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|Length of Podcast:||43:18|
|Ronald D. Moore|
|Scotch:||Johnny Walker Black|
|Word of the Week:|
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RDM: Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, and we're coming to you live this week from Berkeley, California, where the Mrs and I are relaxing and trying to take a little time off, but the podcast must be done and so here we are. I'm here with the lovely and talented Mrs Ron. Say hello, Mrs Ron.
Terry: Hello, Mrs Ron.
RDM: There you have it.
"Rapture" is part two of the two-parter that is the midseason cliffhanger, of course, of season three. As we go through this episode you'll— this will be- we'll be talking about a lot of editing changes that happened along the way in this episode more so than story changes. The story and script of this episode didn't change radically through the process, there was a lot of polishing, a lot of narrowing down of scenes and choices, but actually, in comparison with a lot of the other scripts this season, the big— the fundamental storylines of "Rapture" remained pretty consistent throughout, but we were battling things like the ever-present problem of time, having too much story and trying to fit it all into the broadcast window, and also dealing with somewhat arcane matters like act length as we went through.
There will be no smoking this week, the smoking lamp is out.
Terry: Yes, as Mrs Ron is here.
RDM: Yes, sad to say.
Terry: But there is ice in the glass.
RDM: But there is ice in the glass.
Terry: He bought scotch.
RDM: I bought scotch, we're cheaping out on the scotch though, this is Johnny Walker Black, so it's a blend—
Terry: Well that's because we're out of town, we didn't want to take the good stuff on the airplane.
RDM: Yeah, where the bottle would open up in our luggage and pose a danger, because you can't have liquids on your airplane any more, of course.
Terry: But it wouldn't be a podcast without the scotch.
RDM: That's right. So anyway, here we are back at- in the nuclear standoff section, which as I told you in the first part was originally slated to be a mid-episode climax, it was the mid-episode crisis in part one, and I shifted it to the end of part one to make it a cliffhanger because I thought it was a more effective cliffhanger than simply going out on the Anders-Lee standoff down on the algae planet. So this whole sequence was originally planned to cover the movement of Baltar and D'Anna from the Cylon baseship down to the algae planet surface in part one and would have occurred, I believe, at the end of act two or three in that episode. Then the first part was going to end pretty much down on the planet with Anders and Lee pointing guns at one another in early drafts, and then as we— as filmed it was just the Sergeant pointing a gun at Anders. But whole sequence, this whole bit of business aboard the Cylon baseship, all this stuff was slated to be in part one. But as I was looking over the two episodes, it just felt like we didn't really have the most dynamic cliffhanger that we'd ever had, so we— I opted to move that down the line, and actually as we'll get to later I eliminated another standoff, another nuclear countdown section that was supposed to be in this episode. This little bit here between Lee and Anders and the decision to go after Kara—
Terry: A hot Lee and Anders. Hot slaves.
RDM: The greased-up Roman gladiator look of (laughs) Lee and Anders I wi—
Terry: Is it supposed to be hot there?
RDM: I think it's supposed to be hot, I wish—
Terry: Or did everybody just want to see Lee and Anders greased up?
RDM: Well that's always fun, but I think it was supposed to be hot, see it's nice and bright and sunny outside, funny that they're not sweating as much outside as they are inside—
Terry: No, but there's a lot of fans who live for sweaty Lee and Anders.
RDM: The rescue mission of Dualla going after Kara did change a few times in script. In the original it was not as it is now, getting inside the Raptor and taking off and making it back to orbit, it was actually Dualla having to carry Kara, physically, back across broken ground and rescuing her, 'cause Kara— I think she had a severe wound, I believe it was her leg or something, and she was really hurt, and it was— we wanted Dualla to have to physically pick Kara up and carry her back. We thought that was kind of interesting, putting the two women—
Terry: And Dualla's three-feet big and—
RDM: Yeah, that came up of course, the practicality of doing that. But also, the more to the point, what really came up, more than just the difficulties of executing the physical movement of it, was trying to limit the number of days out on location. As I told you before—
Terry: And that would've taken an extra 4, 5 days?
RDM: Well, it was just— we had— we were looking for ways of paring down all the action out on location, because we were— we sent the entire film unit up to Kamloops in Canada, which was an overnight trip, it was outside the zone, which is a union term, it's very far away from our studio—
Terry: It's a lot of trucks—
RDM: It's a lot of trucks—
Terry: —a lot of people, a lot of—
RDM: —and which all translates into a lot of money—
Terry: —a lot of money—
RDM: —so we were looking for ways to limit the number of days we would actually be out on Kamloops and how many people we had to take out there. You'll note that the entire Dualla-rescues-Kara sequence takes place almost exclusively inside the Raptor, which means that we could shoot it on the sound stages and fake the fact that they were on location.
