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For the two humanoid Cylons that are hailed as heroes in "Downloaded", see Heroes of the Cylon.
An episode of the Re-imagined Series
Episode No. Season 3, Episode 8
Writer(s) David Eick
Story by
Director Michael Rymer
Assistant Director
Special guest(s) Carl Lumbly as Daniel Novacek
Production No. 307
Nielsen Rating 1.3
US airdate USA 2006-11-17
CAN airdate CAN 2006-11-18
UK airdate UK
DVD release
Population 41,421 survivors (Population increase. 1)
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
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A Measure of Salvation Hero Unfinished Business
Related Information
Official Summary
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Listing of props for this episode
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@ BW Media
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A figure from Adama's past returns to haunt him. His return raises questions about why the Cylons launched their initial attack against the Twelve Colonies.


On Galactica[edit]

  • Galactica detects three Raiders. Much to the surpise of the CIC crew, two Raiders are pursuing a third Raider, damaged by Cylon gunfire. Starbuck and Kat are dispatched. After destroying the pursuing Raiders, they go after the third.
  • In CIC, Admiral Adama orders Kat and Starbuck to escort the Raider to Galactica, after hearing, from the Raider, a familiar human voice and callsign: Bulldog.
  • In the hangar bay, the party are surprised that a human has exited the Raider. A visibly weak Daniel Novacek salutes Adama; Adama returns the gesture.
  • In sickbay, Cottle states that Bulldog's DNA signature matches his military records, concluding that he is not a Cylon. Admiral Adama relays this information the President, who asks to meet him.
  • Over a meal of noodles Adama asks Novacek how he escaped. He relates a story of plague on the basestar and escaping after killing a Number Three with a blow to the nose delivered through the cell bars. He mentions that the Cylons complained of an infectious illness at the time, believing this offered him the chance to escape.
  • Bulldog is debriefed by the President with Adama present, where they tell a (decidedly shaky) story of a Tauron mining facility too close to the Armistice Line. Skeptical, Roslin immediately questions Adama's story following the debriefing. He replies that it is "his mess" and asks that he resolve it. Once she leaves, Adama kicks over a table in frustration.
  • Novacek sees Saul Tigh in his quarters shortly after Adama talks to him. Tigh informs Novacek that Adama (aboard the battlestar Valkyrie) ordered Novacek shot down to get rid of evidence of their incursion into Cylon space to spy.
  • Meanwhile, Adama makes a similar confession to his son, Lee, stating his belief that he provoked the Cylon attacks on the Colonies. By presenting humanity as warmongers, he may have left the Cylons with no choice but to strike first. Aghast at first, Lee Adama tries to console his father, blaming the Fleet Admiralty, saying that he was "only one man." Adama replies, "It only takes one."
  • Kara Thrace reviews their Viper's gun film from the fight with the Cylon Raiders and realizes that the Cylons were deliberately missing their target, allowing Bulldog escape. She goes to Saul Tigh with this information, who deduces that Bulldog was sent there by the Cylons to kill the admiral.
  • Tigh finds Novacek attempting to murder Adama (mixed with flashbacks of Bulldog let out of his cell) and stops him.
  • Adama later presents his resignation to Roslin. Bemused, she accuses him of naivete, and points out that the Admiralty may have been trying to provoke a war with the Commander as scapegoat. Nor can he say with confidence that any one act triggered the Cylon holocaust. She then tells him that his 'penance' will be to accept a Medal of Distinction for his long years of service, a gesture badly needed for the Fleet's morale.
  • After sending Novacek off to a berthing on another ship with a uniform, Tigh (now wearing an eyepatch instead of medical gauze) and Adama sit down for a drink in the admiral's quarters to discuss Ellen Tigh's death on New Caprica.

