Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E03 – Bastille Day

In the third episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica, the plan to use prisoners to mine water from the planet found by Boomer hits a snag of sorts when the prisoners have plans of their own. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

Well, shit, this isn’t slowing down anytime soon, is it?

Battlestar Galactica asks us to remember a lot of things or to keep certain things in mind while watching the show, yet the serial nature of the show never feels overwhelming to the point of confusion. Because of this, even if there is a main plot that a specific episode deals with, I can see that it allows the writers to address multiple things in each specific story. In this case, “Bastille Day” mainly focuses on the hostage situation on board the Astral Queen, but we still get bits about Baltar’s Cylon test, the progress Boomer and Helo are making on Caprica, as well as short scenes regarding Boomer’s relationship with Tyrol and Tigh’s relationship with Starbuck.

But what I’m most impressed with is the respect with which Toni Graphia writes both sides of the huge debate that is centered within “Bastille Day.” At heart, this is a story about historical oppression and whether or not it is moral to fight that oppression with violence. Graphia doesn’t shy away from injecting this story with some heavy philosophical questions, and those questions also don’t distract from just how entertaining this all is.

It seems we’re back to Commander Adama being angry at his son again, though this time, I plant myself squarely on Lee’s side, most especially by the end of the episode. Personally, I found the entire notion that he had to pick a “side” in this to be nothing more than junior high drama, childish and immature at best. Even right from the beginning, it seemed that Adama was upset at Lee’s suggestion to award freedom points to any prisoners who agreed to work because of his son’s position with the president. Of course, given the limited space the fleet has for anyone to be released from prison, I do understand Adama. (To a point, that is.) But I recognized Lee’s genuine effort to find a solution to this problem, and find it fast. Couldn’t Adama see this? To add insult to the injury of this petty fight, Adama insists that two crew members from the Galactica accompany Lee to the Astral Queen, further undermining his son’s work. (I must say, Lee takes all of this spectacularly well, and I don’t think he lashes out once. Bravo, Lee.) In hindsight, Adama never even acknowledges that by doing this, he essentially sent Cally to get shot in the stomach. DUDE.

Pretty much from the point that Tom Zarek steps out of his cell, a lone man at the end of that long corridor, “Bastille Day” is one suspenseful journey through ideological warfare and imminent violence. I actually rewound this episode to watch Billy’s reaction to Zarek again, and Paul Campbell…good god, you are wonderful. At first, I thought he was reacting with horror at the man, but after having watched this, I now wonder if part of that was reverence. I think my favorite subplot of the entire episode is the argument that Dualla and Billy have over the man’s merits, especially as it highlights the romanticization of rebel leaders and terrorists. God, I love Dualla’s line about how Zarek is not allowed to speak for every person of Sagittaron, too. And it must be said that throughout all of this, Graphia doesn’t make it easy on us. She doesn’t say that Zarek is necessarily right or wrong, but she also doesn’t disrespect the idea that the people he represented were marginalized and oppressed. I’m not sure I fully understand the backstory behind Zarek, and the few pieces we get do generally give me an idea that a certain group of people on Saggitaron were exploited for labor, and in response, Zarek blew up a government building. So I think this basic story is what we’re meant to accept, and what we can use to build the emotional weight of the many conversations that characters have about this situation.

It’s obvious that members of the government and the military view Zarek simply as a terrorist. I mean, he did blow up a building and murder people, probably including some who had nothing to do with the exploitation he railed against. Yet this same political figure means something different to Billy, who seems to almost worship the man. Dualla is disgusted with him more than anyone else. But for Lee, he seems to straddle the two extremes. I honestly don’t think Lee was lying to Zarek. I believe Lee actually respects Zarek as much as telling him that was a bargaining tool as well. Lee represents the most moderate, right-in-the-center viewpoint of the story, and it reflects in what Commander Adama told his son earlier: you need to choose a side.

Meanwhile, Baltar must finally decide for himself what he’s going to do, and his hand is forced by a relentless Adama, who has caught on to the fact that he hasn’t made any progress in developing a test to determine who is a Cylon and who is not. A lot of BSG that I’ve seen so far is certainly tense, and the show does it well. But the scene in Adama’s office (was that his office/quarters?) was the first one that terrified me. Much of that goes to Tricia Helfer, who shows us just how scary Six’s fury can be. More than ever before, the fact that Baltar is talking to an invisible person has never seemed more obvious, so there’s that to give the whole scene a lining of suspense. But when Baltar reveals that he actually cannot create a test for Adama, it sends Six into a rage that causes her to scream into his face and for me to curl up into a ball of fear. Because holy shit I did not expect that. 

It’s now apparent that Six doesn’t want Baltar to be “discovered,” so to speak, because as long as he can keep his secret, she can apparently manipulate him. But when she does reveal the actual method with which one could test for a Cylon, I’m a bit confused. How does that help the Cylons, ultimately? I mean, I am only three episodes into this show, so it’s entirely possible this is just the beginning of this season’s full arc. But for how scary this interaction was, I certainly was left scratching my head. What exactly do the Cylons have planned?

Even further, the brief moment we get on Caprica with Boomer and Helo also features Six and the Conoy Cylon, who discuss the necessity of having to destroy the human race. They observe Boomer and Helo, and clearly they’re part of some master plan. But even that seems a bit flawed. Helo can’t return to the Galactica because he’ll spoil the secret that there are copies of Boomer. So why follow him around and keep him alive? Clearly, I am massively unprepared for everything that this show is going to give me.

Back on the Astral Queen (which, in my mind, keeps getting substituted with the Astral Plane), Lee does his best to maintain Zarek’s attention and to prevent the situation from erupting in chaos. (Oh, Lee, you had no idea that this was what Zarek had planned all along!) I was fascinated by Zarek’s desires because they were so ridiculously sensical, and I’m glad Graphia didn’t write him as some sort of violent fool. Even Roslin herself recognizes the political power that Zarek holds, so when Lee realized Zarek wanted a massacre of prisoners, he knew just how serious the situation was. At the same time, Graphia doesn’t ignore the inherent contradictions in what Zarek does, especially the obvious one: For someone who values life and freedom, Zarek sure was willing to use his power to sacrifice other prisoners to his cause, many who probably had no idea what Zarek had planned.

Yet Lee can’t ignore that Zarek does have a point. The entire human race was nearly annihilated and they should just accept that Roslin is now the leader of them all? Don’t get me wrong. I adore Roslin and she’s the best person for the job. I’ll echo Lee’s sentiment at the end of the episode and say that I’d vote for her, too. Still, why should this be the case? Why couldn’t there be elections to vote the most capable person for the job?

Zarek’s plan, however, is not without it’s flaws, and leaving the prisoners to roam free proves to have dire consequences for Cally, who gets the negative attention of a prisoner named Mason. And look, I understand it’s part of the story, and I actually kind love how it transforms Cally a bit, but I get kind of uncomfortable when watching or reading about rape in the context of science fiction. I understand the reasons to include it for “realism,” or to make a commentary about how not every prisoner is a victim necessarily. (Though that traces a very, very fine line anyway, so I’m happy this episode doesn’t deal with it too much.) It’s just a personal thing at this point. Thankfully, I didn’t actually have to watch it this time around, and Cally proves to be rather adept at fighting back; unfortunately, she’s shot in the process and Zarek’s entire plan falls apart.

With the Marines closing in on the prison facility, there’s very little time for Lee to put this all together. Cally’s going to die if she doesn’t get help soon (AND BOY, WOULD I RAGE IF CALLY HAD DIED), and Zarek is going to die if Lee doesn’t get them to disarm quickly. Even Zarek knows this is now completely awful, and he looks upon Cally with horror, realizing how wrong this is. Hell, I believe Zarek genuinely didn’t want any of the hostages to get hurt. Utilizing the confusion, Lee quickly swipes a gun and places it at Zarek’s head. The speech he gives Zarek is electrifying, both in what he agrees to do, and in the urgency with which Jamie Bamber delivers the lines. It shows us how truly talented Lee is as a leader, able to make such a tough decision with little time left to spare.

I expected that Adama and Roslin would be upset with Lee at first, but the barely-contained rage that Commander Adama shows his son just irritates me. UM, SIR. Your son just saved all of the hostages, negotiated the situation, and did so within the confines of accepted law. Will you put aside your petty differences for ONE GODDAMN MINUTE to acknowledge how fantastic this is? Roslin would have been up for election in seven months anyway, and, as Lee points out, the Astral Queen is still entirely dependent on the Galactica to survive. Do you know how easy it will be to keep them under control? It’s not like they can just float through space and jump on to another ship, right? And guess what? You now have volunteers to mine for water. This is an ideal situation given the utter disaster that just happened.

