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Battlestar Fodder

Battlestar Galactica: Occupation & Precipice

by Shannon Nolley, Filmfodder Editor

After waiting what seemed like an eternity, I was further foiled this weekend by being far from my precious TiVo when the Season 3 premiere finally aired! While away, I checked iTunes frantically every hour to see if it had been posted, but noooo. Last season the episodes were available no later than noon the next day. What's the delay on this one? Is everyone at Apple away for the holiday weekend? Sigh. I had to wait until I got home to finally watch it. The extra agony!

Anywho, it's here!! The new season is finally upon us! After being teased with the little morsels in the webisodes, the SciFi Channel's packed a solid punch with its two hour premiere.

I'm writing these up a bit different this season. I'm grouping the episode discussions largely by plot line. Hopefully it makes it easier to read. Also, I'm adding a section at the end called "Observations, Thoughts and Questions" to further focus on particular plot points and enable specific discussion on, well, things I want to talk about. If you've seen the premiere and just want to talk about it, skip to that section.

With that, let's jump in!

Occupation: Episode 3.01

Tigh and Ellen

We open with Tigh in a cell, scratching away marks to count the days of his imprisonment. He looks frail and beaten. A bandage covers his right eye from what he described as vicious Cylon torture where they plucked it from the socket and showed it to him.

Meanwhile, Ellen has been sleeping with a Cavil model to secure Tigh's release, which Cavil says has been arranged. Tigh is released into the arms of Ellen, but quickly returns to Tyrol and Anders to plot more battles for the insurgents who just blew up a Cylon hangar.


Kara has been held prisoner by the Cylon Leoben since the occupation began four months ago. She is kept in a comfy looking apartment where Leoben feeds her and has been trying to win her heart. Naturally, she resists and has killed five models (the last she stabs trough the throat with a tuning fork) so far.

To her dismay, he simply downloads to a new body each time. When the latest incarnation returns, he waxes philosophically and calmly explains that he is trying to show her the "truth" of her life and that god wants them to be together. He loves her and wants her to love him. Ick.

Baltar and the Cylons

On Colonial One, the Cylons bicker over their purpose with the humans as Baltar sits at his desk, thumbing over some papers and trying to pretend he's not in the room. Cavil says it is to bring the word of god to them - by any means possible, including fear. Sharon and Caprica Six argue that it was because the Cylons had come to realize that the slaughter of humanity was a mistake and that they must push past their conflicts and try to live in peace. Sharon and Caprica Six are among the minority, it seems. The others agree that stronger measures against the human resistance should be taken. Public executions perhaps. Cavil suggests executing Baltar (who responds with a well placed "Whaaa..WHAT?!?!") Caprica Six lashes back saying that she's with him. Ah love. The Cylons pass on the notion of killing off Baltar, though because they believe that most of the humans believe him to be a traitor and would actually cheer his death. Too true.

The Fleet

Back in the fleet, things are a mess. The vipers and raptors are out training, but are sucking bigtime. Adama is frustrated and growls at everyone. Apollo has gained like forty pounds (apparently they have plenty of food in the fleet) and is whiney and complainy. After two of the ships training collide, Apollo storms into Adama's quarters and tells him he's being too hard on everyone. Adama lashes back saying that he's gotten weak and soft both mentally and physically - and then tells him to get his fat ass out of his quarters!

Surprisingly, Adama's closest confident has become the Cylon Sharon who is still in her cell on the Galactica - though they've brought in some comfy furnishings. Adama tells her that he doesn't know who is son is anymore and that he (Adama) is alone except for her (Sharon). What?!?! Sharon counsels Adama that for him to be able to figure out what to do next, he has to forgive himself (for letting folks settle on the planet? for leaving when the Cylons showed up? for letting his son get fat? all of the above?).

