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LOST PLANET OF THE GODS

Parts One and Two

Written by Glen A. Larson and Donald P. Bellisario

Original Airdate: September 24, 1978

Synopsis by Matthew Wharmby

PREMISE:

The Colonials' problems have only just begun when an incurable disease strikes down the cream of the pilots and replacements have to be found and trained. Anxious to avoid a Cylon outpost, the fleet must cross an uncharted void which hides an extraordinary secret...

THE STORY:

First off, we see a small dinner in Commander Adama's dining room, attended by Adama, Apollo and Serina, and Starbuck and Athena. There's a spot of tension in the air as they finally pry out of the shy Apollo that he's popped the question to Serina. Not of course helped by Boxey implying that Apollo's somehow educationally subnormal! Bloody kids... They're all delighted, of course, except for Starbuck. When Athena smiles enigmatically at him, he gets major cold feet and bolts from the room. At least Adama can make light of the situation. 'Starbuck has such a keen sense of anticipation, that's what makes him such a good advance scout!'

For the benefit of those who hadn't seen the three-part Saga of a Star World (and I confess with some shame that I'm one of them, even twenty-three years after it first came out!), they then carry over the scene from the final minutes of the premiere episode in which the new Cylon Imperious Leader decides to set Baltar the task of following the fleet under Cylon arms, rather than carrying out the dirty work himself. We are introduced to Lucifer, who seems actually pretty enthused with the project. That won't last long!

Apollo and Starbuck are on patrol. Apollo is in a particularly elated mood, as anyone would be when marrying Jane Seymour (and there've been three or four with that privilege; but I digress!). Starbuck seems to think it's the end of an era, but Apollo scoffs 'Starbuck, I'm not dying'.

Back on the Galactica, the other pilots are getting ready to give Apollo a proper send-off, and have done so by lifting a large quantity of booze for the purpose. They have to hide it from a couple of nosey Council Security guards, who seem a lot more authoritarian than the despised and pathetic blackshirts of later episodes, but Colonel Tigh's wrath is what they're really afraid of. Just when Blue Squadron is about to be busted badly, Tigh stalks in and immediately takes the rap for the stash of illegal ambrosa, delivering one classic line to a flustered Giles. 'Lieutenant, there's only one thing worse than lifting supplies from the officers' mess. That's getting caught lifting supplies from the officers' mess.'

Apollo marries his lady love Serina in Lost Planet Of The GodsApollo and Starbuck grow worried as their instruments suddenly start going to pieces, unable to lock onto anything. Right ahead of them is - well, nothing. No stars, no planets, no nowt - just black. The void swallows up the two vipers as they enter, and immediately they are lost. If the fleet gets into this, there's not a lot of chance they'll get out. To add to the tension, Apollo's communicator starts fritzing and he loses contact with Starbuck. The veteran pilot takes control of the situation by disobeying orders (didn't take him long!). He comes about, firing his lasers to announce his location to Apollo, then leads the pair of them out of the void with a one hundred and eighty degree turn. They head back to the Galactica, none too enthused about what they're going to have to report.

On the other side of the Galactica's scanner range, the day's second patrol has also clocked something unnerving, and has actually put down on an asteroid to check it out. Boomer and Jolly crouch behind rocks while Boomer points out an unnatural fissure in the rock face. This aperture promptly grinds open and Cylon fighters emerge. 'I would have missed it,' Jolly chides himself. Boomer isn't amused, but is relieved that the Cylon patrol is heading away from the fleet. They also get going for home, turning their attention to the party that's scheduled to erupt as soon as both patrols land. However, as they come in to land Jolly's ship starts to waver and he nearly ploughs into the Galactica's hull. Boomer has to admonish him, but Jolly is feeling so ill all of a sudden that he can't explain it. This probably makes them even more impatient to get stuck into the bevvies, so much so that they neglect to go through the customary decontamination procedure between the landing bay and the interior of the Galactica. We see Apollo and Starbuck pass through the chambers as they arrive, just to get the point across.

Apollo and Starbuck inform Commander Adama about the magnetic void. Having already received Boomer's notification of the Cylon outpost in their way, the ever-sceptical Colonel Tigh knows that's one way the fleet can't go. He also tries to dissuade against proceeding towards the unknown and dangerous void ahead, but Adama seems lost in thought. He makes up his mind on the spot - full speed ahead.

