From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
- Continuing from the events of the Miniseries, Galactica and the Fleet must avoid their Cylon pursuers, which ambush them every 33 minutes after each successful jump.
- The crew of battlestar Galactica have been on continuous alert for some 130.35 hours, during which time the Fleet has had to make an FTL jump every 33 minutes to escape their Cylon pursuers shortly after their initial escape from Ragnar Anchorage.
- Everyone in the Fleet is beginning to feel the strain – particularly Gaius Baltar, who is also distracted by Six’s repeated conversations about God having a plan for him, and also her wanting to have his children.
- Vessels in the Fleet are also beginning to feel the strain: Jump engines and their controlling computers are starting to breakdown or malfunction, requiring Galactica to linger longer and longer in the Cylon line of fire while the rest of the fleet complete their jumps.
- Anastasia Dualla finds time to visit a team of people who are cataloging survivors in the Fleet. When she cannot leave her photos to aid in searching for her loved ones, she is amazed to see a corridor that has been converted into a makeshift memorial.
- Elsewhere, Sharon "Boomer" Valerii is having problems accepting her new ECO, Crashdown, and is feeling guilty about leaving Karl "Helo" Agathon on Caprica to his fate.
- Following jump number 237, President Roslin receives word from a Dr. Amarak aboard the Olympic Carrier concerning information on how the Cylons overcame Colonial defenses.
- Overhearing the conversation, Baltar is worried: he knew Amarak at the Ministry of Defense. As Six points out, Amarak might have information on Baltar's complicity with the Cylon attack.
- There is insufficient time before the next jump to bring Amarak aboard Colonial One, but Roslin wants to see him directly after the jump has been completed.
- When the next jump is made, the Olympic Carrier, complete with Dr. Amarak and 1,344 other souls, fails to appear with the rest of the Fleet. Six tries to convince Baltar that it is because God is watching over him.
- Thirty-three minutes later, the Fleet is ready to jump, but the Cylons don’t appear. Adama orders a stand-down from the immediate alert, but the Fleet is to maintain a readiness to jump, in case the Cylons do return.
- When Baltar continues to refuse the concept of God, the Olympic Carrier reappears; Commander Adama orders the Fleet to Condition One alert, fearing the worst. He orders the jump clocks reset in anticipation of the Cylons arriving.
- The Combat Air Patrol lead by Lee Adama intercepts the starliner. Adama orders all communications with the Carrier jammed and the Carrier is ordered (through signal lamps) to remain at its current position. When the Carrier fails to heed orders not to approach the fleet, tensions rise, and a radiological alarm reveals there is now a nuclear weapon on the liner.
- As the crisis deepens, the Cylons appear precisely 33 minutes after the return of the Carrier, confirming that the Carrier was used somehow by the Cylons to track the Fleet. Adama wants to destroy the liner, but Roslin hesitates to give the order, as no one can be sure if the 1,345 people aboard the Carrier are still alive. Baltar is terrified she won't give the order for fear of Amarak's information.
- Six uses the hesitation to push Baltar into “repenting” before God. As soon as he does, Roslin gives the order to destroy the liner. Apollo and Starbuck (reluctantly) open fire, destroying the liner. After the Fleet makes a jump once more, the Cylons' relentless pursuit is halted.
- A day later, everyone is living with the consequences of their actions. Only Billy Keikeya has a small nugget of good news: at some point in the proceedings, a baby was born in the Fleet.
- Helo is on the run in the rainy woodland, and has Claymore-like ordnance he uses to blow up pursuing Cylon Centurions.
- Helo's six days on the run comes to an end when he is captured by the Cylons, after being distracted by the appearance of a Number Six, wearing a white raincoat.
- Helo is “rescued” by a copy of Sharon Valerii, who shoots Six and then leads Helo away into the woods. Helo mistakenly believes that this Valerii copy is actually the "Boomer" copy that left Caprica and returned to rescue him.
- Continuous jumping badly affects the FTL drives and management systems aboard commercial Colonial vessels, which are not as rugged as Galactica's military-issue drives.
- The Cylons' FTL technology is more precise than the Colonials'. 238 times they manage to pounce on the Colonial fleet, arriving with precise momentum and trajectory to be able to close the distance and launch an attack. In the Season 2 episode "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I", it is explained that the Cylons have far better navigational computers which allow more accurate jump plots and a greater range.
