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Podcast:Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II

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"Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II" Podcast
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore


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Contents

Teaser

Hello, and welcome to the podcast of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II". Ronald D. Moore, Executive Producer and Creator of the new Battlestar Galactica. I just finished a few moments ago doing the podcast for "part one" so a lot of this is a continuation as is the episode of part one and once again I would just caution all of you if you have not watched this episode I would suggest you do that before you listen to the podcast because I will be talking about things at the end.

As I was saying before, a key structural change that happened was shifting the end of the show, primarily. We moved the original night one out was the crash of the Raptor, and now the the night one out is Kara taking the Raider and jumping back to Caprica which is -I think- is a much stronger, more emotional, more personal beat. And as a result of that, that basic decision, it allowed "part II" to open up a bit, it allowed us to play all the moments of "part II" because I think that one of the the key things about show is the ability to play the moments. You're not just rushing through things. You're not just like brushing over details and not giving the scenes themselves a chance to breath, and to really enjoy the characters, and to play texture and detail. And it's as simple as, example, in "33", there's a shot where Adama's shaving in the bathroom and the camera just jumps downs watch him rinse the wa- rinse the shaving cream off his razor. And watching them eat noodles, I mean just all the little details about life and how the people interact, and being able to play moments like this in their full glory, to really give it its due, and give enough space, and not rush through the whole thing. You have to have enough room to do that, and one of the challenges of the show it to do it- to do these stories in an efficient way 'cause you've only got forty minutes to tell an hour story, I hate to tell you, but it's only forty minutes of actual program content time. And so, it's sometimes it's really hard to cram all that material in there. And, Michael's decision- Dany's decision to shift the night break opened up night two and made night two play in a much more comfortable fashion.

That little bit of business there, when James is reaching through the flame, he's really reaching through the flame. It's not a CGI. It's not digital. None of this is, except this shot coming up there. It's all practical. So when you saw him reach out and like put his hands in the flame, it's James being crazy and and putting (laughing) his arms in- in the middle of raging fires on the set. It's always interesting to see where - what the actors will or will not do. I mean most of the time my experience actors want to do their own stunts and desire to do their own stunts and go way out of their way to train themselves, and learn the techniques, work with the stunt people, and generally want to do their own stunts, and rare as- they did happen. There were times, there were a couple of actors -who I won't name- that I worked with in Star Trek who just did not like to do stunts. And, if the character was going to fall down, it was like "STUNT MAN," but that was sort of the exception rather than the rule.

This whole little ending is- was the tease of- was the tease of night two. It just had the- the actual crash it took them all the way. It was like the tease- no I take that back. The teaser went out with the Raptor going, hitting, crashing, and then I think that Act One begin with the sequence that you just saw.

A couple of thing just to remind you if you, some things I said on the night one podcast which was there was a whole separate storyline going on- down on Kobol that we dispensed with which had to do with the two temples. There was a temple on Kobol and then another temple they built on Caprica to sort of emulate the original. And one of the reasons we got rid of that was strictly production. Balancing the budget versus the creative needs of the show is one of the biggest challenges of producing this series, and you always write to what the best version of the show and then you pare back. And there was just no way that we could get the temple. I'll come back in a second.

Act 1

There was really- there was really no way to get the temple on Caprica and the temple on Kobol to work. They were too expensive. We could not believably make te- create temples practically on the stage, and then we were gonna CGI, do digital extensions of both sets to make it- to sell it in both locations, and it just became cost prohibitive. And likewise the surrounding of the temple and the big firefight that we were gonna do with a lot of Centurions and hovercraft and Raiders and all that. Laying siege, or about to lay siege, to the the temple on Kobol was another element that we just could not afford. So compromises have to be made and you're forced to think in other directions. And so this notion of the arrow being not in a temple on Caprica but actually being in a museum, also seemed a little bit more real, more believable. It felt more real for society that is- has a religious aspect to it. A lot of people are- take their religious seriously and are practicing a faith but there's a large secular community that probably either doesn't believe or believes in a very low-boil way. That by and large a lot of "religious" items and artifacts would have worked their way and found their way into museums. So that became a much easier justification for the museum on Caprica.