These bits here, with Dualla on the telephone and with the Sergeant, were obviously on location and we wanted some of that to give you the feel that they were really out there, but we quickly realized that we couldn't do the whole thing, we had to bring them back to the studio.
This bit of business was always a little bit confusing, and we struggled a lot with it in the script and in editing, the fact that there is a standoff in orbit and D'Anna is able to successfully bluff her way into getting at least one Cylon raider down to the planet surface, even though Adama has threatened to nuke the site. She gambles that he wouldn't actually nuke the site over just one Raider, as opposed to the entire flight that goes through and he backs off and doesn't, so it's a successful ploy. I think that dramatically you kind of ride with us through this section, I think that you're willing to accept that she won the standoff, and that he split the baby a little bit and decided that it wasn't truly worth nuking the site over that one Raider. There is a more fundamental logical question of course, which is why the Raiders don't just jump down to the planet surface the way that we see Raiders jump in other circumstances. I don't have a good answer for that, except this worked better dramatically and that's what we did.
This section— I like this a lot, this little beat of Helo and Sharon, and cutting in on what they're gonna do about their baby, was always one of the more intriguing emotional storylines in the episode, and I liked coming into the situation and not really knowing what they were talking about and what was going on in their head. I think as scripted in the first drafts, this conversation was going to take place in a Raptor, that Sharon was going to try to steal a Raptor and go fly out of Galactica and go to a baseship to get her baby, and I called bullshit on that and said 'Well, y'know—' I think one of the tropes of doing science-fiction shows or shows about military life is that there's always this moment when the pilot, or some pilot, goes and steals a plane and flies it away, gets on the carrier deck and flies a stolen plane off, and I just never believe that, it's just so unbelievable, so I— we almost did it and I just pulled— she can't steal a Raptor, that's just crazy, so we opted not to go that route. And this is a more effective scene, I think, anyway—
Terry: Did Kara steal that airplane?
RDM: No. This I love, they're holding each other, they're crying, (Sharon says "I love you" in the background) "I love you", and watch the look on Helo's face here. And this is a great Rymer, see Rymer's really good at this, at staging it so that you're drawn into the emotional moment. You're not quite sure what's gonna happen— see, look at that look on Helo's face— and then 'Boom!'. And oh my God, he shot her. I love that.
Terry: That's just so hard.
RDM: That's so h— that's so bad, that's just like 'Whoa!'. (Helo screams in the background) And then he did this— the anguished cry, that's a really power— I like that, that's one of the better teasers, I think, we did this season, in terms of what the tease-out is. Just 'cause- I think it real— it's a really shocking and heartfelt moment emotionally.
Terry: Mhmm. Oh, this makes you think about it, what if you gotta do something like that, it's just so— it's so utterly human—
RDM: Yeah, even though he knows she's gonna go download and be on the other side, but—
Terry: —what does it matter—
RDM: —what does it cost you, what does it mean to actually—
Terry: —to actually do that—
RDM: —to hold your wife in your arms and put the gun to her chest and pull the trigger—
Terry: —that's something you never think about.
RDM: No, I never think of that, honey.
RDM: Are you drifting off to sleep now?
Terry: No, no, I'm on the way.
RDM: Terry doesn't sleep very often when I'm around.
RDM: We don't know why. OK, that's the end of the tease.
RDM: OK, and we're back. When I w— I took a polish pass through these two episodes, and one of the things I did on my pass was to—
Terry: Do people know what a polish pass is?
RDM: Essentially, there's a point in the development, the life history of each script where usually the show runner takes a pass through the script, and it's the polish pass at the end, and sometimes I do it, and sometimes I don't, I'm happy not to do it—
Terry: —a polish pass, meaning he writes things—
RDM: —I polish it, and I polished this one at the end, and one thing I did was to shift this scene from a scene in CIC I think it was, where they were confronting Helo and being very angry with him, to putting it in the room, with her body still being taken out and the blood on the walls, and the— y'know, they were still very much in the moment. And you do that because it also brings the audience very much in the moment of what had just happened, I mean you're in the moment of the killing, and I thought that was a much more powerful place to play the scene. I like this ep— this scene a lot in terms of performance, I like— y'know, Helo's restrain— barely restrained anger, I like the fact that we're finally confronting Laura with what she did, y'know Laura's— there's a beat here where— coming up where Laura says 'Well, you've put us all at jeopardy, I hope you know what you're doing, and then he gets up and starts advancing on her, and there's a great little beat coming up where he's advancing on the President and Adama just reaches out his hand (laughs) and pulls him back like 'Jesus, Helo, easy there, buddy', 'cause Helo's a very big guy.
