Podcast:Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I

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"Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I" Podcast
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Speaker(s)
Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore
Terry Dresbach
Comedy Elements
Scotch:
Smokes:
Word of the Week:
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Teaser

RDM: Hello, and welcome to the podcast for episode 19, "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part One". I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, and this is the podcast, so, as always, no whining. We're joined this week by my- by- back by popular demand, my wife, who made a guest shot appearance not too long ago, Terry Dresbach is here. Say "Hello" Terry.

Terry: Hello.

RDM: That's about the extent of her commentary.

Terry: (laughs.)

RDM: No, I'm sure she will chime in whenever appropriate. "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part One", as the name implies, is the first of the two-part finale for season two. Yes, Terry?

Terry: Why don't you tell them what room you're in?

RDM: Oh. I'm in my office at home.

Terry: Which is about ten feet by ten feet.

RDM: (Laughs.) Ten by ten.

Terry: We just bought this house in August. And we just moved in so we have boxes all over the place, still. And there's a rug, and a desk, and two leather armchairs, and a couple of French doors, and the d- the porch where Ron paces and smokes all those cigarettes. Which he can't do while I'm in the room.

RDM: Yeah, so there'll be no smoking tonight. The smoking lamp is out.

Terry: Yeah, the smoking thing has got to go. And- yeah, and he's got his little tv screen, and his dvd player, and this little, tiny silver box that's about four inches by three inches with which he records these high-tech podcasts. So I just wanted you guys to have the lay of the land. The kids are sleeping about ten yards down the hall, the dogs are sleeping outside the door.

RDM: And it's l-

Terry: Maid's gone home.

RDM: Maid's gone home, and it's late. And there probably won't be any garbage truck this time of night.

Terry: Although I called them and asked them to stop driving down our street.

RDM: Yes, I'm hoping- I'm still hoping for an appearance, and anyway, here's (swirls ice and scotch in glass) the scotch. "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part One". The finale for any season is always something that takes a great deal of time, thought, and energy. It's also something that usually develops fairly late in the season. We almost never know what the finale to a season is before you get into the back- back half of the season. And sometimes not until you're- up until the l- very last minute. Case in point, the f- the grand finale of Star Trek: The Generation, "All Good Things...", was an episode that we wrote, like, at the very last minute in the month before production.

Terry: Which is how all television shows work.

RDM: Yeah. This one, we started discussing about midway through the back ten. The concepts of this episode all came out of continuing plotlines that we had established over the course of the first two years. First and foremost is the election. Ever since "Bastille Day", in fact, when Lee confronted Tom Zarek and gave Zarek a pass on- after the hostage situation came, and said, "Well, you're right. We do have a democracy and we are going to have an election," and confronted Laura with this fact, we had essentially been promising the audience that at some point, I think nine months from that point, we were going to have a presidential election. Then various political storylines have swirled around it ever since. We'd always talked about the fact that we would do the election this year, but "in what context, and how, and who's going to when, and why, and what will the issues be?" was something that was always floating around the office and never had a real satisfying resolution. Mostly because elections, by their very nature, are not that dramatic, really, on tv and film. It's a lot of politicing, and speechmaking, and addressing crowds, and people with picket signs, and "I like Laura! I like Laura!", and those things weren't that interesting. And you had to find a really compelling issue that the election could swirl ar- center on, and that all the events could swirl around and make it work. So once we came up with idea of finding an alternate planet, I realized that that was the thing we should marry. That the election should basically swirl around the idea of finding a new planet that had the potential for permanent settlement, and whether or not the rag tag fleet would settle on this planet as being the defining issue of the election. And that if not for that issue, Laura Roslin would have won, going away. And because they find the planet, and because Baltar starts to advocate that position, it'd change the dynamics of everything.

Just a word about this scene here with Laura getting the giggles before a committee meeting. I like this scene a lot. There was some debate. David Eick, my producing partner, did not like like this scene. (Laughs.) Actually, he and I had fairly energetic discussions about it a couple of times because he didn't buy the whole laughing thing from Laura, and didn't like the way it played, but I love it.

Terry: It's great.

RDM: It's great. And I fought for it because I like it because it sets a specific tone at the beginning of the show, that Laura is winning. Laura is doing very well. She's relaxed, it's fun, you almost never get to see Laura having fun. She and Adama are very close. She's using his- his quarters aboard Galactica to prep for the debate. She gets the giggles before committee meetings she said. It humanizes the character, and just gives a certain sense of confidence, and hopefulness, and that victory is just around the corner for these people, and then of course, it being Galactica, you basically fuck all that up, as quickly as you possibly can.

Terry: You swear on these things?

RDM: I swear on these things... constantly.

Terry: (Ugh.) How do these people listen to you?

