The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part I
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- Herded into a confined area of space, the Fleet must pass within close range of a lethal Cylon pulsar cannon—unless an expedition from Galactica can assault the ice-bound fortress housing the weapon. Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer lead a team of cut-throat demolitions and cold-weather experts (and the stowaway Boxey). Along they way, they encounter the misguided human scientist who originally built the weapon, as well as his legions of clones.
- On Galactica, Adama suspects that despite recent successes, they are being herded into this particular region of space. He is unable to send out extra patrols, though, as his crew is already stretched to the point that they are using cadets for patrol duty.
- The Viper patrol makes contact with a small planetoid. The icy planet appears to be covered with diethene storms. The patrol asks permission to take a closer inspection, which is granted. The patrol is warned to stay out of the orbit of the planet.
- A Cylon garrison is shown on the planet, and they detect the Vipers on their sensors. Garrison commander Vulpa orders the gun crews to readiness.
- Cadet Bow sees a flash on the planet surface and veers off to investigate, only to be killed by the first shot of the Ravashol pulsar. Starbuck and Boomer are amazed at the range, and warn Galactica (which goes to alert status and stops the fleet).
- The cadets attempt to engage the pulsar themselves, while Starbuck and Boomer attempt to call them off. Vulpa orders his crew to capture one of the pilots alive. Cadet Shields is killed by the pulsar, while Cadet Cree is forced down by Cylon Raiders. Starbuck and Boomer reluctantly return to Galactica, unable to help Cree.
- Adama believes that a single shot from the Ravashol Pulsar would destroy Galactica, which explains why they are being herded into that particular sector. Adama determines that a small commando team would have the best chance of destroying the pulsar, and orders a computer search to determine the personnel with the appropriate skills.
- While the computer is running its search, Starbuck enters the computer room. Starbuck feigns ignorance regarding computers, then persuades Corporal Komma to briefly abandon his post in order get a chance to see the new female Viper pilots. While Komma is gone, Starbuck sits down at the console and alters the program.
- The computer finishes its report, and Starbuck is surprised that most of the specialists selected are criminals. Boomer and Starbuck are sent to the Prison Barge to retrieve the selected prisoners.
- The prisoners selected include a former ice planet garrison commander Croft, demolitions expert Wolfe, alien environment expert Thane, and sub-zero experienced medic Leda. Leda reveals that she is Croft's wife, and that putting them together is dangerous.
- Apollo successfully argues his way into mission, suspicious that somebody (possibly Adama) had tampered with the computer results. Gunners Haals and Vickers are also attached to the mission, as well as weapon specialist Voight. Boomer and Starbuck are also assigned.
- Adama lays out the plan to the assigned crew. The Cylon basestars will catch up in "eight or nine hundred centons". The crew is told the fleet will be moving on in 700 centons, with or without them.
- Starbuck becomes agitated when somebody tried to pack up Cadet Cree's personal items. He insists that Cree is not dead yet.
- Down on Arcta, Cree is approached by three Centurions. He manages to shoot one before his laser pistol malfunctions and he is captured.
- Apollo tells Boxey that he is going away on a mission to an ice planet. Boxey wants to come, having never seen snow, but Apollo insists that he stay.
- The crew fights amongst themselves while preparing in the shuttle, and Apollo breaks them up. Apollo points out that they might have set off a hand mine if they had continued.
- The shuttle takes off, escorted by a Viper piloted by Killian. Killian manages to fight off a raider as they approach Arcta, but is destroyed by the pulsar. Lacking an escort, the shuttle is damaged and forced down. The Galactica loses contact with the shuttle, unable to contact them without giving away the position of the fleet.
- The crew assesses the situation, and find that Voight is severely injured. Wolfe manages to secure Voight's laser pistol while they are tending to him. The shuttle is too damaged to fly again or even sustain life, so the crew will have to transfer to the snowram. A raider spots the crash site, so the crew must hurry. As Apollo boards the snowram to offload of the shuttle, he discovers Boxey and Muffit in the cabin. The snowram offloads, and Starbuck mans the turret on top of the snowram, using it to shoot down the Cylon raider.
- Vulpa orders a foot patrol of Centurions to retrieve the humans.
