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- Amidst unsafe and harsh conditions in the maintenance and production areas of the Fleet, as well Baltar's personal diatribe stirring feelings of dissent amongst the working class, Chief Tyrol must wrestle with whether or not to resurrect the worker's union he began on New Caprica.
- A group of deckhands, with Chief Galen Tyrol at the head, are prepping Racetrack's Raptor for a mission.
- Tyrol reminds Figurski, Pollux and Sanchez not to leave as they have to work on additional engine refits. A number of deckhands, one literally missing a hand and using a prosthetic arm, are busy with their work. Complaints about fatigue are deflected by Tyrol.
- Viewers see tylium fuel, refined from its ore state into a gasoline-like liquefied state, being pumped into the Raptor.
- Seelix is returning bags of cleaned laundry to Figurski, Pollux, and Redford. She's not too happy as, despite high marks on the written exam for Viper pilot flight training, Seelix has been denied promotion because she was considered to have mission-essential duties and could not be transferred. Pollux is left surprised, believing that others don't want the "knuckledraggers" to rise in rank.
- Tyrol, who heard about the failed promotion from the CAG, apologizes to Seelix. Figurski teases too much about Seelix's fate and her unglamorous laundry work, which causes Seelix to attack Figurski before Chief Tyrol breaks it up. Seelix goes back to laundry delivery, obviously depressed in spite of Tyrol's attempt to have her look at her work on the hangar deck as critical to the Fleet's safety.
- Racetrack and Skulls, her ECO, launch from the lift from the hangar deck to the port flight pod. They fly through the motley of civilian ships and begin plotting their course, passing the Space Park, when a malfunction occurs in the reaction control jets and one of the main engines. The vehicle is out of control.
- Racetrack yells for Skulls to sit in the copilot seat and moments later, both eject from the wayward vehicle. The Raptor tumbles on a collision course with Colonial One at the same area of the ship where President Laura Roslin and Tory Foster are handling their daily business.
- Admiral William Adama is assisting President Roslin with moving her office area to another section of Colonial One while the damaged bulkhead of the ship is repaired. The presidential flagship suffered only a glancing blow from Racetrack's Raptor, but hit with sufficient force to cause a dozen injuries, including to Tory Foster. No one was killed, fortunately.
- When Roslin notes the cramped confines, Adama offers Roslin any of his beds on Galactica. A moment of humorous silence hangs as Adama realizes the unintended double-meaning and Roslin smiles.
- The two leaders of the Fleet discuss the cause of the Raptor's malfunction. So far, the investigation suggests a fuel contamination problem. Roslin finds the matter unsettling since, before, the refinery ship was always reliable and timely.
- The leaders discuss Xeno Fenner, who has complained about numerous labor-related problems despite the overall significance of the overall survival of humanity. Adama is impatient with Fenner's effectiveness over the last two weeks and wants to get the Fleet back on its path to Earth.
- Roslin, who began the serious quest for Earth, can't resist teasing Adama, a skeptic about the legends of Earth despite his claims of knowing where it was. Adama plays along with Roslin, asking "Have I ever doubted it?"
- Fenner meets with President Roslin and Admiral Adama. Fenner complains of exhaustion, very long shift hours and other problems that go unheeded throughout his operation by the senior staff. Adama reminds Fenner that, because of the backlog of fuel processing and distribution between the ships of the Fleet, they have fuel for maybe one or two jumps. Both leaders warn that safety is in danger and that fuel resupply is imperative.
- Fenner questions if intentionally causing a slowdown or other problems with the fuel processing would yield some results.
- When Fenner quotes a passage from an underground book written by Gaius Baltar to reinforce his case ("If you hear the people, you never have to fear the people") Roslin is incensed by the quote and has the Marines in the room arrest Fenner.
- Roslin explains to Adama that Baltar's lawyer had smuggled out the book, called My Triumphs, My Mistakes, which has been copied about the Fleet. Roslin and Adama discuss how it is causing class strife throughout the Fleet. A visibly angered Roslin, her voice quieting to almost a whisper in her usual manner when in such a state, says, "I am thinking of having a good old-fashioned book burning."