On a basestar[edit]

  • In a dream, Three is trying to avoid Marines on Galactica. The Marines corner her against a hatch labelled "End of Line." The Marines raise their weapons and Three tells them to shoot.
  • As the shots go off, Three wakes up in bed with Baltar and Caprica-Six. She has apparently been having a sexual relationship with Baltar and possibly Six as well.
  • In the Cylon control room, Caprica-Six questions Three about her bad dreams. Caprica Six asks if the dreams are about Baltar. Three indicates otherwise, but does not elaborate.
  • Three gives a Cylon Centurion orders to shoot her, and then delete any information regarding the incident. The Centurion obeys and shoots her in the head. In the moments before she is downloaded, she experiences memories from New Caprica and a startling vision of five white-robed beings whose identity is obscured.
  • Three awakes in a Cylon rebirthing tank where a Three, Five, Six, and Eight help her recover. The downloaded Three tells her counterpart, "There's something beautiful, miraculous between life and death."



  • This episode shares some plot elements with the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector," written by Moore. Notably, it begins with a dramatic chase delivering a dubious ally into friendly hands that is later shown to be staged. Additionally, both episodes feature plots revolving around a contested border.
  • Novacek's capture was loosely inspired by the U-2 Crisis of 1960 in which Francis Powers was shot down by the Soviets in his U2 spy plane.[1]
  • Laura Roslin reviews a dossier prepared for her by Billy on her first day aboard Galactica. It includes large photos of Galactica, a photograph of the CIC crew of Valkyrie, a (somewhat illegible) certificate appointing Saul Tigh as "Junior Executive Officer" in the Colonial Forces, and a cursory biography of William Adama. This biographical information has been integrated into William Adama article. Also, an analysis of Colonial dates used in the dossier can be found in the Colonial calendar article.
  • Admiral William Adama names his son to succeed him as commander of Galactica in his resignation letter, given that Lee Adama commanded Pegasus.
  • Both Gaius Baltar and Sharon Agathon appear in this episode, but neither has any lines.


  • In Adama's flashback, the admirals are wearing their decorations on their day uniforms. This contrasts with most Colonial Fleet officers shown thus far, who only wear their decorations on their dress uniform sash.
  • Admiral Corman's office is decorated with weapons and war memorabilia. Admiral Cain's quarters were similarly decorated. Both individuals seemed ready, almost eager, for a conflict.
  • A continuity error in the flashback to the Valkyrie CIC has Adama wearing admiral's insignia on his uniform.


  • In her vision of the Opera house, Three briefly glimpses five white figures. In his Podcast for this episode, Moore implies that these correspond to the final five Cylon models.[2]
  • In Number Three's dream, the door at which she is shot by the Marines is labeled "End of Line". As well as being a metaphor for death, this is a statement repeated often by the Cylon Hybrid. "End of Line" is a also a reference to the movie Tron [3] and could also be a computer/programming reference.


  • Adama jokingly chides Novacek for his "bullshit attitude". The line was cut in the broadcast of the episode on the Sci Fi Channel in America, however in the release of the video on iTunes, in the Canadian broadcast on the SPACE channel and in the UK and Ireland broadcast on Sky One, the line was included.
  • For the episode, Bear McCreary created a musical theme for Novacek, called "Novacek's Theme", which was "very much inspired by Hitchcock's collaborations with composer Bernard Herrmann". [4]



