Battlestar Galactica was created, produced and written by Glen Larson. Credit where it's due.

 

Okay - I am NOT such a geek that I'm going to worry about things like airdates, writers' names, how many variants there are on each episode and who it was stroked the studio cat that day. If you want that level of information you need to look elsewhere. You'll get some of it from www.kobol.com , whose information I used as the basis for the rather more idiosyncratic set of summaries on this page, but no geekiness here. Instead, I want to do is give you a sense of what each episode is about and hopefully inspire you to go out and buy the DVD set.

I do want to say that the episodes were, well, cheesy. The potential for something epic was enormous – the whole idea of a small band of people fleeing from an implacable enemy, the religious and mythic overtones, the stresses on the society they were trying to build, the tensions coming from political and economic issues, the conflict between military and civilian... so naturally, the writers ignored most of that, or, at best, gave a feeble nod in the direction of something juicy and went, instead, for tried and trusted and tired old storylines.

Of course, this gives me and the other BSG fanfic writers lots of gaps in which to expand on the BSG universe. What follows here are the canon episodes that feed my Muses.

 

Saga of a Star World

Guests : Jane Seymour (Serina) – a journalist, mother of Boxey and Apollo's love interest
Ray Milland (Sire Uri) and Wilfrid Hyde-White (Sire Anton) – only really important in this episode but I use the characters a lot, especially Anton, who I love half to death.
Rick Springfield (Zac) – Apollo's and Athena's younger brother. He and Athena seem pretty close in age. Athena's only a year or two older than him, if that. There seems to be much bigger gap between Apollo and his younger siblings – 6 or7 years, easily.

This was either three full episodes (TV) or one two-hour movie version. This is the story of how the 12 Colonies are destroyed after the betrayal by Baltar, who manoeuvres the (astonishingly naïve) President into collecting together the entire Colonial Military Fleet at Cimtar. While peace negotiations are going on aboard a ship called “The Star Kobol” – which we don't see and I'm not sure who was doing the negotiating, as the entire Colonial Government, the Council of the Twelve, was with the Fleet at Cimtar - the Cylons make a sneak attack with over a 1000 of their small Raider ships. Because it was one of the Galactica's patrols that discovered the Cylons, she's the only battlestar who manages to get any substantial number of pilots in the air. That patrol was led by Apollo accompanied by Zac, who's on his first real flying mission. Zac is killed just short of the fleet.

While the battle's going on at Cimtar, the Cylons are using their baseships (they look like big spinning tops and are rather nifty) to attack and destroy the Colonies themselves. If you look closely at the city lights on Caprica (Adama's home planet) as the Cylons attack, you can see why the Cylons may be offended. Unmistakeably, the words “f--k off” are spelled out – some graphics designer got that past without anyone noticing at the time!

Adama takes the Galactica to try and save the Colonies (well, to save his home planet!), but arrives too late. His home is a ruin and his wife, Ila, dead. All he can do is gather a few remaining humans left on all the twelve worlds (it's clear that many survivors got left behind to be massacred by the Cylons) and they start on the long trek to find Earth, the home of a thirteenth tribe, separated from the 12 when humans first left Kobol around 7000 years previously. Baltar escapes and joins the Cylons.

The refugee fleet is very hurriedly put together, with little fuel and food, and some of those social tensions I mentioned above start surfacing almost immediately. Investigating reports of food hoarding, Apollo meets Serina again (they'd met briefly in the ruins of Caprica) and Starbuck meets Cassiopeia, a socialator – a sweet euphemism for a licensed prostitute. Cassie is Starbuck's love interest, feuding with Athena for the privilege. Apollo also takes a shine to Serina's son, Boxey, who's about five or six, and most unfortunately, persuades the techie Dr Wilker to make Boxey a mechanical daggit (dog) played by a chimp in a suit, a mistake which makes many of us consider spacing Apollo in punishment no matter how much we love him.

The fleet heads for the planet Carillon, a mining planet that's been a prime source of tylium, the fuel used in the ships. Carillon is home to an insectoidal race, the Ovions, who run a resort there (check out the singers in the nightclub!!) and who use the holiday-makers as food for their larvae. But most important, the Ovions are allies of the Cylons, who set a trap for the Galactica . After a lot of laser fire and explosions, the fleet gets the supplies it needs and escapes, with Apollo and Starbuck destroying Carillon and a Cylon basestar on the way.

