|"Escape Velocity" Podcast|
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|Length of Podcast:||43:34|
|Ronald D. Moore
|Word of the Week:||masochism interruptus|
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Hello, and welcome to the podcast for episode 406, "Escape Velocity." I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, and thank you very much for joining our podcast. The Scotch for tonight is Glenmorangie, this is the port wood finish twelve year old Scotch. The wife and kids are downstairs, and in deference to the tots the smoking lamp is out. OK. Episode four, to those of you counting at home, episode six to me, was yet another of the episodes that I've referred to before that were also broken in one fell swoop at the very beginning of the sea – or not, broken, at least the basic story outline was [clears throat] conceived at the very beginning of the season. The script for this, by Jane Espenson, was begun in tandem with several other scripts and there were changes that happened on the fly in Jane's script, as we were making – as I was making changes to other episodes. Notably, there was a good deal of interaction back and forth in terms of plot, having to do with the previous episode, Michael Taylor's episode of last week, episode five. Notably in the Quorum scenes that are to be coming up.
OK. Here at the very beginning, the idea of doing a service in the temple and establishing, one of the few times that we've really actually seen any of the polytheistic worship of the Colonies, was something I'd liked from the very beginning of the story as we broke it, and Jane really developed the actual service and the language that they're using and the formality of the ritual. I liked the idea from the get-go of saying, "OK. We've talked a lot about the polytheistic belief system of the colonists, and how usually in – just in contrast with the monotheism of the Cylons." And the irony, it seemed to me, at this point in the series, was that in some ways we knew more about the Cylons' conception of God and the Cylon belief system, and how it worked in practical terms, than we really did the Colonials. And this was a great opportunity to go into that world and really actually play a service and I was also intrigued by the thought of showing a polytheistic religious service on television. Typically these services are all in the Judeo-Christian tradition. You don't get to see a lot of variety in TV's portrayal of belief. I like the idea of validating and underlining the fundamental [clears throat] validity of the Colonial belief system.
This is a great little beat here with Laura and Eddie – or [chuckles] with Mary and Adama – with Laura and Adama. She's obviously alluding to the fact that she herself is gonna be dying, and she's starting to grapple with that in practical ways, and Adama really doesn't wanna think or talk about that. There's also this beat of the wigs. The – Laura's wig. We had a scene that made it to script and I believe it was in this episode, originally, although I could be wrong about that, where we were going to see Laura looking over examples of wigs that they had dug up through the Fleet. That essentially the wigs are made of – I remember having these discussions that the wigs were made of human hair and presumably there's still barbers around and they would collect the hair, and that people would be making wigs from them. Much as they do today. But they would be made of real human hair, presumably. And that Laura would – they would have brought Laura several ones to choose from, and there was a little scene about that. Actually, the more I talk about it, it's probably – I think that scene actually might have been in the next episode. But in any case we – there was a substantial amount of discussion devoted to Laura's cancer and the progress of it, and when we were gonna show it, how far we were gonna go with it, and I had an extended conversation with Mary about it at the beginning of the season. Mary and I got together for breakfast and we sat down and talked over the character of Laura and what her arc was gonna be [clears throat] going through the rest of the season and how far we were gonna go with the cancer and what the – where it was gonna end up, and what the reasons where. It was a really interesting talk, and a lot of things that we ultimately ended up doing in the episode came out of that morning chat.
This little – this scene here with – the reappearance of Ellen was something I was really looking forward to. I hoped that this was gonna be a bit of a surprise to the fans. We knew that word was going to get out that Kate Vernon was on the set, or that Kate Vernon had been booked to do an appearance, and sure enough there were some clips that made it onto the internet, some snippets here and there of news that Kate Vernon was doing something in Galactica, and everybody – I think there was a general assumption that it was gonna be flashback, which really worked for us, 'cause then we could play that scene. [Chuckles.] And make it a genuine surprise. I also have to give k – tremendous kudos to the hair and makeup people and our costume department, our wardrobe department, who was able to really make that transition from Six to Ellen work really well. Like, at fir – when she first shows up as Ellen it takes a moment before you even realize that it's Ellen.