I’m glad that of everyone, Roslin is able to recognize that Lee made the right decision, and that it certainly wasn’t an easy one, either. I just wish Adama didn’t think that this was about “sides,” so that he could enjoy the moment, too. For Roslin, though, she now knows she can finally trust someone else with her secret about having cancer. It’s unfortunate that even in this society, disease and illness can be used against a person in the public eye, but Roslin accepts this reality and simply asks Lee to keep things a secret. But I imagine it must be nice for her to have another person both to cover for her when she needs it, and to talk to her about what she has to keep private. I feel that Roslin is in a good place for once.


  • I loved the way Starbuck led her pilot meeting, and dug the outfit she was wearing. Very Top Gun, I might say.
  • Seriously, Billy is crushing so hard on Dualla! Dude could not be more obvious about it.
  • Oh lord, I totally thought Tigh was going to confront Boomer about the G-4 explosives, but thankfully I was wrong about that. Well, sort of. I mean, I’m not thankful that Boomer and Tyrol cannot see each other anymore.
  • Tigh’s drinking is getting worse, isn’t it?
  • No, seriously, I hate the way the word “protocol” sounds. UGH.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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168 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S01E03 – Bastille Day

  1. It's Oz in spaaaaace!!

    (Although Cally's biting off someone's ear is not as bad as, well…you've seen "The Tip," haven't you?)

  2. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    According to the DVD commentary for the episode, the startling scene when Number Six yells in Baltar's face that "they're going to throw you out of an airlock!" was a visual homage taken from the film "Jacob's Ladder", which has a similar startling close up shot. Tricia Helfer was given scary makeup for the shot, but in such a slight way that it is difficult for the eye to see what's wrong with the shot, but the audience can tell on some level that something's wrong. If you pause during her close-up shot, you can see that she's wearing contact lenses that make her eyes look unnaturally bright, and a mouthpiece of fake teeth which are bent out of shape and unnaturally large.

    In the DVD commentary the creators also speak about how Cally Henderson was supposed to die in the initial drafts of the episode.

    William Adama: Every man has to decide for themselves which side they are on.
    Lee Adama: I didn't know we were picking sides. 
    William Adama: That's why you haven't picked one yet.

    Six: We're the children of humanity. That makes them our parents in a sense.
    Cylon: True – but parents have to die. It's the only way children come into their own.

  3. psycicflower says:

    ‘I’m from Sagittaron and that man does not speak for all of us’ Team Dee!
    While I appreciate Zarek’s rhetoric, and he certainly has a way with words as well, it’s hard to take it to heart when he’s very much in this for his own benefit. Although honestly I mistrusted him from the start, not because he took over the prison ship, but because of what Dee said. Yes the whole one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist can be an interesting debate, but I very much understand and feel the not in my name sentiment and would be much more inclined to listen to Dee’s view than Billy or Lee’s idealised and rose tinted view of Zarek, even before we find out ‘It’s all about Tom Zarek and his personal death wish’

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    And Apollo, oh Lee. I love your idealism and sticking to your principles. As much as he seemed to take on Adama’s perspective in ‘Water’ in regards to the Olympic Carrier and later practically quoting that back to Roslin, I like that we get to see here that he’s clearly his own man as well, even if he is still trying to balance out his father’s influence on him. As much as Zarek took over the Astral Queen for the wrong reasons, he had the right idea in his demands and I like that Lee recognises that and isn’t afraid to stand up for those beliefs.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> You’re Captain Apollo
    In fairness to Roslin (although probably personal bias due to my undying love for her), I’d imagine she’s not thinking far enough ahead in the future to have even considered elections, as shown by her confession to Lee. He’s only the second person she’s told and I can understand why. She has this huge responsibility on her shoulders and it must be so hard to have to think about how her cancer would affect the public, not really thinking how it’s affecting herself.

    Random stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else:
    -I love Roslin teasing Billy about his crush on Dee.
    ‘He’s your son.’ ‘He’s your advisor.’ Someone else mentioned it the other day but seriously, space parents.
    -Cally biting yer man’s ear off.
    -Roslin refusing to let the prisoners be used as slaves.
    ‘Someone must be watching out for us.’ Cut to Cylons spying on Helo and Sharon.
    -We’re giving Gaius a nuclear war head? Really?

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Space Parents!

      Also, I love the scene that first gif is from. Did Lee REALLY think he could take out the whole prison single handed? I mean, you gotta give him credit, that takes some serious guts, but it still kinda makes me laugh when I watch it.

    • cait0716 says:

      Team Dee all the way. She and Cally are my favorites in this episode

    • hassibah says:

      Why are all the dudes Lee's fighting like twice his size? Do short and/or skinny people never get into tv prison?

    • NB2000 says:

      While I appreciate Zarek’s rhetoric, and he certainly has a way with words as well, it’s hard to take it to heart when he’s very much in this for his own benefit

      ITA with this. I can appreciate the different arguments about a figure in his position but I can't really escape that fact that there's that aura about him that on some level he only cares about what the situation can do for him. It's probably the way Richard Hatch plays the character but he does leave me with that lingering feeling that he's just trying to make a grab for attention or power with his actions.

      • hassibah says:

        Yeah, there was a lot debating about his nature going on in the episode but tbh they didn't really try to make anything about him sympathetic in any way. We don't really know anything about his background and the people that do sympathize with him are hella awkward and really removed from the situation. There was a lot of talking but it's not really like nuance was intended.

        I dunno I felt like they tried too hard to make him look bad.

  4. echinodermata says:

    Lots of heavy shit in this episode. Which I will mostly just skip commenting on. Except to say that Dee and Cally are pretty fantastic here and I wish more shows gave us both major and minor female characters who all are great and interesting and MOAR OF EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW PLZ.

    And in my continuation of fuuuuuuuck Starbuck+oral fixation=kill me dead, have a gif:
    <img src=""&gt;

  5. Jenny_M says:

    As an overthinky-type person, I am genuinely curious as to why rape bothers you more in a sci-fi context than others, Mark. You obviously don't have to expound on it if you don't want to, but if you wanted to, I would like to know! For me, rape in general is bothersome, and difficult to do well in entertainment without either sensationalizing or victim blaming. However, I don't think I'm bothered by it more in some genres than in others (like the people defending all the rapes in GRRM's books. Um, yes, I know it happened with regularity and brutality in the context of the time period, folks on obnoxious-ass ASOIAF message boards, does not make it any less horrific to read/see.)

    • echinodermata says:

      I say "rape" a lot. Just a warning.

      I'mma give the 'rape in sci-fi' question a whack, since I do think it's a genre where it bothers me more. For one thing, it seems that the frequency of rape storylines is higher in sci-fi. (which in this I will include the common thing of women becoming forced to carry some-one/-thing else's child. Or that the person they had sex with is secretly an alien and now they're unknowingly carrying hybrid spawn which will be used to dominate the humans etc. See lots and lots of sci-fi, but V was the show I was thinking about in the more specific later example if you're curious.) So it feels more contrived to me, like it's a writing fallback sci-fi writers use.

      I also don't think sci-fi ever really seems dwell on the emotional and psychological effects of the character going through (potential) rape. Rape gets used as a weapon, then the characters have to deal with it off-screen/page. To me, it furthers the point that rape is just a plot point to emphasize that X character is bad. I would say that if sci-fi as a genre better dealt with exploring the emotions of female characters, it might not be so problematic. But sci-fi is a plot-driven genre, and a genre that has issues with writing women. For me, sci-fi tends to use rape to tell a story, when sometimes rape should be the story itself. Let's have sci-fi explore what rape survivors go through, you know? I think that whole 'dealing with it after' is something other genres do better.

      And jsyk, I'm avoiding discussing this specific BSG example of rape because I don't want to get into how this show specifically will handle Cally in the future. BSG is sci-fi, but that doesn't necessarily mean it falls into the same problems other sci-fi has. But it might.

    • breesquared says:

      The following video contains spoilers for BSG and other future Mark Watches shows, and isn't about rape exactly, but is a very similar topic in regards to sci-fi so you might be interested:

      For my own commentary, like echinodermata said, it tends to appear a lot in sci-fi as compared to other genres, and is typically used as a trite plot device or throw-away piece used explicitly to up the dramatic ante — it's seldom revisited in the future for how the victim is dealing with it. It can be a disrespectful representation. That said I feel like this bit with Cally was one of the better representations, but it's still sort of just a way to bring the general conflict to a tipping point (up the ante).