- Cree is being interrogated by the Cylons regarding the Galactica's location. Cree fails to cooperate, and the Cylons decide to hook him up to a brain probe to retrieve the information.
- As the crew is finishing loading up the snowram, some of the criminals are plotting the best way to escape. Croft is more concerned with completing the mission, while Thane and Wolfe are looking for their chance to get away.
- As the snowram heads out, there is not enough room in the cabin for everybody. They will have to rotate two people at a time on top of the snowram. Haals and Wolfe (despite his objections) are the first two to ride on top.
- Wolfe, fed up from the cold, attempts to use Voight's laser pistol on Haals, but ends up knocking on the power systems on the snowram.
- A diethene storm is approaching the crew, so they pile into the snowram and hope to wait it out. Croft warns that they are doomed if the diethene reaches death point, the temperature at which the air turns liquid. Muffit, unaffected by the diethene, runs out of the snowram and off into the snow. A group of four Centurions finds the wreckage of the shuttle, and a backpack that was left that has the Galactica insignia on it. They begin to follow the tracks of the snowram.
- The crew awakens alive, inside some sort of a cave. A bearded man tells them they are lucky to have been found. Apollo asks if they are free to go, but the man insists that the storm will prevent that for now, but in the meantime he will get them some water as they are likely dehydrated from their diethene exposure. The man leaves out one door, and appears to enter from the opposite side a second later. When questioned, he is very gruff and does not have the promised water. The man returns (from the door he originally left), along with some other identical men. They give the crew food and water.
- Apollo reveals that it is their plan to destroy the pulsar. The Thetas seem to believe this is not possible, until the crew reveals they have brought solonite. The Thetas agree to lead them to their village.
- Starbuck inquires with the female if they have seen any other Warriors, or where they would be taken if they were captured. The female indicates that she has not seen any others, and does not know where they would be taken.
- As the crew is led by the Thetas to the village, Wolfe shows Thane that he has the laser pistol and tells him that he is ready to use it at the right opportunity.
- The crew has to freeze and hunker down near the entrance to the village, as a patrol of Centurions passes overhead.
- Baltar is shown in his command chair. Lucifer reports that Galactica is passing near Arcta as Baltar had planned. Baltar requests extra basestars be brought up. Lucifer reminds Baltar that recent losses have nearly depleted their supply of raiders, but Baltar points out that Adama does not know that.
- Titles for this two-parter included "Crossfire", "The Nari of Sentinel 27", and "Ultimate Weapon". "Nari"/"Crossfire" is the one hour episode, which was expanded to the two hour teleplay "Ultimate Weapon". "Ultimate Weapon" was the shooting script for the episode, with a few changes during production.
- It seems likely that the episode "Bastille Day" in the Re-Imagined Series was partially inspired by elements of this episode. In both episodes, a group of criminals is conscripted from a prison ship to work on the icy surface of a hostile planet. A notable difference between the two episodes lies in how the workers were chosen. While the workers in "Bastille Day" are chosen in part for their expendability, the conscripts in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" are chosen for their expertise in harsh environments and in demolition work.
- This was actually the second episode in order of filming, hence Cassiopeia's absence, as she was originally not intended to be a continuing character. In fact, she had been scripted to die on Carillon at the hands of the carnivorous Ovions.
- "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" is another episode that borrows from other Hollywood productions. In particular 1961's The Guns of Navarone starring Gregory Peck and the Rock Hudson classic Ice Station Zebra that was released in 1968. Both movies involve teams of military men accomplishing difficult missions—in the first story to capture a large gun manned by Germans on a Greek island, and the second to rescue a crew from a weather station high in the arctic. In The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, both elements are combined, a team must infiltrate an enemy outpost on the ice planet Arcta to capture a large gun manned by Cylons. The final element of the show, the use of prisoners to accomplish the task, is also a well known plot device, but was perhaps best depicted in the 1967 World War II classic The Dirty Dozen.
- This is an episode with new effects and a broad scope that is involving and action filled. With the possible exception of some of the longer segments where the heroes are slogging through the snow, the story moves along at a good pace, and a real sense of tension is built up.