RDM: I don't know. I don't know how their children listen to it either.

Terry: (Laughs.)

RDM: Their kids learn to curse, drink, and smoke from me, I hope.

Terry: No more smoking.

RDM: No more smoking. Not tonight.

Terry: People are complaining that it's coming into their rooms.

RDM: I know.

Terry: Through the computer.

RDM: As soon as Terry leaves. (Whispers: Then we'll smoke.)

Terry: But see I read all the boards every single day.

RDM: Don't tell them that!

Terry: I start every day, with a cup of tea, and the boards.

RDM: Don't tell them that. That's not true. She never reads the boards.

Terry: Then I report everything that's said to Ron.

RDM: No. I don't pay any attention to it.

Terry: (Laughs.)

RDM: The other major plotline, of course, that's getting established in the tease is Kara returning to Caprica. This was something that essentially since "The Farm" was something we had promised. I mean, once Kara laid down that mark and gave Anders the dog tag, she has to go back for him, and it was a question of how and when and under what circumstances, and how we could justify it, and make it plausible, and what would be the outcome of it. And the key idea in that sequence is that they found a way to link up the Cylon Heavy Raider's computer system into a Raptor, and that we had established- sort of established that the Raiders had abilities to jump f- a lot farther than any Colonial ship did, and could get back to Caprica in just a few discreet jumps, and by slaving that computer... blah blah blah technobabble technobabble to the Raptor technobabble technobabble they had a way of making it happen, especially if Sharon was working with them. In initial drafts, in fact, right up until we were shooting it was going to be that they were going to take the Heavy Raider itself, and that the other Raptors would be slaved to the Heavy Raider, and we were going to build a Heavy Raider interior, and put the characters piloting the Heavy Raider back to Caprica. At the last minute we had to- we were way over budget on this episode, on thes- this two-parter, just monstrously over budget and then som- we had to make some hard decisions and started cutting sets, and visual efffects, and the interior of the Heavy Raider was something that I cut at the last minute. Said "Okay, you know what? Let's just lose this- this set. It's not that important. We'll put 'em all in Raptors and we'll just move the computer off the Heavy Raider onto the Raptor and just go with it." And you know what? You don't miss it in the story at all. So it was actually a good decision.

I like this little beat here in the tease with Lee in the ready room. I like the way he walked into that scene, the way he seems to be-

Computer: (AOL "You've got mail" sound.)

Terry: Oops.

RDM: Oh, and Terry's on the computer. Isn't that charming?

Terry: I'm sorry. (Laughs.)

RDM: Maybe you should mute that.

Terry: (Continues laughing.)

RDM: I like the way that Lee comes in here and he is now the commander of the Pegasus. And it's nice to see him in his new element and see that he's behaving and being treated like the commander over on that ship and that slowly but surely the Pegasus is becoming his.

It's always interesting when Sharon is out of the flight suit. There's something very fragile-looking about Grace in those- in the wife-beater t-shirt, and the handcuffs, and she- she looks very fragile and vulnerable a lot of times in these shots, which is really interesting considering that she's a Cylon, and we know what the Cylons are capable of.

This tease in another one of the intercu- grand intercutting tease- teasers that I like to do. I did this in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" last season and a lot of other ones. I like the rhythm it gives to these sequences. They become very visual. It pulls you into a lot of different storylines quickly.

This storyline is- I don't know what to say about the Cally-Tyrol story. It's shocking and we'll talk- I guess we'll talk about that- more about that in a few minutes.

This little beat with the presidential debate is influenced a lot, just by presidential debates, and all the small, detailed observation of them down through the years. The podiums, the crowd, the way the mod- moderator talks, the traditional walk across the stage so that Laura and Baltar can shake hands, and that they always seem to be saying something to each other up on that- up on the stage that the audience never got to hear, and I thought it'd be fun that she would tell him, "I'm going to wipe the floor with you." (Switches to "Baltar voice":) "Oh, you must have lost your mind." And her confidence is such that she grins at that and tells him, "You- you must really be in trouble." And there was Baltar's acknowledgement of that, self-acknowledgement of that, that he really does think he's going to lose is evident, I think, in this scene.

The Cally-Tyrol storyline will be controversial. There's no question. It came out of something that David Eick actually suggested about Tyrol seeing a psychologist or a therapist in the show and we wanted to just start with him- he suggested, "Let's start with Tyrol having just completely had some kind of psychotic meltdown or break in between episodes and you're coming into this guy who had some kind of really, psychotic lapse, and did something outrageous. Either tried to kill himself, or try to kill somebody else, and what would that be? It would be a peeling back the onion as you look back and try to figure out where his- his problem came." And he started talking to Aaron Douglas about it fairly early. And I was struck by that. I thought it was a really interesting idea, and I wanted to incorporate it into this show. And it became a question of, "What is that about, and what does he do?" And the first question was, "Well, what does he do?" And instead of starting with the therapist, I wanted to start with Tyrol. And I just- I literally just started playing the beats in the teaser. I was just writing the sequences. He's asleep. The Hangar deck's empty. And then this- this moment happens, where he comes awake.

