Podcast:Pegasus

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"Pegasus" Podcast
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore


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Teaser

Hello, and welcome to the podcast for episode ten, "Pegasus", of season two. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica and I'd like to welcome you to the podcast. This one's a lot of fun for me, this is a episode that I've been thinking about for a long time, literally since I agreed to do the project. There's a couple of things you should know going into this: this is the one hour version of "Pegasus". We struggled mightily to get this show to time, and when the footage was complete, I believe the Director's Cut was a good 15 minutes over. Which is a bit of a problem, because that's more than an act's worth of material, and as we tried varying ways to get this down to the hour running length, I kept feeling like the best version of the show was the longer version. So we actually explored for a while the possibility of showing a 90 minute version of "Pegasus", and there was various discussions with the network back and forth. Ultimately, one of the problems was, we had an episode that was too long for an hour, and too short for 90 minutes. We could never quite plump it out to the point where it could be a 90 minute show, and it was always very difficult to pare it down to an hour show. So we finally got it down to an hour, rather than pad it out and just make it slow to get to 90 minutes, we compromised and decided to go with the fastest barn-burner of an episode that we could, in the one hour.

And, uh, fortunately, Universal Home Video has agreed to show the larger, the longer version of "Pegasus" in the season 2 DVD set so there's something for all of you to look forward to. So there will be periodic references to that throughout the show, but I'll try not to dwell on too much on that.

This episode obviously has its genesis in the roots of the show itself, which is the Original 1978 Series. They did an episode in the original Galactica called "Living Legend, Parts I and II", which featured the return of the battlestar Pegasus. Er, not the return, but meeting the battlestar Pegasus, and its commander— uh, Commander Cain who was played by Lloyd Bridges. It also introduced the character of Sheba, who was Cain's daughter on Pegasus. And at the end of that, of the original series' two-parter, Pegasus and Cain kind of vanish and it's not clear whether they're alive or dead, but Sheba, the commander's daughter, stays aboard and essentially becomes a somewhat romantic interest of Apollo. Sheba was a character that is not present in this version of the show. I felt that Sheba ultimately was too cute of a character concept; that you'd run into another battlestar and that commander also would have a child as the commander of his air group, or in this case her air group. I just felt it was one step too far, it pushed the reality of the show across the line, where essentially then the show is winking at the audience and sort of going "Yeah, they did it so we're going to do it too; it's kind of cute isn't it? That, you know, two commanders and two kids and the kids are gettin' into it!" You know that, I— I just couldn't go there. It worked for the Original Series, I will give the Original Series that, that it— within the context of their show and within the sort of parameters of how they chose to tell stories and their characters it worked perfectly fine. It just didn't feel like it was going to work very well in our episode.

The choice of Michelle Forbes to play Admiral Cain was the subject of much discussion. We went through a lot of actresses' names. We went through a lot of sort of testing, internally about who we would use and what the possibilities for her. I had worked with Michelle Forbes on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", where she played Ensign Ro, and other people knew her from her film work. And there was something really interesting about going with a— not an older woman, but a slightly younger woman. That she would personify this character. It seemed like an interesting challenge, as opposed to going to someone older, you know, and more experienced, in some ways, there was something that I really liked about bringing in the younger admiral, the sort of fast-tracked admiral, who then comes in and takes command of Galactica, and the entire Rag Tag Fleet.

I should say that in the original, in "The Living Legend, Part I and II", Commander Cain did not outrank Adama. That story was similar only insofar as there was, there is a battlestar Pegasus, they do meet up with it unexpectedly, and that there's an admiral Cain who's a bit of— more of a hardass character than Commander Adama. There story was very different; it had to do with Cain's obsession with attacking a particular Cylon outpost or base, as I recall, and his determination to attack that Cylon base despite Adama's misgivings and Cain even manipulates the tactical situation at one point; he's out flying Vipers, himself, for some reason, and you know is destroying ships in order to force Adama to attack the Cylon base, which Cain has been advocating all along. We didn't use any of that for the show. We just sort of started with the premise of Cain showing up. I'll be back.

