Space Croppers

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Space Croppers
"Space Croppers"
An episode of the Galactica 1980 series
Episode No. Season 1, Episode 9 (discuss)
Writer(s) Robert L. McCullough
Story by
Director Daniel Haller
Assistant Director
Special guest(s)
Production No. 1.9
Nielsen Rating
US airdate USA 1980-04-27
CAN airdate CAN {{{CAN airdate}}}
UK airdate UK
DVD release
Population survivors
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II Space Croppers The Return of Starbuck
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
[[frakr:{{{frakr}}}|Satirical view of this episode on WikiFrakr]]
Promotional Materials
Watch this episode's promo (on-wiki)
Online Purchasing
Amazon: Standard Definition | High Definition
iTunes: USA


Overview

After a Cylon attack that destroys two of the Galactican Fleet's Agro ships, Troy and Dillon are sent to Earth to set up an agricultural colony. In Southern California, they befriend a local Hispanic farmer who is struggling to keep his farm in the face of drought and the influence of his neighbor, a powerful rancher who controls the access to water for irrigation.

Summary

Act 1

  • He declares a new strategy in the war on the humans, ordering the targeting of the Galactican Fleet's agricultural ships. The Imperious Leader (stock footage is used, with Dennis Haysbert's voice overdubbed for the Imperious Leader) hopes that the Colonials will have no choice but to flee to Earth for food and, as such, will lead the Cylon fleet there as well.
  • Dozens of Cylon raiders are immediately launched to attack the Galactican Fleet, which they are able to detect their electro-magnetic transmissions. They begin carrying out their order for agricultural ship destruction.
  • After breaking through the perimeter of Vipers guarding the fleet, the Raiders succeed in destroying two of the Agroships, all of which Adama and Doctor Zee watch from Zee's chamber.
  • Adama and Zee discuss the attack. They discuss why the agricultural ships were attacked and why the Cylons haven't come in for the final attack. They immediately surmise that the Cylons feel that the Fleet is their only link to Earth, and they're trying to force their hand by bringing the Fleet to Earth, inevitably leading the Cylons to the last outpost of humanity.
  • Zee notes that Lieutenant Dante's men have been most successful in keeping the Cylons from Troy and Dillon during the Warriors' constant trips to and from Earth. Troy and Dillon are in position on Earth and Adama believes they are their only hope of replenishing their food sources.
  • Boomer informs Adama that Troy and Dillon are ready to launch, as are the decoy squadron. Adama is extremely happy that they are about to establish their first colony on Earth.
  • They are interrupted by an unidentified captain who complains that D Squadron, nicknamed the Daggits. Boomer points out that there aren't many people who would volunteer to bring the fight to the Cylons, which Adama supports, saying that their mission requires a certain "devil-may-care attitude". However, the captain reports that they have been modifying their Vipers by removing the limiters from the turbochargers, which concerns Adama.
  • Troy, Dillon, and D Squadron launches. Troy and Dillon head to Earth while D Squadron engages the Cylons. Having successfully entered the Solar System undetected, Dillon tells Troy of his optimism of setting up a Galactican colony on Earth.
  • After landing in the Alonzo's farm field and hiding their ships, they run across a scarecrow, believing it to be an Earthling, Hector Alonzo. However, as they round to face it, Troy posits that it might be either some primitive burial symbol or a crude attempt at artistic expression. They head toward the Alonzo's home.
  • Gloria Alonzo, Hector's teenage daughter, gives a plate to her mother, Louise Alonzo. Gloria asks why her father is depressed and expresses her optimism that someone will answer his ad. Louise replies that Hector feels foolish for running the ad, believing that everyone in town will see it and believe he's giving up. Gloria replies that he's hanging on; Louise blames herself for talking him into the ad. Gloria consoles her mother, telling her that Hector cannot hold his emotions bottled up. They hug after she asks if Hector realizes that they know what's happening to him, even Chris Alonzo.
  • Louise approaches her husband and asks if he'd like to go outside. He silently puts his arm around her and proceeds to go on the porch with his wife. On the porch, he reveals that it'll kill him to sell his land, particularly to John Steadman. Hector stops her from saying "don't worry", telling her to save it for the children. However, she tells them that they already know.
  • Chris is next to his bed praying to God for help for his parents, realizing that his parents work hard for him and his sister and that they may have to sell because they can't afford it. He pleads with God to send people to help his dad.
  • Dillon and Troy approach the Alonzos outside and, after noting that they didn't come in a vehicle, inquire about the ad for help on the farm.
  • That morning, Troy and Dillon talk to Hector about the ad, which he offers to sell half-interest in his farm and requires farm hands. Hector warns them that they may be throwing their money away, since they don't have enough water to support their farm. The problem stems from two sources: the worst drought in years and the irrigation quota. He tells them that the water is controlled by Steadman of the Growers Association, who makes it impossible for small farmers like him to succeed.
  • Gloria comes over and doles out food to Dillon, who initially refuses. However, Dillon concedes to the obviously smitten Gloria, who says she's cooked the food herself. Louise notes that they're lucky to eat meat twice a week.
Hector Alonso
  • Hector tells Troy that Steadman has dammed up the water supply. Dillon asks if he complained to the association, but he notes that the dam is on Steadman's property and Steadman has a lot of say on the association. Dillon notes that the inequity of the situation. Hector dejectedly replies that if he came to talk about fair, he came to the wrong place.
  • Troy asks to look at the dam. Louise pipes up, saying that Steadman treats trespassers harshly. Dillon replies that he doesn't think Steadman would mind meeting his neighbors.
  • Upon visiting Steadman's property, Troy notes that it is very green. Hector notes that it's "about the same color as his money", noting that his wealth is the reason he has clout with the association. He further adds, much to Troy and Dillon's confusion, Steadman's negative attitude of Hispanics, who he views as peasants.
  • On cue, Steadman arrives with two of his lackeys, one of them Maze. Steadman greets Hector and then notes that his people have orders to eliminate any "critters that don't belong here, and that includes coyotes, dogs and trespassers". Hector replies that he thought Steadman would like to meet his new neighbors; Steadman assumes that he's sold the property without giving him first bid, but Hector informs him that Troy and Dillon are his new partners.
  • Troy points out the dam. Steadman laughs and tells him that what he does on his property is his business, but he haughitly "corrects" himself and notes that it is controlled by the association. He says that since the drought, there are strict allotments made for the water. Troy notes that they're interested in the association, the local farmers, and the quota system. Steadman replies that he too works under the quota, adding that "the man with the biggest spread and the biggest overhead is gonna get the largest quota". He assures them that it works out "proportionally" for everyone concerned.
  • Troy attempts to argue that "farmers are brothers of a kind", but Steadman deflects this point and notes that they're standing on private property and would appreciate it if they leave.
  • As they leave, one of the Steadman's men notes that Hector's kind is "always trying to get somethin', because of what they are, instead of working for it". Steadman assures the boys that they'll take care of it in "our own good time".