Terry: This is always so hard.

RDM: And he beats Cally.

Terry: I have seen this three times... and it's just- it's just as har- (gets louder) I said, I've seen this three times and it's always really, really... really hard to watch.

RDM: It is.

Terry: Mainly 'cause it's him. It's-

RDM: It's him and it's her.

Terry: Yeah.

RDM: And that sort of nightmarish "What have I just done?" quality, and "Oh, my god" her lying there with the blood all over her, and then this next shot... of him carr- this shot, of him- of Tyrol carrying carrying Cally through the hau- the hangar deck. I think, actually in the first draft of this, I take it back, I did start it in the the therapis- in this therapy session. He was talking to Cavil, and he was describing what had happened, and it was all had taken place off camera. And I think it, yeah, it was a note... it was a- I think it was a David note, later, on the second draft. He said, "Let's see it. It's just such a shocking thing he's describing, it's so horrific. We should see it." And I was like, "Yeah. You know what? We should." But they- but the- the sense memory that I'm twigging to was when I was writing the Cavil scene, so I was writing the therapy scenes with- with Tyrol I remember just making up the story as I was writing it, and it was waking up and shattering Cally's jaw.

Here comes a beep. Wait for it...

Act 1

Terry: See, I'm trying to get him to figure out a way to not have these beeps, like, to say something like "Cut," or, I don't know. Can't you say something so it's not "beep"?

RDM: Well I try to say- I try to say "Here it's coming," but the beep marks the- marks the tape.

Brother Cavil... started with the idea of a character... well it's hard to even talk about Brother Cavil in part one, but essentially, I should probably talk more about his origins in part two.

Terry: It's really- (Unintelligible.)

RDM: But there was something really interesting about writing the priest who didn't believe in God. There was something just fascinating about it. I just kinda liked that idea, and start- and I wrote this scene- these scenes with that in mind. Here's the priest who comes to aid you on a spiritual matter who thinks that prayer is a waste of time and that praying to the gods isn't going to do a damn thing for you and the real problem is that your just screwed up, kid. And I thought that was a fun, interesting character. To put that character and pair him with Tyrol, the one guy that's the son of a priest that has the religious beliefs, one of many people that has the religious believes, seemed like an interesting idea. And then we started looking for an actor, and Dean Stockwell's name came up, and it was immediately we all went, "Well, that'd be great, but you're never going to get Dean Stockwell." And, sure as shit, we got Dean Stockwell. And he was...

Terry: Had he seen the show?

RDM: I don't think he had seen the show until the show was pitched to him, and then I think he either read some press on it or he might have seen an episode, then he read our script, and then he went, "Boom. Yeah, I want to do it. I want to play the character."

Terry: That's so cool.

RDM: And he was an amazing guy on the set. He just- everyone loved him. Michael Rymer, the director, talked about what an incredible professional he was. He impressed all the cast members, he was prepared, he knew his lines, he had a specific take on the character, he really breathed the script in. I didn't get a single note from him, and he did the script as scripted. He just like- he just enriched the character as he did it, but he basically took the part as read and ran with it, which, was just great.

Terry: It's Dean Stockwell.

RDM: It's Dean Stockwell. He's been around forever. I mean he was like telling stories from the "golden age".

Terry: Disney movies?

RDM: Oh way back when. He like starred as a child actor.

Terry: Yeah, that's right.

RDM: I like this little beat with Kara and Lee. Her getting ready to go on the mission. This is one of the scenes that kind of- there were a lot of scenes that got cut, and came back, and got shifted around in the editing process because "Part Two" was so clearly, clearly too long and we were trying to juggle timing issues all the way through editing 'cause we didn't know if we were going to be able to get them to approve a ninety-minute or at one point we were trying to get a two-hour finale for episode twenty, and as a result we kept sometimes stealing scenes from episode two and shoving them into "Part One" to make more room in episode two, so then part one would get smaller, I mean it was all this complicated moving scenes back and forth. And that scene with Kara and Lee lived and died like several deaths before it finally stayed in.

I like Laura here a lot. This- Laura's attitude about Baltar, the way she works with her campaign manager, the way she's kind of eating her peanuts or whatever. There's a-

Terry: What is her campaign manager's name?

RDM: Tory.

Terry: Ok.

RDM: Tory Foster, I believe.