This subplot here with Tyrol and Nicky was gonna be – it was developed a little further in the first draft, and I think it was even some subsequent scenes shot that were ultimately drawn from the air – dropped from the aired version. There was more of Tyrol really checking out, really being disconnected, from his son. Really lost and not knowing what the hell to think about it. I think there was a scene, actually – yeah, actually, I know there was a scene later on – I'll try to r– to talk about, that had Helo coming. Helo had found Nicky crying all by himself and had come to Tyrol later. Essentially what we wanted to do as we got into this area of the arc of the season was start really sending our final four Cylons in fundamentally different directions. Anders isn't even here. Anders is gone off with Kara. Tyrol is – Tyrol's wife is dead. It's thrown him into an identity crisis. It's thrown him into a fundamental existential crisis. He has a son. He's not capable of really caring for him. He's gonna lose his job. He's freaking out. He's not shaving. It's like he – Tyrol's really coming unglued. Tigh is like, hanging on ever tighter and tighter than he can.
Now somebody – oh, I have to comment on this. Someone on the internet pointed out that in this shot that I'm looking at right now, Tyrol is – sorry, Tigh is talking to Tyrol, and on Tigh's collars are clearly admiral pin – admiral pips. And of course that is a deep mystery and a deep secret and I encourage all – everyone on the internet to spend a great deal of time and effort trying to suss out the various reasons why I would put admiral pips on Colonel Tigh. 'Cause I'm sure that that would lead you, if you follow that chain, that will lead you inevitably to who the final Cylon is. Or it could just be a wardrobe mistake. But that's not as much fun, is it?
Anyway. We were – we – let me jump back here to – I've been reading to you some of these descriptions that were in the initial pitch document on the first four episodes of the season. This one, episode four, says, "The theme is redemption, unlikely alliances. In a nutshell, Tigh seeks out answers from Caprica-Six. An accident in space leads Tyrol to believe that he may be sabotaging Vipers and asks to be relieved of duty. Martyr-like Baltar defends his one God church. Zarek – Zarek manipulates Lee against Laura." And then in the in-depth description it says, "Baltar and Laura – the Baltar/Laura story. The goo – the goons bust up –" I'll wait 'till we come back.
In the in-depth description it says, "Baltar and Laura: the goons bust up non-violent Baltar revival meeting. Baltar marches on the pantheon, denounces polytheism for reason for the holocaust. Laura, the reactionary, outlaws Baltarism. Zarek works on Lee. 'The President is losing it, Lee. Baltar isn't a threat. Denying freedom of worship is.' Lee tries to reason with Laura, fails. Baltar, with an assist from Head-Six, braves an 'On the Waterfront' type clubbing to worship, which increases his flock. Lee and the Quorum overrule Laura. Reveal that Zarek pays goons, who started the whole thing, and Zarek clearly has designs. Tyrol story. Helo out in space. A near crash of the Raptor due to mechanical failure. Tyrol blames himself. Not sure if it is an honest mistake or sabotage on his part. He asks to be removed from duty. Adama grants it, thinking it's fallout from Cally's death. Tigh attempts to console Tyrol, who blames himself for Cally's death. Leads Tigh into guilt trip over dead Hel- Ellen. Meaningless of life, plus being a Cylon drives him back to the bottle. Doesn't work. Sees answer – seeks answers from a true Cylon and goes to see Caprica-Six. Caprica-Six realizes Tigh's motivation to purge his guilt through punishment when she eggs – when he eggs her into hitting him. Masochism interruptus when Cap-Six kisses Tigh, Tigh kisses her back. Tory is moved by Baltar's faith, the outlaw savior-quality, embracing the uniqueness of one God, Tory, to herself, thinks maybe being a Cylon ain't so bad, and for the first time she refers to Laura, Adama, and company as 'the humans'." This – so that was – so that's the description. You can see we – where we departed in certain areas and developed things further, but essentially, again, this is still fundamentally what the show is.