And as far as the story on Kobol, that went through several iterations, and many changes. From going from two ground survey teams to just consolidating it into one, and also the decision not to put Lee down there. Where was Lee's role in this drama was something that took a lot of wrangling. If Lee is down on the planet surface, it required a different kind of story down there. He's in charge. It's his command. It's his mission. It's all about Lee. And- we were talking about some conflict between him Tyrol, him and crew chief, and Tyrol questioning him in some ways, and Lee's leadership and growth. And ultimately it wasn't quite as satisfying that he wasn't back aboard Galactica when his father is shot and when the President is deposed from power. It seemed like he should be back here and dealing with this story and by making that key change it allowed the Caprica s- the, sorry, the Kobol story to take on a different complexion. And as we, as you'll see, Crashdown is in charge down on the surface of Kobol, but he may not be the best man, the best leader, for that situation. And doubt starts to creep in about who they're- who's command they're under. And what will Tyrol do? You couldn't play that, really, if it was Lee, 'cause it's- he's just a more capable, more competent leader and he's expected to fill that role every week. But by making it Crashdown it becomes a legitimate like, "Ok. Wait a minute. Who's in charge here?" kind of a thing. And it also meant that if Lee is aboard Colonial or- if he's aboard Galactica and Colonial One in this- on this storyline, when they try to take down the President, it forces him to have to make a choice and it meant that he could have to pick Laura over his father, and that he would go down for that, and he would be in jail, and that he would be there in the room in han-, literally, in handcuffs, when the final moments of the episode went down, which I though was much stronger. And moving forward, it meant that Lee is with us aboard Galactica in this world at the beginning of season two, as opposed to being somewhere else that he has to be rescued and on a completely different story and having no idea what's even happening to his father, which didn't seem as satisfying.

This storyline of Galactica starting to move toward deposing the President and staging a military coups is something that had been on the drawing board from the beginning. My initial story proposals for the first season as contained in the bible and some other documents I wrote for the network, I always saw, initially, that the arc of the two characters of Laura and Adama was going to be, ok you think at first that she's dove and he's the hawk, but in truth she's capable of far tougher things than he is capable of and he's much more civil libertarian-minded, for lack of a better phrase, than she is. That the each of them has elements of both hawk and dove and that they're driven by character things not- they're not just archetypes that you push around. He's not always gonna do the military thing. She's not always gonna do the soft and touchy-feely thing. And that the arc for the season initially was that Laura was gonna go too far. Laura was gonna get caught up in the need to maintain security in a sit- in a Flee- in a situations such as this and that would force her to crackdown harder and harder on dissent and she would winnow away basic freedoms one by one. Adama was gonna be essentially the one tasked to carry out those orders. He was gonna become more, and more, and more uncomfortable with it as the season went on. And ultimately she would go too far and he would step in and he would institute a coups and by the end of season on she was gonna be in jail. He would have taken over as the military commander and declared martial law. Which is exactly what neither of them wanted at the beginning. That's still where we end up. I mean, the journey along the way changed. Laura didn't really crackdown so much as she did was show teeth, show an ability to be pragmatic, show a willingness to cut- to stab her friend in the back, to shove a Cylon out an airlock. You started to realize that she's capable of taking strong measures. But we didn't have to paint her quite so starkly as I was thinking initially, as being a badass and really going after people. It also didn't fit with Mary's portrayal of Laura. So what did happen is you started to see that she's perfectly capable of doing what she thinks need to be done if she thinks she's right. She's gonna do it. And the more funda- the fundamental agreement of the civilian and the military leadership in the Fleet wa- seemed like the right place to play the conflict. That essentially if she breaks the vow she made in the miniseries, the vow to let him have control over military decisions, that that would be the point where he would step in. He- you don't break your word to Adama. You just don't. And she did. And his a- his reaction to that is resolute and with a bit of sadness. I don't think he- he definitely doesn't want it. He doesn't want the command of the Fleet. He doesn't want to have to deal with the civilians. He doesn't want to do any of these things. But she broke her word to him. She got- she got Kara Thrace, of all people, to turn against him and take a military asset away from the Galactica at the very moment that they were working on a plan to attack a Cylo- I mean. The reas- there's just so many reasons. He had to do it. He has to act against her. And she knows full well that he's gonna do that. That is also part of the story is that when she made that decision she- it was in- with her eyes wide open. She knew what it was going to mean. That he was coming for her. Which is the reason why she had the Press on board, was she wanted it to be public. She didn't- she wanted people to know what was really at stake.

