Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I
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- As the presidential election looms just weeks away, the accidental discovery of a habitable planet sparks debate in the Fleet: Colonize? Or keep seeking Earth? Meanwhile, Starbuck leads a rescue mission of Raptors back to Caprica to save Anders and his resistance.
- Adama has finally given Starbuck the go-ahead to plan a rescue mission to Caprica. On Pegasus, she lays out their plan: they will use 20 Raptors and use the navigation computer/organ from one of the captured Heavy Raiders to calculate the jumps back to Caprica. Using this, they can make it back to Caprica in a series of 10 jumps. They will go undetected when they reach Caprica by making a risky jump to just a few klicks above the surface, within the atmosphere itself, below Cylon DRADIS. Their biggest obstacle to doing this was actually interfacing with the Heavy Raider's navigation "computer", but now they will take Sharon Agathon along in Starbuck's Raptor with it; Sharon will directly interface with the computer (by inserting a fiber-optic cable into her arm, like she did in "Flight of the Phoenix").
- The presidential election is two weeks away, and Roslin is ahead in the polls. To gain ground, Baltar accuses her of pandering to "religious fundamentalists" with her recent policy switch on abortion and guiding the Fleet based on the scriptures alone. Conferring with his campaign manager Tom Zarek in his lab, Baltar realizes he'll need more than this to turn the fleet againt Roslin. Meanwhile, Roslin is doing a little rehearsal ritual for the presidential debate with Adama in his quarters.
- On the hangar deck, Chief Tyrol is sleeping on the floor and twitching convulsively, having a nightmare. Cally searches around the deck to find him, and is confused by the sight when she finds him. Cally tried to wake Tyrol up, but snapping right out of his nightmare he attacks Cally, punching her in the face until she is a bloody pulp and unconscious. Realizing where he is and what's going on, Tyrol is horrified, and carries Cally in his arms to sickbay.
- Shocked by his attack on Cally, Chief Tyrol asks for religious counseling, and meets with a priest named Brother Cavil. Tyrol explains that it is because he doesn't believe that psychoanalysis works, but is himself a very religious man. Cavil is somewhat loose and sarcastic in his counseling, leaving Tyrol a little perturbed and confused. Cavil tells Tyrol that he must look for the problem in himself and questions Tyrol, and when Tyrol denies that he has been having disturbing dreams, Cavil can see through it, so Tyrol relents.
- Apollo has conflicting feelings about Starbuck's mission to rescue Anders, but wishes her good luck in finding him.
- Helo and Sharon Agathon travel in Starbuck's Raptor. Sharon is still deeply depressed about her daughter Hera's apparent death, and has been shutting herself out. Helo tells her that he won't let her do that and won't give up on her. Sharon tells him that she has the feeling that something bad will happen in the future; not on the mission to Caprica, but something else.
- On the very first jump out of the series of ten, Racetrack's Raptor jumps to the wrong set of coordinates. Starbuck's orders were to keep going ahead until they lose 3 Raptors, so they continue on, while Racetrack prepares to follow her orders to return to Galactica if separated.
- For weeks, Tyrol has been having the recurring dream that he walks onto the upper level of the hangar deck, climbs over the railing and commits suicide himself by jumping to his death. Cavil says it is because Tyrol has a subconscious desire to kill himself. Tyrol explains that he has had the gnawing worry since Sharon Valerii died that he might himself be a Cylon. Sharon Valerii never really knew she was a Cylon, even up to the point that she died, but reported strange fears that something bad was going to happen and she had to stop herself: how would Tyrol, or anyone else, really know if they were a Cylon sleeper agent or not? Tyrol is frightened by the prospect.
- Racetrack's Raptor jumped into the middle of a gas cloud with a lot of interference, and upon clearing it, a new planet is found. Scanners indicate that it is a human-habitable planet. She returns to Galactica with news of the discovery.
- The crew goes over the scans from the planet; it can sustain human life and subsequent scouting shows that in contains animal and vegetative life; they could indeed settle here. However, it is a cold world and somewhat harsh; only a temperate band around the equator covering about 20% of the surface would be habitable. After some prodding from Six, Baltar and Zarek realize that they can use this as their wedge issue to turn the people against Roslin: offer them permament settlement on this planet.
- Tory goes over new poll numbers with Roslin on Colonial One: Baltar has been gaining ground with his new offer to stop running from the Cylons and stay here. The planet is hidden by interference from the gas clouds, and many people want to stop their constant run in the refugee fleet. Roslin points out that if the Colonials could find the planet, the Cylons could just as easily. Tory points out that Baltar is pandering to the people's hopes, while Roslin is pointing out the bitter truth that they simply don't want to hear; people will vote their hopes.
