Podcast:Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II
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Eick: And I'm David Eick, court jester.
RDM: And we're here to discuss the season finale. Yes, it's all come down to this, boys and girls. And we have a 90 minute special to go through and lots of ground to cover. This episode really deals with possibly every single plot thread we've established in the show and tries to deal with it in some fashion, which is in part the reason why this ultimately became a 90 minute episode.
Eick: We experienced this a number of times this year, as some of you may know. We broke a story that was intended to be the first episode of the second ten of season two called "Resurrection Ship", which after Michael Rymer got done with it, became "Resurrection Ship, Parts 1 and 2".
RDM: Almost three.
Eick: And even before that- yeah, almost three- and even before that, "Pegasus" wanted to be a 90 minute and we were unable to move the various pieces that were required to make that happen and I think we were just able to get it under the wire as a one hour episode. But this one when it came in, we just knew. There was definitely a two hour version- well, there's definitely a 90 minute version, there might have been a two hour version, but there for sure was not a one hour version.
RDM: Yeah a one hour. 'Cause Rymer's cut- the one that Rymer gave to us was what, 20 something minutes long?
Eick: Yeah. In fact it was a different cut, but it was actually almost exactly this running length.
RDM: Oh, was it?
Eick: Yeah. It would have aired as a 90 minute episode and it was missing things that we missed and felt was needed, and had things in it that we didn't think were as necessary. But it was very clear- because he had been working on it, at that point, for weeks trying to get it down that far. And and so we were- it was nothing but shear panic and alarm at first because when you say to a network, "Well, we got a show that is supposed to air in a one hour slot and we need you to give us more time," the ripple effect of that is pretty cataclysmic. I mean they gotta go to their advertisers, their sales people, and their scheduling people, and it affects other shows and other programming, and so it was a big deal getting them to approve this and you know, thank goodness that they did.
RDM: And we briefly tried to make a two hour version of this which could have been easier for everybody 'cause then you could always carve it up into two discrete episodes. But the two hour by sort of universal agreement dragged. It didn't really have the pace. It just went on too long. And it's still- even then it was still a little short. It didn't quite actually make it to two hours.
RDM: Yeah, it does.
Eick: Now, I don't know... Is there a commercial after the main title?
RDM: There's a commercial after the main title.
Eick: Oh so the audience doesn't even get any original material before they gotta go to commercial?
RDM: I don't think so, unless they- maybe they restructure it on air which you can tell us. But I believe we go from main title to first commercial break.
Eick: Oh. Well yeah. Please tell a friend not to change the channel during the uh...
RDM: Because I think that was dictated by the way acts had to be structured for 90 minutes, like teaser or whatever it was, was so long that it was ridiculous to put the main title, you know, like 12 minutes in or 15 minutes into the show or something.
Eick: I'd also say, just to be totally candid, 'cause I know Ron has spoken and he certainly reflected my opinion as well about some of the episodes in the second half of season two that weren't favorites. And it was really encouraging getting into "Downloaded" and then to the first part of this episode and now this one, to really kind of get back to what I think excites both of us about the show and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have Michael Rymer back directing of course.
Eick: But I'm really proud of this one in particular. This really kind of has, in its own way, all the pathos, all the emotional potency, and a lot of the danger and the darkness that I think make "Battlestar Galactica" a unique show. It's really- it took some doing to get it there, but I think this is definitely one of the better episodes.
RDM: Yeah, I'm very proud of the show. This is a- I like it because ultimately where it goes at the end. It's a risky show. It's pushing the boundaries of what the show is... What your preconceptions of the show should be. By the end of the episode, once we make the giant leap forward, you start feeling like "Oh my God, anything's possible. What are these maniacs doing?" They've really dynamited the entire Galactica universe and started over. That's a really refreshing, fun thing to do in a television series because typically, you're making the same show week in week out, to a large extent. You're not varying the format so much that you're really challenging people, by and large. I mean every sh- that's not an absolute rule. But it's great to be able to really be true to what the premise of the show is, and take it into these sort of different directions periodically.
Eick: Now where- this thing gets published on the internet before the show airs.
RDM: It goes out that day... the same day as the broadcast.
Eick: So are we gonna talk-
RDM: We can talk about- oh yeah, we spoil- I spoil the episode all the time. Anyone who listens to the podcast wants to be spoiled. They're gonna know the whole plot. We can talk about the-
RDM: Secret, gay forbidden love with Tigh.
Eick: Brokeback Galactica.
RDM: Brokeback Galactica.
(Eick clears throat)
Eick: We definitely were lucky to get the 90 minute because one of the things that had to go if we didn't was this entire Tyrol-Cally storyline.
RDM: Yeah. Oh the one hour is- I mean we did actually have to cut a one hour- 'cause actually...
Eick: Yeah, for international.
RDM: For international consumption we actually had to do a one hour version and it's almost incomprehensible. And all the joy of this episode is just completely gone. It's just like- races you through little pieces.
Eick: Yeah, and if you happened to see the previous week and you're waiting on the edge of your seat to at least get some sense of closure between Cally and Tyrol after this terrible thing he's done to her, um... you won't be getting any of that. (Laughs).
RDM: No. So for those of you in Spain, I'm really really sorry.
Eick: (Laughing) Sorry.
RDM: Tell your people to buy the 90 minutes from now.
Eick: Um this particular section plays really well for me because, as some of you may know, I'm usually the voice of the 14 year old saying "Don't forget the action." And I love the fact that we open this episode- and this is pretty good combat stuff that Rymer got...
RDM: Yeah, we got some juicy action right there in front of you.
Eick: And that Andy Seklir did a magnificent job cutting together because it's always tough with this stuff. And you know, the show really is not an action show. "Battlestar Galactica" is a show with action elements to it, but because it's not an action show, we're not set up to do days and days of action photography. We don't have a full-time second unit director to mop up action scenes. And so our ability to do action, in some respects, depends on how on our game we are during prep and how good the director is at that particular discipline.
Eick: And I would say action is not Michael Rymer's favorite thing to do. So when he does it really well, I'm very happy. (Laughs) And this is...
RDM: (Laughing) He doesn't like it. Surprising- he's really good at it, but he doesn't especially enjoy it. I think- from- I- I...
Eick: It's very technical.
RDM: I would suspect for maybe the same reasons I don't enjoy writing it. They're not my favorite scenes to write or action scenes. They are very technical. It's about calling out shots. And it's really in the hands of the director to figure out the rhythm of an action scene, when you cut to certain people, what Kara's gonna do, how high she gets up on an obstacle- I mean all these things are very camera-specific. And for a writer, I just don't find them that really intriguing. So I tend to sort of- "'The Civil War begins', he writes". (Laughs)
Eick: Or or or "They enter the arena and race".
Eick: Yeah, they're very difficult to- in fact, uh um- often times they're not only the hardest to write, they're the dreariest to read. And there's nothing good about them except for watching them.
RDM: Yeah, except for watching them. (unintelligible)
Eick: But I think um...
RDM: I love this look on Kara's face here at the end of that scene. The way (unintelligible).
Eick: Well honestly a lot of it does come down to the performances. You're as invested in an action scene as the actors are forcing you to be and...
RDM: Yeah, we got really lucky, obviously, with her.
Eick: This was- the first time I saw this episode this was my favorite Mary McDonnell scene in ages just because it's such a different color for her. (Laughs)
RDM: Oh I know. I love the fact that she finally says "frak" and she apologizes immediately for it, "I'm sorry my language".
Eick: Also this was the episode where I think we all sort of agree that Tory was gonna- was here to stay.
Eick: She's a really interesting character. She's a very different energy than Billy was. I love the way Mary plays against her.
RDM: Tory's somebody we should find the first couple of episodes the next season. Yeah, what happened to Tory during the occupation?
Eick: Yeah, I have that note actually.