Act 2

Now we're flying over the ci- the devastated city of Delphi. Again, here you can see there- there was a ca- there was a cataclysm. The place wasn't leveled, but clearly there was damage. There were blastwaves hit the city, radiation. This is a world that has been attacked with nuclear weapons and the question is, "Why did they leave any of it standing?" That's a question, I think, we'll start to answer into the second season.

This is, of course, the entire Caprica storyline in season one builds to this idea, and to this moment. That Sharon is pregnant. Pregnant by Helo. And that that's an important thing to the Cylons. And why is that an important thing to the Cylons? Well, you'll have to stay tuned and we'll talk about that in more detail in the second season. But yes, the entire storyline, all the things that you've happened- that have happened on Caprica were done and maninpulated for a reason. And that reason was to see if Sharon could become impregnated with Helo's child. And why is that so important to the Cylons? Why would they concoct this elaborate scheme to manuever those two into that situation? That's a question that we'll answer next season, as it were.

Now this is where- you can see that we're starting to ramp up the tension. You're starting to intercut between a lot of events. A lot of storylines are starting to come together and it's hard- you can't really say which one is the "A" story, which one's the "B" story, at this point. You could- I mean, I suppose you could argue that this is the "A" story. That his taking down the President is the primary cord, but we also got Sharon heading off to the basestar, simultaneously. It's like a lot of things are starting to happen and what I think is interesting is that the show, again, does not talk down to the audience. The audie- the show is willing to throw challenging material at you with a lot of characters and a lot of different storylines and trust that you're smart enough to follow. To trust that you're going to be engaged in all these issues and all these ideas and characters and know what's going on in each scene without me having to write loathesome lines of exposition that will do nothing more than reiterate points that you should already know intuitively. I guess as a- I mean, one of the things I've learned in television over the years is that the audience understands things much quicker and easier than we typically give them credit for. I think part of that is because, in a way, everyone in this, certainly in this country, is bored with the three act structure in their head. By the time you're a thinking adult you have watched and- or listened to or read, and probably all of the above, a tremendous amount of narrative. You understand the three act structure. Beginning, middle, and end. And it has been told to you from Elmo (chuckles) to Huckleberry Finn to Battlestar Galactica and audiences have an idea how narrative works. They're able to follow these beats without tremendous amounts of elaboration. And I think that ofttimes television makes a mistake in that it thinks that the audience is either stupid or not paying attention and an audience will just be too easily confused and they won't follow along. I just firmly believe that the audience, if anything, is usually ahead of you. The audience knows the rhythms and structure of an episode of television. They know that if you're main ch- I mean, they just know. If the chara- if your main character is in jeopardy at the end of act two, well, they got two more acts, there's a half hour of the show. You know he's not dying yet. So you can only push those kinds of buttons so far without insulting their intelligence. And likewise, the audience knows enough to follow all these details. They remember why Kara's there. They know what she's doing on the planet. They get why she would need radiation. It's like you don't have to really script in a tremendous amount of dialogue to explain, "Ok. Here I am. I'm Kara Thrace. I'm walking into the museum. What am I looking for? I'm lookin' for the Arrow of Apollo." Which is all material that has been said previously in the episode and in other scenes and all you have to do is follow along and pay attention and you'll enjoy the episode.