  • Dialogue in this episode consistently places the events of the Stealthstar mission three years prior to the present and one year prior to the Cylon attack. However, this contradicts previously established dates about the time Adama, Felix Gaeta, Galen Tyrol, Kara Thrace and Sharon Valerii served together on Galactica:
    • Gaeta: "And may I also take this opportunity to say it's been both a pleasure and an honor to serve under you these past three years." (TRS: "Miniseries")
    • Tyrol: "Sir, on behalf of Deck Crew Five I'd like to present a token of our esteem and appreciation for the many years you've served as commanding officer of this ship." (Miniseries)
    • Adama: "We [Thrace and I] talked about a lot of things. We've been aboard this ship for over two years, we know each other very well." (TRS: "Act of Contrition")
    • Adama: "Chief Tyrol's been under my command for over five years." (TRS: "Litmus")
    • Adama: "She [Boomer] was a vital, living person… aboard my ship for almost two years." (TRS: "The Farm")
    • Tigh: "I think there's part of you that looks into that thing's eyes and still sees that young girl that reported aboard two years ago as a rook pilot. Well, it's not. It never was. Bill, it's a machine." (TRS: "Sacrifice")
Since it is not specified which ships Tyrol and Gaeta served with Adama on, it is theoretically possible that they followed Adama from Valkyrie to Galactica as well. This scenario is highly unrealistic, however, and still conflicts with the statements that Thrace and Valerii served with Adama on Galactica for two years. Adama's dossier places his taking command of Galactica at six years prior to the Cylon attack (or eight years prior to the episode). While such documents are frequently unreliable and inconsistent, this fits with the above comments and with Tyrol's statement in the Miniseries that Adama commanded the battlestar for "many years". Battlestar Wiki thus chooses to consider the dialogue in "Hero" a continuity error and to place the flashback events at six years before the Miniseries. (See David Eick comments in Official Statements for rebuttal.)
  • The last two scenes of "Hero" seem to have been edited to ensure that the final scene is with Adama and Tigh. Right after the celebration scene, Adama is seen giving Bulldog a new uniform, but Adama is wearing his everyday uniform. In the final scene with Tigh, Adama is wearing his dress grays from the celebration. It appears at the very least, the two scenes were in reverse order, meaning the episode originally ended with Adama giving Bulldog his new uniform.
  • There is at least one other doctor of some kind in the fleet, because Cottle instructs Bulldog to report to him.
    • This doctor is probably a psychotherapist that specializes in some sort of mental trauma issues. Considering that Bulldog was in captivity for such a long time, and his breakdown while attacking Adama, at the very least, Bulldog will need a counselor to help him work through all of the emotional and mental scars that he's endured. Cottle had already confirmed that Bulldog was generally well cared for, physically, by the Cylons.


  • Adama and Roslin know each other well enough by now to tell when the other is lying even when others around can't. Roslin has always been the better of the two in this ability, as early as revealing Adama's initial ruse about the location of Earth (TRS: "Miniseries").
  • At the end of the episode, Saul Tigh is trying to deal with his guilt over his wife, but he does not seem to want his job as XO back, at least not any time soon.
  • Adama's feelings of guilt over his actions during Valkyrie's mission shed new light on the motivation for his speech at Galactica's decommissioning ceremony. Also, they explain his near-monomania with safeguarding and/or rescuing those under his command or protection.
  • Kara Thrace going to Tigh with her findings is an acknowledgment of their shared semi-pariah status and the connection that was shown in "Collaborators" for the first time.