      • redheadedgirl says:

        I have so many problems with that video it isn't even funny. She ahs good points, but, like in her "Is Mattie Ross a Feminist character?" video she seems to be so unaware of conventions of the genre or the larger picture some of those stories take place in (I will not argue with the TNG issue, except that in the realm of "Stuff that happens to Troi" it really is just another Tuesday. Which does kind of prove her point), it pisses me off.

        • breesquared says:

          The problem with a trope is not with each example's individual contexts, but with the fact that they happen so often in so many different stories. It's an indication that it's being written not for the individual story, but because it's a familiar archetype amongst writers' circles.
          I remember that video you mention and I had some issues with it too, but then again, the 'conventions of the genre' may themselves be sexist (so few Westerns feature characters like Mattie) and maybe playing along with those conventions and just putting a female face on it was worth criticism. I haven't seen the movie myself so I'm not the best to comment on it any more deeply.

          • redheadedgirl says:

            Tropes aren't inherently bad. It's how they are used. At this point there are so many stories that all tropes can potentially be cliches (seriously, look at the exhaustive list for every trope imaginable on TvTropes), and just because it's used doesn't make it a bad thing. In this episode? Kinda borderline, I think. Cally fought back, it was a realistic thing to happen in that situation, but would the story have worked if they hadn't gone there? Maybe.

            Anita has this thing where she seems to expect for something to be considered "Feminist" that in story, characters need to be exploring current social issues, whether it's relevant to the story or not (my biggest problem with her Mattie Ross video. Mattie didn't have TIME to go after her father's killer and demand the right to vote in the 72 hours the movie took place) and she (Anita) completely ignores when that does happen. Like I said, she has a point, but she needs to understand the greater context of her examples to make them truly effective (and to prevent using things as examples which just…. aren't).

            • breesquared says:

              When you take something that references a trope as it's own individual story, then no, it's not inherently bad. What makes it a trope in that it is used so often in a way that almost never explores the deeper issues is where the problem lies. Not the singular stories themselves, but the fact that there are so many instances that it becomes a trope. Each example is not awful on its own, but in collective it can be, regardless of how each instance uses it. It can be a sign of a broader cultural belief — not one that all individual people have, but prevalent all the same.

              • Crackers says:

                Not really that familiar with all the shows she referenced, but it must be said, I think the Starbuck reference WAS misplaced – she seems to have picked an example and tried to make it fit her statement, when the fact is that in BSG, her problem (the thing discussed in the video) IS explored in greater detail and it does have an impact on her character that we get to see even later.

    • innocentsmith says:

      Um, yes, I know it happened with regularity and brutality in the context of the time period

      The thing I hate about this argument, aside from your VERY GOOD POINT about it still being hard to watch, is that often we're not talking about a real-world historical setting. Westeros isn't actually medieval Europe. And it's kind of maddening that, like, we can imagine a world with motherfucking DRAGONS and ice zombies and so on, but a world where women aren't raped and treated as chattel? That is just a bridge too far. So okay, GRRM is doing this more thoughtfully and with more of a point than most fantasy writers who include rape in the plot: good for him. And the world can have different kinds of stories. But it's so obnoxious when fans act like that isn't a *choice* a writer makes, like the story just *had* to have this element.

      Back to BSG, there's this thing about RDM wanting to write the 'verse as a society without sexism, and without prejudice towards LGBTQ folks. Which is great, and all, but IMO it…doesn't quite work. Because it's still a society based on our own, and that stuff is entrenched deep in our culture, and also, well – they had to think of how it would play to the 18-30 male demographic. When there's a big love triangle at the center of the plot? Probably not a queer one. When someone's being sexually threatened? Yeah, it's probably not going to be a dude. I do love that they try, at least, though.

      • I think it's interesting that Dee says "She's trained for this. We all are." I take that to mean that men and women are prepared for enduring torture in all it's aspects, including but not limited to sexual violence.
        In the military world sexual violence is used just as freely as other forms of violence, both in threat and actuality, as a means of control and torture, in all combinations of victim and perpetrator. BSG is a military story in many ways, and as much as it squicks me out, I don't find it's inclusion more troublesome the Rape and sexual violence does in general. IN this instance. Conversely if it was absent I don't think I'd be thinking "you know what this show's missing in realism? Some good old fashion rape. I think that would really make this show better." I don't think anyone would.
        And I think the way Six treats Baltar is a form of sexual violence. Especially in this episode. She's constantly tossing his ass around, coercing sex from him, and he knows how easily she could completely Fuck Him up if she wanted too. What happens to Cally is easily identified as rape, but I would argue that Baltar's situation is just as much rape. On a much longer time frame. It's no wonder he's so twitchy.

        As an aside I hate that the 18-30 male demographic is some kind of Holy fucking Grail to TV people. No one ever talks about the 18-30 female demographic, of which I am one, and it sucks. All the women I know who are fans are consumers and producers; We devour our beloved shows/movies/books/comics/whatever, we talk about them in RL and online, we get people to watch them, we buy Merch, and we produce essays, fiction, art, for them just as much as men. But apparently we're not good enough for them. Our viewership does not count. Or at least it appears not too.
        Sorry, rant over. It's a sore spot for me.

  6. enigmaticagentscully says:

    "Petty Officer Dualla? Conversant in technical details."
    "Just…thinking of the good of the mission."
    "Uh huh."

    Have I mentioned recently how much I love the relationship between Roslin and Billy? That scene is so cute. And Billy is adorkable.

    Yeah Adama was a little annoying in this episode. I swear he's a good leader and all, and he's obviously loved and respected by his men but he is SO passhole-agresshole to his son! I get where he's coming from I think – having just got his son back, he feels like Lee has now chosen Roslin over him, and that's gotta hurt a bit. But still, he could be a little more mature about it.

  7. diane says:

    Historical note: Richard Hatch, who plays Tom Zarek, also played Apollo in the original series. So this is "Apollo 1 vs. Apollo 2".

    There was a lot of outrage in the old Battlestar Galactica community about the remake. That included actors such as Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict (the original Starbuck), who were both very outspoken. So Ron Moore invited Richard Hatch to come on board and be "the person who tells us everything that's wrong with BSG."

    • Sadie says:

      That? is something I did not know. Which is also amazing. Thanks for the trivia!

    • monkeybutter says:

      Haha, that's great background. They made their critic into a terrorist/freedom fighter. I like that they were willing to bring in a detractor.

    • NB2000 says:

      Outspoken may be an understatement about Dirk Benedict's reaction, ugh.

      • karate0kat says:

        Have you read his misogynistic douchtastic "essay" on why it was so awful for Starbuck to be a woman?

        So. Much. Fucking. Rage.

        • NB2000 says:

          I couldn't make it through the whole thing because I was headdesking so much. I've read the "highlights", thanks to the BSGwiki quoting it in the article on him, and skimmed as much as I could of the rest. An extremely disgusted ugh is probably the politest thing I can say about it.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            I've not heard of this. Is it spoilery to read it at this point?

            • NB2000 says:

              It was written before the series premiered, but after the miniseries, so no spoilers at all.

              I feel like I should apologise for linking you to this, I am truly sorry.

              • karate0kat says:

                *twitch* I had forgotten just how truly vile and disgusting parts of that were.


                ETA This seems like another good moment to utilize my new favorite gif

                <img src=""/&gt;

                • NB2000 says:


                  That gif is amazing and quite fitting. What's it from?

                  • karate0kat says:

                    Last night's Warehouse 13. I had to gif it immediately. How could I not?

                    Warehouse 13, BTW, is the perfect palate cleanser show. If you even need to just laugh and feel warm and fuzzy and love a bunch of awesome characters, while still getting your scifi/fantasy fix, W13 is where it's at.

                    • NB2000 says:

                      lol Glad you did.

                      I did watch Warehouse 13 when it first started airing over here but I couldn't really get into it and eventually lost track. I might have to give it another go.

                    • karate0kat says:

                      Did you watch until Claudia came on? You have to at least watch until Claudia comes.

                      Claudia Donovan is my spirit animal

                      <img src=""/ width=400>

                    • NB2000 says:

                      (After quickly checking on Wikipedia) Yeah the episode that introduced her was one of the last I saw, I really didn't stick around very long did I? I don't actually remember all that much about it though.

                    • karate0kat says:

                      Were you a Firefly fan? Kaylee and Simon play a couple in a season 2 episode. Also, Jaimie Murray as a female HG Wells. And HG and Myka are about as gay for each other as you can get without actually making them lesbians (or bi). SO MUCH LOVE for season 2. And the Christmas special! Judd Hirsch! Judd Hirschas Artie's father! THE EYEBROWS!