This sequence here, in the first draft there was – Head-Baltar made an appearance here. And Head-Baltar was sitting and talking to Baltar throughout this little section. And in fact I – God, I – my memory might be failing me, but I kinda remember actually usi– shooting Head-Baltar in this sequence. I think we did shoot Head-Baltar in the sequ– he was talking to Baltar, and I think in editing I cut it out. I could be insane. Other people – other voice – cooler heads will judge. Once we get into this section here, the attack of what we're calling the Sons of Ares, are sort of the name of this group, and when they come in to trash Baltar's – lair, as it were, this is directed by Eddie, as you can see, and I really like Eddie's direction. This works pretty well. I'd say that – I think the problem that we probably have here is that we don't quite have enough of a foundation laid for who the Sons of Ares are. I mean, you kind of get an idea that – I hate the shoulder pads on that guy, sorry. Not to bag on our costume department or anything, but I hate that guy's outfit. I just hate it. It's very "Road Warrior". Anyway. We never quite lay the groundwork for who exactly who the Sons of Ares are, and why their – hatred of the Baltarites is as passionate as it is. I think we kinda go on the assumption that it's, OK, in the episode you feel like it's an outgrowth of the previous shows where – or show – where Connor attacked Baltar in the head and almost killed – or wanted to kill him, and Baltar was ultimately saved by his acolyte, Paulla. So it's clearly like they're all kinda connected together. But again, I think the Sons of Ares is an idea – it sounds better in concept, and I think it was something that worked in the room really well, 'cause it was an easy way to talk about the group that was opposing Baltar, but we just never really developed it. Part of that is due to simply the limitation-
Oh, no. I have to stop to talk about this little – this space shot here. The la– the Raptor landing. The Raptor taking off and the – everybody walking on the flight deck. I love that – shot. As soon as I saw it in pre-vis I was like, "Are you kidding? Really? You're gonna have these guys walk along the flight deck? That's so cool." And Gary's like, "Yeah, man." I was like, "Oh, fuck yeah! I'll put that in the show." They were very happy.
Anyway. The Sons of Ares concept, I think – part of it is just the lack of time in the show. You only have so much time in these episodes to develop certain ideas in any kind of depth, and Sons of Ares just became sort of a shorthand for these nameless, faceless guys that hated Baltar and were causing trouble and would go and attack him. And – like I said earlier, it sounded good in the room, and then I kinda watched the episode, they kinda come out of nowhere. You're not really invested in them, and it's like you're still trying – I think you're still trying to invest yourself in Baltar's experience in the Cult, and you're trying to understand and wrap your mind around that and trying to have sympathy and empathy for what he's going through. That's already asking a lot of the audience. And then bringing in these other – guys don't re– doesn't really work. So – but it's – I mean, it works in the structural sense, but not in a visceral sense.
I love this whole sequence of the Raptor rolling in and crashing. I did voice concern when I saw the visual effects that this was too spectacular a crash to have them survive, and they did tone it down, but I have to say, still, I'm still amazed that anybody made it out of that Raptor alive, much less in as good as shape as Crashdown and Skulls are.
The Baltar story here. Clearly he's going on a – something of a messiah journey with these followers. Now the question, I think, for the audience is, "Well, how far is we gonna go with that? And where is this journey gonna take him? And is he a messiah? Is he gonna accept himself as a messiah? Will he buy into it? Is it true in the scope of the show, and ultimately, where does that lead us in the overall arc, overall final arc, of the series?" Some of this is – Christ-like. Some of the notion of Baltar going to the temple in the scene that's coming up, and smashing the icons, certainly has overtones of young Jesus and driving out the money-changers in the temple. That was deliberate, and we kinda liked that. But the attack on him, the attack on his followers, and was – really doesn't fit into that storyline as readily and this is more an idea of the con– this more the clash of civilizations. This is more the idea being the clash of the one god who is driven to drive out the many gods. And really that's at the heart of this story. It's not so much a tale of Baltar as literal Christ as it is using some of those overtones, and some of those tropes, and some of those themes to advance our story in touching into familiar ideas that the audience will register and familiar pathways.
This stor– this beat here with Tyrol discovering the fuse that he forgot to put in. There was actually an earlier beat that I think I cut, where you saw him, literally, put it in his pocket and forget to put it in. In the story and at the – script level, it wasn't Racetrack and Skulls, it was Helo. Helo was out in space and had a near-crash and, like I read in the story document earlier, and comes back and is nearly killed, and then there's all these questions about what happened and Tyrol blames himself and –
I'm sorry. I'm distracted by this scene. I love Aaron's performance here. It's really strong. It's – just the look on his face and the way he goes at them is – really delivers this idea. I that was just – great show for Aaron. Really strong show for – Aar– I really like him in this episode.