Apollo sulks back to the Pegasus where he starts eating. His new wife (!!!) Dualla is doing paper work. She's trying to ignore his whining. He recounts what his father said to him and asks her if she thinks he's gotten soft. She says that yes, he has. He's lost his edge. His confidence. He's a soldier who needs a war. He's more like his father than he'd like to admit.

The Resistance

Tyrol and Anders have been getting important security documents from an anonymous source close to the Cylons. The documents are left in a designated spot with the signal of an overturned dog bowl (poor dog just wants some water!) each time a message has been delivered. This time, the security plans for the New Caprica Police force graduation (the human recruited police force loyal to the Cylons) are left - they include details on Baltar who is scheduled to attend.

Tyrol, Anders and Tigh discuss plans for a high stakes mission to detonate a bomb during graduation and take out Baltar. It'll have to be a suicide mission. Duck, who had apparently joined the Police at the end of the webisodes, is recruited by Anders and says he'll happily carry out the mission since his wife Nora was killed by the Cylons. Tyrol and Tigh argue about the mission - Tyrol doesn't like the idea of a suicide run because it's too extreme. Tigh's in war mode, though, and ready to take out as many Cylons as he can at whatever the cost. He's got to cause enough trouble to distract the Cylons so Adama and the Galactica can get in and save them.

Tyrol has also been trying to get the wireless computer network to send out a signal. Apparently, Adama had left orders that if something went wrong on the planet, they should send out a signal to a Raptor that he would be secretly orbiting the planet. Problem is, the Cylons have been jamming all signals so they haven't been able to get a message out - or even receive word that the Galactica is still out there.

In the next delivery by the unknown source, finally the codes to get around the jamming frequencies are left. After some fiddling, Tyrol gets it to work. He sends a signal. It is received by a Raptor waiting in orbit as had been promised. Contact between the fleet and the ground has been established! A return message is sent from the raptor - Will make contact ever 12 hours. Have hope. We're coming for you. (*weep!*)

Meanwhile on Colonial One, Baltar tells Gaeta that he won't be attending graduation for security reasons. Gaeta is a bit flustered but exits. Next we see him running at top speed. He's going to warn Tyrol. He's the secret informant. It's too late, though. Duck is already on his way with explosives strapped to his chest. He dresses in his New Caprica Police uniform and joins his fellow graduates. He passes Jammer, who says something to him, but Duck walks right past and takes his place in line. As the Cylon D'Anna Biers approaches to hand Duck his diploma, he shows the bomb trigger and pushes the button. We fade out with diplomas floating, charred to the ground and dozens of bodies left mangled and bloody. It doesn't appear that anyone in the room survived.

Precipice: Episode 3.02

The Cylon raids

After the suicide bombing of the Police graduation where 33 humans (presumably all police) were killed, the Cylons decided to take a tougher stance against the humans. They rounded up all "top" officials including Roslin. Baltar pays her a visit in her cell and asks her to join him in publicly condemning the suicide bombing. He promises her protection, but she refuses it. They exchange barbs and he has her released from custody.

Next we see Jammer gathering with other New Caprica Police (NCP) officers outside the Cylon compound. (JAMMER'S ALIVE?!? BUT HE WAS IN THE GRADUATION CEREMONY WITH DUCK WHEN EVERYONE IN THE ROOM WAS KILLED.... More on this below.) Cavil consults with Jammer about his team's mission. Reluctantly, Jammer and his men don their ski masks (to protect their identities so they can live among the civilians and not be killed as collaborators) and night vision goggles and begin raiding tents. Cally is among the folks taken.

Jammer feels much remorse over taking Cally, though. He approaches Sharon (the one who had been on Galactica) and tells her of Cally's imprisonment to see if anything can be done to get her released. Sharon's not much help, though, and ends up pissing Cally off when she pays her a visit - remember, Cally killed this Sharon for shooting Adama and breaking Tyrol's heart.

