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"Hero" Podcast
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Length of Podcast: 45:20
Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore
Terry Dresbach
Comedy Elements
Smokes: Shermans
Word of the Week:
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Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, here to welcome you to the podcast for what we affectionately call episode seven, "Hero". And there won't be any Scotch today. It's a little too early in the day, even for a hardcore like me. (Lights a cigarette.) The smokes are Shermans. Trying a little somethin' different. So[mething] actually my wife recommended from back in her smoking days. She no longer imbi— partakes of the tobacco leaf. But I do on occasion. I don't smoke nearly as much as all of you think I do.

Anyway. Episode seven, "Hero". This one was a little bit more of a one-off than what we typically do. A little bit more of a single, self contained story carrying us through the whole episode. We felt at the beginning of the season we had arced out the entire New Caprica storyline that took us through to "Exodus" and then into "Collaborators", and then we had this two-part episode that developed that was about the infected baseship and the consequences of that, culminating in the decision of whether or not the people on Galactica were going to use the biological weapon. And then after that we wanted to do a series of a little bit more contained episodes that weren't quite as serialized, didn't have as many long-running storylines as we had been playing for a while. And so one of the first ones that came up was this story, "Hero". This is written by David Eick, my producing partner. And the origins of this, though, actually go back a little bit further than this season. This was initially a concept that was pitched during the second season by David Weddle. I believe this is his idea. It might have been him and his partner, right? I remember David mentioning it in the room, had this idea that they would discover something about Adama. That Adama would— had been holding a secret that essentially he was holding the idea that— holding secret the idea that he had participating in a black op mission before the Cylon attack. And that he would secretly blame himself, on some level, for helping to prompt the Cylon attack on the Colonies itself. Which is a pretty big idea, and it took a lot of discussion. We were like, "Ok. What does that mean in concrete terms?" I liked the idea that there were black ops operations going on amid the Colonials before the Cylon attack. After all, forty y— our backstory is that there's forty years between the last Cylon— the first Cylon War and the attack on the Colonies. And it seemed plausible that the Colonial Fleet had been doing something during that whole time and it was curious to see what was going on the other side of the Armistice Line.

This little opening sequence here with Laura and the picture [painting of President Baltar], which we just went past in Colonial One, like I've said before, I want that picture for my own. That'll have a point of pride in my own home someday of Baltar. And I think David knew that, and I think that's why he wrote in that little piece about putting Baltar's picture over the toilet. I don't think it was so much a slam against James and the— or the character as it was tweaking me that my coveted picture was going above the toilet.

Anyway. This sequence— this concept, that Adama was holding a secret all these t— all this time was a pretty interesting and provocative one within the writing staff, and I liked it, but we d— it didn't seem to find a place in the second season and we— it kicked around in our list of suggested stories as we were approaching the seventh— the third season, getting way ahead of myself now. So for the seventh episode David was going to write one and we wanted it to be a stand— a somewhat standalone episode that wouldn't require too much heavy lifting on the part of the audience in terms of backstory and what have you. So this seemed like a good opportunity to get into that and— I think it— I'm trying to remember where the idea of a prisoner having escaped came up. I think it came up in the room but I could be wrong. David Eick might have had that idea on his own, but I think it was something that came out of story discussions about what would prompt this secret of Adama's— prompt the revelation of the secret of Adama's. After all, he'd been holding onto this secret for a while. And there was something interesting about saying, "Okay. When the Cylon attack happened during the Colonies, was there a part of Adama that was starting to go, 'Did we bring this on somehow?' Did something that he was personally involved with have the potential to have brought on the attack?"

