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The Woman King

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The Woman King
"The Woman King"
An episode of the Re-imagined Series
Episode No. Season 3, Episode 14 (discuss)
Writer(s) Michael Angeli
Story by
Director Michael Rymer
Assistant Director
Special guest(s) Bruce Davison as Michael Robert
Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek
Production No. 313
Nielsen Rating 1.2[1]
US airdate USA 2007-02-11
CAN airdate CAN 2007-02-11
UK airdate UK
DVD release
Population 41,401 survivors (Population decline. 2)
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
Taking a Break From All Your Worries The Woman King A Day in the Life
Related Information
Official Summary
R&D SkitView
Podcast TranscriptView
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
[[frakr:{{{frakr}}}|Satirical view of this episode on WikiFrakr]]
Promotional Materials
Watch this episode's promo (on-wiki)
Online Purchasing
Amazon: Standard Definition | High Definition
iTunes: USA | Canada | UK


Contents

Overview

Karl Agathon investigates the claims of Sagittarons that a doctor is killing Sagittarons in the guise of providing a cure against an illness.

Summary

Teaser

  • Karl Agathon, in his quarters with his sleeping wife and daughter, is fitful and cannot sleep. He tries to get some work done but falls asleep later in the morning.
  • The population of Dogsville on Galactica is increasing by 300. Agathon is tasked to managing the needs of the populace camped there while other pilots continue their usual flight duties.
  • Many civilians call to Agathon, asking him to keep them physically separated from the Sagittarons.
  • Dualla is also on the floor, trying to defuse a problem with Portia King and her son, Willie King, as a civilian physician, Michael Robert, tries to examine anyone he can see.
  • Dr. Robert sees a frightening pattern of people coughing and tells Saul Tigh, an old friend of his who just arrived on the floor, to leave the area.
  • Agathon sees the pattern of sickness as well when King's son collapses to the floor.

Act 1

  • Admiral William Adama meets with Agathon, Dr. Robert, Colonel Tigh and Dr. Cottle to discuss the sickness.
  • The cause, Mellorak infection, is transmitted by any exchange of bodily fluids, sexual intercourse, and touch through sweat on the skin. It is is curable with the drug, bittamucin. While a dangerous disease that is fatal in its advanced stages after 48 hours, the disease is curable if caught early. First sign of symptoms usually arise after the initial 12 hours of infection.
  • The complication involves the Sagittarons, who believe that physicians and medications from them are an abomination to the Gods and will not likely accept any medication. They have practiced their shunning of conventional medical care for over 1,000 years.
  • The stocks are low in any case, and Adama orders immediate inoculations of key crew and medication used only when someone shows definitive signs of the disease.
  • Agathon watches as some of Sagittarons use a curative root extract in an attempt to stave off the illness.
  • On Colonial One, President Roslin explains how Gaius Baltar's trial will go with her vice president, Tom Zarek.
  • Zarek warns, visibly agitated, that a trial like this would be a "hurricane" that would cause pandemonium in the Fleet. Roslin is left visibly worried as she realizes that Zarek was genuinely frightened of the possibility of trial.
  • Agathon continues to take complaints, many from other Colonials who want to be moved away from the Sagittarons. King arrives not only to tell Agathon of her son's death, but that she made a mistake in trusting Dr. Robert. Agathon believes that she waited too long, but she notes that her son was only sick for 12 hours, well within the 48 hour cure window, making Agathon suspicious.

