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Podcast:Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

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"Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" Podcast
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Transcribed by: Peter Farago
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore


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Contents

Teaser

Hello. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and creator of the new Battlestar Galactica, and this is our very first podcast. This is episode nine, "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", written by Jeff Vlaming, directed by Edward James Olmos. "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" was originally called "Secrets and Lies or Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" by Jeff, and when I saw those titles on the script I knew that we just had to go with "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", it was too good of a title to let lie on the cutting room floor, as it were.

Alright, so this takes us out of what we call the "precap", and now we are into the actual recap of previous episodes on the good battlestar.

"Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" began life as a very different episode than what it ultimately turned out to be. It was originally going to sort of be a riff on "Crimson Tide", a movie if you're familiar with about an incident on board a U.S. nuclear submarine where Denzel Washington, the executive officer, and Gene Hackman, the commander of the submarine, are at odds about whether to launch the nuclear missiles or not, and ultimately they— Denzel Washington tries to relieve Gene Hackman, and Hackman fights back, and the crew picks sides, and they run around the submarine pointing guns at each other, and it's a very tense, taught thriller. I think it's a very good movie, one that I always thought was a— y'know, prime for us to do a riff on. So we always— we put "Crimson Tide" up on the writers' board as a possible episode eight or nine. And we all sort of got excited about the concept and really liked the idea of doing a "Crimson Tide"-like type episode where Adama and Tigh would each start to think that the other one was possibly a Cylon, and that the paranoia that was in the fleet had seeped into the two men at the very top, two men that were very close friends and allies, and that you would get to a place that by the end of the episode, that Tigh and Adama were actually pointing guns at each other. And it was a great idea, but ultimately it didn't work out, and there are many reasons why it didn't work out.

I mean, first of all, the fact that we wanted to do "Crimson Tide" meant that we wanted to do something like "Crimson Tide". You often find that you're sitting in the writers' rooms and you use sort of a shorthand jargon for episodes and what you want to try to do, and you'll say "well, let's do 'Casablanca' or let's do 'Crimson Tide' or let's do 'The Wild Bunch' or some ver— some sort of archetype an episode or a story model, and we use this sort of shorthand among each other. And nine times out of ten, what happens is that each episode goes through so many evolutions and changes that by the time it's written, produced and on the air, it seldom bears any resemblance to the original idea. So certainly this episode doesn't bear much resemblance at all to "Crimson Tide" the movie, except in the most sort of thematic way, it's just about suspicion and distrust, and that's about as far as you can go.

Essentially, the reasons why we didn't go down those paths are sort of complicated and we'll try to talk about them tonight as the episode goes on, but suffices to say at the beginning that we decided to take this episode in a less dark direction, as evidenced by this very first scene where we start seeing very serious matters in the episode were already starting to be treated slightly, just slightly comedically. Starting to see a little bit of quiet interaction between Adama and Laura, and what they're talking about of course is very serious matters about who may or may not be a Cylon within the fleet, but you can kinda tell that just within the actors performances, and especially the way Laura's dealing with Adama, that we're not gonna take this too seriously tonight.

This shot was actually suggested by our visual effects supervisor, Gary Hutzel. These are the vipers streaking towards Galactica as if to be on a collision course, and then at the last minute breaking across in this dramatic fashion. This is the observation deck, which came about beca— y'know, out of several discussions. There really aren't any windows aboard Galactica, it's not really a traditional sort of sci-fi spaceship where you get to look outside and see space all the time. It's not like the bridge of the Enterprise where there's a giant viewscreen where you're always looking at stars and looking at space. And aboard Galactica, which is really a warship, the idea that there would be big places of windows was sort of ridiculous. But it did feel right that perhaps there was one place, that perhaps there was one area of the ship which accepted a window, a port, to look out, and that it would be a fairly confined space for the crew on these very deep space missions that probably last months, if not years, and that there might be a place where they could go and just stargaze for a little bit. And in this situation, it seemed like there would be a lot of people lining up to try to look at the stars and— y'know, a break from the monotony of staring at metal walls and the claustrophobia of being onboard a spaceship out in the vacuum of space.