Terry: -He is.-
RDM: Right here, it's like— there he goes, he stands up and he just starts walking over to the President, like "You know what, lady? For somebody, who's pulled as much shit as you have have," and there— and then Adama just steps in. I like that a lot, and I really like Mary here, on this reverse, the look on Mary's face as Helo is nailing her, and the fact that she has to accept that and has to acknowledge that that's true. It's something— y'know I think it was very important to Mary and to Grace and to Tahmoh that this thing ultimately did get paid off, that we did play the moment when Laura had to face what she had done, with one of them in the room in a very real sense. (RDM is silent for 10 seconds, the episode can be heard playing in the background, Roslin says "All we can do is hope that your wife is worthy of the unconditional trust—")
RDM: The Sharon storyline did go through a lot of change, in that in the early drafts of the script we had a lot more that we were gonna play on the Cylon baseship with Sharon and Caprica-Six and Boomer over there, dealing with Hera and there was a whole substory about, and I thi— I might alluded to this last week, which was that Boomer— y'know the Sharon that was originally on Galactica and assassinated by Cally, and has been there ever since— Boomer had been caring for Hera and trying to be a mother, and had been rejected by the child and had trouble dealing with the child, and was building up this profound resentment because she had tried to have a baby, presumably with Tyrol, had never been able to, and then the other Sharon had been able to have a baby with Helo almost immediately, and what did that say about her and the Cylons believe that the child was only conceived because of God's true love, so on some level that meant that she and Tyrol did not have God's true love, which, combined with the fact that the child was not responding to her, was gonna build this incredible resentment on her part, and also Caprica-Six's fascination with Hera and constantly coming into the nurse room and trying to also be a surrogate mother to Hera, and there was this whole complicated battle of the dueling mothers over there, that we never really— it was convoluted it was hard to follow, and ultimately it got cut from the scripts.
This storyline down on the planet surface, of the military tactics of defending the fixed position, David and Bradley spent a great deal of time and effort in the script, working all this out. Both of them are well-versed in military tactics—
Terry: I'm sorry, but the women aren't sweaty.
Terry: I'm sorry.
RDM: Well, the women aren't in love with each other, like the guys are. But David and Bradley spent a lot of time working through the tactics of how to defend the fixed position in the terrain, in fact they flew up to the location and spent a lot of hours at the ter— at the location, (gunshots in the background, Dualla shouts: "Sniper!") working out exactly where people were— y'know where the Cylons were coming, where they would set up the gun emplacements, where the mortars would be, and it was really fascinating, Brad in particular knows a lot about small-unit tactics, and— y'know it was (more gunfire in the background)— it was instrumental in making all those beats play—
Terry: Is he Bradley?
RDM: Bradley. Problem was, as we get into the editing room you start looking to the footage and unfortunately you can't make head or tails of the terrain half the time, because the— it all looks the same on camera. And so a lot of that effort unfortunately just never got to pay off.
Now this sequence here, with Tyrol looking at the temple is completely made up in the editing room. This is not a real scene. Cally walks up and hands him the phone, this is a classic Hitchcockian moment where you have a problem in the story and you're trying to fill it in, and what you do is you create a phone call. Hitchcock, I think, always said that if you ever run into trouble you basically just— as long as you have a scene with the character's on a phone, you can have him say anything that you want, and that's what we did here. All this footage is stolen from much later in the story, at the point— at the cli— towards the climax of the episode, where Tyrol gets the phone call from Lee and is told to blow up the temple. And we stole all that coverage to create a beat early in the show, just to remind you that Tyrol was still in the temple, and that there was this thing called the Eye of Zeus, and that Lee was concerned about how long it was gonna take them to discover it, and even Lee's side of that conversation was stolen from way through the episode. None of it was scripted or structured, but there was a strong feeling as you looked at the cut, that we had forgotten who Tyrol wa— where Tyrol was, what he was doing, what the Eye of Zeus is, so it was actually David Eick's idea, which is a very smart— to create that little sequence out of found footage that we weren't using in other coverage.
This scene that we're looking at now, with D'Anna and Baltar talking is actually the second scene that occurred down on the planet surface. There is also a scene that was cut, whe— which had Baltar, Cavil, Leoben and D'Anna all standing on a ridge and talking in general terms about the difficulties of assaulting the position on the temple, establishing that they didn't wanna just nuke the temple, they didn't wanna come in and strafe it and blow it up, they had to be careful, they had to assault it from certain angles, because they were worried about destroying the very thing that they were there coming after. Ultimately, I felt that that scene wasn't as important as this scene was, 'cause this is about the emotional context of Baltar and D'Anna, 'cause we're nearing the climax of their story together.