Act 2

John Steadman in "Space Croppers"
  • Later, Troy and Dillon go with Hector and Chris to buy seed. Hector tells them he would understand if they would pull out upon seeing the problems he faces. Hector finds it odd that his new partners tell him not to worry, particularly when faced with the water situation, including their purchasing of seed he thinks will not grow in such weather. He also points out that beans, being legumes, require cobalt and molybdenum in order to grow. His soil does not have these elements in great enough supply to support beans, but the Warriors again tell him not to worry assuring him that they have a special treatment process. He concedes that all they can do is give it a try.
  • Maze and Barrett believe that Hector's got them conned and decides to "deal with that situation". They enter their Ford pickup truck.
  • As they pass Hector's truck on the two-lane road, Maze throws a cigar into the back of the truck. It begins to burn at the burlap. Maze then begins heckling Hector.
  • Dillon asks Hector why he puts up with the heckling. Hector replies that while it bothers his family, he's gotten over it.
  • Troy smells something burning. Chris notes that the truck is on fire and they pull over and stop. They take out the sacks of seed, but it's too late for them. Hector ruefully notes that he's lost crops before, but never so quickly.
  • Dillon finds the cigar in the truck bed. Hector believes that the cigar belonged to "Old Maze", as he is a cigar aficionado.
  • Hector explains to the Warriors that the reason why Steadman's men destroyed their supplies was because of their association with a Latino. Chris mentions that he doesn't understand their hatred. Hector explains it has to do with prejudice and racism. Dillon tells them he's getting angry; Troy replies that he was getting angry five centons ago.
  • At Steadman Acres, Steadman convinces Maze to ride Satan, telling him that anyone who can ride the wild horse will win $1,000. Maze states that the amount won't even cover medical expenses, to which Steadman replies that he'll take care of them.
  • As Steadman and Barrett enjoy the show, which ends as Satan dumps Maze into a water trough.
  • Troy and Dillon arrive at Steadman Acres to confront Steadman, and demand compensation for the burned seed. Steadman asks his employees if their claim is true; Barrett mocking chastises Maze, telling him that he should use ashtrays. Steadman, who claims that the incident wasn't one of malice, decides to have a good play with his employees, deciding to take the payment out of the henchmen's wages for the supplies lost.
  • Steadman offers to help them with anything else they may have forgotten at the store, but Troy replies that they'll be satisfied with what they had. He can't resist the opportunity to put one over on Troy and Dillon, and, knowing they are new, tells them about his offer regarding Satan. Claiming that it's the "best horse flesh" in the county, Steadman asks if Hector has a horse at his place, knowing full well that he doesn't. He tells them that it's an acquisition for them to think about. When asked on the cost, Steadman replies that Satan will have to choose his owner. He then tells them about his offer: anyone who can ride him, owns him, plus $1000 to boot.
  • Dillon and Troy accept the offer, Dillon notes that he seems friendly enough when spoken to. Troy gives the buck to Dillon, noting his affinity for such situations.
  • Steadman mockingly comments to Barret and Maze about not wanting to see Hector go under, which Maze playfully replies that Steadman's offer is a charitable one.
  • After holding the animal by the reins, Dillon notes that the animal seems upset. Troy replies that "I would be too if I had Earthlings climbing all over my back".
  • The horse begins resisting. Dillon uses his wrist computron to determine that Satan has disturbed brain wave patterns. Troy surmises that the animal is mistreated. Dillon notes that the animal didn't seem different to what was on Caprica and gives the creature a burst of alpha waves.
  • The horse is now calm, much to the astonishment of Steadman and his workers. Dillon rides the horse successfully. Steadman protests that he shouldn't be able to do that and it's a trick of some kind. Troy notes that Dillon seems to have a way with animals.