Not too far away, Baltar is getting settled in on his new baseship and takes his first sitrep from Lucifer. The Cylon listening post did indeed spot Boomer's patrol on the surface, but allowed them to escape, as Baltar instructed. Lucifer questions why they don't simply use the telemetry gained to overtake the fleet and ambush them, or call for reinforcements, but Baltar reassures his second-in-command that he has a plan. 'All I need is an opportunity to present it,' he says with confidence, 'and that will come.'

Boomer strides into the party, seeing that Blue Squadron have already got the bottles opened ready for the returning warriors, but he's barely got through the door and got a pint in his hand when he suddenly comes over dizzy and keels over like a sack of spuds. The lads chide him, pointing out Colonel Tigh on the monitor, but Boomer protests that he's not even drunk yet. But down he goes again, and we see in the next shot that Jolly's not even made it to the Officers' Club. He's on his back in the Life Center, getting his eyelids pried open by med-techs.

At last Apollo and Starbuck are in sight of the Officers' Club corridor, and are about to get down to a good night's drinking when all of a sudden they are blocked by Adama and Dr Salik. The Officers' Club is being quarantined. So with that disaster unfolding, about the last thing Apollo wants to see is his wife-to-be exposing herself to the same risks - which is exactly the impression he gets when he claps eyes on Serina not in the expected wedding dress but in a flight uniform. She's been training as a shuttle pilot, and Apollo can't handle it at all. But when he pleads the risks she'll be taking, she retorts back that there is no safe place for anyone in the fleet now. Apollo's mouth opens but no sound comes out, and he realises she's got him. 'Are you any good?' he prods. 'Top of my class,' Serina states, with that winning smile that makes you absolutely melt. Incidentally, Boxey has a cracking line here - slate the poor little kid if you will, but his 'Come on, Muffit, they're gonna argue' line and its well cheeky 'Yes they are!' last word to Apollo's denial is priceless. Good thing he's out of the door quick before he can feel the flat of his dad's hand, which is what I would have got for that kind of lip!

Apollo may be reassured now, but he's thrown for a loop again when Adama makes his decision on how to defend the fleet with no functioning pilots. All the trainees are to be made combat ready as soon as possible, despite their still being in simulator. Of course Apollo has to do what he's told, but he leaves with a worried reminder to his father that Serina's on the list of trainees.

Now here comes the bit that has all the reviewers up in arms - the training scene. All the cute young female pilot cadets are present in the simulator room (which looks like Blue Squadron billet redressed with large computers). They're all clad in G-suits, which are form-fitting and distinctly transparent leotards, and explained away as what you need to wear under your suede M-1 jacket and jodhpurs lest the G-forces of space flight pull you to bits inside your cockpit. So now we can get our leer in, and Starbuck shows us the way because he's the lucky lad who's got to take the class. There's hard-as-nails Dietra, blonde and dizzy Brie and interchangeable Carrie, Gemi and Sorrel. Finishing up the pack are Athena and of course Serina - who gets to whisper a rather charming 'I love you' at her shy intended Apollo before the class gets started.

One of the most useful aspects of the training sequences is that it gives us a chance to see what the viper mockups look like - in this case just the middle and rear of the ship. Athena is in a mock combat situation where she's Starbuck's wingman, and she's getting herself in trouble. With a burst of laser fire, she takes out her Cylon pursuer, but Starbuck saunters over in amusement. 'Nice shooting Athena... You got the Cylon... and me! I'm dead.' With all the crap he's put her through, you can't blame her for stifling a grin.

As the fleet heads inexorably towards the void (without a course change from Adama, who has been researching the phenomenon in his religious texts and recognises it from the earliest Colonial mythology), events come to a head when Dr Salik states he can do no more for the pilots without access to the source of the disease. Tigh and Adama can't give him that, as not only is the asteroid far in the fleet's rear, but it is Cylon-occupied. Bravely, Salik says he is willing to take the risk by shuttling there with a team, even without the possibility of viper cover. Finally, he rams the point home by telling Adama, quite truthfully, that returning to that asteroid is 'the only hope those boys have'.

When summoned to the bridge, Apollo is stunned to be ordered to take the pilot trainees as escort to Salik's medical shuttle. Nothing he can do in the way of officially objecting can change Adama's mind, not even when stating bleakly his honest opinion that when (not if) they run into the Cylons, he could lose the lot of them.

The shuttle launches, followed by Starbuck and Apollo and the makeshift Blue Squadron. Even Brie manages to get her ship airborne after a few wobbles, and with a smile like the one she cracks once she's got it right, she can fly as crooked as she likes in my squadron.