Now this, as you can see— they're looking— this is all very specific stuff, they're looking on— they're— our guys are on a ridge, he's— Anders is laying in wire for a Claymore somewhere else. There was a whole section in the script which I really regret us not been able to do it because of time considerations, where essentially, they had taken the tylium from— some of the fuel that was existing on the planet, and they had filled tylium in these trenches, and when the Cylons approached they were gonna light the tylium on fire, which was gonna create this really intense fire and stop the Cylons and make them easier to pick them off, and there was all these great tactics that the boys came up with that ultimately we weren't able to do. And even here, see, here you have a tough time understanding the terrain, and this is all very carefully choreographed stuff, they laid out elaborate positions, where everybody was, what the angle of approach was, where the ambush would be, where the fall-back positions were, but as you're looking at the footage it's really hard on camera to tell one position from the other. So what happened in the editing bay is we just kept working these scenes just to make them work dynamically and make them fun to watch, and all the geography got tossed out the window and all these guys are looking in the wrong directions from where they actually are, none of it really lines up with— if you went out and walked the actual location, none of this would make sense, y'know the— we're cutting this in such a way and from different angles that you could not possibly line all this stuff up, this is all just— this is the difference between camera and theory. The camera changes the terrain, it changes the perspective, it just shifts everything.
Terry: You can see it's really, really cold outside, which is why they're not sweaty outside, and it's hot inside because they've got fires burning to keep them warm, it's too heated.
RDM: Yeah, it's something like that.
Terry: (faintly) Unbelievable.
RDM: —we worked a lot with what they were going to do, and— y'know the Cylons have a lot more personality, I think, in these little bits you can see them looking, being careful, they're wary, they're trying to get to their targets, they're not just mindless robots. Gary's team has really started to be able to give them a great deal more personality, as it were, than the Centurions have really had previously.
Terry: This is not a final cut we're watching.
RDM: No, we're watching a temporary visual effects here, actually. But they're still very dynamic—
Terry: Yeah, they really have changed since last time I saw them.
RDM: Yeah. This beat of losing Hillard was a little longer, a little bit more elaborate in the early cuts, there was a little more dialogue with Anders, talking about what this guy meant to him and so on, but it seemed to slow down the action, and you get the emotional punch of it pretty quickly, so we opted to get out of this little sequence and move on quickly. All the— again, this whole section, all the ground fights went through a lot of editing changes, there were several different ground fights in a lot of different set-ups and payoffs for what was happening that got shifted multiple times in the editing room, and this cut that's coming up, where we're about to go back to the Kara-Dualla scene, did not occur here. Because what happened was, in the original cut, was Anders and Lee kept— he says "have you heard from Kara?", Lee says "No", and that conversation kept going, where essentially they talked about— y'know Anders talked about Kara, what she meant to him, his knowledge of the kind of person that she was, more— it was more of the love aspect of the show, the romantic triangle, and it felt forced when we were watching it, it felt like you didn't need it and went without saying. This, again, here we're inside the Raptor with Kara, this is all back on the sound stage, which is why that window in the back is mysteriously opaque (laughs) it's really— that is not our proudest moment, it's just this opaque window that you can't see through, and you're not quite sure why, it's supposed to sell as sun.
This beat here with Kara pointing the gun, 'cause of her burned hands— and I love the burned hands and Kara's reaction to it— that beat with Kara pointing the gun at who's gonna come out the door used to be an act-out, and then at the top of the next act Dualla came in. You relieved the tension, but it was a phony act-out, so we just made 'em one sequence. In early drafts, like I said, it was a different injury, between the two I think her leg was damaged, but as we got deeper into the script, we (unintelligible) in love with this idea of these deeply burned hands, which I think was something that Brad came up with, as that would really— if your hands are so horribly burned—
RDM: —and so hurt, you— she's just incapacitated as a pilot, she can't fly the plane physically. And that was about the point where we started thinking that we'd like to play the beat of Dualla having to fly the plane out of here.