I like this idea of Baltar is hitting her on the religious thing. That Laura has positioned herself as being the religious prophet and Baltar's hitting her on that charge, and that it's sticking, and he's getting some traction on it, but it's not enough. I love that line. "The mob is not usually in the habit of electing ungodly apostates..." (Laughs.) "who denigrate people of faith." (Laughs.)

Terry: Did you write that, honey?

RDM: I did write that, and sometimes I'm tickled by my own things.

Terry: (sarcastically) No!

RDM: No.

It's interesting pairing Zarek with Baltar. I mean, there's just something great about that. And let the hand of God change his fate, and of course, the very next scene, we do see that the hand of God reaches in and chains the- changes the fate of them all.

The Raptor mission back to Caprica was something that I thought would be a primary cord going through "Part One", sort of provide- there's very little action in part one, as you might have known by now. The only really action you have in part one is at the end, 'bout when they do get to Caprica. But I like the laying this bit of pipe in here of the mission back to Caprica, gives you that military tension and impending conflict all the way through the show, because part one is very talky. "Part One" is a lot of setup. And I typically like "Part One"'s better than "Part Two"'s because they're- they are more setup and they are more character and they are more dealing with where people are, where they're going. And "Part Two"'s are usually all about resolution and getting things tied up in neat little bows and they're not usually as interesting, to me personally as a writer, as the beginnings. I'm interested with how things began, how one thing leads to another, seeing how the threads are interwoven.

There's a lot- and we're following up here with the baby. The rammifications and the fallout of the baby between Helo and Sharon. All these issues I wanted to- I wanted to bring as many things to the table for the finale as we could. All the little plotlines that you've been following, and maybe thinking that we had dropped and weren't thinking about anymore, everything from Gina, and the nuke, and the baby, and Caprica, and the election, and Tom Zarek, and Cally, and Tyrol and their relationship, and just really the whole- the whole nine yards. I want to just play as many of the continuing plotlines as we possibly could into the finale, 'cause I think those are the times when the show really lives best for me, when the show is really touching on all the different lives of all the different people, and showing how they're all intertwined and how they all are involved in a single overarching story. Like this. It's really- it was really fun to be able to leave Racetrack behind in a complete accident. There's nothing underhanded here. So whatever conspiracy theorists there may be out there, there's really no other explanation for this except an accident. They are going off on a mission, and the Raptors all jump, and one jumps into the wrong place. And shit happens. Sometimes there's just a software glitch. And this happens all the time. In the real world, carrier strikes are sent out, and ofttimes a plane has to go back to base because something's gone wrong or they went the wrong way, and this is just one of those times when they're- they just had a hiccup in their software and so these guys are stuck in this nebula and it's just it's- just sheer blind luck that they blunder into this planet. And the great thing, though, is that I had another ch- I had a character like Racetrack that I could play that with. Here's a character you've sort of been following intermittantly over the last year or so and she becomes your window into that storyline instead of just inventing a whole new redshirt-type character who's just going to come in, do one function, and leave and never be seen again. Here's somebody that you've had some- spent some time with. And so you're invested- you're a little bit more invested in her story that you are with just a faceless- or a nameless guest star of the week.

Terry: This is such a great scene.

RDM: Yeah. I really like the way this plays between Tyrol and Cavil. They're an interesting pairing, just of characters, of men, of actors, the way they look is interesting, the counterpoint one to the other.

Terry: He's very funny in this. Thoroughly.(?)

RDM: He is very... Oh he's amazing in this.

Terry: Nice dry humor.

RDM: Yeah. Just watching Stockwell's reactions, his face is endlessly fascinating to me. He- it's very expressive. And yet it does very little, with so- he just- the lift of an eyebrow, his eyes narrow slightly in certain times. It's all almost like it's been- that, he just kinda the way he opens his eyes a little bit and says that line, somewhat ironically.

Terry: Well, his intonation.

RDM: It's the intonation, the rhythm of it. It gives the impression of being both elaborately and meticulously planned, and yet being completely off the cuff and in the moment.

Act 2

RDM: And now we're back. This was kinda interesting. When I- again this went through a few drafts. The first draft was all about the therapy session, and I- and Cavil telling Tyrol that he wanted to strike out at somebody who was trying to screw with his mind and he wanted to kill himself in his dream and Cally had woke him up and stopped him from carrying out his- his desire to kill him- to commit suicide and then we decided to show the act itself, and then the next step from that was, Mike Rymer ca- said, "Well I still don't understand," in his Australian accent, "I still don't understand why he's doing it."

Terry: (Chuckles.)

RDM: "I mean- it's just- I don't- I don't get it. I don't know why he's (unintelligble). It just seems like the most obvious thing is he's- he's killing himself because he thinks he's a Cylon. Right?"

Terry: (Laughs.) (Unintelligble.)