Anyway, so Helo was gonna be the victim of the accident and Tyrol was then gonna start wondering if he had deliberately sabotaged it or if it was an honest mistake. And then what started happen was as – as we – I was working – we were working on the other shows simultaneously and when the decision was made to send Helo out on the Demetrius with Kara, obviously he got yanked out of this story completely. As a result of that, I had to find somebody else to get hurt in a Raptor. And we were kinda out of pilots. Running kinda low on pilots at this point. And rather than pull in a day player or – by that, I mean somebody new, a guest star, rather, some faceless person that we don't have any investment in, who then would kinda be targeted. It's like, if we cast it with somebody who was just a brand new pilot you'd never met before and suddenly with them in the cockpit, without commenting, flying out in space, you're gonna know something's gonna go wrong. It's the red shirt phenomena from Trek where you, "Oh, that guy's gonna die." And we just kinda said, "You know what? Let's put Racetrack and Skulls in it." And the point did come up that they've had problems before, and that Racetrack and Skulls have had a very, very active and very adventurous life in Raptor. They tend to find planets. They tend to have accidents. You could say you either want to get in a Raptor with – you should probably always want to get in a Raptor with Racetrack, 'cause it'll never be boring. She was even with Sharon, way back when, when Sharon ran into all the naked Sharons back on the baseship. But that's become our inside joke. It's just Racetrack and her never-boring Raptors.
Head-Six in these scenes – I was, at the script level I started edging – I was already starting to second-guess my my fascination with Head-Baltar and I was – it was also causing a lot of production issues because when you're having Baltar talking to Baltar it's more lock-offs, it's more production time, 'cause you have to – Gaius has – Gaius. James has to go off and change clothes. He has to have his makeup redone. He has to leave the set for an hour or so and then come back. It just complicates everybody's life to have Baltar talking to Head-Baltar. So in this draft I started to already say, "You know what? Let's – it's probably fine to give more of this to Head-Six, less to Head-Baltar." This might have been an episode – see, I am kinda fuzzy on this, 'cause it happened so long ago, I apologize, but I think, like I said earlier, I think we did shoot some Head-Baltar scenes in it, so we had Head-Baltar and Head-Six in the same episode, but then ultimately go rid of it.
I like this. I like this scene a lot. I like James just comin' in an literally trashing the temple and the clash of civilizations and the religious conflicts in the fleet and we had tried last year – there was talk about the Sagittarons and how the Sagittarons were sort of their own cult-like people. They were the – colony that kept to themselves in the Hero – not "Hero – in the "Woman King" episode.
Yeah. They were the ones that had kept to themselves in the "The Woman King" episode, like I was saying. But that really never took off, and didn't work. So this season we just opted to go straight for – it was much easier to play the monotheism vs. the polytheism as our religious conflict on the show, 'cause it was built into the series from the very beginning.
More on the Laura-Adama storyline here. This book will actually become an interesting little plot point, in and of itself, so keep your eye on the book, what happens to it, where it goes. This whole storyline just became very just – I don't know. Became one of my favorite stories of the whole year, was Laura and Adama and how they were dealing with each other and their – as she went through diloxin treatments, our form of chemo, and how that would affect their relationship and where they were as human beings, and where they were in their relationship to one another. I like that in this episode you don't know she's – we don't say she's wearing a wig until much later. And Bal – although when you're watching, you sort of feel like something's up with Mary, and you know what? We changed Mary's hair.
This storyline – the political storyline with Laura and Adama and Lee that's coming up, in the early going, in the first drafts, this – the first draft did not have any of the Quorum scenes and the arguments were much more about the theoretical ideas of Laura, of cracking down on Baltar. It was much – it was a little bit more grudge-driven than it is now. It was a little bit more that Laura just hated Baltar and was gonna quash him no matter what, then Lee thinking that that was wrong, and that that was unethical, and as we developed through the script, I came up with the notion of making it more question time – well. Well, we'll get to that when I get to question time, I suppose.