And we wanted to play a scene with Billy and Dualla, who were a couple that we had established having some sort of romantic interest in each other way back in the Miniseries, and we hadn't really done very much with them ever since. You saw them briefly in "Bastille Day"— y'know, they were together and Billy clearly has an interest in her and there were some raised eyebrows from Laura about his interest and he sort of apologizes for getting her stuck in that situation, but we hadn't played too many beats with them, and I wanted to get back to that. I sort of liked the idea of the young lovers that would still try to find moments when they could just be together, when Dualla would get out of her uniform and Billy would get away from the president, and they would just go on a date together.

This is the piece that I love the most, actually, ironically, is that small little cutaway to all the people standing in line in the corridor. I remember that the idea was, "okay, there is this observation deck, there's limited seating, and there are people stargazing and draw— sketching, and making out and whatever, but that there's a line of people sitting outside waiting to get in and that your time in here is very restricted, so it wasn't really a romantic date so much as it was the illusion of a romantic date, that you could go in there for a few moments and try to forget your situation.

This is cutting into a much longer scene, of Billy going back and reporting to Laura and we learn that Billy's been spying— trying to spy on Adama on Laura's behalf. Um, scenes— I said that this was cutting into a scene, scenes are often chopped up in various ways for a variety of reasons, most often because of length issues. On our show, for whatever reason, we're always— the scripts are always too long, and the assemblies, the editors' assemblies and directors' cuts are inevitably too long as well. It's our accursed running time, which is only like forty minutes and change of actual program content once you take out the main title and the precaps and recaps and the end credits. It's not that long. It's not that much more than an actual half hour. It's only forty minutes, and we're always biting off more than we can chew and cutting the episode down much, much further.

That is actually a stolen shot from a different sequence. We wanted— we didn't have really a good teaser-out, and so we had to hunt around to find an interesting image to go out on. We didn't feel that there was a good enough sort of hook at the end of the teaser, and one of the challenges of writing and producing television is always finding that hook at the end of a teaser to go out on. In this particular instance, we never felt that we had it, so we had to sort of shop around within the episode and find pieces of Adama. I'm not even sure what scene that's from, if it's even in this episode. We had to find a sort of moment of Adama where he looks scary and possibly Cylon-like.

And now we are into the main title section of things to come in tonight's episode, which is a great sort of idea that we came up for early in the process. Actually, I think I came up with this idea. This was— this is an homage, really, to— or stolen, depending on your point of view, of "Space: 1999", which did something very similar in their original main title.

Act 1

Act One: Gaius Baltar and the many, many blood samples. Tracking Baltar and the Cylon detector over the course of the first season proved to be quite a challenge. This was something that was set in motion, obviously, in the Miniseries and that then reverberated throughout the first year, that we had to keep tracking and keep our wits about us. And it kept threatening to get away with us, time and again. In the miniseries, it's established that Baltar claims that he knows how to detect human from Cylon. It's actually something he just makes up in order to implicate Doral and get him— y'know, and to alert the Galactica crew to something that he— that Baltar suspects is a dangerous piece of equipment in combat. So as time went on, it seemed only logical that they would start turning to him and saying, "So where's your Cylon detector, Doctor?" That opened a can of worms for us. It was a good can of worms, something that we had to keep going back to again and again, and I always love this bit of business with Baltar and just how many blood samples there were, and how long it would take him, and just this sort of put-upon scientist. It was something that I liked about this especially because it really flies in the face of a lot of sort of sci-fi conventions where typically the scientist pushes a few buttons and— in his computer, and miracle answers come out. And this was sort of trying to say just how difficult this would be.

This may be one of the sexiest shots of Six we've ever done, which is just her legs coming down off of the table. You know, it's really amazing, quite remarkable what we get away with on this show in terms of its sexual content and its sensuality. Which I'm very proud of, and I make no apologies for. I think it's phenomenal and great that we do it; I think that it's interesting that the show is allowed to be an adult, mature show, and if you have any children in the room, listening to the broadcast, you really should leave.