Meanwhile, Gaeta is talking to Tyrol about Cally. Gaeta hasn't revealed himself to Tyrol as the informant yet, though. In fact, Tyrol is angry with Gaeta for collaborating with the Cylons. Gaeta says nothing to retaliate and promises to find out what he can about Cally. Tyrol storms off and runs into Jammer, who expresses his regret for Cally's situation. Tyrol says that the traitor humans who collaborate with the Cylons will be strung up one day. Tyrol is talking about collaborators like Gaeta and other NCPs, but Jammer knows that he'll be first in line at the gallows if Tyrol knew he was involved.


With Kara still resisting him, Leoben introduces her to a beautiful blonde girl named Kacey. He insists that the girl is Kara's daughter - a product of Cylon fertility experiments conducted on Kara during her time at the breeding farm on Caprica. He leaves Kacey alone with Kara. After Kacey circles her several times singing "Ring Around the Rosey," Kara hides in the bathroom. While she's in there, she hears a loud thud and investigates. She finds Kacey face down on the stairs with blood coming from her head.

Later, we find Kara at Kacey's bedside in a hospital. Leoben is subtly pleased with Kara's concern for the child. Surprisingly, Kara even begins to pray to the gods to save Kacey. On cue, Kacey opens her eyes. Kara is relieved and takes Leoben's hand as they watch over Kacey.

The Fleet

On Galactica, the officers are discussing options to help Tigh and the resistance fighters. There's not a lot of winning ideas, but what's clear is that Apollo is still whining. Adama settles on sending an officer to the planet to coordinate a rescue operation. To Apollo's horror, Adama decides to reinstate the Cylon Sharon and send her. Adama says she's a perfect candidate because she can get past the Centurions, who (he must have gotten this from Sharon) can't distinguish between the humanoid Cylon models. They'd just know she was a Cylon model.

Apollo doesn't give up, though. He says that they have no assurance that they can save the people on the planet at all and that they must protect the few thousand people who were in ships and able to jump away with them when the Cylons invaded. Eventually, Adama concedes that Lee and the Pegasus must lead the remainder of the civilian fleet deeper into space and resume their search for Earth, while he and the Galactica attempt to rescue those on the planet.

Helo and Sharon share a loving moment after she's reinstated by Adama and she promises Helo that she won't betray her uniform or him. Sharon's last name is Agathon now, so she and Helo apparently tied the knot. Sharon departs for the planet to meet the resistance force.

Death warrants and ambushes

After her release from jail, Roslin urges Tigh to stop the suicide bombings. He refuses, and soon another insurgent blows herself up at a power substation causing significant damage.

The Cylons agree that stronger measures must be taken to stop the bombings. They decide to execute their prisoners - two hundred suspected insurgents. The Cylons force Baltar to sign the execution orders, shooting and killing Caprica Six to demonstrate their seriousness (she'll be reborn, so it's just for show). While under this great pressure and after the live voice of his Six is silenced, the fantasy Six that Baltar communed with while on Galactica reappears. She convinces him to sign - sometimes you have to do some things you hate so you can survive to fight another day. He signs and cries.

With their new orders, the NCP descends on the human camp, forcing scores of people into trucks. Cally, Roslin and Baltar's vice president (who has been absent thus far), Tom Zarek, are among them. After driving for a while they are taken out of the trucks for a "rest break." Jammer is among the NCP and knows what this "break" means. Wearing his mask, he sets Cally free and tells her to run and not look back. Roslin and Zarek are exchanging pleasantries about election tampering when the Centurions show up with guns drawn. Cally is running through the woods, apparently unseen, when she hears the gunfire.

Meanwhile, Ellen is having another tryst with Cavil. Though unclear, we presume she's doing it to keep Tigh out of jail. She's looking pretty haggard herself, though. Cavil tells her they know that Tigh is the leader of the insurgents. He wants information on key meetings with important resistance leaders or Tigh will lose more than an eye. Afraid for Tigh, Ellen snatches a map as Tigh, Tyrol and Anders discuss their rendezvous point with Sharon and the Galactica team.