Not that far away, in fact a lot closer than any human ought to be comfortable with, Lucifer reports to Baltar that their Cylon basestar has caught up to the Galactica by travelling at light speed. Although the Galactica's change of course away from the asteroid in the quadrant Otarsis is just what Baltar expected, he's as yet stumped as to why the fleet is heading towards the void, a phenomenon that Lucifer observes nervously is 'a navigational inferno. Possibly endless.' Lucifer suggests launching fighters, but Baltar would rather they captured one of the Galactica's pilots. A plan is forming in his evil little head, one which the human traitor is already confidently predicting will turn the Galactica over to him without firing a shot. Not yet disillusioned with the megalomaniac's delusions of grandeur, Lucifer crows to his centurion bodyguard on his way out. 'Isn't he wonderfully devious? We could learn much from him.'

Out in the skies off the Cylon-occupied asteroid, the trainee pilots are testing their boundaries. Dietra can't wait to get stuck into the Cylons when they arrive and has to be pegged back a bit, while pretty little Brie has noticed something coming up on them in their rear. 'That would be the shuttle, Brie,' Starbuck tells her patiently. 'It's ours.' She's not convinced, and it's proved she's right when a Cylon fighter steams into view, blowing their cover well and truly wide open. Now they have to improvise. Athena pulls up alongside Starbuck, who hopes she won't shoot him down, while Dietra and the rest of the squadron peel off to attack what's bound to be a large enemy contingent. Apollo heads for the sentinel post, but it flowers open before he can get near enough to fire on it, and Cylon fighters pour out. Despite his order to the squadron to return to the Galactica, the battle is on! We are proud to see the girls make it look effortless, with Dietra and Carrie bagging two raiders each. Apollo meanwhile comes in on the listening post and blows it to smithereens. The skies are now safe for Salik to conduct his vital experiments on the asteroid's surface.

While Adama is quietly elated with the success of the mission, Baltar is plain confused. Neither he nor Lucifer can figure out why the Galactica bothered to go back and knock off an outpost that's far behind them by now. This is Lucifer's excuse to criticise Baltar's tactics, as the Cylons would not now be down an outpost had Baltar correctly determined whether the vipers would strike it. 'Do not fence with me, my friend,' Baltar chides in irritation and then castigates his I-L series subordinate for his failure to capture a Colonial pilot. This is thus moved up to the head of the list as we freeze frame on Baltar's ugly glowering mug. End of Part One.

As part two begins, the Colonial fleet continues into the void. Some ship captains lose their nerve and flood the comlinks with their fears, but one stoic admonishment from Adama over unicom settles them down a bit. But not enough for the scanners, albeit fluctuating wildly with no points of reference to lock on to, to pick up something small weaving in and out of scanner range.

Adama is visited by Tigh in his quarters. The commander is studying the Book of the Word, the Colonial holy texts. Tigh expresses his worries about the void, specifically if it is endless, but Adama, eyes shining, refers him to a passage. In it, a star appeared and guided the Lords of Kobol out of the endless black sea to the twelve colonies. In effect, the opposite direction to where the Galactica is going now. Colonel Tigh can't conceal his scepticism and lack of faith in religion, but Adama simply shows him the ceremonial seal of the Council of the Twelve, handed down through seven millennia since the Lords of Kobol. If faith led them out of their darkness, can Adama not afford to take the risk? "With all our magnificent machinery, can we turn our backs on the inspiration that delivered our people before?"

Dr Salik and his team have managed to use the knowledge they gained from their risky mission to the disease-bearing asteroid, and a cure is imminent. Boomer and company are still out of it in their life pods, but he can at least croak out an optimistic 'Sure beats being dead,' in gratitude.

On the bridge, the odd single blip pops into range again and is spotted. A patrol is detailed to check out the fleet's rear, consisting of Apollo 'and wingmate' but it's not made clear as to who that is - Serina or Starbuck. And Starbuck gets the hump when he assumes that it won't be him any longer. In a major huff, he takes off first and the other two have to go after him. Tigh is left with egg on his face (or whatever the Colonial equivalent is named!), and that won't be the first time he does it either (see 'The Man With Nine Lives').

Apollo is cross to find Serina accompanying him and orders her to go back to the Galactica, but she makes herself useful by suggesting they use her ship to triple their scanning range, rather than doubling it as they could with only two vipers. Unfortunately the blackness of the void not only scrambles their ship-to-ship communications but conceals a battalion of Cylon fighters pouring down on Starbuck.