                      Ahem. Sorry. This show is my happy place.

                      Ha, wow, this whole thread just ended up in a very different place than it started.

                • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                  Is that a microwave?? A printer??

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                Yeah, I lasted like four paragraphs before I wanted to disappear under my desk.

                What a gross, disgusting man.

                • NB2000 says:

                  It only got worse from there if you can imagine such a thing.

                  Yeah that's probably the most apt description of him based on that.

                  • diane says:

                    Well, yes, calling him a Neanderthal would be an insult to Neanderthals everywhere. And calling him a slimeball would be an insult to slime molds everywhere.

                    Yes, I was aware of this, but hadn't intended for my original comment to link all of this in. Sorry.

                    • NB2000 says:

                      I'm sorry too, we sort of hijacked the comment thread and went in a really rage-y direction with it.

              • hassibah says:

                This is so ridiculous I'm not even mad.

                I just got to the part about Hollywood and their double soy lattes (which I'm guessing in his mind is shorthand for growing a vagina.) I mean what?

                • notemily says:


                  (Seriously, that stereotype pisses me off so much because I can't have regular dairy so I have to order soy in everything and then people think I'm some kind of I don't even know what. Not that there's anything wrong with ordering soy milk just because YOU LIKE IT, of course, which is the POINT. STOP JUDGING PEOPLE BY THEIR FOOD CHOICES, WORLD.)

                  • hassibah says:

                    Dairy fucks me up too.

                    "Latte" is always such a lazy strawman yuppie reference, which he totes wasn't when he was a hollywood actor of course.

              • doesntsparkle says:

                "Men hand out cigars.
                Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years,
                has gone round. "

                WHAT??? I can't even take this guy seriously. I'm totally gonna hand out some babies the next time I can.

    • notemily says:


    • Crackers says:

      Dirk Benedict's little tantrum about the genderflip on Starbuck is actually frakking hilarious in hindsight, considering that Katee Sackhoff PWNS him as Starbuck any day of the week.

  8. Maya says:

    Trivia time!

    Cally was originally supposed to have died, but they ended up changing that plot point THANK THE LORD.

    Tom Zarek is played by Richard Hatch, who played Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica series in the 70's. He was also in Galactica 1980, but if you ask him about he'll say he has had a lobotomy to forget about it.

  9. @BklynBruzer says:

    God, I just utterly and entirely love this episode. So good. SO GOOD.

    [obligatory "MARK YOU ARE NOT PREPARED" goes here]

  10. cait0716 says:

    I've been looking forward for you to get to this episode. It's just so meaty. And what really stuck out to me the first time I saw it was that the common enemy of the Cylons really did nothing to unite the humans. There's still a lot of infighting at the personal, professional, and political level. There's just no hope of everyone getting along.

    I absolutely love when Cally bites the guy's ear off. It just immediately elevates her to the level of BAMF.

    It's interesting that you bring up being uncomfortable with portrayals of rape in science fiction. Is it just this genre in particular? I remember you saying you wouldn't read the Millenium trilogy for the same reason. I've never really thought about it, but I think I've just become so desensitized to the reality of rape. It's absolutely everywhere. And though I've never been raped or sexually assaulted, it's something I'm constantly aware of, and constantly on guard for. When I get in my car at night or in a parking garage, the first thing I do is lock the doors. If I'm home alone, I'm not comfortable unless all the doors are locked. I won't close the door if I'm alone in a room with a strange man, which actually made for a couple of awkward job interviews. And of course my parents were constantly nagging me that I have to walk 5 blocks from my office to the metro and in the winter this happens after dark (because it's more dangerous after dark). I don't know. I think it's just so ingrained in me that even though I haven't been raped yet, it will probably happen one day. Maybe I can't really speak to it at all, since I haven't experienced it, but Cally gives me hope that I'd be able to fight back and Kaylee lets me know that it's okay if I just freeze. Just my two cents.

    • hassibah says:

      I think it's true for crime or almost any genre where there's some violence. If your hero's a straight male which is often the case then you get to him by getting at someone he cares about and like it was said below if you have a villain here's a really unambiguous way to make sure everyone hates them.

      • cait0716 says:

        In this case, it seemed to be less about making the bad guy seem more villainous. He was a nameless thug who doesn't seem terribly important to the story. This scene seemed to be more about Cally being the kind of person who will literally bite a guy's ear off if she's threatened.

        But I get what you mean. Maybe I just watch too much SVU/Criminal Minds for my own good.

        • hassibah says:

          Well plot wise it also escalated the situation and made Zarek lose some control. Also it totally took away the pretense that oh we're just noble political prisoners here or any kind of nuance for the situation or questions the audience might have had that maybe Adama was in the wrong.

    • breesquared says:

      It makes me sad and pissed off that it's been so ingrained in you, me, and other women that we should expect rapists to target us and try to defend ourselves (which I guess is as good a knowledge as any), but I seldom hear a guy talk about how his father sat him down and told him how very bad it is to rape a woman, any woman for any reason, what exactly could count as rape, and that if one of his buddies is talking about it that he should intervene. (And before anyone tries to tell me otherwise, I'm sure it happens, but not nearly on the scale as women are taught to just expect it.)
      I'm glad though that there are some examples on TV of these situations that girls can learn from, though. That fighting back or not is okay, because we're not the ones doing something wrong.

      • cait0716 says:

        Seriously. When I moved out of my house, my dad printed out a stack of newspaper articles with all the recent rapes and kidnappings in the area I was moving to as a warning to be careful. But I don't think it ever crossed his mind to broach the subject with my brother from the other perspective. Not that I think my brother needs that talk, but I also didn't need to get traumatized on my first night in my own apartment. And it all cycles back to feed in to victim blaming.

      • notemily says:

        I think a huge turnaround in rape culture will come when people start having that talk with boys. We're starting to see a little bit of it with Men Can Prevent Rape campaigns, but it's still just a whisper at this point.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      You know, it took me a second to figure out what the Millennium trilogy was. I was like WHAT I NEVER REFUSED TO READ THAT.

      And for that trilogy, I just meant I didn't want to do it for Mark Reads. I'm not opposed to doing them myself. But I did see the first film adaptation, and it was a good movie, but…I don't know. I just don't want to read about it and then write about it?

      • cait0716 says:

        That makes sense. There are a few chapters where all you can really say is WHAT A JERK! which wouldn't make for a particularly entertaining review.

    • freetheradicals says:

      Wow, I think your last paragraph perfectly describes the way I (and lots of other women, I am sure) live my life. Not in a constant state of fear, but in constant awareness that rapists could be lurking, that I am potentially risking rape every day, in pretty much any situation. I mean, you read about rape happening in parking garages, or walking to the bus at night, or even during a home break in. It seems like a terrible way to look at life, because it casts me (and women) in the role of victim automatically. It doesn't exactly control my life, but it is always in some corner of my mind. In my case it is probably worse than it would be because I am a sexual abuse survivor, and I have mild PTSD.

      I have tried describing this constant awareness/vigilance to my husband, but was never able to explain this concept very well. I appreciate you writing out your thoughts about this, maybe I will be able to explain it better to someone else next time.

      • cait0716 says:

        I'm sorry for what you went through. I also have a hard time getting this point across to my boyfriend. I think it can be hard to imagine how something can color nearly every aspect of a life without living it.

    • notemily says:

      Re: your first paragraph, that's what irks me about Zarek calling for elections after they've been on the run from Cylons for like, five minutes. Can't it wait until they are a little more stable? They don't even know whether or not they'll HAVE a society when/if this is all over. I feel like they SHOULD be more united against the common enemy. Or maybe I just hate Zarek.

      What did you say in those job interviews? Just that you were uncomfortable having the door closed?

      • hassibah says:

        YES THIS IS ME TOO. The nuclear holocaust was what, a week ago? And five days out of that week they we're still on the run. Give them a sec to catch their breath.
        I think this episode would have made more sense a little later in the season, but that's not my only problem with it, by far.

      • cait0716 says:

        I never really said anything because I knew that would make me look strange, which isn't great for an interview. For the most part I'd try to enter the room second and then not let the door latch. Or I'd just suffer through with the door closed and try not to think about it. It wasn't too terrible because I haven't had a lot of one-on-one interviews and for some reason being alone in a room with two strange men doesn't bother me nearly as much. It's easier now that I'm more on the interviewer side of the equation. The candidates never ask, but they do notice that I didn't close the door all the way. They probably think I'm just playing some weird mind game with them.