 

 

Lost Planet of the Gods

Guest: Jane Seymour (Serina)

A two parter in which Apollo proposes to Serina (grrr!) and Starbuck goes missing… Quite a bit happens in between, of course.

Boomer and Jolly, returning from an advance patrol, contract a virulent disease and, because they're hurrying to get to Apollo's bachelor party they neglect to go through decontamination. They spread the sickness to all the Viper pilots except Starbuck and Apollo, who were out on patrol together when Boomer and Jolly get back and who are isolated away from the sick boys. While they were on patrol, Apollo and Starbuck find a Void, a huge area of black and empty space.

All of the pilots are incapacitated, leaving the Fleet unprotected. Apollo and Starbuck train the female shuttle pilots (of whom Serina is one) and some of the female bridge officers (including Athena) to fly Vipers. Don't forget this series aired in 1978. For the time, that was pretty daring!

The female pilots go back to the moon where Boomer and Jolly contracted the illness, escorting a medical shuttle that's there to collect samples to determine cause and, hopefully, cure. It's their first taste of battle and they do pretty well.

Adama decides to go through the Void, because he thinks it's the way to the planet Kobol, the motherworld of all humanity, once ruled by the semi-mythical, semi-divine Lords of Kobol (from whom Adama, as a stalwart in the Kobolian faith, claims descent). Starbuck gets very upset when Serina is made Apollo's wingman, and flies off in a huff, promptly getting captured by Baltar and the Cylons who are following along behind the fleet. Apollo's upset but marries Serina (!), and just as they make their vows, the star in the centre of the void appears, around which Kobol is orbiting.

Kobol is very, very Egyptian – all obelisks and pyramids – the origin for all the Egyptian symbols and imagery used in the series. Inside the pyramid of one of the Lords, Adama finds references to Earth, but the Cylons, led by Baltar and giving us our first glimpse of an IL-Cylon (Lucifer, who has lights in his head and a very sarcastic manner), attack and destroy the pyramid, taking the information with it. Baltar, btw, is trapped in the pyramid. Very unwise of him to have come down to gloat, but he has these little character flaws. Actually, he seems to have come to negotiate with Adama and he releases Starbuck, who arrives on Kobol to be greeted by Apollo in the scene that makes all true slashers' hearts beat wilder (“Hey! No hugging junior officers – unless you mean it.”). Anyhow, the Cylons attack, the pyramids and all the knowledge stored in them are destroyed and Serina is killed. But the Galactica and fleet escape, Baltar is rescued by Lucifer and Apollo adopts Boxey.

 

The Lost Warrior

Apollo is chased by Cylon Raiders and leads them away from the Galactica (while trying to fool them into thinking he's leading them straight to their quarry). He ends up marooned on a Western Frontier-like planet, his ship out of fuel, where he meets homesteaders - a widow-woman (Vella) and her son (Puppis), who's evidently a few years older than Boxey. As in every western since Shane, you have the evil land-grabbing boss in town hiring bad guns to terrorise the meeker farming population. In this case, the gunslinger is a damaged Cylon, known as Red Eye, who's acting for the big boss, Lacerta, who runs the town.

Vella's husband had been a colonial warrior who also had been marooned on the planet. He had been killed by Red Eye, who thinks that Lacerta is Imperious Leader. There's a bit of conflict - again Shane-like – about whether Apollo will go up against Red Eye, but when Vella's brother (played by Lance Le Gault, who turns up in later episodes as a Borellian Noman) is gunned down, Apollo challenges the Cylon to an Old West shootout. Naturally, Apollo wins.

Vella tells him that her husband's ship has fuel, and Apollo is able to cannibalise enough to get him back into the air, where he runs into Starbuck and Boomer, who've come looking for him. He leaves Vella and Puppis behind.

Frankly, this one's as cheesy as Gorgonzola, but Apollo looks bloody good in homespun and the Stetson-like hat. Bloody good.

 

 

The Long Patrol

Sometimes you get the impression that the writers tossed a coin to decide which of our two heroes would go missing that particular week.

