I often joke that I grew up on Endor. We used to play Ewoks and Stormtroopers in the woods. Or pirates. I don't know why there were pirates in the woods, but there were.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I'm personally amazed why the universe seems dominated by lands of cardboard, British rock quarries and Vancouver forests, yes.

  4. echinodermata says:

    I have a quibble, which is that we seem to be in a universe where people take their religion very seriously, and it's a big part of their ceremonies, and that the religious mythology surrounding their earth is the one thing that gives people hope. The reason I have a bit of a problem with that is now we get a character announcing their atheism. And that character is a bastard. I get that Baltar is still a sympathetic character, and probably one of the most interesting characters on the show. But so far, he's the sole voice of atheism on the show and wow do I wish he weren't. But then oh look the atheist is also getting some sort of conversion plot. Couldn't we just not? This isn't new or interesting to me, and it's doubly annoying since today's HDM chapter speaks to my atheist heart. Yeah, so I'm on the defense when it comes to portrayals of atheists and atheism, and this pushed a button for me.

    But truly, I think this is a fantastic episode. Probably the strongest beginning to a tv show I've ever seen, and one of my favorite eps from this show. That memorial of pictures lining the walls of a good stretch of corridor is wonderful and I like to think whoever is in charge of dressing the set and picking the props had fun making it. That wall is one of my favorite things on this show, I think.

    Also love Starbuck's little smack-down talk to her superior, which includes berating herself. It's a fantastic bit of characterization to me and it makes me fall in love with her character.

    That board with the survivor count is pretty gutting. That the number is so low, and that losses are so expected that a single tick up is a momentous occasion. It's a great touch to the episode. And fantastic acting, imo.
    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/11v2qzk.gif"&gt;

    Now, why 33 minutes? The BSG universe and mythos is complicated, and we certainly didn't get too many answers in this ep, but I like the idea of say Cylons arbitrarily picking what constitutes half an hour for them to go find the humans. I like the idea of them playing mental warfare, and that they would have their own system of keeping time that they go off of because they reject their creators' culture. Pure fanwank at this point (and I'm not saying whether or not it's contradicted later), but I like that explanation.

    EDIT: one thing I forgot to include. So the flashes of upcoming episode moments in the credits show Helo on Caprica. And since I didn't like knowing in advance that we were gonna see Helo again, and so soon, I stopped watching the "spoilery" part of the credits right from the beginning.

    • who_cares86 says:

      Why 33 minutes? Probably the same reason a Stargate can only remain open for 38 minutes, timetravel happens at 88mph and 42 is somehow the answer to everything.

      • echinodermata says:

        I swear I originally included a reference to the stargate 38 minutes thing when I wrote this comment a couple days ago, but it seemed like a distraction when I included it so I tossed it out.

      • MissDirect says:

        I once heard that 42 was chosen because it's the number of spots on a pair of dice. Not sure if it's true or if you care, but there you go.

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Nah. Adams has basically said he chose it because it was the most random number he could come up with. No deep meaning there.

          ….or maybe that's what he wants us to think

          • Rob M says:

            I did kind of suspect he just made it up, but the discovery that 6*9 really does equal 42 if you work in base 13 maths was one of those "huh?!" moments where it felt like he'd actually planned things.

            • @sab39 says:

              Eh, there's nothing special about base 13. If the number 13 had been significant in all kinds of ways throughout the rest of the series then maybe I'd believe it was intentional. But base 13 is a really odd number base to use – commonly used bases are 2, (occasionally 4), 8, 10 and 16.

              Also, conventionally, numbers in bases other than ten aren't pronounced the same way as if they were in base ten. So if you write the number two in binary, it's written 10 but pronounced "one-zero" not "ten". HHGTG is pretty clear that 42 is pronounced "forty-two" not "four-two". By mathematical convention, that means it's base ten.

              (But isn't the existence of the number 42 spoilery if Mark might read HHG?)

              • cait0716 says:

                I think 42 has pretty well infiltrated the collective consciousness. I knew about it years before I read the book, probably before I'd even heard of it

    • cait0716 says:

      It's interesting. I've never been bothered by portrayals of atheists in the media. Probably because, thanks to my mom, I have a complete superiority complex about my atheism* and always considered myself part of a majority. I was spoon-fed Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Richard Dawkins, and the like growing up. So I'm more likely to think, aw, isn't that nice that they're actually treating a religious person with some respect (that's not exactly something that happened in my household). When I saw this show in college, the concept of an atheist having a crisis of faith was completely new to me and I've always been intrigued by Baltar's story here.

      *I'm getting better about it

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I had the same experience, being in an atheist majority.
        At my school we had 'Philosophy and Religion' lessons, and when we were asked to put up our hand if we believed in some kind of god, only two people out of about 30 did. I hardly know anyone religious. Actually I'm pretty sure one of my friends is a Hindu, but we don't really discuss it. I feel very lucky to have grown up where I'm not demonised for my Atheism.

        • cait0716 says:

          I even knew a lot of religious people. My group of friends actually included a Catholic, a Mormon, a Lutheran, a Jew, a Pagan, and an agnostic. So I was the sole atheist, but they were all the sole representatives of their religion. And my home life led me to believe that I was clearly right and they were clearly wrong (but that it would be rude to say that)

          • evocativecomma says:

            That's one of the difficulties of being an atheist. Ellen DeGeneres said this, and I've kept it in my quote files because it's so, so true:

            "I think the trouble with being a critical thinker and an atheist is that you’re right. And it’s quite hard being right in the face of people who are wrong without sounding like a fuckwit. People go 'Do you think the vast majority of the world is wrong?', well yes, I don’t know how to say that nicely, but yes."

            • unfurlinglocks says:

              Yeah, I'd say saying that the trouble is that you're right is a total fuckwit-y thing to say. Especially because everyone else is saying that too, no matter what they believe in. I don't find saying that one BELIEVES oneself to be right is at all offensive or bad–it's obvious, it makes sense, people can deal with it. But people of any belief, even if it be no belief at all, going up to people and saying, "yeah, I'm right, definitely, no doubt"? That's a fuckwit-y thing and shows a distinct lack of humility.

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          I've had to take a Philosophy and Religion class (okay, had to take it the first three years. The rest were volantary on my part. *grins*) I found it about equally split between athiests and believers, with a couple agnostics thrown in. We also had a real variety of religion, with everything from Wiccan, Christians, Buddhism, Islam….

          One thing that I have found quite a shock is how much more difficult it is to talk about religion in 'real life'. In class, as long as you phrased things correctly, you could talk about anything as a genial debate, and not have to worry about offending anyone. In real life, I once mentioned Jesus ("Hey, has anyone here lost their Jesus necklace?") and nearly started a flame war. Painful awakening.