RDM: Do you? Oh good! We're actually- as we speak, David and I, just before the podcast began we were discussing episodes one and two of season three because I've written the first drafts of the first two episodes and we're starting to sort of figure out exactly what season three is. Yeah, Tory. We should do something with Tory.
Eick: Yeah, yeah. She's a really nice foil in a way- in her own way- for the Laura character, where as Billy was sort of a professional sycophant. I mean it was always impressive when he would stand up to her but it was a big shift for him. I think in a way we're playing the opposite rhythm with Tory.
RDM: Yeah, Tory's more her own woman.
Eick: She's gonna be in Laura's face, maybe in some respects more than Laura wants her to be.
RDM: Yeah, I like that. I like that aspect of the character and she's capable of some nasty shit too. I mean she's gonna - due to the election stuff coming up here.
RDM: This is like an example of the art department doing a lot with very little. They had no budget to do this with. I think I wrote in the script that they were in a redoubt, I called it, or a pillbox or something that uh-
Eick: First time I've ever heard that word. Redoubt. (higher voice) Redoubt.
RDM: And Anders and his guys had some fallback position way up on this mountain, and there was literally almost nothing in the budget to make this thing, whatever it was and Richard Hudolin like tearing out his hair a little bit. But then they just came up with this very simple sort of wall which kind of communicates a fortified position without having to actually build a gigantic thing that would break the budget.
Eick: Michael Trucco who plays Anders is someone who's also gonna be back in season three and really has integrated himself in the cast in an interesting way. He's got a great scene coming up later with Kara and Lee. I think it's always interesting when you introduce a new actor into a dynamic that you're used to seeing a very certain way, it's hard for them not to stick out.
Eick: Here you've got Helo and Kara and Anders here and I would say he sort of seemlessly weaves in. You don't really feel it.
RDM: Yeah, and I like it when he gets back to Galactica. We'll talk about that later but I think this is the episode I like the Anders- Anders the best. I think I really grew to really like the character and the actor in this episode most of all.
RDM: Cylon-occupied Vancouver.
Eick: Yes, it's certainly a city and series of locations that we've shot the hell out of.
RDM: Oh my gosh.
Eick: This is of course Caprica. It's also Kobol. It's also going to be New Caprica, which you'll see at the end of the episode. And coming up with different ways to shoot it and different ways to dress it and different angles on it has become a big job for our director of photography, Stephen McNutt, whose- y'know, God the poor guy's got- (Laughs)
RDM: Oh my God, I know. We just beat up Steve all the time.
Eick: Well y'know, we try to say things like "Well, y'know, Caprica's kind of burnt orange because of the post-nuclear fallout and Kobol is really lush and green. Isn't that enough?" (Laughs)
RDM: Yup. This little B here is a little problematic, I always found. This didn't quite read the way- I think this is a script issue, but the idea was a lot of people come out of their little fortified position and one of them turns out to be Brother Cavil. Doesn't quite- there's a problem as they all turn around and look up at him they look a little bit more surprised than they probably should.
Eick: Yeah as if he's a sudden...
RDM: As if he's a sudden appearance and that wasn't the concept. But you're sort of over and past it in enough time to sort of get the idea.
RDM: This is a great little scene. This is one of my favorite Laura scenes.
Eick: I for- this was such a good scene.
RDM: It's such a good scene.
Eick: I forgot that it was in the script
RDM: I know. I did too.
Eick: I remember sitting there watching, going "What the hell is this?".
RDM: I wrote it and I was sort of like "Well, it's an ok little scene and y'know he- she tries to convince him and talk it out." It was kind of forgettable and then I saw it and I was like "Wow!"
RDM: It's really interesting. Yeah. The way he chose to stage this, putting her in shadow, her sitting down.
Eick: In the script did it say all the lights are off?
RDM: I don't think so. I don't think it did at all.
Eick: That's what threw me off.
RDM: I think he just walked in- I think in the script he just walked in and he didn't see anybody at first and she kinda just stepped out of the bathroom or something.
Eick: But it's another scene- I mean this is- we're right now putting the show up for various awards and they want to know what our selects are. And Ron and I were talking about "Well what- you know we definitely want to push Mary McDonnell for Best Actress, so which episode do you choose?" And first blush you say "Epiphanies" which was an early episode in season two because it was like the Laura episode and "What was Laura doing before the attack?" and all this kind of stuff. Honestly we looked at this- this is her strongest work of the year. It really is.
RDM: Yeah, this is a good good episode for Mary. And there's a beat here- (background noise of what sounds like a toilet flushing) That would be the bathroom. (RDM & Eick laugh) We're in my office today by the way. There's no garbage trucks, but there is a bathroom.
Eick: There is, however, scotch.
RDM: There is scotch and I'm about to completely break the law and smoke in here. Come and get me, Arnold!
RDM: When he- when she says "The-" uh, we have the sound turned down so it's always- it's hard to- oh no, we were past it. There was a beat there where she says "I think settlement on the planet is the most important thing to face humanity" and Baltar just sits back and stares at her for a long time and then he finally says "Ok, you're right."
Eick: Yeah! (Laughs)
RDM: There's something so great about that like you don't know what he's gonna do. And then he kind of has to concede the point even as Baltar, he has to sort of "Yeah, ok you're right." (Lights cigarette)
Eick: Well, I wish it was Super Bowl Sunday, I could have one of those with ya.
RDM: It's the season finale, doesn't that count?
RDM: You can do one on the Super Bowl and one on the season- Dave is an ex-smoker. I'm a recent smoker.
Eick: I'm an ex-smoker, I get one a year. Ron's a re-smoker, we call him.
RDM: I'm a re- recent smoker. I've only been smoking for a couple years. There's been endless discussion on the podcast, by the way, of me smoking. Terry was a guest star last week.
Eick: Was she?
RDM: And she was busting my chops about smoking because I've got into this habit of watching the show and podcasting and chainsmoking through it. It's now literally the place I smoke the most. I now smoke more during the podcast than-
Eick: So were it not for these podcasts, you might have made it to 50.
RDM: That's right!
Eick: Oh well, anything for the show.
RDM: Anything for my fans.
Eick: (Laughing sarcastically) "My fans."
RDM: My people. My- my- my peeps.
RDM: And we talked a lot about whether this moment should happen or not... Whether Laura should-
Eick: Well it was out in the first cut.
RDM: It was out in the first cut. When she calls him on the y'know, "I saw you with a blonde woman on Caprica."
Eick: But isn't it interesting though, and Rym- I'm gonna bust Rymer's balls on this, he always cuts the stuff that's like the best stuff he does.
Eick: Like that transition right there where Six is suddenly there...
RDM: I know. It's a great transition.
Eick: It gives me chills every time I watch it. It's really effective. And he did that- and now I have to admit, even though I think a lot of it was about execution, I- there were a variety of different versions in the previous episode of Mary cracking up laughing- she cracks up laughing.
RDM: Yeah, that's right.
Eick: And there were versions of it that I hated because there were so- I just thought they were awkwardly done. And Ron and I were in the editing room and literally the editor sped by some piece that had been omitted and it was perfect! It was like exactly the moment that made it work. I don't know, I think- you know what it is? We're giving him too much time in the editing room. You gotta kick him out.
RDM: You gotta kick him out.
Eick: He's overthinking. He's cutting out his best stuff.
RDM: He gets there and he starts to worry that it's not working. He shoots amazing stuff though. This scene was gonna be gone too. I mean all this- all the texture of the show was going to have to be gone if we had to actually made this an hour. I like this little thing with Ellen and Tigh and the deal that they make in their marriage, because there was something important to me about saying that they- really it's a completely screwed up, dysfunctional marriage but it works for them. And they come to this place where Ellen says "How long?" and he says, "A year." Ok, whatever, a year! And she actually stands by him. Ironically, fine at the other side of the job.