Soon, Sharon and her team arrive at the designated point and meet with Anders. She and Anders exchange an awkward hug and begin plotting. It's an ambush, though. Centurions descend upon them and chaos ensues.


Observations, Thoughts and Questions

Jammer is a Cylon. Though he apparently doesn't know he's a Cylon yet, there can be little other explanation for his survival of Duck's suicide bombing. Also of note is that Cavil singles him out when giving direct orders to the NCP. Cavil isn't shown talking to any other humans. Fans have long suspected Jammer of being a Cylon agent. At this point, if he's not a Cylon, then he should be on that new NBC show "Heros" because he was not even injured in the bomb blast. Sure, Ron Moore could do the old bait and switch (like showing in a flash back later that Jammer snuck out of the ceremony after seeing Duck because he suspected that something was up) but that would be lame. In the podcast, Moore actually does say that Jammer "survives Duck's attack," but... again... that's lame. I'm hoping the "oh he was just lucky and wasn't injured" thread doesn't further evolve. It's time for another Cylon to be definitively revealed.

I don't like what has become of Apollo. How pathetic must he be for his own father - and the Admiral of the fleet - to call him a fast ass? The seemingly drastic change in his character to a fat, soft, whiner is disturbing. Do the writers just need someone for Adama to argue with? Was the change brought about to make it necessary for Adama to turn to Sharon? During the Resurrection Ship episodes last season, Apollo was ready to throw in the towel. Is this an evolution of that? I'd say that it was his way of punishing himself for leaving New Caprica to the Cylons, but he had gotten visibly plump at the end of last season when the Galactica and Pegasus were left to orbit the planet while the new settlers established New Caprica. Perhaps the only explanation is Dualla's observation that he's a warrior who needs a war. Without that he's lost. I still don't like it, though.

Will Apollo really take the Pegasus and lead the rest of the fleet away? If he's a warrior who needs a war, why would he leave? The way I hope it plays out is that he leads the fleet off to safety and comes swooping back in to save the Galactica from certain destruction by multiple Cylon Basestars. That would be old school Galactica - somewhat cheesy, but terribly satisfying.

Does Baltar suspect Gaeta? At the last minute Baltar tells Gaeta that he won't be attending the NCP graduation ceremony for "security" reasons. Did something tip him off? Does he know - or at least suspect - that Gaeta is supplying the resistance with information to hurt the Cylons? If Baltar does suspect, is he doing nothing about it in order to tacitly help the humans in ways he couldn't otherwise while under the careful watch of Six and the other Cylons? It seems more likely that Baltar is just clueless and got lucky. I'd hate to think he had some sort of redeeming qualities.

Finally, is Kara playing along with Leoben or did the kid really finally break her down? Over the course of four months of constant persuasion by Leoben to play house - and her murder of five of the Leobens with whatever she could find around the apartment - it seems very unlikely for her to break now. Cute curly-haired kid with a K name or not, Starbuck is a warrior. Until Kacey was injured, Kara called her "it" and "thing." Did Kacey's injury (which we didn't see and could have been orchestrated by Leoben or an unseen Damien-like evil in Kacey herself) really elicit a sudden and overwhelming maternal instinct in Starbuck for a kid she's never met and knows is a Cylon? It seems more likely that Kara is simply playing along in order to find a new weakness in Leoben that will enable her to escape.

One more thing -- YAY! It's back! How I've missed these musings!

The next episode, Exodus, Part 1, airs October 13 at 9pm ET.


Note: Copyright to all images is held by SciFi Channel/Universal Pictures

Posted by Shannon on October 9, 2006 9:56 AM
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Suicide bombers? Seem too close to the Iraq war to be a coincidence. Why do you think the writers decide to take such a controversial plot device for this season?

