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Fire in Space

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Fire in Space
"Fire in Space"
An episode of the Original Series
Episode No. Season 1, Episode 12 (discuss, thread)
Writer(s) Jim Carlson
Terrence McDonnell
Story by Michael Sloan
Director Christian I. Nyby II
Assistant Director
Special guest(s)
Production No. 50917
Nielsen Rating
US airdate USA 1978-12-17
CAN airdate CAN {{{CAN airdate}}}
UK airdate UK
DVD release 2004-12-28
Population survivors
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
The Living Legend, Part II Fire in Space War of the Gods, Part I
[[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 | UK


Contents

Overview

After Cylon Raiders ram Galactica on destructive suicide missions, the crew scrambles to fight a raging fire threatening to incinerate the ship.

Summary

  • Lieutenant Boomer enters Galactica's rejuvenation center to relax and unwind with Athena and Boxey, who are playing a shuffleboard-type game (Boxey is winning); Boomer is on furlon from duty for the next 24 centars.
  • Boxey tells Boomer that he has trained Muffit to "sniff" out mushies.
  • Suddenly, a loud siren begins to blare, and red alarm lights flash throughout the ship. On the bridge, Colonel Tigh informs Commander Adama of incoming Cylon forces, possibly from a basestar they encountered 10 centars ago. Blue Squadron is launched.
  • As Tigh and Adama study the scanner, they come to realize that they face a major attack rather than a mere combat probe. All squadrons are launched, and Galactica's compartments are sealed to protect against hull breaches.
  • The Vipers engage a huge number of Cylon Raiders, which are not fighting back. The Vipers are destroying Raiders at will in numerous quantities, but two Raiders slip through the rain of Viper fire.
  • One Raider heads toward Galactica's bridge, which closes its protective shield in defense. Apollo and Sheba close in and appear to destroy the Raider with laser fire. However, the destruction of the Raider occurs too close to the bridge, which suffers heavy damage, suffering explosions, fallen girders, and shattered glass.
  • Adama, nearly unconscious, lies motionless on the floor of the bridge. Tigh finds him and orders Omega to bring Dr. Salik immediately.
Maren Jensen during the filming of Fire In Space.
  • Starbuck tries but fails to destroy the other suicidal Raider. It successfully rams Galactica's port landing bay, causing massive explosions and damage throughout the ship, including the rejuvenation center.
  • Boomer extinguishes a small fire and then attempts to restore communications, while Athena and Boxey tend to the wounded.
  • Tigh believes the Cylon fighters were packed with solonite or a similar explosive. Boroton is used to extinguish the fire on the bridge, but they have lost "deep scan" and internal communications. They decide to use the Viper pilots as their "scanners", so they begin rotating squadrons to maintain a constant patrol.
  • The damage report is grim: not only was energizer #1 destroyed, but so was the boroton mist control center (the main firefighting system aboard Galactica). Also, fires rage out of control on numerous decks throughout their crippled vessel.
  • Smoke begins pouring into the rejuvenation center from the damaged doorway, but the lifemasks were destroyed in the initial impact. The stranded occupants move to the "safe" side of the room, while Boomer begins trying to hotwire the door to the storage compartment.
  • Apollo visits a gravely injured Adama, who needs an emergency medical procedure that is quite risky, given Galactica's fragile state.
  • After several attempts, Boomer finally succeeds in opening the door. The trapped crew members crowd safely through the door to (temporary) safety. Boomer dives through the hatchway just as the outer door succumbs to the raging fire outside.
  • Apollo studies Galactica's schematics to find a way to reach his stranded sister and son. A small duct (part of the ship's intricate ventilation system) connects the bridge to the rest of the ship, including the rejuvenation center, but the accessway is too small for a person to negotiate.
  • Tigh's first and foremost priority is putting out the fire threatening the ship. Apollo suggests firing boroton into the launch bay from a modified version of a Viper laser turret, while the fireleader thinks of a new way to use the megapressure pumps in conjunction with the firefighting equipment.
  • Boomer, who has found their end of the small access way, affixes a help note to Muffit. Boxey order the mechanized daggit into the tunnel to seek help.
  • As they activate the megapressure pump connected to the boroton firefighting system, Apollo, Starbuck, and finally Sheba fire their boroton loads into the landing bay, extinguishing the flames. However, the megapressure pump blows a seal and fails, reigniting the flames in the landing bay.
  • As the inferno nears energizer #2, causing a momentary loss of power in sickbay, Adama is prepped for emergency surgery. He suggests Tigh put out the fire by blowing portions of the hull, employing the vacuum of space.
  • Apollo and Starbuck don EVA suits and begin spacewalking (with tether lines), planting explosive devices at various points along the hull. Apollo remembers Boxey's "mushies" trick, and suggests to Tigh to put mushies near the open duct, which he does.
  • As the temperature climbs to critical in the energizer and solium compartments, Muffit emerges unexpectedly onto the bridge from the ventilation duct. They attach lifemasks and a note from Tigh onto his collar and send him back to their stranded crewmates, who are sharing scant few lifemasks amid deteriorating conditions.
  • A handhold on the hull used by Starbuck breaks away, but Apollo reacts quickly to catch him.
  • Dr. Salik undertakes the critical procedure on Adama, as the energizer temperature exceeds critical.
  • While making the hazardous journey back to the storage compartment, Muffit sees a fallen firefighter in the corridor below. However, he continues with his mission, delivering the lifemasks and Tigh's note.
  • As Boomer and Athena prepare for the hull to be blown, Muffit dashes back into the duct, disappearing down the tunnel. Boxey dives in after him but is retrieved by Boomer.
  • Apollo loses his grip and floats, adrift in space. Starbuck leaps toward him, the momentum carrying them to safety as the hull charges detonate, extinguishing the blaze once and for all.
  • Adama, after a successful surgery, is awake and recovering in sickbay. Muffit, presumed dead, is suddenly brought in on a stretcher, badly burnt but still functional. The daggit had returned to save the life of the fallen firefighter. They promise Boxey that Dr. Wilker will fix up Muffit to be as good as new.

