Podcast:Epiphanies

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"Epiphanies" Podcast
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore


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Teaser

Hello, my name is Ronald D. Moore and welcome to the podcast for episode thirteen "Epiphanies". I'm the executive producer and creator of the- or developer of the new Battlestar Galactica.

"Epiphanies" essentially is our biggest Laura Roslin show to date. We'd been talking about doing an episode like this since way back in the first season. A lot of the roots of this episode come out of things that were in the backstory of the character ever since the Miniseries, namely we wanted to deal with things like who she was before the attack, what her life was like and getting a glimpse into what she was like as Secretary of Education before she became President.

Some of the elements in this episode were actually, I think, suggested by Mary McDonnell. In early conversations with Mary on the script of the mini-series she started talking about President Adar, there was a line in the mini-series where she said- she was talking about how she got into politics and how she didn't really wanna be a politician but she had worked for Adar and that he was the kind of man that you just couldn't say no to. And Mary took that to mean that he was a Clinton-esque figure that you couldn't say no to, and of course being a Clinton-esque figure it also raised the possibility that perhaps there was something more between the two of them than just the professional relationship. And that stuck in everybody's heads and whenever we would talk about Adar throughout the course of the first season, we always jokingly talked about the fact that she had an affair with him and then it became something more than a joke and we started to seriously consider the possibility that maybe she had had an affair with the President. And that that would be an interesting insight into the character of Laura Roslin, and I'll talk more about that as we go along.

This opening sequence is meant to convey the notion that she's dying obviously, she's coming into Galactica and she's flashing back to what is essentially her last day on Caprica. This is the day that she found out that she had cancer, this is the day of the attack, all this is sort of- all these flashbacks are gonna be things that we never showed you in the mini-series and in fact, in truth, we didn't really think about them during the mini-series. When the mini-series was shot and edited together the implication was that she left directly from the doctor's office that you saw a few moments ago and went out and got on the transport that becomes Colonial One and then took off. But there's no reason to assume that she didn't have time to do anything else, so as we were constructing this episode it all seemed to be about the last day on Caprica and we went at the episode from that angle and then there was a continuity error that I realized much, much later, that I'll get to later that changed those plans. But the initial impulse was, okay, lets play this sequence as Laura is dying and she's thinking back to the day when it all began, when she learned that she first had cancer and when the Presidency fell on her head and everything began and ended on that particular day.

It seemed right at this point in the life of the series to finally do the episode that really dealt with her illness, that really dealt with the fact that Laura had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and that the President was slipping away from us. It had been alluded to all throughout the first season, this season we have been very direct about it, we had said that she wasn't gonna make it, the doctor had given her a very short term- a very short time in which to live and then indeed in the last weeks episode- at the end of the episode you saw her having trouble just getting up and physically walking out of Colonial One after her meeting with Adama. And it just felt like this had been simmering along for a long time and that we had to deal with it at some point, we had to really face the fact, as do all the characters, that Laura had what was a terminal illness and that it had to come to some kind of a head.

Act 1

The other story that's very strong in this episode, of course, is the story of the Cylon sympathisers and the resistance movement within the fleet. This was an interesting notion that was posited in the writer's room that Galactica's been out on the run for a long time, they've had a lot of people in all these ships and we hadn't played anything that really dealt with various factionalisation among the people or different points of view or people who might have believed for one reason or another that the military was wrong, that they had all been betrayed and that maybe they had made bad decisions, that maybe there was a way for them to get along with their enemy. So we went at this from the approach of- okay, well let's go with a radicalised element of that, of the peace movement as it were and say that, essentially, they're starting to sabotage the fleet itself. They're starting to get into places and do things to actively promote an agenda that is designed to force the Colonial government and the military to stop what they're doing, to stop making this all about war and to try and deal with their enemy, to try to negotiate with them, to try to achieve some kind of peace.