We – this plotline with Caprica-Six and Tigh. It's hard to talk about this at this point in the season. All I can tell you is keep your eye on this storyline as well. We have a lot going on in all these little plotlines, obviously, and they take a while to develop and this is laying a lot of groundwork for later – episodes. Loved the ability to bring Kate Vernon back. Losing Kate from the show was – it was a real loss. There's been a lot of losses in the show, 'cause we have clearly lost a lot of players and there's been a lot of great characters and a lot of great actors that have been slaughtered in the bloody, bloody path that we have cut through the forest. I don't know what kind of metaphor that is. But the mix of having – having Ellen in the mix, and then not having her in the mix – I definitely felt that. I felt the loss of her. I was eager to get her back into the show, and I was glad to be – to have this opportunity to do it.
[Phone rings.] This – all this. Oh, there's my telephone, that I can't answer. That's actually the studio. I'm actually ignoring the studio to – talk to you. I'm typing in, "Can't talk now," to my assistant Meryl. [Chuckles.] OK. Sorry. I should turn off the recorder for things like this, but I just won't.
Anyway. These scenes I find fascinating. I mean, I think Eddie shot these in a really interesting way. The Ellen/Caprica-Six/Tigh scenes, and I think he cut them in a very interesting way. Eddie's episodes are all – always edited in a really interesting, aggressive way. He tends to cut – Eddie calls the cutting psychologically. He likes cutting to the psychological heart of different scenes and going back and forth and he – always jumbles the chronology and the order of the scenes to a point where you don't even really care or recognize what the original purpose was. And as a result, these episodes are always a bit jarring. They grab you and they yank you through the show and you're never quite sure where you're gonna go next. And I really like that. I think it's – a bit unsettling to an audience, which is more f– more used to watching standard TV. And standard TV, in my humble opinion, is a bit paint by the numbers in terms of where it cuts and when in that it's usually just very slow paced and very simple and you don't wanna throw the audience and you always wanna let them know, always show them an exterior of the building before you show the interior. There's a lot of that, I mean. And that – I'm painting with a pretty broad brush here. There's a lot of interesting television out there too, that's interesting and edgy and more aggressive. So we're not the only ones doing this. But I just prefer this style. And I learn a lot when I watch Eddie's episodes and I watch his cuts I learn a lot from them. Even though I go in and there things I don't – agree with, and I'll change, and I'll shift cuts, and I'll – sometimes I'll move things back closer to the script in some areas, or sometimes I'll just clean 'em up for clarity, or just my own personal preference. But his cuts are always instructive. I'm always learning things in how he puts – he assembles it. He has a great eye for film, and he thinks like a filmmaker. That's what I like about him the most as a director. He really thinks of it as film. And he's very concentrated on the performances. He challenges the actors. He pushes and pulls them in different directions, and he digs out a lot of interesting little moments and nuances in the script. This particular scene with Laura and Baltar, I think is one of the highlights of the episode. I think this is the kind of scene that I – that would just – that could easily sail past you, 'cause there's so many other pieces in this episode that operate at a much higher emotional level, that are much louder, in a certain way, that are just more attention-getting and are just bigger. This – I love the way Mary delivers this whole little piece where there's a real sense of danger to her, a real sense of danger. "Stay safe." The fact that she doesn't care anymore. That she's dying and that she's put it back on him. I think it's a fascinating performance and I've watched it several times, and each time I find a different – slightly different layer in Mary's performance there.