          • enigmaticagentscully says:

            Ah, I admit I did have a similar experience when we discussed LGBT rights in that class. Everyone was all for equality and respecting other people's choices and sexuality…but actually tell anyone you're gay in 'real life' and it's a whole different story.
            :/

      • echinodermata says:

        It's weird cause I was raised in a totally secular household, but it was like religion was an off-limits topic in my house growing up. And even though I'm sure my mom doesn't believe in any god, I distinctly remember her telling me as a child that it's "rude" to identify as an atheist, and that I should instead use "agnostic." So it's more like I was raised with a weird 'don't ask, don't tell' mentality about my lack of religious beliefs.

        So even though I was raised without any religion, it was still very clear to me from childhood that atheism was something considered generally bad and that I shouldn't talk about it.

        • cait0716 says:

          I'm sorry your parents gave you that impression. I'm not sure the impression I was left with – that religion is for the weak-minded* – was any better. But it sucks to be made ashamed of a part of yourself.

          *I am far more open-minded now. I don't believe this anymore. But I definitely did in high school.

          • echinodermata says:

            I think what irks me is that I don't think my parents have an issue with atheism, but they realize others do so they just stayed away from it. And them not talking to me about religion and theism meant I grew up having to listen to other people, which wasn't helpful until I discovered non-fiction biology books on my own.

            (I totally get that Dawkins is a privileged jackass, but he definitely did have a positive impact on my life in that he helped me fall in love with science, and he was saying things about religion and god I hadn't heard people say out loud before.)

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            I can understand how you fall into that. Its very easy to think when you meet someone religious "oh, how naive!" Sometimes, even though I was raised protestant and have tonnes of religious friends, teachers and co-workers, I fall into that trap.

            Personally, I blame it on more militant athiests, like Dawkins. Don't get me wrong, Dawkins is a brilliant biologist ('The Greatest Show On Earth was an amazing read) but I think that he causes a lot of extra hostility in an already bitter debate.

            • Kaderie says:

              Could we not call Dawkins militant, please?

              The man writes books, and is kind of a douche about the supposed superiority of atheism, but in the context of religion it's beyond uncool to call peaceful atheists militant for expressing their opinions – it's a false equivalency with, you know, actual militant religious people and it's silencing and priviliged and… sorry, I'm rambling, but it's kind of a trigger.

              Also, hi, kind of a lurker, and I usually love reading all the insightful commentary at Mark's, but this kinda hit close to home :/

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Actually, the portrayal of atheists on GLEE is what stopped me watching it. It was just too bizarre and simplistic for me.

        • cait0716 says:

          I actually never really thought about it until you mentioned it. The simple fact of Kurt and Sue being atheist made them automatically more relaetable to me. Granted, I never watch Glee that closely. But during that episode I just thought it was nice that they had a Christian and a Jew. Until I started reading your blogs, I never thought of atheists as a minority that needed to be represented well in the media. (I still don't have a huge urge to seek out accurate portrayals of atheists, but I realize that that's just me. I was surrounded by them as a child)

        • monkeybutter says:

          Actually, that really did piss me off. I think that's when I stopped watching, too.

      • breesquared says:

        You feel privileged as an atheist?
        Shiiiit can I live in your neighborhood?

        • cait0716 says:

          Like I said, it's mostly my superiority complex about the whole thing. But I was also raised by scientists and studied science and have a career in the sciences which makes it easier to surround oneself with atheists (simply because there's a higher population of atheists in those fields). I also have a tendency to assume people don't believe in god until I'm told otherwise, and I usually don't ask. On my first watch of the show, I figured that all the religion was so much tradition that most people didn't actually believe in, like Christmas trees and Easter eggs. So I never viewed Gaius as standing out in any way. Religiously, that is. He was just a bit more outspoken about it, at least to Six. I'll talk a bit more about this in the future for fear of spoilers here.

          • hpfish13 says:

            "I also have a tendency to assume people don't believe in god until I'm told otherwise, and I usually don't ask"

            It's funny, because, despite being a Christian myself, I tend to do this as well (unless I'm at a church related function) because a majority of the people I interact with–including the majority of my extended family–are atheists or pantheists (I hope that's the right term, maybe spiritualist is better?).

    • Well, 33 is also the age Jesus died, just to throw in some more ~*religious symbolism*~.

      Or the Cylons just like the Smashing Pumpkins.

    • NB2000 says:

      Oh that gif, Mary McDonnell is amazing.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I hate it when there's a sole atheist (especially one that is arrogant, cranky, and amoral) in a narrative who finds god, but I'm surprisingly okay with it here because I'm hoping that there will be other characters who question the existence of god(s), or who don't care either way. It's only the first episode! He's not just questioning his lack of faith, everything about him is being thrown into upheaval because of his Six. This goes beyond "there are no atheists in foxholes"; his mind, his entire psyche, is under near-constant assault. And Baltar's mind seems like the easiest way for us to get insight into the Cylon belief system, so I'm willing to see where this all goes. Unless, of course, it gets ridiculously clichéd.

      In any case, thanks for reminding me how grateful I am for HDM's portrayal of non-believers.

      • echinodermata says:

        I should probably explain that BSG came out when I was in high school, so my interpretation of this show is colored by the context that I was a young teenager watching this, at a time when I was starting to notice media portrayals of minority groups I belonged to.

        So I was dismayed to see Boomer, the East Asian woman, be a villainous non-human. And I was dismayed to see Baltar, the arrogant bastard, be an atheist whose storyline at least initially revolves around questioning his lack of faith.

        Certainly future events and other characterization will make a difference, but I have strong memories from this show hitting me at a time that was rather formative to my understanding of how media matters. And I've seen the show so I do know how things end, making this an even more difficult topic to speak of now, but I figure I can still share my initial impressions without going into "reaching" territory.

        (I suppose I should also mention that I grew up with Stargate SG-1 and hearing about "false gods" all the time from main characters made me really happy, so SG1 is one of the shows of my heart even if there are other scifi shows I consider objectively better.)

        • nanceoir says:

          I was a young teenager watching this

          Forget Tahmoh, Aaron, Katee, and Bamber looking so young; you're the one who's so little! You watched this as a young teen? That's… I mean… it can't have been that long ago, really, right? HOW DOES THIS EVEN HAPPEN?

          Why does this information make me feel *~old~* when I'm not, really? Curse you young whippersnappers; stop being so… so… young!

          *halo* πŸ˜€

          Actually, in all seriousness, I don't think I realized (or remembered, if you've mentioned it before) you are quite as young. Not that it matters, of course, but from everything I've seen, you are awesomely mature and thoughtful and with it and everything we should all strive to be, and I am that much more impressed by you than I already was. (Curse you young whippersnappers; you make the rest of us look bad! *g*)

          • echinodermata says:

            Well, S1 aired in 2004. So without specifying, I'm in my 20s now. But yeah, younger than the cast.