The question of what we would see on the inside of the Cylon basestar took a lot of discussion. It's the first time we're really gonna go inside a Cylon place, 'cause I don't think the Raider really counts. But we've never really been in the Cylon world up until this episode. So there was a lot of discussion about what that would be. I think in my initial drafts I was an advocate of the idea of- it should just be a white room. Just- don't show anything. Go in- it's a white room. We blow it out. There's a lot of lens flare and a lot of- heavy on the heavenly light kind of scene. And not know. Not see anything. Because I was worried that whatever you see was always going to be really disappointing to what you had hoped to see in your mind. And then the idea with Mike Rymer and Richard Hudolin, production designer, came up with was to continue the language of the biomechanical world into the Cylon basestar. And that's ultimately what we went with.

Here on Kobol. Ok there's Socinus. A side note note about Socinus, for those of you following along. Socinus was the character who went to jail in "Litmus" because he'd lied on the stand and took a fall, trying to protect Tyrol. There was a scene in this episode, which was shot, and I- it might even be in the deleted scenes on [the website, of Tyrol getting him out of jail, frankly. And it was, basically, they were running a ch- a test on the Cylon Raider, on the CIC, and the Raider jumps and it works, and it's like, "Hooray, we've figured out how to make the Jump work." And Adama turns to Tyrol and says, "Congratulations, Chief." And the Chief says, well, the real credit should go to Lieutenant Starbuck and Adama says, "I know who does the real work on this ship. Congratulations, Chief." And the Chief says, "Thank you." Then he takes a pause, and he says, "Well, speaking of someone who does real work, and the need for people who do real work on this ship..." And Adama looks at him, knows what he's talking, and he's says, "Ok. Go with God," or whatever he says." I can't remember how he got at it. He just nods and says, "Ok." And then you cut straight to the brig and Tyrol has gotten Socinus out of the brig so that he can go on this ground mission. And it was a nice scene and Socinus comes out and he says, "Oh, thanks for getting me out." And the Chief busts him- busts his balls right there. It's like, "You were stupid. You were in there 'cause you were stupid. It was a dumb thing to do and you're getting out so you can work. Because I need somebody to work." And really took it to him a little bit. And it was great. And it was really, really painful to have to cut that scene in editing 'cause we all loved it. It set it up. It was a nice character moment. But things- some things just had to go. We just did not have another chunk. It was like a- two, three minutes that we were able to cut out of this- out of the episode by losing both those little scenes. And we didn't have anything else to trade for it, so they had to go and end up on the cutting room floor. And hopefully you can see them on the website or the eventual, magnificent DVD release, which will include every scrap of footage ever shot on Battlestar Galactica, one would hope. It'll be a fifty-five DVD set that you can buy and will weigh twenty-five pounds. Merchandising and licensing is panicking even as I say that.

So again, here we are. We're going to the Cylon baseship for the first time. Racetrack, in the background, is somebody that we will also be using on next season. We're very happy with the actress. Very happy with the character. This was like- that. That little bit of going into the Cylon basestar and subsequent shots of it, Gary Hutzel and the visual effects team were very excited about. It was bought out of long discussions with them about what it was gonna be, and it was really an opportunity to do a lot of really cool visual effects stuff.

Here on Kobol, as I said earlier, there was originally the two temples. There was the temple on Kobol and the temple on Caprica. And the temple on Kobol storyline always had Baltar going into the temple and discovering something huge and amazing and ending the season on a revelation. In the first draft of "Kobol's Last Gleaming", he went into the temple and Six took him towards some subterranean passage, and it was very dark, and she said, "This is as far as I go." And he says, "What?" And she makes him go further and he's just finds himself walking in a void, a black void, and doesn't know where it's leading. And at the end of that he comes into a room and he hears music and it's a recognizable Earth-tune, to the audience and to him. It was Jimi Hendrix was playing, actually, and he goes, "God, I recognize that." And then somebody- or somebody s- a voice says, "You recognize that?" And he says, "Yes." And he turns and it's Dirk Benedict. (Laughs.) And Dirk Benedict said, "Hi. I'm God." And you just cut. We just cut out on that.