Now, to be fair, we never really wanted to say that Adama was directly responsible for the attack on the Colonies. And indeed the episode doesn't really say that. The question is, "Does he feel responsible? Does, in his mind, does he still harbor some lingering doubt that perhaps the events that he were [sic] involved with had some unexpected blowback that resulted in the attack on the Colonies?" But I wanted to make it clear, and I think it was important to all of us that it not really be so simple, that one black ops recon mission behind Cylon lines could've really brought about the cataclysm. That clearly the Cylons had been working on it for a very, very long time. They had agents in place. They had sleeper cells, etc., etc. They were working Baltar for years. So even though Adama felt like he's— his hands weren't entirely clean and we could believe that as a character he felt personally responsible, the show goes out of its way to make sure that that direct connection is never actually made.

This sequence [the arrival of the Cylon Raider] was cut down quite a bit. There was a longer section here. This is the Cylon Raider aboard Galactica now. This had a little more bells and whistles attached to it. There was more of a protocols being barked about. Going through the various steps that they took to safeguard the ship, and so on. The chase was actually even longer. The chase in space, of Starbuck and Kat escorting the Raider in. Or getting the Raider to the Galactica. Its maneuverings and all that. There was a longer VFX sequence that ultimately was a little bit confusing in terms of where they were, spatially, in regards to Galactica, you got a little confused in some of the screen directions, and also we were just fighting time as always, as you hear my refrain in these sections, time is always a really difficult thing.

Now this episode is the first episode of this season I didn't personally take a pass at through my typewriter, as it were. After writing the first two and rewriting the subsequent four or five, depending on how you count, I was getting to what we in writing business call burnout. (Chuckles.) I was getting really toasty and tired and at a certain p— I th— in some part— in some ways the flaws in episodes five and six can be attributed to my own fatigue, at a certain point. I don't really know how guys like Aaron Sorkin and David Kelley do it, where they literally write every single word of every single episode and do it, like, over and over again and do it brilliantly. I find that I can do, like, five... five in a row before I st— I'm really starting to get tired and you're just like putting words down on the page. And you're just trying to get through the day and get your pages out because the show doesn't stop. That's one of the challenges of being showrunner in television is that ultimately you're responsible for all the episodes and you feel the obligation as you're going through them to make each one of those best you— they can be and because you are the creator and the head writer they all have to have a certain voice. They're— you're try— all the writers on the staff are trying to capture your voice for the show. And so as you're rewriting it you're bringing it closer to what you think your voice is for the show. But at a certain point you star— it becomes diminishing returns. It becomes— your fatigue level, or at least my fatigue level, is starting to overwhelm the fact that it's my "voice". Ok, we're out of the tease.

Act 1

So, this one David did solo and I really didn't rewrite any of it. I gave extensive notes, of course, and so did the studio, and the network, and the director's notes, and so on. So it wasn't like there was just one draft here. But David carried the burden on this particular episode. There's only one scene that I took a pass on. We'll get to that later.

This little bit [flashback to military meeting] was interesting in that it was our first glimpse inside Colonial Fleet Headquarters. It's not much of a set. It's a very constricted set because at this point we were now all in the cost saving portion of our season, trying desperately to contain costs, keep the story small and producable so that we could start saving money per episode to make up for the vast cost overruns that we'd incurred at the beginning of the season.

This was a nice little bit for Cottle to come back and do. It seemed realistic that the first thing that he would be doing would be down in sickbay doing a physical. I love the fact that Cottle offers him a cigarette. (Laughs.)