- In their quarters, the Tyrols are having a meal. Cally Tyrol admonishes her husband from eating too much, recalling their recovery from vacuum exposure and apparent diet requirements to aid in it.
- The two eventually discuss the recent labor problems. Cally, reciting passages from Baltar's book, notes how work throughout the Fleet is divided by class lines, which also happen to be related to how work was culturally based on the Twelve Colonies. Prosperous colonists from Caprica, Tauron and Virgon were mostly in administrative or professional jobs such as politicians and pilots, while colonists from places such as Gemenon, Sagittaron, and Aerilon, which were agrarian or otherwise raw-material sources, had primarily blue-collar populations. When Galen comments that Lieutenant Dualla was from Sagittaron, Cally answers that she was promoted only because of her husband's Caprica status.
- Chief Tyrol gets a call from Admiral Adama, who tells him of Fenner's arrest for "pissing off the President." Adama orders him to get to the refinery ship and get the fuel supply running. Cally recalls the old union on New Caprica and that, while the scenery has changed, the people who desired change in then-President Baltar's leadership were still around.
- Roslin visits Gaius Baltar with a Marine contingent, intent on confiscating any further passages of his clandestine book. She lies to Baltar, telling him that the book was intercepted before it could be mass-produced, and that she was dying to read the latest entries. Roslin objects to Baltar's portrayal as a "man of the people" in his book.
- She forces a strip search of Baltar before his Messenger Six convinces him to give up the passages to save his dignity.
- Tyrol arrives to investigate the refinery ship's operation and meets with Cabott, who remembers Tyrol's work as the union leader. He shows him a large cavernous room with a single comparatively small pile of tylium in its center. When asked about the amount of tylium available, Cabott notes that the Fleet would be lucky to get out of this system.
- Cabott notes that the ship is as loud as an "A-bomb" when in full production, and equally safe.
- The conditions are squalid at best, as many workers move the granular tylium through its conversion process from ore to precursor and fuel. The working conditions are less of the problem, as workers are tired and have very little time off. Work is going much too slowly, and Cabott reminds Tyrol of the harsh work schedules that have greatly reduced fuel production.
- The group enters a conveyor area, where many workers appear to be cleaning or making minor repairs. The refining process appears to have stopped. Despite Cabott's pleas, Tyrol asks him to start up the process. A laborer named Milo tells Tyrol that the system won't work. When pressed as to the reason, Milo is silent.
- Tyrol looks around to find that several critical pressure relief seals are missing, making the machinery unusable. The workers have intentionally hidden the seals as a protest for Fenner's arrest and an attempt to get improved working conditions.
- Later, on Galactica, Tyrol reports to Admiral Adama and Roslin on his initial investigations on the refinery ship. A search has not turned up the seals. Since the group did not harm him or contaminate the existing fuel, he believes that the workers are buying time to get their pleas heard.
- He notes that some of the people on the refinery ship have been working almost continuously since the original Cylon attack on the Colonies with no chance to transfer or take a break.
- Roslin acknowledges the hard work, but notes that work is equally hard on the algae processing, or munitions or waste processing teams. When Tyrol asks to cede to some labor demands to get things working again, Roslin objects, calling it extortion, and asks for the names of the leaders to put them under arrest, after which Tyrol reluctantly notes Cabott. Roslin curtly dismisses Tyrol when he tries to continue his pleas.
- Tyrol visits Fenner and Cabott. Cabott, who was incarcerated on New Caprica by the Cylons, is experiencing hallucinations and is injuring himself. Tyrol asks for the seals, to Fenner's anger.
- Tyrol yells at both to tell him where, and Fenner relents and tells the location of the seals.
- The seals are replaced. Milo asks to flip the switch. Tyrol asks Milo's age: almost twelve. The production resumes. Tyrol looks around to see many very young faces; many of the refinery workers are children and adolescents.
- On Colonial One, Tyrol explains that the parents are passing down their skills to their children, and that the children are thus automatically stuck in their parent's careers instead of choosing an own path for their future. Roslin understands the problem, and offers to gather a list of colonists with any relevant experience that can be used to supplement the workers on the refinery ship.