Act 1

We started with the premise of Cain showing up and being a hardass. I like that. I like the kernel of that. That another battlestar comes on the scene and their commander is a tougher one than ours is, and is a bit of a crazy person. On top of that, what I thought was even more interesting was then to say, "Well what if that commander shows up and they outrank Adama? What if that commander shows up and takes command of the Fleet away from Adama?" Which would happen. And suddenly I realized that was a more interesting tale. It's one thing to run into the crazy man, or woman in this case. It's one thing to deal with that other commander who's a little out of control and you have doubts about, but it's another thing entirely when that crazy person comes and takes over your fleet. As I said earlier, there's a lot of things that did not make it into the one-hour version of "Pegasus". There's a whole leadup to this scene with Adama and Laura and Tigh walking through the hallway, and that's where they talk about who Admiral Cain is. They talk about the fact that Cain was a very young Admiral, had been promoted over several people on the Commander's list. Was sort of an up and comer, and a bit of a tough one in that she had taken command of Battlestar Group 75 only recently before the attack.

Michael Rymer shot this episode. Michael Rymer had directed, of course, the pilot, and "33", and "Kobol's Last Gleaming", and the opening two-parter of this season. And this is the next two-parter that Michael shot for us. And there is something about Michael's footage. There is something about the way he shoots the show, the performances he elicits from the characters, where he puts the camera, the lighting schemes that he comes up with in conjunction with our dp Steve McNutt, that in many ways makes it unique and distinctive. When I see the dailies on the show, I've said a few times I can always tell Mike Rymer's. It's like Michael just has a particular voice for this show, and it shines through on an episode like this, which I just think is a great, great, episode.

We had varying storylines and drafts dealing with the interaction between Laura and Cain. In one of the drafts Cain in this moment did not even address Laura as president, just said, "It's a pleasure." I kept playing a card where Cain never quite acknowledged Laura as the president and there was a scene that we wrote at one point where Cain went over to talk to Laura because there was also a subplot of ships in the fleet holding back supplies, not delivering fuel, etc, because they weren't getting spare parts, they weren't getting help when Pegasus is helping Galactica after they arrive and the civilian fleet is getting fed up. And they go on strike. There's like a strike. They're not going to deliver fuel supplies to Pegasus until they get some of their needs met. And Cain got very upset and goes to confront Laura, and in that scene Laura's like "Hey, well what do you want? You're not helping these guys out." And Cain makes it very clear to Laura in that moment that she doesn't accept her as the president and this is a military operation and she'll take what she needs from these people if need be. As this script went through the development process that just became one of the subplots that went away, thank god, because we have enough subplots as it were with the footage that we did shoot.

(sound of a zippo lighter)

This dinner sequence- that's my (exhales smoke) third cigarette of the night, and yes they are just cigarettes for those of you keeping score at home. This, not dinner sequence, sorry. This drinking scene with these three principles actually is much longer and tried to answer all the basic questions about Pegasus and we do here what- how they escaped the initial Cylon attack here by blind jump to just jump away to nowhere. The next question that was asked in the dinner party scene was "How'd you avoid the Cylons infecting your computer systems, taking them over, shutting you down like they did all the other ships in the miniseries?" And the answer was that as Pegasus was going in for the overhaul, most, if not all of her computers were offline and the network had been shut down. And essentially that combined with being lucky enough to avoid the first strike and Cain's initial order to just jump somewhere safe. And then they came to realize later on that the Cylons were able to infiltrate the computer networks. How they came to understand that is something we never got into, but I think you could fill in various backstories of how they eventually figure that out on their own.

I like this scene a lot because this is the "Who is Cain?" scene and "What has she gone through?" and I thought it was really important to understand that she is the way she is for reasons. That yeah, she was always a hard-charger on her own, and that she was probably hell-on-wheels to deal with, and to be under her command, under the best of circumstances, but that they had gone through something as difficult and challenging and horrific as what Galactica had gone through. And that she's not the way she is just because she's a bad person.