Act 3

Just to continue that thought about Kobol and it was Dirk Benedict, and he said, "Hi. I'm God." And they shake hands and that was- we were gonna cut, and that was gonna be the end of that whole storyline and at the episode. I liked it. I thought it was wacky. I didn't quite know what it meant. I thought- I was looking for a surprise. Something interesting that fed into the mythos of the show and also to the audience and something that would really be unexpected and different and, frankly I didn't know what the hell I meant. I didn't know, was he lying? Is it true? It threw a lot of puzzle pieces up in the air in an unexpected way which, to me, was a reason to try to do it and see if it worked. And by and large the reaction ran the gamut from, "Huh?" to "That's really wild and cool!" And ultimately in a discussion with the network, I think it was Mark Stern, who's our production executive at the network, just said, "You know what? You don't need this. You really don't need to go this far. It seems like you're pushing- it's pushing too far. It's winking at the audience for the first time and you haven't done that." And I said, "You know what? You're right." He was right. It was a misstep. But you have to be willing to take chances on the page because that's where you'd wanna take your chances. You wanna like risk things and do the unexpected moment on the page and see if it works, and in this case it was an idea that didn't work. So I just dumped it. Then it became a question about, "Ok. What do you see on the- in the interior of the temple?" We were still talking about a temple. And that went through a few iterations, which I'll come back to in a minute.

This is now the museum on Caprica. Kara going after the arrow. There was always gonna be an "Arrow of Apollo".

Oh, we are back at Kobol. I'm lost in my own editing. Might as well continue with the Kobol story. There was always gonna be a temple. It was always a question what he's gonna find on the inside of it. And once we got rid of the temple we went for this idea of ruins. I liked it that they were true ruins. They weren't like a big, elaborate, giant, Roman thing. They were just these simple ruins that Baltar and Six were walking through. And in earlier drafts he- there was an idea that was sparked by Michael Rymer about going into the ruin and finding yourself in another space. And that the other space would turn out- it's really hard to talk about the opera house when Six and Starbuck are beating the crap out of each other and shooting at each other.

This was, I think, David Eick- This was David Eick's idea, way back when. When he- midseason we first started talking about the finale, he was very excited about the idea of seeing Starbuck and Six really go at it. Really do a fight between the two of them. No holds barred. And that stayed through all the drafts. That Six and Starbuck were gonna fight at some point.

Here, again, you're seeing the interior of the basestar as conceived by Gary Hutzel and the visual effects team. None of this is model anim- this all just CGI computer animation, giving a real sense of the interior and- which I think is just really, really great and the way it marries into the live action footage later on is really cool, too. This all very expensive stuff. This is another reason why this- these two episodes were way over our normal pattern budget. We had to save our pennies in previous episodes to afford this episode and then we also got the network and the studio to cut us some slack and give us some extra money just to do the finale. And in large part because they were so excited by the finale and the story, they wanted to see it as well. And they wanted to end season one with a bang. With- end it with something really spectacular and exciting for the audience. And then, yeah, let's go out into the Cylon baseship. Now we're on the set. From this point forward, now you're on the actual set with our Raptor. There was a lot of tricky logistics about where does Sharon stand so that Racetrack can see her moving around but doesn't see all the Sharons that are coming up. So that was all difficult. And this is a lot of very complicated lighting. Richard and his team and the production design and trying to come up with something that would be visually interesting and that you hadn't seen before and going through this bio- this organic/synthetic interior to the basestar that was reminicent of, but not exactly the same as, what we saw on the interior of the Raider that Kara took. And this is the first time, I believe, that we've actually seen weaponry mounted on the exterior of the Raptors, at least on a practical set.