There were various versions of Laura's involvement in the storyline. In early drafts, Laura started to smell a rat pretty early in the show. Probably at the same point, structurally, as she does now, when she's in the scene coming up with Laura— with Adama and Tory and Novacek. But afte— [Quick shot of Galactica's damaged landing bay.] Oh there's a great visual effects still showing some of the damage from the New Caprica storyline. This little scene— anyway. Laura, in early drafts, started to smell a rat, realizes something was wrong. Adama wouldn't tell her. And so what she did was to enlist Lee. She got Lee to do some digging and try to find out what the secret was that Adama was trying to hide. And in those early drafts, what he had was, he had actual audio tapes of the encounter— of the mission. There were secret tapes that were somewhere in the— Galactica's audio archives that we were saying. There was an actual room with audio archives on analog tapes, in keeping with the fact that the Galactica computers are not nearly as powerful as our— as many modern day computers are, and they're not networked, etc. So there were actual tape banks down below some place that mission tapes were kept in, and there was a secret one that had the exchanges between Adama and Bulldog aboard the Valkyrie. Now some of the— we started running into all kinds of problems with that particular storyline. I had trouble believing that the audio tapes of Adama aboard the Valkyrie— he had kept, versus destroying, and that he had kept them and transferred them to Galactica where they could be found. And Lee was going to find them and play them back and confront his father with the truth and his father was going to be very upset and angry. I think in one draft Adama even hauled off and smack— and hit Lee, for the first time, which was what's— gonna be a— an amazing moment but, didn't feel like we had really earned it legitimately, so we started backing off the idea of the tapes. There was something provocative about hearing the tapes. It was the scene at the beginning of Apocalypse Now where they're playing the tapes of Colonel Kurtz, or it was like the conversation. Here's a tape of something from the past and it gave Lee a real drive in the show to find out what was going on. I'll come back to that later.

This scene, the flashback scene aboard the Cylon baseship. Virtually all the dialogue here, interestingly enough, is improvised by Lucy Lawless. The scene was supposed to be really MOS, silent, and it was really just her pacing around talking to him in the cage and you weren't gonna really s— hear anything. But on the day Lucy went into character and started improvving all this stuff, all this— I think she and the director worked out this thing with the rattling the bars of the cage, but all of her dialogue is actually something that Lucy improvved. And it's great. And we weren't gonna even use it but it was so good that we decided to really use it in the show. And it's really another testament to the contribution of the cast and the actors. The cast are the actors, of course. Of the cast to the show. They really provide a great deal of texture and a great deal of import to their characters and to the scenes and, in this particular case, actually wrote the scene herself. So it's really a testament to Lucy's ability and her identification with the character and her understanding of the world and understanding of what this show is about that she was able to just improv all that off the top of her head.

Like I said, the storyline with Laura was going to be Laura realizing that something was amiss. That Laura— there was something— there was a secret Adama was keeping from her and she was gonna get Lee to ferret it out. And when Lee ferreted out the information and found the tapes of his father and confronted him with them, that was when Adama actually resigned. Adama was gonna actually resign command of the Fleet, turn command of the Fleet over to Lee. And it's only after they discover what— that Bulldog's mission— that he was intentionally let go by the Cylons and ordered that he— in order for him to come to Galactica and disrupt everything and screw with the command and really cause chaos that they pulled back from— that Adama pulled back and was convinced to maintain his command of the Fleet. Like I said, the audio tapes were problematic and hard to believe. And then we just started, for time and space, we started realizing that didn't have really time to do this whole Lee investigative story and that the investigative story was not nearly as interesting as the personal story was. Which is often the case, I find in this show, that ofttimes we concoct these intricate plots and a lot of moving parts to get you to the fourth act and then as you're working through the scripts, as you're working through the drafts, you discover that, or I discover, that the thing that is really interesting to me are all the character moments and how it impacts on the people and I end up cutting plot and simplifying plot to focus on the characters. Which is generally the opposite of how TV is done. I mean, there's an old axiom in television that when you're long the first thing you cut is comedy, the second thing you cut is character, and then, only then, do you start cutting into plot. I often go the opposite. I prefer to hang onto character at all costs and humor is something that we're usually have very, very little of so typically we want to hang onto the little tiny comedic moments whenever and wherever they are. And so I'm loathe to c— but I'm loathe to cut character, ever, so ofttimes I will sacrifice plot for character because, in just my personal view, character is what it's all about and it's all about these people and that's why you're tuning in, week after week, is to see what happens to these people and that the plot mechanics are never quite as interesting as the character dynamics and watching what happens to them.

I like this little exchange with Laura and Adama at the end of their scene because she knows somethin's up. He's not giving it to her and she's willing to give him the space. That sh— the President is not pressing, is not pushing, is not pushing him to the wall.