This gag is one of my favorites. She walks in, and what's he doing exactly? What's he over there doing, that he seems to be– oh. It's just so twisted. Baltar's just such an interesting, twisted character. And her reaction to him is perfect. A lot of this sort of stuff is all just James Callis. This is all just James going on and riffing on the set and improving and doing just marvelous little bits. It's one of the great things about our cast, is that they continually come up with little bits of business, little pieces of texture that sort of flesh out all their characters, that make them more real. And James has really taken the ball and run with his character.

I've commented on this in the past before, but Baltar— wow, look at that, isn't that a great shot?— Baltar on the page— on the written page in the miniseries, I always thought was a really interesting, complicated character, and morally ambiguous, very smart but I never thought he was funny. And James made him funny, and I think that's brilliant because it makes the whole character really sing and it makes him endlessly entertaining and just very watchable and makes it much more human.

Tigh's alcoholism was something I was in love with from the very first. His character is frankly inspired by the character that Kirk Douglas plays of Michael Eddington in the movie "In Harm's Way", a John Wayne film directed by Otto Preminger. And in that movie Kirk Douglas— there's the picture of Ellen that you saw in the pilot that was burned. Actually, that's not correct. In the pilot he burns a picture of the other executive producer on the show, Michael— David Eick, his wife was the woman in the photo, and we had to re-shoot her— re-shoot the photo when we cast the role with Kate Vernon. Anyway. Eddington's character in "In Harm's Way" is an alcoholic and he has a wife who cheats on him. And I thought that the interaction between Eddington and John Wayne's character who's Rockwell Torrey, the captain of a cruiser at the beginning of the film "In Harm's Way", and later an admiral, was fascinating. They were clearly friends, and Eddington was clearly a deeply dysfunctional, deeply flawed character who John Wayne liked, admired, and kept around. And even though he called him to task a couple of times, Eddington was clearly somebody who was in a very bad place, and Wayne kept him around, and I was fascinated by that. I thought it spoke volumes about both men, that there was a friendship that transcended sort of the obvious flaws of the man, that there was clearly something about Michael Eddington that Rock Torrey found worthy and found important and wanted him by his side. And I thought that was a great, unexpected place to take a commander and an executive officer, and certainly not what is traditionally done in science fiction.

Usually the executive officer is just a straight-arrow guy. He's just completely loyal, can be completely relied on, and is loved by one and all. It's pretty much a thankless task, you know, just ask Jonathan Frakes. It's not easy being the first officer on these shows, because typically they don't get to do very much except stand around and say "me too". They have to support the captain at every turn, every once in a while they sort of question, they "Are you sure, Captain?" and "I'm not so sure that's the wisest move, Captain," and they always have to be wrong, because you're always sort of having to protect the captain, because they're the lead in the show. I didn't really want to play that anymore, and I thought it was more interesting to have it— what if you have a flawed XO? What if you have an XO who's an alcoholic? What if you have an XO who was— who had wife problems? What if you have an XO you couldn't always rely on, even though you knew deep down he was a good man? Or that maybe a long time ago, he was a good man.

And again, hat's off to Kirk Douglas's portrayal of Eddington as inspiring this character. But it isn't Eddington. This is not Eddington, this is Colonel Tigh. And the differences, I think, are interesting in that Tigh is somebody that has fought a war. In the backstory of Mike— of Saul Tigh, originally Paul Tigh but we had to change it for whatever legal nonsense they came up with and now he's Saul Tigh— in the bible that I wrote, his backstory says that he, in the first Cylon War, which occurred forty years ago, he started as a deckhand, someone much like this, became a chief, and his cruiser was boarded by the mechanical Cylons and he engaged in hand-to-hand combat in some of the bloodiest fighting in the war. His ship was destroyed, he survived, he went on to another ship, that one was destroyed as well, Mike— uh, Saul Tigh saw a lot of ugly combat in his day, which we will come back to in a moment since this is now Kate Vernon's entrance.