  • Steadman throws his hat on the ground, vociferously claiming that the horse can't be ridden. Dillon rides up, with the horse crushing the hat under-hoof, and says that they owe them $1,000 and want the horse delivered to Alonzo's ranch. A red-faced Steadman tells his boys to get the Warriors their things.
  • Dillon presents the horse to Gloria, noting that Satan would like her over Mr. Steadman. Gloria asks Dillon if he has a girlfriend. Unfamiliar with the term, he asks her why, to which she replies that she thinks he's cute. She walks away, allowing him to look up the term. Chris, who has the horse's reins, tells Dillon that he's got trouble.
  • Maze and Barrett arrive with their seed. Much to their chagrin, they find that the seed is not heavy for Troy or Dillon, who they believed would lose their balance over the heavy seed. Troy says he could handle another bag, which he catches with one hand.
  • Barrett notices Satan and their new owners, Gloria and Hector. He comments that the horse is nice, but tells her "good luck watering it". Gloria claims they have enough water for Satan, to which he replies that this won't be the case when Steadman cuts off the irrigation quota for them.
  • Dillon notes that they'll complain to the Growers Association, which is a prospect the lackeys laugh at. Hector notes that it'll be months before they get a hearing.
  • Troy walks away, having been summoned by Commander Adama. He tells Adama of the situation. Adama notes that with the food gone, it is imperative that they complete the project. He notes that while they have seedlings, they need water.
  • Chris comes up behind Troy, who confers with Adama. Zee orders that they plant the seedlings, for he'll be able to provide the water. He orders that the ground must be prepared no later than tonight.
  • Chris asks who Troy was talking to with that "watch" of his. Troy replies that he was going over some things in his head; Chris notes his father's belief that people who talk to themselves are trouble.
  • Dillon arrives and Chris is sent away to help the others. Troy notifies Dillon that they need to begin planting as soon as possible.
  • Hector is having problems getting farm hands; no one within 50 miles that he knows will help them. Money isn't the problem, but the farmers fear Steadman. He notes that the time table is unrealistic; it'll take one to two weeks to sow and plant the ground. Troy tells Hector that he'll get them help.
  • Jamie Hamilton arrives with the Super Scouts. Hector doesn't believe what he is seeing, but Hamilton assures him that they're a specialized branch of the scouts with a lot of agricultural training.
  • Lancer assure Hector that they're a lot tougher and stronger than they look. Chris asks how far they can throw a ball; Lancer is about to reply a good 3000 feet, until he is stopped by Troy.
  • Troy asks where the children can sleep, Hector points out a barn where they can stay.
  • Hamilton later asks Troy for a situation report. Troy tells her that he'll explain later. Hector tells them to bring their belongings inside and that they'll soon have dinner.
  • A team of agricultural experts dressed in Earthling farmer clothing enters the anti-gravity ship. Adama tells them that they will remain there to help the farm and form a colony, should the rain-making process be effective.
  • Zee explains that the process is simple. The mist the ship creates upon entering Earth's atmosphere will create clouds and, using their technology, will create precipitation. They'll seed the clouds with super-cooled carbon dioxide and do a bunch of other mumbojumbo.
  • Steadman meets with his henchmen, who inform him that Alonzo is looking for help and is calling everyone in the valley. He's sure that the two "yokels" (Troy and Dillon) are somehow involved in Alonzo's determination.
  • That night, under cover of darkness, Troy and Dillon begin plowing the fields with their lasers. Steadman drives up and sees this.
  • Starla inquires about the nutrient monitors. Lancer asks how they can grow plants without computers. The Super Scouts respond incredulously to Hamilton's claim that Earthlings plant things naturally.
  • Troy and Dillon use their superhuman jumping ability to rapidly seed Alonso's fields. Steadman watches from a distance, noting that they are jumping 50 feet in the air.