This little moment here, after she's gone. Man alone in his cabin, and uncharacteristic outburst of violence. Knocking over the chair.

And then cutting from there to D'anna just randomly walking the corridors. For just a bare moment I think you do wonder what's going on and is she clearly on Galactica. It's obviously a dream sequence, at a certain point. And I think the trick is always to play with the audience's expectation in a dream sequence. Is it a dream, or is it not? And the closer to reality you can make the sequence, the more believable that it is that perhaps it is something real and you're getting a lot of mileage out of just wondering which is which. As a nice touch, the door there saying, "End of line." Which of course is something the Hybrid says over on the Cylon baseship all the time. [00:16:56] "End of line," by the way, as an aside, in terms of the Hybrid, is a callback to Tron, of all things. Tron the f— the largely forgotten computer animated movie from Disney that was done in the 80's. It's Master Command Program always had "End of line" as a end of a sentence and I always liked the rhythm of that and the computer voice of that, "End of line." And so I gave it to the Hybrid.

This little bit here with D'anna waking up with Six and Baltar. I had to keep like arguing internally with various people, including David, about the fact that that was worth doing, because I like the fact that we just jump ahead in their relationship. That after last week you saw that D'anna— that Baltar had made a breakthrough with D'anna in the torture sequence. And I thought it was perfectly acceptable to jump ahead in that narrative and just say, "Ok. You know what? In between episodes, essentially, he's— he has now started an affair with D'anna and Six." The Cylons having no real problem with those sorts of relationships. One imagines that there's probably all kinds of interesting things going on with all the various Cylons in many combinations and many numbers of partners, so they wouldn't really have a problem with sharing a bed with a man and a woman as well.

The Tigh relat— we're in the Tigh scene now. The Tigh-Adama relationship also went through various changes. I'd say the biggest thing that changed overall is as the Lee story receded, as Lee's investigation went away, the thing that really started to come to the fore was the fact that this was— this episode was also going to be the show that rehabilitated Tigh. That got Tigh to earn his place back in CIC. That by saving Adama at the end he would have essentially turned a corner and started the road back to being the man we all know and love. Some of us love. I love. And so scenes like this started take on a greater and greater importance because this show is— generally TV shows are never about the guest star, really. Good TV shows. Guest stars are usually just catalysts and methods of triggering greater events for the main cast. And so I wanted Bulldog to really be a catalyst for a story about Tigh and Adama.

Act 2

I love the pitted and scarred exterior shots of Galactica.

Tigh still torn up about the death of Ellen Tigh. I think this is something that haunts the man in a way that few other actions that he's taken really ever have. I miss Ellen. I miss Kate Vernon. I miss that part of the show very much. I don't really regret what happened. I don't regret making the decision to have him kill her. I just regret not having her in the show anymore. Not having that spark of life that was so unlike any of the other characters in the show and what it said— this other side of Colonel Tigh. Tigh tell— in editing I played around with— Generally in editing I go in and play with story structure. I've said this before that I tend to think of editing as— you go into your editing bay to do your second draft of the script, and that's again what I did here. I played around with the sequence of events. I believe that in script order this scene took place much later, after we had already revealed the secret to the audience of what they're— the guys are talking about, and Adama had already confessed what was going on to Lee, and then later you cut down to Tigh and Bulldog. And I swapped the order around and intercut the two scenes because I felt like once you heard the secret from Adama, once he had told you what had really happened, there was really very little investment in hearing Tigh say it again. Hearing Novacek find out the truth of what we just found out. And by intercutting the two scenes you provide more urgency and tension by saying that events are happening quickly. People are finding out things simultaneously. Bulldog feels a little bit more dangerous because you don't know what he's gonna do. Adama's just coming to come to grips with himself. And it's also a way of spreadi— of parceling out the information so that you can hear it in one fell swoop between these two scenes as opposed to hear it once and then hear it again later.