    • lyvanna says:

      'SIX FEET UNDER' SPOILERS (well, for one episode)

      There is an episode of Six Feet Under which sort of covers this and for the first time made me realise what I and many other women were feeling and also made me realise that it wasn't necessarily something that most men felt. (Yes, most of my life I connect to TV episodes) In the episode a girl is walking home when some guys start following her, she is so terrified she runs out into traffic and dies… turns out it was just some male friends of hers joking around. Her friends are amazed afterwards that she got so scared so quickly and they wonder how differently she must have seen the world at night to them.

  11. LucyGoosey says:

    One of my favorite bits in this episode were all the deck guys coming to visit Cally at the very end. Some great camaraderie there.

    Billy in this always struck me as a privileged, educated intellectual who chose to idolize some "revolutionary" figure with no true idea of what occurred, and no connection to the place or the people (I had a Cuban-American friend in high school who was disgusted by the trend in our classes of wearing Che Guevera t-shirts, this comes to mind).

    • I could see college-aged Billy wearing a Zarek T-shirt, for sure. Good call!

    • psycicflower says:

      I can kind of understand. I'm still angry (and completely mystified) by seeing American's celebrating St. Patrick's Day by drinking Irish Car Bombs, or making cupcakes as they started to this year.

      • notemily says:

        St. Patrick's Day has become entirely ridiculous. People treat it as an excuse to go on a week-long drinking binge for some reason.

        • psycicflower says:

          It isn't so much the drinking (I've largely become immune to that stereotype although towards the end of Paddy's week does test that) but the name of the drink 'Irish Car Bomb' and drinking it in honour of the day that's used to celebrate Irishness. Obviously the main thought is hey, let's get drunk, but really, that drink? With that name?

  12. Albion19 says:

    Six and the Conoy Cylon

    That wasn't Leoben that was Doral 🙂

  13. John Small Berries says:

    The first time I watched this episode, I kept being pulled out of the story by the spectacle of Apollo (Jamie Bamber) interacting with "himself" (Richard Hatch). I imagine that's not a problem for anyone who hadn't seen the original Battlestar Galactica.

    But given how hard Richard Hatch worked to bring BSG back (albeit in a different form), ultimately I'm glad they gave a part to him.

  14. NB2000 says:

    Well, shit, this isn’t slowing down anytime soon, is it?


    I always find it difficult to really talk about Zarek, while he does raise some good points there's a lot that I don't agree with in his ideas and his methods. While he's correct that technically Laura wasn't voted for, at the time she took office it was following the legal succession procedures. There's also the slight practical point of they were under attack, it's not exactly a good time to stop and hold an election. Once things had settled down, yes elections should be held. I forget off the top of my head what the exact time for the fleet has been (I think the Caprica scenes say it's something like 10 days?) but it can't have been more than a few weeks and in all fairness everyone's been a bit busy with things like constant Cylon attacks and working out where their supplies will come from.

    Wow that turned into a slight wall of text and went to a far more srs bsns place than I usually feel comfortable with, back to the lighter and shorter stuff with: hey it's original series Apollo! It makes that introduction of him read a slightly different way once you know that.

    I'd like to make the bulk of my comment about the wonder that is Cally. FRAK YEAH CALLY! Can she be my best friend? Originally the plan was for her to die in this episode but, I believe it was producer David Eick suggested that instead she BITE THE GUY'S FRAKKING EAR OFF. So she does, and gets to go on being awesome. The final scene with Tyrol and some of the deck gang coming to visit her is a really nice touch, just shows how close the team is. Tyrol's "that's my girl" is delivered with so much warmth, you can tell he cares about and is very protective of his team.

    "He's your son" Yeah Bill and Laura are absolutely the space parents of the fleet. I love the final scene where Lee comes to say goodbye and apologise to her. That's a very sweet gesture on his part and Laura's confiding in him about her cancer is another nice beat to their relationship. There's a great sense of trust between them now that she's shared this very personal and private piece of information with him.

    I do have to wonder where she managed to find that dressing table in her sleeping area though. It's not like there's a furniture store she could just visit.

    Oh hey Boxey you still exist! And you get to be snarky to Tigh, good for you!

    • echinodermata says:

      Oh hey Boxey you still exist!

      I swear, it's like he exists solely to be in scenes I want to gif, but I don't want him in the gif and arghhhh (he's one of the reasons I couldn't satisfactorily gif the Chief/Boomer kiss in the miniseries).

    • monkeybutter says:

      I imagine Boxey is hanging out with Rickon Stark in between his scenes.

  15. hassibah says:

    Can I just say: CALLIE (sp?) IS CANAPRICAN YAY!!! So is Tyrol. That makes the (2nd?) last scene so much better. Normally I'm not particularly patriotic but whatevs this time I don't care.

    Why is Cylon-Occupied Caprica totally void of other living humans? Why is anti-nuclear-holocaust-radiation-medicine so easy to come by on this planet and why was nobody else able to find it?

    so politics:
    1. There is so much awkward going on here! Lee did a crap job selling how serious the water sitch was and the freedom points thing would sound really condescending to any adult, let alone a dissident. Then there's the whole fanboy thing going on with "I read your book in college" (of course it should be a hella uncomfortable and weird conversation, I wouldn't have it any other way.)

    BUT When it got to the confrontation at the end and the guy is all like "who put him in a cage YOU MADE HIM A MONSTER" that was a little too much cheese for me and the timing was so weird. Also: why would a serious business political prisoner who claims to go against the law for important noble reasons be interested defending an (assumed) rapist? Yes, all kinds of people defend rapists all the time, especially when they're friends, but they're just making it seem like the dude is a bored philosophy major that will try to rationalize anything.

    2. This bit isn't really about BSG specifically as much as it is a rant about sci-fi tropes in general
    this whole thing of the prisoners' plan being to force Adama to kill off the ship to get at the prisoners, SO THEN when the public finds out about it they will revolt. This is such a common thing in movies and novels and I really, really hate it. IE: this idea that when there's a giant conspiracy or a cover up and as soon as the hero reveals the big lie to the public they all immediately become outraged and a revolution happens-basically all you have to do is see the truth and everything will be great.
    Seriously, this doesn't happen IRL. It also doesn't work on the show obviously because BSG has already killed off a lot of people so this isn't a critique of this show (yet,) but of movie politics in general. But so many conspiracy theorists actually believe in this and it makes me all kinds of rage-y.
    Besides all that: Six was great in this episode.

    • notemily says:

      I assumed that Helo was able to find anti-radiation meds because he knew where the military… people… kept them. And everyone else is dead from radiation or eking out survival in the woods.

  16. Even further, the brief moment we get on Caprica with Boomer and Helo also features Six and the Conoy Cylon

    It's Doral, but the Blu-ray I was watching said it's Baltar, which freaked me out because how did Baltar get down to Cylon-occupied Caprica to go pedeconferencing with Six? This is why quality control is a good thing: to avoid giving your viewers heart attacks.

    I love that Dualla tells Billy that he, not being from Sagittaron, doesn't get to speak for her people. (And Zarek doesn't speak for all of them, either.) That's such a true, true line that could be used in a lot of places in the real world. I hate being in a discussion with someone who comes from a different background, but co-opts my background to carry a point. Dude, no. If I'm X, I get to speak about being X, not you-who-are-not-X.

  17. monkeybutter says:

    I like the way BSG handles continuity, too. It's serial, but the first 3 episodes have been really good about having a complete story line. I hope this means that Zarek and his supporters will be simmering in the background at the very least, because he has the potential to be really interesting. I loved Dualla's shot back at Billy: "You cannot tell me about my people." It was a fantastic way of capturing a stereotypical young, privileged ideologue trying to lecture someone else about their own life. Sure, Zarek has supporters, and his ideas may not be all awful, but that doesn't mean that he and his actions speak for every person on Sagittaron. I also liked the bit about Lee reading Zarek's book in school. He doesn't seem to romanticize Zarek the way Billy does, but maybe he did when he was younger. He certainly learned from it. And like Lee, I agree with Zarek's call for democratic elections, even if that's not what Zarek truly wants. I can't believe how petty Adama seemed at the end. Sure, the fleet needs stability at the moment, but what's the point if you lose your civilization? I think Roslin is proving herself worthy of being president, but it's a position you have to earn, not one you get just because you were next in line.

    And thanks for bringing up the attempted rape of Cally. I hate how sexual assault is used to create drama in entertainment, especially how it comes up in sci-fi, and I hope that it doesn't show up again.