Starbuck's turn. He's assigned to test a new class of Viper, one that's fitted with a talking computer CORA (who has the most irritating coy and flirtatious manner, most inappropriate for a mechanical device!!). Because it's experimental, it's unarmed. No, didn't make any sense to me, either.

During the test he runs into a guy called Robber, who lives up to his name and steals the Viper. Starbuck is then arrested by Enforcers, who are based on some sort of prison planet, called Proteus. It's implied that this was a Colonial prison colony, long forgotten.

In an interesting judicial twist about visiting upon sons the sins of their fathers, all the current prisoners are the descendants of the original prisoners and have names that relate to their ancestors crimes: Robber 1, Hooker 23 kind of thing. The prisoners use their jail-time to make ambrosa – BSG's equivalent to wine or hard liquor (it's a little difficult to be precise because the writers weren't). Starbuck, of course, sees the opportunity for profit if he can only get out of jail.

Apollo and Boomer, looking for Starbuck, come across Robber and his family. Starbuck escapes, is rescued by Apollo and Boomer who arrive just in time to fight off attacking Cylon fighters, and Robber and his family make a new (and presumably profitable) home with the Fleet.

This tosses up an interesting point. The fleet is evidently moving through the star systems well beyond the original Colonies, and keeps coming across these small, frontier worlds – the planet where Apollo was marooned and this one are but two. Apart from Robber's assimilation into the refugee fleet, there's no other obvious attempt to alert these smaller colonies to the Cylon danger and take their populations along with the Galactica. I always thought that was a little, well, negligent. After all, the Cylons are committed to the extermination of humanity. As soon as the Cylons too reach these smaller colonies, they'll wipe them out.

 

 

Gun on Ice Planet Zero

Guests: Roy Thinnes (Croft)
Britt Ekland (Tenna)
and a mention here of Alex Hyde-White (Cadet Bow) because he's Wilfred's son and this was a family show…

Another two parter. In this one, there's an attempt to lure the Galactica into the range of a gigantic pulsar cannon on an ice-bound planet. Adama, being the canny, prescient being he is, suspects the trap and comes up with a plan to deal with it.

For the first time, we find out that one of the surviving ships is the Prison Barge, and on the Barge is a group of convicts, the Ice Gang (convenient, given the planetary conditions!) who are offered the chance at this suicide mission. The Ice Gang is led by ex-Commander Croft (a sort of noble, honourable criminal) and amongst the usual collection of psychos and murderers is Croft's very estranged wife, Leda. Apollo is in command of the landing party and Starbuck displays this sudden technological acumen that allows him to hack into the Galactica's computers and alter his service records, so it looks like he has experience and qualifications that ensure he's chosen to go along. He's angsting over some captured cadets and wants to be in on their rescue.

A bit unnecessary, really. Boxey didn't have the required technological acumen, so he and his bloody droid daggit, Muffit, just stow away. Starbuck could have saved himself the trouble of hacking into the computer.

They crash on arrival, and only escape capture by the Cylons because they're helped by a race of clones, created by the same man, Ravishol, who has designed and built the giant pulsar gun. This is the point where you have to steel yourself for the prospect of multiple Brit Eklands.

Some of the convicts have to be dealt with on the way due to major psychotic episodes, but Apollo and Croft do manage to blow up the gun, with Leda dying to save Croft's life and Starbuck rescues his cadets. The gun blows up just as it's powering up as the Galactica moves into range. Croft never appears again, unfortunately, but it's implied he's freed and is given some sort of position of authority within the fleet. Perhaps not command of the Barge, though.

 

 

The Magnificent Warriors

Frankly, this one is not one of the greatest, so forgive me if I keep the description short. "Magnificent" rather over-eggs the pudding.

The fleet loses most of its food supply in a Cylon attack. A nearby agricultural colony (another one of these little colonies left for the Cylons!) is located and contact made to trade for grain and food. The only thing the planetary authorities want is some sort of generator, and the only person in the fleet who has one is an old flame of Adama's, Siress Belloby – although in the circumstances, I'd have thought that the Council would have commandeered anything like that for the greater good of the fleet. To say the geriatric romantic by-play is painful is to be kinder than the script writers deserve and the characterisation is dreadful – we're meant to believe that this is relatively soon after the Destruction, yet Apollo can be flip about calling Belloby "mother"?