There were questions in term of the backstory that we had to wrestle through a lot. Things like, "Why the Valkyrie?" Why the Valkyrie came about because if it had been on Galactica, it seemed to fight a couple of things. One was that if the mission had taken place aboard Galactica that tended to undercut the idea that it was a museum ship on its way out and it certainly wouldn't have been involved in black ops operations. It also meant that virtually everyone else aboard the ship would know who this guy was. He would have many friends and contacts and would— it wouldn't just be Tigh and Adama. Dualla and Helo, everyone one else would have an investment in this guy and his story. And it really wouldn't be the closely guarded secret of Adama's anymore. So we came up with this idea of the Valkyrie. Just saying that Adama had been on an another battlestar before Galactica), which made sense. I mean, why not? The man had had a long career. And also as we developed it, it also felt like that was the reason, that the black ops operation was the reason why Adama was kicked to the curb and given command of this old bucket that was going into retirement and so was he. It was— it provided a little bit of backstory and a little reasoning for some of the events we had already established. 'Cause I think one of the mysteries of the show, well, not reall— Not really a mystery but it's just a blank that had not been filled in was the question of why Adama was on his way out. Why was he on this old battlewagon in the first place? Here's a guy that, by all accounts was respected throughout the Fleet, had been a veteran of the First War and yet had never risen above the rank of Commander before his retirement, and was in fact, commanding a ship of misfits and a broken down old bucket. And this explained why we got there. And for me that was a valuable thing in the life of the show. 'Cause it starts to fill in a greater picture of what was happening on day of the attack. You understand why Adama was in the position where he was.

Now this particular scene. This particular scene actually has more to it. We got into the editing room and I started to have second thoughts about some things we had done in the script and I argued very strongly with David about cutting the moment where Adama actually resigned his command. The end of the scene was Adama officially resigning his command and gave up command of the Fleet to Lee. Literally stepped aside. When I saw it I felt like it just wasn't ring— it just didn't ring true. I just called bullshit on it. It was like, given everything that he'd gone through and everything that had happened in show and the man had never quit. I believe that this had a huge impact on him. That this was a heavy burden that he'd been carrying for lo these many years, but I didn't believe that he actually would resign his command. So I pressed David pretty hard to not go there.

[24:49]All these little flashback sequences to the interior of the Valkyrie is essen— the interior of the Valkyrie is essentially a redress of the leftover pieces of Pegasus. This is— you can tell by the shape and some of the background pieces there that that's the Pegasus CIC that's simply lit in different way so that it feels a little different than Pegasus. [25:14]The stealth ship is a redress of the— of our own stealth ship that we did in last years "Flight of the Phoenix".

The backstory itself. You can argue that there's certain things that we did in the backstory in the missio— the stealth mission that don't quite add up that I never f— we never quite licked. Part of it is just the physics of space— or the the size of space. As Rick Berman used to always tell us, "Space is big." And the idea that there's an actual line out there, the Armistice Line and that Bulldog was just on— a couple of klicks on the other side of the line and would get caught, I think we're pushing the boundaries a little bit. I don't think we're breaking them, but I think it's pushing believability. After all, space is so vast. One would imagine that the Armistice Line, if there is such a line in space would cover such an enormous amount of space, it's hard to believe that he gets only a couple of klicks on the other side before he's caught, and also that he could see anything from just a couple klicks on the other side. So that's a bit of a stretch. But that— but it worked best for this story to have him literally saying, "I'm over the line," and then have events happen rather than get into long technical explanations of where he is and where he's not.

A lot of the backstory, in terms of his mission, was influenced by the U-2 incident with Gary Powers in the 1950s where Gary Powers was on a secret mission over the Soviet Union, flying for the CIA, I believe, and was shot down by the Soviets and there was— everyone d— the US denied up and down that it was happening, and then of course the Soviets produced the pilot and that put the lie to what Eisenhower had been telling the world and became a huge international incident.