  • The Cylons are able to detect and destroy the Stealthstar that had only entered two kilometers into their space. This seems suspicious given the fact that they were unable to detect the Blackbird, presumably a far less sophisticated design. Either the Cylons had more advanced detection equipment on the Armistice Line, or they had advance knowledge of Bulldog's mission. The latter may have been a result of Caprica-Six's work with Baltar, if the timelines line up (meaning if Six had gotten the access to the Defense mainframe before Novacek's mission).
    • Given that the Stealthstar was built by an aerospace company, it can safely be assumed to be more sophisticated. However, it is only speculation that the Blackbird's stealth capabilities were less effective overall. While the Blackbird's hull is known to be made from carbon composites, the Stealthstar's technology is unknown.
    • In addition, the Cylons near the Armistice Line would have known to look for stealth ships, as they probably suspected that the Colonial Fleet would try to gain intelligence on the Cylon military status. After the destruction of the Colonies, it is unlikely that the Cylons believed that the Colonials were still in possession of any kind of stealth fighter and would not attempt to detect one.
    • Bulldog was communicating to Valkyrie before being attacked and used active DRADIS. Additionally, the Stealthstar seems to have been equipped with a transponder, as Valkyrie was able to track the Stealthstar. The Cylons may have been able to detect this radiation and fire at the source of it.
  • Bulldog's story is even less believable given the fact that it took Kara Thrace several hours to gut a Raider and learn how to fly it. The Raider Kara captured was damaged, but it would still have taken Bulldog some time to adapt the Raider for his own use.
    • As the episode implies that Bulldog was deliberately released by the Cylons in an effort to direct his anger towards Adama, it is possible that the Cylons allowed Bulldog to gain a working knowledge of the Raider.
  • Bulldog probably could have stolen a Heavy Raider, which unlike the light versions seems to have a crew compartment and perhaps piloting controls, but then the production crew couldn't have re-used the captured-Raider prop from "You Can't Go Home Again" on the flight deck set.
  • During her experience between death and rebirth, Three finds herself reliving a series of memories from her various lives, including a shot of her in a theater on Caprica in "Final Cut", her final moments during "Downloaded", and her discovery of Hera on New Caprica in "Exodus, Part II". She also has a vision of another kind: the Opera House seen by Baltar during the final moments of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II".
    • This sequence, as well as this episode as a whole, showcases a number of fundamental leitmotifs in the series that have had little to no exposure in their original form since the end of season one/beginning of season two. The music as well as the imagery is a deliberately callback to the previous appearance of the Opera House, and the associated musical themes will likely help elucidate the symbolism behind the two visions.
  • Three's flashbacks after being shot by the Centurion indicate that she is the same individual who was killed on Caprica by Caprica-Six in "Downloaded" and who found Hera in "Exodus, Part II". It is of course possible that some of these recollections are the result of memory-sharing rather than direct experience.
    • If she is the same Three that died on Caprica, that leaves the question of how it can be that she didn't receive the Opera House experience on her first death, even though she was stuck in limbo for thirty-six hours because of the massive casualties at the cafe in "Downloaded". It is plausible that this Three wanted to die because she had never experienced death before.
    • It is interesting to note the central role Hera plays in both Three's vision and the one Gaius Baltar has in "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II".
  • Based on the Raider's apparently staged attack, the Cylons appear to know the current location of the Fleet.


Answered Questions[edit]

  • Who are the five white-robed figures Three sees in her vision before downloading? (Answer)
  • Does Bulldog have information regarding the five remaining humanoid Cylon models of which nothing is known? (Answer)
  • Why does Number Three go through all the trouble to program the Centurion to erase its memory once it shot her? Is she afraid of being boxed by the other Cylons for reasons of insanity, or because it would do some sort of damage on the Centurion once its processed the kill? (Answer)
  • How does Bulldog find the Fleet? (Answer)
  • Why does Bulldog feel betrayed by Adama? When he went on the Stealthstar mission, did he not understand that flying past the Armistice Line would be seen as an act of war? Why was it not already clear to him that Valkyrie might have to shoot him down if anything went wrong? (Partial answer)

Unanswered Questions[edit]

  • Did Bulldog know of or see other human prisoners during his captivity?
  • What class of battlestar does Valkyrie belong to?
  • Why would a "stealth ship" in enemy territory break radio silence and use active DRADIS?
  • How was Valkyrie able to track, target and engage a stealth ship?
  • Was Valkyrie's mission the only one the admiralty undertook or were there others?
  • Is Laura Roslin right in speculating that the admiralty might have sent Valkyrie in order to provoke a war?
  • What was the "unknown" craft that jumped near Stealthstar, disabled it, and then jumped away? Whose was it? Where did it come from?
  • How did Baltar's status change from torture victim in "A Measure of Salvation" to an apparent sexual relationship with Caprica-Six and Number Three?
  • Was Adama's whole command staff transferred from Valkyrie to Galactica after the failure of the recon mission?