Michelle does just a great job with this role. I'm just- I'm so pleased that we cast her as Cain.

You might- if you're a fan of the old show you might have always thought that this would be one you would want to see again. I know that there's a lot of fans of the old show who wanted to see Pegasus again, that thought that was the best episode of the original series. And I knew that. I always felt the same way. It was the most memorable episode to me. I saw the Original Series when I was a kid. 1978, I was in the eighth grade and I watched the show religiously. And I remember "Living Legend". I remember Lloyd Bridges, man. Lloyd Bridges shows up in that episode with a swagger stick, baby, I mean he is doing his Patton thing, just like balls to the wall, no holds barred, he's just going for it. He's going to grab that scenery and he's going to CHEW IT, he's going to chew it until it just can't be chewed anymore. And it's great. It's a really great larger than life performance. And it's very memorable within the canon of the original series. So as we approach this series, I always knew it was one I was going to want to take a crack at, was, ok, and then at some point they're going to have to run into Pegasus as part of the mythos. A key part of the mythos in my mind. And I was asked first season by various reporters and people, "Are you going to do Pegasus?" And I just said, "Yeah, I think so. Maybe." But I wanted to wait until I could do it right. And I'm glad we waited until the second- the middle of the second season, because by this point the show has matured to the point where I think we can do this episode. Where we've had enough happen within the show to these people, these characters have gone through enough things that there's material to mine in this kind of an episode. 'Cause ultimately Cain comes over here and she gets those logs and she starts saying, "You guys are a bunch of fuckups. I mean, you've got your son as the CAG. You've got Kara smacking people around. You've got a guy who's fraternizing with the enemy. You've got two of 'em fraternizing with the enemy for that sake. And the secretary of education, and what? And your XO?" What Mike Rymer said when he read the script was he loved the fact that Admiral Cain comes over here and everything she says is right. She's right. She's absolutely right. She should take command and these people have been screwing up. It's just great that she doesn't come over with some sort of false, crazy, over the top agenda that doesn't make any sense. Her agenda is quite simple. Hit the Cylons. Hit them hard. Keep hitting them. Do whatever it takes to accomplish that mission. And looking at the way Galactica has been run up until this point, she goes, "What the hell is this? This is ridiculous. This is no way to run a fleet." Which, is fair. That if Galactica did find themselves back in the Colonial Fleet, which is what they say at the hangar deck, "Welcome back," they would find themselves under a lot of investigation and start taking a lot of criticism for they way they ran their show- ran their ship. Because they made a lot of decisions that you could argue with, and I think that's one of the great things about the show is that people have made a lot of questionable choices in what they choose to do.

I really like the fact, in the show, that Adama just gives up command. He doesn't question it. He doesn't argue with it. There's no question of her right to do it. There's just a sense of loss. There's a sense that he's lost something.

This little story... we wrote this little story, this little backstory and Anne Cofell, who is the writer on this episode, came up with this little tale about shooting the guy in the head and then that he suddenly bursts out laughing and kind of takes the curse off it, in that moment. He just suddenly laughs. And its such a disturbing laugh, and the actress does- and the actor does just a great job with it that you're not quite sure what she's thinking here. "What are you feeling in this moment?" You're not quite sure what you're supposed to take away from that, but it's disturbing. Just when you thought it was going to be just "Ooh, the spooky story," he laughs that maniacal laugh and you suddenly are much more concerned and worried and disturbed than you were a moment ago. And it's because he's laughing about it and trying to cover it and yet there's truth to it and it's all about layers of deceit and deception and twisted motives and really, really screwed up dynamics. And it's that thought that's more frightening than just the fact that she shot the guy. The frightening thing is that you don't know what the hell any of them are capable of or what any of them are thinking or feeling and that's a dangerous, dangerous situation.

