Murder on the Rising Star
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- When Starbuck is implicated in a rival Triad-player's murder, Apollo and Boomer come to his defense as Protectors. They eventually uncover a plot involving Karibdis, a traitor who aided Baltar in the destruction of the Twelve Colonies.
- Cassiopeia and Sheba watch the match from the stands. Cassie is concerned with the escalating tempers in the match.
- Adama and Tigh watch the match from a private lounge aboard the Rising Star. Their bartender asks if the two of them need anything, as his shift is ending soon. Adama is more interested in observing the Triad-mania, Tigh is exhibiting. Tigh tries, but fails, to contain his excitement for the game.
- Ortega's continued fouls nets Starbuck a free shot, allowing the heroes to pull ahead. Apollo takes a second to ask Barton about the rough play of his partner. Barton explains that he has to fly with Ortega because they're assigned together, but he plays Triad with him because Ortega likes to win.
- It isn't long before Ortega unleashes another cheap shot, sending Starbuck over the top and escalating into an all-out brawl between the two. Both players are ejected from the game.
- Outside of the match Starbuck and Ortega continue to scuffle until Cassiopeia breaks it up. After a brief verbal exchange, Ortega leaves to hit the showers. Starbuck is informed that he has ten centons to get to the shuttle if he hopes to continue to see Cassie.
- Ortega finishes cleaning up, and straps on his laser pistol. The door to the locker room opens, and Ortega isn't surprised. "I always knew it would come to this," he quips cynically, before going for his pistol.
- Shortly thereafter, Starbuck rushes down the corridor trying to make it to the shuttle in time to make Cassie's deadline. He runs into a Pyramid dealer named Chella, who mentions that he had money on Starbuck. Starbuck has to run though, if he wants to make it in time.
- Chella discovers Ortega's arm hanging out of a nearby doorway, and reports his discovery of Ortega's body to the authorities.
- Adama orders the Rising Star sealed and questions Chella, who appears to have a solid alibi. Chella does point out his encounter with Starbuck, shifting suspicion onto the warrior.
- Apollo catches up with Starbuck, and lets him know about the murder. Starbuck is shocked, but Apollo needs to check Starbuck's pistol in an attempt to clear him. Apollo is dismayed to discover that Starbuck's pistol had been fired.
- Starbuck explains that he had fired his laser pistol at the range earlier in the day. Sire Solon, the prosecuting attorney, arrives and appears to believe Starbuck is the guilty party.
- Dr. Wilker performs a test to determine if Starbuck's pistol was used for the murder, and it results in a perfect match.
- Adama reluctantly charges Starbuck with murder, sending him to the brig aboard Galactica. Starbuck is faced with the choice of pleading self-defense, or going to trial and facing the possibility of life in prison. Starbuck risks the trial.
- Apollo and Boomer step forward to act as Starbuck's defense, but they only have 10 centars in which to gather and present their evidence.
- Apollo and Boomer first question Ortega's wingman (and Triad partner) Barton. Barton is about to go on patrol, but does manage to let them know about a gambling tab over on the Rising Star, and that Ortega had mentioned that the only enemy that he had with enough guts to kill him was Karibdis.
- Starbuck's protectors head to the personnel computer to run a query. They have difficulty interacting with the voice interface of the system, prompting Corporal Komma to comment that he too prefers the old-fashioned "keyboard and scanner" to the voice interface systems. Unfortunately, the computer has no entries related to any Karibdis.
- Cassiopeia visits Starbuck in the brig, but he's a bit distracted. He's watching an IFB interview where Sire Solon is all but proclaiming Starbuck guilty. Cassie tries to suggest that he take the self-defense plea, but Starbuck protests his innocence. She leaves, and the interview eventually drives him to smash the viewscreen.
- Starbuck calls for the guards to fix the broken equipment, and when one of them enters his cell he grabs the guard and makes an escape.
- Apollo races to the launch bay, finding Starbuck in a Viper about to take off. Apollo throws his body in front of the Viper, trying to reason with Starbuck. Starbuck feels that he is being framed, and thinks escape is his only option. Apollo manages to prevent Starbuck from launching, and he eventually surrenders himself back into custody.
- Adama is furious at Starbuck, ordering him to the brig with only his two protectors now able to visit him. Adama also chides Solon for influencing public opinion with his IFB interview.
- Adama asks Apollo how the defense is going. Apollo reveals that they have made no progress in tracking down the mysterious Karibdis. Adama recognizes the name as being Baltar's pilot, and the man who sabotaged the colonial defense grid preceding the Cylon ambush. No known pictures of Karibdis exist, and the only one who would recognize that man is Baltar.