            Thank you for the compliments!

        • monkeybutter says:

          Your dismay is completely justified even now that you're older. I can see why both Boomer and Baltar's portrayal stood out to you in a negative way. Even if those portrayals change with more context, the initial impressions are still important: the atheist is a jerk and wrong, and the only East Asian character isn't really human and is part of a group that nearly killed off humanity. I guess it also doesn't help if you were raised thinking that atheists are rude, or that it has bad connotations. When I was a teenager, I probably would have been turned off by the god talk, the forced conversion, and the jerkass atheist, so it's no small deal. I'm sorry if I came off as dismissive of your complaint.

          • echinodermata says:

            Nah, it's fine. I didn't read your comment as dismissive, in any case. Nor did I intend mine as defensive, except to say that I maintain my opinion.

            BSG is one of the earliest things that really made me notice these sorts of narratives, so I'm more sensitive to it on this show than I would with others. And it was a show that I took more personally because, well, I'm (half-)Chinese and I'm an atheist.

            In comparison, I started watching SG-1 before BSG, and I was younger and less conscious of these sorts of issues. But SG-1 also doesn't hit issues of my personal identification. The main person of color on that show is black, and is also the alien. And that's problematic but I didn't give it much thought until much later.

            So I'm well aware that BSG's problems had bad timing for me, I guess.

            • hpfish13 says:

              I wasn't thrown by the fact that Teal'c was black and the only alien, until I started watching SG-Atlantis, and the same thing is true on that show. Still, I am loving both SG-1 and Atlantis (and I'm glad I've still got 5 seasons left collectively)!

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          Slightly off topic, but I just love the throwaway line in SG1 where they wonder whether the Abrahamic God could also be a Goa'uld…but Teal'c just shoots it down by saying that he doesn't know of any Goa'uld who exhibit the compassion and forgiveness required to take that role.

          I thought it was a neat and kind of amusing way to resolve that potentially thorny issue. πŸ˜›

          • who_cares86 says:

            It's important to remember that Stargate isn't really anti god if anything it is anti organised religion.

          • echinodermata says:

            Hah, I remember that. I actually thought that line was kind of a cop-out (why hello Old Testament), though one I certainly understood them making.

            But then the Ori were more based in Christian mythology, so I was surprised they went there in the last two seasons.

            The show can get surprisingly subversive imo.

    • Maya says:

      RDM (Ronald D Moore) said he chose 33 minutes because it's enough time to catnap, eat and do other things but not enough time to get any meaningful rest. I like the symmetry of the number tbh.

    • barnswallowkate says:

      I love her face from now into eternity <3

    • notemily says:

      I always assumed that it took 33 minutes for the Cylons to get a lock on their new position and jump there, for whatever reason. That it was a limitation of technology. I think if they could have gotten there faster, they would have. Their goal is to obliterate the humans, not mess with their heads, right? Well, except for the Six only Baltar can see. πŸ˜›

      The religious stuff bothers me as well, but not because Gaius is an atheist who's having doubts. I think I'm just way more interested in the humans, and what's going on with them, than what any God or gods might be doing. In my head-canon, the disappearance and reappearance of the Olympic Carrier really are just coincidences and aren't actually caused by Baltar's faith or lack thereof. I think it's interesting the way Six is fucking with his head, but I'd rather focus on what's actually happening than on whether or not God is pulling the strings.

  5. Jenny_M says:

    Helo! He's alive! And taking some kind of radiation medication! And he doesn't know the Cylons look like us now! OH THE DRAMA.

  6. NB2000 says:

    One of the things I enjoy most about this episode is the way we're just dropped into the 33 minute situation and it's not explained to us straight away. We get to see everyone's reactions, and thus reestablish all of the characters before being told what's going on. It's an interesting way to begin the series proper.

    HELO! YOU LIVE, you look like death warmed over but YOU'RE ALIVE…and stuck with a bunch of Cylons. Oh dear.

    The photographs lining the walls of the hallway is one of those really touching details that add a sense of realism to the show. That's exactly what the survivours would be doing and it makes for a really haunting visual.

    "He's a strange one isn't he?" rofl glad someone noticed, aside from that couple sitting opposite him during his little rant about humans having limits (I suspect they immediately tried to move seats). I do like that the show acknowledges how strange it must be to be on the other side of a Gaius/Six conversation, the side that can't see her and just sees a man who doesn't seem entirely connected to the conversation at hand.

    "It's because she's a cylon" I vote Starbuck changes her name to Kara Trelawney.

    I'll probably have been beaten to this but:
    A good story is certainly important, but the actors and actresses on this show take the tremendous story, and they give it a life of its own.

    From the BSG Wiki: "To add realism to the sleep deprivation motif, Olmos enlisted the aid of a sleep deprivation expert and also curtailed his sleeping habits to a maximum of three hours per night, noting how it affected him. With the help of this expert, he relayed to the rest of the crew how deprivation affects the human body and mind. Additionally, director Michael Rymer told the actors to choose one symptom to play, so as to avoid distracting repetition." Have I mentioned recently that I love this cast? Because I kind of do, a lot.

    • LucyGoosey says:

      That's a little more dedication that I would be willing to give. I once stayed up about 30 hours to go pick up a relative…then got home at 6 pm, and promptly passed out in bed for 16 hours. Sleep deprivation is NASTY.

      :trying to picture Katee Sackhoff in the Trelawney glasses:

      • NB2000 says:

        Oh god that does sound awful. The longest I ever managed was about 23 hours and by the end I was barely able to walk around the house.

        rofl if someone managed to photoshop that I would love them forever.

      • diane says:

        Not really trying to one-up anyone, but my worst sleep deprevation was 3 days, spiced with 8 hour jet-lag. Discovered that you can't sleep in-flight in an Air Force cargo jet, with no soundproofing, and a jet engine (cargo) parked directly in front of my feet. Two long layovers, and couldn't sleep then either because we didn't know when the next flight would be called. Ended it all with a trip to the hospital to see my father, who had nearly died.

        I can really empathize with the characters in 33.

      • hpfish13 says:

        I was a awake for 38 hours once. I was coming home from England (after being there for 4 months) and we left our residence at 5 AM, which means I was up and getting ready to go at 3:30 AM. We drove from the Lake District down to Manchester, had a half hour to an hour wait and then flew to London. At Heathrow we had a 3 hour layover, then we flew 13 hours home. I could not sleep on the entire journey (both because I was excited to see my family and because I didn't want to waste the time I had with my England Semester friends). I got home and it was only the middle of the afternoon. Then, of course, my family wanted to hear all about England, so I was up until between 10 and 12 PM.

