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Final Cut

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Final Cut
"Final Cut"
An episode of the Re-imagined Series
Episode No. Season 2, Episode 8 (discuss)
Writer(s) Mark Verheiden
Story by
Director Robert Young
Assistant Director
Special guest(s) Lucy Lawless as D'anna Biers
Production No. 208
Nielsen Rating 2.0
US airdate USA 2005-09-09
CAN airdate CAN 2006-03-04
UK airdate UK 2006-02-28
DVD release 20 December 2005 US
28 August 2006 UK
Population 47,853 survivors (Population decline. 2)
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
Home, Part II Final Cut Flight of the Phoenix
Related Information
Official Summary
R&D SkitView
Podcast TranscriptView
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
[[frakr:{{{frakr}}}|Satirical view of this episode on WikiFrakr]]
Promotional Materials
Watch this episode's promo (on-wiki)
Online Purchasing
Amazon: Standard Definition | High Definition
iTunes: USA | Canada | UK


Contents

Overview

In an effort to stem the Fleet's growing resentment toward the military, Commander Adama and President Roslin allow an outspoken anti-military journalist complete access to Galactica and its crew.

Summary

  • Reporter D'anna Biers is preparing a special report on what she's hyped as the "Gideon massacre", when she is escorted by Marines to Colonial One.
  • President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama meet her, and she complains that all of her requests to interview Marines involved with the Gideon incident have been denied. Roslin and Adama tell her that all that is about to change: they want to mend the relationship between the military and the civilian fleet by allowing Biers to shoot a documentary on life on Galactica, with unrestricted access.
  • Biers and her cameraman Bell are flown to Galactica with Adama in Margaret "Racetrack" Edmondson's Raptor. On Galactica, Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla is given the task of showing them around, pointing out fairly everyday things like carbon dioxide scrubbers for atmosphere and vegetable refrigeration units--information that Biers writes off as trivial.
  • Biers starts filming one-on-one interviews with several crewmen. She asks Dualla why she joined the Fleet, and she says her father didn't approve. but she wanted to believe in something.
  • Biers and her cameraman are walking through the halls when Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza and Louanne "Kat" Katraine chase each other out of the showers wearing towels. Biers follows them into the senior pilots' locker room, where Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama, (who nearly drops his towel accidentally) tells her to respect their privacy and get out. Kat moons the documentary camera, and gets yelled at by her CAG.
Camera crew filming certain awkwardness in the locker room
  • Ellen Tigh calls Colonel Saul Tigh down to their quarters, where someone has left a threat for Saul by writing a line of Caprican poetry in red paint on their mirror.
  • Biers then interviews Lee, and she accuses him of thinking the pilots deserve preferential treatment. He tells her that he does think they deserve such treatment; despite suffering as much loss as everyone else they risk their lives every day for the fleet, and while they don't need pity, they do deserve respect.
  • Biers interviews Private Scott Kelso, one of the Marines involved in the Gideon shootings. He insists that he and the other Marines were just doing their jobs, and that the "unarmed civilians" were attacking them, and that he has a scar on this head that required ten stitches to prove it. At the same time, Kelso thinks the whole thing was a "command frak-up"; that the Marines weren't trained for crowd control, and he isn't surprised that someone wants to kill Colonel Tigh.
  • Biers then interviews a disheveled Lieutenant Felix Gaeta, who is smoking a cigarette while displaying a level of frustration and fatigue that he doesn't normally show.
  • On the Hangar Deck, Kat yells at Chief Tyrol when her Viper malfunctions, although it wasn't the Chief's fault. Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace breaks it up (as Biers follows her) and Kat storms out.
  • Biers is then allowed into the CIC, where Commander Adama orders Colonel Tigh to attend a meeting of civilian leaders on Cloud Nine, which Adama thinks will be a good chance for them to vent their frustration instead of seething at Tigh in private. However, as his Raptor is about to depart, it malfunctions and smokes until a damage control team can put it out. Tigh gets out and Tyrol tells him it looks like someone sabotaged the Raptor with a hammer, and if they had gotten into space the atmosphere inside would have vented, killing him.
  • Racetrack lights a candle for her lost loved ones in the memorial hallway, and is then interviewed by Biers. She tells Biers that she assumes that she's already as good as dead going out on missions, and she just hopes she can kill as many Cylons as possible before her day comes.
  • D'anna also interviews Lt. Karl "Helo" Agathon, who says that in combat you are supposed to turn off the human part of you because it will get you killed, but that nothing is that easy to do.
  • Helo then visits Caprica-Valerii in the brig, where she in unresponsive in her bed until pulling a blood-stained hand from under her sheets and sobbing. Helo calls for Doctor Cottle to come right away.
  • Kat gives an interview to Biers which is emotionally unrestrained. She then freaks out while attempting to land her Viper, and despite Captain Kelly and Thrace trying to talk her down, she misses three passes, then on the final try crashes her Viper into the landing bay. Biers follows Thrace and Lee to the flight deck. Getting out of her Viper, Kat is incomprehensible and disoriented. Thrace finds stims on Kat's person: Kat had been taking them by the fistful to stay alert, and now she has overdosed. Kat is forcibly strapped down to a gurney while kicking and screaming and taken to Sickbay.
  • Biers follows Kat to Sickbay, where she accidentally goes behind a curtain and sees Doctor Cottle arguing with the terrified Sharon Valerii; Cottle is trying to save her baby before Valerii has a miscarriage. Biers is then shoved away, but not before catching Valerii on film.
  • Later, Commander Adama arrives in sickbay and demands that Biers hand over the tape. Biers notes that the woman she saw looked exactly like the deceased Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, and that news that Galactica is harboring a Cylon could turn the Fleet against him. Adama counters that, after the Gideon incident, this new revelation could devastate morale in the Fleet, and whether that even matters to Biers. Reluctantly, Biers gives him the tape and he leaves. When Adama is out of sight, D'anna pulls the real tape out of her shirt.
  • Baltar begins a less than great interview with Biers but is interrupted when an action stations alarm goes off: two Raiders are on a collision course with Galactica. Biers heads to the CIC to film there while her cameraman covers the flight deck. We only see the fight from the perspective of those on the ship listening over the radio; the Raiders are destroyed.
  • Saul Tigh returns to his quarters to find Ellen tied up. It turns out that his would-be murder is Joe Palladino, who is distraught that Tigh's orders resulted in innocent people being killed by men under Palladino's command. He pulls a gun on Tigh, but Tigh presses the gun to his forehead and talks Palladino down. As Biers reviews the tape, she sees Palladino reading a book by Kataris (which she recognises as containing the poetry line used to threaten Tigh), and alerts the crew. The Marines rush to Tigh's quarters, where they see Palladino and take him away.
  • Back on Colonial One, Roslin, Adama, and Tigh review Biers' finished documentary. Adama decides that he likes the accurate portrayal that she did, and lets them broadcast it across the entire fleet.
The humanoid Cylons watching the documentary.
  • In the documentary, Biers does an ending voiceover. As the Colonial anthem swells in the background, she explains that the story of Galactica is that they'll never give up. As people watch it on monitor screens throughout the Fleet.....
  • ...the humanoid Cylons are watching the documentary as well in an abandoned movie theater on Cylon-occupied Caprica. A copy of Number Six is impressed at the resilience of the humans, and asks about the fate of Caprica-Valerii's baby. A second, Caprica-based copy of D'anna Biers then turns around (Biers is now revealed to have been a humanoid Cylon the whole time), and tells her that both Caprica-Valerii and her baby survived her near-miscarriage. Aaron Doral says that the baby must be protected at all costs, and they must proceed with caution.