- Cavil assured Tyrol that he is not a Cylon, sarcastically quipping that he knows because he is a Cylon himself, and hasn't seen Tyrol at any of the meetings. Tyrol feels ashamed to go back to the hangar deck crew after the accident, but Cavil assures him that they're the only family he has left, and they love him, especially Cally.
- At the final presidential debate, Baltar's charisma and hopes of finally giving up their run from the Cylons starts to pull him ahead in the polls, and Roslin's warnings that this planet is not safe and determination to keep searching for Earth do not gain wide support. Baltar apparently wins the final debate.
- The rescue mission makes the final jump to Caprica. Raptor 612 is lost because it jumps right into the middle of a mountain. The remaining Raptors continue on, then Starbuck, Helo, Sharon and the Marines continue on foot.
- One klick away from the resistance's base camp, they see movement, and find Anders and his whole group. Starbuck is overjoyed to see him, but Anders warns that the Cylons are right behind them; the resistance's base was ambushed that morning, and half of Anders' men are dead.
- The Marines and Caprica Resistance members start coming under Cylon artillery fire. After running briefly, they reach a point where the arc of the artillery shells is right above them, and cannot hit them. However, the artillery's killzone is now between them and retreat back to the Raptors. To be continued...
- This episode is part of the Season two timeline discontinuity.
- The re-cap for this episode includes scenes not actually shown in previous episodes—for instance, Starbuck demanding to the dying Roslin circa "Epiphanies" that they go back and rescue the Caprica resistance.
- Roslin's comment to Baltar after the last presidential debate, "Why don't you go frak yourself", is likely inspired by the incident on June 22, 2004 in the US Senate, when Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to "go fuck yourself". Ron Moore compares the two in the podcast commentary on the DVD/Blu-Ray.
- This episode has many parallels to "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I" and "Part II": the discovery of an inhabitable planet, Gaeta plotting a Raptor jump dangerously close to a planet surface, Starbuck's use of captured Cylon technology to return to Caprica, the intercutting of several plot threads in the teaser, a character contemplating suicide out of fear of being a Cylon, and difficulties between Helo and Sharon Agathon. In addition, Tyrol's assault of Cally is something of a parallel to Helo shooting Sharon Agathon in "Kobol's Last Gleaming"—in both cases, a man driven to rage physically and emotionally wounds a woman who loves him.
- When Lt. Gaeta takes his shirt off in the washroom, his tiger tattoo from "Final Cut" can be seen.
- The scene of the pilots in the rec room listening to the presidential debate is reused footage from "Final Cut", from when they watch Biers's documentary.
- When Cavil is consoling Tyrol's fears that he might unknowingly be a Cylon sleeper agent, just like Boomer was, Tyrol asks him how he can know for sure. Cavil sarcastically answers that it's because maybe he is a Cylon, and he hasn't seen Tyrol at any of the meetings: Number Six also sarcastically remarked to Baltar in the Miniseries that Aaron Doral could not be a Cylon, because she hadn't "seen him at any of the good Cylon parties"...but of course, Doral actually was a Cylon, implying that Cavil is truly more than he seems.
- Tory actually paraphrases the title of this episode aloud, saying that the new planet offers people in the Fleet the hope that they can "lay down their burdens" and stop running. The phrase also appears in D'anna Bier's documentary in "Final Cut".
- During the premiere airing of this episode on the Sci-Fi Channel, before the Teaser segment a "Parental Discretion Is Advised" black and white message was inserted. At the end of the Teaser, Tyrol beats Cally's face to a bloody pulp.
- Lee Adama is now wearing a new uniform as Commander of Pegasus: it is a Commander's uniform, denoted by the new red trim (with gold inner trim), and it has a white "Pegasus BSG-62" patch, replacing his old gold "Galactica BSG-75" patch.
- Dualla's photo of Adama is the left half of a group shot with Kara Thrace and his brother Zak Adama. The original belongs to Thrace, and she has kept it in her locker on Galactica since the Miniseries.
- Dualla refers to "rivers of milk and honey" on the newly discovered planet. The phrase "land of milk and honey" is a common epithet for the promised land in the Torah, appearing in Exodus 3:8, 3:17, 13:5, 33:3, Leviticus 20:24, Number 13:27, 14:8, 16:13-14, and Deuteronomy 6:3.
- Commander Lee Adama is seen eating noodles with chopsticks in his quarters, just like his father in "33", among other episodes
- In the podcast, Ron Moore states that originally instead of Starbuck, Helo, and Sharon leading the other Raptors in another Raptor, they would have been flying in the captured Heavy Raider itself. However, the 2 part season finale went over budget and cuts had to be made, and the cost of building the Heavy Raider interior was deemed prohibitively expensive. Thus, they bring the Heavy Raider computer/organ with them in a normal Raptor. Moore said he believed that fans "wouldn't miss" an actual appearance by the Heavy Raider.
- Colonel Tigh appears in this epsiode twice but doesn't speak a single line.