Kind of interesting to see Adama flying for the first time. I didn't want to really seem him flying the raptor, but I thought it was interesting to see him pi— just sort of stopping flying the raptor. And here's Kate's entrance. And the look on his face. After the commercial break, we'll talk about all this a bit more.

Act 2

And we're back, on Cylon-occupied Caprica. Some of the best mechanical raidersCenturion stuff was done in-house, the running raiders. These guys are really, really good. It was done by Zoic. Some fabulous direction here by Eddie, working in very restricted, very difficult locations, and trying to pull them off. None of this shooting was a lot of fun, and Eddie is nothing if not a perfectionist, and he drove the crew and drove the actors, but God he gets great stuff, and you can see why he's just a wonderful, wonderful director. We really enjoyed working with Eddie.

Anyway, we were talking earlier about Saul Tigh and his background and his wife, and in the first Cylon War, that Tigh had been a combat veteran. That essentially after he'd had a couple of ships shot out from under him as a chief, that he was selected for officer candidate school, and that he essentially was dragooned into being a pilot because the fleet was running out of pilots. So he became a pilot and flew several combat missions in the first Cylon War. And the war came to a close, and Tigh, along with many other officers, was discharged at the conclusion of hostilities, and found himself suddenly without a job, without a career. And he hook— he got work as a deckhand on a freighter— on an interplanetary freighter that just sort of plied a very boring route back and forth between a couple of the Colonies. And it was on that freighter that he began to drink, and it was on that freighter that he met William Adama. William Adama was a younger man than he was, had been a pilot in the first Cylon War, but only at the very end of the war, and hadn't seen as much combat as Tigh was. And that by the time Tigh had met Adama, he was already damaged, he was already a scarred man, he had already seen a great many very, very ugly things and had survived them, and the war had left deep, damaging marks upon the man. But the friendship that grew between the two of them lasted for many years, and that when Adama got back into the ser— each of them was out of the service and each of them was hoping to get back into the service, and when Adama did finally get back into the service, he reached out and pulled his old friend Tigh back in with him, and essentially their career paths stayed— they had a similar career path after that, and were very close, and Adama kept him around, and he was a good officer as long as he sort of kept his drinking under control.

Ellen Tigh is never even mentioned by name in the pilot, but she was clearly someone of great importance in Tigh's life. And we had talked about various scenarios of bringing her back, and we had always sort of resisted them for the primary reason that— um, well, to be honest, y'know, it's a bit of a contrivance. Ellen's showing up in the series is definitely the writers' hand. It's us– it is us pulling on a string and making a character appear. I think you get a very limited number of those with the audience. I think the audience will grant you a couple of "gimmes". They'll let you slide by a few of these kind of things, but you can't do it very often. So essentially by having Ellen Tigh show up, we're really raising the bar pretty high before we ever do it again. So it's pretty unlikely that anybody else is going to have a family member that's still alive. I mean they're– after all, they're less than fifty thousand survivors out in our Rag-Tag Fleet, and the odds of anybody, anybody on Galactica knowing someone on one of those ships is pretty long. And then we— but as we decided to do it, we decided to make it a plus in the episode, and the fact of her survival is so unlikely that it helps fuel the paranoia of "is she a Cylon, or isn't she?"