Act 2

I'm really impressed that we were able to keep this little sequence in the show. This notion of the "scorecard" keeping tally of the raiders that they've killed on the ship and the stuff that goes on here with the pilots and then Lee getting called away by the CAG. I thought for sure we were going to have to lose this whole sequence when we were making the cutdown from the 9- from the really long version down to this- down to the one hour. And I'm glad we didn't. Because it's great to see the two groups starting to mesh together a little bit and see the new camaraderie of the pilots and the chilling aspect of what their CAG is like. And I love the fact that their CAG is such a big, fat prick. (Laughs) It's just like- you just hate him. In fact there's a line that got cut right there where Kara says, "Is it too early to start hating him yet?" There were in earlier drafts the tension between the Galactica pilots and the Pegasus pilots continued to escalate even beyond this point, where after the initial "Thank god we're all in this together," they found themselves in very different camps that the sort of looser, "We'll figure it out and we'll deal with the consequences of figuring out," Galactica crew versus the more by the book and much harsher, much tougher-minded Pegasus crew that isn't screwing around. There's a scene that was cut just before here where Cain goes down and is in the- sees Sharon, wants to see the Galactica Cylon and what's up with that. And it was a really interesting scene that then lead out to this. But, it got cut.

I like the expectation here that the Cylon prisoner on Pegasus could be anybody, and it might be fun and who knows where you go with the Baltar line at this point. You don't- there's no indication and there's no foreshadowing that it's going to be something dark on the other side of the cage.

Laird, Pegasus deck chief. I don't know why we didn't cast a guy with a Scottish accent (laughs) or play it with a Scottish accent once we named him Laird, there would have been a nice homage to Jimmy- to Jimmy Doohan, who was, of course, Scotty in the original Star Trek series and passed away... not at the exact moment when this episode was filming, but it was in the air, and it would have been nice to have made him Scottish, but we decided not to.

Things happened. You ain't heard the- you ain't heard nothin' buddy because you won't find out what things happened until part two. You can tell that the pace of the show is just relentless. We're just being really brutal with these scenes. We're moving from scene to scene, trying to give you the juice of each one, which in some ways you can argue that it makes for a tighter more compelling drama, but my feeling on the longer version was it was a richer meal, you just got more textures, more flavors, a greater sense of the complexity of some of the relationships. You saw more ramifi- more of the consequences and ramifications of Pegasus showing up, how it affected more characters' lives, and that's why I was really attached to the longer version.

I like this scene a lot. I like the fact that Laura shares something now with Adama, that these two have come to a place where they can empathize wi- sympathize with one another. And I love the fact that she's really concerned for him. That she's really- she really cares that this- that the command of the fleet was taken away from him. Here was the man that she has depended on for all these months. He was the guy- guy who's saved them time and again. She's trusted him, she's distrusted him, she's bonded with him and hated him and done a lot of complicated things by this point and somebody comes in from the outside and just snatches it away.

I love all the little callbacks in this episode. I love this scene. They reference the Olympic Carrier. The fact that they think they probably did shoot down over a thousand people, but there's the excuse in their mind(?), or at least, not the excuse but the thing that they tell themselves at night was, "Well, we don't know for sure that anybody was on that ship." But in their hearts they kinda know that there was somebody on that- that there were people on that ship. Yeah, "We don't know." It's such an excuse. It's such a- well emotionally I need to seize on that to justify what we did.

We gave the art department quite a bit of notice that we were going to use Pegasus in this episode and we built the Pegasus sets on a completely different soundstage than the Galactica so its really is a different ship. It's all in one soundstage. This corr- there's only this one corridor that we use multiple times shooting it in different ways; lighting it slightly differently, trying to emphasize different ang- different viewpoints on the corridor, different camera angles to kind of sell the size of the ship, but we really didn't have a lot, we just- we built out as much of Pegasus as we could given the financial constraints... and the physical constraints of the soundstage were also a limiting factor. Richard Hudolin wanted to convey the notio- the idea of a more advanced battlestar while maintaining a connection to the battlestar we saw in the theory that on a certain level an aircraft carrier is an aircraft carrier. You go aboard the USS Hornet, which is tied up in Alameda in California, and if you went aboard a modern nuclear carrier there'd be many differences. There'd also be many similarities, and there'd be a linear connection between the two. There's a generational feeling between those aircraft carriers and there would be one between the battlestars as well.