Eick: But you know, we cut the year.
RDM: Oh we cut the year?
Eick: Yeah. (Laughs)
RDM: Oh, well ignore me then. I got a rewrite project. I'll rewrite episode one, like, right now!
Eick: That was one of my moves to get us the time, buddy.
RDM: That's what you're doing on the dub side?
Eick: There's no more- There's no more reference to one year.
RDM: Oh yeah. "Shortly later..." "A little while afterwards..."
Eick: No, what's great about that scene though- is that he- was that the scene where he says "Go on, cat a round."
RDM: Yeah, "Go cat around."
Eick: I love that because you're suddenly aware of the fact that Tigh knows.
RDM: He knows! He knows!
Eick: And it's great because you realize that they've got this unholy alliance where they sort of understand each other.
RDM: He knows who he's married to! He knows. This is a great little beat too. I like this. I wrote this in the script that this is Kara having to introduce the new boyfriend to her father.
Eick: Yeah, I love that too.
RDM: And I like the fact that he says "I'm more of a Picon Panthers fan, myself." (Laughs) He couldn't resist!
Eick: Yeah, I know. I don't know if you agree with this... This is one of those scenes that came out exactly the way I imagined it when I read it.
RDM: Yeah, actually, me too. I did.
Eick: Her awkwardness about having to introduce him to Adama.
RDM: Even camera-side... like she's on the left, he's on the right, is the way I pictured it in my mind. That's one of those things that I almost always get wrong.
Eick: Yeah, it never works out the way you imagine.
Eick: This is um- Yeah, code blue.
RDM: Code blue.
Eick: Isn't that a colloquialism of our- I mean-
RDM: It's something from a hospital. You hear them yell "code blue" a lot.
Eick: Code blue, I guess-
RDM: This is one of those technical terms, I was just like "OK, and he would yell- wouldn't there be something if you saw a Cylon and you knew it you would just scream-"
Eick: What is code red then? Is code-
RDM: I avoided red just 'cause of the Star Trek reference to it so-
Eick: Oh, 'cause people in red shirts die or something?
RDM: No, red alert is like the thing.
Eick: Oh is that what they say on Star Trek?
RDM: (In cartoonish voice) Alert! (Makes alarm noises) Red alert!
Eick: I see.
RDM: David's never seen Star Trek.
Eick: I've never actually- I heard it's a good show.
RDM: Some of you should actually send David the DVD sets of the entire Star Trek series.
Eick: (Laughs) Well, who knows, I might start ripping that off too.
Eick: The other performance in this episode that I really love is Grace Park.
RDM: Oh I know. She's really good.
Eick: She's got the hardest job- she and Tricia Helfer I think have got the hardest jobs on this show because they have to play, not multiple characters 'cause actors have done that and you can sort of make certain choices and go in certain extreme directions and pull that off.
(Sound of a drink being poured)
Eick: Everyone hear that? That's Dad pouring apple juice.
RDM: And what are we drinking today, David?
Eick: This would be the Johnny Walker Blue Label.
RDM: David really- this is on his dime. He brought in Johnny Walker Blue.
Eick: This is, after all, the season finale.
RDM: It is the season finale. Did we do Kobol last year? Together?
Eick: No. We did season one together... the finale then.
RDM: That's right, Kobol was the end of season one.
Eick: Oh, what-
RDM: This is season two.
Eick: Oh. We haven't done three yet? Jesus Christ!
RDM: No. We're working on three.
Eick: Yeah, I guess we did.
RDM: Well it's confusing too, because we had that midseason break.
(Sounds of Johnny Walker Blue being poured)
Eick: But I like Grace- I should've mentioned earlier- I like her in- that look she has in her face when they're moving through the forest and you're not sure-
RDM: Yeah, whose side she's on (unintelligible)
Eick: ... which side she's on, or if she's just terrified, is she worried because she might get taken out by one of her own people. And this glare right here she gives Helo is just so powerful.
Eick: Grace is not someone who had done a lot of this before "Battlestar Galactica".
Eick: It's not her first job, but she's not Mary McDonnell.
RDM: She wasn't Mary.
Eick: And it's really been great- and I've said this before- but she in a lot of ways gets the "Most Improved" award for the year. Not because she wasn't great in the miniseries and in season one, but she took it so seriously.
RDM: Yeah, she really did.
Eick: She just dove into the training and really, really embraced the opportunity that she saw for herself and it's been great seeing her grow.
RDM: This scene is one of my favorite Kara-slash-Katee scenes. This makes me love her. This just sort of-
Eick: In many ways because she's as hateful as she's ever been! And you just...
RDM: I know, it's as hateful as she's ever been and yet there's something so pure about it and I get why you would fall in love with her and she's such a kid on some level. She's just this kid who's drunk and ha- This is the happiest she's ever been.
Eick: Yeah. Yeah.
RDM: I think this is the happiest we've ever seen this character.
Eick: I think the reason you like her here is because she is human.
RDM: She's very human.
Eick: She's definitely in an indulgent moment. She's not thinking about anything except her own thrilled happiness at having this guy back. And I think everyone's been in all three of these positions.
Eick: We've all been the person thrilled to have our lover back with us. We've all been that guy or girl thrilled to be had back. And we've ALL been Lee, coveting and watching and wishing.
RDM: Yeah, we've all been Lee... like, "Oh shit. There's my old girlfriend, or at least the girl I had the crush on, and she's with the other guy."
Eick: It's a really- it's a really well done scene.
RDM: I remember when they read this at the table read. And this particular table read, they got this this version of the script literally as they were all sitting down, so they read these scenes cold.
Eick: That's right.
RDM: And Katee reading this scene, kept laughing throughout it as she was saying these lines. Later, Rymer tells me, "Well that's how Katee is with her boyfriends. She IS like that! That's just Katee!"
RDM: I go "Really?" He said, "Yeah, she kinda is like that... 'That's my property over there.'" Katee, by the way, is dating an enormous- what is he, a tackle? Guard?
Eick: Well, Katee WAS dating the starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs.
RDM: Oh "was". And she's not anymore?
Eick: Yes. That has since gone on the wane.
RDM: Oh, well sorry. This hap- see I'm three steps behind on this kind of shit.
Eick: If you hang out with Katee for long enough, which is to say if you hang out with Katee for about ten minutes, you'll hear exactly what's going on with her love life...
Eick: ... by minute two!
RDM: I like this too. He leaves and she just kinda goes, "Where'd he go? What's the matter?"
Eick: Oh yeah. Yes. No, I was actually proud of this cut because this scene used to go on a lot longer.
RDM: Yeah, this one- he picked her up, carried her off to the bed. It just went on a little too long. Yeah, that kept going. This is one of my favorite scenes in the show. I really like this one- Cavil...
Eick: Oh yeah, and she- again, I hate to keep harping on Mary, but she's really good in this too.
RDM: Well, what's really interesting to me is I've done a lot of scenes like this, where you have two characters in a split- we did this all the time at Trek. There'd be the duplicates and they would have to act in the scene together. And I've seen that convention many, many times. I swear to God, this is the best I've ever seen it because Dean Stockwell, if you watch him, he is reacting in what seems like real time to himself and Dean had just planned every little beat of this sequence. Harvey and Michael Rymer were both telling me "God, I cannot believe Dean. He just seemed to have it all wired." Everything from his eyeline, looking around the guy, the looks, and the pauses. He knew exactly what the timing was on this kind of thing and I just think it's a great piece of work.
Eick: It's one of the things you realize when you work with someone like Eddie and Mary in relationships with a lot of the others who are so new is that when you've been doing this kind of thing a while there are tricks of the trade that you just can't teach, it's just something that comes with experience. Dean Stockwell is someone who's been doing this like the 1920's or something. (Laughs)
RDM: Oh I know.