Notes

  • In the rejuvenation center, crew members are briefly seen playing a board game resembling a combination of chess and checkers. Instead of being a two-player game, though, there are four players, each sitting at an edge of the playing board.
  • Other rejuvenation center games include Colonial variations of billiards (without cue sticks), table tennis and shuffleboard.
  • Boomer and Boxey agree to play a game called "compartment bulyarks" but are interrupted by the attack.
  • Unlike the Officer's Club, the rejuvenation center is open to everyone aboard Galactica, from flight officers to crewmen; even civilians, children, and daggits appear welcome. Presumably (although not explicitly mentioned), people on vessels other than Galactica may reserve time in the rejuvenation center (after a short shuttle hop to the battlestar).
  • The schematics of Galactica were very deficient, devoid of any markings or labeling; the naming schemas used for decks, sections, compartments, etc., appear to be little more than hastily-assembled dialogue sound bites. It seems that a lot more effort had gone into the intricate games in the rejuvenation center (which were destroyed in the first few microns of the episode) than on the "detailed" blueprints of Galactica.
  • This episode and the two-part episode "The Living Legend" were edited together for a video release called Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack.
  • The ending the writers originally planned had Cylon raiders attacking the Galactica a second time, and it is their lasers that put Starbuck and Apollo in danger on the Galactica's hull. Unfortunately, the network censors overruled this because they felt it would have been too repetitive. You can read the original ending here.
  • Blooper 1 - In the beginning, when Sheba launches her viper, we see stock footage of her wearing a viper helmet with the Pegasus insignia on it.
  • Blooper 2 - When Starbuck, Apollo, and Sheba make runs shooting boraton at the fire in the landing bay, take a good look at the close-up shots of the landing bay. There are no stars in the background.
  • Blooper 3 - Logically, the lasers of Colonial vipers would not have the capability to spray out boraton (a form of water). Even if they did, the boraton would freeze in space before ever reaching its target.
  • Blooper 4 - When Starbuck and Apollo are cast off into space, Colonel Tigh loses communication with them. As soon as Sheba discovers the two, Colonel Tigh's communication with them is instantly (and inexplicably) restored.
  • Blooper 5 - As soon as Tigh's communication with Starbuck and Apollo is restored, Apollo asks him if his family is okay, and Tigh says they're all safe. How did he know? He hadn't yet received word about Adama's operation, and there is no way he could have known whether Muffit made it back in time with the life masks.
  • Take a close look at the explosions when the Cylon raider rams the Galactica in the beginning and when the Galactica's hull is blown at the end - The same footage is being used both times.
  • Stock footage is used from the movie The Guns of Navarone for the explosions inside the Galactica.
  • The Berkely novelization of The Long Patrol rehashes elements from Fire In Space including a Cylon kamikaze attack on the Galactica and civilians trapped in a lounge.