This beat with Adama and Tyrol is clearly the hi– probably the high point of the episode. It is just so well delivered. This gag, right here, when Adama's about to say he – "Keep yourself busy." "I don't need special treatment." Yeah. This is so well done. Married to a Cylon. Abomination. Pan over to Tyrol. Cut back. Eddie picks up the drink again. That's really good. That's really smart. It's really – draws you in. It's a s– you don't realize where it's going right away. You pan over to him, and as Tyrol's – it's Eddie's psychological thing. Psychologically, you're with Tyrol. 'Cause Tyrol is going, "Did I just hear him say that?" And you the audience are going, "Did I – did we just hear him say that?" And then you cut back, and the simple act of the glass – it's as simple as when he picks that glass up and takes a drink, and the first time – and then the drink arriving a second time tells you that it was just a hallucination. It's very well done. It's very elegant. It's really, really cool. This scene got better and better just all the way through the drafts. In the first scene it wasn't like this really at all. It took place on the hangar deck. It was up on the catwalk. It had to do with – the subject had to do with – like I said, I think it alluded to this earlier, Helo had found Nicky crying by himself in the quarters with the door closed. Helo had brought Nicky to find Tyrol. Tyrol was getting drunk in Joe's Bar by himself – or with some other deckhands and was abusive to Tyr– to Helo and got in a whole yelling match about it, and he was like, "Oh, he was fine. What the hell and what the – who the fuck are you to come in here and tell me what to do with my kid, and leave me alone," and blah, blah, blah. And they got in this whole thing about it. And then later in the script, Adama had heard, and Adama came and confronted him about it and said – or didn't confront him, but sat down and s– tried to reason with him and say, "Hey, man. I know you're going through some hard times. You need – you prolly need some rest." Put his hand on his shoulder and said, "Hey, man. Don't – but don't leave your kid alone, ok?" And Tyrol kinda went, "Ok. Sure, sir." And then as Adama was walking away, then Tyrol went off on him and said, "Don't tell me how to take care of my kid." "What?" "I'm – You're not my fuckin' father. You're not their fuckin' father. Who the fuck do you think you are?" And got in his face in a similar way. And then along the way it shifted and then we – lost the Helo scene altogether – but the Joe's Bar was still in the air, so then we started to talk about moving the Adama-Tyrol scene into Joe's Bar as better piece of texture. And then we just started pushing the scene more, and started pushing the scene to be more confrontational, to be more direct, to make Nicky – the Nicky part of it kind of went away and then as the Nicky part went away then this became just a sympathetic outreach to Tyrol, then Tyrol just completely unloads him, that makes it – and it's the fact that Tyrol does it publicly. That he does it for the benefit of everyone in this bar gives Adama no choice. He really – and Adama warns him. He's like, "I c– if you do this." And he says in the scene, I mean, "Don't do this. Don't make me do this." And Tyrol wants it. Tyrol's like, "Bring it in – bring it on, man. Bring it on. Destroy me. Take me apart. Crucify me. Kill me. Something." He wants this punishment. He's so out of his mind on so many levels, with his own identity, with the – what he thinks is the suicide of his wife, the pos– the near-fatal accident with Helo and Skulls that landed on – that he's taking on his shoulders. All these things combine. He's just going into this completely self-destructive mode, which I think is just really great. It's a happy place, the battlestar Galactica. Happy times.
And don't ask me where the USC jersey came there at Joe's Bar. [Chuckle.] It's like, sometimes there's just things crop up – [unintelligible] I kinda went, "Is that a USC jersey?" They all – everyone kinda shuffled and looked at each other and like, "Oh, yeah. I guess so."
The Quorum. I talked about this in the previous podcast. The Quor– these scenes were originally just Lee-Laura scenes in the first draft. Lee had a cramped little tiny office on Colonial One. She came to see him. 'Cause he was pushing something in the off-camera Quorum and she wasn't happy about it. And it had to do with her cracking down on Baltar and all that. And she tried to confront him about it, and she was still pissed at – it came out that she was still pissed at Lee about him defending Baltar, and it got personal. But I wanted to have – I thought, "Let's bring the Quorum back into the show. Let's play the Quorum. Play it like the House of Commons. Go for 'question time'." And so I gave the note to Michael Taylor and then Jane Espenson simultaneously, they both had to retrofit their episodes to fit that concept and Jane – nailed it, I thought, in this episode. She did this – whole setup of how the – how it worked back and forth and gave us an insight into the political underpinnings of the Fleet. There's not quite enough, I have to say, of the implication here that there are other cults in the fleet – or – cults. There are other forms of religious worship in the fleet that also have something approaching a monotheistic point of view. I think one of the things that I always thought about the polytheistic society of the Colonials is that within their polytheistic belief system there were many subgroups. There were many, many denominations, as it were, or there were many forms of worship. There was a cult of Athena. There were people that prayed to different gods. There were people that had differ– all kinds of different forms of worship. There were people that were more akin to Buddhists and there were people that were more akin to Hindu and there were people that were monotheistic in their belief, that did believe that there was – but one god, or that there was one – only one real god. But that essentially Colonial society tolerated all of them, and that they were all welcomed, the belief systems. So when that delegate stood up and said, "This – mirrors some believers in – from our colony," it was meant to say, "Hey, this is not a new thing." It's not quite fully developed enough in the show, but again, you only have so much time and there's so many characters and so many plotlines going on, and some of these ideas which I thought were fascinating ideas just never quite get played out as deep and as interesting as I think they could be.