What was interesting to me was, there's- it's so antithetical to this kind of show, to do this story- to make the peaceniks as it were- to make the the peace movement the antagonists, to make them the villains. I mean a lot of the show feels very liberal in its output, there's a lot of political statements within the show that deal with the War on Terror that you could take to mean as criticisms of the Right. And- but the show is not meant to be a polemic, the show is not a direct allegory to all the events that take place in the United States. And within the world of Galactica it felt like the people that were advocating a peaceful resolution to the Cylon conflict and were actively trying to stop the military from achieving that goal would be the antagonists and it was interesting to spin the expectations of the show and the political structure of the show in such a way that I think I you come out of this episode wondering, what is the point of view of the show, what is the show really trying to say, what does it think in terms of its politics? And the answer is, the show is fairly agnostic, the show occasionally tilts you in one direction or another but overall the show is meant to make you think, it is meant to make you question things, it's meant to keep you off-balance and unsettled more than anything else and this is a good example of playing different political parts of the spectrum throughout this episode.

And finally we get to meet President Adar. It's surprising how little things like that giant seal behind the President's desk quickly and easily convey the notion of this being the equivalent of the Oval Office. That you didn't need a big matte shot, for instance, of the President's grand palace or whatever, he's just come in the room, there's the big seal, here's the man, it reads much, much quicker than a lot of belaboured set-up to who the guy is and what he's doing.

Again, you can see that Laura's in the same outfit that she wore on the day of the Miniseries and that we're all kinda playing in that same key, that we're- all the flashbacks were originally meant to be on the same day.

Now, this whole notion, was always in the original story; that Laura, as she approaches the end of her life, was realising that she had to make certain decisions now because she was going to be gone and that whatever they were left with- whatever she left them in the fleet with after she was dead was gonna be what they'd have to live with. And Laura's decision here to abort the Cylon baby is a pretty tough decision but I think she felt, rightly so, that she could not leave this decision in the hands of President Gaius Baltar and so she just moved to the end. She's realised, 'Time is short, I've gotta make this call, I won't take the risk, I'm gonna do this while I still can'. It's a tough-minded decision, it's certainly in line with all the other decisions that Laura has made and I think it speaks to the larger character movement of Laura Roslin since we saw her in the mini-series; that she was the Secretary of Education, a somewhat apolitical job if anything at that level can ever be apolitical, and yet she was then thrust into this position where she had literally the fate of the human race on her shoulders. And I always thought that that experience of taking a person who had never had ambitions to become President, who had no greater ambitions on power, who had a series of fairly safe beliefs, a fairly locked in political ideology of her own that we assume is something along the liberal end of the spectrum, put her into the Presidency, put all these decisions on her desk and force her to deal with the consequences of her actions and say, 'Oh by the way if you make a mistake the entire human race might be wiped out'. That that would change that person and that that person would start to make tougher and tougher decisions and some of those decisions might be questionable and she might start making choices that she would have been appalled at only a short times before. And certainly just aborting this child is one of them but it's a logical extension of where she's been, once she starts chucking people out of airlocks because she's decided that that's how you deal with Cylons, this is simply the next step along that road.

That's one of the nicer transitions that Rod Hardy came up with to suddenly posit; here's Six. You'll notice that there's a little line here about a few weeks have passed, he hasn't seen her since- one of the things we were dealing with in the aftermath of the Pegasus / Resurrection trilogy, was he connects with Gina over on Pegasus and then there was a draft of the script of Resurrection Ship where as he embraced Gina- something we ultimately didn't do- but he was going to embrace Gina at the end of that scene and Six was going to literally vanish in front of our eyes- something we've never done, she always disappears and appears in the cuts. And we were going to have her literally disappear and she was going to stay away from Baltar, she was not going to appear to him for many- several episodes and what happened is, as we got into breaking those stories and working on those subsequent scripts frankly I found Baltar less interesting without Six. She was such a part of his psychological make-up, the two characters were so firmly entrenched in my mind, and in the audience's mind I believe, that it was awkward and strange to write a Baltar without a Six. Even though you had Gina right in front of him, even though she was a living breathing... well, Cylon, but she was a person in all but name. Even with her right in front of him you missed, I missed, this interaction, the imp on his shoulder, the demon that tortures him and loves him alternately and so much of his psychology was wrapped up in her that we just decided it wasn't really working very well and so we went back in and put Six back into these episodes. But there was some awkwardness, I mean we'd set certain things in motion with Gina that then had to be moved over to the side, and then this little sequence of her appearing to him and hadn't seen him- establishing he hadn't seen her in a while was something that had to be slipped into dialogue at the last moment. This too is a nice little transition that Rod came up with, to leave him holding his own tie in front of people in the corridor and James does such great work with that sort of stuff.