- According to Socinus, there are 5,251 people in the Fleet from Sagittaron.
- As of "33", there are 60 civilian ships in the Fleet. This number is retconned up from the Miniseries.
- The head count of Colonial citizens at the end of the episode is 47,973.
- At first glance, there appears to be an error with Billy Keikeya's math with the survivor count. The episode starts with the count being 50,298. He informs Roslin this is in error by 300 = 49,998 survivors. When the Olympic Carrier is destroyed (1,345 people), he reduces the total to 47,972 – that’s a reduction of 2026, or 681 people more than listed on the Carrier. However, in deleted scenes from this episode, Keikeya is actually reducing the survivor count additional times set between the beginning of the episode and the destruction of the Olympic Carrier. These other deaths just occur off-screen.
- Crashdown wears a patch of the battlestar Triton on his flight suit, which fits to Boomer's comment that she has been saddled with a "refugee from Triton". Triton's battlestar group number is 39, but is erroneously displayed on the patch as BST-39 instead of BSG-39. The costuming department very likely assumed that "BSG" stands for "Battlestar Galactica" and changed the last letter accordingly. However, "Water" and the Pegasus patch establish that it stands for "battlestar group".
- This episode won the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
- When Season 1 premiered in the United States, "33" and "Water" aired back-to-back as a two hour TV event. This was also the case when Season 3 first aired in the United States with the episodes "Occupation" and "Precipice".
- When the first few episodes of the series began airing in the US on the Sci Fi Channel, title cards were shown at the beginning of each episode, i.e. "33" or "Water" flashing in white letters on a black screen, and then the episode would begin. These episode titles stopped midway in Season 1.
- Zoic visual effects artists hid small signs of movement within the Olympic Carrier in close-up effect shots as something of a morbid joke. Lights in the windows appear to flicker on and off rather rapidly and when slowed down there is some kind of movement visible on the inside of the ship. Originally, the scene was to confirm the existence of civilians inside the ship by showing civilians peering out the windows.
- In the DVD commentary for this episode, Ron D. Moore states that during the scene when Dualla hands Commander Adama a set of reports that he reads aloud (including fuel shortages, dozens of crewmen breaking down from nervous exhaustion, etc), Edward James Olmos ad-libbed "and ten suicides" in one take. The production team really liked the ad-lib, and thought the way Olmos acted the scene was fantastic. However, there were concerns that the network would think this would make an already extremely "dark" episode far too dark and alienate the audience during the premiere, and the line was reluctantly cut.
- While waiting to film a Viper sequence for this episode at 11 or 12 o'clock at night, Katee Sackhoff fell asleep inside the Viper cockpit.
- To add realism to the sleep deprivation motif, Olmos enlisted the aid of a sleep deprivation expert and also curtailed his sleeping habits to a maximum of three hours per night, noting how it affected him. With the help of this expert, he relayed to the rest of the crew how deprivation affects the human body and mind. Additionally, director Michael Rymer told the actors to choose one symptom to play, so as to avoid distracting repetition.
- Why did the Cylons come "every 33 minutes"? Short answer: it was a number Ron Moore has stated he picked at random, with no other significance. The long answer is available in Ron Moore's blog entry of January 13, 2005:
The truth is, there's no real answer. It's just a random number that felt right when I came up with the idea that our people were under continuous, relentless attack since the end of the pilot. I wanted it to be a short interval, just long enough for them to grab a bite to eat, jump in the shower and maybe try to catch a catnap before dragging themselves back to their duty stations and begin the whole tedious, terrifying ordeal all over again.
A deeper truth is, I was never interested in coming up with an explanation for Why? Never. I mean, I suppose I could've come up with a sufficiently important-sounding bit of technobabble that would've made sense (you see, the Cylon double-talk sensors tracking the Olympic Carrier's nonsense drive signature needed 15 minutes to relay the made-up data wave through the pretend continuum, then the Cylon navigational hyper silly system needed another 10 minutes to recalculate the flux capacitor, etc.) but what would that have really added to the drama? How does explaining that 33 minute interval help our understanding of Laura's terrible moment of decision, or bring us to any greater knowledge of Dualla's search for her missing family and friends, or yield insight into Baltar's morally shattered psyche?