Notes

  • The population count is now 47,853, a loss of two since "Home, Part II", to account for the two Tom Zarek henchmen killed in that episode.
  • D'Anna Biers makes the same comment about Baltar that Roslin made in "33".
  • We finally learn Dualla's first name as she is interviewed by Biers: Anastasia.
  • Gaeta's first name is revealed as Felix. He also shows a wild side in the form of a tattoo on his chest, which he got when he was drunk, and he has taken up smoking. Perhaps this isn't so much a sign of a previously unrevealed wild side, but a sign that Gaeta's composure is starting to get frayed from constant stress (This is confirmed in the following episode, "Flight of the Phoenix").
  • Racetrack is given a full name: Margaret Edmondson.
  • The music aired at the end of the documentary is the Colonial Fanfare last heard in the Miniseries: the theme from the Original series. In the Re-imagined Series, it is the anthem of the Twelve Colonies.
  • Adama uses the phrase "warts and all." This phrase was coined by 17th-Century English dictator ("Lord Protector") Oliver Cromwell.
  • Timeline-wise, Colonel Tigh says there has been no Cylon contacts for 10 days. Tigh was in command of Galactica for "over a week" (from "Scattered" to "Resistance").
  • Colonial video feeds are octagonal, but video screens are, probably for production and budget reasons, rectangular.
  • Captain Kelly appears fulfilling his duties as Landing Signal Officer by coordinating Viper landings. This scene further explains the "where was Kelly between the Mini-Series and Season 2" question: Kelly doesn't work in the CIC, but in the port flight pod itself.
  • Roslin and Adama have not only buried the hatchet by this episode, but are working jointly and appear to have developed a camaraderie.
  • This episode contains the first scene on Colonial One since "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II".
  • Cultural/linguistic oddity: Apollo refers to Kat and Hot Dog as "tweedledum and tweedledee", a reference to Lewis Carroll.
  • In Helo's interview with D'Anna Biers, the caption reads "Karl C. Agathon, Lieutenant, CF". This is not just a clipped writing of "Lieutenant, Junior Grade": according to an interview with Tahmoh Penikett, when Helo returned to Galactica after being stranded on Caprica for months he was promoted to full Lieutenant. However he had been wearing full Lieutenant rank insignia from the beginning of the series.
  • The original airdate was to be September 2nd, 2005. However, SciFi Channel ran a Stargate SG-1 Viewers Choice Marathon for the Labor Day Weekend.
  • Originally, Palladino was supposed to commit suicide in front of Colonel Tigh, but the network felt that this was too heavy [1].