There only appears to be one town in this colony, and it's under constant attack by marauders on horseback who look like pigs (literally) and are known as the Borays. The post of Sheriff is open (the Borays keep killing the incumbent) and Starbuck is conned into taking the post. During a Boray attack, Belloby is kidnapped. The Galacticans rescue her, making a deal with the Borays that ensures their leader becomes the new sheriff.

 

 

The Young Lords

Dire gets direr.

Starbuck's turn again to get lost. He crashes on the planet Trillion where the Cylons have destroyed all the humans except for a band of young people, the children of the planet's lord. They have that great aristocratic sense of obligation and stay to fight – and free their father who's a prisoner in his own medieval castle. Oh, and they ride unicorns. That's right. Unicorns.

Starbuck is hurt in the crash and captured by the children. The first plan is to trade Starbuck for their father, but Starbuck convinces them to go along with a scheme of his, which is rather more fun, as they all get to recite the plan in sing-song verse as it goes along. Of course, the plan works and they rescue the children's father just as Apollo and Boomer arrive to rescue Starbuck. Starbuck, having been the awakener of the teenage daughter's burgeoning hormones, delivers a chaste kiss in her direction and the Galactica people depart, once again leaving the colonists to face certain death at the Cylon hands. Weird.

There's a second IL Cylon in this one, called Spectre, who's as sarky as the first one we met. So it wasn't just a production flaw in the factory that churned out Lucifer.

 

 

The Living Legend

Guest: Lloyd Bridges (Cdr. Cain),

Another double episode, and one that's considered by many BSG fans to be a classic.

While on long patrol, Apollo and Starbuck, come across another battlestar, one that's supposedly been lost for the last couple of years – the Pegasus , commanded by the living legend, Commander Cain, aka The Juggernaut. This episode introduces the new love interest for Apollo (although somewhat tepidly pursued) in Cain's warrior daughter, Sheba; and reveals that Cassiopeia, who can't be very much older than Sheba, was comforting Cain when his wife died. She leaves Starbuck to go comfort him some more now he's back. Commanders are more important than mere lieutenants, after all.

Cain is a bluff, larger-than-life heroic type, a bit of a glory hound who can only see his own point of view. It always puzzled me that it's clear he took the Pegasus off without orders (he deserted, effectively) to fight the Cylons on his own terms, but when he joins the Galactica, it's like the Messiah's arrived. He and Adama are old friends, but still, you'd think that moral and upright Adama might have some misgivings about Cain's motivations.

Cain has been harassing the peace-loving Cylon inhabitants of the planet Gamoray, an outpost of the Cylon Empire. He wants the Galactica to join forces to destroy Gamoray, and then fight back against the Empire to regain the Colonies. Adama is a far more cautious (and less self-regarding) man and fears to leave the fleet unprotected. So Cain shoots down a fuel transport to ensure they have to raid Gamoray to get fuel, is relieved of duty and his loyal Pegasus warriors stage a rebellion just as the Cylons do attack the fleet.

Pegasus joins with Galactica to destroy the Cylons and save the fleet, and because they're now critical on fuel, Adama agrees to a ground mission to liberate some from the Cylons and destroy the Gamoray base. Apollo leads the mission – Boomer, Starbuck and Cassiopeia (who's now a med-tech) from the Galactica and Bojay and Sheba from Pegasus. This is successful, although Bojay is hurt and transferred to Galactica for treatment. The two Battlestars are facing 3 Base Stars – the Imperious Leader has just arrived on Gamoray for an inspection, along with his good friend Baltar. In the ensuing battle, Pegasus takes on two of the three basestars and disappears again (destroyed? Who knows?) and Baltar cannily escapes on the third. A good many of the Pegasus Vipers and pilots are transferred to the Galactica during the battle, including an injured Sheba.

Cain's fate is unknown, but he certainly doesn't come back for his daughter or for Cassie. Adama takes Sheba into his own family.

 

 

Fire in Space

The Galactica is attacked by Cylon ships, and a suicide Cylon raider crashes into the bridge leaving Adama gravely injured - shrapnel near the heart. A fire is raging on many of the Galactica's decks, and there isn't enough "boron mist" to put them out. The pilots, led by Apollo and Starbuck, try to apply this boron mist from the outside, to no avail.