Act 2

  • Dr. Robert tells of other deaths as Agathon questions him about the King son's death. Robert deflects comments while giving Agathon his inoculation, and notes commenting favorably to him to Col. Tigh.
  • Margaret Edmondson, Galen Tyrol, Felix Gaeta, Lee Adama, Anastasia Dualla, Kara Thrace and many others are at Joe's bar taking a break. Some are playing the Pyramid arcade game. When Connor calls Edmondson by the name of "Marge," the Raptor pilot tells him that her shot accuracy is improved when she imagines the pyramid target as his face when throwing.
  • Tyrol becomes drunk and begins to tell how the Sagittarons did not help fight on New Caprica. He personally believes that those colonists do not deserve any of the medication. Major Adama orders him to stop commenting once it becomes clear that Dualla, a Sagittaron herself, was becoming uncomfortable.
  • Dualla agrees with some of Tyrol's drunken commentary in regards to her fellow colonists' stubborness, but notes her specific dislike of Dr. Cottle.
  • Sharon Agathon is visiting the incarcerated Caprica-Six, discussing Baltar. Six's virtual Baltar appears to counter Agathon's thoughts on helping the Colonials.
  • Six talks with her virtual Baltar, who tells her that the "trick" of behaving like a human is to think only of yourself.
  • As Six kisses the virtual Baltar, President Roslin and Tory Foster are listening and watching Six nearby by hidden surveillance, and question who or what she is speaking to.
  • A riot occurs in the camp, and Agathon and the Marines scramble to save Dr. Robert, who is at the center of the attack. Many Sagittarons accuse him of murder.
  • Robert admits to administering the rationed drug without patient consent, particularly to one of the Sagittaron's noted fundamental members. The doctor becomes irritated at Agathon's probing questions.
  • Agathon reports to Admiral Adama of Robert's behavior, with Cottle present. Neither man believes Agathon's report is credible, and Adama dismisses him, telling him that he has more pressing matters than dealing with what he believes are unfounded accusations.
  • Tigh catches up with Agathon and tells him that accusing Robert is doing little to help Agathon's overall credibility with the Fleet command. When Tigh insults Agathon's wife, the captain punches him.
  • Tigh takes the blow without arresting Agathon, but warns that further accusations will further diminish his reputation in the Fleet.

Act 3

  • Sharon Agathon tells her husband that their daughter is sick, having been pulled off CAP to help her child.
  • Despite Agathon's worries about Robert, Hera is given the drug and sedatives.
  • Agathon returns a bracelet from Willie King's body to Mrs. King. Before she leaves, he asks why she let her son be treated if she was previously warned. She explained that she did so because she didn't believe that anyone could have so much hatred inside them as to kill a patient. She leaves, refusing to discuss further.
  • In their quarters, the Agathons argue, Agathon questions whether he is getting damning treatment for being the husband of a Cylon, and his other actions.
  • Agathon visits sickbay, but finds it empty. He searches the medical records of patients from New Caprica and finds a shocking correlation.
  • Cottle enters and tries to order Agathon out of the office, threatening arrest. Agathon shows that, unlike other colonists, the mortality rate of Sagittarons is over 90%. When asked to perform an autopsy on Willie King, Cottle tells Agathon he's already done so, and Agathon leaves, defeated and angry.
  • Dualla, with her dislike of Cottle on record, visits Dr. Robert, asking for Bittamucin. She shows the first signs of Mellorak infection.
  • On the night phase on the ship, King sneaks away from the refugee camp to Agathon's quarters to warn him that Dualla had sought Dr. Robert's help after she began to show symptoms, also noting two other Sagittaron deaths. Agathon realizes that, if his instincts are right, Dualla is in serious trouble. Marines appear to escort King away as Agathon quickly dresses and heads to the camp, against his wife's warnings and anger about having to fight for respect every day aboard Galactica.
  • Out of uniform and yelling for people to move out of the way, Agathon storms through the encampment, frantically searching for and finding Dualla, lying a cot, motionless and unconscious, and desperately checks her vital signs.

Act 4

  • Agathon couldn't find immediate life signs and fears he's too late until Dualla stirs. She is alive, but very lethargic from medication that Robert administered.
  • Agathon attempts to move her to get help from Dr. Cottle when Dr. Robert appears and stops him from leaving, calling for security to assist him. Dualla, in her delirium, shouts not to be treated by Cottle. Marines hear only part of the conversation and order Agathon to stand down.
  • A security detail separates Dualla from Agathon, and sidearms are pulled as Robert orders the Marines to arrest Agathon.
  • Colonel Tigh and Dr. Cottle arrives with additional Marines, but instead of taking sides with Robert, Tigh berates Robert.
  • Cottle explains to Agathon that he didn't actually perform the toxicology test on King's son before finding Agathon in his office. The autopsy revealed high levels of a toxic bisphosphonate, but no traces of the drug used to treat the disease. Cottle notes similar results in several other patients.
  • Robert explains that his actions were a form of mercy-killing to save precious resources. Cottle questions his "do no harm" oath as Robert reminds Tigh of a time where they spoke in a derogative manner about Sagittarons.
  • Tigh orders Agathon to arrest Robert.
  • Later, Admiral Adama apologizes to Agathon for his actions in trying to show Robert's actions as well as other morally questionable issues in recent days. Agathon returns Adama's apology with a perfect salute, finally feeling vindicated and respected.
  • Agathon returns to his family, his daughter in her arms, and gives his wife a kiss.