RDM: And I thought that was brilliant. It was a brilliant suggestion, that Tyrol is trying to kill himself because he's afraid he's a Cylon, just like Sharon was a Cylon. That he has- that- it's haunt- it's literally haunting him, and the thought that he might hurt somebody is tearing him up inside, he might be Shar- someone, a sleeper agent like Sharon and do something like that is so frightening to him, he'd rather kill himself. And then the irony of that being that he wakes up and indeed does hurt somebody. I mean it was- it's- it's an interesting sort of swirl-

Terry: Well, and he was close enough to Sharon, and knew that she didn't know that she was a Cylon, so that he seems like the one character that really can be frightened that there's something going on in him that he doesn't really know.

RDM: Yeah! Yeah.

Terry: The idea that you could actually be a Cylon-

RDM: Yeah, that you could be a Cylon and not know it yourself.

Terry: -and you don't know it your very own self? How creepy is that?

RDM: And that's- and that's valid because we watched Sharon go th- spend an entire year do- doing precisely that thing, that she didn't realize.

Surprising how- how much use we get out of the wardroom set. This is the wardroom and wardroom is such a multipurpose, generic room that we use it over and over again and you never quite feel like you're in the same space because Steve McNutt lights it slightly differently each time and Richard Hudolin and his team decorate slightly differently each time, but it's still the same basic space that you've seen over and over again.

Meanwhile, back in the nebula... There was a point where this was an act-out. I think it was scripted as an act-out, actually. When they find the planet was supposed to be the "Duh, duh, duuuh" sort of act-out of act 2, or even act 1, it could have been, I'd have to go back and look at the script, and Mike Rymer made the observation that "Well, we've had this act-out. We've done this same act-out last season." And indeed we did. "Kobol's Last Gleaming" has exact same moment, where Crashdown- Crashdown and Sharon find Kobol. And it's a similar, "Hey, is that a planet? Oh my god! Hey, it can support human life! Oh my god! Isn't that cool?" And it was- it was hard to come up with a diff- a way to spin this differently because they're still going to have some of the somewhat same basic reactions, and I took several passes through, and the closest I could come to making it truly different was just that they felt that they were fuck-ups and that they had completely screwed up their mission, and then they find this plan, they kind of feel like, "Oh, hey! Maybe we aren't such frak-ups, after all." But once you went that direction, it ends with a whimper and not a bang. It didn't really feel like an act-out any more. And as we were restructuring this in the editing room, I was also realizing that the multiple storylines and plot-threads in this episode were a blessing and a curse. They were a blessing because they were exploring all these different things that I was in love with and they were providing energy, 'cause whenever you're intercutting different storylines it provides just a different dynamic and more energy and you're just caught up in things more, but you als- the other side is that- is that you run the risk of losing audience and getting confused, like trying to remember wh- where we are in different storylines and what's going on. So when we- I was restructuring this in editing, I decided to marry up all these scenes in a row, that you go from her finding the planet, straight into the Galactica scene, straight into the Pegasus scene, straight into the next one and so on, and make this like a run of scenes, instead of interspersing these in and among other storylines. This is always intended to kind of, like, telescope the time frame and get them down to exploring this new planet and getting some initial reports back because the important thing was to quickly get a sense of that everyone in the fleet is excited about the planet, and everyone is starting to go, "Hey, I can't wait to get down there. I'm looking forward to shore leave." And everybody's starting to have dreams of what it is to stand on- on solid ground again, and have blue sky above your head, and get out in the open air, because up until now the only people who've really been down on a planet are the people who were either back on Caprica, no fun, or the people who were on Kobol, no fun, for the most part. And everyone else in the fleet, the vast majority of people, have been cooped up and stuck in these metal cans ever since the miniseries. And the thought that, "Here's a planet, hidden in a nebula, that the Cylons haven't found, that can support human life," would prove to be an irresistable pull, so I wanted to telescope all that very quickly and get to the place that they are in this scene. Word has gotten out, everyone is excited about the planet, and what do you do with it? That Zarek comes up with this notion that permanent settlement on the planet- well actually it's not even really Zarek who comes up with it, truth to tell, it's really something Six says to Baltar, then Baltar offhandedly says, "Oh, I was just thinking about what it'd be like to live here," that then makes Zarek come up with the idea. So one could say it's the angel of God at- at- at- at work again. But I like that it's Zarek's political acumen that does actually, like, give Baltar this campaign. That he realizes that this has touch- that the thought of this world has touched a chord out there, and that if you could give voice to that in the campaign, if you could actually, like, grab onto that issue and put yourself in opposition to Laura Roslin that maybe, just maybe, you would turn enough people to- to come down on your side.

Terry: A nice time to acknowledge the incredible costumes- but- done by Glenne Campbell, an amazing costume designer.