- A young man named Danny Noon, pulled from Dogsville, questions Tyrol on the hangar deck on why he is tasked to work on the refinery ship. As Figurski tells Tyrol of the young man's farming experience, Noon denies any actual experience, having worked for one summer for money for college before the Cylon attack on the Colonies. Before Tyrol can consider reassigning the man, Figurski warns that letting the young man go may cause more to deny their experience as well, setting back the conscription process. Tyrol does not interfere.
- As Tyrol walks away, he finds a copy of Baltar's underground manifesto. Turning the page, he notes one page entitled "The Emerging Aristocracy and the Emerging Underclass." He decides to go to Baltar.
- Interviewing Baltar (who now knows that his book has circulated), Tyrol tries to separate fact from fiction. Baltar (now possessing only a mattress on the floor, with no bed frame) explains that he was really born on a dairy farm outside of Cuffle's Breath Wash on Aerilon. When Tyrol questions him further, particularly about Baltar's posh accent, Baltar explains (as he begins to speak in his native Aerilon voice) that he began to mimic Caprican speech starting at 10 years old so that people would not believe he was from Aerilon, a "drab, ugly rock condemned to be the food basket for the twelve worlds." Baltar left Aerilon after his 18th birthday.
- When Tyrol indicates that the strife was left on the Colonies and begins to leave the brig, Baltar disagrees, indicating that the social strife has followed the people, and that the aristocracy will continue to hold on to their power.
- The fresh labor on the refinery ship is helping and tylium ore is again being refined, per Fenner. He notes that some problems in the process were where the contaminants were accumulating and that work is being done to clean up the process.
- A malfunction occurs on the refinery ship conveyor, but Fenner warns that the belt has to be repaired while running else shutting it down will seize the whole system. Worse, not fixing the problem soon could cause an explosive chain reaction with the ore stuck in the system.
- Tyrol tries to get the problem part, but can't reach it. Danny Noon manages to reach underneath to restore the belt to operation but suffers a piercing injury as he exits from under the belt.
- Watching this suffering becomes too much for Tyrol. He slowly walks over to the belt systems main power levers and pulls them, shutting down the entire fuel operation. He then gets up and announces to everyone that they're on strike, with everyone cheering after that announcement.
- Several pilots, including Kara Thrace, are trying to get a flight, but Pollux tells them that they are on strike, and that only vital missions are being serviced.
- Chief Tyrol is arrested and placed in Galactica's brig. Admiral Adama tells him that the Colonial Fleet shoots mutineers like Tyrol and the deckhands.
- Tyrol tries to explain his side, but Adama warns that no one on this ship can disobey orders. To prove how far he will go, he makes a phone call.
- Adama orders Cally Tyrol to be taken to the starboard hangar deck. When the Chief asks why, Adama tells him he is taking her there to be shot as a mutineer. He then states that he will continue with the executions, starting with the rebellious deck crew, if he has to.
- Tyrol is terrified, but Adama continues to elaborate: Orders, no matter how one feels about them, must be adhered to. If even one person hesitates to fulfill an order or feels that orders are optional, everyone will perish, including Tyrol's son. Adama tells him that this is not his desire, but that he would put ten Callys against the wall to be shot to ensure the survival of the Fleet.
- Tyrol concedes, upon which Adama releases him and lets him speak to Cally on the phone, who mistakenly believes that Tyrol has won when he tells her to end the strike. Adama releases her as well. Adama then dismisses the Chief, reminding him that he wanted to speak with the President about the labor issues. Apparently Adama is somewhat sympathetic, but can't allow the strike to go on and endanger the Fleet as as well as the discipline aboard ship.
- On Colonial One, Tyrol and President Roslin talk over drinks about the cultural vocations that some colonists are locked into by birth, which Roslin understands but cannot see how to change. Tyrol suggests a plan where other colonists, including professional types who inhabit Colonial One, get their hands dirty with many tasks, allowing some sharing of low-level chores. For high-stress jobs, Tyrol recommends crew rotations. Roslin agrees.
- Tyrol recommends a training program, but Roslin defers it and wants Tyrol's union to give some ground in collective bargaining. When Tyrol is confused about the mention of a union he believed long gone, Roslin explains the necessity of the union and his leadership to ensure that the Fleet doesn't tear itself apart.