Back to the Cylon baseship. Again, this sequence moved around in the cut quite a bit, and what— it used to follow hard on the heels of the earlier scene with Sharon waking up in the Resurrection Ship and then we cut directly here, and we separated it, and just— back and forth and back and forth, in the rhythms of the acts. Essentially the problem that you face with a lot of these kinds of sequences, in terms of where they fall in the acts, is that you don't want the acts to be much more— much shorter than, say, six minutes, in the current scheme of television. If you get an act that's less than six minutes, the audience starts feeling like they're just watching endless commercials, like you're no sooner in the show, then boom, another commercials slaps you in the face, and there's also a theory that— you're trying very hard to make the teaser, act 1 and 2 as long as possible, because the idea is you hook the audience into watching the show, and you keep 'em in, keep 'em in, keep 'em in, then they get to a commercial break, then along-long-long-long-long, it's all to keep them from turning the channel, so you'll note in— as you're watching on air that the early acts are all long, and then the latter acts are all short. But that doesn't always flow with how the story's supposed to go, and much less so, sometimes, when you're in the editing room, so you end up making a lot of difficult choices of sliding things around just to plump out the early acts and to carve down later acts, and this is an example, this was— y'know the whole Hera sequence kept moving around just to make the act links correct, which is sort of— besides, if you're listening to this commentary on DVD, you don't care about the act breaks, it's— so you're sort of— on one hand, I spend a l— a great deal of time and effort in editing trying to make these act links come out correctly and to try to get the proper act-out of maximum suspense for the broadcast version of the show, but when you're watching it later on DVD, in the archival version, you don't care. It's like no one— if you're watching this on DVD, the act break doesn't matter to you, you're watching the episode through as a piece, but you'll note that the rhythms of television force these artificial climaxes at the end of all these acts, and fade into black, where— in many ways, if you just played it straight through, it's a much more effective piece.
This was another controversial scene, of course, the threat to baby Hera, which prompted yet another round of arguments with the network, that we were threatening the life of a ch—
Terry: Because of what?
RDM: Because we were threatening the life of the child, and how much— y'know, the infamous moment when Six killed the baby in the Miniseries, and the fan— and some of the audience freaking out because of we're about to kill the baby, and the baby-killing show and all that stuff.
Terry: It's ok. Everybody has that movie to be more upset about— this wasn't done the rough I saw.
RDM: This wasn't— yeah, probably not. And then she's snapping her neck, and how much of that do you show on camera, and this is one of those graphic content things that eats up a great deal of time—
Terry: It's really extraordinary, considering the graphic content, that there is out there.
RDM: Oh yes. (laughs) Let's turn the channel over to Dexter for a moment, shall we?
RDM: OK, how does Caprica-Six get Sharon and Hera off the baseship and back to Galactica and into the Raptor, without anybody catching her? Well, you'll just have to figure that out at home, that's one of the deep dark secrets of the show that will only be revealed in Season 7. No, I don't know, and I didn't really care, I didn't think it really mattered. I think at that point you just gotta to go with the flow, and she can get her off— you just accept she can get her off the ship, because the dramatic end of that emotional line is-
Terry: Well, because they're Cylons!
RDM: They're Cylons, and it doesn't really matter. Oh, that's great, them running down the hill, all this— these battle sequence—
Terry: It feels like the first time we've— I don't now, maybe just me—
RDM: See, there's Cally running up to Tyrol with the phone, again. It's almost the same shot as used earlier in the show, and he's on the phone again, this is the exact same scene that we stole to manufacture that beat from earlier on.
Terry: No, I was gonna say— the Cylons, as— have we seen as much of the Cylons as we are right now? It feels to me like I'm seeing way more of them—
RDM: No, you haven't seen as much. I mean this episode has a surprising number of shots, there's a lot of visual effects shots—
Terry: Yeah, and I feel like I get a much greater idea of how they function.
RDM: A lot of that goes to Gary Hutzel, I have to say, I mean we script a certain number of shots and we argue about price and all that, and then you get the editing room, and Gar— it's— it doesn't come from us crazy producers, saying "We need more visual effects shots," a lot of time Gary comes to us and says "To make this sequence work, to make it really everything that it needs to be, I'm gonna put more shots in here and I'll figure out a way to pay for it."
Terry: He's so good.
RDM: He's really good, and his team, they'll— y'know, suddenly shots will appear, and we don't— y'know, how they were paid for, I think Gary is secretly embezzling funds from Star Trek, 'cause I think he still has access to those bank accounts, but somehow those funds are g— y'know the shots are getting paid for.
Terry: That's good. The IRS will be at our door-
RDM: -Yeah, they'll be on his door.-
Terry: -next week, 'cause they listen to your podcast.
RDM: That's true.
RDM: OK, now we're back, we're at the Rap— the Dualla/Kara Raptor sequence. I like this little chat that they have, this was a longer chat as scripted and shot, where Kara talked more about Lee, and her problems with Lee, and her— the emotional stuff with Dualla, and there was more give and take between the two. It was a scene that I wrote, and it wasn't that good, we saw it on camera and I just felt it was a little overwrought and a little too melodramatic, a little too soapy, and it just— it- less is more is the cliché, and it's true. You could get away with a lot less being said in this scene then what I initially thought.