This is a nice, powerful, very small scene of Adama telling Helo that his child is going to be aborted but it has one of my favorite moments, in the season actually- is a very small beat coming up here, there's a beat where at the end of the sequence you'll see that Adama says, 'Dismissed' and Helo, for just a moment, brings himself up to attention and you can see the look on his face transitions from anger and rebellion into respect and then he moves out. And it's not grudging respect and it's not arrogant and it's not all, 'I'll see you in hell Adama', it's just- it's honest and it's a very subtle thing that the actor pulls off here and I just wanted to draw it to your attention. Because it's little textures and pieces like that that really flesh out all these characters in ways that you can't really anticipate on the page and you would fail if you tried and you really are relying on the actor's instincts and it's right here- well not quite here. You see the anger and emotion on his face, spits that in Adama's face, 'Dismissed', comes to attention, honest respect, walks out the door. That's great, that is a great, great moment.

Now we're into the whole- the plot about the sabotage, it's happening. Some of the inspiration for this comes out of things in World War Two and other conflicts where there were- there was forced labour that the Nazis used during the Second World War and there were people who working within the ammunition factories of Nazi Germany that managed to sabotage shells and managed to do things that would not get caught in the manufacturing process that then, ultimately, would blow up on the battlefield much, much later.

This is an interesting thing, this is a behind-the-scenes sort of shot as it were; where did they get their ammunition from? Well they must be making it somewhere and this is where they make it. There was a lot of discussion on a technical level about what are the bullets that we shoot out? Do they have powder? Are they rail guns? A lot of that got tedious and difficult to deal with because we kept wanting to make this work and we opted to not talk about it directly. The visual, where he breaks open that shell casing in the earlier part, it leads you to believe that they're traditional powder and lead projectiles, we never talk about it, you are free to believe what you wanna believe about the weapons of Galactica and how they work. Which I think is always the better way to go; to preserve the dramatic aspects of the scenes and move the tech stuff off-camera as best you can.

Act 2

I love all these little pamphlets that the art department came up with that they're passing out, again the Peace Now pamphlets. And it was really interesting to play this side of the political spectrum- I know I talked about this at the beginning- but there was something interesting about making the people who were demanding peace, who were struggling for peace, who were literally fighting for peace- to make them the quasi-villains of the piece, to make them the antagonists, the problem, the thing that had to be dealt with because I think there is a tendency, certainly in writer's rooms that I've been associated with, we all tend to be on the liberal side of the spectrum. Not exclusively so, I've certainly met a lot of conservatives in my tenure as a writer and as a producer and they do exist but by-and-large writer's rooms tend towards the liberal side, at least in my experience. And it was an interesting exercise and it was I think a healthy exercise to move against your own political instincts and make the positions that you might personally be advocating in a similar circumstance the antagonistic ones. Now- which is not to say that I harbor hopes of going out and sabotaging the military myself but certainly to make the people who are advocating peace, the people that are asking for a better way, the people who are asking for understanding and dialogue, to make them villains is an interesting thing and it was an interesting exercise for us to go through and I think it keeps the show honest. The show should be about these characters in their situation and how they would really react given their circumstances rather than us trying to push a certain point of view.

This scene always- the scenes with the union representative always kinda make me chuckle just a little bit when I watch the show because he is the teacher's union representative and yet the teachers are out there burning things down and rioting and heads are getting cracked. I mean my father was a- my parents were both teachers and I've been in the edu- I know a lot about the educational system because I grew up in it in essence and teachers are not really known for going out and knocking heads together out on the picket line but it's interesting to say that that was the world of Caprica.

I like Adama's attitude here, I mean again it probably cuts against Eddie's own politics too, but Adama is not cutting this guy any slack, he's not trying to reason with this guy, he's not coming in to engage him in his arguments or hear him out in the way that say Picard would, he's like, 'You're a problem and you better knock it off asshole or we're gonna- really coming down on you'.