Analysis

  • Battlestar Galactica meets classic 1970's-style disaster movie. If all the "action" caused by dealing with the fire mentioned in the title were removed, very little would be left in the way of story or character development. Despite the Cylon attack at the beginning of the episode, the real enemy is the fire. This episode marks a point in the series when the Cylons disappear for the rest of the season, until their appearance in the final episode. Perhaps this is because the Cylons didn't represent a credible threat to the Fleet after the Colonials overcame overwhelming odds so many times, or maybe Glen Larson and company were trying to take the show in a different direction.
  • This episode does give a few of the secondary characters a moment to shine. Colonel Tigh gets to take command for the first time since the Battle of Kobol in "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II". Boomer demonstrates that he picked up some unusual skills in his misspent youth, establishing some basis for the electronics expertise that he demonstrates in "The Hand of God". Muffit gets to save the day, not only through his nose for mushies, but also in saving the firefighter.
  • This is something of a standalone episode, in that no subsequent episodes make note of any consequences from the damage to Galactica or Adama. The only element that constrains this episode is the presence of Sheba, which requires this episode to be shown after "The Living Legend, Part II". Otherwise it might have aired in almost any available slot.
  • In most disaster situations, when chaos is reigning, initial reports are very terse, with extremely limited and fragmented information. Despite this, Omega seems to have accurate information on the whereabouts of Boxey, Boomer, and Athena.
    • In sickbay, a crewman tells Cassiopeia that he saw Boomer, Athena and Boxey "go in there [the rejuvenation center] right before the attack". But how is this possible, as they didn't enter together at the same time? When Boomer is first seen entering the room, Athena and Boxey are already comfortably camped out playing the shuffleboard game (which Boxey is winning, as they make a point of mentioning). It is possible that the crewman can't remember correctly because his eyes are constantly being diverting down to Cassiopeia's figure; he can't quit glancing down at it, even while being led away.
  • Interestingly, the storage room seems to be about half as big as the rejuvenation center itself. It even has its own phone.
  • Equipping the Vipers with boraton pumps sounds like a feasible plan in the long run, but it also sounds like something that couldn't be done at the snap of the fingers, given that the equipment comes from two totally separate systems (military attack craft, firefighting equipment).
  • The fire is a plot point mirrored in the re-imagined Miniseries. Here the crew of Galactica deal with the fire by decompressing the area where the fire is spreading after a hit with a nuclear warhead. With oxygen depleted, the fire is effectively removed as a threat. In the Original Series however, Adama's comments about having the fire "smothered" by the vacuum of space is a sound approach, however the approach itself is not, as Galactica should be able to open the airlocks to space in the affected sections and killed the fire that way, without blowing a hole in the hull.
  • This is Terry Carter's best episode, since Colonel Tigh is thrust into the forefront, taking command of the Galactica while Adama is incapacitated. Carter does a tremendous job, and his strong performance helps save this cliched, overused story plot from losing steam.
  • Athena gets more screen time here than in most episodes. Unfortunately, like most Galactican women, she is totally helpless and must rely on Boomer to get her and everyone else through the disaster.
  • Muffit becomes a hero in this episode. It's quite an improvement; in most of the episodes he appears in, he has absolutely no bearing on the plot and has nothing to do except waddle around and look cute.
  • Boomer states he used to steal hovermobiles in his childhood. It seems to be in pretty bad taste to give one of the two main black characters on the series a delinquent past.
  • A tremendous amount of damage is done to the Galactica (especially the landing bay), yet there is no sign of this in any future episodes nor any explanation of how the repairs went. Considering the abysmal plot, this episode was probably best left forgotten.