Eick: His list of credits is like a mile long.
RDM: He's literally the old pro from Dover.
Eick: Yeah, and he- he- so- but he was also someone who was just the consummate pro. Every comma in the script, by the way, he hit. There's no embellishing about it.
RDM: I got no notes from- Dean never had a note. He just did the script, but he did it so exquisitely well. You know where that phrase comes from, "The old pro from Dover"? Do you know that reference?
Eick: I was pretending to.
RDM: "The old pro from Dover" is actually from MASH. From the- Either from- I think it's definitely from the book MASH and I think it's in the movie MASH. It's this weird thing about- "We're the old pros from Dover!" when they come into the hospital in Tokyo. (Eick laughs) Just some phrase they had or a hooker had about guys that were considered "the old pro from Dover"... somebody of incredible competence that just shows up.
Eick: You mean Trapper.
RDM: Yeah, they're referring to Trap- well, Trapper and Hawkeye. When they go to the hospital in Tokyo...
RDM: ... to go operate on the Congressman's son or something, they show up and say "Yeah, we're the old pros from Dover. We're here to fix up the Congressman's son and hit the links a little bit."
Eick: But it hasn't become commonly colloquial, you're just imposing it on us.
RDM: No, it's an "in" reference.
Eick: So yeah, Dean's coming back. Dean will be back next year.
RDM: Yeah. Dean enjoyed himself. He had a good time on the show.
Eick: Eddie, however, won't be. We should point out that in this point in the show...
RDM: No, Eddie won't be with us.
Eick: ... there will be no more Edward James Olmos.
RDM: But we are gonna have an animated version of Ed. (Eick laughs) An all CGI Edward for Season Three. It's a bold departure.
RDM: Yeah, I think so.
Eick: See how- see, she's so great here.
RDM: She's so great. "Throw him out the airlock."
Eick: The old "Throw him out the airlock."
RDM: Laura can't wait to say that!
Eick: It's becoming her "walk it off".
RDM: It's really like her "walk it off".
Eick: Ron and I were talking about a election episode for years, it seemed like... we were debating whether or not we-
RDM: Well once we did "Bastille Day"-
Eick: Yeah, that's right.
RDM: Because "Bastille Day" is where it all originated.
Eick: Where Lee says, "There's going to be an election."
RDM: "There's going to be an election." And there was a lot of "Oh God, now we have to do an election. What could you possibly..."
Eick: But no, we were really dreading it because when you do- because we've all seen those terrible- I've done a movie where we try to depict the stupid local election. You know you got the guys in the goofy red, white, and blue hats and everyone with their placards, "Vote for Laura".
RDM: I know the placards. (chants) "We want Laura!"
Eick: Yeah, it's all- it just looks lame and you never have enough extras and it just never sells and so the thing I think was the breakthrough was the fact that there would be this- not that we're informed by current events of course-
RDM: (sarcastically) No! Certainly not!
Eick: ...that there would be this attempt at stealing an election and suddenly that became the focus and that's where the drama was and it wouldn't be about the campaign and it wouldn't be about- other than the fact that there's a televised debate in the previous episode which is great, great fun and great send up. I thought it was telling the percentage of the audience when we screened this at the director's guild the other night who got the "There you go again" reference.
RDM: "There you go again." I love that.
Eick: It was roughly twenty percent. Which was about right.
RDM: I know! "There you go again." Well actually, the truth is, when I was- I'm trying to remember how did we come up with this stealing the election and whose idea it was?
Eick: All I know is I was fighting the election episode tooth and nail every step of the way, until this became the issue.
RDM: Until the stealing. What really resonated with me was legitimately not actually 2000. But I was thinking- I saw a PBS documentary on the American Experience about Lyndon Johnson, and there was a thing of when he was running for I believe the Senate or Congress or something. I think it was when he first ran to be senator from Texas, and there was some shenanigan that happened that he kind of skated through. There was a shot they had of a bunch of guys in Texas. It was a black and white still photo of a bunch of guys in Texas standing outside- it's an exterior shot- standing with a ballot box. They're all kind of leaning on the ballot box and grinning at the camera like-
Eick: Oh, the cat that ate the canary? Oh my God.
RDM: Yeah, the cat that ate the canary. And there's been like rampant speculation that things happen in Texas that you probably shouldn't think about too much. But there was this great photo that they had of all these guys grinning, standing around a ballot box. So that was really informing me as I was writing these scenes that somehow it would center around a ballot box, about just slipping the ballots one way or the other. So it was really an antidemocratic thing!
Eick: Well no, but it works- I mean I don't want to sit here and surely we should probably get to start talking about some of the things we really hated about the episode-
Eick: But I think that aspect of it works because you say "Ok well there's going to be an election and that's going to be part of the story and then there's going to be a stolen election, that's why we think it's worthy." But it can't be so overwhelmingly complex and drag you into the minutiae of how the election was stolen. So, hard thing to pull off really is to come up with an elegantly, classical, simple subterfuge that you buy and it feels realistic and that doesn't overwhelm the episode. There's a lot more going on obviously.
RDM: In the two-hour version- Michael shot a lot of stuff...
Eick: Oh God.
RDM: A lot of minutiae of checking in the ballots, counting the ballots, and we just-
Eick: One box being dropped, another box being picked up.
RDM: Yeah, and we just milked- it was like a ten minute sequence. We just milked it for everything-
Eick: Well that was back when we were trying to fill up time.
RDM: Yeah to fill up the time. We'll just keep on the box! These guys go behind this door and there's another ballot box and they take it out of a case and they put this one- And it takes two minutes of screen time or something.
Eick: Yeah. Let's see... What's terrible about the episode, Ron?
RDM: Yeah, what sucks about this one?
Eick: Hmm... That guy's glasses look a little too "Earthly".
RDM: Yeah, who's he?
Eick: You know I actually like this- Props is a big part of the- I mean, they did such a great job with this. Look at all this stuff. It looks great.
RDM: I know. I didn't describe any of this. They just bring in the ballot box. But from the tape to the lock and all that stuff, I think it's completely our production crew really sweating the details.
Eick: I think it's interesting, in TV guys like Ron and I get a lot of credit... directors don't. Director's get- I've never heard any fan or seen any message board or gotten any email about a Rod Hardy episode versus a Michael Rymer episode versus a Jeff Woolnough episode. And Battlestar is unique in that we actually pay attention to that. Now I'm not saying other shows don't. But we imbue the director with a great deal of, I'll say, accountability. We have a lot of very specific things we want and we talk a lot about specifics but we also expect and demand that the director contribute and have the pride of ownership that I think comes with stronger episodes. So a lot of those details that we talk about and that we really like and that we sit and are surprised by are Rymer decisions because he sweats those things. Ron and I will sit up here in L.A. or even down at Vancouver, usually on the phone with each other back in L.A. worrying about the next one while Rymer's saying "OK, I want that sticker to-
RDM: Yeah, "...be like this."
Eick: "...to be like this, and not like that."
RDM: You have to really make it sing. I like the fact that Baltar just assumes that Laura would never do something like that.
Eick: I do too.
RDM: I think that's an interesting thing. I hope that one of the details Michael sweated, or somebody sweated, are the numbers.
Eick: I hope so too! (Laughs)
RDM: Because I did a thumbnail, quick calculation of "There's this many people in the fleet... let's say that roughly this many people are kids. This many people can vote." And I sort of did it on my calculator quickly.
Eick: Oh Jesus, you're right! Kids!
RDM: Trying to add this up... Here would be the majority that would give it to Laura. I put a note in the script, "Numbers are temp. To be checked later."
Eick: Hoping that someone would pick up that ball!
RDM: Hoping that some- And I hope somebody did- There'll be a whole thread on some message board about "Well, I added these numbers up..." Trust me, Laura won.
Eick: I also have to say this is probably my favorite Richard Hatch performance.