We played a lot with what the backstory actually was. At some point it was gonna be more about the Taurons which— who we were setting up as a troublesome colony within the federal system of the Colonies and that the idea that Galactica had been sent out to deal with the Taurons and while they were dealing with the Taurons they were taking a— there was an incident around a world that the Taurons were doing some illegal mining and they sent Galactica out there to pull them off the planet to force them to leave. And while they were there they were gonna take advantage of the fact that they were near the Cylon border, the Armistice Line, and in some versions of the script the mining was actually taking place on the other side of the Armistice Line and the planet was clearly in Cylon territory and that Galactica was being sent there to pull them out before the Cylons found them. And then they were gonna take advantage of the situation and do the recon mission anyway. All of that became wildly complicated so we stripped down the story, and stripped it down, stripped it down, to just make it very simple.

Again, the idea that Adama feels personally responsible for the attack on the Colonies is an interesting one. That it tapped into his own deep-seated insecurities about his life as a military officer and some of the decisions he's been forced to make down through the years. And that, "What was the responsibility of the Colonials for what happened to them?" That had Adama done something, he could plausibly look back and say, "Maybe I had a hand in the attack as well."

Lee's def— Lee trying to get Adama to take himself off the hook, this also had an additional line in it someplace about Lee saying that, "Maybe this is what they wanted." That, "Maybe the Admiralty wanted to provoke an attack to start a war," was a line that was scripted and shot and I felt, as I was watching it in editing that it was too much. It felt like too big of a conspiracy and I didn't believe it. I didn't believe that the Admiralty was deliberately setting up a war between the Colonials and the Cylons.

Act 3

The idea was that the Cylon— I objected to the idea of the Admiralty deliberately trying to stoke a war, 'cause I don't think that's what Admiralties do. I don't think that they set up these vast conspiracies in order to deliberately provoke an attack, and that seemed like a wrong thing to say about the Colonial Fleet and about just generally the way the military operates in a democracy. I don't buy that line of reasoning. And generals and soldiers and sailors are usually are the ones that are the most reluctant to start wars. They're usually looking for ways for— to avoid wars and would— are not usually looking for ways to gin up a war. This, despite the way Hollywood typically portrays them. So I had to cut that line 'cause i felt like that was stepping across a line for us.

This little sequence and storyline about D'Anna discovering that there is something between life and death was a really interesting one. This will— sets up even— sets up a storyline that will continue to play over the course of the next handful of episodes as D'anna starts to realize that there's more to the Cylons than she's ever been aware of, and that the other Cylons are aware of, and this will lead to a fairly big thing by the end of the season. [30:51]The notion that there are five Cylon— the final five Cylons and who are they and that perhaps by dying over and over again, which is what she starts to do, she starts to essentially commit suicide by Centurion and in various other ways because she's desperate to experience the downloading process. And during that download she glimpses something, as you saw. She glimpses something that, in a set and in a place that we've been before. And I'll leave it to you sharp eyed viewers to tell me exactly where that set was where she saw the five figures. And I'm sure you can.

Meanwhile, back aboard Galactica... This is Starbuck looking at gun camera footage from the chase and starting to realize something's not right. This is a classic bit of plot that the investigator blowing up frames and studying trajectories starts to realize that something is amiss. This was always in the draft that they realize that the Cylons had let that Raider go, and what could be the motives for that. The question was really about when these investigative beats play. [32:06]I think there was an additional scene with Kara as sh— and she went and confronted Novacek, who in early drafts was named Seamus, by the way.

All that stuff with Novacek doing push-ups and stuff, this is all stuff in David's original first draft. I think he liked this motif of the workout and the callback to his time in the cell. In some ways I think it's an homage on David's part to scenes from Cape Fear with Robert De Niro working out in— alone in his cell.

It's at this point, where you starting— the intercutting is starting to develop more pace and threat because eve-, again, events are happening simultaneously. As Adama is going to see Novacek, Kara is going to talk to Tigh. It wasn't really scripted like this, but we cut it up like this to create urgency. In the first cut of the show it worked pretty well but it— there were long stretches and seemed like the plot was taking a little bit too long to get going, and by cutting these scenes in this way, by saying that they're all happening simultaneously, gives you a little bit more drive going through the show.