RDM: Yes my wife is a f- an ex-costume designer, as you might have guessed. Terry Dresbach won the Emmy-

Terry: Oh, stop it.

RDM: -for best costume, in fact, for Carnivàle, which is where I met her. When she was busily sewing away.

Terry: I don't know how to sew.

RDM: So she says.

Terry: I don't know how to sew!

RDM: She doesn't know how to sew. But she designs costumes. Go figure.

Terry: But Glenne Campbell is really great. (unintelligble)

RDM: Glenne Campbell is our costume designer on Galactica and she does a tremendous amount with very little. (chuckles.)

Terry: Yep.

RDM: Because the budget is not the biggest on this show. But everyone- the costumes define and identify the characters, and the costumes are all distinct, they all fell exactly what these people should be wearing, and she does a fantastic job. So I'm giving Glenne all this- all these kudos in lieau of a raise.

Terry: (Chuckles.) I'll tell her.

RDM: Yeah.

Act 3

RDM: Ok. Now it's kinda interesting that Laura, the experienced politician, doesn't quite see how serious this is at first. That she dismisses the issue out of hand. And like so many presidents, she's not real- she does live in a certain amount of a bubble, in that she doesn't really see right away that this is a powerful issue that Baltar has just laid on the table. And Tory has to kind of give her a reality check here. Laura's still kind of living in the- the world that was there, not twenty-four hours ago. Before this planet was found, all these arguments could have been made in the theoretical basis, "Oh, sure. We're not going to settle on just some planet. We're going to Earth." But when the reality of that hits, and people really do start thinking about this, and there's a man out there saying, putting voice to the very thing that they all want, it really does turn the election into s- it goes from a runaway to a real- to a real race.

Terry: Mind you, we're reading lips here, because the sound is down so low.

RDM: Yeah, we have to keep the sound down, 'cause- so it doesn't bother you.

Terry: I don't know what's going on.

RDM: It's an interesting question. There's a line there where Tory says, "I think- I believe people vote their hopes and not their fears." And David and I actually had a bit of a debate about that, about whether that was true, whether people vote their fears instead of their hopes. And the question was, of course, in the last d- in the last presidential election, were people voting their hopes or were they voting their fears?

Terry: People always vote their fears.

RDM: And see, I don't know? I always felt, I mean- Ronald Reagan would- would s- tend to argue that people vote their hopes.

Terry: Yeah, but you're a starry-eyed idealist.

RDM: (Laughs.) Yes, that may come as a surprise to many of you out there, but I am, actually. (Laughs.)

Terry: He is. He is. He is. He is.

RDM: My wife- thank god my wife said it, and not me.

Terry: It's true.

RDM: It is true. I mean the Reagan school of politics is that you- you offer morning in America, you- you get people to vote their hopes and not their fears. And then the W. Bush school of thought is that you scare them and you- you get them to vote... and that sort of thing-

Terry: Yeah, that's what they say-

RDM: That's what they say-

Terry: but nobody really believes that.

RDM: Nobody really believes what?

Terry: In the morning- the whole morning (unintelligble)-

RDM: Oh, the morning- ohhh a lot of people did.

Terry: Well, people who were voting might.

RDM: Oh yeah, the people voting.

Terry: But the people who were saying it don't. But I'm more cynical than my husband.

RDM: Hard to believe. Hard to believe, but true.

See, here we go. "That's the thought that tortures you." Now watch Dean Stockwell's face here. Right there. His eyes narrow ever so slightly. "I'm gonna die." I mean- it's just- it's a great performance. It's really- I've watched this performance many times in editing, I've seen all the- all the cuts and the- the takes and he's a really a conssumate professional. It is just- the man- there's not a wasted movement. There's not a- nothing is- is thrown away. Really it's all really carefully thought out to a appear that it's thrown away, it's really interesting to watch him. It provides such a different flavor. Again, the show is all about colors, and flavors, and tones, and bringing Dean Stockwell in gives you a very different flavor than the other's that you're- you're used to having.

Which is a callback. That line, "I've never seen you at any of the meetings." "Maybe I'm a Cylon." "I've never seen you at any of the meetings," is a callback to the miniseries, actually. Number Six said that to Baltar. Maybe he's- in reference to Doral, when they- she first saw Doral, she said, "I've never seen him at any of the meetings," when Baltar was accusing Doral of being- of being a Cylon.

Terry: A long time ago-

RDM: Way waaay back in the miniseries. Sometimes we- we throws these little- these things-

Terry: Just to catch people.

RDM: Just to catch people, and just to amuse ourselves. Mostly just to amuse ourselves.

Terry: Yes. I'd say.

RDM: I kind of write this show for me. (Laughs.) To amuse myself.

Terry: That sounds terrible.

RDM: That sounds terrible. Terrible, but true.