It doesn't, of course. The answer, however artfully it may (or may not) have been crafted can only subtract from the experience we have in watching the episode. Not knowing the how's or why's of the Cylon attack puts us in the same seat as the characters we're watching. They're in the dark, and we're in the dark. The relentless attack is unfathomable in its origin and unstoppable in its execution. It's mortality coming at you on a loop. If you only had 33 minutes before the next time you could die, what would you do? And what about the time after that? And the time after that? At a certain point, you stop caring about why it's happening, all you know is that it is happening, and it's happening to you.
So the mystery of 33 will be permanent on this show. No explanation, not even the attempt. Let it just be a number that seemed like an eternity for five long days on the battlestar Galactica.
- The cast actually consulted with a sleep deprivation expert before this episode, making a large effort to accurately depict the effects of sleep deprivation on their characters, and it really comes through on screen. Rather than simply yawning alot and constantly saying "wow, I'm so tired", the cast met the series' goal of realistically portraying their symptoms: they behave aggravated, they start to forget things, their minds just start "slowing down".
- The Messenger Six's motives, and her origins, become murkier, and Baltar's tendency to listen to her advice increases.
- Raptors are general purpose vehicles that handle reconnaissance, electronic countersurveillance on CAPs, troop deploys and other tasks. In a later episode a Raptor is used for rescuing ejected pilots during combat.
- The Memorial hallway scene continues the writers' allusion to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States to the events of the Miniseries through the use of the many memorials, the confusion in finding lost loved ones, and Dualla's amazement at the size of the memorial. (A picture of a Colonial soldier on one of the Colonies during its destruction also plays on the intense feelings felt by many Americans when they saw similar pictures of New York City firefighters at the ruins of the World Trade Center.)
- Despite his age, Colonel Tigh seems to be taking the sleep deprivation better than others. He is shown waking people up in the CIC. Chief Tyrol is seen doing the same on the hangar deck. Perhaps this is an early clue to their true nature (Crossroads, Part II).
- For answers to the questions in this section, click here.
- Billy Keikeya reports that the number of survivors is down by 300 as a result of some being lost through death from injuries, initial inaccurate counts, and others having "disappeared." How can people simply "disappear" in the Fleet?
- Is Messenger Six actually in contact with other Cylons, and thus involved in the disappearance and reappearance of Olympic Carrier?
- What happened to the group of survivors Karl Agathon was left with in the Miniseries?
- Was the person speaking over the wireless when the Olympic Carrier returned really its captain, or a humanoid Cylon?
- Were there any people aboard Olympic Carrier when it was destroyed?
- What is the Cylons' plan?
- Did Doctor Amarak truly have something on Baltar's involvement in the holocaust?
- Was Amarak even aboard Olympic Carrier?
- How long was Olympic Carrier under Cylon control?
From RDM's Sci-Fi Channel Blog
- "It's probably been asked before, but I'm curious as to whom[sic] is in the picture in the Viper Pilot's briefing room, facing away from the camera . . . the one the pilots, including Commander Adama, touch when they enter and leave? This is touching, and is a wonderful human element to the story. So who is it?"
- There was a scene cut from "33" where we saw Laura Roslin being given her copy of the photo along with a card that said it was taken on the roof of the capitol building on Aerilon during the attack. The photo was inspired by the famous shot of the fire-fighters raising the flag at Ground Zero that became iconic. I thought the Colonies would have their own version of this -- a snapshot taken in the moment that becomes a symbol of the day they can never forget and of all they had lost. The photo itself is of a soldier falling to his knees (possibly shot or simply overcome by emotion) as he stands on the rooftop overlooking the devastation of his city, while the Colonial flag waves at the edge of frame. The inscription below the photo on Laura's plaque reads, "Lest We Forget" in itself a reference to the inscription on the watch presented to John Wayne's character in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."
- "Insomnia. Nobody has slept. Everyone's just coming to terms with the fact that they have lost everybody that they've loved or relate to." -- Jamie Bamber, 
- "It was a hard episode, because, you just had to basically fall apart." -- Katee Sackhoff, 
- "Episode 1 is extremely docu-style because the characters haven't actually slept for five days (sic) and they have been running from the Cylons for the 250th time. And it's very stressful and they're about to lose the plot completely because of sleep deprivation." -- Michael Rymer, 
- Bamber discusses why "33" is his favorite episode:
- My favorite episode...I'd say "33"...the very first one, just because that was the unknown. We were in an unknown situation. We'd made a decent mini-series and we were all very excited. To read that script, I thought structurally it was really compelling. It was kind of a nutshell of what the whole of our story is, which is a nightmare, waking up constantly to find that the monster is on you again, and that's basically the modus operandi of the show, and Ron [Moore] captured it in one episode. I think that is really the perfect episode of Battlestar Galactica.