Boomer, who'd been on a day's leave when the attack starts, is trapped in the Recreation Room with a bunch of others – including Athena and Boxey (and, inevitably, Muffit. Sigh). Using skills we didn't know he had - Mr-Sensible-Boomer reveals that his youth was less than full of church-going and good works, and rather more focused on hot-rodding hovercars and spending time in juvenile detention – he 'hotrods' a jammed door mechanism and gets everyone away from the immediate fire, but they're trapped in a store-room. Their only hope is Muffit. Boxey has trained the droid to seek out mushies (a sticky purple sweet) and using these, Colonel Tigh lures Muffy through ventilation shafts to the Bridge and sends him back with instructions. Sit tight and burn, I think the Colonel said. Oh and keep your heads down because we're about to blow a hole in the hull.

And that's because the fire-fighters realise that the only way to stop the fires will be to vent the burning compartments to space. Apollo and Starbuck go out on a spacewalk to set charges to blow the ship open. It's a slow business, and Apollo takes the risk of turning off his magnetic boots and doing it faster, but as he reaches for a handrail, it breaks off ("Oops! It just came off in my hand…") and he floats off. Starbuck instantly launches himself after Apollo on the basis that he "hates Apollo going anywhere without him." Cue for more slashy heart beating.

The charges blow and puts out the fire. Sheba finds Apollo and Starbuck floating and gets them back. Boomer and the others are rescued and even Muffit is saved from the flames, just in time for Adama to come around from his surgery, life saved.

 

 

War of the Gods

Guest: the incomparable Patrick Macnee (Count Iblis). Macnee provided the Imperious Leader voice-over throughout the series and it's his amazing tones that you hear at the beginning of each episode "There are those who believe ..." Wonderful stuff.

For the slashers amongst us, this is the greatest classic episode, another two-parter.

A group of glowing lights appears, constantly flying at and past the fleet and a couple of Viper patrols disappear when they try and follow the lights. On a (fruitless) locate and rescue operation for the missing pilots, Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba find a shipwreck on a desolate, very red planet – the special effects here are dire, looking like the film fell into a vat of red dye – and they find Count Iblis.

Iblis looks like a man, but turns out to be much more – divinity is most definitely hinted at. He obtains huge influence over the fleet through the judicious use of that Voice and other mysterious powers ( he arranges for Boomer to defeat Apollo and Starbuck at Triad – oh! that Triad kit!). He promises he and he alone can deliver them, if they follow him. He even hands over the traitor Baltar as proof of his benign intentions. He wins over Sheba and takes her off alone to the Agri ship...

Adama (who in this episode suddenly and for the only time displays psi powers which are conveniently forgotten again in the next story line!) doesn't trust Iblis one iota, and Apollo's every inch his father's son. They believe that Iblis is really Diabolis, the Devil, and that the lights are somehow after him. Adama tries to distract Iblis while Apollo and Starbuck head back to the planet where they found him to try and find out more about him, with Sheba following them to remonstrate with them about their distrustful natures. On the planet they find the bodies of cloven-hoofed devils in the ship wreck – and Iblis, realising where they've gone, threatens Adama with the loss of something more precious than his own life – Apollo's – and disappears from the Galactica to appear instantaneously on the planet.

He kills Apollo, who steps in front of Sheba to protect her. The lights reappear and spirit Iblis away, leaving Starbuck and Sheba to bring Apollo's body back to the Galactica. On the way (and you have to see how upset Starbuck is to get the full flavour of all this) they're captured and taken aboard the Ship of Lights, where they meet these rather odd beings – divine, like Iblis, but the good guys. Their uniforms now a sparkling white, Sheba and Starbuck are told that Apollo's a very good guy indeed and a rare soul, and Starbuck (supreme slashy moment coming up) offers his own life for Apollo's. The people of the Ship of lights resurrect Apollo (thankfully without taking up Starbuck's offer) and return them and the other missing pilots to the Galactica. The three have only a sketchy memory of what happened, but between them start reciting the route to Earth...

 

 

The Man with Nine Lives

Guest : Fred Astaire (Chameleon)

Chameleon is a con-man and gambler, apparently down on his luck. We meet him on the shuttle over to the Rising Star and he doesn't have money to pay for his fare, and cons Siress Blassie, who's sitting next to him, into paying for him. He pretends to be involved in the new fleet broadcasting service which is running a "Warrior of the Centar" programme, with Starbuck being interviewed on air. Starbuck tells how he was orphaned as a very small child in the Cylon raid on the Thorn Forest of Umbra which we tend to assume is somewhere on Caprica.