    • Yes, thanks for bringing that up, Mark. I swear, sometimes it feels like writers look at a situation where they have to introduce conflict or drama, and if a woman's involved: "Hey, how about she gets/almost gets raped? Boom, instant sympathy for her and villainy for the attacker!" It's lazy, and it's distressing. (Note that I don't know that that's the case with this script. It's just something I perceive here and there in fictional media. There's a reason why TV Tropes has pages and pages about "rape as back story," etc.)

      • hassibah says:

        "Boom, instant sympathy for her and villainy for the attacker!" It's lazy, and it's distressing. "


      • monkeybutter says:

        All of the the thumbs up to this comment.

      • StatSig says:

        "Hey, how about she gets/almost gets raped? Boom, instant sympathy for her and villainy for the attacker!" It's lazy, and it's distressing.

        IKR?!? Besides all my other problems with rape-as-media-device (detailed in my TL;DR comment elsewhere on this episode), to me, doing the "Oh god let's rape someone for some drama" is just LAZY, LAZY, LAZY. It reminds me of a creative writing class I took in college: the teacher utterly banned several things for our short stories in our class, including writing about college students or dorm life, "It was a dream" endings, etc. The one major outlaw was: NO CRYING. Your characters are not allowed to cry. Having a character break down in tears is the easy way to show distress and he wanted us to push for something more subtle. There's room for crying in literature/TV/film, but having it as your go-to "This character is sad" signal is lazy. I feel like we've gotten to that point with rape-as-drama. It's included whenever the writers want to up the tension and counts as a Kick the Dog moment to boot. Need a female to team up with the male hero? Have him save her from rapists (*cough V for Vendetta cough*)! Want to show the villain is SUPER MEAN? Have them rape someone! Use your brains. Think of something else.

    • Karen says:

      And thanks for bringing up the attempted rape of Cally. I hate how sexual assault is used to create drama in entertainment, especially how it comes up in sci-fi, and I hope that it doesn't show up again.

      ME TOOOOO. UUUGH. It's like writers sit around and think "this situation needs more tension… I know let's add rape!". Ugh. To me it just devalues real experience of real women (and men) by treating sexual assault as an easy plot device.

  18. JonT says:

    Did Tricia Helfer say 'nucular'? That pronounciation annoys me like hell although i can't think of a logical reason why it should.

    • cait0716 says:

      It annoys you because it's wrong. It annoys me, too.

      • Sarah TX says:

        Why is it wrong? According to Mirriam-Webster, "Though disapproved of by many, pronunciations ending in -kyə-lər have been found in widespread use among educated speakers including scientists, lawyers, professors, congressmen, United States cabinet members, and at least two United States presidents and one vice president. While most common in the United States, these pronunciations have also been heard from British and Canadian speakers." By the way, one of those presidents was Bill Clinton.

        As far as I understand it, it's wrong because George W. Bush pronounced it that way. As much as I despise the man and everything he stands for, that seems like a silly reason to declare a whole pronounciation used by millions and millions of people as "wrong."

        • cait0716 says:

          It's wrong because it's spelled nuclear, not nucular. And even Jimmy Carter pronounced it that way and he worked on a nuclear submarine. Doesn't make it any less wrong.

          This is of course the language snob in me speaking. I've listened to my mom and aunts rage against that pronunciation my entire life.

          • Sarah TX says:

            "Bright" isn't spelled "brite" but that's how I pronounce it.

            Children learn how to say words before they learn how to spell them, so it's only natural that pronounciation would change faster than spelling. It's a little silly to get snobbish about something as common as as different populations pronouncing the same word differently.

            • breesquared says:

              because 'ight' makes that sound in every use of the arrangement in English… 'clear' is never used as 'cular'.

          • Pseudonymph says:

            Are the Brits wrong for pronouncing "aluminum" as "aluminyum"? Of course not because there are multiple ways of pronouncing words. There are plenty of words that aren't pronounced how they're spelled. If you were a true language snob you would understand that, just as there is no wrong accent, there is no wrong way to pronounce a word. As long as the pronunciation is understandable – that is, as long as when someone says "nucular" you know they're saying the word "nuclear" – then it's not wrong. The number one priority for language is communication. If someone is communicating effectively then they are not communicating incorrectly.

            • echinodermata says:

              I'm not sure I want to get involved in this discussion, tbh, but your last bit about effective communication is a point that stuck with me, in that I disagree. See, I fall on the side of disliking "nucular," though I generally just won't speak to language being right or wrong because it's so not my subject. Which is why I have reservations joining this discussion.

              A big part of my dislike is because "nuclear" automatically goes to "nucleus" for me, be it in the bio. context of a cell, or in the physics sense of an atomic nucleus. I know that's not the case for everyone, but for me, I'm too used to the word nucleus to forget what nuclear is supposed to describe. So hearing nucular just makes me wonder what the hell a nuculus is, which is not a pronunciation of nucleus I've ever heard people use. For me, "nucular" partially removes the actual meaning of the word nuclear (pertaining to the nucleus (of an atom)), so I consider it ineffective communication if I have to mentally correct nucular to nuclear to understand that we're talking about (atomic) nuclei. Which we are, even if other people forget that when they hear nuclear.

              So yeah, my disfavor is partially because of it being less familiar to me, which isn't a strong argument, but it also is because nucular distances nuclear from the scientific basis of the word. (And then if I wanted I could tie this to my dislike of the USA being somewhat science-adverse, and how we should hold on to the pronunciation that maintains the scientific meaning better because "science is under attack." But that's a bs argument in that it has nothing to do with my preference, just an argument that I spotted room for.)

            • Arione says:

              On anothother note aluminum is spelt aluminium in both UK and Australian English… and well you know there’s not much point arguing who’s version of english is right.

            • Jen says:

              I am neither American nor British, so I learned English in school from 5th grade on. My first teacher was British and said aluminium (thats also how it is written and pronounced in German), then I had a teacher who spoke american English an who said aluminum (cue the question: Ma'am, aren't you forgetting a letter in there), so we had to get used to that ronounciation and then finally my third teacher, British again but enlightened enough to allow us both ways to pronounce/write it, so I went back to calling it aluminium.

              And for me it makes perfect sense that there are different ways to pronounce words: there are always dialects in a language, in English as well as any other. Even if you don't like a certain dialect, it is still right.
              Nucular doesn't make sense to me, it doesn't sound nice, but it is an accepted pronounciation.

    • Maya says:

      Maybe it's a Canadian thing?

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Yep, it's perfectly logical to be annoyed at an incorrect pronunciation.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Maybe it gives you flashbacks to the second Bush administration?

    • Nightfly says:

      One thing which really drives me up the wall is when I hear people pronounce "herbs" as "erbs". THERE IS AN "H" AT THE BEGINNING OF THAT WORD!

  19. who_cares86 says:

    Yeah not sure what Adama and Roslin were thinking in this episode. Someone stands up for free and fair elections, which everyone heard and then you plan to ignore this perfectly reasonable demand and go in there to kill the man who said it (even if he is a terrorist) and restrain everyone else? Sure the population will just love having a government that doesn't recognize their democratic rights and seemingly rules by force, that's not going to cause a massive uprising.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I don't know, I think they didn't have a lot of choice. Being annoyed at the end, that was silly, since Lee managed to get everyone out safely and the elections are a totally reasonable idea. It was a good outcome for all concerned.
      But beforehand…I think the problem was that Zarek had broken out of prison and taken hostages. As Roslin said 'we don't negotiate with terrorists'. As soon as Zarek made demands under the threat of violence to innocent people, on principle, they couldn't give in to him, because that sets a dangerous precedent.

      • who_cares86 says:

        It doesn't matter who made the demands. As soon as he makes them public opinion already agrees with him. Giving the people reasons to be believe their democratic rights are not safe under the current rulership seems a whole lot more dangerous than negotiating with a terrorist with reasonable demands. Of course they should have dealt with the hostage situation but that doesn't change the fact that Adama and Roslin were willing to ignore the democratic rights of the people and were absolutely against elections and not just because of who made the demands.

        • breesquared says:

          They're perfectly happy to have elections, but they won't give it to ZAREK or make it seem like it's happened because of his demand. Once you give a terrorist what it wants, the viewpoint is that it makes others think that they can get whatever THEY want by doing the same thing, possible putting people at risk. They do, once reminded that elections ought to happen anyway and not just cos Zarek did what he did, eventually agree to it.

  20. clodia_risa says:

    Richard Hatch! Zarek is such a fascinating character because he exists with his own sense of morality and his own goals which do not intersect with the main character’s goals in any way shape or form.

    Plus, Richard Hatch, who played Zarek, was Apollo in the old 70s TV show. Doesn’t that make the episode even more delicious?