RDM: Yeah, Richard's really on it here.
Eick: That character's really had to evolve. The interesting thing about Richard is that for somebody who's got such a notorious association with the show, he was in the original, he was so vocal about our not doing the remake, to have very quietly and in an unassuming way emerge in the show as such a strong supporting character. We have him come up, I remember sitting on a plane with him once, we happened to be booked on the same flight, and he was flying up and he just comes and does it. He comes up for a couple days, he does his thing and goes home. Each time he's shown up he's been better, he's embraced the character more.
RDM: He knows his lines down cold.
Eick: He knows the lines cold, but there's this emerging subtlety to what he's doing and a confidence that I think he's built. That if you look at what he's doing in this episode against Bastille Day, it's almost like two different actors.
RDM: Yeah, he's really great.
Eick: I hope it provides him with more opportunities because I think he's a really strong- When you see some of the people come in and read for these roles, Richard's an exceptional actor. Richard's exceptional.
RDM: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to know that Richard has this role and he's doing well with it and he likes it. It's really nice.
Eick: You never hear a complaint from him like "Why aren't I in this show more?" or "Why can't my character-"
RDM: "I want to fly a Viper again!"
Eick: "I want to fly a Vipe-" Yeah, never. Now watch, we say this...
RDM: I know and tomorrow we get a phone call, "I was thinking I could fly a Viper."
RDM: Look at Tigh's face. He's just like the angriest dog in the universe.
RDM: He's just like "Fuck! This little pissant is now calling me on my stealing of the election and I gotta deal with this shit."
Eick: It's so funny you say that. Remember we were talking about stuff I was getting hung up on on the dub stage yesterday? The slamming of that ballot box in frustration... Three or four times.
Eick: It's like, (as Tigh) "God damn that Gaeta! Jesus Christ!" Another tiny military detail, "Fast and straight, I'd advise", is so- You must've heard that growing up or something because that's so authentically-
RDM: No. No, it's just one of those phrases I just invented in the moment.
Eick: I love that. I love that. And I HATE most of Ron's writing.
RDM: Yes, he does.
Eick: So I don't understand. If we're being recorded while you're pushing that, what is the point of, what does it accomplish?
RDM: It tells them where the next act begins. 'Cause they do put it- when they put it online-
RDM: -they divide it up. You can get the whole episode. Or you can just get it by acts.
Eick: By acts.
Eick: -You know we're supposed to do another- we're supposed to do this again. Oh wait, or is this?
RDM: Oh really? I think this is it.
Eick: Oh, this is the one that they're gonna do for DVDs.-
RDM: -I think so. This is typically what they put on the DVD.
Eick: Oh. 'Cause they were trying to book time for us in, like, some studio or something.
RDM: Oh, I didn't know that.
Eick: -Well it's also- this scene is a litmus test for the absurd level of argument that Ron and I will have. There were three versions of this scene.
Eick: One was lickety split.
Eick: One was incredibly long.
RDM: The Soviet version.
Eick: The Soviet yeah, yeah, yeah I refer to as the- Ron's Soviet version.
RDM: It was a lot of staring at each other. A lot of quiet pauses. And I was like, "No, it's great!"
Eick: And then this version and no- what's interesting is that we'll often have- the argument will be partly conceptual and partly about the details of execution. So I'll say "The scene's too slow, too long." Ron will say, "No! It's not! It's great!"
RDM: (In the manner of the Guinness commercials:) "It's brilliant! It's great!"
Eick: And what we'll eventually come to realize is that where is become the- it's like the Laura laughing scene. Where it becomes problematic for me and where it becomes great to Ron, there's eventually this common point where it comes together. I took a whack at this scene after weeks of arguing about whether it was too long or not and you loved it. (Laughs.)
RDM: I did.
Eick: You didn't notice any- you didn't notice that-
RDM: -I didn't notice what you'd taken out.
Eick: And in fact I had taken out all the things that were torturing me.
Eick: So that it's interesting how it was-
RDM: It is instructive because the process is director delivers a cut of the show and then typically I take the first pass. I'll go into the editing room. Sit with the editor. Do my cut. And then David watches it and responds and then does his cut. And then we kind of like-
Eick: -Do the team cut.
RDM: -do the team cut. And get the final cut of the show. But yeah. That first reaction is sometimes, like, frightening. 'Cause it- you'll say, well that Eddie- that Mary-Eddie scene. Oh my god! It's like the Soviet version of it, I'm being, "No! It's great!"
Eick: "It's brilliant!"
RDM: Then I find out that really what you're- what's bothering you are things I don't even notice.
Eick: Yeah. Exactly.
RDM: It's like, stuff that just, like, goes away and, like, "Oh yeah? Did you cut something?"
RDM: Yeah. When she leans over.
Eick: Which totally took me out of the scene.
Eick: That when you trim the guffaw and added the explosive thing that we said we found with the editor.-
RDM: It was almost a sound thing. We just kinda like took out the sound.
Eick: Yeah, it was more of a sound thing. Well it was that, and it was a thing Jacques found that he hated.
RDM: Oh yeah, the other two-
Eick: That both you and I loved.
RDM: Yeah. We went, "What are you talking?"-
Eick: -Where she explodes laughing. It's funny how this stuff works. It really is. It's so- because you realize at a certain point the audience doesn't care and yet they do. They would notice if it were two different guys doing it, I think.
RDM: This is an interesting beat in the life of the show. Because you can certainly make the argument that no matter what they should just not let Baltar win. That they should just steal the election anyway.
Eick: Well there's what's legal and there's what's right.
RDM: Yeah. And it just seemed really important that these two characters at the heart of a dysfunctional show that's about dark things happen and about how fucked up people are in many ways and how ofttimes they'll do petty stuff and they'll do the wrong thing in the right circumstances. And it seemed important that these two characters when you really got down to it, there was a line they wouldn't cross. They wouldn't steal a democratic election. They just wouldn't do it. No matter what the cost, they would not sell their souls that dear. Or they would, they would sell their souls dearer than that, rather.
Eick: And, you know. That will- that decision will continute to inform the storyline-
Eick: -that dark shadow looming over his forehead. Baltar has become a threat.
Eick: And it's sort of a callback to the miniseries when we viewed Baltar in that way where he was no- he's not afraid, he's not being funny, for sure-
Eick: -and there's nothing at all halting about his demeaner with this Admiral who he's been intimidated well by in previous episodes. He's now in command and it's everything Baltar's ever believed himself to be entitled to. And it's a great transitional moment to see him bitchslap Adama like this and walk away and say-
RDM: -And still be kinda afraid of Adama at the same point.
Eick: -at the same time there is that element of, yeah. You're standing up to the bully and you're a little worried of what he might do to you.
Eddie didn't want to say this line. Did you know that? "Gods help us all."
RDM: Oh really? I didn't know that.
Eick: He said it.
RDM: It's an ADR line, so.
Eick: He said it. And it's in. But he-
RDM: He didn't wanna say it?
Eick: He felt that Adama wouldn't say that. He doesn't believe in God.
RDM: I- y'know I act- that's so funny 'cause I actually wrestled with that a little bit.
Eick: And Eddie said, "Ok." (Laughs.)
RDM: That's a valid note. That's a valid-
Eick: I'm more liable to give Jack Levy an episode of the show to direct-
RDM: -Because of that?-
Eick: -those are the people who wanna do it. That was brilliant.
RDM: This was hard. This was- I kept feeling, and I still kinda feel to an extent, if you're not truly conversant with the show you're like well into the show at this point and suddenly we pull Gina out of the hat.
RDM: But it was true to what the story was-
Eick: What got got cut? What got cut? Did the-
Eick: -but that was all-
RDM: -as he's walking he has flashbacks to who Gina was-
Eick: -Right. But that was all just a bandaid to help with the problem.-
RDM: -Yeah. Yeah.-
Eick: -But in the script, did we?