Once on the Star, it becomes obvious that Chameleon is on the run from a group of Borellian Nomen who are on a blood hunt – they're a race of humans, society very "honour" based and Chameleon – whom they know as Captain Dmitri – has cheated them and impugned tribal honour. They're after his life. They intend to use these nifty laser bolas, their assassination weapon of choice.

Chameleon runs into Starbuck and Apollo in the Chancery (casino) where once again Starbuck is relieving Apollo of his pay to fund his Pyramid system, Pyramid being the Galactican form of poker. Apollo's face during this scene could be described as a picture: funding Starbuck's gambling is evidently a common and unprofitable practice. Chameleon insinuates himself by telling a story about having lost his family and his memory in the Umbra raid, and having spent the last twenty odd years looking for his son. Starbuck instantly assumes he's Chameleon's lost baby boy, and helps him escape from the Nomen.

The Nomen are not giving up, though. Galactica's recruiting new pilots and they volunteer, running down Chameleon and Starbuck who are saved only by Apollo and security's timely arrival. The Borellians end up on the prison barge.

Meanwhile, Cassiopeia has been running the tests and tells Chameleon that he really is Starbuck's father and it seems the story the old man told to con Starbuck is actually true. Chameleon persuades her that the last thing Starbuck needs is a con-man father (Starbuck had already been making plans to leave the military in defiance of all logic that says a serving officer would NOT be allowed to resign in the middle of a war!) and he disappears out of Starbuck's life as quickly as he entered it.

 

 

Murder on the Rising Star

Ooh – more of that lovely Triad sportswear! This one starts out with a rough, tough game, Apollo and Starbuck playing a Sergeant Ortega and someone so unmemorable I don't recall who he was.

Ortega and Starbuck are un-friends, shall we say? After the game, Ortega is found murdered and all the evidence, including the smoking gun (well, the discharged laser pistol) points to Starbuck. No-one believes in his innocence – even his girlfriend Cassie tries to persuade him to plead guilty – except for Apollo, who sets out to find the real killer while at the same time preparing to be Starbuck's Defender at the trial.

He finds that Ortega was blackmailing a man who had paid him a bribe to be allowed onto a ship during the exodus from the Colonies, and this man, Karibdis, was somehow connected to Baltar and the treachery that led to the Destruction. Karibdis is living in the Fleet somewhere under an assumed name. There are only a few people who could be Karibdis, and Apollo arranges to transport Baltar on the same shuttle as these people, hoping to smoke the connexion out – over a live comm link to the courtroom. It works, as Karibdis attempts to kill Baltar, the only other man who can identify him, and kill Apollo for just being there. Karibdis is overpowered and Starbuck exonerated.

 

 

Greetings from Earth

This could have been a reasonable double episode, if it wasn't for the quite DREADFUL inclusion of Hector and Vector, two very badly conceived "comic" droids. Dear God, did it make you wish for a power cut and/or fast acting metal fatigue.

Apollo and Starbuck come across a rather primitive space ship, on which an apparent family (man, a woman, and four children) are in some sort of cryogenic suspension. They bring it on board the Galactica, believing it to be from Earth. Despite the danger inherent in reviving these people prematurely, the Council wants to open the ship. Adama won't agree and Apollo gets a bit agitated by the entire idea as well. He, Starbuck, and Cassiopeia steal the ship and take it on to its destination, an almost uninhabited world, Paradeen.

Turns out that the people on the ship aren't a family after all, but the remnants of two. The man, Michael, tells Apollo et al that they're from a planet called Terra, where two political blocs are at war – the Nationalists (who Michael supports) and the totalitarian militaristic Eastern Alliance. No, we do not do allegory on this website. Really we don't.

The haven on Paradeen was established by the father of woman, Sarah. Her husband is dead at Alliance hands. Unfortunately, her father also created Hector and Vector and therefore deserved whatever long and painful death Fate dealt him.