Act 3

Agricultural experts from the Fleet are outfitted with local garb
  • The anti-gravity ship makes its descent towards the valley. Zee tells Adama that carbon dioxide emissions are proceeding as scheduled. The next pass over the clouds will make it rain.
  • A rain storm begins, first with lightning and thunder, which Troy, Dillon, and Hamilton watch occur. It begins to rain, much to Steadman's surprise.
  • Zee responds to Adama's question regarding their food supply reserves. He informs Adama that with the special nutrients dispersing with the rain, the crops will grow faster and become plentiful within a few Earth hours.
  • Awakened by the lightning and thunder, Chris runs to the window of his room. He is surprised when he sees a flying saucer, actually Dr. Zee's antigrav ship, begin landing beyond the mountains.
  • The crops shoot up overnight.
  • The next morning, Steadman goes to the Grower's Association, blaming the problems of the valley on Hector Alonzo. Tom Rogers asks how Hector can cause a threat. He then dissolves into frantic revelations of jumping aliens and flying saucers at Alonzo's place, giving a call to arms for the townsfolk to get the sheriff and law enforcement involved.
  • Hector and his wife react to the bountiful crop they now have. Also present are agricultural experts from the Galactican Fleet, who masquerade as agricultural students studying advanced, experimental farming techniques. Troy assures Hector that they'll work on their share of the farm and will be of no burden.
  • Steadman and his cronies arrive. Steadman makes his accusations. The police subsequently arrive, lead by the Sheriff and Mr. Rogers. They follow up on Steadman's claim of Alonzo's harboring of illegal aliens.
  • Steadman tells them to check out the identification of the others, but Roger himself asks Steadman for ID. Steadman claims that he never carries any on his person, since everyone knows who he is. The scouts, however, point out that they don't know who he is; Lancer adds that he doesn't want to know Steadman at all.
  • Steadman claims to the police that he saw them arrive last night. After Hamilton pretends to be interested in Steadman's story, Steadman reveals that he saw a ship. It is revealed through more direct questioning that the ship was an UFO. Once Steadman spills what he saw, Hamilton notes that she should call her station and get a crew on the story right away. However, Rogers says that it isn't necessary to call them. The sheriff agrees, saying they should leave Alonzo and his friends alone. Rogers also goes on to say that they've been having second thoughts about the water situation.
  • Rogers says that he's calling an emergency meeting, where he pledges that the dam won't be there by tomorrow morning.
  • Steadman claims that everything he's said is the truth. He points out that Dillon was able to ride Satan, a feat that he claims no human could do. However, on cue, he is proven wrong when Chris rides Satan within plain sight.
  • Rogers laughs at Steadman, telling him not to take any wooden saucers now.
  • Rogers has his emergency meeting and, despite the loud protestations of Steadman, have the dam removed in addition to other strictures. Overwhelmingly, Rogers proposition is supported. Hamilton is pleased when Steadman storms out in defeat.
  • Gloria is sad to see Dillon go. She asks if he'll come by again, which he replies that, as their friends are there, of course they will. She kisses him on the cheek and runs off.
  • Louise tells Dillon her belief that Gloria has a crush on him; Chris tells him not to worry, since she'll grow out of it.
  • Hector thanks the Warriors and Hamilton for everything they've done. Troy replies that it is they who should thank him. Hector assures them that Troy's people will be taken care of like they were members of his own family.
  • Troy and Dillon ride off in their turbines, talking about how beautiful the place was -- and Gloria. They fly off into the sky.