  21. Karen says:

    So I know that this episode is primarily about the philosophical and political debates surrounding Zarek… but the thing that stuck with me most about this episode was the tension between Lee and Adama. I hate it when families don't get along. KISS AND MAKE UP ALREADY BOYS. 🙁

    I did love that Lee was so clever about resolving the issue. It keeps Zarek happy without giving him any real power and solved the need to get people to mine for water.

    For someone who values life and freedom, Zarek sure was willing to use his power to sacrifice other prisoners to his cause, many who probably had no idea what Zarek had planned.
    I think that is part of the point about Zerek though. He DOESN'T value life. He is completely willing to kill people (in the case of the bombing he is imprisoned for) or to let people die (in this case with the prisoners) in order to make a point. Zarek sees his beliefs and ideals as more important than human life. That makes him a bit dangerous, imo.

    ETA: Thinking more about the conversation with Dee and Billy. It seems to me like the issue wasn't just for a group of people on Saggitaron, but rather it was that the colony as a whole was exploited because they were poorer or had less resources than other colonies or something. Therefore it seems to me that Dee is actually a member of the group whose oppression Zarek was protesting when he bombed which makes the whole thing more personal for her. And then Billy seems like he' someone from another colony who hears about the oppression of these people, but I think he's definitely an outsider which idk. I think that gives him the air of someone who has book knowledge about a situation, but very little actual experience with it. Idk idk. I'm just rambling here.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Zarek sees his beliefs and ideals as more important than human life. That makes him a bit dangerous, imo."

      THIS. Zarek is a really dangerous person because he's so driven. When Lee is arguing with him, he barely listens – he wants everyone to be FREE MEN AND WOMEN, but isn't bothered with the realistic details of what he's about to do. As Lee says, they need a leader right now, and Roslin has done an incredible job. But Zarek isn't interested in logic, or compromise, he just wants to say his piece and get his own way, despite the cost.
      Actually, I was struck on re-watching this what an interesting contrast Zarek is to Roslin. She's someone thrust into power who never really wanted it, but keeps going out of a sense of duty, despite the personal cost. Zarek is someone who wants to grab power by any means necessary, but has no real long-term game plan. Whereas Roslin cares about each surviving member of the human race, every death a personal loss to her, Zarek is focused on ideals and the greater good, willing to sacrifice people to his cause.

  22. diane says:

    Adama's point about knowing which side you're on is not at all trivial or schoolyard stuff. It's about loyalty, first, and Adama values loyalty very highly. It's also about other issues, such as expectations, perceptions, and symbols. Lee is a fleet officer, a member of Galactica's crew, and wears the uniform. Because of this, he is (or should be) constrained to toe those lines. Adama wants to be able to count on Lee to represent Adama's authority and positions, as far as possible. The fact that Adama makes this point well before the episode's conflict shows that he doesn't trust his son that far. And he's right; Lee doesn't have that respect either for his father, or for his position.

    As Ron Moore notes in the commentary, Adama and Starbuck are probably Republicans, but Lee is probably a democrat.

  23. diane says:

    A note on Presidential succession: This is played out exactly as it works in the US. There is a Constitutional and legal framework for succession, and as the senior surviving member of the Adar administration, Roslin is next in line for the Presidency. And there would be no reason to have elections prior to the end of Adar's term. (In the US, succession runs through the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the President Pro-tem of the Senate, and then through the cabinet officers, in the order that the cabinet positions were created.

    The point being that Zarek's claim that Roslin's presidency is illegitimate is complete and utter bullshit. And Zarek probably knows that. What he is bargaining for is not freedom, but anarchy, and Lee certainly knows that! But most of the fleet probably doesn't know that, and it makes Zarek even more dangerous because he's a demogague and a con-artist.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, Roslin didn't just seize power because she could. She was actually in line for the presidency (albeit 43rd in line and not an elected official because the cabinet members are appointed). I think that by going through the established structures the government has set in place actually provides a bit of stability. She took over in those crucial moments after the attack where things could have descended into chaos because that was her duty and she is going to do what the law says and serve out the rest of the previous president's term at which point there will be an election.

      • who_cares86 says:

        Except I doubt that Roslin would have given up at the end of Adars term, if no one had spoken up for elections, she would have done what she judged to be best for the people and with humanities very survival at risk elections probably wouldn't be a priority in her eyes, she'd have chosen for strong continues leadership.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I think it's interesting that even if Zarek's claim of an illegitimate government were true, his call for an election would just be a relatively empty symbolic gesture, rather than having any real practical purpose. Generally when marginalized groups call for an election, there's the claim that the current government is illegitimate or corrupt (which is certainly a claim that Zarek makes), but there's also a sort of understated assumption that if the elections were held on equal terms the standing government would be voted out fair and square. Except that Zarek doesn't seem to be saying that at all.

      It's pretty obvious that most of the people on the ships would just end up voting Roslin back into office again. It doesn't seem like there are any other people onboard with political experience, and the military people all seem like they don't want the job, either. By now everyone's seen the kind of pressures the President is put under in these crises, and knows that in Roslin's position they'd probably either buckle under the weight or make a colossally bad judgement and be forever burdened by it. Even if Zarek managed to get all the prisoners to scrape up and vote for one non-Roslin candidate, they'd still be overruled by all the other people who don't see a problem with preserving the status quo.

      All that Zarek's call for a free election could possibly do is give legitimacy to the government he's been calling the master to his slave, and (unless he's completely naive about politics in general) there's simply no way in the world that he doesn't understand that.

  24. Mauve_Avenger says:

    'It’s now apparent that Six doesn’t want Baltar to be “discovered,” so to speak, because as long as he can keep his secret, she can apparently manipulate him. But when she does reveal the actual method with which one could test for a Cylon, I’m a bit confused. How does that help the Cylons, ultimately?'

    My immediate thought was that this might be a way for the Cylons to take away some of the Galactica's defenses. Commander Adama said that there are only five nuclear warheads on board. I'm not sure how taking the plutonium out of a warhead and using it works, but I would imagine that might mean that even if you don't use all the plutonium in the warhead, the remainder can't be repacked somehow and used as a weapon again?

    We also don't know how much plutonium is in one warhead versus how much is actually needed to test everyone. Six and Baltar only requested one nuclear warhead, but I imagine that there'd need to be quite a bit of experimentation in which some of it is wasted. I also can't imagine it being too hard for someone like Boomer to sabotage what he's doing to make him waste even more.

  25. NopeJustMe says:

    I'm not so sure about the election thing. I can understand why they would want it, but honestly, in times of war and crisis the last thing they need is the leadership of the crew to be splintering off into different groups, bogged down by petty vendettas and politicians with their own goals. The fleet HAS to be united. You can't have soldiers or the workforce refusing to do their jobs because 'that wasn't the President that I voted for'. After all, Churchill was essentially a dictator during the Second World War (the elections were suspended), because he HAD to be. I'm not saying there should be a dictatorship- elections should be started the second they're safe, but it's stupid to fuss over elections when you're RUNNING FOR YOUR LIVES FROM MURDEROUS ROBOTS. I mean- they're on the brink of extinction! Think about survival, not politics!

    In other news: I now ship Zarak/Lee. I have no idea why. He just seemed interested in Apollo being on his side and the whole 'I thought you respected me!'. Recs anyone?

    Also: Fuck yeah Cally! A female in that situation, being able to defend herself rather than only be a damsel in distress? Thank you Battlestar Galactica!

    • doesntsparkle says:

      I don't know, I think that an election could unite the survivors; give them a sense of agency that would be a real moral booster; and it will also give them a connection to their lives before the Cylon attack. People need some normalcy in this chaos.

      It would also give the Roslin administration legitimacy by symbolically linking the Government in Space with the Colonial Government, even if she looses. Everyone heard Zarek question her position, and there had to be at least a few people who agreed with him. I think that if she just holds on to power, more people would start to question whether or not she's the rightful President.

      I'd totally vote for Roslin.

  26. karate0kat says:

    Hey, Guy Who Tried To Rape Cally, here, hold this for me
    <img src=""/&gt;

    Yeah, so rape isn't really something I like seeing either. But I do approve of ear biting, so that one was kind of a draw for me.

    OK, so, when I started watching BSG it was running season 4 (I marathoned the first 3 seasons prior, obviously), and at that time, at least, there were tons of people, both in fandom and media, who liked to compare BSG with Lost. As such, it sort of got stuck in my head to always want to compare them. Since I love(d) both shows, that's OK with me.

    One of the similarities that they both held for me on first watch was that I didn't like the "lead" men. In other words, I was not a fan of Jack on Lost, and I was not a fan of Lee on BSG. On rewatches, I still don't like Jack. I will never like Jack. Jack is pretty much everything I hate in men (personality wise at least…being a doctor is obviously not something I loath…yay for saving lives).