An Eastern Alliance ship has followed them and takes them prisoner – Sarah having sabotaged the Vipers because she prefers Apollo to Michael and is hoping that he'll find her and her children compensation enough for being marooned on the same planet as those appalling droids. Well, would you? It's a miracle Apollo doesn't kill her himself.

The Galactica warriors are able to turn the tables on the Eastern Alliance people and take them back to the fleet in their own ship, imprisoning them on the Prison Barge. The legal and diplomatic niceties of this action on one side (prisoners of war, maybe, but the Galactica wasn't at war with the Alliance!) the expression on the boastful EA commander's face when he sees the sheer size of the Galactica is priceless. The fleet then continues on to Terra. Sarah and Michael are left to their new lives with the droids. Couldn't happen to a more stable and deserving woman.

 

 

Baltar's Escape

Most notable for the fact that Baltar even serves out prison food to his fellow inmates while dressed in poisonous green velvet and wearing leather gloves. A difficult colour for someone of his age, I'd say, and most unhygienic.

And finally the writers started to make something of the tension between the civilian Council and the military – with Adama as both President and Commander, the conflict over who's really in control here is really nicely done. Of course, this is mere foreplay and byplay, although the Council does plant one of their members, Siress Tinia, to sit on the Galactica's bridge and hamper Adama as much as possible, but you begin to get an inkling of the potential they passed up for the cheesy old plots.

Meanwhile, back in the prison, Baltar has hooked up with the Borellian Nomen and the Eastern Alliance prisoners, and they stage a jail break. Because the Council has interfered with the whole operation, this is successful and hostages are taken. The Alliance people escape. Adama has to concede to Baltar's demands to have his Cylon fighter returned to him (the one he arrived in when turned over by Iblis), and the attempt is only foiled because when the Cylon Centurion pilots were reassembled, someone left a couple of parts out and they don't quite do what Baltar tells them to.

Curses! Foiled!

 

 

Experiment in Terra

The Galactica follows after the escaped Eastern Alliance ship back to Terra – or rather a forward patrol does but never actually gets there. The Ship of Lights reappears and snaffles up Apollo, leaving Starbuck and Boomer alone and disconsolate.

The people on the Ship - represented by a man called John - ask for Apollo's help to stop the war on Terra between the two political blocs, as war would destroy the entire planet. He agrees, and is sent to Terra, but not as himself. To everyone who sees him, he appears as a military hero who everyone thought was dead – and one who, apparently, seems to have had the same reputation for responsibility as Starbuck does. Starbuck may have been the better choice for this job as Apollo fails to convince anyone to listen to him and ends up in prison. An interesting situation for Adama's boy, I'd say.

Although Boomer headed back to Galactica to warn them, Starbuck has followed Apollo down to Terra and is able to rescue him. Apollo lectures to some sort of senate about what happened to the humans versus the Cylons – put down your arms, get deceived and betrayed, get wiped out - and they see the parallels with their own peace negotiations with the Eastern Alliance. The Alliance launches a pre-emptive nuclear strike, but the Galactica is coming into range and is able to destroy all the Alliance missiles before they can hit their targets. The powers are forced to negotiate for real.

John tells Apollo that Terra is not Earth, and that they still have a long way to go. So off they do go and once again leave these people for the Cylons….

 

 

Take the Celestra

I kinda like this one, I must say.

At a ceremony honouring old Commander Kronos – who seems to have been Adama's commanding officer years and years ago and is a crusty old bastard who acts like he has had an iron-clad copy of the military regulations anally inserted – Starbuck spots an old girlfriend, Aurora, who he thought had died on Caprica during the Destruction. She refuses to have anything to do with him (Smart girl. He's Apollo's).

It turns out that Kronos is now commander of the Celestra, the electronics ship – one of a group of ships in the fleet that seem to make up all the industrial and manufacturing base – alongside the forge ship and the textile ship (both un-named).

It's evident that Aurora, who's Kronos's shuttle pilot, is Up To No Good. She creeps about the Galactica looking shady.Starbuck comes up with an excuse to see her by going over to the Celestra to get his Viper adjusted ("Hello, little girl, would you like to adjust my Viper?" A step up from etchings), Apollo coming along to keep an eye on him. They land on Celestra's flightdeck just as Aurora and her wildly-tonsured boyfriend lead a rebellion against Kronos, who they consider a brutal dictator oppressing the workers.