Terry: Just the fact that these two women are in this situation—
RDM: -is plenty.
Terry: —it's plenty.
RDM: You don't need them to really bare their souls and it doesn't play.
What- now— I would say that the thing that I'm not entirely satisfied in this episode is their getaway. We go through this little beat that sets up an expectation, I think, that you're gonna get a whole sequence here of Kara teaching Dualla how to fly the Raptor. And we don't pay that off. And I think that-
Terry: -That's true.-
RDM: I think that's a mistake. That's a mistake I think I made in the structure of the piece, because you— the audience, at this point, watching this scene and Dualla's doing the who's-it with the what's-it and crossing the this and the that frammistats. I love her slapping, that's like my favorite beat, she just smacks her.
Terry: (unintelligible) she'd like to do it a lot harder.
RDM: And I think you're expecting a bigger pilot-mentor relationship, and all you really get is the shaky cam and the Raptor taking off, and that's it. And that was— it's just not satisfying, it's not a good way to structure that. I think it's a mistake, always, to set the audience expectation up and then not pay something off, better than just not to do it.
Terry: Better say something to the writer about that...
RDM: Yeah I know, fucking writers.
This notion of Tyrol— they set the charges in the temple and then Tyrol can't bring himself to blow it. I like it, it's there, but again it's not quite fully realized in the show, in that I wish we had a little bit— the scene that you're really missing instead of that concocted scene, the one on the telephone that we made up, we really should've had a scene that dealt more with Tyrol's growing religious awareness and—
Terry: And Baltar's suddenly realizing that he's about to get blown up.
RDM: Yeah, I know, I love— Baltar sees the gun, he's like "Oh, the gun— oh wait, the explosives.", and runs over. But we didn't really— we didn't quite pay enough service to the idea of Tyrol's true difficulty in blowing up this temple.
And then we get to the star going nova, which we've set up way back then. There's a lot of moving pieces in this episode, there's a lot of plot threads that had to come together. And the timing of those plot threads, like I was— I keep talking about, was very difficult in the editing and the rhythms. At what point in the cut do you see the star go nova, at what point do you cut inside here and see them discover that oh, the Eye of Jupiter is actually right over there. And we played around with a lot of different versions until we got to this version, so you went outside, and then inside, and— some of it has no rhyme or reason other than you sit in the editing room and you feel that that's the proper rhythm that these things need to go in, and that your initial instincts are not always right.
I lo- I— it was always intrigued with that notion that Cavil really knew the secrets, that Cavil was keeper of the secrets in some ways.
OK, here, this little scene in CIC, you'll note that they are not in CIC proper, they're actually in the weapons room, because there was another countdown sequence here that I cut as extraneous where, as they realized that the Cy— from orbit Galactica had realized from their satellite imagery that the Cylons had penetrated the temple and were inside, and Lee did not blow it. And Adama was starting another countdown to launch the nukes, and was going through the whole thing— y'know, weapons, this and that, spin up the drives and do the whole thing, and enter your launch codes, and we had gone through the whole thing again when the star happened, and then he cut the launch sequence short, to say "Let's get the hell out of here". And I cut it because I couldn't believe— when I saw it, it was like "we just did this", and I couldn't believe I actually just played the whole sequence in part one, in the cliffhanger, and then I was gonna do it all over again. And it was just— it was stupid and it was like you didn't need to do it.
Terry: Oh no, this seems pretty—
RDM: No it's fine now, because we didn't play it.
Now this, this is—
Terry: Something about this?
RDM: Oh this, the Raptor take-off is saved completely by the visual effects. The look out the cockpit and the exterior of the Raptor saves it. But it doesn't have— there's no actual story there, you're still not paying off her learning how to fly the Raptor, you're just seeing a nice shot from the Raptor.
Terry: Well... I don't know.
RDM: I love Cavil as the keeper of secrets and Cavil is the guy who won't let D'Anna go see the final five. I always thought that was very cool, because it was a nice twist on the character, who he really was, that the atheist Cylon actually knew something about the religion of the Cylons.
We had talked a lot about what this moment was, in terms of how did the mes— how did they— how does she see the final five and what is the message that is left to Galactica and the Colonials about where Earth is. At first we went out of our way to avoid doing the Well of Lost Souls, which is— y'know you're standing in the Well of Souls and— Indiana Jones in the first Raiders of the Lost Ark movie, and the sun comes in a certain position and the light shines in. And we tried various versions of all kinds of tech things happened with the supernova that sent messengers or sent arrows and— not literal arrows, but metaphorical light beams in a certain direction— and ultimately, in the cut, we said "No, it's the well of souls." The light comes in, and the light shines down and it takes you to a certain spot. 'Cause it works. And that's what you go with.