It's interesting to say that in the Colonial fleet even at this stage, once weeks and months have gone by and you've been on the run and you've suffered through these things natural factionalisation is going to occur, cleavages are gonna occur. There is no monolithic body out there in the civilian world that all thinks the same thing all the time. There are going to always be different viewpoints, there are gonna be radicalised elements of those viewpoints and it's nice to realistically say, yes, that's going to happen even within the rag-tag fleet. Those human- the human drive to object, to dissent, to say, 'No, I know better than you do' is always going to occur.

The reference to the space-walk kept going in and out of this cut because we kept putting the space-walk in and out of the previous cut as I mentioned in the previous podcast. We weren't entirely certain we were going to be able to carve "Resurrection Ship" into two distinct episodes so we kept playing with whether we took a space-walk at all and as a consequence this reference kept coming in and out. Ultimately though, the next episode "Black Market" deals so much with Lee and so much with the consequences of his ejection sequence or space-walk, we really had to go back and put that stuff in.

This is a great moment in the show; it's Sharon's reaction here when she comes- when she starts smashing her head into the glass and leaves the blood stains. I mean there's something so raw and naked about her, it's really a tribute to Grace Park and what she's done with this character. She's been willing- she's been pretty fearless in what she's been willing to do and try and nakedly show emotion and really go into places that I don't know that the character or the actress ever thought that they would go before. And Helo just watches. That's great, that's just so shocking, it's just it's so disturbing. It's such a- it's not a human impulse to run into the wall and smash your head into it, it's almost like a- it's very literally like an animal in a cage and there's something so discomfiting about that. And then in come the guards. I don't know- the whole sequence really it just makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

One of the things I like about this episode in particular is that it's juggling so many balls in the air I'm very fond of the show when it juggles multiple plotlines and characters and is constantly moving from one thing to the other, much in the way that the season one finale Kobol's Last Gleaming parts one and two, you were cutting back and forth between so many elements. And I really like that style of storytelling and so this episode, in term of its structure is one of my favorite because you are being yanked from scene to scene to scene it's like a fast moving train that you just can't get ahead of.

And yes if you look closely there are a few bodies that come flying out of that old ship, there's a couple- ooh there's a good one right there.

Act 3

I love that, I love that Adama just throttles this guy, just grabs him. It's interesting casting too, I wasn't in on this casting session but I like the fact that we cast somebody who does kinda look like they're a professor at Berkeley- it's really- look at that tie! That's just such a great little beat there when Tigh looks down and he sees Adama choking him there's like this weird smile that comes over the Colonel's face, he's just such a psychotic. [laughs]

This little sequence was always an important moment in the show, the tradition of Baltar taking out the- getting the letter that Laura has left for him as a tradition- Billy says is a tradition that President's leave this letter for their successor. It's actually something that does happen, they talk about this every inauguration, so ever four year this story's in the media, a new President comes into the White House and in the Oval Office there is traditionally a letter left in one of the drawers from the previous occupant and who knows what it says and I don't know that any of the contents have ever been shown but it's like some tradition for the US Presidency and so I just adopted it for ours as well.

Now interestingly enough what the letter said did change. Initially it was going to be a letter that was actually quite praising- actually praised Baltar quite a bit; told him a lot of good things about himself, tried to buck him up for the job at hand and expressed Laura's faith in his ability to handle what he was doing and we opted not to go that way because he was going to be touched by that and that was going to turn- prompt him to help save her. It was more interesting in this version and I can't remember who's idea it was, it wasn't mine, it was either David Eick's or it may have been a network note that the letter actually takes him down a peg and angers him but he reads it only after he's already saved her.

