Episode Summary

Episode Summary

Postby Omphalos » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:34 pm

Season one, episode three, titled Bastille Day, aired 01/21/2005: Summary: An icy planet may hold the key to the Galactica’s rapidly depleting water source, but when Lee visits a prison transport ship to round up “volunteers” for the mission, he unwittingly sets off a political firestorm.

The episode started with Tigh, who was trying to cut down on his drinking, practically making love to a glass of scotch. I remember watching this episode as it aired for the first time. The sound of this scene was exquisite! Tigh's lip-smacking embrace of the shotglass was amazingly well done. I could have closed my eyes and thought of a thousand different pleasures that would have fit in with the sound engineer's production of this scene. Alas, the magic was not transported over to iTunes downloads, unfortunately. Anyway, back to the episode, Tyrol reported to Tigh, who told him that water gathering operations would take, ideally, a thousand men crew. Roslin decided to offer freedom as an incentive for prisoners on the Astral Queen in exchange for doing the dangerous labor of retrieving the water.

Tom Zarek, played Richard Hatch, the actor who played Apollo in the original series “respectfully declined” on behalf of the prisoners. Zarek was a terrorist who blew up a government building on his home planet of Sagittaron in protest of the way his colony was marginalized by the other eleven for its entire history. Unfortunately none of the details of that prejudice were ever given. Zarek took the prison ship hostage and demanded Roslin’s resignation and free elections for the presidency. Zarek wanted that result, but instead of negotiating it he fully expected for his ship to be boarded and for all the prisoners to be executed. It was his hope that that act would bring about a revolution; that the people would rise and bring down the government that he considered illegitimate.

Adama also gave Baltar a nuclear warhead to get the Cylon detector working. They really do have loose security on this ship, don’t they? More, Roslin also asked for a doctor, and then later revealed to Apollo that she had cancer, and Tigh ordered Boomer to stop banging the Chief.

The purpose of this episode was to add to the discourse about whether the military or civilian government should control the course of the ship of state. This was one of the primary themes of the first season and led to conflict between Adama and Roslin and included Apollo who often found himself torn between the two. The discussion centered upon not only the source of power, but also the execution of it. The writers made some good points about the necessity of a military command structure that could execute civilian tasks during a time of war, without forgetting that the civilian government was the true source of power. I really appreciated that they did not give an ambiguous answer the answer to the meta-question: Zarek was a bad-guy because he wanted a crazy resolution to a real problem, but he made a point that was worthy of discussion, and in the end changed the way that Adama thought about control of the fleet.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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