Which brings us back to the discussion of paranoia and why this episode went in the direction it did. In the first couple of drafts, it was— Ellen showed up, and her task was essentially to stir the pot. That her influence on her husband, on Tigh, was such that she would cause him to start questioning things that Adama was doing. That there had already been this sort of notion that was out there in the Galactica world that any of us could be a Cylon, so anyone could be a Cylon, so who could it be? And we were always interested in the idea that Adama and Tigh would start to suspect one another. But they were such good friends, and they had such a deep backstory, that it was hard to get over that hill. So we felt that maybe Ellen starting to whisper in Tigh's ear would cause him to start to suspect Adama. And we had a couple of plot devices that— and they were devices— that were constructed in order to make some actions that Adama took look suspicious. There was something about a jump— that he was making the fleet take a jump to certain coordinates, and he wasn't telling anybody, and some convoluted reason why that I can't even recall at the moment, and their fuel resources were getting low, and why was Adama taking them over there, and she starts whispering into Tigh's ear, and he's sort of suspecting Adama, and then Tigh's actions, and being suspicious of Adama were catching Adama's attention, and Adama started getting suspicious about Tigh, and in essence, it just became sort of a downward spiral that our two heroes, our two buddies, our two friends were starting to go at each other's throats. And frankly, it just didn't work. The honest truth is we just could not make that story work. And there were a couple of drafts of it, and Jeff Vlaming is a good writer, and really tried to sell it. But we just couldn't sell it. I didn't believe it got to a point where they were pointing guns at each other, I just didn't.

We were also having a lot of— as this show was being written, and going into prep for production, we were also in the midst of a veritable firestorm of controversy over the preceding episode, "Flesh and Bone". Which, as you know, because I'm sure everyone who is listening to this podcast has seen every single episode of course— Flesh and Bone is the episode where Kara Thrace interrogates and tortures the Cylon prisoner Leoben, and that episode brought with it a lot of controversy in-house, and with the studio and the network. The network was very concerned about it, we had a lot of spirited debate about it, all of it, I think, within the bounds of creative difference. And it was a very touchy subject matter, but the long and the short of it was we had just come out of a very heavy, very dark, very disturbing episode, and the very next episode was supposed to be "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", which was all about very disturbing, very dark, very— sort of unhappy episode where our two— two of our lead characters started pointing guns at one another.

So there came a point when I just decided, "well, let's punt. Let's not do the dark and brooding episode, let's try a different tone. Let's see if the show can withstand something lighter. Let's try to make something that's closer to a comedy." Or as close to a comedy as "Galactica" can withstand. The show exists in a very specific universe. It's a bleak world, it is a nightmare world, it's a world in which an unimaginable apocalypse has befallen an entire civilization. All these people have lived through a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. You can't ever really forget that, and they will never really forget that. So when we try to do comedy, as such, it's dark comedy. You're gonna smile and chuckle, but you're never gonna get a big belly laugh, really, I don't think. It would be very rare. So this is really our attempt to sort of move the show into a lighter key, as it were.

I love the fact that his wife comes back, and knows that he has a problem with alcohol, and she likes to drink, and instead of helping him twelve-step his way out of his alcoholism, she gets him to drink. There's something so dark about that, and so funny, and so emotionally true. I mean that's one of the things that I enjoy about the show, and that I'm proud about the show, that I feel that the show is emotionally truthful. I think this is a very true scene, and I think you can laugh at this scene. And I'm gonna have to come back.

Act 3

I think you can laugh at the scene with Tigh and his wife drinking, I think you can enjoy it, I think you can be horrified by it, but I think it's true.

This scene was always sort of seen as— in the new version of the draft, when I sat down and sort of decided to do a rewrite and to make this the lighter version of the scene— of the show, I always saw this as sort of the centerpiece, that there would be this dinner party. And there had always been a version of the dinner party in all the previous drafts, but I decided this was going to be the moment where it all kind of hung out there. And this was as close to a comedy of manners as we could get. Here comes this woman into our little family, and Ellen is nothing like the rest of them. She's brash, she's loud, she's funny, she's outwardly sexual, she doesn't mind drinking too much in front of people and saying things that nobody else wants to see– saying things that nobody else wants to hear. And I think that's great. I think that it's interesting that she doesn't seem to live in the same world that they do. And she didn't. Y'know, these— everyone in this scene, with the exception of Laura lived in the military world, in a very sort of controlled environment, and even Laura lived in the world of politics, in a place where people are very careful what they say or do, and y'know, untoward behavior, and there's a lot of looks going around this table. And Ellen just hangs it out there, man. You get the feeling like Tigh took Ellen to various and sundry mess dinners or social occasions, and then learned not to over the years, because Ellen probably inevitably would make his life miserable.