This storyline is one of the darker storylines we came up with and, boy, we just really all loved it that you would come in here and there would be this woman who looks like Six, and what would happen. To put a story where Baltar comes across the tortured and gang-raped Six of his dreams and be forced to, like, deal with her. There was something SO powerful about that idea and it would speak to really the heart of who the man is now and what goes on in his life to then be confronted with another Six, and that this Six had gone through this horrific experience and wasn't the powerful, sexy woman that we've come to know but in this case had been reduced to this state where she's lying virtually catatonic on the floor. A lot of controversy about that. About how dark we were going here. But ultimately we were able to keep it going. I felt this was a very strong and important part of the show. An interesting thing about the scene is that in large part it's hard to recognize that that's even Tricia down there. Tricia is one of those chameleon-type actresses that if you change her hair and change her clothes she can really disappear into a different kind of character, and all- we kept having this concern. We'd look at this footage and go, "Well, my god. Can you tell that it's Six?" (laughs) We had to keep doing these tie-in shots where you're doing visual effects shots just to prove that it's the same woman. There was a lot of that. It was just hard to fight the fact that Tricia is really just able to disappear physically and personally inside this other person.

This character does have a name, by the way. While we always call Six, Number Six is how she's referred to in the scripts. This character is called Gina. [1]And Gina comes out of the fact that there are certain- (laughs) I love this- there are certain people out there in the fan- in the fan community, and I know who you are, that refer to the show as "GINO." "Galactica in Name Only." And there was something so funny about that, and I always got a kick out of people who refer to the show as GINO. (Laughs) They couldn't even bring themselves to just call it Galactica, they had to really make up this other name, that it was GINO. And I just decided that, "Let's call the tortured Six Gina." (chuckles) But it's never actually spoken in the show.

This is a really interesting tale, though. I mean I'm really fascinated with the idea of Baltar coming to look at the Cylons in a very different way, to look at this particular Cylon in a very different way. That here's a real woman. Here's a flesh and blood woman. A re-creation, as it were, of the woman that he knew on Caprica. Well, not really a re-creation, but another version. And that he would have an enormous amount of sympathy for the other, for this version of Six. That this one had gone through an experience that made him want to reach out to her, which is something that he had never wanted to do. He had always been the character who had held his emotions back, who never connected with a woman, who never gave himself to love and to care and that right from the beginning their relationship had been he was a player and she was just another conquest that then turned the tables on him he, as much as she had wanted him to love her, he never could or would. And there was something amazing about flipping that upside down and having him actually reach out emotionally, but only to the one that had been tortured and raped. And there was something- there was something twisted about that, and there's something true about that, and those are always the best thing when they're twisted- twisted and true. (Zippo lighter.)

This scene was also much longer. There was a bit of discussion here about the G- Pegasus being a Mercury class battlestar. There was a brief discussion of the differences between the two and an interesting little side discussion about the fact that there's no chairs in the room. Cain mentions that she can't offer them a place to sit because she'd always found it easier to work standing up, it was easier on her back, and she discovered that if she had no chairs in the room meetings with her senior officers went much faster. And I got that from, of all people, John Bolton, who is the current American ambassador to the United Nations... a topic that we will not get into. But there was some piece that talked about Bolton's style, or lack of style, with his staff and he mentions at some point that he made his staff come into his office and hold all the meetings standing up because he wanted to get through the meetings rather quickly and he found that if he made his staff stand during the entire meeting that they got through it much faster. And I thought, "That's such a- That is just says SO much about that man." And I thought it was a really interesting telling bit of character, so I used it here that Cain was that kind of person. Cain was the kind of person that would make her staff stand just to get them in there- out of there as fast as she could.