- Apollo and Boomer visit Baltar, who admits that he does know who Karibdis is. However, since they cannot offer him anything in exchange for the information he refuses to talk.
- Apollo and Boomer go to the Rising Star to investigate the tab with Table three of the chancery. They are surprised when they see that Chella is the dealer at the Pyramid table. They believe they have caught their man.
- At the tribunal the protectors lay out their theory that it was Karibdis who did murder in order to stop Ortega from continuing to blackmail him.
- Barton testifies, but hurts the defense by admitting that he heard Starbuck say he'd kill Ortega during the Triad altercation.
- Chella testifies, and initially claims Ortega was blackmailing him about gambling losses. He eventually admits that his real name is Riftis, and that he had bribed Ortega for a spot aboard one of the ships fleeing the colonies. Having taken a spot meant for a woman or a child, Ortega blackmailed him by threatening to expose that secret, forcing Riftis to let Ortega win at his Pyramid table.
- There is no evidence that Chella is Karibdis, and Chella's alibi at the time of the murder is rock-solid, leaving the defense at square one.
- Chella does reveal that Ortega was also blackmailing Elias and Pallon. The tribunal is curious, and orders the two brought aboard Galactica in order to testify.
- Transporting the blackmail targets in the shuttle, Apollo attempts a ruse to flush out Karibdis. Apollo announces that the identity of Karibdis had been determined, and that after they dropped off the blackmail targets on Galactica he would be picking up Baltar to confirm the identification. Apollo knows he is putting himself at risk, and makes sure that Boomer keeps an open channel to the shuttle.
- After dropping the suspects off, Apollo notes that the cargo weight indicator goes up 175 pounds as somebody secretly reboards.
- Cassiopeia testifies, and is forced to admit that she heard Starbuck threaten Ortega.
- A hand is seen taking a laser pistol from the weapons locker aboard the shuttle.
- Baltar is brought aboard the shuttle, and continues to keep quiet. Apollo informs him that he believes Karibdis is aboard the shuttle with them. Baltar is visibly shaken, but insists Karibdis is still loyal to him.
- Karibdis emerges behind them. Pallon is Karibdis, and he aims a laser pistol at the two of them.
- Boomer breaks tribunal procedure, opening up the channel to the shuttle. Karibdis triumphantly reveals the whole tale, and the tribunal hears the entire confession. A scuffle ensues, and the tribunal waits on baited breath to find out what has happened aboard the shuttle.
- Apollo reveals that Baltar was the hero of the day, clubbing Karibdis into unconsciousness and allowing Apollo to disarm him. Baltar had realized Karibdis was willing to kill him in order to keep his secret, but a twinge of regret is evident for having had to play the hero.
- Starbuck is acquitted, and upon entering the Triad court is welcomed by an ovation from the crowd.
Our scouts have sent back word of yet another planet along the coordinates given to us by our mysterious super race. More and more often, the planets we come across bear signs of the lost thirteenth tribe. We are getting closer to Earth. And once we have plotted her precise location, we will carefully formulate a plan for observing and sampling her culture. Too sudden an appearance from their relations in space could send our sister world into a wave of culture shock from which she might never recover. And are the inhabitants of Earth far in advance of us in their development or merely primitive animals fallen from a greater time? I feel we will soon know.
- Very broadly based on an unshot script by Michael Sloan titled "Fire in Space." According to Jim Carlson and Terry McDonnell, they never saw the original but since Sloan had written a script with a murder, he received story credit.
- This story loses points on continuity because Chameleon is not present. There should have been an explanation for his absense. Wouldn't he have shown up to give support to Starbuck who is his son?
- When Chella flashes back to the pilot, the words "F--- Off" can be clearly seen spelled out in the lights of Caprica just to the right of the third Cylon fighter bearing down on the city.
- Cassiopeia sports a different hair-style in this episode.
- The cockpit hatch of the only full-scale viper used on the set was often in need of repair. In the scene when Starbuck is about to launch, the hatch of the viper closes very sloppily.
- In yet another example of how rushed the series was, story editors Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell were forced to write this episode in 36 hours straight. One of the reasons they were so rushed was because Glen Larson was in Hawaii and took a long time to decide which story idea to give them.
- During the triad game, Cassiopeia says "Everytime Starbuck plays against Ortega his body looks like a black and blue Orian hasher the next morning." The script for this episode has a key that defines an Orian hasher as a "bruised person."
- Corporal Komma appears for the last time.