        In addition to all this, I had been drinking 6 cups of tea a day in England, and I hadn't had any that day and I hadn't drunk enough water either. So I was suffering from sleep deprivation, caffeine withdrawal, jet lag, and dehydration.

        The next day I got a call from my friends at school saying they wanted to see me before the semester ended (we got home a week before the end of the semester). So, I got on a train and took the 2 hr trip to Santa Barbara. My friends took me out to dinner (which I couldn't eat because I felt so nauseated) and then I went back to the school prepared to collapse.

        The friend I was staying with started to watch this show as I settled into going to sleep, and I, being ever curious, leaned over to see what it was. She was watching the Avatar "The Earth King" and I was immediately fascinated. So, despite my exhaustion, I proceeded to watch the whole episode and the rest of the season. Then, I went back and watched the first 10 episodes of the first season.

        In the following 3 weeks I watched the first season and a half twice, the second half of season 2 again, 2 seasons of Lost and 5 seasons of 24. And thus my addiction to TV began….

        Wow….this comment got away from itself, and got really, really long…….

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Tell me about it. I was once stuck on a 16 hour plain ride. Couldn't sleep- there was a baby crying and turbulence and I just wanted to lie down- I felt like the walking dead. Passed out the moment I got into my relative's place.

    • NB2000 says:

      I leapt from my seat on the couch and just yelled at my television. (I swear, I either have to be the most entertaining or the most irritating person to watch TV with.)

      I do the exact same thing all the time (well not the jumping up because it's difficult to do sitting at my desk) but screaming and shouting at my screen whenever something major happens? Frak yeah.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I constantly scream at the TV when I'm watching stuff alone. It drives my cat up the wall.

        πŸ˜›

        • hpfish13 says:

          My biggest problem is not yelling at the tv (which I do often, but have found I can contain when I need to be quiet), but laughing really loudly, almost bordering on guffawing. I end up having to cover my mouth with one and hand and plug my nose with the other, because otherwise the sound escapes uncontrollably. Also, I'm sure I annoy people at the movie theater, because I'm always pointing at things on the screen when the characters don't see them.

    • The photographs lining the walls of the hallway is one of those really touching details that add a sense of realism to the show. That's exactly what the survivours would be doing and it makes for a really haunting visual.

      They cut scenes to keep that one in, and I'm glad. When Dee gets alllllll the way to the end and slowly looks around… waterworks.

    • cait0716 says:

      One of the things I enjoy most about this episode is the way we're just dropped into the 33 minute situation and it's not explained to us straight away.

      It also makes it really confusing if you didn't watch the miniseries first. I was so lost the first time I saw this.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Ditto! Like who are these people, what the hell is going on??

      • Sierra says:

        I hadn't seen the miniseries before this first episode of the regular show, and man, did it throw me. I kept wondering if I had the time wrong and had missed part of the episode or something.

  7. Noybusiness says:

    They haven't left the galaxy.

    • cait0716 says:

      Truth. Just the solar system.

      I'm not sure I'd ever want to leave the galaxy. There's way too much nothing out there. As opposed to the amount of nothing in the galaxy, which is slightly easier to deal with.

  8. Noybusiness says:

    “Is that image all the fighters touch of one of the gods of Kobol? That’s rhetorical, by the way.”

    Er, it wouldn’t be a spoiler to tell you the answer to that, I promise. The explanation is in a deleted scene.

  9. monkeybutter says:

    I'm glad they changed it and left it ambiguous. Lee, Starbuck, and maybe Boomer and random guy could have seen human remains from the blast if they want to confirm it, I suppose. It'd explain why they showed Lee watching the aftermath with a hard look on his face. Either way, something happened to 1344 people (what's that, over 2% of their survivors?), so it's dark enough.

    • cait0716 says:

      Yeah, Jamie Bamber definitely played it as though he were absolutely sure he was responsible for deaths of those 1344 people. Especially in his last seen with his father.

      This show is certainly incredibly dark, but it's a little less dark if you leave the mass murder to the bad guys

  10. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Since y’all seemed to enjoy my little bit of fanart yesterday, I though I’d post this picture which I did a few years ago when I first watched the show!

    <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/70dret.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    From left to right: Six, Tigh, Baltar, Adama, Roslin, Lee, Starbuck, Boomer.
    Don’t worry, I promise not to post anymore silly fanart after this. πŸ˜›

  11. Fun fact, in the original version, the Olympic Carrier absolutely did have people on it, begging and pleading for Apollo and Starbuck not to kill them. But the network decided it was too dark and made them change it.

    I watched the episode last night with the commentary track on, and the creators (especially RDM, big surprise) are downright gleeful about pointing out shadows in the windows that could be people: "There's one! Wait, there's three!"

    • cait0716 says:

      I love them and their commentaries so much. The podcasts are the reason I sprang for the DVDs instead of going with any cheaper alternatives.

      • Me, too! They're some of the best commentaries I've ever listened to, and I give full respect to Ron Moore for recording a podcast for each episode and to Sci Fi for posting it usually when the episode went live. That's great fan service!

        I used to watch a new ep once on its own and then immediately again with the podcast. Those were the days. πŸ˜€

  12. plunderb says:

    I don't think it's spoilery to tell the origins of the photo the pilots touch, as the episode originally included a scene that explained the image's origins (cut due to time constraints).

    It's supposed to be a picture of a soldier taken on the roof of the capitol building on Aerilon during the Cylon attack. It is supposed to reference pics of firefighters on 9/11 in the same way that Roslin's swearing in scene echoes the famous photo of LBJ.

    • echinodermata says:

      With some thought, I feel like saying there's an explanation in a deleted scene for this ep is okay. But I'd rather not see the explanation in a comment unless Mark asks himself for it. So I'm deleting this.

      • Noybusiness says:

        That's what I basically figured for my own comment. His request not to hear it stands till he says otherwise, but we can assure him it's a non-spoiler.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          Oooh, is this regarding the poster? You can tell me! Thanks for being careful about it, thought.

          • echinodermata says:

            Undeleted the comment, then.

            • Noybusiness says:

              Oh yes, it's definitely another copy. Roslin's has a plaque reading "Lest We Forget".

              You may not have heard the pilots saying things when they touched (I think it was Boomer who said "never forget", for example).

          • Noybusiness says:

            What PlunderB says above. The soldier is kneeling, either wounded or overcome with emotion. A building is smoking. The deleted scene shows Billy unwrapping it on Colonial One for President Roslin and reading the description; someone sent it to her. I'm not sure if she then gave it to Galactica or if it's another copy, seems like a tight timeline for the former.

    • plunderb says:

      Ok, sorry. I will be more cautious from now on.

      In the episode, they say something like "Lest we forget" when they touch the photo — like 9/11 "Never forget." When I heard that, I thought, would I really need a bumper sticker slogan to keep the nuclear annihilation of the human species fresh in my mind? It happened like a week ago.