Analysis

  • The Cylons deploy two Raiders to Galactica to transmit the cut footage back to Caprica. Does this mean the Cylons know exactly where the Fleet is, and have simply chosen not to intercept it? Is keeping the Fleet alive part of their "plan"?
    • Or, are the Cylons now refraining from sending in a full basestar and Raider wing to attack Galactica because they are worried that a direct attack on Galactica will result in the death of Caprica-Valerii and her hybrid daughter? That is, they would have attacked it if this Valerii wasn't on board, but was sending two Raiders in now simply a reconnaissance mission? The Cylons did say that they want to proceed cautiously.
    • However, the two Raiders don't jump in to the Fleet's vicinity, they fly in normally. Perhaps the Cylons actually don't know exactly where the Fleet is, and these Raiders may have been searching for days to find them. Seeing as the Cylons on Caprica are not aware that the Caprica-Valerii is still alive, perhaps they also truly aren't aware of the Fleet's location, and other Cylons in the Fleet cannot transmit messages back to Caprica because they are out of range (though a nearby Cylon ship might be close enough). (Answer)
    • In light of all this, have the Cylons not been using their entire strength against the Colonials in combat? Have they, in effect, been "toying" with them? This could explain the relative lop-sidedness of the Colonials' military victories since the initial destruction of the Colonies.
  • At the end of the episode, the Cylons bring up the subject of having lost two Raiders in order to relay the video. It is later revealed in the episode "Scar" that Raiders are normally capable of being downloaded into new bodies. Given that the Colonials have destroyed dozens (if not hundreds) of Raiders at this point, it is implied that the two Raiders in question were not reincarnated - hence making their loss worthy of being mentioned.
  • Dualla states that Galactica's carbon dioxide scrubbers run "24 hours a day"; this would seem to establish that the Colonial Fleet operates on a 24-hour day. This could possibly be based on Caprica's orbital rotation (where the seat of the government was located). Yet, all 12 Colonies couldn't possibly have the same axial rotation time. This 24 hour day might seem an automatic assumption, but other science fiction series sometimes depart from the convention: For example, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the titular space station actually runs on a 26 hour day, because it follows Bajor's local time (which has a 26 hour rotation period).
  • On Colonial One, Roslin is no longer surrounded by her Presidential Security Service agents, but rather by Galactica Marines - Adama's insurance against any more misbehavior? Perhaps they were only there to escort Commander Adama while he was off of Galactica.
  • As aired, it appears that Biers gets a free reign to produce whatever she wants. While Adama's agreement to broadcast it throughout the Fleet could mean that he might also have rejected the documentary if necessary, this is not made clear. A deleted scene clarifies that Roslin gives Adama the right to the "final cut", and thus the power to censor the documentary if he feels that it presents Galactica in an unfavorable light. (This explains the origin of the episode title.)
  • The "documentary episode" is a storytelling device that has been used on many series in the past, in which an outsider -- usually a journalist -- arrives and proceeds to profile the characters and setting, often incorporating interviews with the characters that provide backstory and character motivation in a way standard narrative cannot. The form was popularized in an Emmy-winning early episode of M*A*S*H -- which featured the scenario of interviewing officers under pressure of war, much like Final Cut. Other notable TV programs utilizing the format include the Babylon 5 episode "And Now a Word" and an episode of the medical drama ER, "Ambush", which was broadcast live. "Final Cut" is unusual in that it includes narrative storytelling, whereas the form usually does not "break character".