RDM: No. It was in the script.
Eick: So we were- you're saying we were idiots at the script stage too?
RDM: Oh, yeah. I was an idiot at the script stage.
RDM: Because it's just- it's pulling her out of thin air, to an extent, because she's not mentioned in the episode at all up until this point. And she hasn't- she wasn't in nineteen either, I mean. So it's a- she was in "Downloaded". In the original cut of "Downloaded" there were sequences with-
RDM: Baltar and Gina that we just dropped in editing, so actually now we haven't seen Gina in several episodes. And we're just- but it was important. It was part of the story. It was really part of all the events that were gonna propel us into the "great leap forward" as Mao might say and we had to do it. But I- we couldn't afford time to do other sequences with Gina in this particular episode.
RDM: And we just went for it. And you just to know she is or at least trust us that she's this other Cylon.
Eick: Well, by the way, if you're- you're obviously conversant in this show if you're listening to the podcast.
Eick: Bear in mind, you're watching a performance right here by a woman who two years ago was a supermodel who had not really done any acting before. And I would challenge you to find anybody else who looks like this-
Eick: -who can deliver a performance this layered and this- with this level of believability and texture and at the same time play a completely different character-
Eick: -who's all about allure-
Eick: -and forbidden fruit. She's really a remarkable discovery. And we- we're constantly pinching ourselves because, as some of you know if you've read up on it, she was the hardest one to get approved and- for good reason. The network was a bit reluctant because she'd never done anything before and she had to carry a lot of what made the miniseries work. And she's really quite somethin'. It's also (chuckles)- Ron's talking about if you're conversant with the show. One of the real struggles we have with "Battlestar Galactica" is that it's a show that continues to invite new audience because it's getting a lot of good press.
Eick: People continue to find it odd that a show with this title is doing the kinds of things it's doing, making the kind of moves it's making. We're getting recognition by corners of the media that don't normally pay attention to science fiction. And yet there is this fanbase that deserves to be served and to have the storylines that have been-
RDM: -It's a hard li- it's a hard-
Eick: It's a real balancing act.
Eick: Because we're trying to make this user-friendly for an audience that might watch "The Sopranos" and "The Shield" and "The Wire" but has never watched it before and is gonna say, "Fine. I read it in Rolling Stone, I read it in the New Yorker I read it-"
RDM: -"I'll give it a shot."
Eick: "I'll give it a shot." And you don't want them to be sitting there totally confused. And at the same time you don't want an audience that's been coming to it week after week to feel spoonfed.
RDM: Well that's the inte- that's the tough thing because if you look at the internet chat on the show, they get very impatient with the standalone episodes, the episodes that don't feed-
RDM: -into the larger story.
Eick: -Yeah. I'm sure. Yeah.
RDM: But you are trying to, yeah, bring people in that may not know all that- who's Gina? Who's Gina? You could- I think could watch the finale and get just about everything.
Eick: I think so to.
RDM: I think Gina-
Eick: -is the one thing.-
RDM: -is the one thing you would really have to just take the- a leap of faith on. That, oh, she's somebody and-
Eick: I would encourage- I would encourage the fans to- if you find yourself feeling a bit baby-fed in certain situations or certain episodes, remember we're- we have an opportunity with this show to really build a bridge to an audience that doesn't come to this network at all and that ordinarily wouldn't watch a show with this title and- to the extent you are a part of what we're doing and that you're definitely a group of people who we rely on to continue to be the foundation of the audience. Bear with us. We're still- we think we're still expanding and building this audience. We don't think we're done yet. We don't think we just have our audience yet.
Eick: We think there are still a lot of people out there who will love and respond to this show, and will continue to watch it and continue to give it many seasons to come. We just don't want to freak them out the first time they come in-
Eick: -to check out an episode.
RDM: You don't want to make it algebra.
RDM: You want to make it, like, something accessible.
Eick: Yeah, so once again he's holding his own. And you're right, there is that layer of fear and intimidation in James' performance-
Eick: -that he's-
RDM: -That he's giving him an order in front of all these people because, "I can't give you this order in private. You'd tell me to go fuck myself."
RDM: We haven't done that gag in a while.
Eick: I'm very happy with that.
RDM: I know.
RDM: The piece of debris hits the camera and the camera spins off.
RDM: It's something we haven't done since the miniseries.
Eick: Not since the miniseries. And it was great in the miniseries because it said so, like- the Armistice Station scene. It said so early on, "This is not what you thought what you were getting with this show."
RDM: -Yeah. "This is something different. This is something different."
This is a great performance here by James.
Eick: For people who don't know, James Callis is an extremely happy-go-lucky guy. With this incredible sharp intensity to him and I've had James in my office hugging me and thrilled. He's certainly someone who is effusive about things that he likes and scenes and scripts and stories that he thinks are great. And I've had him come in and just fit-to-be-tied and spitting fire about stuff that he didn't like and it's a great thing about this business. You meet people like him that I just don't know. In what other walk of life would you meet a character like James Callis?
RDM: No. I have no- He's a unique actor in many, many ways.
Eick: Incredibly educated.
RDM: Very smart.
RDM: Interested in the world.
Eick: You can have- you can sit with James for two hours over beers in a Vancouver pub and not talk about show business once.
Ok. And here we go. This is the big leap. This is- we are pay- play- placing a large bet on this. This is the giant thing. Jump a year ahead. And the reasons for doing this are many. I mean, one was the intrigue of doing something this bold. I had been interested in doing, like, big leaps either backward or forward and just catching the audience off guard at some point. I thought about opening season, I think I mentioned this, starting season two, actually, in the past. Like doing a whole episode that was nothing but the characters in the past before the attack on Caprica, and then catching up to the cliffhanger ending by the end of the show. I was always intrigued by really subverting (ringing sound) audience expectation, and this idea of jumping a year forward was driven part by that, but also by the reality of the situation. Like, ok. Well, if you're going to get to a place where the settlement on New Caprica had any validity, where this move by Baltar down to the planet had any meaning, give it some time. Say that they got there, and they really tried to make it work. And a year. Give 'em a year. Give 'em a year on the planet.
Eick: You know, we talked about this at Firefly.
RDM: Did we?
Eick: As we were breaking season two. And we said-
RDM: -At Firefly?
Eick: Our first meeting on season two at Firefly we sat there-
RDM: -Oh! At the restaurant Firefly.
Eick: The restaurant. And we said we'd open season three with, "One year later."
RDM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We talked about that.
Eick: And wouldn't that be cool and gripping?
RDM: Yeah it would be cool.
Eick: And (laughs) then when it became, "Well, hold on. What if you did it inside an episode?"
RDM: -Yeah. In the episode.-
Eick: That's when it was like, "Ok."
RDM: And do it not as an act break. Like, do it in the act. Just move a year forward and keep going and we just both became in love with it because the audience at this point is going, "Ok. It's a dream. They don't mean it. It's a Bobby steps out of the shower kind of sequence."
Eick: Yeah. Exactly.
RDM: No. We mean it. Like,-
Eick: -Yeah. We're seeing it.-
RDM: -it's really a year later.
RDM: We really became enamored of that boldness of the-
Eick: Well and, yeah the boldness of it and the fa- I think we still are attracted to things that scare us, which, and that represent the possibility for failure, which is hopefully a good thing because oftentimes you get into the comfort zone of a show doing well like this has begun to and you stop doing that. And we're not-
RDM: -The whole-
Eick: -for better or worse.
RDM: The whole business with the girls and the pills, I think, is something that Rymer came up with.
Eick: That was a Rymer thing too, which-
RDM: That's all Rymer.
Eick: I went back in forethought and I've since decided it's good. Although it might strike people as too much. I think it's- you're trying to convey an idea, you may as well go for it.