- Later, back on the hangar deck, Chief Tyrol is announcing work assignments when Captain Thrace arrives to complain about a missing nugget who did not report for training. She asks for Diana Seelix, who is both visibly confused and excited.
- After berating Seelix for not checking the duty roster to see where she should have reported, Thrace then tells her that she is "out of uniform". Tyrol, in on the ruse, states that he can fix that part of the problem and presents Seelix with ensign pins, promoting her to the basic officer's rank needed to train as a pilot.
- Thrace continues to play the nasty drill officer and orders the smiling Seelix off to the pilots' ready room. Thrace herself cracks a smile as Tyrol asks her to "be nice" to her new recruit.
- Chief Tyrol has finished sorting out a handful of children who were mistakenly picked in the pool of conscripts to aid on the refinery ship. He returns to his quarters to pick up some paperwork.
- Cally Tyrol notes that most of the conscripts are from poor colonies, and that the work involved actually doesn't involve any genuine skills. She noticed that no one from Colonial One was in the list of conscripts.
- Galen berates Cally for what he feels is yet another recitation from Gaius Baltar's book. He warns her that, if he pushes too hard with the Fleet's leadership, they may pull him off of the assignment of assigning conscripts, where someone like Colonel Tigh may be ordered to manage, with more dire results for everyone.
- Cally tries to encourage her husband to continue fighting for the rights of the workers as he did as the union leader on New Caprica. As she continues to press for his support, he tells her that the New Caprica union is over and leaves without further discussion.
- Information from the Season Three Companion book:
- This episode was originally a different story titled "Our Enemies, Ourselves" and a continuation of the Sagittaron storyline in "The Woman King". Dualla represented the government in its dealings with the Sagittarons, who perceived her as a traitor, before she sided with them. At the end Adama gave them their own ship. However, the producers decided that the story didn't work and focused on the class struggle instead.
- The title was chosen by Anne Cofell Saunders as a reference to workers, because her father used to be a printer and scrubbed his ink-stained hands every day after returning from work, before he later took a white-collar job.
- As scripted Baltar was supposed to be stripped naked, but the actors felt that he should retain some of his dignity.
- The scenes on the refinery ship were shot in a Vancouver sugar mill that was previously used as part of Ragnar Anchorage in the Miniseries.
- A number of main characters are not present at all during this episode: Lee Adama, Sharon Agathon, Karl Agathon, Saul Tigh, Felix Gaeta, and Anastasia Dualla. Kara Thrace only makes a short appearance. Also, no Cylons physically appear, outside of Messenger Six.
- This is the second episode in a row in which the Tyrols play a major role above other supporting characters.
- The prop department still hasn't produced any ensign rank insignia yet. Like in "Scar", lieutenant j.g. insignia are used instead.
- While Galen Tyrol appears to have completely recovered from injuries sustained in "A Day in the Life," his wife is still dealing with hers and is seen walking with a crutch. Dialogue suggests that she is suffering from after-effects of "the bends" and has had a minor relapse. It is possible that Tyrol's Cylon nature enabled him to better endure decompression and to recover faster.
- One of the deckhands has lost an arm, but is using a prosthesis to work.
- Dogsville is still in use.
- Baltar reveals that he is from Aerilon. He displays his native accent, traces of which he claimed to have heard in Sharon Valerii's voice in "Flesh and Bone". He explains why he uses a more posh accent, suggesting it might be connected with Caprica.
- The Fleet's reserves of refined tylium have become dangerously low.
- Cally notes Tauron and Virgon as two of the more affluent colonies.
- The Raptor accident is reminiscent of the Gemini 8 incident, where a jammed thruster spun the spacecraft up to dangerous rates. The crew only managed to regain control by using some of the fuel intended for re-entry.
- While not seen in this episode, it is revealed in "The Son Also Rises" that Baltar's book was smuggled off Galactica by his lawyer, Alan Hughes.
- During Roslin's first discussion with Tyrol on Colonial One, one word of her dialogue is very obviously dubbed over. She says "and we will put them on shifts in the refinery. How's that Chief?" However, at "refinery" her mouth movements show that she originally said two words.