Now this is the first time that we really get to set up the fact that Gina is some place else, at the end of Resurrection Ship he promises to take her some place safe, we kept talking about the fact that she was going to go to the "brothel" over on Cloud 9 and that there would be a "brothel" over on Cloud 9 and actually in the next episode you will discover that there is prostitution going on over on at Cloud 9 and it's perfectly legal. And there was something evocative about that idea, oh there's the brothel and how perfect that is for Gina and she could work out a lot of her angst and anger and somehow we ended up here. That Cloud 9, we had established, has these state rooms because it was a luxury liner and we never quite got around to the "brothel" aspect of it and this is one of the areas that I'm not as in love with in this episode and in subsequent episodes to be honest. This is an aspect of the show that I think we shot a little bit wide of the mark here, there was something dark and intriguing and moody about Gina and the "brothel" and now it just feels like she's over in this upscale hotel hanging out. And this is a push okay, I put up my hands right now and say this is a push that nobody recognises her with the glasses, it's the Clark Kent disguise of the Cylons. I don't know what to tell ya, you talk yourself into believing some things will work when you're in prep on them and when you're doing them and then you see them in dailies and then in the cut and you're like, 'What the hell was I thinking?'. And this is one of those, 'What the hell was I thinking?' moments because I don't know what the hell I was thinking, somehow I talked myself into believing that no-one would recognise Gina if we just did her hair differently and put glasses on her but you'd have to be a moron not to realise that that's the Cylon. But that's one of the buys you have to do and one of the things you have to just go with because that's the way we shot it.

I do like the emotional content of the scene here that basically- we had initially written that Baltar and she were going to be getting it on in this whole sequence but Trish had pointed out that she just thought that her reaction to being tortured and gang-raped was gonna put her in the place where she was not really going to be open to any kind of physical contact and was gonna be rejecting him. And that already seemed like a much more interesting place to put Gaius Baltar who is all about sensuality and surely one of the reasons that he was interested in her at all was the physical and so to not even be able to consummate that relationship was certainly a source of frustration and to put him in an interesting character place. And it was also interesting to see that Gina's agenda is different than Six's agenda. Gina is all about Baltar taking over, Baltar getting control of the fleet and not- and destroying humanity and not so much about the baby or anything else, she's much more one-note in terms of what she's after because she does come from a very specific backstory.

I like the fact that we've been seeing Baltar doodle a little bit, he's already been- as a scientist he's already, there's a part of him that is intrigued by the puzzle of Laura's condition and what would happen to her cancer and isn't there a possible way of solving it. And that almost without willing it to be so he solves her problem.

Here's the moment when we realise that Laura is having an affair with Adar. We wrote various versions of this as well in both story and script, sometimes we had them in a hotel room, sometimes we showed them waking up from an assignation and then we dropped it all and went back-and-forth and there was a lot of discussion about it. There was a lot of debate about well, how does it make her look? What do we think about Laura? Do we think she's slept her way to the position? Do we think that she's a bad person because she's having an affair with him? We'd opted ultimately to write it this way because this presents the fact of the affair without any of the context of the affair, without knowing why these two are drawn together, what they feel about each other in a real sense. All we know is that it happened because again it's Laura's memories, Laura's flashback, she's not going over the history of the affair, she's remembering the things that happened at the end.

And it's interesting to see that- how much Laura does model her Presidency on Adar's, that even here at the end when she's not- when she's realizing that she's been betrayed on some level by him, he's not the man she thought he was on some level. She does respect him still, respects the strength of the man, respects the fact that he held the nation together as it were.

And just a technical point, obviously the traditional American system, a President could ask for the resignation of his Cabinet Secretary and it would be expected to be delivered and we're just saying in the Galactica world that it's not that simple. For all we know it's a position that is somewhat more quasi-independent from the Presidency etc. etc. I think it's easy enough to fill in a rationalisation for why she would be able to fight him for her job, or intend to fight him for her job, because as we know she never came back.

I like this, this I like the fact- saying that the fleet itself was on the death-watch for Laura, that everyone in the cast was really concerned and that yeah, it's the President, I think that everyone would be hanging on those bulletins like we all do when one of the national leaders or a national figure is dying, there's always that sense of waiting for the news to come in. And there's something interesting- this was all created in editorial, the editors and the director put together this idea of them coming for Sharon wordlessly with just playing the same music that was scoring the sequence where we're learning about Laura's death. And you're so still involved with Laura's imminent death that this sequence takes on a completely different tone and subtext to it than it did when you played it straight ahead and it was just them coming for her. It was a very inspired move on the part of the editors.