RDM: (whispers) Isn't that great? (resumes normal voice) Isn't that a great shot?
Eick: Gary Hutzel really did an amazing job. The visual effects in this I'm particularly proud of the little morph, which I didn't hear you complain about, from black hair to black hair. By the way-
RDM: Yeah, I didn't like that.
RDM: I didn't. This is true.
Eick: And land on his hair and then pull back and it's one year later. He was insistent we do the cut-
RDM: In the script I did it where Baltar walked- it was written where Baltar walks to the window of Colonial One, looks outside, and then in a cut he turns back and starts talking to Gaeta. And we did it literally in a cut. It was supposed to just be a shocking kind of cut. Lighting change, the whole thing. And this was David's thing about the slow push-in and the pull-out and it's-
Eick: But Rymer also didn't like it and shot it really well and then cut it out of the episode.
RDM: Yeah, that's true. Rymer cut it out.
Eick: As he is wont to do.
RDM: He cut it out.
RDM: I know. That's so funny.
Eick: Now that, I had- the previous scene we just saw is one of my favorite scenes in this show. The ghost ship.
RDM: The ghost ship.
Eick: Which was also gone in Rymer's cut-
Eick: -because we were too long. But I love it because it's so pathetic. It's just so sad and melancholy and-
Eick: -it's Adama all by himself.
RDM: -All by himself on the-
Eick: Which, by the way, an idea we're carrying into season three.
RDM: Which fol- which calls back to the miniseries-
Eick: -Calls back to-
RDM: -ghost ship-
Eick: -yeah, exactly-
RDM: There's a great beat at the end of this, that I absolutely love, where Adama after Tigh leaves and Adama's all by himself, Adama picks up the cigarettes, takes out a cigarette,-
Eick: -and he breaks the filter-
RDM: -and he breaks off the filter. I love that. It just says so much about the character. That the character used to smoke, and not only did he smoke-
RDM: -he was to- He was tough. "Fuck this filter stick."
Eick: "Fuck this filter." Yeah.
RDM: He- "I'm gonna smoke 'em pure." It's just so great. It's such a great- I don't know if it was Eddie's idea or Michael's or who was it but it's such a great-
Eick: I'm sure it was Eddie's, 'cause he seems like a purist.
RDM: It was probably Eddie. It seems like a very Eddie thing to do.
Eick: It's very scary watching this for the first time because, and still is in a lot of ways. We just- how much is too much? Ron was very insistent and I was pretty resistant, actually, to how overt we needed to be with every character's little change.
Eick: Everyone's a year-
RDM: -A year later, what do they do?
Eick: Yeah. Everyone's got their little thing that's different and you'll see as we go on evidence of that and I felt that it would be enough- I just thought less was more. And I think Ron felt, and you'll see the biggest example of it coming up, that we needed to go for it and really make the audience understand that we're not kidding. It's not a dream.
RDM: Yeah. We're really changing this.
Eick: If you got up to go to the bathroom during the chiron that said "one year later", you still better be able to understand that something completely freaky has happened. And I have to say, in retrospect, this is an example where I'm glad I lost the argument because I do think you need- you do need to be overt here. You can't play it safe. You can't be to subtle about it. We might get some snickers when everbody sees Eddie's mustache (chuckles) which is more to do with the actor's history than it has to do with the concept of it. This moment, oh my god. This is great.
RDM: I love this. Kara appearing out of the crowd with the long hair, to finding Anders, and the- I really like the way we throw away a lot of stuff. When she says, "I married a moron," you're like, "Oh my God! They're married?"
Eick: Why this works as well as it does is- and I think it does is that there's a very naturalistic approach to the environment. "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"-
Eick: -for you film buffs out there, served as a real visual template for how this was shot. Very long lens, so you're not obligated to build out a lot of the backgrounds. It's all- you're really focused on the people and it just looks like you- you're in this settlement.
RDM: You're in the settlement. And I said, as soon as I saw this footage, I was blown away because I- I had done a very long time at Star Trek and we had gone to many alien planets, and many settlements, and many off-the-ship settings, and I really believe this is the best one I've ever seen. I've never seen an environment that really sold me the idea of a city or another culture or a settlement on a planet as well as we did in this epsiode and it's amazing.
Eick: And Rymer's such a fuckin' savant about this stuff. I keep trying to zero in on, "What is it?"
RDM: What exactly does it?
Eick: Because I know exactly what you mean 'cause I've done these things too and they never look good. And-
RDM: And I'm buying this. This is-
Eick: Totally! Totally!
RDM: This is a place!
Eick: Yeah and I said- when he was in here the other day and were saying, "So is it that you're using long lenses, that you're blasting out the backgrounds?" He's like, (australian accent) "Well, yeah, kinda but y'know not always. I mean sometimes we've got real wide lenses out..." and you're like, "Oh, Christ."
RDM: (Chuckles) Yeah.
Eick: I ca- (laughs)
RDM: He just does it. He's like (australian accent) "I don't know if it works."
Eick: A lot of this wardrobe I would have been terrified by, to be honest with you, but I think it's all ok.
RDM: Yeah, it all works really well.
Eick: This is great, too. Seeing Tigh with the goofy hat.
RDM: I know! I love Tigh in the hat! It's like, Tigh has this goofy little hat. As he leaves Galactica and moves down to the surface.
This union hall, this is call- what's called the union hall in the script. This speech of Tyrol's is a riff on the speech that Mario Savio gave in Berkley, California in the 60's. In fact he gets a credit at the end. We contacted his widow and asked permission to use the speech, or to paraphrase the speech. And she was a lovely woman, and she gave us permission to do it, even though- and then she kinda copped to the fact that actually because of that time, the way the law was, she didn't even have to give us permission. It was like, we could have done it anyway.
Eick: No, but it's so good that-
RDM: But she was, like, embraced it. She appreciated the way we had done it and I-
Eick: It's my favorite moment because honestly I've had this speech taped up on my wall at home, in my home office, for the last five years. I found it when-
Eick: -I saw the documentary "Berkley in the Sixties" and this guy Mario Savio was just this kid in college who stirred up this hornet's nest about civil rights on the campus of Berkley and when he- they got everything they wanted and they got the administration to step down and give the students their rights and everyone was just supposed to go home and smoke pot, Savio said, "Well, wait a minute. We still have a war to stop."
RDM: -Yeah. It actually matters.
Eick: Everyone was like, "What!?"
RDM: "What are we here for?"
RDM: "What are we here for, again?"
Eick: And this guy could have been President, he really could have been, and if you're- if anyone's listening to this you should look him up. He died a young man for- due to a weak heart, but really was courageous guy and an inspirational guy.
RDM: I remember working through these scenes in the script and there was something interesting that Tyrol, the Chief of the Deck, who became a union leader.-
RDM: -Is still dealing with labor and men and men and women and labor issues. Cally's pregnant and there's a little moment that flies by you there where Tigh and Kara embrace and they're friends, and how did they become friends? And it was all about saying- giving little pointers and indicators to the thing that you'd missed. All this year had gone by and all these characters had moved on.
Eick: Mmmhmmm. And I love that Aaron really studied Savio, too-
RDM: -Yeah, he really- he studied-
Eick: -All those little hand gesticulations he's doing are right out of the way he used to deliver speeches.
RDM: And I love Laura in this scene.
Eick: Oh, yeah. It's great, isn't it?
RDM: The messed up hair and the sense that she's been in that class teaching for-
Eick: Well, it's that "Dances With Wolves" look-
RDM: -It's the "Dances With Wolves" kind of look and she's so appealing and just so dedicated to being a teacher again and you feel like this is the happiest you've seen Laura ever, 'cause she's back in what she used to do and that she's really at home doing this and she's- she hasn't forgotten about the politics of the situation and being the President, but this is what's important to her now.