Notes

Episodic Notes

  • The final series episode, "The Return of Starbuck" was being filmed around the same time as this episode.
  • "Space Croppers" is the final episode of the series to include the central cast outside of Adama and Doctor Zee.
  • The voice of the Imperious Leader is furnished by actor Dennis Haysbert from 24 fame; Patrick Macnee typically did the voice work for the Imperious Leader, and may have not been available (or offered, due to budget constraints) to reprise the role. It should be noted that Haysbert was also working on Larson's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series, which was being filmed around this time.
  • Whether the voice change was intentional or a byproduct of casting, it does leave the impression that there is a new Imperious Leader in place at the time of the 1980 series.
  • There is an early draft of Space Croppers called Harvest Home. In some guides, this episode is sometimes erroneously called that name.
  • This episode was sent out on satellite only twenty minutes before air time, which shows just how rushed the series was.
  • Troy claims the horses weren't much different from what was on Caprica. However, Troy lived in a major city on Caprica before the Cylon holocaust (Serena's son, then called Boxey). It is unclear how much Troy could recall about Caprican horses after fleeing the planet at a young age and living aboard the Fleet nearly his entire life.
  • There is an episode of Lost In Space which is also named The Space Croppers. It involves Dr. Smith's marriage to a space cropper named Sybilla, who grows man-eating plants.

Cinematic Notes

  • Much of the episode was filmed at the Disney movie ranch in rural Los Angeles county, a favorite location for Galactica 1980.
  • Ana Alicia (Gloria) also played Aurora in the Battlestar Galactica episode Take the Celestra, which was, much like Space Croppers, the second to last episode of that series as well.
  • The Viper pilots wear a new style of helmets.
  • The Daggit Squadron is introduced in this episode.
  • The voices of the Cylons sound slightly different, and not for the better.
  • Unbelievably, the Alonzo family accepts the existence of aliens from another world without any question.
  • Adama and Dr. Zee's extended conversation about rain, precipitation, etc., is yet another example of the educational dialogue required by the network.
  • The license plate on Steadman's car is 956 QHK.
  • The laser pistols used by Dillon and Troy to prepare the ground for planting are not Colonial pistols, but Cylon.

Analysis

  • "Space Croppers" continues the storyline of Galactica's arrival at Earth, suggesting that the Cylons are now very close to finding out the location of the planet, and establishing the first colony from the Fleet on the Earth.
  • In fact, the opening battle apparently takes place near Saturn in our solar system since the planet is seen in the background, courtesy of reused Agro Ship footage from the 1972 film Silent Running.
  • If the series had continued, a conflict at Earth between the Colonials and the Cylons would have seemed to be a logical next step for the storyline.

Flubs and Continuity Errors

  • Adama states that two agroships have been destroyed in the Cylon attack, yet after the events of The Magnificent Warriors there was only one agroship left.
  • The Gemini freighter is seen during the Cylon attack. It was destroyed in The Super Scouts Part 1.
  • A Cylon tanker is also seen in the fleet during the attack.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • The Imperious Leader orders an attack on the Galactican Fleet's agricultural ships:
Imperious Leader: I'm growing impatient waiting for the Galactican fleet to lead us to the last outpost of humanity. Launch a full-scale attack on their agricultural ships. We must destroy their food supply, thereby forcing them to lead us to Earth.
Centurion: By your command.

Official Statements

  • Chris Bunch discusses the episode in his interview with Susan Paxton:
Chris Bunch: [The episode] aired simply because Glen [Larson] has the wonderful habit of rolling paper into the typewriter, whackin’ away, and sooner or later coming up with a plot. In this case, he came up with a plot about page 56. So he simply wrote on and at page 62 typed END OF PART ONE. The turkey ran three parts before he finished, and was shown with Bob [McCullough]’s script in the middle.[1]
  • Galactica 1980 story editor Chris Bunch on this episode:
Q: How far in advance were the episodes filmed?
Bunch: Space Croppers went out on satellite to New York twenty minutes before air time. This was the only freelance script or even staff script that was filmed because there were problems, like Larson was stuck on an episode or couldn't get the Lear Jet to pick him up in Hawaii or whatever.
When Larson is worried about a show, or trying to make it work, he writes every script. Every goddamned script. So there was a lotta fallout with scripts being commissioned and abandoned right and left and down the center.[2]

Guest Stars

References

  1. Paxton, Susan J.. Battlestar Zone Interview: Chris Bunch (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 11 August 2007.
  2. Galactic Sci-Fi Television Series Revisited. Alpha Control Press, 1995.