    But Lee? I went from disliking him, to only being mildly irritated by him, to really loving him this time around. Oh sure, there are still things that bug me, but overall, I just wanna hug him and tell him he's doing a good job. Shirts optional.

    And I'm not entirely certain why it only shifted for one of them, because I actually think Jack and Lee certain in common. Both have daddy issues, both have found themselves in a position of leadership in a horrible situation (true, Lee was ranked high in the military before the attacks, but it's a different kind of leadership, what he has to do now), both have to make life or death decisions based on limited information and can't really be sure if what they're doing is 'right'.

    I think one of the reasons Lee works better for me is that we see him reflecting, we see into his head, we understand how he comes to his decisions. Yes, he's reacting to things outside his control, often with little time to think things through, but in just three episodes I understand his code of honor, so to speak, and I understand why he makes the split second decisions. He saves Tom Zarek, not because he doesn't like killing and wants to avoid it, not even because he admires him on some level, but because he understands Zarek's value and what he can do for the fleet. I absolutely believe all of that was in his head when he made that call. He's a planner even when he has to react quickly. Granted, that's probably helped by having military training.

    Plus, he has a sense of humor. Jack thinks he has a sense of humor, but it's that type of humor where your grandpa tells a joke and you all laugh nervously because he's old and you don't want him to get upset and have a stroke or something.

    Haha, sorry, apparently I was feeling a little anti-Jack today.

    • echinodermata says:

      Nothing of significance to say except I agree with disliking Jack. I can sorta see similarity in Jack and Lee, in the sense that I find them kinda boring. But I like Lee a lot more because at least I still find him interesting sometimes and want to see him work out his issues. Whereas with Jack, his issues are just so tiring to me, and there's way more interesting people on Lost, but Jack gets so much screentime. At least Lee doesn't suck up the screentime as much.

      Uh, we shall have anti-Jack thoughts together! (Sorry y'all, just ugh I have issues with fictional characters having daddy issues.)


        Apologies for the capslock rage, but my God. Doesn't anyone have any other hangups we could explore, Hollywood? Anything at all? Why so much Daddy-pain? Whyyyyyy?

        • karate0kat says:



          • sabra_n says:

            *hugs copies of Dresden Files books* ONE STORY in which the angsty male hero has a mother who was rebellious and did morally ambiguous things and whose legacy hangs over her son throughout his whole life. (His dad was just a pretty normal, upstanding citizen.)

    • notemily says:

      I NEVER UNDERSTOOD WHY JACK WAS THE FOCUS OF HALF OF THE EPISODES IN LOST. He bored me so much and I didn't care about him or his daddy issues or his jears. Ugh.

    • LostAurora says:

      I'm feeling much more sympathetic towards Lee this time then when I originally watched. I'm curious to see if that continues because if I remember correctly at this point I was more bored by him then anything else.

      The strong urge to smack him came later.

  27. TropeGirl says:

    I love Lee a lot, and I think this episode shows why: he is an idealist. He has a very clear idea of what Good and Right are supposed to be, and he strives for justice and achieving the greatest good that he can, even when it gets him into conflicts. I love that in a show like BSG that puts characters in position where cynicism is by far the easiest attitude to take.

  28. Noybusiness says:

    "It’s unfortunate that even in this society, disease and illness can be used against a person in the public eye"

    After reading this, I went to your Christmas Invasion review expecting to see you call the Doctor a dick for the "don't you think she looks tired?"

  29. daisysparrow says:

    I got so freaked out when I first saw Cally being threatened by the inmate for the first time. I mean, I knew what was coming, I thought there was going to be a completely terrifying and soul-saddening rape moment there and I was steeling myself for that. But then CALLY BITES HIS FRAKKING EAR OFF and I literally cheered. I know she was probably scared out of her mind and in pain but she toughened up and stood up for herself against that creep. Frak yeah, BSG, for giving us an example of a strong female character who won't take crap from anyone. Cally is amazing. That is all.

  30. notemily says:

    So. I really, really hate Tom Zarek. I'm just getting that out there right now. I know he has good points and shit, but I really CAN'T stand him. I want to smack his smug freedom fighter face.

    The whole idea of figuring out what to do with the prisoners is just kind of uncomfortable to me. Like… what the hell are freedom points? What are they worth? And how do you even separate the "hardened criminals" from the… what, nonviolent offenders? (Do they have the War On Drugs there?) And what were they going to do to get the ice if they didn't have prisoners? How about paying people actual money to do it? Does money even matter anymore at this point?

    Dualla is conversant in the technical details OF BILLY'S HEART.

    Parents have to die in order for children to come into their own? That's not true. That's what teenage rebellion is for. Seriously, the Cylons, despite being machines, are not the best on logic.

    I agree that prisoners should be treated like men and not animals, but they should STILL BE IN PRISON.

    Six is giving Baltar DIRECT ORDERS now, that's really creepy. I love how he actually does figure out how he could make a workable Cylon detector from her idea, though.

    Alpha, Bravo, Constellation, I like that.

    Yeah, yeah, nobody voted for Roslin but they voted for Adar, who appointed her. I hate you Tom Zarek.

    I'm glad that Adama sticks up for Roslin even though he barely recognized her as the President a few episodes ago.



    "You put him in a cage. You made him a monster!" Well, besides the idea that no, Apollo did not have anything to do with putting this dude in prison, HE IS STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN RAPEY ACTIONS JESUS CHRIST

    I love when Starbuck brings a flask OF WATER to Tigh. Hee hee. I also love that every time they try to make nice, they just can't do it and end up insulting each other.

    Mark is captain of the Astral Plane. Forever.

    I really hate when people are like "ok, this office romance [or military romance or whatever] ENDS NOW." Does that EVER work? In fiction, I mean. I doubt it works much in real life either, though.

  31. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Oh I forgot to mention this before but I just remembered. Roslin telling Adama she has allergies always makes me laugh.
    Aren't they in space? LITERALLY in a vacuum? What could she possibly be allergic to?

    • Kim says:

      She could be allergic to fibers that clothing is made of, dust, animal hair, food additives, foods, etc. Just not pollen.

  32. StatSig says:

    but I get kind of uncomfortable when watching or reading about rape in the context of science fiction.

    Same for me, though replace science fiction with fiction in general. 99% of rape scenes in fiction seem to be solely for "Oh hey we have a (generally female) character and we want drama: let's add some rape!" or the occasional disgusting comedy bit (generally someone-on-male rape). Inga Muscio's Cunt really informed my opinions on this. Her argument, which is part of the reason I now avoid fiction with rape in it, is that very often (particularly in visual media such as TV/movies) on-screen rape is not only usually exploitative of the brutality of the act but is in fact slightly titillating. She lists seeing The Accused with a male friend (partner? I forget) as an example: leaving the movie, the guy had a comment sort of like, "It was a weird experience for me. On one hand, I was disgusted and horrified, as I was supposed to be. But there was still a little piece of me that was all 'Holy cow I'm seeing Jodie Foster's breast!'" I see on-screen rape as problematic in the same way that I see gorn films like Saw as problematic: the narrative may be structured in such a way that we're supposed to be condemning the act, but there's usually a fetishization of the act at the same time that I fear makes it slightly exciting in a taboo way for people. In gorn films, the viewers are grossed out but want to see the protagonists get tortured in terrible ways. In the same way, I think that on-screen rape in TV/movies often leaves the viewers kind of morbidly interested in the rape. Some rare shows/films are able to avoid this, and I think that BSG handles it fairly well (Inga Muscio would probably be kind of happy with this scene, seeing as there's not really any sexualized shots of Cally's body that I recall, and Muscio specifically wanted viewers to encourage a re-reading of rape scenes where the victim successfully fights back), but I overall have a severe problem with on-screen (or on-page, for books) rape, because it is usually so poorly handled. I generally have a standing policy to not watch TV shows/movies with rape in them–friends that are in the know often warn me before I go to see such things so I don't do so.

    Tangentially, I'm having a problem with a current scifi book I'm reading for this very reason. The book is very well-written and is a very neat setting, sort of a cyberpunk-minus-technology-plus-genetic-modification, but early on there is a graphic rape scene that is detailed at the level of an erotica story and at the end of which the victim actually involuntarily orgasms. I was entirely disgusted by it. By my usual morals for rape-in-media, I should have stopped reading immediately but I kinda pressed on, and am feeling a bit gross for doing so even though I'm enjoying the rest of the book.

  33. akacj18 says:


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