  13. redheadedgirl says:

    An explanation of that picture the pilots touch is not a spoiler- the full story of it is in a deleted scene, but I'll leave it up to mods to answer the question.

    ETA: …or someone else already answered it. Okay.

  14. enigmaticagentscully says:

    And doesn't the wall of pictures just break your heart? Its like this whole episode you're worrying about what's happing to the fleet and then BAM! Suddenly you're reminded that these are the lucky ones, the people who survived.
    And when the camera pans back to show the whole corridor just covered with photos of dead loved one or lost family…gives me chills every time.

  15. Kaci says:

    This episode was so…INTENSE that I felt my chest physically tightening while I watched. I was watching it on my laptop in bed, but had I been on the couch, I'd have been on the edge of my seat.

    My favorite part, though, was Roslin at the end, when she gets to add one member. I love her so much after having seen only…what, four hours of this show? Less? <3_<3

  16. enigmaticagentscully says:

    In other news, I've been scouring my email this afternoon for the latest Mark Does Stuff newsletter. "Why hasn't it gone out yet?? He promised there would be one this afternoon!!!"
    Then I remembered that it wasn't yet afternoon where Mark is.

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/5vdp21.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Time zones, man. They hurt my brain.

    • Fucking time zones, how do they work?

      • who_cares86 says:

        They don't?

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I don't care what anyone says, it's totally 9:50pm right now. It's dark outside and everything!

        I find the rotation and orbit of the Earth and whatnot so hard to get my head around.

        • who_cares86 says:

          You know what don't make no sense? Seasons. It's supposed to be hottest in the summer yet it's always hotter in May than in July.

          • hpfish13 says:

            Last year it was 113 degrees at in my hometown in September……That was not a good day.

          • breesquared says:

            Well here in Texas it has topped more than 100 degrees every day in July SOOOO
            lol, it's different everywhere because of the tilt. Texas seems to follow the pattern pretty well. Except that time it snowed on Easter.

  17. Meenalives says:

    I'm so glad that Mark is watching this since it's finally get me to watch it. I've seen the first season (long enough ago to have forgotten most of it) and been spoiled on a lot of the rest, but I'm still looking forward to it. Shows using natural settings filmed around Vancouver are always really jarring to me because I grew up in Washington State and spent much of my childhood playing in the woods, so the plants are so very familiar and make it impossible to see Caprica as an alien world (if Helo starts starving to death I will yell at the screen because he's in an area with some of the richest concentrations of wild edible plants in the world). It's even worse in the X-Files, because they always say they're in a forest in Massachusetts or Minnesota or somewhere and then the trees are all Douglas Firs and Western Redcedars with a Salal and blackberry undergrowth.

    • pica_scribit says:

      I'm a PNW person too! I've recently been watching reruns of Stargate SG-1, and it all looks just like home to me. I spent so much time playing in those woods as a child that it's almost impossible for me to perceive them as menacing.

  18. clodia_risa says:

    “I still don’t necessarily like him as a person, but he’s already getting the most fascinating story of them all.” Thank goodness for magnificent/whiny/crazy/fascinating bastards like Baltar. They make every story more interesting.

  19. Sara says:

    That scene with Dee lining up with the other crewmembers to search for news about her family is just heartbreaking. The guy who processes her is just so exhausted and you can see it in his eyes that he's been taking information from people all day who are looking for their loved ones.

    And then–AND THEN–she goes outside to put her pictures on the board and you realize, this isn't about finding missing loved ones. It's about mourning and remembrance and about how every single person on that ship has lost EVERYONE they know back home and it just–wow. It hits hard.

    • Jenny_M says:

      And THEN you start thinking about the billions and billions of people who will not be remembered, because they have no family who survived, and then you get even more depressed.

  20. pica_scribit says:

    Speaking as a BSG newbie, I am enjoying this a whole lot. The show has succeeded in its primary goal, i.e., I want to know what happens next.

    Regarding the internal conflict among the human Cylons, I'm thinking they made themselves a little *too* human, and now they're all going to have their own desires and motivations, which certainly makes things more gray and interesting.

    • notemily says:

      I like your "too human" theory. Like, maybe they were just trying to imitate humans well enough that they could infiltrate their society, but if they actually end up feeling human, that might make things… complicated.

  21. Maya says:

    How good is this season opener?

    So good that it won the 2005 Hugo Award for Short-Form Dramatic Presentation. Seriously. The SERIES PREMIERE won the Hugo Award. God I love this show.

    I love the scene with Dee walking down the hall with all the pictures up. It's hard to process the loss of an entire world, especially a fictional one, but seeing an entire hallway filled with pictures of people who were killed is just…heartbreaking.

    Helo wasn't supposed to come back, but he was so popular during the miniseries that they wrote him in. So we are blessed with more of Tahmoh Penikett's arms unfffffffffffffff

    • hpfish13 says:

      I have a reply but its a Buffy quote so, here, in rot13

      "Unir lbh frra uvf nezf? Gubfr ner tbbq nezf gb unir"

      • Maya says:

        Hahahahahahahaha yessssssss. Appropriate quote is appropriate.

        ANYTHING THAT INVOLVES TAHMOH PENIKETT ON MY SCREEN IS A THING OF BEAUTY.

        • hpfish13 says:

          This is my feeling regarding James Marsters being on my tv screen! He's just so nice to look at! It threw me a little, though, when I found out he's a year older than my dad…..

          • enigmaticagentscully says:

            This chart I saw on Tumblr the other day best sums up this situation…

            <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/nvcuu1.png&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

            GPOY.

          • cait0716 says:

            My mom and I used to argue about which one of us he'd be more attracted to. I hated that he was closer to her age than mine.

            • hpfish13 says:

              I almost met him at Comic-Con last year! My friend got his autograph for me while I was in the HP panel (he signed my copy of the latest [Buffy spin-off] comic book) and then there was no line or big crowd when we went back to the booth where he was. But, my nerves got the best of me and I ended up standing just on the other side of the aisle pretending to be talking to my friend, but really just staring and jumping up and down. Looking back, we were probably pretty obvious, but I was really worried I'd walk up to him and only manage to say "Um…………………………" and everything would be really awkward.

              Also, I've never seen anything related to Dragon Ball-Z or played the card game, but when I heard he was going to be in the movie, but his face was going to be covered up, I figured it was a bad sign about the movie.

      • lyvanna says:

        Hehe, exactly what came to my mind as well. Though I do think almost exclusively in Buffy quotes.

  22. Ryan Lohner says:

    There's a reason you didn't expect to see Helo again: the producers themselves were planning to just leave him behind forever until the people who watched the miniseries all wrote in demanding to know what would happen to him. Remember, there was no forward planning at all when making the miniseries.