Here's a little added beat here, that I don't really know what it means. But I love it. What is that? He drums his- just to the end of the scene. "Buh-dump-bumb-bum." He just hits the desk with a little drum beat. Which is great, but, I have no idea what that's supposed to signify.

Terry: He's done.

RDM: He's done.

This is an interesting thought that came up here. We were playing around this in editing and visual effects meeting with Gary Hutzel of how the Raptors would come in and out, and I suggested, "Let's stick with a Raptor and watch it jump, go with them on the jump," which we had never really done. And so, you're watching this perspective, camera tilts down. There's Starbuck's Raptor, and then you're in the atmosphere and just go straight with her. This is really good visual effects.

Terry: I haven't seen this, have I?

RDM: No, you haven't seen these, these are finals. The Raptors falling into the atmosphere, into the nuclear wasteland that is Caprica. Now this is a little beat here that is actually a callback to Trek. The idea that one of these guys jumped inside a mountain by mistake, is such a horrifying idea, but it is an outgrowth of something we talked about in Star Trek and never quite were able to pull off in a satisfying way, which was that you would- a transporter accident would be that you would be beaming someplace and beam somebody inside solid rock, where you would say all the time, (Scottish accent) "Oh, Captain! Captain, if you can't- if we get the coordinates off by so much-" I don't know why I'm doing Scotty, 'cause I always did Geordi, but Geordi doesn't have a good accent.

Terry: Yeah, but Scotty's the one who chained everybody in.

RDM: But Scotty was always, (Scottish accent) "If the coordinates are off by so much as a half a fraction, they could beam inside solid rock."

Terry: Not that I've ever watched Star Trek.

RDM: And we actually did one- one- once where somebody was out of phase or something and fell through a deck plate halfway-in and halfway-out, and it looked terrible, and we had starships that were sometimes half-in and half-out of rock. It was always a sexier idea to hear about than it was to see.

Terry: But it's that weird thing, too, where you think about like if I got- what do you think about right before you get hit by the bus.

RDM: Yeah.

Terry: Are you aware?

RDM: Are you aware? And the idea that you would beam inside of solid rock, or in this case jump inside of a mountain, is fascinating.

Terry: Would you know what was happening to you?

RDM: Yeah, would you know? What would it feel like?

Terry: Not good.

RDM: Not good is a good guess.

Act 4

RDM: Now then this debate was actually, as scripted, this was an intercut. We- Cavil and Tyrol were continuing their discussion throughout all this and I had scripted, I think, in the original version, part- Tyrol and Cavil were walking through the ship, and it was a "walk and talk", and while they were walking and talking and doing some of that earlier dialogue, we were cutting into the debate and the debate was being played over the PA system and over the wireless sets throughout the fleet. You were hearing the debate on in the background and then going to it periodically, and Michael Rymer just never liked that, it didn't- didn't think it worked. I think his comment was that it just felt like it was distracting, and he wanted to hear the debate, and I was worried that the debate was boring, I thought that the debate was not going to carry anybody's attention. He really wanted to play it, so he talked me out of playing- actually it was a production issue, too, they were running out of time to shoot on all those sets and the "walk and talk" was going to eat up too much time, and what if we just- could we just put all the scenes in the wardroom and he said, "Ok, don't wor- (Australian accent) don't worry, we'll still intercut them and we'll still do them the same way. We'll intercut them." And of course-

Terry: Do you imitate everybody?

RDM: I do imitate- I do imitate everybody. And that was a lie, of course. When he cut it together he just put all the- all the wardroom scenes together and this stood as its own piece. And, you know, I have to say it's a better- it's a better instinct. Michael's a very smart, intuitive director and he has a keen understanding of story and structure and you have to listen to him. It's why Michael comes back over and over again. He's very good. So, this sequence now plays as its own sequence, as the second of two presidential debates. To give you a sense of how they handle themselves and what the issues are.

Baltar just milking it mercilessly, they way he plays the mock humility to the camera, the fact that Laura is not quite as good as he is, she's a little stiffer, she speaks with passion, she believes in what she's saying, but Baltar has that telegenic, "I'm sexy and (British accent) I'll demand more time to say what I've got to say-"

Terry: He's Bill Clinton.

RDM: Yeah, he's a little more Clintonesque. He's much more Clintonesque. And I love Bill Clinton. But he is kinda Gaius Baltar. (Laughs.) Which I'm sure he's happy to hear. (Laughs.)

Terry: (Laughs.)

RDM: 'Cause you know Bill's listening to these podcasts.

Terry: (Laughs.)

RDM: Bill takes these podcasts with him, on the road. Hillary doesn't like them.

Terry: No. I would imagine not.