Aurora can't bring herself to kill Starbuck and the rebellion fails. The captured rebels are then taken onto a shuttle to be transported to the Galactica for imprisonment and trial – Kronos going along for the ride – with Apollo and Starbuck piloting the shuttle. Kronos's second in command, Chakra, though is the real villain of the piece and it's him, rather than the remote Kronos, who's been the oppressor. Before he's caught out, though, he gives the shuttle the wrong co-ordinates, sending them off into the boundless realms of space rather than back to the Galactica.

Luckily, Apollo and the others realise in time, and by utilising the skills of the rebels (all electronics and maths experts) they navigate back and retake the Celestra. Kronos dies in the ensuing fight. Chakra gets a long prison term. Aurora and the others face only light sentences when its realised how oppressive the regime on the ship was, and she stays with the man with the distressing hairstyle.

 

 

The Hand of God

Definitely a favourite of mine, although very sadly the last true BSG episode ever.

This starts with Apollo taking Starbuck and Cassie and Sheba up to his "Hand of God" – a defunct navigation dome (the Celestial Dome, would you believe) on the top of the Galactica where no-one's been for years. Apollo's repaired the equipment and when he peels back the shields, there's only the thin transparent tylinium dome between them and the stars. While there, they pick up a strange transmission on the 'gamma frequencies'. Apollo is convinced, on no evidence at all, that it's from Earth. They take it to Boomer (with some distressing by-play about having girls in the male officers' quarters when he's only in his shorts, but hey, he has a nice body) who starts trying to decipher it.

They decide it's coming from the system they're about to enter, on the edge of the starsystems (the galaxy) and a patrol made up of Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba go to check it out. All seems clear, then up over the horizon of the planet Starbuck is checking out comes … da da da… the first Cylon baseship they've seen for months. The patrol gets out without being spotted.

Irritated – because they thought they'd lost the Cylons and because there's no way around this lot - Adama decides that the strange transmission Apollo picked up was from the basestar, and starts plotting how to get through the system. He's tired of running and hiding and wants to fight. Trouble is, that they'll be pretty much out-gunned unless they can knock out the sensors on board the baseship and give themselves the element of surprise.

Apollo has the idea of using Baltar's ship and Starbuck's sketchy memories of his time as a prisoner (see Lost Planet of the Gods, way up at the top of this page somewhere) to sneak on board the baseship and sabotage the sensors and weapons systems. Appalled, Adama refuses, but Apollo persuades him to talk to Baltar, who knows baseships better than any of them since he commanded one for so long. In return for a promise that they'll maroon him on the first habitable planet (that says a lot for how uncomfortable the prison barge must be) Baltar gives help and advice.

There's more tiresome by-play from the girls, this time with Cassie ranting about Starbuck finding some beautiful captive on the ship to fall in love with (she needs stronger medication, that girl) and Sheba mooning over Apollo and accusing him of having a death wish. Apollo doesn't really respond to Sheba's theory that they fight so much because they don't want to admit their attraction to each other. Thankfully, Apollo doesn't respond …

Boomer comes up with a electronic gizmo that will ensure that the Vipers don't shoot down the Cylon ship Apollo and Starbuck are driving. Starbuck says that if they lose it, they'll just have to waggle their wings to show that they're not real Cylons. Heavy handed plot device, anyone?

Anyhow, Apollo and Starbuck do manage to sneak on board the basestar and sabotage it. But Apollo drops the gizmo when the baseship is shaken by an explosion (he's half way up a high ladder at the time. There's some excuse), they barely get their Cylon ship airborne before the Galactica destroys the basestar and Apollo and Starbuck get back only because – you guessed it! - they waggled their wings.

This episode ends with Starbuck going up to the Dome to get Apollo to come back to the medal awards ceremony where they're about to be decorated, and as they leave he accidentally hits the console and links up to the transmission again. Neither of them notice and close the Dome's entrance up, and as they do so, the transmission clears of static and you hear the voices of the Apollo astronauts…

 

 

And that, my friends, was that. It's true that there was a terrible short-lived series the following year called Galactica 80 but I'm in complete denial about that. And it's equally true that there's a new BSG in which Starbuck is a girl and Boomer is a girl AND a Cylon. I haven't seen it and I don't want to see it. The original is my love and will always remain so.

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