Excerpt from the Official Companion
In Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion, the dedicated performance by the cast, trying to accurately and realistically depict extensive sleep deprivation on-screen, was explained:
- "Battlestar Galactica's first season première required the show's cast members to depict their characters under extreme physical and emotional duress, as they faced sleep deprivation and the constant threat of Cylon attack. This unique and intriguing acting challenge prompted Edward James Olmos to enlist the assistance of a sleep deprivation expert, who met with the cast shortly prior to the starting of shooting. Olmos and several other cast members also restricted their sleeping patterns a few days before filming, to gain a better understanding of sleep deprivation.
- "I rested just before we actually shot the episode, because I didn't want to go on-camera exhausted," explains Olmos. "But in the week before shooting, I only had about three hours of sleep per night and I studied myself to get to know how to pay the symptoms of sleep deprivation. About two days away from shooting, I was sitting in this meeting and everyone was looking at me as I tried to make sense. I told everyone, "This is what happens when you go without sleep — you don't act funny or yawn all the time, it's more the case that your mind doesn't function correctly". The doctor later expanded on this, and pretty soon everyone was tuned in. So when we went into the episode, everyone knew exactly what they were doing, and it was beautiful to watch."" (page 46)
- Six: You know you're not safe.
- Baltar: No, course not. The Cylons will follow us again, as they have the last two hundred and thirty seven times.
- Six: You're right, you know. There are limits. Eventually you'll make a mistake.
- Baltar: And then you'll kill us all. Yes. Yes, I know, but... not for another thirty-three minutes.
- Colonel Tigh: Yes, we're tired. Yes, there is no relief. Yes, the Cylons keep coming after us time after time after time. And yes, we are still expected to do our jobs!
- Commander Adama: We make mistakes, people die. There aren't many of us left.
- When Lee Adama and Kara Thrace are on Galactica's flight deck:
- Lee Adama: Hey, did you see the note from the XO?
- Kara Thrace: I saw it. No way.
- Lee Adama: Kara, everyone else--
- Kara Thrace: I don't fly with stims. They fudge with your reflexes, your reaction time.
- Lee Adama: Come on, Kara, give me a break. Just--
- Kara Thrace: Why are we arguing about this?
- Lee Adama: I have no idea.
- Kara Thrace: Neither do I. You're the CAG, act like one.
- Lee Adama: What does that mean?
- Kara Thrace: It means that you're still acting like everyone's best friend. We're not friends. You're the CAG. "Be careful out there?" Our job isn't to be careful, it's to shoot frakking Cylons out of the sky. "Good Hunting" is what you say. And one of your idiot pilots is acting like a child and refusing to take her pills. So she either says "Yes, sir" and obeys a direct order, or you smack her in the mouth and drag her sorry ass to sickbay and you make her take those pills.
- (Lee and Kara both start laughing)
- Lee Adama: Well, I'm glad I'm not working for you.
- Kara Thrace: (laughing) Damn right you're glad.
- Lee Adama: So do I have to smack you in the mouth, Lieutenant?
- Kara Thrace: No sir, I'll take my pills. (takes pills from Lee) Perfect.
- Lee Adama: Carry on.
- Kara Thrace: (half-heartedly saluting) Yes, sir.
- When Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh are talking outside the CIC:
- Colonel Tigh: (grunting) Oh...a couple hours rack time does sound awfully sweet right about now...
- Commander Adama: You deserve it.
- Colonel Tigh: You know, the truth is, all this has me feeling...well, more alive than I have in years.
- Commander Adama: You look that way too. It's good to see you without the cup in your hand.
- Colonel Tigh: Ah, don't start.
- Commander Adama: I know there's a whole lot of people on this ship, that wish you weren't feeling as good.
- Colonel Tigh: (laughing) If the crew doesn't hate the XO, then he's not doing his job. Besides, I've gotta make the old man look good.
- Commander Adama: I always look good.
- Colonel Tigh: Look in the mirror.
- Commander Adama: Seriously...
- Colonel Tigh: Sir?
- Commander Adama: It's one thing to push the crew. It's another thing to break them.