RDM: And that. I love that, that Laura, in that look, when she's looking at Baltar, in that moment, she knows she's lost. She knows she's lost. She knows she's lost the debate. You can see it on her face. She knows she's lost the debate and possibly the election. And then there's this lovely bit. "Why don't you go frak yourself." And how would- why would- a president would never say that! Maybe a vice president would say that, on the Senate floor. But you know a president would never say that. Yes, they would.

Terry: Yes they would.

RDM: It was a Cheney reference.

Terry: I- I get that.

RDM: Oh, I was wondering.

And then of course I like this little bit, of the spin afterward, and Zarek is spinning the debate but Laura knows the truth of it. And then back to Cylon-occupied Caprica.

This is- we're approaching the end here, and next week is the finale. Next week will be a ninety minute finale. We'll have ninety minutes to talk about all the reasons why we did all of that.

Terry: I'm not going to be here for that.

RDM: Terry will not be here for that. David Eick and I are going to do that podcast together.

Terry: Oh really? I didn't speak to him for about a day.

RDM: Yes. There- the finale is a risk. We are placing a large bet on the finale, and I'll tell you right now it was- I pushed for it, it was my idea, I stand by it, but is a risk. We're betting a lot on the finale and where it's going and some of you are gonna hate it.

Terry: I really hated it. I was mad at him for about twenty four hours.

RDM: And then?

Terry: And- and- it took me about two weeks of thinking about it, and I really, really like it. But-

RDM: But it's gonna th- it's a doozy.

Terry: You got- you gotta wait- you're gonna have to wait awhile and sit with it.

RDM: It's gonna throw you. But it's- it changes a lot of things about the show, it's going to send us in some interesting directions into the third season, certainly, and I think it's the kinda thing you gotta do on this kind of show. This show is about risk. This show is about not playing it safe. This show is about not doing things because that's the way it's always done in television, particularly in science fiction. And next week we really hang it out there, man. We really, like, go out on a limb and say, "You know what? We're just gonna do somethin' here," because there's a lot of logical reasons to do it, that make perfect sense in the storyline, that we'll get into next week, but ultimately, it was just- it was time to throw a hard six, baby. (Chuckles.)

Terry: Oh, god.

RDM: You like the way I did that? Just sort of, spread em out?(?)

Terry: No. They're gonna think you're an arrogant, obnoxious, creep.

RDM: Yeah, am I an arrogant, obnoxiou- that's what I keep reading on the boards, how arrogant I am.

Terry: Well I can't wait to read what a bored snit I am.

RDM: Oh yeah, you'll be- you'll have your own, like, "Terry- We Hate Terry" thread on the boards then.

Terry: Oh, yeah.

RDM: For those of you listening to these- to this commentary track on the DVD edition-

Terry: (Laughs.)

RDM: -years later. You're already annoyed because the sound doesn't sound really good and (mock anguish) you've paid all your hard-earned money.

Terry: Stop!

RDM: Oh, I'm sorry. And you've paid all your hard-earned money, and whatever, and we're referring to internet boards, bulletin boards that were done at the time that the show was being broadcast and these podcasts are recorded the week of the show's airing so we record them and then they are posted on the internet on Friday when the show airs and then we watch reaction to them-

Terry: Are you actually explaining things to people who are going to be watching this-

RDM: -on DVD. 'Cause most-

Terry: -ten years from now?

RDM: 'Cause people will be- when they watch these on DVD-

Terry: -for god sakes.

RDM: There won't even be an internet some day.

Terry: I don't think we have to worry so much about them. I think you should worry about the people who are listening to it right now.

RDM: All four of them?

Terry: There's a little more than four.

RDM: Fourteen?

Terry: I know all their names.

RDM: (unintelligble cursing.) Terry does not read the boards. My wife is not reading the boards every day. She's not.

Terry: Why don't you want them to think I read the boards.

RDM: 'Cause then they'll start working you. They'll start like, "Terry, please tell Ron to do this or don't do that."

Terry: No, Mrs. Ron.

RDM: Mrs. Ron.

Terry: You like Mrs. Ron.

RDM: Call her Mrs. Ron.

Terry: I really like that.

RDM: Like Mrs. Tigh.

Terry: I never refer to myself as that around the house.

RDM: She's sort of an Ellen Tigh.

Terry: Oh, shut up. I am not.

RDM: (Laughs.)

Terry: I'm more like Stevie Nicks.

RDM: A good Stevie Nicks.

Terry: A young Stevie Nicks.

RDM: She's a young Stevie Nicks.

And kaboom! And that's it.

Terry: That's it?

RDM: To be continued. That's how- that's how part one ends. And next week... we lay it on the line.

Terry: Goodbye everybody, and I hope I wasn't too annoying.

RDM: Thank you for listening, and I will talk to you next week on "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part Two". Goodnight.