Now back to Caprica. This is- I believe this is an actual museum. I can't really remember. I think we set-decked this to an extent, but I think that this is an actual museum someplace. And now this- I'm totally wrong. I don't even remember. 'Cause now we- you shift from a museum location into the more rubble-strewn place which is some building site or something that we were using. Watching these two fight is really interesting. This is really them. This is really them doing their own thing and Trish is somebody who before the series never threw a punch. I don't think Trish had any training in fights or martial arts or anything like that. And she went into training specifically because we started to call for scenes where her character would have to first beat up Sharon and then do things like this. And she took it very seriously and really developed a style of fighting which feels very believable on-camera. And that is tricky. It's not as easy as it sounds. I mean, how many times have you watched t- film or tv and you just don't believe that the characters are really fighting or it looks phony or staged or made up.

Here on Colonial One the confrontation between the Marines and Laura's security detail. [00:06:05] There used to be other scenes and other pieces of business that told you that the security detail had been hand-picked by Lee from civilians in the Fleet and it was responsible to Laura and answered only to Laura so her security detail has no allegiance to the Galactica personnel. They were like former cops and security people. People with some kind of firearms training and somekind of background in something like that. But that the secret service, as it were, protecting Colonial One was a distinct entity from the Marines and from the deckhands, and from the people aboard Galactica and that had been something Lee himself had intentionally designed for her. Not really because he thought this day would come, but just because he thought it should be a separate command structure. That he didn't want to confuse the two lines of authority in who responded to who and who was under who's control.

This whole sequence was very complicated, very difficult to shoot. It took a lot of work on the part of everybody to bring a (unintelligble). This is all- you can see the camera's moving. This is motion-control work, which is time consuming and complex. Sharon is- or not Sharon. Grace is playing all of these people. It's all Grace walking into camera with very carefully done shadows so you don't see the "naughty parts". And you have to shoot this over and over again and you have to shoot it from every- she walks in on the left, she walks to the right, she walks to the middle. She is- a lot of walking. She has to hit the mark in-rhythm. She has to do the dialogue in-rhythm. They have to constantly look at the monitors and playback and doing a sequence like that is extraordinarily complex, which is why- one of the reasons why you don't see us doing lots of scenes with five Six's all together or five Dorals all together. They're fun, and interesting, but they're a bear to shoot. And you'll- so you end up only doing them when you've really, really are getting the most bang for your buck, not to just do it for the fun of it. Because the CG- the visual effects itself, just doing the motion control and doing- matting them all in and comping them in correctly and getting the perspectives right and the shadows. That's expensive. And then the production time it takes to actually shoot it on the set is also expensive because time is money on a sound stage. It's all about, "How long will it take us to shoot this?" And you find yourself constantly juggling those requirements. The budget and the time it would require to shoot a sequence.

That's a really hard fall. That looks like it really, really hurt. "Starbuck?"

And I'll come back in a moment.

Act 4

This standoff, in the original draft we did not get to this point exactly. When Lee was down on the planet and we had a somewhat different structure, the standoff was gonna be Laura on the inside of her office. The Marines on the outside, they're about to burst through the door. And it was at that moment that Adama was shot. So were gonna leave season one with Laura about to be taken down by the Marines and Adama lying bleeding in CIC and what will Tigh do? That was the thing. the immediate question. What will he do about Laura? What does he do about Adama? Decided not to do that. Felt- wanted to play it through. Wanted to get her all the way, put her in jail. Have Adama close the door on her, and wanted to play this beat with Lee. Wanted to see Lee, push comes to shove Lee has to make a choice here. Will he subvert the democracy? Will he participate in a military coups against the lawfully designated President of the Colonies or will he make a stand? And Laura, who was willing a moment ago to go right up to the edge and see who's gonna pull a trigger first and will he make them do it, now it's entered a different zone. Now it's brother against brother. Is it- or it's Galactica people turning against- you can see the whole thing starting to spiral wildly out of control. It could be a true bloodbath at this point and that's where Laura has to step in and say, "Ok. The game of brinksmanship is over. Somebody has to blink first and it's gonna be me." But even in that moment she's still clearly in command. "Let's go."