Questions

  • Does Biers' discovery of pregnant Caprica-Valerii on Galactica alter her intended goal with the documentary?
  • Would the documentary originally have presented Galactica and her crew in a more negative light and thus perform a journalistic hatchet job on how the rest of the Fleet perceived Adama and the military?
  • Would Adama and Roslin still have allowed the documentary to be broadcast if it had been 'negative'? (See Analysis)
  • Now that the documentary has aired, with Biers's image visibly throughout the film, has Sharon Valerii seen the film?
  • If she had viewed the documentary, would Valerii inform Galactica's command of Biers' true nature, or the identity of other agents in the Fleet, if they were known to her? (Answer #1), (Answer #2)
  • Why was Biers not included in any press pools that occurred prior to her finding the Gideon tape and therefore making the acquaintance of the President and Commander Adama? Was she a different sort of reporter and not granted Presidential press room status?
  • At the end of the episode, Biers says that the Cylons "lost two Raiders relaying the images back to the Fleet" from Galactica. She didn't say "from Galactica back to Caprica". Does this imply that there is a main Cylon fleet following Galactica? (That is, as opposed to many basestars spread out across a large region of space in a search pattern.) (Answer)
  • Does any military personnel ever resign from Galactica on their own? (Answer)

Official Statements

Noteworthy Dialogue

D'Anna Biers: What a strange little man.
  • D'Anna Biers is filming an interview with Lee Adama:
D'Anna Biers: You seem to think that your pilots deserve special consideration.
Lee Adama: Actually, I do. Like everyone else, my pilots have lost their families, their friends, everyone they ever cared about; but on top of that they're asked to put their lives on the line every single day, for a fleet that seems more interested in what they do wrong than in what they do right. They're not asking for your pity, but they damn well deserve your respect.
D'Anna Biers: Are you afraid when you go into combat?
Racetrack: First thing they tell you is to assume you're already dead.
D'Anna Biers: Well that sounds ghoulish.
Racetrack: Yeah, maybe. But dead men don't get scared and freeze up under fire. Me, I'm just worried that hell's gonna be a lonely place, and I'm gonna fill it up with every Toaster son of a bitch I find.
  • D'Anna Biers is interviewing Lieutenant Gaeta. Gaeta is slightly disheveled, and is smoking a cigarette:
D'Anna Biers: Does that help you cope with the stress?
Felix Gaeta: Not really. Look, um, all that I ever wanted was to be an officer on a battlestar, okay? I trained my whole life, I trained harder than anyone in my unit. Basically, I put my life on hold until I was assigned to Galactica. Then the Cylons hit and I realized that this is all that I know: tech manuals, commands, and tactics, you know? I'm not saying that I'm unhappy...I'm just wondering if there's something more.
D'Anna Biers: And what have you discovered?
Felix Gaeta: ...(takes a long drag, coughs)...I hate cigarettes. Ambrosia's good with a chaser. And, if you have enough Ambrosia...(Gaeta pulls back his shirt to reveal an ugly tattoo of a tiger on his upper right chest)...it don't hurt that much.
  • The closing voice-over narration to Biers's documentary on Galactica, which runs over a montage of images from the ship. The Colonial anthem tinkles in the background and gradually builds to up to a grand swell:
D'Anna Biers: I came to Galactica to tell a story. In all honesty I thought I knew what that story was before I ever set foot there: how an arrogant military let their egos get in the way of doing their jobs, safeguarding the lives of the civilian population. But I found out that the truth was more complex than that. These people aren't Cylons. They're not robots blindly following orders and polishing their boots. They're people. Deeply flawed, yes, but deeply human too, and maybe that's saying the same thing. What struck me most is that despite it all - the hardships, the stress, the ever present danger of being killed - despite all that, they never give up. They never lie down in the road and let the truck run them over. They wake up in the morning, put on their uniforms and do their jobs. Every day. No pay, no rest, no hope of ever laying down the burden or letting someone else do the job. There are no relief troops coming, no Colonial Fleet training new recruits every day. The people on Galactica are it. They are the thin line of blue that separates us from the Cylons. Lt. Gaeta told me a remarkable statistic; not a single member of Galactica's crew has asked to resign, not one. Think about that. If you wore the uniform wouldn't you want to quit? To step aside and say "Enough! Let someone else protect the fleet?" I know I would. But then, I don't wear a uniform. Most of us don't, most of us never will. The story of Galactica isn't that people make bad decisions under pressure, it's that those mistakes are the exception. Most of the time the men and women serving under Commander Adama get it right. The proof is that our fleet survives. And with Galactica at our side, we will endure. This is D'anna Biers, Fleet News Service.
  • The camera pulls back to show a movie theater on Cylon-occupied Caprica, where the humanoid Cylons are watching a copy of the documentary, as Biers's ending narration finishes:
Aaron Doral: That was shown across their entire fleet.
Number Six: Their resilience is remarkable.
Sharon Valerii: Play the footage that was cut. (camera footage plays of Helo's Sharon in Galactica's Sickbay)
Sharon Valerii: I'm still alive?! She's still alive! I told you.
Number Six: That's incredible. And the baby?
Biers: (speaking without her usual New Zealand accent, but with a general American accent) It was saved. We lost two Raiders relaying the images back to the fleet, but I think the sacrifice was worth it.
Aaron Doral: We must proceed with caution. The child's life must be protected at all costs.
Biers: Yeah. Truly is a miracle from God.

Guest stars

References




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