This whole sequence I talked about a few minutes ago about Cain really nailing them about what they've done, and why the system is screwed up the way it is, and why she has to make these sorts of changes. And I like the fact, especially, that Adama has to just take it. She doesn't say anything here that's out of line. She doesn't say anything that's wrong. Everything she says is logical. It's all based on his logs, and what can you say? How can you argue with it? How can you defend the fact that this man's son is the commander of his air group and is mutinous and has done- just been outwardly insubordinate in certain situations. That he's got an officer that hits another one habitu- hits other officers habitually. I mean it's just the list goes- the list goes on. And it's all true. But you kind of hate her. You hate her for bringing it up because it's all family business, and that's ultimately another reason why it was good to wait to do this show because at this point in the series, it is a family. The people on Galactica are the audience's family. We have shared their triumphs and their tragedies. We have watched them go- make mistakes. We have watched them learn from their mistakes, and we've suffered along with them. And then somebody comes in from the outside and says, "You people are screwed up." And you kind of flinch. You kind of, like, flinch back from that kind of a naked appraisal and wish that it weren't so. But it is. And you have to deal with it. And I think that that's one of the strengths of the series is that it- it is willing to take a hard look at itself, it is willing to take a hard look at these people. It's willing to be unflinching in how it views these characters and their actions, and it never really excuses them, it never tries to give them the easy way out. And certainly they don't get the easy way out here.

Act 3

I really like Eddie in this scene. This is a classic Eddie moment where he just barks at his officers and they just shut the fuck up. (laughs) And you would. If Edward James Olmos looked at you with that look on his face and told you that was enough you would snap to as well. Trust me. (laughs)

I kinda like the fact that he's supporting Cain in this. That he's not making excuses for her, and he's not apologizing for what's happening. He's saying, "You know what? She's right." And she is- like I said a moment ago she is right. And it was important to me that his character acknowledged the truth of that statement and say, "Ok. You know what? I am back in the fleet. She's an admiral. She's right. We are transferring these people. Period. End of story." To me that buys him a lot of leeway within the tale.

This whole thing with the photo recon mission against the Cylons, we had versions where Star- you followed all of them out there to go do the photo recon mission and saw Kara do her thing and played all that on camera and then we cu- we actually cut it before it was even filmed. It was sort of an unnecessary side trip that was going to cost us a lot of money in visual effects in a show that was already way over-pattern in many departments, and so we couldn't really afford to do that, it chewed up a lot of screen time, and it was really beside the point. It wasn't really about watching them carry out a photo mission. I mean, it's not a battle. I mean, you would play the suspense of it, and that, and the tension of it. But the joy of this episode, and the joy of the great episodes is with the people, with being inside the ship and really dealing with the problems they've all been handed.

The gag that we go for here, the Apollo steals the optical- the photo recon package... from somewhere that we don't see and gives it to Starbuck and then she literally goes out and disobeys orders and takes the stealth craft out to get the photos herself. It's pushing it. I'll admit that right now. It's pushing it. This is moving a little bit in a step into tv drama convention, and I always sort of felt a little dirty about it, but it works in the story and I like the way it works out in sequence. I like the way that she goes out... on this mission and then you kind of forget about her and we don't really get back to her part of this- of the story until you get into part two. And I won't spoil that for you, but suffice it to say it does play a key role.

There was an additional scene where Tyrol is relieved of his deck. That Chief Laird is assigned to take over the hangar deck as the deck chief, and that Tyrol is relieved and sent down the line- not sent down the line, sorry, who is relieved and has to play second fiddle to Laird and it was a very nice moment. Laird played it really well. Aaron came up with a little bit of business where he just kind of looks at him and rubs his head and just says, "Well, the office is over here." And again, he's just like- he's been relieved and he deals with it and moves on.