This- Looking back on the first season, I guess... I'm often asked in interviews these days, "Are you satisfied? Are you happy? Did the show turn out to be what you thought it would be?" The show turned out to be a lot more than I thought it would be, frankly. I'm humbled and surprised by how good the show became and I think at the outset I was hoping this would really be a good series. That I could really do something here that was interesting and different and a show that I would be proud of and that people would respond to. I didn't anticipate how well-received it was going to be critically and how extraordinarily well it would do in the ratings. It just- also how satisfying it is, to me personally, on a creative level and as a viewer. I just enjoy the show. And I'm really impressed by the people that work on the show with me. The cast and crew are just tremendous and I think in large part the show has exceeded my expectations for what I was hoping we could do in its first season. And I think if there's downside it's that it's set the bar that much higher for the second season. Now, in my mind, the second season... I don't want to talk about topping yourself, because that becomes just a silly game. "Oh, well, we had one bomb in the first season. Let's do TWO in the second." It's not about topping yourself, it's about continuing to progress the story and the characters and living at the- fulfilling the promise of the first season. It's really about making it a worthy series. Making it more than just those thirteen, "Oh those thirteen episodes that were so great that first season." You want it to be, "Wow. The series as a whole really grew. It really became this fantastic piece of television." I think that's now the goal. The goal is now to make it really something special. I think it's off to a great start. I think it's made it's mark. I think it's surprised a lot of people. It's exceeded the expectations of people who were tuning in to see Battlestar Galactica and now we've passed over that- through that threshhold and now it's about taking the next step. Now it's about really growing and challenging ourselves. Challenging the audience and continuing to provide surprises and twists, just when you think you know this universe so well.

This very- this ending, as we careen here into the last moments, is I think, some of the best stuff that we did all year. I know I keep saying that, but I think this episode really is some of the best that we did all year. I think intercutting all these stories is remarkably effective. I mean, you're- I'm hoping, and I think you are. I think you're really here with all these people. You're really on the hook about what's gonna happen to Kara. What is she gonna do when she finds out that Sharon's a Cylon. What's gonna happen to Tyrol and Crashdown? All those guys left down on the planet. Where's Baltar going? What did he do? Where is he? What about Adama? What about Laura? Where's Lee? I just think the time is- the epsiode it almost over and yet I think you have a hunger to know more and you're like- If you're watching the clock when you're watching the episode you're starting to panic. You're starting to go, "Wait a minute. What the hell is gonna happen to all the people? Wait a minute. They're almost out of time. Is this an hour and a half episode? They can't wrap- they're not gonna end this on a giant cliffhanger, are they? Are they? No. Please. Please say it's not so."

This beat is really something that I think that the director and Katee came up with that- not the shooting, which was scripted, but her emotional reaction and breakdown here. It's like, on top of it all, on top of everything and the fight, and the stealing the Raider and coming here and learning that one of her best friends is a Cylon, and now she's pre- it's just like, enough already. Kara is only human. There is a breaking point. There is a point where it just becomes too much.