Love that – thing with Tigh looking down at the sleeping – Ellen and then she wakes up, then it's Caprica-Six. I'm trying to remember. I don't think that there was – these scenes went through several stages of development, but I don't think were any radical shifts of tone or characterization on this. In the point where we – where Caprica-Six arrived aboard Galactica, there was a question of, "what do we do with her? Where does that character go?" And she's been aboard for a while now and this season was when that – we finally found something to kick her into gear. I monkeyed about quite a bit with the editing of these scenes of the Ellen to Caprica-Six to Tigh, exactly when you went from one to the other. There's a million ways you can cut these things. You know – you can kind of – it depends on what you're trying to do the audience, where you're trying to have them go psychologically as Eddie would say. I think I was trying to get into a certain rhythm. I tend to think of editing and writing in musical terms, even though I'm not a musician, and there's a certain melody going on in these scenes that's a dialogue, and then there's the underlying bassline of the rhythm and the flow of the structure of the scene itself. And that the editing is carrying you through those rhythms and that the melody's – the melody and the dialogue's kinda playing on top of it and then the editing is like the phrasing, or it's the, again, it's like the bassline driving you through these things. And so I kept playing with when you cut to Ellen, when she became Caprica-Six, what was the pace of it, how was it building, and he moved you through the scene emotionally.
His pips are back to normal. Now, see? Something has clearly happened in between the previous scene and this one. Now his rank insignia is just that of a colonel. So what happened to the Admiral Tigh? Hmmm. Inquiring minds want to know.
See? That's great. Because I love that shot, because you don't know – you're not even thinking, at first, that it is Ellen. It's like you're starting yours – on that cut, and the assumption is that it's still Six, and it's all kind of a game here. It's all kind of like, "When are you gonna play who?" and "Which one does he see?" and "Which one is she really?" See? Right here we're staying with Ellen all the way through, so you're really pulling into the feeling of her, all the way until you leave. Now Eddie, when he did his cut, he cut the – this was intercut in the script. I will say that these scenes were all intercut in the script, but he did it at a far more aggressively than I think the script called for, and were really pulling you in and out of these two – all these things that are happening simultaneously.
This scene was really – this was supposed to be – what did it say in the story outline? The outline said – oh, it said, "'On the Waterfront' style clubbing." And that was one of the inspirations. This was also sort of a Gandhiesque notion of when part of the Indian drive for independence and they would go up against the British troops, and they would just let them – the British would just beat them down, one by one, and they would just keep coming, and coming, and the next man would come, and the next man would come. And they would beat them down, too, and there was this great – this amazing, brave symbolism of that.
Now here, referring to the Baltar story. I tended to think of this more along the lines of the Indian analogy than "On the Waterfront" type clubbing. Mostly because I have to admit I haven't seen "On the Waterfront." There are certain movies and stories that are referenced a lot in writers' rooms in television, to the point where I could probably tell you the whole plot of "On the Waterfront" because it has been discussed and the archetypes within it have been discussed, the plot structure, and the characterizations. Even a lot of the dialogue is discussed endlessly in writers' rooms. And it's one of those movies I keep feeling like I gotta get around to watching, because it's a classic and I should just watch it. But I just never have. And yet, it's tossed around so frequently that I pretty much know the story of "On the Waterfront" and kinda know what it is. I mean, there's a lot of movies like that, most of which I have seen, but there's certain archetypes that are just tossed around for a million years. "The Maltese Falcon" is one of them. I didn't see "The Maltese Falcon", or had not seen "The Maltese Falcon" for several years in the business. It was just one – there are certain odd gaps in my film education. "Maltese Falcon" was one of them until I think five years ago was the first time I saw it. But again, it was discussed so often in writers' rooms, the plot structure and the way it worked, that I felt like I knew the whole movie.