The relationship with— between Kara and Tigh... Actually next week's episode was— had a bit of business in it that subsequently got cut that explained why these two are actually much friendlier towards each other than they used to be a year and a half ago. Unfortunately that got cut from next week's episode. We'll talk about that in more depth, but essentially we're taking as read that the relationship between Kara and Tigh is much closer and much friendlier than it was, certainly was, in the pilot and in subsequent episodes.

And this is Novacek beating the crap out of Adama. That is a redress, I believe, of Tigh's quarters, where Novacek is staying, because we don't really have guest quarters in Galactica.

We played around with this act break quite a bit. At what point do we go out of the act? There was— we cut it several times with him just hitting him, going out there. Other times going out with the pipe on his neck as the act break. There were other versions of the cut that had— that pushed this scene entirely into act four. And other sequences— other attempts that moved it completely into act three. Essentially it's an arbitrary decision if you're looking at this on DVD because you watch it all as one solid story, but constructing the act breaks and the timing of it consumes an inordinate amount of outta time in the editing bay, 'cause you're trying to balance out the length of the acts so that the commercials don't seem like they're falling on top of you and you have one act that's fifteen minutes and one act that's four minutes, for example. But as a result, sometimes you're shifting pieces around in editorial just to balance out the acts, and because of the conventions of television each act break has to end on a moment of jeopardy or a moment of tension, and you're always hunting through the show to find those moments of tension to get to your act break.

Now the version that we've gone for here. You could've gotten out of this act almost at any earlier point. You could've gotten out at any of those moments. When Tigh came in with the gun, you coulda gone out when Novacek hit him with the pipe. In this version we opted to push all the way through the scene because it felt like, or David certainly felt like, ta— cutting this scene in half over the act break dissipated some of the tension and by the time you came back that you had— you were away from the moment too long, and he really wanted to keep it all contained and really play it all through and understand what had really happened. I think it's questionable, just in terms of storytelling. There's a part of me that still feels like the show is over at the end of this act. And my TV instincts tell me that we should've gone out an earlier moment of tension, but I think that by keeping it, this scene, together and playing it all through you certainly get the dramatic impact much greater. You're in the scene a little bit more and you're watching to see what's gonna happen next as opposed to just chopping it up.

This was the scene that I took a pass at, that I alluded to earlier. It is really the scene where everyone talks about what's really going on and where you take Tigh all the way across to the point where he not only is there and saves Adama, but is essentially on the road back. This is the key moment here where it's Saul realizing that he wants to come back. That when the chips were down he came and saved his— saved Adama. And that the scene shifts from the scene about Adama and Novacek, it shifts to a scene about Adama and Tigh. Now— and that's the act four— that's the act three break.

Act 4

So here at the top of act four the show dramatically is over. The rest of act four is essentially a wrap-up. That little insert of him submitting his resignation to Laura was shot after the fact. That was a pickup line that we went back and got later. Because of the way we had reconstructed the acts this no longer had a proper run up to it. The resignation is now a new idea in this scene. It used to be something, like I said, was in the Lee scene and we didn't ha— there was no discussion of him resigning in the script as shot. So later, we had to go back and pickup that little moment, all the up to the point where Adama sits down was all a pickup scene shot later.

And here we have Laura essentially providing the rationale for why it's not Adama's fault. Why it's not Adama's— really wasn't his responsibility for the events that occurred. And unfortunately this scene still has the line. We cut it earlier, but the scene here has Laura voicing the line about whether the Admiralty wanted the war. I think we went back and forth in that editing. I think David ultimately wanted it in and I let this one stay in after having cut the earlier one, and probably should have forced the issue and cut that one as well.