Eick: And even more importantly, for those of you who have cable television, check out the L-word. There's a little part that the character playing Maya has that I highly reccomend you take some time to review.
Eick: I had no idea until very recently.
Eick: I'm quite impressed. Multi-talented woman.
And another thread from episodes past is, "Oh yeah! The Cylon baby."
RDM: Oh, the Cylon baby. And the cradle! You barely see it there but the cradle is the exact same one that Baltar saw in his visions.
Eick: Oh my god. Are you serious?
RDM: The white cradle? They called me about it.
Eick: I never noticed that.
RDM: They called me about this. They said, "Can we use the same white cradle that he saw in the visions in 'Kobol'?"
RDM: I was like, "Sure! Why not?" And it's great!
Eick: (Laughs) It's funny the things you try to spare. I love this shot of her approaching the Raptor and then entering it because of the decay and the age and the melancholy nature of turning the thing back on and- you're watching is thirty- forty seconds of stuff you don't actually need. You could just start right here on the Pegasus and introduce fat Lee.
RDM: Fat Lee.
Eick: The thing I was most worried about, which I think actually works. And then go to Kara on the phone, but it's nice to have that texture. And you give up other stuff for it.
Eick: I love it too.
RDM: -"It's for you." And she knows who it is, and he knows who it just by the way she says it.
Eick: Now we never talked about this, but is she the XO here? Did we think she's become the Tigh of the Pegasus.[00:09:36]
RDM: I think she has. I think that's something that happened in the year off and I think that essentially so many people left Galactica and Pegasus that they really are on skeleton crews and somebody like Dualla that went to Pegasus, to be with Lee presumably, and we'll deal more with- we have episodes that deal with the circumstances of that in season three and how it happened and why. But the idea was she essentially went over there and then more people kept leaving and leaving and Lee made her the XO.
Eick: This fat of Lee's was- is a technology that is very limiting. There are very few ways you can shoot it. It has to be applied in an extremely delicate and subtle way and I've seen it done at least ten times horribly and so when we decided we were gonna go with this as the "thing that's different about Lee" I was certainly nervous about it 'cause I would just hate to get to this point in the episode and suddenly feel like you're watching an episode of "Lost in Space". And Patricia Murray, our head makeup person, takes her job extreme- more serious than most of the rest of us.
RDM: It's a subtle thing. It's not like-
Eick: It's really- it really is.
RDM: It's not like he has a giant "Austin Powers" fat suit on.
Eick: Ha! Altough...
RDM: He's just got a little more jowel. Athough..
Eick: Yeah. No, you're right. It's a very subtle thing and a lot of it is how Jamie's playing it, too.
Eick: He's carrying himself differently. Walking differently.
RDM: And then, yeah, Helo is the XO.[00:09:36]
Eick: Tada! Yeah.
RDM: And "Where is Sharon?" you may ask. Well, you'll have to see where Sharon is next year. But we didn't forget about Sharon.
Eick: (Whispers) We'll be back.
So the- our heroes are abandoning the people stuck on New Caprica and... (laughs)
RDM: (Laughs.) I know. Gaius with the chicks. It's just so perfect. Again, I didn't write any of that it was just like he came in and told Baltar, but the idea that Baltar was lying on the couch with these broads is, like-
Eick: This is a great, by the way, it's hard to appreciate this until you've heard the final mix but I actually never noticed before those bottles shaking on the table.
RDM: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Eick: It's really great. "Judgement day." The nice thing about this stuff with the whole cast is that they all get to play different variations on themselves. Gaeta, AJ, running in there as his aide, kind of annoyed with Baltar and having to- it's a whole different thing for him to do. I wanted Michael to shoot Mary as she exited the tent here and watch what's about to happen. (chuckles)
RDM: In a later shot. The later shot.
Eick: Oh, ok.
RDM: When they're marching in.
Eick: Oh, when they're marching- oh. This is great. 'Cause this was out forever and Andy Seklir fought and fought and fought to get it- to put it back in.
RDM: -Yeah, put this back in. 'Cause this really does. This beat with Leoben and Anders and Leoben looking for Kara really plays pretty big into the first three episodes of next season. Why is he looking for Kara Thrace? Well, we'll find out next year.
Eick: Well it's on the rack focus. (Makes sound) (Screams) (faintly) "Leoben..."
Yeah, nothing but dread and gloom and doom.
RDM: That's "Battlestar Galactica".
Eick: It's all horrible. (faintly) This is so beautiful.
I also- it's an ephemeral thing but the fact that they all look a little different. Six's makeup is very different from what we've seen before. Sharon's hair is different as she enters here. You really feel Sharon the Cylon here. You realize, "Oh, that's right. She really is. She's one of them." These are details would get by you if you didn't have Michael.
RDM: There's a portrait of Baltar back there on the wall that you saw in earlier shots that I've-
RDM: -I've made it very clear that that- that's mine. I want that-
Eick: (Laughs) When it's all over?
RDM: That has to end up in my office.
I believe James stayed up all night and drank.
RDM: Did he?
Eick: Yeah. He really damaged himself to do this. He really wanted to look horrible and there's only so much makeup and photography can do.
RDM: Yeah, I know. You have to look- you have to feel horrible to a certain extent.
Eick: Another bit- that it's costly to take this much time for all these looks and moments and the subtexts. Finally Baltar is seeing a number six that's not just in his head but really there. All this stuff takes time and there are- there's a lot-
RDM: Which is why the episode became really long.
Eick: Yeah. And there are things we had to give up to allow this to play like this and it's always a tradeoff. Do you wanna let the audience feel the enormity of the situation by playing the scene rhytmically in this ways. That you really are made to feel just the size of it. Or- we've all seen MTV and most shows are cut like that.
Eick: This axis is very unusual for television. That you're looking at people-
Eick: -looking on either sides of frame like this and you're- I guess this is the Y-axis and then you cut over and start using this stuff, but it's very cinematic. Very, very rare to find this in tv directing.
I'm just annoyed with Rymer 'cause he went and did that ABC pilot.
RDM: Oh, I know. He's off doing a pilot as we speak.
Eick: Well, why are we talking about him so much?
RDM: God damn-
Eick: Screw Rymer.
RDM: I like the conflicted Baltar.
RDM: He's not an outright villain. He's really, like, struggling, trying to do the best he can but he's a weak man. He's like a man driven by many, many flaws. And then in this moment he feels the need to act as the President. And this is all, essentially, a callback to the Nazis marching into Paris. People standing there watching the Nazi troops march by. And what can they do? They've surrendered and this is what it's gonna be. This is the shot you were talking about.
Eick: Yeah I wanted Mary to have a slow, one teardrop rolling down her cheek like the, on this shot, like the Indian in the litterbug commercial from the 1970's-
RDM: -Yeah, the litterbug commercial-
Eick: And, being from Australia, Michael never entirely-
RDM: -He didn't quite get that reference.-
Eick: -knew what I was talking about.
RDM: He didn't know how important, how informative, that was.
Eick: I didn't quite- yeah, exactly, growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, there's nothing like that litterbug commercial, man.
This is a great closing line, though.
RDM: And that's it, boys and girls. That is the end of season two, Battlestar Galactica.
Eick: We open season three it's five years later.
RDM: It's five years later.
RDM: You'll have to see where we are in season three, but it's a hell of an ending. I think we ended season one by saying, "Well, ok. We've shot Adama and we're not going to try to top ourselves every season." We certainly didn't come into this equation trying to top ourselves.
RDM: But in- I think it's arguable to say that we probably did. This is probably a bigger-
Eick: -Well, this is a much bigger conceptual-
RDM: -Yeah, it's a conceptual change.
Eick: -change than just the action of shooting Adama. But... good luck. I hope everyone comes back.
Eick: That's for sure.
RDM: We will see you next season, so thank you very much for listening, and that is the end of the podcast for season two.