- The refinery ship is not named in the aired episode, but is identified as the Hitei Kan in a deleted scene and the script.
- The deleted scene between Galen and Cally appears to take place in an area with children, possibly the first appearance on screen of the Galactica's daycare?
- Not having any real options for defending his actions during the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, Baltar has opted to use class warfare as a distraction from the crimes for which he will stand trial and to drum up support as a victim of "the aristocracy."
- Adama's explanation and pending orders to execute Cally and the rest of the knuckledraggers to force Tyrol to call off the strike is reminiscent of the style of leadership found with Admiral Cain. However, once Tyrol relents and calls off the strike, Adama immediately displays his familiar style of leadership by informing Tyrol of his meeting with Roslin.
- While Adama uses force to end the strike, his actions in telling a confused Tyrol to go meet with Roslin indicate that he was actually sympathetic to the strike all along, he just had to do what was necessary to keep the fleet safe. Once that was done, he was more than happy to let the Tyrol speak to Roslin as he wanted. Roslin is also shown to be sympathetic to the workers and lower class as shown in her discussions with Tyrol. She just is unsure of what she can do to help.
- This is the first time that an emergency cockpit ejection from a Raptor is shown during the series. When the craft is fully manned, only the pilots could eject, leaving the crew in the aft compartment behind. However, the cockpit canopy is probably the only part of the hull that can be detached. Whether the remaining crew would survive is debatable as usually the pilots - including the ECO - are the only ones who have pressurized suits equipped. If the rest of the crew, such as Marines or passengers, were suited up, it might be possible for the aft crew to survive if the side entrance door to the Raptor is also designed to blow out in such an emergency.
- Ever since her murder of Boomer and following detention and eventual release, Cally has displayed an attitude of disrespect towards the Fleet's leadership, especially to Adama recently. Her recent demeanor and naive assumption that Adama would not do anything more than arrest the strikers may highlight a growing problem among the military workers that are beginning to dissent from the leadership.
- This attitude may be one factor in allowing Gaeta and Zarek to stage their coup months later.
- Cally Tyrol's statement that Dualla was only promoted to lieutenant because she married Lee Adama is false. While their relationship may have played a role in the decision, she was promoted before the marriage, and also before being assigned to Pegasus. In fact, Dualla made an effort to keep their relationship under wraps before her transfer was approved (TRS: "Unfinished Business"), likely to prevent accusations of nepotism.
- This episode, as well as "The Woman King" display an ongoing theme since Season 2 that focuses on how human beings are self-destructive by nature without any Cylon intervention. As stated in "A Day In The Life", the Fleet hasn't encountered any Cylon forces for approximately two months. This state of complacency has allowed the typical in-fighting amongst the Colonials to resume, especially with the depreciating state of quality of life amongst the ships in the Fleet.
- This episode is the first to flesh out further previous hints at a caste system amongst the original twelve colonies, much the same as first world and third world countries today, or splits between the western and eastern world. Gemenon, Sagittaron and Aerilon are noted as being 'poor' colonies, Caprica, Virgon and Tauron are noted as being richer colonies.
- Although he was born on Aerilon, Baltar has been elected as Caprica's representative to the Quorum of Twelve (TRS: "Colonial Day"). Apparently, either he is a naturalized citizen of Caprica and it is legal for a naturalized citizen to be elected as Caprica's quorum representative, or he is so widely believed to be Caprican that he was elected by mistake.
- Will Baltar's book help his image among the working class of the Fleet in his upcoming trial? (Answer)
- Has the Fleet's tylium reserve been re-stocked at all since "The Hand of God"?
- Were these class differentiations amongst the colonies problematic before the destruction of the Twelve Colonies?
- Besides occupations that are related to the "working class" and other professions such as news reporters, what other occupations exist within the Fleet besides those positions found on Colonial One and Galactica?
- Have the Colonials truly lost the Cylons or are the Cylons continuing on different plans? (Answer)
- Why isn't Tigh mentioned along with Dualla as another member of the "working class" that rose to be part of the Fleet leadership, as he was born on Aerilon and started his career as an enlisted man?