Questions

  • Since the Galactica was on the verge of destruction by the time Starbuck and Apollo were planting charges on the hull, didn't it ever occur to Colonel Tigh to evacuate all non-essential personnel including the Colonial vipers so that, if the Galactica was destroyed, the fleet would at least have a fighting chance to survive? And since it was too dangerous to operate on Adama on the Galactica, didn't it ever occur to Dr. Salik to shuttle Adama to another ship in the fleet and perform the operation there?
  • How long did it take to repair the damage? Wouldn't the damage be noticeable and have a bearing on the events of future episodes?
  • If the attack destroyed internal communication, how does Omega know so quickly (within centons) that Boomer, Athena and Boxey are stranded in the rejuvenation center?
  • Why is the storage compartment of the rejuvenation center so large and accommodating?
  • How do the technical crews so quickly adapt the boroton pressure pumps to the Vipers' laser turrets?
  • After activating the device interfacing the megapressure pump system with the boroton firefighting system, why do the engineers walk away from the device, leaving it completely unattended?
  • If Tigh ordered Omega to "have some mushies sent up" to the bridge, then why is he seen fetching them himself soon thereafter? Wouldn't it make more sense to have someone from the mess hall bring it to the bridge, rather than have the acting commander of the fleet go to the kitchen to perform a delivery himself?
  • Given the length of Galactica and seeing as the rejuvenation center is in the middle of the ship, how is Muffit able to find the mushies at the bridge by smell? Would it have be easier to find a vent opening in an area closest to the rejuvenation center that is not threatened by the fire?
  • Why aren't Colonial spacesuits equipped with boots that can be magnetized?
  • Why blow the hull? Doesn't Galactica have airlocks?
  • Furthermore, in the event of a hull breach, wouldn't the duct system (so aptly used by Muffit) be compromised and thus drain compartments of air this way?
  • With Galactica having multiple decks, and with a duct system that may very likely have vertical ducts as well as horizontal ones, how is Muffit able to navigate them?
  • Where are the other ships in the Fleet during all this? Why don't they send people over to help?

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Starbuck noting that, despite being outnumbered, the Vipers are winning the battle:
Starbuck: They're not fighting back. What are they up to?
  • Adama suggests a plan to deal with the loss of the scanners:
Adama: The Vipers will be our eyes.
  • Boomer on his past:
Boomer: It doesn't show in my file, Athena, but when I was a kid on Caprica, I hot-linked more hover-mobiles than there are doors on this ship.
  • After Boomer jumps through the door into the storage room:
Boomer: Boxey, it looks like I mashed your mushies.
  • Tigh tells Apollo how grave the results of the fire could be to Galactica:
Tigh: Apollo, if the fire reaches the energizer or the solium, either one... the Galactica is doomed.
  • Adama suggests a plan to deal with the fire:
Adama: Let the vacuum of space smother it.
  • Tigh giving an order:
Tigh: Omega, order some mushies sent up here.

Deleted Scenes

See: The deleted scenes from this episode.

Guest Stars

External Links




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