Starbuck is captured alive and marched aboard the base-star, but maks a brave face of it enough to commit the amazing audacity of lighting up a huge cigar in the throne room - the match struck on a Cylon's chest plate! But his bravado wilts into rage when Baltar's famous chair swivels round to reveal the traitor with a broad grin and kindly expression. John Colicos gets to go through his whole range with a wounded look, insisting that the destruction of the Colonies was nothing to do with him. In fact, he states the next Imperious Leader is more than willing to talk peace. After the centurions cart the throughly sceptical Starbuck below, Lucifer lays into Baltar's plan. 'It is illogical to assume they would ever trust you again'. Baltar waves him off, banking on humans' need for hope. 'Properly presented and at a propitious centon,' he states confidently, 'they will come willingly to my arms'.

Serina is so upset by the loss of Starbuck on her account that she begs Apollo to marry her now. The wedding takes place, and it's a touching, solemn occasion. Adama performs the ceremony, which is symbolised not with rings, but with the wrapping of his ceremonial seal around Apollo's and Serina's wrists. This time it's Boxey's turn to be slow away from the lights as he has to be gently tapped on the shoulder to remind that he's the one giving Serina away. As the happy couple are pronounced man and wife, the darkened room suddenly glows with light. A single, brilliantly glowing star has appeared out of the void. It looks like the perfect seal on a perfect wedding, but Adama immediately instructs Tigh to look for a planet in a prescribed orbit round this star. Sure enough, there it is. 'The planet Kobol,' Adama breathes in excitement. 'The mother world of all humans. Where life began...'

We are treated to some spectacular exteriors next as the awestruck landing party wanders among the enormous pyramids of the dead planet Kobol. Although Adama is not 100% certain whether they are in fact in Eden, Kobol's largest city and the seat of the Ninth Lord, he is confident he can find at least some information about the departure of the Thirteenth Tribe in the direction of Earth. Apollo and Serina, meanwhile, are taking the time to use the mission to Kobol as a honeymoon, sneaking off for surreptitious kisses in the shadow of the various Sphinxes that dot the landscape.

Not that far behind, Baltar's baseship has now sighted the star. Lucifer's bafflement as to why a dead planet should so interest the Colonial fleet is deflected by Baltar's sudden realisation that it's Kobol. He remembers his theology too - just about. In this scene he's down off his high chair (and lit from underneath to make him look 'evil', as the MAD magazine satire playfully notes), and soon enough gets to chuckling cruelly as he orders an unescorted shuttle to drop him off on the planet, where he will present an audacious peace plan. 'Only I can deliver the Galactica to your Leader,' he admonishes. Lucifer isn't buying it at all, but shuts his face and does as he's told. For now.

Adama, Apollo and Serina roam the deserted, crumbling streets of Eden, with the Commander lamenting the ancients' unwitting destruction of their own environment (and our own too, let's not forget!) when they find the entrance to the tomb of the Ninth Lord at the head of the largest pyramid. Serina notes that Adama's Council medallion matches the seal at the doorway, and when the medallion is pressed to the recess, it's Open Sesame. The trio enter cautiously. The portcullis slams closed behind them, startling them - but not as much as the sight of decayed skeletons rotting nearby. 'Tomb robbers,' Adama states gravely, having already read out the hieroglyphic stelae posted at the entrance warning against desecration of the tomb. Soon they are deep within the pyramid. When they reach the burial chamber itself, Adama is awed and kneels at the sarcophagus of the Ninth Lord. But nothing can prepare them for the shock of a deadly familiar voice intoning 'I know exactly how you feel...old friend,' as at that point Baltar steps out of the shadows. Adama loses it completely and goes for Baltar's throat. Apollo manages to stop his father from strangling the traitor, settling for relieving him of his pistol and threatening him with trial by jury. Once he's got his circulation back, Baltar turns on the earnest face, pleading that everything that's been told about him is lies, and that he lost everything as well. It's not working, especially when Serina spits at Baltar that the Cylons found him innocent. He then comes up with the extraordinary assertion that he's only been pretending to serve the Cylons all along, and has been waiting for his chance to, and yes, he really says it, lead the Galactica back to Cylon, ostensibly surrendered, but in reality to launch a counterattack of biblical proportions. Adama scoffs; Pull the other one, it's got bells on, you can hear him saying, but, as with a lot of things Baltar says, you never quite know if he's telling the truth or not, and Apollo starts to wonder - especially when Baltar says he will release Starbuck as proof of his good intentions.