- Besides Baltar's testimony, is there any real solid evidence that Baltar was born on Aerilon? Official statements by Ronald D. Moore confirm the truth of this backstory, but can Baltar actually prove it to his fellow Colonial citizens?
- With the information provided by "Unfinished Business" and "A Day in the Life", have the attitude and admiration towards Admiral Adama changed significantly to the point that his crew feel more indifferent or resentful of him?
- Besides the six colonies that were mentioned, how were the other colonies, such as Picon, considered?
- Will Tyrol tell Cally about what really happened at his meeting with Adama? Will Cally be told that Adama originally planned on executing her?
- What is the actual rationale behind the rejection of Seelix's application for flight training, and how is the decision made to have her accepted in the end? Is it possibly related to her involvement with The Circle ("Collaborators")?
- I spent the whole day working with Mary. I had never gotten the chance to work with Mary without a whole bunch of other people around and the last scene of that episode is her and I seated in a dark room across from each other just talking about the union stuff.
- We shot that thing for about four or five hours and I have never worked with someone more engaged, engaging, looking through your eyes, deep into your soul, more prepared, more caring, loving...I just felt like I was in a mother's embrace all day long...it was the most spectacular moment in my acting career. She is an absolute angel on earth and I will take that memory from the show for the rest of my life.
Information from the podcast
- This episode was originally focused on Anastasia Dualla and the Sagittaron storyline that had started in "The Woman King". Story ideas that were considered included a scene where two ships within the Fleet would fire upon each other because of a conflict that dealt with the Sagittaron problem. However, it was realized that there were many hurdles and issues that had to be dealt with regards to the Sagittaron idea, and it was this episode that finally broke the storyline idea.
- The stripping scene within Baltar's cell originally had Roslin completely strip Baltar of all his clothes and having the last pages of his book fall out. Moore wanted to depict Baltar's inner conflict: a feeling of victory for not submitting to Roslin, but also the humiliation of being completely stripped down. The actors, though, persuaded Moore that the scene would work if Baltar did maintain his dignity.
- Moore goes into detail about how difficult it is to show different vessels within the Fleet simply because it would require these ships to "look right" within the Fleet.
- Moore confirms that in the series bible, Baltar does in fact come from a rural community. When the story originally focused on Dualla, Baltar was written to be from Sagittaron. However, once the story concept changed, Moore wanted to still keep the scene that had Dualla meet Baltar in his cell, but swap Dualla with Tyrol. Because the story no longer needed a connection to the Sagittarons, Baltar's home planet was changed to Aerilon.
- Adama offers Roslin accommodations aboard Galactica
- Adama: If the quarters become cramped, you're always welcome in one of my beds…in a manner of speaking.
- Tyrol: Why do I have such a hard time picturing you milking cows and shoveling manure?
- Baltar: Lack of imagination.
- Tyrol: Or maybe that your little tale is manure.
- Baltar: I don't sound like I'm from Aerilon?
- Tyrol: No.
- Baltar: Well you know I take that as a particular compliment. I don't know about you, but I've always found the Aerilon dialect to be particularly hard on the ears.
- (Baltar begins speaking with an Aerilon accent)
- Baltar: Something about the consonants that scrape the back of the throat. Course I should know an awful lot about my native tongue, I spent hours on it in trying to overcome it. Do you have any idea how hard it is for a ten year old boy to change the way he speaks? To unlearn everything he ever learned, so that one day, one day there might be the small hope that he might be considered as not comin' from Aerilon.
- (Baltar speaks with his usual accent)
- Baltar: Maybe I don't know, Caprica... Caprica... oh to be Caprican, the seat of politics, culture, art, science, learning. And what was Aerilon, just a drab ugly rock condemned to be the food basket for the twelve worlds, and that's how we were treated, like servants, like laborers, like working-class. You know you would have fitted right in there Chief, lots of men who like to work with their hands, and uh, grab a pint down at the pub and...
- (Baltar again speaks with his Aerilon accent)
- Baltar: ...finish off the evenin' with a good old-fashioned fight.
- (Baltar returns to speaking as he normally does)
- Baltar: Oh yes, I left Aerilon after my eighteenth birthday, I turned my back on my family, my heritage, all of them, of course it doesn't matter though, they're all dead now...