Bonus Scene

  • A bonus scene shows Agathon in Adama's office, apparently at the time of Adama's apology. In this cut scene, Agathon confesses to the sabotage of an aborted Cylon offensive to destroy the Cylons through biological weaponry. Adama asks Agathon if he really wants to make this official, given the possibility of a court martial and a death sentence. Agathon withdraws and Adama lets it drop. This scene is included in the Season 3 DVD set.
Note: This scene meshes with Adama's comment about the lack of a "voice in the wilderness" when Agathon has questioned Fleet decisions on the Cylon genocide issue, the Sagittarons, and his unborn daughter's own fate in utero months before. Adama also doesn't seem very surprised, suggesting he either already knew or suspected that Helo was responsible, but let it go.

Notes

  • The title doesn't literally refer to a king, but to a female character named Portia King, and is referred to in this episode's dialogue. When Colonel Tigh asks who is lodging all the complaints against Dr. Robert, Agathon replies "the woman, King".
  • Barring any births, the population is at 41,396 at the end of this episode. There is a loss of five people, all Sagittaron: Willie King, Mr. Buckminster, a three-year old, and two more prior to Agathon's final argument with Robert.
  • Bruce Davison's character Dr. Robert may be a reference to a song by The Beatles entitled "Dr. Robert". The song is about a doctor who prescribes illicit drugs. The next episode also contains a Beatles reference in its title.
  • That Dualla is a Sagittaron was previously established in "33" and "Bastille Day".
  • Tom Zarek was granted the Vice Presidency, despite his actions in "Collaborators".
  • Racetrack's given name, established in "Final Cut", is used in dialogue for the first time. Connor calls her "Marge", which seems to irritate her.
  • Racetrack banters with Agathon about her desire to have sexual relations with a nugget. This indicates that the military is still recruiting and training new pilots.
  • We get a rare glimpse of domestic life aboard Galactica as we see the Agathons' quarters complete with baby blanket strewn on the floor and Athena folding the laundry.
  • Dr. Cottle asks Dr. Robert, "What the hell happened to 'do no harm,' doctor?". This refers to the Latin phrase Primum non nocere, one of the creeds of doctors in the real world.
  • The "Previously on Battlestar Galactica" includes scenes setting up this episode that do not appear in previous episodes: Galen Tyrol and Cally Tyrol (in the latter's only appearance in the episode) talking about "squeezing more civvies" into the starboard hangar deck. Galen says Helo has been transferred down there to deal with the situation. This is followed by a scene in CIC where Felix Gaeta, Admiral Adama and Tigh learn that a number of Sagittarons are among the new arrivals, leading Adama to suggest Helo might be outnumbered.