- The character of Doctor Ravashol and the relationship he has with the clones he created is an interesting one. Instead of being governed by a god complex, he seems to have a benign neglect for the clones, and his lack of concern for the uses the Cylons have put his laser to suggests an absent minded professor who loves to tinker, as opposed to a person who thinks more deeply about the uses of his creations. In this way, Dr. Ravashol is a scientific genius that seems to work totally against the usual type in science fiction. Although his laser is ultimately destroyed, he seems to have no fear of the technology itself, or even of the Cylons who are the best example of technology gone amock in the series.
- Perhaps due to the casting choices, or perhaps because of some long lost backstory, the society of clones has an almost Scandinavian feel, and the expressions of pacifism and egalitarianism actually resonate.
- The episode showcases excellent model work. The crash sequences of the shuttle and of the Viper remain some of the best effects work in the Original Series.
- The premise and science of the episode is questionable. Give the vastness of space, how could the Cylons herd Galactica excactly towards one specific planet? The Fleet should easily be able to bypass it in any direction.
- In the Re-imagined Series episode "Razor", a battlestar group attacks an ice planet believed to contain an "ultimate weapon". This look-back to a Cylon War-era battle with a similar premise is an homage to this Original Series episode. (The "ultimate weapon" on the Re-imagined ice planet was the development of what was to become the humanoid Cylon.)
- Why are there prisoners and a prison barge in the Fleet?
- Why can't the Fleet go around the other side of the planet, with the pulsar on the opposing side?
- Why didn't Vulpa note the patch on Cree's jacket during the interrogation?
- Why does Vulpa bother to question Cree before using the brain probe?
- Couldn't Muffit be simply turned off, thus avoiding the possibility of revealing their position by a robot daggit?
- Benedict: We just finished a show that takes place on an ice planet. The set was so real you kept looking for the ski lifts. I kept singing "White Christmas." They used a new kind of snow that even smelled like snow. With huge shakers at the top of the stage, they can control the density of it and everything.
- "The wardrobe was quite heavy. Earl Bellamy, who was a friend of mine, was also Head of Production at Universal Studios and I said to Earl, ‘Earl, you’ve got to do me a favor. You got to let me rent two air conditioners for that stage. The entire crew are dressed up in these parkas. And if I can’t cool that stage down to say, 50 or 55 degrees, we’re never going to get this thing shot because people are going to be sweating themselves to death!’ And so he said, ‘Let’s see how it goes the first couple of days.’ Well, the makeup guy must have gone through 400 boxes of Kleenex the first day! Every time we were ready to roll we had to quit because everybody wore these plastic masks. Well, people would sweat, they would frost up, and it was just impossible the first couple of days. I started shooting on Wednesday, and on Friday afternoon Earl called me and said, ‘the second air conditioner is on its way,’ so we hooked it up Friday night and to my recollection it was right between 50 and 55 degrees by Monday morning. And what we did is we told the whole crew, ‘wear your parkas, crew,’ so the entire crew were wearing parkas and things that at 50 degrees would keep them comfortable and made the filming immensely easier to commence and to keep going. When you’ve got a 2-hour movie and you’ve got 24 days to do it, you’ve got to do six or seven pages a day, six or seven pages a day is almost an episodic schedule and you can’t shut down every two minutes because you’ve got perspiration running down people’s noses.
- "We had probably 15 or 20 what are called sieves on the ceiling that held this plastic snow which is like a cornflake. And it was constantly showering down on us. We all had to wear masks with regulators, because you did not want to inhale that plastic. And some of us wore full masks because it was easier for us to keep the snow out of our eyes as well. So the entire crew was running around with parkas and masks on, as is the cast, and I’d yell across to Enzo [Martinelli], ‘mumblemumblemumble!’ and he’d go, ‘Take the mask off and tell me what you want!’ I would say that those were the most difficult two items to overcome."
- Starbuck and Boomer encounter Thane for the first time:
- Thane: I work with breathing gear. Rare gases, chemical blends. I can take you through land, air, fire and water.
- Starbuck: Says here you're in for murder.
- Thane: Hmm. That too.
- Adama briefs the prisoners on their mission:
- Adama: There's not all that much difference between you and your fellow convicts and us. We are all living for the promise of freedom, and we're all threatened by a similar death.
- Wolfe: Perhaps it was the chains that made the difference.
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