Terry: Is this is the final effects on these guys?
RDM: I think this is the final effects that we're looking at these guys, with D'Anna sees the face— looks upon the faces of the final five—
Terry: But we don't.
RDM: —and we do not. And I— it was Rymer's idea, I believe, to go back to the Kobollian Opera House, which was a nice bit of tie- in to the mythos of the show, and that the Opera House is actually a meaningful place, and those big banners that you saw tie in to the vision that Baltar and Six had back in the end of season— the beginning of Season 2.
Terry: Mission accomplished.
RDM: (laughs) Mission accomplished banners, yes.
RDM: I love this, she reaches out to touch one. And then she falls. It's a really interesting story arc for the D'Anna model that Baltar had guided her and manipulated her on some level, and yet she wanted to be manipulated, and she wanted to get to this place, and then she finally gets to the place where she sees- her— she actually succeeds. She gets what she wants, she wants to look upon the final five and she does. He doesn't get what he wants. He doesn't know if he's a Cylon, to this moment, and doesn't know who the final five are. Which is, I thought, a nice bit of irony for the story arc.
Terry: Poor Baltar.
RDM: Now this is where we get into— personally, I don't think this is proper structure in television terms, that we get to this point and in comes Tyrol, Tyrol whacks him with a gun, and then this is the act-out. Of the third act.
RDM: Here in the fourth act. I don't think that's the proper way to end Act 3 because, traditionally, and call me a traditionalist, I think Act 3 should always end on the moment of maximum jeopardy in the show. That the third act-out is the point where—
Terry: Why's that not?
Terry: (amazed) Whoa.
RDM: —is this little bit of business with the Raptors escaping, the destruction of the temple. This is all epilogue, this is after drama has resolved itself, in my personal opinion. It do- again, it doesn't matter when you're watching this on DVD and you're watching it as one story, but this all feels like an elongated tag, this doesn't feel like I'm still— y'know there's not a lot of suspension and drama still hanging in the air for this particular Act 4. In my personal opinion. I think we're covering it—
Terry: So this is what happens when you watch movies or television shows with people in the business, they—
RDM: —they point out flaws that you never know were there.
Terry: —they point out flaws you would never know were there.
RDM: I mean— I think we cover it well, I think it— y'know the razzle-dazzle of that sequence at the beginning of Act 4 I think covers the f—
RDM: —covers the fact that there truly is nothing dramatically still hanging in the show. Everyone's safe, they found the temple, it's all—
Terry: Now it feels safe to me.
RDM: Yeah, now it's safe. Here's— I like this little bit of business with Baltar's body coming back in a body bag, which I believe was— if I'm not mistaken— was something they made up on the set. Michael Rymer and James came up with this whole thing about hiding him in the body bag, and I heard about this afterward, in fact, I got a call from the studio, from Todd Sharp, who's the head of production at Universal, (laughs) called me and said "Are you aware that Baltar comes back to the Galactica in a body bag?" And I said "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, that was a co— Yeah. Yeah, we talked about that, it was a complicated decision. And we'll talk about that more later.", and then I hung up on him. "Baltar comes back— what the fuck are they doing down on the set!?" And then I called Rymer, and "WHAT?!?", and he said— he explained it to me, and I said "Oh. Well that's smart." (laughs) Sometimes you just have to let— you have to be— you have to be willing to let them be smart, because they come up with some really nice stuff, and that was a really nice way of getting Baltar back aboard Galactica without having to play a whole big thing of hoopla, of bringing him back in chains or something.
I like this little bit of the couples reuniting with their spouses and not with each other, and yet still having the look toward each other, which tells us that none of this is really resolved but all of them have gone through quite an extraordinary set of circumstances. Why— again, we had dramatically— y'know you left the story of Sharon and Hera and Caprica-Six leaving the baseship quite a while ago, why are they arriving at Galactica right now? It's because this is the point we want all these people arriving in the hangar deck. And I think you have to accept that the audience will not ask that question, unless they're listening to the podcast.
Terry: -Listening to the podcast.
RDM: Well if you listen to the podcast, you wanna know how the sausage is made. So that's the thing— y'know it's—
Terry: I don't understand that.