Back to Kobol. Like I said, there was always a question what Baltar's gonna find when he went inside the temple and then when he gets inside the ruins. And after the madness of Dirk Benedict subsided, Mike Rymer and I were talking and he brought in some location photos of a place he was really interested in. He didn't know what it meant, but there was this opera house in Vancouver that seemed visually really interesting. It was a different visual language that we had been using in the show and it- when you see the ruins you expect something Roman and something Greek and Michael's notion to use this more- this feels more like Vienna in the nineteenth century than it does a Roman or Greek temple. And it said something about the culture that was once here on Kobol. That it wasn't just all people running around in togas. That there was a society. That there was a civilization. That it really was a sophisticated place where the Gods, whoever they were, and man lived as one and had a certain elegance to them, which I thought was interesting. In the initial drafts he came into this room and there was an orchestra playing on the stage. And it was a recognizable piece, and he knew the piece, and there was dialogue with them walking down the aisle, much as they are now. And Baltar, it was all about him taking his place, and it was about the universe. She talks about music here and talks about the melody of life. And there was a point where the extension of the metaphor was him going up onto the stage and there was an empty chair and a violin and he didn't know how to play, but he sat down, he picked up the violin and he joined in the orchestra and you went out with Baltar playing as a member of the orchestra. And an orchestra of what? And what did that symbolize? And what did it mean? What kind of thing had he transcended? And what did it mean to take his place as the orchestra- in God's symphony, or whatever it was? And that- we talked about that at length. And there lots of discussions with James and the director and myself and noone ever got quite satisfied with it. And then we came to this. I can- I believe it was Michael and it might have even been James. I hesitate to say whose idea it was. This idea of the child, of the cradle, of them talking about Baltar being involved with the baby. And who's baby is it? Well, it's probably Sharon's baby, don't you think? He's dealing with the Cylons and that the Cylons have been trying to get Sharon pregnant all season, and that God has a plan for Baltar, and is Sharon coming back to Galactica? It seemed an interesting, fascinating place to go where you suddenly- all the plot elem- whoever said- made that suggestion was brilliant because it suddenly made all the plot threads start to come together in a nice, clean line. Suddenly all these disparate elements you started to line up and you start to feel that it all has a coherence, it all has resonance. It's not all random events happening for no reason. And that was something I always wanted. I always wanted this sense of the "unified theory of Galactica". That these things are all relevent. And that they may not be apparent why they're relevent. And maybe you don't understand why they're relevent for quite a while, but they do. They are. They do have meaning, and they do all track in together.

And then this sequence, which is as we get here into the end, it was really important that Sharon not give anything away. That we not play any notion that she's about to do what she's about to do. That nobody be worried about it. That your dramatic focus is about the conflict between Lee and his father. So right away the audience is taken off guard because you're focusing on that. You're focusing on the father's betrayal by the son. The son wondering what's gonna happen to him. And then him going over and congratulating Sharon is just a way of showing Lee how wrong he was. That these guys did their job and carried out their orders even though they had questions. And it seems to be just servicing the emotional component of the scene, which is the father-son. And so you hide the cards, as I'm always saying (unintelligible). Hide the card. Don't let the audience know what the scene's really about until, boom. She- you don't- she just does it. And does it more than once.

And then begins all this. This fantastic intercut. Knocking her down. Lee's trauma. Baltar's madness. It's great. It's a great ending. I'm very proud of this ending. This is a really, really good cliffhanger. This is the way you wanna end a season. This is- this brings it all home. You're just- you're hooked. I'm hooked. I wrote the damn thing and I'm hooked. I wanna see what happens next. I wanna know what's gonna happen in that room. All these characters. Will he live? Will he die? What about Sharon? What about Baltar? What about Kara? What about, what about, what about. It's great. And it's surprising, and I think it's a sledgehammer blow at the end when Adama is shot. You just don't see it coming. You just don't suspect that anything like that is lying in wait for you, the viewer. And that's what makes it work.

So, this would be the final podcast of the first season. Thank you all for listening. And I hope if we get a chance to do more of these podcasts, perhaps as we go into production, I might leave you a few more of these along the way. And otherwise I will be sure to be talking to you again this summer when season two of Battlestar Galactica begins. And it will begin moments after all of this ends. So thank you, and goodnight.


Battlestar Galactica (Re-Imagined) Season 1 (2004-2005) Podcast List


33 | Water | Bastille Day | Act of Contrition | You Can't Go Home Again | Six Degrees of Separation | Flesh and Bone | Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down | The Hand of God | Colonial Day | Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I | Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II | Next Season >



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