Act 4

And now we get into the final sequence we should talk a little bit about why we decided to "cure" Laura's cancer at all. It was something I initially thought I was going to run as long as humanly possible, possibly to the end of the series and that her condition would never get better and that she would just eventually deteriorate. That became less and less satisfying as time went on, she was an important figure in the show and the truth of playing her illness meant that she had to get physically worse and worse and worse and be on her back and taking whatever their equivalent of chemotherapy is and surgeries and it just meant we were inevitably going to sideline the character to the point where she became a hospital figure and I just didn't wanna do that to the show. And yet I didn't wanna just wave a wand and have it go away so we came up with this route which seemed to- which came out of the writer's room I didn't come up with this- I believe it was Anne Cofell our staff writer who came up with this, I wouldn't swear to that but I think so- and this notion that something from the Cylon child can cure Laura and that the discovery is made by Baltar who is about to become President and Baltar sabotages his own Presidency by figuring out the key to Laura's survival. I thought that- I was really intrigued by the way the puzzle pieces fit and it didn't feel like deux ex machina and it didn't feel unerred, it felt like a somewhat logical conclusion of several long-running storylines. So you may differ, that's fair, but to me I like the fact that it feels like a natural coming together for several different plot threads.

Another interesting thing is we always talked about this as being- we were going to use unborn Cylon baby stem cells, it was always going to be the stem cells that saved her for obvious reasons; it's more provocative, it capitilises on current day controversy, it seemed an interesting way to go but as we developed the script further we discovered there were just too many technical problems with it being the stem cells literally. That first of all, how do you get the stem cells out without killing the child, that led us onto a whole- surgeries and operating and complicated medical procedures and a lot more tech talk than I was willing to deal with and so ultimately it became y'know what just the ability to say the words 'stemcells' in a show was completely outweighed by the need to get through this section quicker and more efficient and get to the meat of the drama. The show is not a whole debate about stem cell research, the show is about Laura Roslin and Baltar and the competing interests of the two. And so it doesn't really matter, this is as techy as we get on this show; here's some pictures, Baltar is saying, 'one picture has red, one picture has white', 'what's going on?', 'well this is good'. And we move on because I just don't think it m- you care, I know I don't care and I don't think a large part of the audience cares about all the technical details of why the Cylon baby's blood is going to help cure the cancer. I think what matters is that it does and where it comes from and how you execute it. It is worth noting that it's certainly possible that Laura's cancer can come back, it's certainly possible that like so many cancer patients she could be clear one day and then a few weeks or months down the line she could find that the disease is back. I think that taking the cancer away from Laura also provides us with an ability to question her role as the prophet, because if the prophecies are correct a dying leader will lead them to the promised land and if Laura's no longer dying maybe she's not the leader anymore and that was an intriguing possibility as well that only came about much later in the show because at the beginning of the show we didn't have any of this prophet stuff.

Ah yes the unsettling needle shot. It's amazing how it's the little things that really actually make you uncomfortable. Somehow you can see people getting blown away and heads flying across the room and blood smattering on the walls and nine times out of ten the audience shrugs and goes 'yeah? moving on'. Put a needle in somebody's arm in extreme close-up and you can feel the uncomfortable tension spread throughout the room, 'how long do we have to look at the needle?'

Gotta love Doctor Cottle. Gotta love a doctor who just says 'well maybe it's just her time'.

And what's up with Baltar? Why is he driven to do this? Is he so afraid of the Presidency that he's willing to do anything, even cure this woman of cancer, in order to avoid it? Is he just not ready for it? What is it? And I think it's intriguing that at some level he ran away from it.

Now this is where we get into the continuity thing. If you really look back at the Miniseries Laura could definitely have done all this on the same day before she went to Galactica, she could have left this scene- she gets done with this scene and goes to the President's office in the chronology and the she could have easily gotten on the plane after that but Baltar and Six on the day of the attack are actually back at Baltar's house so that can not be the same day. Which was a problem but we get out of it by never actually directly saying in the show that it is all the same day. The way all the flashbacks play out you'll see that there is no reference to this being the same day so it's not clear at what point all those events happened and so we got out of the problem by skirting around the issue, she saw these people, she heard she had cancer and at some point she saw Baltar and Six making out in the marketplace and only now does she realise- does she call up that cognizant memory of seeing Baltar and Six together and realising, 'oh my God he was involved with a Cylon'. But what can she do about it? It's a memory, it's a memory flash, it's a memory that came out, a memory she only remembers under drugs, under this treatment. Is it true? She certainly believes it's true but could she convince anybody else that it's true? Probably not.

