This podcast was actually very informative. It helped explain why plot wise and, to some extent, character wise, why the episode was such a mess. I lost count of how many stories they thought they were going to be able to tell. Fortunately for Zarek and Helo, I think the cuts helped them. Unfortunately for us, it left numerous plot WTF’s?
FYI, most of my notes are from the first part of the podcast. After about the midway point I stopped paying close attention. He went off talking about absinthe (what he was drinking), got into a discussion with Terry about Bruce Davidson, started repeating stuff he had said previously, and admitted he couldn’t really remember certain things. I don’t think I missed anything important though.
On with the show…
This episode was to help set up a long running plot line dealing with the Sagittarons. They, and specifically something that happened with them on New Caprica, were to figure in Baltar’s trial.
The shot of Helo sleeping was added later. Originally, the show was to open with the pilots on patrol, bantering and chattering away. It was deemed ineffective and they wanted to start with Helo and get into his mind set.
The phone rang, Ron paused the recording and came back with, “Just the network with the pick up call…I’m joking. But it was the network.”
They wanted to do a complicated psychological back story with Helo, but the story became too large. (Imagine Lee’s depression arc times two trying to be crammed into one ep.) They were going to show Helo’s isolation and how it was brought about by what he had done in AMoS. He had been “exiled” ever since then. Adama knew it was Helo and sidelined him, gave him “the shit jobs.”
As the show got split up dealing with the Sagittarons, prejudice, Helo’s quest for redemption, as well as setting up a longer term back story (about the Saggitarons) the Helo as exile story kept going away. The idea had been that ever since his actions in AMoS he had been trying to make a name for himself. He felt guilty about what he had done, wanted to prove his worth, and be a hero in his own eyes. He had been pestering Adama for weeks with problems he was finding and trying to find ways to solve them, to be the hero. Essentially, he became a pain in the ass to Adama. And it’s why his initial warnings about the Sagittarons were ignored. He suffered from a boy who cried wolf quality.
The confrontation between Helo, Tigh, Adama, Cottle, and Roberts was to be the teaser and then they’d cut to Act 1…”Three days later.” They decided to go with a linear storyline. (Thank you!)
The illness was a late developing idea because they had to come up with why the Sagittarons were different. (Um, yeah, feel free to bitch about piss poor planning.) The idea was that there were sort of class structures and hierarchies, tribal feelings among the fleet. Which colony you were from had meaning in the former twelve colony structure and as they journey those rivalries and prejudices would rise again.
The social divisions here were to help illuminate later something that happened on New Caprica in the missing year. There was a massacre involving the Sagittarons. They had isolated themselves, were doing their own thing, it reached a crisis point and people were killed. Baltar and Zarek were directly involved and Gaeta was around. This event was to figure prominently in Baltar’s trial. There was also a second scene with Zarek. He goes to see Baltar and feels him out to see what he would say or wouldn’t say at trial. Baltar comes to realize Zarek is there to cover his own ass because he fears Baltar may implicate him. (Er, wasn’t Zarek imprisoned by Baltar/the Cylons because he wouldn’t go along with them? And it saddens me that such a strong character came close to being seen as such a coward.)
As they prepped the finale Ron and Michael Rymer (who is directing the finale) thought the storyline complicated things and wasn’t paying off. The trial should be on the merits of the story they already had. This ep was in can and others were well on their way to being done so reworking was needed. Ron said the changes don’t deal a blow, but admits that they hurt the ep and the series to some extent. And we are left to wonder why they focused so much on the Sagittarons in this ep?
Episodes 13, 14, 15, and 16 are stand alone eps, don’t require a great deal of knowledge of the show to enjoy, and would be good for newcomers. (Gee, there’s a not so subtle plea for new viewers.)
Ron commented that Racetrack out of uniform looked fantastic. ;) He enjoyed getting back to the group dynamic in Joe’s Bar. He did feel he pushed too hard with the racial animosity there, especially with Tyrol. The problem was they hadn’t dealt with it before, so they had to push hard to set up the story – the one that they cut. :/
There was a bunch of Dee stuff cut not just here, but in other episodes. (Geez, sucks to be Kandyce.) They were going to explore how her joining the military was seen as a betrayal. And, here, there was a longer discussion of her position on Sagittarons and how going to Roberts was a bigger character turn.
There was internal resistance to bringing back Head!Baltar. But Ron wanted to keep that going because he has plans and ideas down the line though they won’t be addressed this season.
He thinks in a draft of the script Laura commented on the Six/Baltar shared behavior (talking to themselves) but he felt that making an issue of it would have left us thinking it was a clue of some sort and that Laura was going to do something with the information later. Since she’s not, they opted not to bring it up.
The Adama and Helo cut scene raised a huge issue that ultimately went no where, hence it got cut. Ron does like the utility of deleted scenes because they show fans textures that were suppose to be included and tell you more about the characters. (I’m sure this is going to give rise to another what is canon debate.)
The relationship between Helo and the woman, King, was more interesting in theory. If he could go back and he would try to detail out subtleties of who she is and what her relationship with Helo is.
There was more Roberts back story, but it doesn’t sound like it added much - something about his theories on eugenics.
Cottle is tired and not interested in what Helo has to say. He’s fed up with him because he had repeatedly come to him in the past for various reasons, driving him crazy. (Again, this was part of Helo’s arc that got cut.)