    Ron Moore wanted to show that there were people aboard the Olympic Carrier but the network execs wouldn't let him, saying it was too grim. After the entirety of humanity is shown to be under 50,000 people. Yeah, they were kind of stupid sometimes.

    • LucyGoosey says:

      I actually think hearing the people on board would have been a bit repetitive after the bit in the miniseries with the non-FTL ships. Just having it reappear, and just coming towards them, not responding to any attempts to communicate was pretty bad

    • doesntsparkle says:

      Ron Moore wanted to show that there were people aboard the Olympic Carrier but the network execs wouldn't let him, saying it was too grim.

      That's interesting, I was a little curious about that bit. I got that impression from the horrified look on Lee's face.

    • notemily says:

      The effects people actually snuck in some moving shadows and flickering lights so that the ship wouldn't appear TOTALLY empty.

  23. hassibah says:

    Oh god this episode was so stressfull! Also it's the first time I think that I really connected with the characters and I totally got Starbuck, and I don't mean just when she was being noble and trying to do the right thing at the end but when she was drugged up and exhausted and cussing, cause that's how I roll.

    Ugh Baltar, I did not like you from the beginning, and I like you less now that your storyline involves some of my least favourite tropes, I mean the Hot Girl that can manipulate men and the violent religious fanatic. And those types exist IRL, of course, but when the blurb at the beginning of the show mentions the context in which the robots first went to war with humans but I'm still waiting to see any of this in the actual plot instead of the one-noted-ness we got got so far (though yeah, obviously there is still plenty of time for it to happen.)

    I did have the tiniest suspicion that Helo might show up again, it was just something about how they bothered characterizing him, but I had no idea how and I'd figured it'd be some twist waaay in the future or in a flashback or something like that.
    So wait, why haven't they completely destroyed the planet yet and are hunting on it instead of bombing? Are they looking for someone or thing or are they going to enslave the human race? Did the show's producers just think a chase scene would look cool and didn't think it through? Is Boomer part of this plan or does she really have free will? Dun dun dunnnn.

    edit: Wow you guys have a lot of thoughts about Baltar and religion. I just assumed that he just wanted to save his own ass.

  24. tanbarkie says:

    Regarding the appearance of sleep deprivation of the cast – a lot of that was because they really WERE sleep-deprived. Olmos and other members of the main cast purposely limited themselves to three hours of sleep per night during the shooting of "33" in order to accurately display the physiological symptoms of exhaustion.

    Best cast ever?

    Best cast EVER.

  25. lyvanna says:

    As an opener this is amazing, the pace from the mini-series is kept up perfectly. I like that we pick up almost straight after the mini-series ends, we aren't going to cut any corners here. The sleep deprivation is so realistic and frightening… any less than an hour and I tend to feel worse than having no sleep at all so only getting 15 minutes every so often is a horrible thought. I too was exhausted by the half-way point of this episode.

    Although Baltar is still a very interesting character this episode almost made me like him less as he was scheming, bargaining and hoping for (possibly) 1300 people to be killed so that he would be saved again. It is ambiguous as we don't know whether there are people on the ship or not or whether we too should be rooting for it to be destroyed because it's dangerous but it still feels crass from Baltar.

    HELO IS ALIVE!!!! And alone on a radiated planet surrounded by Cylons he doesn't know are Cylons. Oh dear πŸ™

    The wall of pictures is very sad and starts to give you a real sense of the scale of everything. I also felt very bad for Dee as she tried to find out some info on her family and friends and got a bit of a short response from the guy in charge. Although he was sleep deprived.

    ETA: Forgot to mention that I love all the different hand gestures the pilots do on the picture.

  26. doesntsparkle says:

    So far, Laura Roslin has been a pretty darn good President; the humans really lucked out. Considering the massive genocide, they could have had a really ineffective, minor bureaucrat. Roslin reminds me a bit of Leslie Knope, but less perky and more powerful. She really cares about people, but has to make really hard decisions.

    I kind of expected Helo to show up again; I didn't expect it would happen so soon or for the Cylons to find him.

  27. Partes says:

    I've never watched Battlestar before, so I'll be watching along here with you. SO EXCITED. Except, I am event LESS PREPARED than you all. Unfortunately I couldn't get a hold of the mini series so I'll be going in completely fresh, but I've looked it up and apparantly it's not completely, totally essential? Ah well, I'll be catching up with it eventually anyway, and I started Harry Potter on the third book without realising when I was nine. I've heard comparisons in Lost in some themes and directing, so super-excited even though I'm not entirely sure what to expect. Big sci-fi fan, though, so hopefully I'll fall in love with this show. FINGERS CROSSED.

    The tension that runs through this episode is chilling and really well done; the constant ticking clock which doesn't seem to stop created an atmosphere of terror, and my first impressions are good thanks to the way they dealt with standard living conditions on the ships: they're actually important. Yes, there is a battle for survival occuring every 33 minutes, but there is also a sense of danger underlined by the fact that these piots are having problems just functioning because they're so stressed out.

    The characters seem interesting (especially the creepy dude who kept talking to the sexy blonde lady, he's freaky but fascinating) and this also seems really well thought out. Haven't seen anything I couldn't understand yet without the mini series either, so that's cool. Can't wait to see where it's all heading!

  28. X15lm204 says:

    This episode. Wow, this episode.

    This was the first episode I saw, and it was perfect serendipity. I was a bored 14 year old channel-flipping when my mother noticed the words Battlestar Galatica in the next slot. She insisted I watch it; it had been her favorite show when she was 14, the first thing to get her into sci-fi. I decided to humor her with much typical teenager eye-rolling.

    As soon as the show started we knew that it wasn't exactly what she thought it was. I remember her surprise that there was suddenly a remake, her muttering as she compared the new characters to the old (including, at one point, a distinct 'What the frack is this?' to my confusion), her squeal of glee as the opening theme began and she recognized the Gayatri Mantra (she later translated the Sanskrit for me). I, meanwhile, was absolutely stunned by what by then was the best storytelling I had ever seen.

    We hadn't seen the miniseries, so we didn't know exactly why the fleet was on the run, why some of the Cylons looked human, that Boomer was one of them, why Helo was on Caprica, or what the hell was going on with Baltar, but it didn't matter. We were amazed at the dedication of the crew, to keep on going after so long without rest. We sat in traumatized silence as the Olympic Carrier was destroyed. We burst into tears when Roslin added one to the count.

    My mother and I never once missed watching an episode together for the rest of the series run.

    (She never did get me to go back and watch the original, though!)

  29. Meghatron says:

    Episode running time is 42 minutes. Teaser is 9 minutes. Which means the bulk of the episode, acts 1-5, takes place over 33 minutes. Brilliant.