"Forty-five years of courageous service" as opposed to forty years. I think in the script and as shot we kept saying forty years for some reason and kept not going back and forgetting to fix it. And we had to— it wasn't until we were in editorial that we had to reali— that we realized that we never got around to actually fixing that continuity problem and I had to loop in lines and reshoot the insert on the card and to make sur— to make it clear that it's forty-five years of service.

And also, this is an idea we've used in the show before, that there's something about these people that've done things and have to go out and their punishment is to put on a brave front for their men and for the people that serve for them. A similar thing was done with Tyrol... when was that? The point when Jammer— when Jammer went to jail instead of Tyrol. I guess that's back in season one and Adama's line to him was about having to go out and his punishment would be to stand on the deck every day and know that an innocent man was in jail and it was his fault. And yet he was gonna have to continue on, and that the guilt of that would be his punishment. And here is the same idea that Adama's penance for his own interior guilt was really going to be that he's gonna have to stand up in front of all these people and get a medal and pretend that he's a hero, even though in his own eyes he doesn't think he's a hero.

This little sequence here on the hangar deck, I was actually here for this shooting, which was— that's something of a rarity in season three. I'm standing off to camera left during this closeup of Adama. I watched them do all this take. It was also great to be on the set because literally the entire cast was here for this scene so it was cool to be there and see them all sitting there in their flip-flops and sneakers, 'cause that's what they're generally wearing instead of their combat boots during that scene.

I ha— I kept pushing. Had to have a wrap up to Novacek. This kept getting dropped from the cut. I kept putting it back in. You had to wrap up what was gonna happen to Novacek, where he was gonna go, and presumably he's going off to some other ship in the Fleet to rest and relax and try to rehabilitate, recuperate. That after his experience it seemed unlikely they would put him right back in a cockpit again, and yet we— he's obviously a guest star and a noted actor, expensive guest star and he wasn't gonna become part of the regular family, so you wouldn't— we had to send him somewhere so that you wouldn't expecting to see him in the ready room next week.

Actually, the ship he's going to is where we sent Boxey, so I think he and Boxey are gonna go and have a very special relationship on their own.

This last little bit with Tigh is just the first— him on the road back. He's got the uniform jacket on again. He comes to see his old friend. He's not— he's been pretty anti-social, just hiding out, burrowed in his quarters for many episodes. And this his where his road to recovery officially starts. At the end of earlier drafts, Adama— there was a point where Adama was actually going to give the medal to Saul in the ceremony. It was like a twist where when she gives him the medal he says, "I can't take it, but there's someone— there is someone here who's earned it." And he calls up Tigh and they give him the medal and everyone cheers. And that seemed— it seemed a little melodramatic and also didn't know that Tigh had really earned the medal in any real way or that Adama would give it to him, or that Tigh would accept it. And it seemed like what was important was the connection between the two men and the personal relationship between the two men. And so as we were working through the drafts I gave the note to just have Tigh come in and start talking about Ellen. That, essentially, that was the big thing. That he had never told Adama what had happened down on that planet and what was the— at the core of everything that was going on with him ever since he got back from New Caprica. So that's why this scene exists is to reunite the two friends in a real way and let him talk about it. And I still like the fact that Tigh comes and asks for a drink, and Adama doesn't judge him about it. He just says, "Me too." And is gonna drink with him, knowing that this is Tigh's problem and accepting that it's Tigh's problem and it's something that the two of them are gonna do together while they sit and talk about the things that neither of them has spoken about.

And that's "Hero". That's episode seven. I think it's an interesting episode. I think it's a little more conventional than many of the episodes that we typically do. I think that at the end of the day it's the kind of episode that is a solid single, for us. It accomplishes everything it sets out to accomplish. It's a standalone episode so new viewers are not lost in the giant backstory. And I think it provides an interesting bit of texture and background to Adama and Galactica— Adama and Tigh. So thank you for listening, that's the end of the podcast, and I will talk to you again for "Unfinished Business", episode eight, which is one of my personal favorites of the season and of the series. So take care, good night, and good luck.