Analysis

  • This is the first major episode that features Sagittarons in a more in-depth manner. More is revealed about Tom Zarek and Anastasia Dualla's relation to their colony of origin, originally established in "Bastille Day", although while Dualla states that she is Sagittaron in this episode, Zarek does not.
  • The Sagittarons' belief system appears to be modeled on various modern day religious sects that oppose the use of medical technology and/or are pacifist in their political views. Religious sects, such as the Jehovah Witnesses and Christian Scientists in the past have taken such views and had been highly criticized and persecuted.
  • Mrs. King name might be derived from Martin Luther King Jr. as Mrs. King is portrayed as an individual who wants justice for the prejudice that she and her son received. It is her initial step of approaching Agathon that causes the murders of her people to eventually cease.
  • Though shown briefly, when the pilots (Apollo, Starbuck, and Racetrack) are walking past Agathon in the corridor, it should be noted that Racetrack momentarily flirts with Agathon when she holds onto his arm with Athena present. This hails back to an interview with Leah Cairns who stated that she and Tahmoh Penikett play their scenes together as though there is a sexual attraction between the two characters, while Athena remains unaware.
  • In this same scene, Athena and Starbuck can be seen briefly putting their arms about each other in a friendly gesture, further cementing the fact that Athena has been accepted (although Starbuck has been more or less on good terms with Athena since her return from Caprica).
  • Similar to Baltar's internal-Six, Caprica-Six's internal Baltar appears at a moment of self-doubt and fear. Interestingly, this version of internal-Baltar seems opposed to Caprica-Six siding with the humans, while back in "Downloaded", he told her that he loved her so deeply once she made the decision to reach out to humanity.
  • The Sagittarons appear to be the last human colony that still maintains most of its original roots from the founding of the colonies. According to Dr. Cottle, medical treatment has been rejected by the Sagittarons for over 3000 years because they consider medicine to be a curse. The result being that they still practice rituals and beliefs that are at least over 1000 years old. This may be the date when the other colonies began to let go of their old religious convictions and origins.
  • Adama displays one of his character traits when he apologizes to Agathon for not believing him about Dr. Robert. This is reminiscent of the moment when Adama offered Roslin his forgiveness when she took a part of the Fleet in search of the Arrow of Apollo (Home, Part II). Instead of forgiveness, Adama offers Agathon his apology and states, as he did with Roslin, that it doesn't matter whether Agathon asked or needs it, Agathon still has it.
  • In the real world, Robert's poisons, known as bisphosphonates, are a family of drugs used to treat certain bone cancers and osteoporosis in some women. The use of the drug by real world definition correlates with Cottle's notation of acute cellular destruction, which could happen with such drugs.
  • This is the first time since "Collaborators" that Gaeta is seen in a relaxed setting. The episode indicates that he has finally been welcomed back amongst the crew and able to join them in their Pyramid game. In addition, it appears that his actions towards Baltar did not lead to any serious repercussions.
  • Athena is away on CAP and Agathon is working when Hera is taken to Dr. Robert. Apparently, the Galactica daycare center was operating at this time, and was openly discussed by Chief and Cally in the following episode.

Questions

  • What is the current status of the Fleet's medical supplies? Was the stockpile of vaccines and medicines that Pegasus had before its destruction (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II) transferred over to the civilian ships before the Battle of New Caprica?
  • Does Roslin suspect Caprica-Six of communicating with the Cylons due to her hallucinations of Baltar?
  • How many other civilian medical doctors are there in the Fleet?
  • Why does Hera need the medication for a curable disease, while her blood was used to cure breast cancer for President Roslin?
  • When did the hatred and bitterness towards the Sagittarons begin in Colonial history?
  • How different are the Sagittarons and Gemenese in regard to their religious beliefs? What traditions and ceremonies do the Sagittarons still practice that the rest of the Colonies have abandoned?
  • What is the condition of Starbuck's and Anders's marriage? Why is he not with Starbuck in Joe's bar?
  • Where is Tom Zarek in this matter? Is he unaware of the plight of the Sagittarons on Galactica or under Doctor Robert's care?

Official Statements

Information from the podast:

  • The Sagittaron-focused storyline was originally intended to play a larger role in the upcoming Baltar trial. However, in post-production, it was decided that the trial needed to go into an entirely different direction, thus cutting out most of the Sagittaron build up in other episodes.
  • Tom Zarek's fear that is noted by Roslin was originally based on Zarek's fear that like Gaeta, Baltar would attempt to implicate him in an incident with the Sagittarons on New Caprica. There is a deleted scene in which Zarek talks with Baltar and tries to figure out what Baltar plans to say about the event.
  • Ronald D. Moore acknowledged that the explicit racism expressed by Tigh and Tyrol appeared very forced as it was never alluded to before. It was necessary at the time because of the original role that the Sagittarons were supposed to play in Baltar's trial. However, once the decision was made not to focus on an event that the audience has not seen firsthand, the scenes now stand alone.
  • The broader theme of the episode was suppose to portray Agathon as a man who desired to prove his worth again to the leadership. The guilt and struggle he felt of sabotaging the biological weapon is the main factor that causes him to appear as the boy who cries "wolf" to Adama and Tigh. The deleted scene from the episode ran along those lines and explicitly displays Agathon's guilt for having disobeyed his orders.
  • The re-introduction of Caprica-Six's internal Baltar was an explicit order from RDM to the writing staff after their initial reluctance. This accomplished at least two purposes. First, it established that Caprica-Six was never freed from these visions of her internal Baltar, and that she still has to deal with her visions. Secondly, in the grander theme of the show, the internal Baltar and Six will play major roles in the unfolding of the series.

Noteworthy Dialogue

Internal Baltar: But there's a trick to being human, you have to think only about yourself.
Tigh: Agathon! Why don't you knock it off, Helo. Get your teeth out of the Doc's ass. It's not doing you any good.
Agathon: With all due respect, sir, I think Michael Robert might be hurting people.
Tigh: He is the o­nly o­ne who's had anything good to say about you in as long as I can remember. You may as well take whatever credibility you have left and chuck it out an airlock. You seriously want to stand up for these crazy frakkin' people? What is it with you? You just like being o­n the outside looking in, do you?
Agathon: I don't quite know what you mean by that sir, unless you're referring to my wife. Again.
Tigh: Mike Robert is a stand-up guy. A Caprican, one of our own. A man I can trust. O­n New Caprica, he worked with the resistance. He patched up my eye. He fought the enemy. While you were snuggled up in bed with your Cylon wife every night -- (Agathon punches him.)
Tigh: So you do give a frak what your friends think. Good for you! That's how it should be. But you know what? I give a frak too. About friends, about loyalty. You keep soiling Mike Robert's good name, and we are gonna finish this. How's that sound to you?
  • The Agathons discuss Karl Agathon's frustrations:
Sharon: You seem angry.
Agathon: I'm not, I'm just... Work.
Sharon: It's okay that you hate your job. It's okay to admit it, too.
Agathon: It's not the job! I know the job sucks, I don't need to be reminded of it!
Sharon: Okay. Then what is it?
Agathon: Look... It's what I see every day, okay? It's hard to not see it.
Sharon: See what? Talk to me, Karl.
Agathon: I don't know, I ... I keep doing it. You know, I keep doing it, I keep ending up o­n the wrong side of everything. You know, maybe Tigh's right. Maybe I want it that way. What if I'm flying a desk not because I'm good at it, not because I'm right guy for the job, but because it's the right punishment for the guy who crosses the line, and everybody knows it? Maybe I belong in Dogsville.
Robert: (to Agathon) You ought to be on your knees, thanking me for saving your daughter's life, for having the meds to cure her of her illness. (to Cottle) Now you know how painful this disease is at the end. And they don't want our help. Now why waste time, and meds, and space on them when all of those resources could go to those who really deserve it? Who gets the medication when there's not enough to go around? The Sagittaron who won't even raise a finger to save his own race, or a Viper pilot?!
Cottle: What the hell happened to "do no harm", Doctor?
Robert: Look, I intervened because someone has to make the tough choices. But it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter because–look at 'em–they're going to destroy themselves anyway. Look at them out there. They're like worms crawling on a hot rock. Remember what you used to say, Saul? "Aside from a Cylon, is there anything that you hate more than a Sagittaron?"
Tigh: I'll tell you what I hate, Mike. Being wrong. Captain Agathon?
Agathon: Sir?
Tigh: Arrest this son of a bitch. Gag him if you have to.
Agathon: My pleasure, sir.

Guest Stars

References

  1. "CABLE RATINGS ROUND-UP (WEEK OF FEBRUARY 5-11): 'SKY' HUGE FOR LIFETIME, 'BATTLESTAR' HITS SERIES LOW". Retrieved on 2007-02-18. (written in English) (Battlestar Wiki Notes: Grammy's on ABC at the same time.)




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