RDM: There's not a direct correlation between the timing of this. It's more the dramatic timing of it. They come here because everyone's on the hangar deck, and because you want arrivals. This is all about arrivals, and resolutions, and people coming home, and then Caprica-Six is not home-coming, she goes to jail. So you just play it that way, you just play that that's when they happen to get there, and it works. But it doesn't— there's not a well-defined logical reason for why her Raptor took that long to get aboard Galactica.
Terry: I don't have that kind of sense of time with it, so—
RDM: Yeah, and the audience doesn't. But these are the kinds of things that you labor over when you're constructing the episode. 'Cause you spend a lot of time trying to figure out those kinds of things. Well, if she left the basestar here, when would she get back, and then at some point you say it doesn't matter, but that's a leap of faith.
Terry: And I know there audience members who labor even more intensively, so—
RDM: Oh yeah. Certainly, there's a chunk of the fans that are— that care a great deal about that kind of thing.
Again, we went through various tech explanations for how they got to the new path, the new road map to Earth and where it would take them, but the "Well of Souls" idea of the light coming in and then boom, illuminating the supernova, and that the supernova lines up for something in the sky, was just much simpler. And this gag with the photo of the— from the temple, taking Helo down to Starbuck, this was really nice, I mean we were— we wanted to find something that tied back to Kara, we loved the idea that there was a message in the finale, that there was one more tag that said Kara is related to all these events. And she hasn't been a major player in the show, she's in a— she's been in a subplot. But that when all was said and done, the explosion and the supernova would lead us back to her and her destiny. [39:16]And we talked about, in great detail, about what we had seen in Kara's apartment and was there something in Kara's apartment that would lend itself towards this idea as we shot in the second season, and sure enough, there on the wall, was this mandala that she had— that I think the actress herself had painted, I think she actually painted it. So actually Kara did paint it without knowing what it meant, in a sense, 'cause Katee had painted it without knowing what it meant on the wall of that set on her own, and we decided to use it and tie it in—
Terry: Oh, that's nice.
RDM: —so it's all an interesting wheels-within-wheels thing, and indeed, this mandala that she sees will have great significance and great meaning in the life of Kara Thrace as you will see in upcoming episodes.
Terry: I'm so glad you kept him on the show.
RDM: He is one of my favorite players.
Terry: Yeah, it's a delight. He adds a really lovely balance of humanity—
RDM: Yeah, he has a very diff— he's a very different color then the rest of them—
Terry: Yeah he is.
RDM: —it's really interesting what he adds to the show, I love the fact that we made him and Kara, y'know—
Terry: —friends, buds—
Terry: In a weird way he's the simplest and the most purest of all of them.
RDM: Yeah. And that she has a destiny. And where will that lead her?
And this is a great tag, this was always— we had always talked about the idea that at the end of this arc we were gonna box the D'Annas. We brought Lucy back, and said OK, we're gonna do a ten-episode arc with Lucy, being D'Anna, and at the end of that her relationship with Baltar, ultimately, was gonna end up with her entire model being put in cold storage. And everything in her storyline has led, essentially, to this moment, that she was going down a path—
Terry: Because of her relationship with Baltar?
RDM: And what— and where that went, the fact that she glimpsed the final five, she had done the for— she had bitten from— she had eaten from the tree of forbidden knowledge, she had gone to a place that they were— none of them were supposed to do, they were not supposed to think about the final five, they weren't supposed to talk about them, and she started getting closer and closer, and Baltar encouraging her all the way, and ultimately she succeeds, [41:47]but then her entire model is eliminated in the first time that any of the Cylons had been eliminated as a model.
Terry: Oh, it's the first time?
RDM: Yeah. 'Cause there's always— there's— there have been twelve—
RDM: —and we've seen seven—
Terry: So now there's eleven.
RDM: —and now there is eleven.
In a sense, part of that comes from the fact that the Cylons are a very young civilization. At the beginning of the series, they were very much in lockstep with one another, a very homogeneous group. Even though there were twelve models, they had a very tight, cohesive point of view. But over the course of time this young civilization and society has grown divisive and- has seen division spring from within, and then problems happen, and then finally the— one model goes too far and has to be eliminated by the others, and I think that's an interesting commentary on the Cylons and on humanity.
Terry: He pulled the plug?
RDM: He takes her— he pulls the plug on her and in this shot that's not here, that you still don't even get to see the final— we still don't get to see the— I haven't yet— I haven't seen the hundreds of Cylo— hundreds of D'Annas lying in the tubs, each with a Cavil beside them, I'm sure it's a lovely shot, which I will see on air, I think David Eick got to approve that final visual effects shot. So that is it, that is the end of the podcast for episode eleven, "Rapture", I hope you enjoyed it. We'll be joining you next week for episode twelve, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", and thank you for listening.
Terry: Good night Okay...