And then this whole little bit, and Ellen putting her leg— putting her foot up Lee's leg. And then the expression on Jamie's face when she touches his calf here— boom— is priceless.

Again, I think that it's difficult to make this sort of lighter episode work within the context of the universe that we've created, but I don't think it's impossible. I think we can get away with this occasionally, because I think that one of the things that "Galactica" is doing is it's presenting sort of a Warts-and-All view of life. It's not all the same. There are crazy people in our midst, there are funny people in our midst, and in the worst of times and the bleakest of times and the darkest of situations, there are the people who would laugh, and there are the people who would do these crazy, crazy bits of behavior. And I think that the "Galactica" world is richer because of it. Just the fact that she makes these people uncomfortable, the fact that she— that all these people wish that she was anywhere but in their room, to me makes her worth having. And hopefully the audience feels that way as well.

This scene— when I saw this scene at home in dailies, which often, as a sidenote— dailies are the— a full day's shooting is called dailies and you get them the next day or rushes, they call them in film. And as the executive producer, a lot of times the dailies tend to stack up on my desk, because I'm writing and doing a lot of things, and then you get like a stack of them, and then you've got to go through them kind of quickly, and you've got to go through them. It's important to because you've got to notice what you're shooting. You see if anything needs to be reshot, you want to be familiar with the material in order to intelligently sit in the editing bay with the editors and talk about different cuts and angles and "oh yeah, there's that piece where Eddie does this, where's that?" So, I am sitting there in my home, and it was a particularly depressing— god, that's great— it was a particularly depressing day and it was very late at night and I decided to have bot— to have a bottle of scotch, no, to have a glass of scotch, and sit down and catch up on dailies. And this was the first set of dailies that I put in. And there was a lot of footage on this dinner party, and I just loved it. It just made me really proud of the show, and I just was in love with the cast— the cast that we had, and the strength of the cast, and I sent them all an e-mail telling them all just how much I enjoyed and loved their performances. Because a lot of this— all this little business here— y'know, Tigh at the door, him putting the shoe back on Ellen's foot, her grabbing his ass, all this sort of stuff is just the actors. Very, very little of this is scripted, if any of it, in fact, and it's really just them being their characters are really living the role and really discovering things in the moment. That— y'know, all this kind of stuff is just the actors and the directors, that little bit of business, this is all just them on the set enjoying themselves and really knowing who they are. It's like a finely tuned theater company at this point in the season, where these actors know the characters, know who they are better than we do. And to watch them do their thing, to really let them go and bring these people to life is just a joy, there's just times when you get lost sometimes in the weeds of the show, as it were, as a producer, writer, and times you're just overwhelmed with what you have to do every day, the pages you have to get out, the scripts you have to read and gives notes on, the dailies you have to watch, the cuts you have to watch, the editing session you then have to do, the notes call you have to do with the network, and I mean, the list goes on and on and on. And there's just so much of it, and you always feel like you're behind, and then there are these moments when you are able to just enjoy it. When you're just able to really drink it up, and look at what you're creating, and really feel satisfied and proud and just go, "my God. Look at this thing that I'm involved with, and look at this amazing piece of work that I have the privilege to get to do," and it's just an amazing thing. It's just an amazing thing.