Unfortunately, Adama is in such a rage that he then spills the whole point of the mission to Baltar. Their safety sure as hell isn't with Baltar or the Cylons - an idiot could have told you that - but with the route the Thirteenth Tribe took to the planet Earth. Baltar almost laughs out loud at his adversary's religious fundamentalism, but soon realises that if the Colonials don't start swallowing his shaggy dog story and soon, he won't get off Kobol one way or another, whoever's side he's on. Accordingly, he switches to veiled threats. 'I cannot stay here too long before my machine friends become nervous and do something rash.'

Above Kobol, the basestar's coveted throne is now under the occupation of none other than Lucifer, who is definitely enjoying himself, even if it looks odd to the centurion he takes a report from. There is no communication from Baltar despite Starbuck having been delivered simultaneously to Kobol's surface, and Lucifer must resign himself, rather too eagerly, to the fact that Baltar's plan has failed. 'Whatever that plan truly was,' he sighs melodramatically but in reality not giving a tinker's cuss. However, his centurion audience is as dull-witted as Baltar is exasperating. The deception of the humans into thinking the Galactica would be in the ascendancy on any trip back to Cylon goes straight over his head, and Lucifer muses that the Imperious Leader doesn't get it either. Lucifer also reflects, not without a spot of bitterness, as to why an IL series other than himself was selected for Imperious Leader. Still, if military victory is the quicker path to glory, he's not one to pass it up, is he? The centurion is all set to take that as an order to attack - and Lucifer sees he can employ an 'only following orders' loophole to get shot of both Baltar and the Galactica.

Sexy Brie is minding her own business with the other female pilots down on Kobol when Starbuck appears, getting a delighted hug for his pains. Athena gives him the same plus a big kiss, but before he can get anything else after a couple of days' cooped up under Cylon imprisonment, Starbuck warns Apollo that Baltar is in the neighbourhood. His tone of voice expresses the same doubts that we are feeling as to whether the traitor's peace overtures, however fantastic, could be legit. Apollo isn't willing to wait and orders the party to break camp and prepare to evacuate Kobol.

In the crypt, Adama is in a world of his own, ignoring Baltar as he wonders how to find the ancient directions he is so close to. At that moment, he finds himself directly beneath a skylight illuminating the centre of the tomb. Sunlight strikes his medallion and rebounds off the jewelled eyes of two statues at either flank of the room. This action causes the crypt to grind open. Baltar sights gold and is off down there in a flash, his greed defying warnings by Adama not to desecrate the holy crypt. Cubit signs sprout in Baltar's beady little eyes as he wrenches the top off the coffin lid and spies the mummified Ninth Lord within, surrounded by jewels. At that precise moment, the crypt starts to thunder and rock. Baltar is immediately frightened into sense and begs unseen powers (and Adama) for forgiveness, but Apollo knows what's up. He can even recognise the type of ordnance that the inevitable waves of incoming Cylon fighters are using.

The four humans (yes, and I include Baltar in this statement) can do nothing but ride out the bombing, hopefully deep enough underground to be safe. At this point Adama discovers the very stelae he has been searching for, the friezes discussing the Thirteenth Tribe and their exodus. He begins to translate eagerly.Adama, Apollo, and Serina examine the hieroglyphics of the tomb of the Lords of Kobol while Baltar looks on

Lucifer's Cylon fighter squadrons steam in and lay waste to the Colonial camp as the pilots run like mad, but the humans have managed to get away just in time to mount their vipers and take off. The raiders then switch their attack to the pyramids, and one bomb scores a direct hit on the very structure that Adama and company are in. All the lights go out as bricks crash down on top of them, including one large stone right over the only way in or out. Pulling himself to his feet, Adama is distraught to see that the stones he was reading have been destroyed. But the one who's got the worst of it is Baltar, who has been pinned under falling masonry. With both legs broken and bleeding profusely from the mouth, he alternately curses and whines for help. His enemies magananimously pitch in, but can't budge the massive stone.

Telemetry comes into the Galactica of the attack on Kobol, but it's not just Colonel Tigh who's taking a personal interest in the unfolding battle. Limping their weary way onto the bridge come Boomer, Jolly and the rest of the not-fully-recovered complement of Blue Squadron, all in uniform. 'Obviously you can't even stand,' despairs Tigh, pessimistic to the last. Boomer replies with his classic rebuff 'A viper is flown from the seated position, sir.'