- This is the first time since the Miniseries that Helo is seen fulfilling his duties as an ECO.
- Apollo quips that if they find a habitable planet, he'll build the pilots a bar on it. Actor Jamie Bamber has said in interviews that part of Apollo's backstory is that he didn't know what he was going to do with his life; he's in the Colonial Fleet reserves, not a full-career commitment, etc. He said that right before the attack, Apollo was supposed to be considering leaving the service and just opening up a bar somewhere.
- Actress Leah Cairns said in an interview on June 27th, 2006 that a fan, Sabaceanbabe, wrote a short fan fiction romance story (located here, scroll down to part 5) on the message boards between Racetrack and Helo, and she decided to work it into her character's backstory: Cairns plays her scenes as if Racetrack is attracted to Helo and jealous of Sharon Agathon. Tahmoh Penikett is aware of this and when playing Helo recognizes this, though he is not attracted to her and loves Sharon. In the opening scene of this episode, when Sharon Agathon is brought into the Pegasus pilot briefing room (essentially the only time in the series so far in which Racetrack, Helo, and Sharon Agathon were in the same scene), Cairns asked director Michael Rymer if they could film a few extra shots working in these elements she had developed for her backstory, and he agreed, so several extra shots were filmed for this scene: after Helo walks over to Sharon, Racetrack looks jealously at them and Helo notices while Sharon doesn't. These shots were filmed, but were removed in the editing room.
- Ron Moore co-hosted the podcast commentary for this episode with his wife Terry Dresbach.
- According to Number Six, on the night of the first debate, the election is still "two weeks away".
- At the beginning of the first debate, James McManus states Baltar declared his bid for presidency a month ago. This took place at the end of "The Captain's Hand".
- Zarek states that the people of the Fleet have been "cooped up in metal boxes for nine months", putting this episode not long after "Downloaded" around Day 270.
- At the conclusion of the second debate, the polls will open in three days.
- It appears to take the Raptors 10 days to make the trip back to Caprica. Not enough is known about the vagaries of Colonial FTL drives and computers to explain why it should take so long.
- When Baltar sarcastically quips that Zarek (and Six) expect him to just sit around and wait for "The Hand of God" to deliver them something they can use to their advantage against Roslin, he is of course referencing the previous episode titled "The Hand of God". Ironically, Baltar considers himself the hand of God in that episode. Further, a "chance serendipitous event" (namely the discovery of an inhabitable planet) does deliver them something they can use against Roslin.
- Likewise, when Apollo wishes Starbuck "good hunting", there's a tone of concern, and he seems to pause before saying it, as if Apollo meant to say something else but changed his mind. This may be a reference to "33", when Starbuck tells Apollo to say "good hunting" instead of "be careful out there".
- Racetrack is apparently assigned to Pegasus at present, since Dualla refers to her mission as the "Pegasus survey team".
- Lee Adama is now wearing a wristwatch, probably Barry Garner's from "The Captain's Hand".
- When Tyrol's counseling with Cavil is coming to an end, Cavil notes to Tyrol that Cally "especially" loves him. Tyrol is apparently oblivious to this obvious fact up to that point.
- In this episode they refer to "the captured Heavy Raider", singular. This implies that only the one Starbuck brought back from Caprica in "Home, Part I" is still functional at all, and the one that crashed into Galactica in "Scattered" was damaged beyond salvage or repair.
- The pro-settlement faction seems to assume that humanoid Cylons still hiding within the Fleet will not be able to contact the Cylon fleet to track the Colonials, in particular in view of the shielding afforded by the gas cloud near New Caprica.
- Spacecraft can jump within a planetary a atmosphere and do so relatively close to the surface (two kilometers in this case). However, it is a dangerous procedure and likely only used by military vessels and when absolutely necessary to avoid enemy detection.
- When Raptor 612 jumps into the mountain, it jumps into the mountain. Ron Moore confirms in the podcast that by "jumped into the mountain" it doesn't mean "they jumped close to it and thus crashed", it means, exactly like a Star Trek transporter accident, that they materialized from the jump into solid rock, "half-phased".
- The "religious" angle that Baltar is using is based on the abortion issue. The banning of abortion by Roslin was two-folded. First, it was meant to prevent any action that would hinder the growth of humanity's population. Second, it was meant to mollify the religious faction, who objected to abortion on dogmatic grounds.
- The combined Colonial fleet has 20 Raptors in this episode, of which 1 is destroyed before the end. Previously, Galactica is confirmed to have at least 5 left (The Farm), with the suggestion that there may be as many as 8 (Resistance). Doubtlessly, Pegasus brought at least an equal number of Raptors with it when it joined the Fleet, and likely considerably more. Pegasus, being a larger and more modern battlestar than Galactica, probably has the capability to carry a larger complement of Raptors, and may have been able to manufacture new ones with extra materials from the mining operations in "Scar".