Helo, played by Tamoh, has this really long interesting storyline that runs the entire season. He was a character that in the miniseries was left behind on Caprica, and at the time of the miniseries there was no plan to bring him back. I mean, this entire subplot happening on Capric— on Cylon-occupied Caprica was not something that was originally planned. It was literally planned only after the premiere of the miniseries. In fact, I remember, when we watched the premiere of the miniseries at the Directors' Guild in Los Angeles with a live audience and projected it up on the big screen, and watched it as a film for the first time, as a movie— it was like, "wow, this thing really works as a movie"— and Helo came across really strongly. There were a lot of people in the lobby afterward asking if we had any plans to pick up Helo. "What's going to happen to Helo?" And I remember David and I— David Eick and I were both really surprised. We're sort of like "Helo? Really? No, there's no plans for Helo," and people being sort of disappointed, that he had really registered with the audience and he had really registered with us. And so, as we started making plans for the series, one of the ideas that just sort of kept rolling around in me head was, "well, what does happen to Helo?" Maybe there's a story line, that you could cut back to Cylon-occupied Caprica and see what's going on. And so when we were coming up with stories for the first season, I threw out there that there we would— that there was a story with Helo, with watching what Helo was doing on Cylon-occupied Caprica.

Act 4

Just to continue the thought about Helo, the idea that there might be a story with him— I didn't know what it was, I just said, "we'll cut back to Cylon-occupied Caprica and see what's happening with the human Resistance or something," and the network thought that was a great idea, they responded really well.

[Laughs] Of course, it's hard to talk about Helo when Ellen Tigh has her legs around Saul's head. Which again is just a piece of business that the actors themselves came up with on the set. I think, even this whole little scaffolding and the painting going on was something that I think Eddie came up with, because he felt that the ship would always being worked on, and that these people would always be sort of fixing and painting and doing various things with the ship, and I thought that was great too. Love this little bit here, with Baltar and Ellen holding hands for the first time, and I can't— I think I wrote something in the script like, y'know "it's hard to say who's thrilled most, the cad or the trollop."

In any case, back to Helo and Sharon. In "33", the first episode of the season, I just wrote this thing with Helo on the run trying to again way from the Cylons, and blowing up the centurions and finally getting captured, and Number Six capturing him, and I think I was literally well— I think I was into the script, it wasn't in the story, I was into the script, and I didn't know what the final scene was going to be between them. He had been captured by Number Six, and I had cut back to Galactica and played a lot of beats there, and then I knew I had to go back to Caprica one more time to sort of at least leave the Helo story on some kind of cliffhanger, and it just sort of came to me that Sharon— if Sharon came out of the woods and shot Six, and then grabbed him and took off, he would think that it was his Sharon, even though our Sharon is back on Galactica. And I had no idea where that led, and what that was gonna be, but I knew it was really interesting, and I was in love with it, and so I wrote it, everybody really responded to it, everybody was like "what's that about? Where's that gonna go?" and I just sorta said "oh yeah, you'll see. Just wait." And it took a while, I mean, it took me a couple episodes, but very slowly an idea started to dawn on me about— that the Helo and Sharon storyline on Caprica was actually the key to the entire sort of Cylon agenda. That what the Cylons were really about and what their— what one of their big goals was, would be illuminated through that storyline. "What is that?" you ask? You won't find out yet, so I won't tell you yet. You'll have to wait until another podcast, and then you compare them and think back on these amazing words that I am giving you right now.

This whole little sequence in the lab was one of the— my favorites on the page and I was hoping that the actors and direction would pull it off. I mean it's really— now we're into straight-up farce. And the farcical nature of it is a fine line for the show to walk, because even though this is kind of humorous stuff, it's very serious stuff. I mean it's the president of the colonies and the commander of the only military force are actually freaking out and kinda having this silly sort of discussion, and as Baltar points out, there's a nuclear warhead sitting over at the side table. But I think it has such a— it has such a warm feeling to it, it has such a great sort of spirit of who these people are and the sort of family that's forming, and I think you get away with it. I think you enjoy it; I think you're sort of there with them in feeling their sort of puzzlement and anguish and— Eddie's sort of glowering off in a corner, and hating to be caught in this stupid situation, and his real feelings about Ellen Tigh coming out at the last minute.

This little bit here— this little bit of Tigh going right at Adama, and Adama yelling back, is as close to— is really the only remnant in the episode left of "Crimson Tide". And like I said, this really doesn't bear any resemblance to "Crimson Tide", except that structurally both pieces get to a place where the two men in charge are sort of at— in each other's faces, and that's about as far as it goes.