This whole sequence of Sharon being raped by Lt. Thorne was one of much controversy as you can imagine. On the page we wrote this the way it's essentially cut here in this version of the show where the rape is averted at the last minute. It was shot a different way. We shot the whole rape. We shot a very disturbing rape sequence of Thorne raping Sharon, and there was a version cut where the guys come in and it's happening, as opposed to about to happen, and there was a lot of controversy back and forth and ultimately we opted to go with this version where they come in just as the rape is happening. I should also mention that that little beat that you just saw with Cally and the female deck crew walking out on the conversation as it gets more about the joy these guys from Pegasus had from going and raping their Cylon prisoner was something that actually Mike Rymer came up with. It wasn't in the script, but it was a really nice touch, and it was a very smart move, that Cally, etc., kind of walk out on these guys. Because these are co-ed ships and the notion that women all stand around listening to them make jokes about the fact that they went in on this twisted gang rape of Gina... it didn't seem right that they would just stand around. That's great! The "yee-hah" kills me. The "yee-hah" that that actor gives just makes you want to reach through the camera lens and kill him, and it works so well within the show.

Ok. This is a really dark, dark scene. This is a dark storyline. Things happened on Pegasus that you don't want to know about, and suddenly they're happening on our ship, and I like the fact that Helo and Tyrol who in the very- in the episode that precedes this one were literally at each other's throats for a moment, that they both come charging in when this thing is happen- this horrific thing is happening to Sharon. And they get in there and they go at these guys, and then Thorne is killed. And it didn't- it wasn't intended to happen, none of them set out to do this, but it just happened in the moment that he was killed accidentally, and that that would set off a chain of events. And it was just at this moment that the show takes an unexpected left turn, 'cause you're not really thinking that we're going to go down this path, certainly. And you start feeling like you don't quite know where we're going. Like, "Wait a minute. What's- the hell's going to happen now?" Because you've kind of been concentrating on the thing between Cain and Adama, and maybe the thing with Baltar and Gina if you're really paying attention thinking that that's going to pay off, but I don't think you see this element of it coming, and that's one of the reasons I like it a lot.

That little piece there of Sharon- of Grace pulling the blanket over her, I just- it's like... it's a powerful moment. Grace is a very smart actress.

Act 4

This act four was just a barrel- just a barrel of laughs to write, (chuckles) and I mean that in all seriousness. I loved working on this end sequence with Anne, of making this really just start to pick up momentum and events start spiraling out of control. And this leads to the moment of Adama- Adama launches the Vipers and says, "I'm gettin' my men back." And there's something really interesting about the fact that the man who's been obeying the rules and doing the right thing, admitting his mistakes... there comes a point where, right or wrong, he's not going to let her execute his men without a trial. He's just not going to do that. There are places that Adama will not go. And I love that in this moment she nails him on the tribunal thing, that last year during "Litmus" he dissolved a tribunal when he didn't like the answer. And he- it hits him. It registers on the character in that moment. He knows that that too is true. And the fact that it's true doesn't mean that he doesn't feel the way that he feels in this- in this scene. And when he finds out a moment later that they had been sentenced to death, it felt right that Adama, the man who risked so many lives when Kara Thrace was lost down on that planet, that we would, again, do anything it took to save the men that were under his command. His bond with them had- was that strong. And you could argue- you could very logically argue that that's a profound mistake on his part, that that's a command flaw. But, people have flaws. And that's one of his blind spots. It's one of the places where Adama is not the ideal commander, if you want to look at it that way. In many other ways he is the most human commander of them all, he's the most... he's very human.