As the Colonial vipers based on Kobol take to the air, they are struck by the sheer numbers of the opposition. Athena nervously counts over a hundred Cylon fighters heading straight at them as the battle opens. Trainee Gemi is immediately killed in action and both Brie's and Athena's vipers are set upon. It's not looking good for Our Heroes (and heroines!), but all of a sudden their pursuers are picked off at the last minute and the victorious 'Yee-Hoo!' of Boomer fills the airwaves. The cavalry has arrived, and immediately gets stuck into the Cylons.

A further bomb score on the Great Pyramid dislodges the blocking stone and the party entombed within are able to make their way out - not just through the doorway, but through holes blown in the rest of the pyramid. But they have to leave Baltar behind, Adama taking his leave of his enemy with the withering salutation 'Your machine friends have sealed your fate...and ours.' Still hopelessly trapped and covered in dust, Baltar screams and yells in rage, directing all his fury not onto Adama (he's got several more episodes to do that!) but onto his disobedient subordinate Lucifer. 'You have not heard the last of Baltar!' is his salutation, in true matinee serial villain style!

The battle is over and the city of Eden has been laid waste, but there's far worse to come as the exhausted Adama, Apollo and Serina make their way through the burning streets towards their shuttle (which presumably escaped the hiding given out to the rest of the camp). As Starbuck and Dietra meet them in the streets to give their battle report (including a choked estimation of how many pilots they lost up there), Baltar's two Cylon pilots step out of the shadows and open fire with rifles. Their first shot hits Serina square in the back and she drops, screaming. The others blast the centurions into bits, but the damage is done - Serina is in agony.

Some of the most heartbreaking minutes of sci-fi television now ensue as it's made brutally clear to us that the beautiful Serina isn't going to make it. All the pilots are huddled forlornly around the doorway to the Life Center, and our emotions are treated cruelly when Boxey's elation at the Colonial victory turns to horror at the condition of his mother. Serina gently stills his sobbing, and after the little boy is led away Commander Adama can only bid Serina goodbye with a gentle kiss to her forehead before leaving her alone with her husband. 'It isn't really fair to you,' Serina complains bitterly, voice cracking after the effort of holding back the tears in front of her son. Waving off his entreaty to change places with her, she lets Apollo know that she feels 'very, very lucky. Even if all we had was a short time.' Apollo, now crying himself, tells her 'a spirit like yours can't end.' Finally, as time runs out, they tell each other that they love each other, and that's it. Serina is dead.

Apollo emerges from the Life Center, alone. The others clustered outside can't bring themselves to look at him - it's too much. Some of them start weeping. Apollo takes slow steps, leaving his friends behind him, until stopping before the devastated little figure of his adopted son. 'I don't want her to go!' Boxey weeps, breaking down. 'It's just her body that's gone,' Apollo tries. 'Not her spirit, and not her love for us. We'll always have that.' Abruptly remembering his mother's last wish, Boxey manages to stop himself from crying any further. 'I guess I won't make a very good warrior', he states blankly, as if lack of emotion was the only prerequisite. 'You'll make a fine warrior,' Apollo reassures as best he can, before taking his little son by the hand and both walking sadly away down the corridor.

RATING: 4 out of 5 (Very Good). You can't get a lot wrong in a two-parter - there's plenty of room for battles, intrigue, backstory, theology, Baltar speeches and the usual ingredients we Galactica fans expect. But this episode really pushes the envelope by killing off one of the most important characters on the whole show.


John's Review

The second half of this two-part episode has the theatrical feel of a movie, while the first half may be the most sexist hour of science fiction ever made. For some unknown reason, all of the viper pilots are men and all the shuttle pilots are women.(?) This certainly makes the women look like second-class citizens of the rag-tag fleet. Women (Athena, in particular) constantly got the shaft on this show. Battlestar Galactica made it clear that network executives in 1978 did not believe women were ready for outer space. A much better way to have done the story would have been to already have trained female warriors on the Galactica. Since females would not have attended Apollo's bachelor party, the female warriors would not have caught the disease. This would have worked so much better without being so degrading to women.

The two-part episodes fare better than most of the one-part episodes because the budgets were twice as big. There are many fantastic scenes in the second half: Serina proposing to Apollo that they marry immediately; the Star of Kobol appearing in the port window during the wedding ceremony; the light shining off of Adama's medallion inside the tombs of Kobol; Serina's death scene. Unfortunately, the writing would start to take a turn for the worse with the very next episode.

Glen Larson has said that this episode was based on three different storylines from three scripts or script proposals which ABC ordered made into one episode. This would account for the wildly varying plotlines.