It's probably worth going back and just mentioning that that whole little sequence of Baltar being pulled up by Head-Six and pushed into the clubbing sequence: I don't think I really anticipated that he was gonna be pulled quite – up quite so high. The idea was not to actually have him appear to hover or levitate off the deck, as I've seen some people mention. "Oh! Baltar's levitating. Is he levitating? Oh, now everybody knows." It wasn't really intended to be that. I think when they shot – and when they shot it, they certainly went that direction, and then I saw it in dailies and saw it on the – in the cut, and I kinda went, "Well, it kinda works." It still goes a little too far. It's actually – I was – I always wanted to ride the line where so – a scene like that you could potentially believe was either just Baltar himself doing it, or it could be Six doing it to him, and that you could read it either way. That particular scenario – scene actually goes a little too far in the direction of someone actu– of Head-Six actually doing it to him, and it feels a little – I will still rationalize in this show, to me, and for our internal purposes that no one in that scene would think anything other than Baltar himself was doing it. And that's – it may not play it that way to you, the audience, but that is how we're going to accept it. That's how the characters within the drama accept it. They think about it on that level. They don't – they think it's a strange moment. They think it's a brave moment. But they – none of them feels like there was somebody else at play, or there was any other force at play in this scene.
There's a nice little subtlety here. A little subtler, a nuance, rather, as – he reads more of Searider Falcon. There's a beat here where Eddie looks up from the text. Like Laura closes her eyes, and Eddie looks up... right there. He glances up, and then I believe, if I'm not mistaken, he establishes that Laura's out, and then he closes the book and he just starts talking. And it's an interesting choice. What is he saying here? What are we saying here, really? Is he memorized it? Which would imply that he has actually read ahead and that he wasn't telling the truth. Or that he read ahead prior to the scene for himself. Is he making it up? Is it a confession? I think it's a really interesting open question. I don't have the answer to it. I don't really wanna know the answer to it. I may at some point ask Eddie what he was thinking there, if it was a deliberate choice or not. If it was something he had thought about or if it was just a performance in the moment. I think it's fascinating. I think it's one of those little details that I think you can glob onto and wonder what's the – where's the character going, and it's just adding a bit of life to something. It's not – it's making it. What am I trying to say? It's not completely scripted. Just like life is not completely scripted. You don't always understand why people do everything they do, and sometimes they do odd little – bits that don't make any sense or that raise other questions and you never actually get a completely satisfying answer to them, and that's kinda one of those beats.
This is – part of the – education of Gaius Baltar and part of his religious arc and things he's discovering and mom– lessons he's taking from the journey that he's going on. The question is, where does this take him? Where would this take all of them? Where does this path lead him? And wher – and as a result, where will the fleet go? How will it tie in, ultimately, to the end of the series?
I love the fact that Tyrol is here with his son while this is all happening. I thi– 'cause I think there's a lot of ways you can read this. I think you can – attack it. You could say all just a new-agey kinda stuff. You could say it's profound. You could say it draws on many different traditions. You could say it's his own self-rationalization. You could say – I mean, I think there's a lot of different interpretations, and we crafted it in such a way that it could go in many different directions, potentially. But for our purposes, it goes in one direction, and that the trick is to present it to the audience as a multiple choice of well, which is – how do we feel about this? Is he a) crazy b) self-rationalizing c) insane d) evil c) a truly godly inspired – there's a lot of ways you could read this and the – point for us was to raise questions and mysteries and get the audience thinking and wondering and worrying, on some level, about where we're going with this. And then to propel you into the next episode and then to keep walking the path we're going, but still leave out many possible alternates – many other side journeys that it could take. I love the fact that Lee is still there. And Lee stuck around and was compelled into listening longer than he th– he probably originally intended to. There was much more of Tory trying to guide Baltar in the early versions of that storyline.
Well, ok. That's it. That is the end of episode 406, "Escape Velocity." I hope you enjoyed it. I will revisit – I will be visiting you again for episode 407. Until then, good night, and good luck, and thank you for joining us.