The Cylon Raider subplot, which I haven't even mentioned, is truly a subplot. I mean it's really— dramatically, it is a device to provide a bit of action and jeopardy in the episode, to sort of provide some context, and even though there were arguments— I think Eddie even made the argument to lose it, and his cut I think might have lost this whole section, in his director's cut. I felt that this was important because— not so much for any plot reason, because it's a very small plot— y'know, there's a Raider jumping around and us learning certain things about it for the FTL drive, and that later we will use our knowledge of the FTL drive to help Kara Thrace's raider jump in subsequent episodes. It wasn't so important for that, and it wasn't so important for any action or suspense in the episode. To me, it was important because it gives us a moment here— that moment, right there— when Tigh makes an instinctive choice, he tells Lee to launch the alert fighter, just on a hunch, and it's his decision that allows them to shoot the raider down in just a few moments and save the ship. And essentially, that's what this episode— it's one of the things this episode is about, is the friendship between the two men. Adama's entire emotional arc in this episode is about the fact that he was so worried about the return of Ellen into his friend's life that he started acting kind of strange, and got suspected of being a cylon. And why does he care so much? He cares so much because Saul Tigh is a good man. He is a good officer. He is a very smart officer, and he has instincts that are very finely honed. And when the chips are down, Tigh can save your ass, and he just saved the ship's ass once again. And that's why I think that the cylon raider subplot was crucial to this episode, because it gives you a moment of Adama looking at Tigh, and going "God damn it, that's why this is important. That's why you're important to me." And it's important for the audience to understand that Tigh is not just a drunk, he's not this guy that we get to make jokes about week-in, week-out. He does matter to Adama. He is an important officer to Adama for some reason. Adama is not perfect. Adama does not always instinctively know the right thing to do. He's not a perfect archetypical sci-fi hero. He's a human being. He has flaws, he has blind spots, there are moments of inattention, there are moments when he's not making the right call. But he has this friend, he has this man that he can rely on, and as long as that man is at his side he knows that he's gonna make it, one way, shape or form. And that's why we keep him around, even though he drinks, even though his has this wife, even though he yells at Starbuck, even though he's a flawed man in many other ways, he's important. And so that's why we kept it in.

This little bit of business here on Cylon-occupied Caprica is actually one of my favorite moments in the whole series; this moment coming up with Trish— Tricia Helfer, who plays Number Six. When, as she starts talking about the feelings, and Doral musing on how emotional it was, it's the look on Trish's face. A lot of people or some people used to comment that she just plays the sexbot, the sexy robot, and that's her role in the series. But she's not. Six is a much more complicated character, and Trish is a complicated actress, and she conveys a lot here. It's really just the look on her face as he talks that tells the story. There's really nothing else going on here, except her longing, her sort of inability to feel as deeply as human beings feel, and I think that's a lovely, lovely moment on this devastated world that they have destroyed, that they've committed this genocide about. And somehow we start feeling a sympathy and a pull towards Number Six, and the fact that it works at all is really a salute to Trish.

This final little scene, with Baltar giving her the all-clear is a nice way to end the episode. This is as close to the family hug as we get on this show, is this ending. We don't often end a "Battlestar Galactica" with a group hug, or with us back on the bridge, off to face another adventure. We have more of about this, people warning each other "don't screw with me" and "you don't screw with me," or "don't frak with me" actually is what they say. And Baltar lying through it all and spinning off into his own little world. This is as close to we get as that sort of television— TV conceit of enforced warmth that I detest so much. It's just great. There's something wonderful about the deep cynicism and yet the deep sort of love that I think the show has in its hands, because I think in many ways that's what we all have, as we're all deeply cynical, and we're all deeply romantic, and isn't it a great thing when you're about to sort of hold both those thoughts in your head at the some time.

And thus concludes our first podcast. I hope you've enjoyed it. I'll see you next time. Thank you very much.


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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