    • notemily says:

      There was a while when I wondered if they were going to do the episode in real-time, which would have been cool but obviously not enough to get the entire story in there.

  30. Karen says:

    This was a super tense episode and I like it much better than I lied the mini series. I feel like the mini series did a lot of the heavy lifting, establishing the world that this story is set in and setting off the starting point for our story. But in this episode, the writers got to relax into the universe that they'd created and take some time to start exploring some smaller issues and it was a huge success.

    I've never dealt with sleep deprivation like the characters here have had to deal with, but I can tell you from my limited experience of pulling all nighters writing papers that it SUCKS. And to have people trying to kill you breathing down your neck on top of everything is stuff that nightmares are made of. So putting myself in that mental state makes me feel even more for these characters as they decide what to do about the Olympic Carrier.

    Right now I think the characters I most interested in are Gaius and Roslin. Gaius isn't exactly a likable character but something about him is very charismatic. He just draws me in. I am super intrigued by what is going on with him. Is the vision of Six he keeps seeing a sign of some sort of mental breakdown? Is there something supernatural about her? Roslin interests me because I love how she's this person who was 43rd in line to the presidency and now she's being forced to lead the remnant of humanity and try to ensure the survival of the human race. So seeing her have to make that decision about the Olympic Carrier was really hard to watch. I think she really does care about these people and that adds a human element whereas I get the impression that Adama is more of a military strategist which can be a bit more impersonal.

    And yeah, I wasn't expecting to see Helo again either, but I was super excited when he showed up. I liked him a lot and was sad when I thought he had died.

  31. @msshelly02 says:

    LOST and Battlestar are my two favorite shows, and I always found it strange how many ideas and themes were echoed in the two shows. If you look at the names of major episodes from both shows, they are also often the same. I look forward to seeing if any of you Losties pick up on these as you watch BSG for the first time.

  32. notemily says:

    THE WOMAN IN LABOR I always wonder about her too! Wouldn't the frequent FTL jumps mess with her? I wonder if her baby will be born with the ability to teleport now.

  33. notemily says:

    33! An uncomfortable episode to watch, but a good one.

    I never noticed them the first time through, but I really like the retro-looking silver lamps they have in the control room. Command room. DRADIS room. Whatever that room's called.

    "We will jump momentarily." I suppose that's TECHNICALLY correct, but it doesn't mean what you think it means. Hmmph. /grammarsnob

    I love those shots of Galactica jumping away and the missile trails going right through where they were a second ago.

    Noodles!

    Whiteboard Of Death! Or I guess it's the Whiteboard Of Life, technically. Countdown To Extinction? I know there's a fandom name for this somewhere.

    "Procreation is one of God's commandments." Okay just where is this Cylon Bible, I want to see it. Does it say anything about honoring thy father and mother? Which in your case would be… humans?

    "He's a strange one, isn't he?" Roslin, you have no idea.

    O HAY THERE HELO, NICE TO SEE YOU. How's life? Running around in rainstorms, blowing up Cylons? Fun times?

    Aw, Tigh lets Adama have a turn. I love their bromance.

    Jamie Bamber must feel weird saying "Lieutenant."

    "That's cause she's a Cylon." Poor Boomer, she really seems to have no idea. But it does raise an interesting question about how exactly Cylon bodies differ from human ones.

    I really like the conversation between Tigh and Adama about how if the crew doesn't hate the XO, he's not doing his job. It'd be easy to make Tigh into a straight-up villain for the audience to hate, but they don't, and that makes him way more interesting. (I also like the idea that he really is trying to make Adama look good. Because BROMANCE.)

    "It's God's punishment for your lack of faith." Aw, Six, now you're just making shit up.

    "Are you alive?" Don't you have a better pick-up line? Try Roslin's line about procreating, that's a good one.

    I love Billy adding to the head-count at the end. AWWW BABIES

    No Cylon Count change, so have some non-spoilery stuff from the Battlestar Wiki:

    – This episode won a Hugo award.

    – Helo was originally a one-off character for the miniseries, but they liked Tahmoh Penikett's performance so much they brought him back. Yay!

    In the DVD commentary for this episode, Ron D. Moore states that during the scene when Dualla hands Commander Adama a set of reports that he reads aloud (including fuel shortages, dozens of crewmen breaking down from nervous exhaustion, etc), Edward James Olmos ad-libbed "and ten suicides" in one take. The production team really liked the ad-lib, and thought the way Olmos acted the scene was fantastic. However, there were concerns that the network would think this would make an already extremely "dark" episode far too dark and alienate the audience during the premiere, and the line was reluctantly cut.

    Does that answer your "how could this get more bleak" question, Mark?

    – Lol "question Mark"

    – Okay I'll stop now.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I think 'whiteboard of extinction' seems to be the generally accepted term.

      I like it because it's a very teacher-ish thing for Roslin to have. πŸ™‚
      Old habits die hard?

    • I never noticed them the first time through, but I really like the retro-looking silver lamps they have in the control room. Command room. DRADIS room. Whatever that room's called.

      In case this wasn't on the wiki: It's the ship's CIC, or Command Information Center. Which is a real-life thing! I love all the naval/military stuff on the show; it makes it feel, well, real.

      And those are nice lamps.

  34. karate0kat says:

    I love love love Kara and Lee as BFFs forever, so the giggling scene is a favorite of mine as well. It's so very human – you laugh so you don't cry. I'm mean, jesus, I went to the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows 2 and had to skip work the next day because I woke up feeling like I had the flu. POOR ME.

    Another reason why it's a favorite scene? I maintain that there is nothing more adorable than Katee Sackhoff's laugh. And non-spoilery fun fact – Katee and Tricia Helfer are BFFs in real life.

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/2ikz8tf.jpg"/&gt;

    LOOK AT THAT LAUGH AND TRY TO FEEL BAD YOU CAN'T DO IT CAN YOU

    And Baltar. Oh Baltar. Every time Baltar pulls his narcissistic 'woe is me' bullshit, I wanna be like

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/2mwrpyg.jpg"/&gt;

    But James Callis is just so, so good at making him…not relatable, exactly. Understandable? Maybe? Like, he's awful, but who among us hasn't felt the fear of realizing we're about to be caught doing something bad? Only instead of getting caught looking at boobies on your parent's computer and hoping you can convince them your brother did it so you don't get grounded and earn 'counseling' with the pastor, your hoping to avoid getting lynched for accidentally getting all of humanity killed because Little Giaus likes blondes. That's a lot of pressure. He's still awful, but…it's human to feel self preservation instincts. Even a non narcissist would most likely be shitting his pants and desperately trying to bullshit something, anything. So Giaus's internal struggle to figure out how the fuck to deal with everything that's happened and is happening and hopefully not die in the process is fascinating to me.

    Also, HELO!!!!!!!

