Erm...okay - Lee - Nyuszi

Podcast for 'The Woman, King'



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.)
  • Current Mood: gloomy gloomy
Don't forget that when King came to Helo's quarters in the middle of the night, Ron made a crack about Sharon realizing that King was Helo's secret piece on the side. Lol.
Oh, that's what he said. I was listening at work and got distracted at times at it didn't seem worth going back to listen too. Oh, Ron, you are so not funny. ;)
Ah! The Woman, King - The woman who's name is King! ...I feel so dumb.

Thanks for summarising this - I really appreciate it. I'm glad the Saggitarion on New Caprica plot got cut. RDM's right that they really don't need any more than they have (and keeping Baltar's actions more ambiguous works best, though I wonder if what Baltar whispered to Gaeta in his cell was to do with this cut plot point?). Mainly, though, I can't see Zarek, who started his revolutionary action because of the mistreatment of the Saggitarions, being complicit in their massacre. That kind of story needs serious attention.

Also, hooray for Head!Baltar. There never needs to be a reason for Head!Baltar. Also, even if he's never mentioned again, I think it was important to include him for reasons of continuity. It would be weird to have him as a gimmick in Downloaded and never mention him again. Even if he's just Caprica's projection ability malfunctioning, he provides a useful foil for her while she's imprisoned - to learn more about her, same as Head!Six did for Baltar in season one.

I feel bad for all Dualla's cut scenes, but I actuallly did pick up on the betrayal of Dee joining the military. I recall she mentioned her father being dead against it, that combined with her reassurances that Dr Robert was not in the military and her animosity towards the whole situation - I actually guessed that the Saggitarions were anti-military and this was yet one more way Dee was turning away from her traditions.

Most important thing last. I think that RDM was absolutely right that the cut scene raised a huge issue that went nowhere, which is the problem. I would have loved to see more of Helo feeling guilty about what he did in AMoS and Adama punishing him by demoting him (kinda) and giving him crap jobs, Helo trying to be a good guy again, but overdoing it so now they're not listening to him... But still, ultimately, I wonder if they would have been able to adequately address these issues even in a multi-arc story. Helo still has no reason to do what he did other than "it was wrong". If he's feeling guilty...has he changed his mind? Have the deaths caused by the cylon since then weighed on his conscience? I was wondering if we were going to see some of that in The Passage, but we didn't. And regarding Adama - why didn't he prosecute? Does he need Helo that much so he's punishing him in other ways? Does he secretly agree (in which case his punishments are hypocritical)? I don't know. I just...I'm really bothered by Helo's actions and Adama's response. Not in a way of hating either of them - I can see both action and response being in character, but I feel there was insufficient setup to justify either. What's left is a poor decision made in the heat of the moment and a too-forgiving response due to exhaustion. Perhaps that's the most poignant explanation of all. There has been so much death, and it's so hard to do the right thing and to know when to forgive. But still...this is not something I feel was necessarily presented on screen.

When I watch TV, there's stuff I feel is intentional, stuff I'm not sure is intentional, but leaps out at me anyway (so I give the show the benefit of the doubt), and stuff I have to work to rationalise. Lee's behaviour in Black Market (i.e. his memories of his dead baby!mama being brought up by his relationship with Shevon and not vice versa) is the second kind of stuff. Helo & Adama in AMoS is type three...
The woman who's name is King! ...I feel so dumb.

Hee. Don't. It didn't make a sense to a lot of people and they don't use the damn comma like they should!

though I wonder if what Baltar whispered to Gaeta in his cell was to do with this cut plot point?).

It was. Ron mentioned that in the last podcast. Baltar basically is telling Gaeta that he is going to implictae him in what happened and, though aware of whatever it was exactly that went down, Gaeta had no direct involvement and there was nothing he could have done. That's why he got pissed off and attacked Baltar.

Mainly, though, I can't see Zarek, who started his revolutionary action because of the mistreatment of the Saggitarions, being complicit in their massacre.

Of all the stuff they cut, that was the one bit I was thrilled got lost because it made absolutely no sense. It would totally rewrite Zarek's history. So, he wasn't an idealist who became a terrorist and spent twenty years in prison to help libertae his people? He was just a selfish, power hungry bastard that cares about no one but himself? And would we have found out that he was thrown into a detention center on NC, not because he stood up against Baltar and the Cylons, but because Baltar was trying to keep him quiet? Sigh.

It would be weird to have him as a gimmick in Downloaded and never mention him again. Even if he's just Caprica's projection ability malfunctioning, he provides a useful foil for her while she's imprisoned - to learn more about her, same as Head!Six did for Baltar in season one.

Agree on all of that. And with her being alone in her cell with little to no contact, wouldn't we begin to wonder why Head!Baltar hasn't come back to at least keep her company?

I actuallly did pick up on the betrayal of Dee joining the military. I recall she mentioned her father being dead against it...I actually guessed that the Saggitarions were anti-military and this was yet one more way Dee was turning away from her traditions.