Sadly, there are some major flaws with the premise of this episode. Exactly how far have the Colonials traveled since the Holocaust? Some time has apparently passed since Saga Of A Star World since Apollo and Serina have already made the decision to get married. Still, the Colonial fleet could not have traveled all that far, and yet they are already in unknown territory as they have no idea what is ahead of them. Are we to believe that the peoples of the Twelve worlds didn't venture out on occasion to explore the nearby systems? Surely these areas would have been charted, and it's likely Kobol would have been easily discovered. It's hard to imagine that Kobol's location would have been forgotten, since the departing Kobolians (or whatever you want to call them) obviously didn't travel very far.

Much of the scene where the new Imperious Leader orders Baltar to find the humans was first shown at the end of the pilot. There is additional footage added, as Imperious Leader tells him he will receive his own basestar and Lucifer tells Baltar he is thrilled to be able to work with him.

Serina dies at the end of part two, taking away the only female character in the series of any depth.

Baltar's proposal of launching a counter-attack on the Cylons works very well because it seems unclear for a time whether or not he is telling the truth. It adds a lot more suspense to the story.

There is a slightly earlier script of this episode called The Tombs Of Kobol. It is extremely similar to the final version. The main difference is that Serina dies only moments after being shot on the planet Kobol. The dialogue between her and Apollo is virtually the same as what appeared in the episode. In the final scene on the Galactica, Apollo sadly breaks the news of her death to Boxey. Also, the star is first seen on the Galactica bridge right after Serina and Apollo decide to have their wedding.

The original script of this episode has missng scenes not included in the final cut. To see them, click here.

Baltar's legs are crushed under tons of rubble, but in later episodes he has only a slight limp to show for it. Did the Cylons do major reconstructive surgery on him? I asked John Colicos about this at the 20 Yahren Reunion and he said, "That's the magic of television. Baltar is indestructible."

Suddenly Cassiopea becomes a med-tech.(?) In the pilot, she was a former socialator (prostitute).

The comments that Starbuck and Apollo make in the officers' lounge during the female cadets' victory celebration are about as shovenistic as anything ever done in the series.

In a TV Guide interview, Maren Jensen said she was not satisfied with her role on such a "macho" series, citing the ridiculousness of how all the women pilots in this episode were young, slim and attractive.

Lucifer looks hilarious sitting on top of the grand pedestal in the Cylon basestar command chamber.

Lucifer is played by Felix Silla, the same actor who later played Twikki on Buck Rogers. He had a frame placed on his shoulders and the robe was designed so he could see through a section of it. Lucifer's voice is by Jonothan Harris, best known for his role on Lost In Space. John Colicos (Baltar) has said that, during shooting, a girl would read Lucifer's lines and Harris' voice was dubbed in later.

Lucifer is considerably more fleshed out in the Berkley novelizations, particularly in Battlestar Galactica 3: The Tombs Of Kobol which covers the episode. It is revealed that Lucifer is the one who saves Baltar from being executed. He forces Baltar to exercise against his will, and is outraged when Imperious Leader makes him a servant to Baltar (as opposed to the episode). Lucifer does not hate humans; he is more interested in studying them than in destroying them. He created a soul for himself which rests in his right shoulder. When Starbuck is captured, Lucifer quickly takes a liking to him and his good-natured, wisecracking attitude. Starbuck teaches Lucifer how to play pyramid and defeats him at the game, much to Lucifer's disbelief. After the humans have left Kobol, Lucifer doesn't want to retrieve Baltar, whom he finds dull compared to Starbuck, but must go down to rescue him because he can't disobey the Imperious Leader's programming. In BG 12: Die Chameleon, Lucifer meets Starbuck again when they are both captured by pirates and they have another game of pyramid, but the stakes are much higher. A tremendous novel. In BG 14: Surrender The Galactica, Lucifer joins the fleet.

The original video version, no longer available, contains a scene not in the original episode. In part one, right before Boomer and Jolly approach the Galactica, Serina lands a shuttle. Boomer makes reference to it when he says to Jolly "That cadet made a better approach." The scene is not included in the recent video release of the episode.

In the opening teaser for part one, Starbuck tells Athena "Remember you're flying a viper. Thinking what you want it to do is enough to make it happen." This never appears in the episode.

If you want to nitpick, it is rather ludicrous that the female cadets in part one could destroy an entire Cylon squadron considering it was the first time they ever flew in a viper. Then again, considering the Cylons may well have been the worst fighter pilots in science fiction history (Come on, you'd have trouble flying, too, if your eyes swerved back and forth, wouldn't you?), maybe it's not so hard to believe after all.