- Cassiopeia wears the same dress she did when she was alone with Starbuck in the launch bay in Saga of a Star World. The dress was one of Laurette Spang's favorites.
- Another episode which takes place aboard the Fleet, which are common at this point in the season. This time a murder mystery, with a trail that ultimately leads back to the destruction of the Colonies.
- Reasonably tightly written, "Murder on the Rising Star" features strong character actors such as Brock Peters and Frank Ashmore who would both go on to other science fiction roles.
- A few details of the Battlestar Galactica universe are filled in as a part of this storyline. Viewers learn about the justice system, how the courts are still functioning on the Fleet, and that there was a system of bribery to get certain individuals passage off of Caprica after the Cylon attack, something which was hinted at with regard to Sire Uri in "Saga of a Star World".
- The back and forth between the characters, and the incriminating circumstances that lead to Starbuck's murder charge are believable, and a credible tension is created.
- Providing a window to life on Caprica again is a solid dramatic device, and is developed to much fuller effect in the Re-imagined Series.
- Apollo's Re-imagined Series counterpart also finds himself as defense counsel, but instead for Gaius Baltar himself.
- Baltar warns Starbuck he has so many enemies on the prison barge waiting for his arrival he'll be dead before he gets to his cell. How is it Baltar, a willing accomplice in the holocaust, manages to stay alive?
- If shuttles have such accurate cargo weight indicators, how were Boxey and Muffit able to stow away in the snowram on the mission to Arcta (The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I)?
- When Apollo and Boomer do a computer search for Karibdis, you have to wonder how it is that none of the Colonials have a last name. Are we to believe that, out of twelve planets, everyone had a completely different name? If not, how is an accurate computer search even possible?
- There is one problem with the idea that Karibdis would sneak aboard the shuttle to kill Apollo and Baltar. How would he escape afterwards? Could he really have expected to land the shuttle on the Galactica and sneak away without anyone seeing him?
- Adama recording in his personal log:
- Adama: And are the inhabitants of Earth far in advance of us at this point of their development, or merely primitive animals fallen from a greater time? I feel we will soon know.
- Starbuck arguing with Ortega in front of Cassiopeia:
- Ortega: All right, Starbuck. We'll finish this another time — when your woman is not around!
- Starbuck reflects on his friends and their thoughts of the charges to Cassiopeia:
- Starbuck: Don't you see? You, Apollo, Boomer—even the commander—you all want to believe me, but you... you still have your, um, doubts.
- Apollo tries to talk Starbuck out of launching his Viper after his escape:
- Apollo: Starbuck, Adama will send Vipers after you!
- Starbuck: Well, I'll deal with that when the time comes!
- Apollo: And then what are you going to do? Fire on Sheba? Or Boomer? Or me?
- Starbuck: If I have to, yes. Now get off.
- Apollo: I don't think you have the guts to do that, anymore than you have the guts to face that tribunal.
- Starbuck: I didn't kill Ortega!
- Apollo: Then trust me! Give me the chance to prove you didn't!
- Starbuck: You've had you say, now get off... or I'll take you down that launch tube with me.
- Apollo: Okay, but I never thought I'd see Starbuck run from anything!
- See: The deleted scenes from this episode.
- Jim Carlson discusses the behind-the-scenes issues that plagued the episode:
- Jim Carlson: In the case of "Murder on the Rising Star", where Terry [McDonnell] and I worked 36 hours straight through, that was because Glen [Larson] took almost a week to make up his mind what story he wanted us to do. And the rest of the time, prior to getting the OK we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs and he was in Hawaii reading over our premises and we kept trying to get an OK from him and Don Bellisario called at least once a day and we just couldn’t get an answer out of him until we were right up against a very hairy deadline. ...you can’t do your best work in a situation like that.
- Anne Lockhart: Do you remember the game, where Richard and Dirk had to wear those little costumes…? Triad, right, yeah, and they put these guys into little, sexy little French bikinis, you know? And it was terrible…they marched out on set and we all went (spluttering noise). Very embarrassing for these two poor guys. There was a scene at the end of the show where they go in, they’re standing in the doorway ready to go in and play the game, and Cassiopiea (sic) and I are standing behind Our Guys, you know, being supportive there, and, just as they walk in, the two of us took our thumbs and goosed them.
- Richard Hatch: A perfect fit, too.
- Lockhart: Dirk started laughing and just sort of fell out of frame, and [Richard Hatch] continued to act as if nothing was wrong, he kept doing this until finally everybody was laughing so hard that he finally broke down…that little piece of film always gets me.
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