-- Posted by: subpar at October 9, 2006 11:05 AM

It is a plot point that seems particularly sensitive these days. The show often picks up on hot political issues and plays them out in various ways (the abortion issue from last season jumps to mind).

I think they're showing the suicide bombings as desperate acts by desperate people. The humans have reached a point where they must either surrender entirely or push back harder. Under Tigh, I think they'll always push back.

-- Posted by: shannon at October 9, 2006 11:15 AM

If you listen to the podcast commentary, Ron Moore talks about how it's not specific to Iraq only, but is a commentary on war in general (even WW2 and others), and how the BSG characters would react in these situations. None of the scenarios presented (e.g. suicide bombings) take a one-sided approach, which is one thing I love about this show.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this is the best TV series ever. IMHO, of course. :-)

-- Posted by: perrin at October 9, 2006 12:44 PM

I think sci-fi is interesting in that it manages to open discussion on current political and social issues without centering the viewer in the real situation. However, I cannot remember any sci fi piece that has embraced the US opposition ideology into its own in such a way. Basically, the humans are fighting a superior force using guerrilla tactics. I can think of three similar scenarios in sci fi. But I cannot remember ever them using the suicide bomber option. In Dune, the protagonist even uses the jihad, but nothing close to today's vision of islamic or muslim vision of war. In V and even SG-1, the resistance fighters seek higher technology to fight the oppression. I think the writers of BG are deliberating encouraging debate by ignoring other options and juxtaposing the moral position of its main characters. The suicide bombers are the good guys and the stabilizing Ceylon influence representing the US are the bad guys. It's still good drama.

-- Posted by: subpar at October 9, 2006 8:51 PM

subpar, listen to Ron Moore's podcast commentary for the episode. You'll see that it's not as simple as an Iraqi comparison. He says they used examples from various wars throughout history. It's a commentary on what war would do to these particular characters.

-- Posted by: perrin at October 9, 2006 9:05 PM

One theme that consistently pops up in the shows and the podcasts is the need to leave the audience wondering "What am I supposed to feel?" Ambiguity is a rarity in television, where we're often force-fed the good/bad dynamic, but it's one of the best elements of "Battlestar." For once, a show isn't talking down to us, and I think that's a big reason why fans are so intrigued and involved with it.

-- Posted by: mac at October 10, 2006 12:40 PM

Are we sure only 33 police we graduating? I thought they said 200 were in training and assumed that was the size of the graduating class. If that's true over 150 survived. Remember, this is the first class so if everyone was killed there would be no NCP to round up everyone the next day.

-- Posted by: Herb at October 11, 2006 5:16 PM

Is the Sharon that meets up with Anders the Sharon from Galactica? Sure, we see her with her team and she tells them to fall back when they meet up but Anders seems to test her when they meet and the look on his face when they hug looks like he knows something. Could the Cylons have sent a different Sharon to meet up and infiltrate the resistance thanks to the intel from Ellen?

"You can't spell Tigh with two eyes."

-- Posted by: Bob at October 12, 2006 4:44 PM

One of the best things about BSG is it's ability for the characters to challenge themselves and their beliefs when placed in particular circumstances - What would you do to survive an extremely oppressive state in order to have freedom/quality of life?(Humans in general) What is it that drives us to even contemplate suicide bombing?(Duck) What is it that drives the people who would use such agents?(Tigh) The psychology used in the development of each character is exceptional, an extremely well written series with re-actions in line with each personality type and how they do react is based on the influences and experiences in/of their lives. A fantastic show IMO! :-)

-- Posted by: Richard at October 16, 2006 2:52 AM

I was away for the weekend and i missed Oct 14th's episode Exodus Part 1. I set up my VCR but for the wrong time (stupid!). Did anyone happen to record? Perhaps I could get a copy through file share? Please?


-- Posted by: rendog at October 17, 2006 1:32 PM

Me again... My email is

Drop me a line if you have a copy.


-- Posted by: Rendog at October 17, 2006 1:34 PM

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