Official Statements[edit]

  • A video blog gives an insight to this episode during filming. [5]
  • Bear McCreary discusses writing "Noavcek's Theme" on his web blog:
In general, I only write thematic material for characters who matter in the grand scheme of the series, in hopes that the character will return at a later point in the story. In rare cases I make an exception in order to give a guest star a particularly resonant musical voice. For example, Bill Duke's Phelan from season two's "Black Market" required his own theme, since all the events of the episode led up to his eventual stand-off with Lee.
"Hero" was obviously another such case. Novacek's mysterious past drives nearly every scene in the entire show, and it was clear he required his own theme as well.[4]
  • David Eick defends the continuity errors insinuated by this episode:
When you watch the miniseries there is this natural assumption that the old commander has been on this ship [Galactica] the whole time — but that's never actually stated anywhere in the series. We actually did check it, and there was nothing in the show's continuity that makes events in "Hero" inconsistent. We also all really liked the idea that Adama had been assigned to Galactica as a punishment, which is why we did it."[6]

Information from the David Eick audio commentary[edit]

Note: This audio commentary is available on the Region 1 Season 3 DVD set.
  • Eick considers "Hero" the most difficult episode he has written yet, because it is a standalone between several arc-heavy episodes, but he enjoyed the challenge of it.
  • Daniel Novacek's name is a reference to Dallas Cowboys football player Jay Novacek.
  • He says that he would like steam rising from ships coming into the hangar deck, because they were just in space, and laments that there isn't enough time for that during production.
  • He and Michael Rymer spent a lot of time talking about how long Novacek's hair should be after his long captivity.
  • Carl Lumbly originally developed a specific accent for his character, but it was dropped because it was very hard to understand.
  • He doesn't think the friendship between Adama and Novacek becomes clear enough. In part, because it was difficult to convey in the short time, in part because scenes between them were cut.
  • Tigh testing his peripheral vision was inspired by a similar scene from Rocky II.
  • He compares the incident at the Armistice Line to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident as an excuse some people need to go to war.
  • He thinks that the episode makes it clear that Adama's feelings of guilt are irrational and absurd and is worried that one wouldn't get that.
  • Eick thinks a proposed scene of Adama confronting the admiralty about having been set up would have given the episode more weight.

Noteworthy Dialogue[edit]

  • Speaking to another Number Three after downloading:
Number Three: There's something beautiful, miraculous between life and death.
  • Bulldog calls on Saul Tigh in his quarters:
Tigh: So ... drink?
Bulldog: You have no idea!
Tigh (scowling, unseen): Yes, I do.
  • Bulldog explains to Adama how he got off the Cylon baseship:
Bulldog: Well sir, it's like this. The enemy had me locked in a cell for three years. The accommodations were lousy, the service was slow. And, after a while, I felt the institution had nothing left to offer me, so I left.
  • Colonel Tigh speaks to Bulldog in Adama's quarters:
Tigh: Tell you a dirty little secret: The toughest part of getting played is losing your dignity. Feeling like you are not worth the oxygen you are sucking down. You get used to it. You start to believe it. You start to love it. It's like a bottle that never runs dry. You can keep reaching for it over and over and over again.
Adama: So how do you put that bottle away, Saul?
Tigh: I don't know. One day you just decide to get up and walk out of your room.
  • Colonel Tigh calls on the Admiral after he is awarded his medal by President Roslin:
Tigh: I hear you got a medal.
Adama: Yeah. They're handing them out for anything these days. Good behavior. Attendance. Plays well with others.

Guest Stars[edit]


  1. Bassom, David (2007). Cath Trechman Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion Season Three. Titan Books. ISBN 1-84576-478-1, p. 56.
  2. Podcast: Hero , Act 3. Seek to: 00:30:51. Total running time: 00:47:05. .
  3. Podcast: Hero , Act 1. Seek to: 00:16:56. Total running time: 00:47:05. .
  4. 4.0 4.1 McCreary, Bear (17 November 2006). "Hero" (backup available on Archive.org) . (blog) Retrieved on 25 November 2006.
  5. Introducing Bulldog (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). (VID) (2006-10-11).
  6. Bassom, David (2007). Cath Trechman Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion Season Three. Titan Books. ISBN 1-84576-478-1, p. 56.