Cancer's gone. For now. [evil laugh] Because why would I wanna give up a perfectly good way of torturing a character?

It's a very moving episode I find, I find whenever I watch it I'm always moved by Laura, I'm always moved by Mary's performance, I always completely believe that she's suffering the way she suffers and fighting against it. It all seems very true. There's an emotional truth to everything that Mary does but there's a particular emotional truth in this episode. Where so many times in television you'll be doing the show about some character who's in a hospital bed suffering from something or other and you never quite buy it, it always seems a little too easy and they always seem like they're made up a little too well and they never seem like they're really lying in those beds suffering the way so many people actually do suffer. And this time no, this time I totally buy it, I'm with Mary on the whole journey. I think it was even Mary's idea- I wouldn't swear to this- but I think it was even Mary's idea that she was wheeled in here, that she was in the wheelchair.

'...and toss you out an airlock.' Again, like I said earlier, initially we were going to have a very different idea of what the letter actually said but now it plays much more deliciously. He's done this, he doesn't have to worry about being President, he's sort of a hero in everybody's eyes, he's feeling good about himself and then there's that letter. And when the letter just takes him apart piece by piece, it's the look on his face that is unbelievable, he just can't believe it. And then I believe the final action of the show, then I believe- there's the nuke, the nuke is sitting right there on the shelf- then I believe the final piece that he gives the nuclear weapon to the Cylon sympathisers. And he does so partly out of pique, partly out of simple rage at being hoodwinked, out of simple anger at having been affronted by Laura, this woman who he just saved, and to discover what she really meant and part of it is driven by Six and her agenda and Gina's agenda and buying into the Cylon agenda which is also moving him further along the darker aspect of the show. Look at the look on his face. Look at him. [laughs] She just really didn't believe he was good enough, just really didn't believe he was up to it, and that really pisses him off.

It was interesting- or not interesting- it was fun to finally pay off the nuclear weapon back in season one when Six tells him to get that nuclear weapon she says it in such a way that you feel like there's- something is going to come of that and it always nagged at us that we didn't have the end of that, we didn't have the beat that told you why the nuclear weapon was given to Baltar in the first place. We didn't feel like- we didn't like the feeling that it was just a dangling plot thread that was never going to pay off and it was just such a moment of relief when we found the true pay-off for it. When he gives it to the Cylon sympathisers here- to Gina I should say- when he gives it to Gina here it sets up the place where the nuke does finally get paid off and that will come in the final episode of season two. You will see how we actually do set up and use the nuke and you could say that it was in a way that Six wanted him to because it certainly helps the Cylons when it gets used.

Meanwhile, back at the brothel... thank God she has those Clark Kent glasses on else he'd be scared right now.

This was tricky to make sure that this was read, it was hard to get the nuke to read as a nuke, we had to do those flashbacks, we had to talk about it a bit. I'm not entirely certain that we ever licked it so that when he opens this case at the very end you are a little bit like- you have to think about it for a second which is not a great thing you want the last shot of the show to really slap you in the face and send you on your way. I think there's a little bit of going 'what was that, was that the nuke?' you're not entirely certain but I think it's close enough, sometimes you have to settle for close enough and I think it's close enough and it does work in the final analysis.

And again this is one of my favorites. I really like- for all the little things I don't care for in the episode- overall I just love the fact that all these plot lines are chugging along as handily as they are and that you really do feel like you've gone on a hell of a ride over the course of one hour and that we've moved so many stories forward and we've done so many things that it's really a satisfying journey and I think it just opens you up and make you want more.

See you can see the radiation symbols but they don't quite sell it. There you go that's a little better.

So that's it, that's the end of the podcast for Epiphanies episode thirteen of season two, thank you for listening and next time we talk about this will be for Black Market episode fourteen. Thank you and good night.