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/10eo5xl.jpg"/&gt;

  35. LittleCaity says:

    I'm not a BSG fan (although I am a Mark fan, so I'll be reading these anyway).

    I did watch a few episodes, and this was one of them. In fact, it was the one that made me actually consider watching more. The sheer tension and pain of it all caught my attention and held it, despite the fact I was just channel flicking.

  36. Stuart says:

    To be honest, it took me three times to watch this episode, just because the thought of going over 100 hours without sleep made me want to take a nap. Which I did and forgot everything I'd learned.

    Baltar is quickly becoming my favorite character, I can't resist those who are conflicted and immoral Also, love the ray of hope at the end. Can't wait for the next episodes.

  37. dcjensen says:

    I was playing with an online English to Latin translator the other day and found myself typing in "You are not prepared!"

    The result? "Vos es non paratus!"

    Just thought I would pass it along.

    • Meenalives says:

      The online translator got the grammar a little confused. I think itt's either "Tu non paratus es" (masculine singular), or "Vos non parati estis" (plural). Yes, I am a Romance languages geek.

  38. sabra_n says:

    What I saw of BSG was mostly an S1 marathon with a friend. After this episode I remember turning to her and commenting that this is a really depressing show. And awesome. But also depressing.

  39. ChronicReader91 says:

    The acting and make-up is absolutely superb here- I felt exhausted just watching it. They really drive home how much stress the characters are under. It’s like the cylons were using one of the most basic human weaknesses- the need for sleep- against them.

    The whole Baltar/Six storyline seemed strange to me, as a Christian-turned-Atheist-turned-Idon’tevenknowanymore (I guess I’d best describe myself as a “doubter”). I mean, even if a God does exist, I don’t believe they’re a petty “instant karma” type of God, rewarding people who believe the “right” things and punishing people who don’t believe. I interpret that scene as being a coincidence, and Six in Baltar’s visions as just a manifestation of his guilt. Since monotheistic religions have always been heavy on the themes of repentance and forgiveness of sins, maybe it was a way for him to remove some of the guilt over what he’d done without having to actually confess it to anyone else and be punished for it. I do agree that it seems almost like TOO MUCH of a coincidence, so I really don’t know. I imagine this storyline will be visited again.

  40. ChronicReader91 says:

    I honestly didn’t expect to get any more news about anyone left behind on the planets, or at least not so soon, so seeing Helo again was a surprise. But now he thinks that Boomer came back for him. I wonder how long it will be before he realizes there is more than one of her around. (Oh, and that joke Starbuck made about 'Hey, maybe she's a Cylon LOL"- yes, dramatic irony, I see you.)

    The ending, with the adding one number to the chart, especially after they lost so many in the course of the episode, made me smile. It’s such a little thing, but it adds some much-needed hope to the situation.

  41. farewelltofoot says:

    Non-spoilery fun fact from the Battlestar Wiki: "In their DVD and podcast commentaries of various episodes, Moore and Eick have stated that there were originally going to be live people on the Olympic Carrier at the time of its destruction, and that Apollo was going to see them before giving the order to attack, but the network would not allow them to do it, claiming that "33" was becoming too dark of an episode."

  42. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Hey, I just realised – no predictions about the series yet! I thought you were planning to do some before 33, Mark! How 'bout it?

    πŸ™‚

  43. Christian says:

    Welcome Mark, to the wonderful world of Battlestar Galactica! Now, for me, it wasn't the dialogue that got me hooked. Nor was it the unique cinematography, or the excellent storytelling, nor was it the sublime acting. It was the music. Bear McCreary's music was amazing throughout the series, and I will be posting various songs from the episodes you watch. For example, today's song is called "The Olympic Carrier". One of my favorite things about this composer and this series' music is the usage of the percussion, namely the taiko drums.
    [youtube NuGa-uTrx_8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuGa-uTrx_8 youtube]

    • Christian says:

      By the way. NEVER READ THE COMMENTS ON THESE VIDEOS. Spoilers abound. *will smack a bitch if Mark gets spoiled*

      • Christian says:

        By a bitch I mean…well….my pillow. Cause I don't smack people. BUT I WILL BE UPSET.

    • NB2000 says:

      If I could hire someone to follow me around and compose score for my life Bear McCreary would be my number one choice.

      • Christian says:

        THIS. Either him or Murray Gold. But Bear McCreary would be amazing. I can just imagine the drums as I drive to work. xDD

    • wendebular says:

      Actually, the score is one of the things that I think could have been done differently in this series. I generally like it, but sometimes it gets a bit too 'world' for me.

  44. StatSig says:

    Roslin's whiteboard population count was just the most chilling and wonderful facet of her personality and the show to me. Having her write on a board the complete, total number of ALL OF HUMANITY THAT REMAINS and constantly have it ticking down (and occasionally, though not nearly as often, ticking up) was just heartbreaking. And I love that they made it a whiteboard, not some automated counter or something. No, each death or birth in the colony requires the President herself to wipe off the number and correct it. She is aware of every. single. death. that happens in the human race. What a terrible, terrible burden to have.

  45. Asta says:

    I'm trying so hard to like this show but it just isn't happening. It's intelligent, it's intense, and the female characters are all so interesting and strong without losing their femininity… but I just feel like it lacks emotion. I mean, the characters are emotional (well some of them at least), but I can't seem to care about them, since none of them are overly compassionate or funny or care deeply about each other openly or all in all do anything that makes me feel attached enough to care about whether or not they live or die.
    I get that some people are okay with that, or feel differently, but I'm just really bummed out about not liking it as much as everyone else.

  46. wendebular says:

    Ah, I'm so glad you've started watching BSG! Now I need to go back and watch the original mini series so I can read your reviews. I've been absent from Mark Verbs for a while because I have mixed feelings about His Dark Materials (and I've been busy).

    I loved this premiere. It didn't feel like one of those 'quickly introduce all of the ensemble cast in confusing ways' shows. It was just all intense, all the time.

    • Tapdancing Lexicon says:

      Mark Verbs! That's brilliant! Now I have a way of describing the blogs and shall henceforth be using it.

  47. Tilja says:

    Ugh. I'm too behind. Just wait till I watch the other couple of chapters to catch up and then I may have some coherent thoughts to share. I know I had something related to this god's omniscience but I forget what was my point 3 days ago. Something to do with how any created species who enjoy a certain mortality can even teach about a god figure who can never be touched by that side of nature, or any nature at all as it's supposed to be beyond all that, which also means it can't be reached or understood by a finite consciousness harnessed in the material world. It was something somewhat like that but better explained than this splurt of words.

    Also, I believe the photo everyone touched before going to battle wasn't a deity, but an effigy of a Soldier. They're just touching all of the soldiers who died in battle before them, I've seen something like that before I don't know where.

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