This beat with Baltar and Gina... was something that I wrote in one sitting. There were a couple of earlier versions of the scene and none of them were quite working and I liked the idea that Baltar sitting and really... exposing himself emotionally and talking really in very frank terms about the experience he has had with Six and with Six on Caprica and what she means to him in a very real and profound way. And he would do it in this context, in that it was just a monologue. And I felt really comfortable just writing a monologue for James because I knew that James would embrace it and would really sink his teeth into it and really make it sing. And he really does. He completely draws me into this- this scene. I'm really there with him throughout this whole little piece here. And it's interesting, 'cause this is the man that participated in the genocide, inadvertently, but essentially is one of the people who is responsible for the entire situation. And yet in this moment, he's human, and you connect to him as a human being and he's having a connection to the personification of evil in the show, the personification of all the Colonials think is evil. A Cylon. A Cylon who let people die on this very ship. It is said that Gina let people get on board Galactica. She was- she was a participant. She wasn't just an innocent bystander. She was somebody who helped kill men and women aboard Pegasus, and that's part of the reason why she's in that brig. But here, in this situation, in this context, your feelings are drawn into the place where the two characters are, and you're really hooked into them as people, feeling what they're feeling, even understanding the things that each of them has done. And the- the really bad choices, again, and horrific choices that each of them has made.

It's such a disturbing image seeing Trish lying there like that. The look on her face, and this- this- again, just a nice little piece of- that, the arm coming over... the way she reaches out for just the- a little bit of food. It just- it's such a small thing that speaks volumes about where the character is in that moment. And it doesn't require any dialogue. It's a completely visual- visual moment. (Sound of Zippo lighter.) And he knows he's gotten through to her on some level.

It's very moving. I fin- it's just a very moving show. It's a very emotional show. Especially for something that's such a classic "sea tale". This isn't like a "sea yarn" we're telling where the two ships and the two commanders and the great attack that's being planned and all the machinations of the military. It's a "sea tale", really, more than anything else, but within the context of that, that you're able to still go to a place where you're really sucked in by this other thing happening. This real drama between Baltar and Gina, it's just fascinating.

(Chuckles.) I love to hate Stinger. (Laughs.) I love just how much I hate him. (Chuckles.)

This scene used to take place on the hangar deck, as I recall, and then we moved it to the corridor for production reasons. I don't think there was any other reason. I love the look here on Eddie's face when he hears the news and when he takes this news. It's like it physically hits him. Right there. You just feel like you just got- you just got hit in the gut. And the man- I mean, look at that, he's like really- and he knows what he's about to do, and he knows how far he is willing to go, and he's willing to go pretty frickin' far. And it's like... the determination of the man, I mean I- look at him. Look at Eddie go. Jesus Christ! (Laughs.) That is Commander Adama. (Chuckles.) At least that's the Commander Adama I wanna be serving with.

The design of the Pegasus itself was the subject of much discussion, obviously, with Richard Hudolin and Gary Hutzel. We saw various designs. Some of them were too far a departure from Galactica and others were just too close and it was- the trick was to do the aircraft carrier metaphor I mentioned earlier. All aircraft carriers share a certain profile, share certain design elements. They all have a big flat deck, they all have an island, they all are recognizable from a distance. If you see the Enterprise from World War II and then you see the Enterprise of today, yes there's many obvious differences, but the fundamentals are still there. It's still a flight deck, a hangar deck, a bridge- or an island with a bridge on it.

This is a very big throw of the dice from Adama, and how far is he willing to go? Well, you'll have to come back and see us in January to see how far either one of them is willing to go. But I like the fact that the show builds to this point. Where it becomes like, "No, I will not do this. I will not let you execute my men." (Chuckles.) And back. Now what's she gonna do? Well, I mean, this is the cliffhanger ending for season 2b. I won't have the pleasure of speaking to you again for several months. I hope you've enjoyed season 2b- 2a, sorry, 2a of Battlestar Galactica. I know I have. I continue to appreciate all your support, and I appreciate your patience in waiting for these podcasts and the blog that- the blog that sometimes never was. This is just one of those great endings that we just append to our visual effects guys and just say, "Give us a gre- a hell of an ending with the Vipers flying at each other and coming right at the camera and we'll just cut." And that's how you do a cliffhanger boys and girls. Well, thank you very much, and I'll talk to you again in January. Goodnight.