- The jump error that lands the Raptor in the nebula is attributed to a "firmware error" by the crew. This may be an indication that there was a firmware upgrade to deal with the increased FTL jump distances provided by the Cylon computer.
- If Raptor 612 is destroyed by jumping into a mountain, how is their transponder still operational? (see Analysis)
- Does the Fleet have the resources to sustain long term settlements on the newly found planet? Even if Galactica and Pegasus themselves were recycled, would there be enough materials, or would the battlestars still be necessary for orbital defence? (Answer)
- Zarek says the people have been cooped up in metal boxes since the attack. How literally does he mean this—for instance, are people living inside converted cargo holds as they were in the Original Series? Or does he just meant being stuck inside of cramped ships in general, i.e. even the Galactica crew (who have dedicated crew quarters)?
- In an interview in issue #197 of TV Zone, James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar) said: "[T]he arrival of the Pegasus has helped galvanize our characters into who they are and who they’re trying to be. These later episodes [in Season 2] also further drive home the fact that the Galactica’s crew could be exterminated by its own kind, meaning that Humans are potentially far more terrifying an enemy than perhaps the Cylons."
- "Why is the fleet so concerned [about] elections? They are running for their lives, so I would think holding elections would be the least of their problems."
- I felt right from the beginning that question of who was in charge and how a democratic society would deal with this situation was one of the fundamental questions of the show. If democracy means anything, it means that people get to decide who their leaders are and what kind of life they choose to lead. And the operative word is "choose." Democracies are about choices, some made intelligently and thoughtfully, and some not so much. Adama and the Galactica were faced with an immediate question as to the role of the military in this surviving population: were they still the servants of the people, or were they the overseers? Adama's choice was to preserve the idea of their society, indeed of their entire civilization while still striving to protect them from their enemies both within and without. It was, and continues to be a difficult balancing act, but as he said in "Resurrection Ship": it's not enough to survive, you have to [be] worthy of suriving.
- If the military simply took choice away from the people of the fleet, if it simply decided that the senior commanders knew best and that was that, then the people out there in those ships become irrelevant. They're cargo. It's a military world and a military society and everything else is secondary. Down that road lies the cautionary tale of Admiral Cain and the battlestar Pegasus. One Adama and Galactica decided not to go down that road, then the entire panoply of democracy was in play -- representation by consent and elections to determine those representatives.
- It was difficult for people to watch. Even when we were filming it and it was difficult to do. Not only physically, but I had to make it look real. Actually, Aaron (Douglas–Chief Tyrol) actually punched me in the face! (she chuckled as she continued on) And, it’s really difficult, but the funny part about it is that he and I were trying to be brave, but whenever you get knocked in the face I think the instinct is to start crying. I was laughing at the same time, trying to persuade everyone that I was fine, but there were tears streaming down my face. And, Aaron was all, ‘But it wasn’t me.’ I was like, ‘Ok, ok, I am not blaming you, I know it was an accident, but I don’t think I punched myself in the face.’ He felt terrible about it happening. It was fine. Luckily, I didn’t get a bruise and slow everything up.
- But it was difficult and I am trying to block the punches and then my own hand was going into the whole scene and realizing what he had done. It was pretty emotional. 
- Laura Roslin is preparing for the presidential debate
- Laura Roslin: This is what I do, I memorize the talking point, then tear the card…let the pieces fall as they may. It helps.
- William Adama: Yeah, my father used to break pencils before going into court, and then borrow one from the clerk. "Break preconceptions, work with what you have."
- Laura Roslin: You know, I like that. Let me see…:
- Laura breaks a pencil
- Laura Roslin: That's good…. But what happens if the moderator doesn't have a pencil?
- William Adama: Then you're pretty screwed.
- Brother Cavil explains to Chief Tyrol the "value" of prayer:
- Brother Cavil: Do you know how useless prayer is? Chanting, and singing, and mucking about with old half-remembered lines of bad poetry? And you know what it gets you? Exactly nothing.
- Chief Tyrol: Are you sure you're a priest?
- Chief Tyrol is worried that like Galactica-Sharon, he could just as well be another Cylon sleeper agent:
- Chief Tyrol: How do you know I'm human?
- Brother Cavil: Oh, well, maybe because I'm a Cylon and I've never seen you at any of the meetings.
- Baltar and Zarek discuss campaign strategy
- Gaius Baltar: I'm not sure if you're aware, Tom, but the mob isn't usually in the habit of electing ungodly apostates who denegrate people of faith.
- Tom Zarek: Things are gonna turn around. You'll see.
- Gaius Baltar: What is that, advice? Well, thank you for your keen insight, your astounding political acumen. You know, I'm so assured right now, Tom, I'm just going to sit right back and wait for the hand of God to reach down and change my political fortunes!