Blooper 1 - part one: When Apollo and Starbuck are flying inside the void, there are several segments where stars can be seen.

Blooper 2 - part one: All of the Galactica's fighter pilots are infected with the disease except for Starbuck and Apollo, and yet there are no more than 20 pilots at Apollo's surprise party. There should have been a lot more men there.

Sheila DeWindt (Dietra) later appears as a flight attendant in the Galactica 1980 episode The Night The Cylons Landed, part one.

An early script has Apollo engaged to a woman other than Serina since she had died in the original cut of the pilot (which was shown only to test audiences).

A second-unit crew traveled to the ruins of Luxor in Egypt to shoot some scenes at the Great Temple at Karnak and the Pyramids of Giza which were used as ruins of the planet Kobol. They were accompanied by extras who looked nothing like Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, or Jane Seymour. Actually, Seymour’s extra was an Egyptian boy hired locally because of cultural objections to a woman wearing a male pilot uniform.

In part two, when Starbuck, Apollo, and Serina launch in their vipers, Adama is seen drinking on the Galactica bridge for the first and only time.

For the large two-part episodes such as this, Glen Larson would often overspend and use up half of the next episode's budget, which is why so many of the single episodes reused the same stock footage.

Starbuck is the only human besides Baltar we ever see inside the giant Cylon command chamber.

George Murdock (Dr. Salik) played the role of God in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Murdock has also been on episodes of The X-Files such as "The Red and the Black" where he was dealing with alien colonists.


Matt's Comments

I've got to take exception with every review I've seen on this episode that cries 'sexist' at the young female pilots. So what? Aren't fit women able to fly combat aircraft just as well as anyone else? Actually, I wonder if there might not have been a backlash not from reviewers, but from the temporarily incapacitated regular pilots, who probably didn't appreciate being replaced so easily. An episode devoted to that might have been interesting. You'll note that they didn't make Apollo and Starbuck get into those G-suits.

I adored Serina, and was gutted when she died. Jane Seymour is beautiful, totally beautiful. She's still pretty stunning, two decades later (though I haven't seen a great deal of Dr Quinn!) Brie runs her a very, very close second - and actually wins the contest as they ask her back for War of the Gods! (Of course, not having been killed at the end of this episode helps a good deal).

Love the proper Egyptian locations shot by the second unit, and the sets on this one are outstanding all the way through.

Two very good battles at either end of each part.

An unshot or edited-out scene from the last battle has one of the reconstituted viper pilots not manage to get his ship airborne, blowing up in the launch tubes. Ever freeze-framed and slow-motioned some of the explosions to 'see how it's done?' This must be what this particular special effect was meant for. It's never used in its intended context.

They're still getting to grips with the time terminology and measurements. I'm not mentioning specifics (and there are half a dozen indiscrepancies at least in this two-parter), as to my mind it's not worth worrying about.

This is the only time we see Commander Adama fire a laser.

I have a lot of difficulty with the last scene, but not just because it's such a tear-jerker. First of all, Serina asking Boxey to stop crying is storing up a whole heap of trouble for the kid in later life (cannily, fanfic has explored this as a reason why Boxey's later incarnation of Captain Troy is such an emotionless stiff). Second are the last lines by Apollo. 'You'll make a fine warrior.' I really, really wish they'd added something like 'But I hope you never have to be one.' I'm sure they did in the Berkeley novelisation (someone look it up for me!)


Regular Cast

Capt. Apollo            Richard Hatch

Lt. Starbuck Dirk Benedict

Commander Adama Lorne Greene

Lt. Boomer Herbert Jefferson, Jr.

Athena Maren Jensen

Cassiopea Laurette Spang

Col. Tigh Terry Carter

Baltar John Colicos

Boxey Noah Hathaway

Flt. Sgt. Jolly Tony Swartz

Rigel Sarah Rush

Omega David Greenham

Dr. Salik George Murdock

Dr. Wilker John Dullagham

Brie Janet Louise Johnson

Ensign Greenbean Ed Begley, Jr.

Giles Larry Manetti

Cpl. Komma Jeff MacKay

Imperious Leader Dick Durock

Patrick Macnee (voice)

Lucifer Felix Silla

Jonathon Harris (voice)

Guest Cast

Jane Seymore            Serina

Bruce Wright First Guard

Janet Lynn Curtis Sorel

Sheila DeWindt Deitra


Battlestar Galactica Episode Guide

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