Yeah, I picked up on that too. See Ron, subtlety works!

I wonder if they would have been able to adequately address these issues even in a multi-arc story.

They at least needed to do it in a multi-arc/multi-episode format. As Ron was talking it was increasingly clear that there was no way in hell this could be covered in one episode. And I don't think the Roberts story warranted more than one ep. I got the impression (and this is no slam on Helo/Tahmoh by me or Ron in his comments) that because Helo is still a secondary character in many ways that it's great to be able to give the character/actor an ep to shine, but they can't devote a multiple epiosde characterization arc to them. Helo has always served the plot and suddenly they would need to shift direction and find ways to focus on him. Even though it was botched, Lee's depression arc took place over multiple eps because he's a lead and there is an expectation to learn more about who he is and his backstory.

And regarding Adama - why didn't he prosecute?

Um, if you get a chance to watch the full delted scene, apparently there was too much paperwork involved. No, I'm not kidding.

What's left is a poor decision made in the heat of the moment and a too-forgiving response due to exhaustion.

Which would be OK on another show, but that to me seems OOC on BSG.
And it’s why his initial warnings about the Sagittarons were ignored. He suffered from a boy who cried wolf quality.

They needed have rewritten it to give us some kind of inkling that there was an ongoing problem because the way it played made Adama and the rest look like complete idiots. "He's killing people!!!" "Oh, go away and stop bothering us."

This is the third time (the others being Tigh and Starbuck's invisible rebellion and the plot with Kat), that they've shortchanged the back story to a particular scene, causing the scene to make no sense.
it played made Adama and the rest look like complete idiots

Hee. Yeah. I can understand them not immediately believing that Helo was right. At the time Helo originally went to them with his concerns he had little in the way of evidence and considering how few doctors they have left, there must be a natural hesitancy to believe that this man they so desperatly need is doing something so heinous. But as the ep went on and more people were dying and more questions were being raised, it made them look stupid.
Yeah. I can understand them not immediately believing that Helo was right.

There's a difference between not immediately believing he's right and dismissing him contemptuously. I might have bought it from Tigh and maybe even Cottle, but Adama? From all we've been shown on the screen, Adama considered Helo a trusted and valued member of his crew. I would have expected him to ask for additional proof, and perhaps be the one to request an autopsy or a review of the records.

The backstory of Helo being a repeated pain in the ass who essentially invented complaints makes the scene where he's finally right and everyone is tired of his crap, both more believable and more tense. It also removes Helo a bit from his pedestal.
Well, that certainly explains a lot of what ended up on our screens Sunday night. It seems like this is becoming a consistent problem: they start planning an episode with a lot of big ideas, they don't fit, stuff gets cut, and the result, drawn from the big ideas but not actually exploring them as intended, doesn't make a lot of sense. I think they need to start small and add, because this is kind of crazy.
Well put. And it's almost becoming a joke in the podcasts about them running long. I don't recall this much stuff being cut in the prior two seasons. They definitely didn't lost entire storylines. I mean, they know how many pages of script equals 44 minutes of film so how can they not edit before the cameras roll?
Hmm. Interesting. I suppose that a government-initiated tragedy against the Sagitarrons might at least explain why they refused to join the resistance, or at least to throw in alongside the ex-military leaders of the resistance. Without that tidbit, the suggestion that a people who are accustomed to fighting oppression would be unwilling to fight against the Cylon oppression just makes no sense at all, and it really hurt the entire premise of this episode.

I'm actually pleased to have it confirmed that Adama did "punish" Helo for his actions in AMoS by dropping him into a no-brainer dead-end job. Even if Adama didn't want to go so far as prosecution, that kind of betrayal demands at least removing the guilty party from any position of responsibility in mission critical operations. He should have done the same with Starbuck on at least 3 seperate occasions, but oh well. I think his remark to Helo in the deleted scene about it being "too much paperwork" was just Adama's snarky way of saying that he just couldn't stomach pursuing a court-martial. Bill is still a soft-touch at heart.

I think it was beneficial for Helo that he wasn't shown as being a long-time PITA over petty matters. This episode already did enough to reinforce his reputation as being not quite the sharpest tool in the shed. And if Helo really had been shown crying wolf over an extended period of time, it would have made the admiral's apology to him seen even more ridiculously out of character for Bill that it is now.

Yep. Black Market, Hero, and The Woman, King...all definite examples of trying to tell way too much of a story in too little time.
I thought it was clear at the end of AMoS that Adama knew Helo was responsible for the Cylon deaths. I think it would have been relatively easy to tack on a scene at the end of that episode or the beginning of this one (and not in the previouslies) to show Helo being demoted. I don't mind hand waving somewhat, but It's getting pretty excessive with all these cuts. And we shouldn't have to listen to the podcasts to find out what's really up.