Apologies if it's a little less coherent than usual. I listened at work and couldn't tell my boss not to interupt me. ;)
Ron talked about doing a string of standalone episodes in second half of season, as they did last season, and how the episodes were of various degrees of quality. He likes ‘Dirty Hands’, but he’s fairly certain not every member of audience will agree with him. He wanted to strongly say some things in this episode so he did.
Originally, this was a Dualla episode. (Man, how must Kandyse feel week after week seeing her part written out of the script or cut from the finished product?) The episode was to be a continuation of ‘The Woman, King’ and was going to deal with the Sagittarons - ‘Day in the Life’ was to follow. When the story was totally reinvented, it was moved to after ADitL because that was further along in production.
The Sagittaron problem set up in TWK, them being an outsider faction, was to continue. There was a fight between two civilian ships over use of the wireless. As tensions escalate, one ship fires on the other. There are civilian casualties and this triggers a crisis with the quorum and Galactica. We were to see old divisions reemerging after NC. The one thing eleven colonies agreed on were that none liked the Sagittarons. The Sagittarons were withholding food and other supplies from the fleet, they were a world unto themselves, and the solution proposed was to disperse them throughout fleet. (Er, didn’t they already start doing that in TWK?) Dee, as the Sagittaron member of the fleet was given the task to go down and deal with them as liaison officer. She was seen as the mouthpiece of the government and a traitor by her people. She starts to feel the tug back to her racial/tribal identity and begins to side with them openly and almost mutinies against Adama (OK, this amused me – first his son, now his DiL! ;). At the end the Sagittarons are given their own ship, a safe place to call there own.
It was a difficult script written by Anne Coffell (Sp) with too many competing ideas. Plus, they were struggling to make the Sagittaron plotline work. Ron admits they committed too much time and resources to this aspect of the story. (Especially since it all got cut.)
Ron liked the idea of class and how some were more equal than others. He also liked the idea of making it about labor and how the fleet operated which was part of the original story idea. He then brought Jane Espenson in to do a rewrite.
The story opens up the world of fleet – how does it operate? Others have their own world/own realty which is separate from what has happened aboard Galactica.
Since Baltar was MIA from the last episode, he wondered what is Baltar doing in jail? He’s writing Mein Kompf . He then was able to dovetail the manifesto with the labor story. The fundamental inequities and class structures in the fleet - Baltar either intuitively or consciously taps into those resentments and touches on those things.
Ron wanted to remind people why unions exist. He feels that Laura and Adama are caring leaders, yet still buy into a certain class structure. He also felt that that the rest of the fleet are ‘out of site out of mind’ and we don’t invest empathy as we would with the main characters.
Ron loved seeing Laura yank Baltar’s chain about the book. He loves it when Laura lies and talked about how great Mary is in those moments.
In the script, Baltar is stripped naked and the pages fall out (he didn’t say from where ;). Ron was adamant about how the scene played out – Baltar defies Laura and she takes it to the limit. There is a humiliation factor and he makes her do it. The actors did not share Ron’s view. James felt Baltar would preserve his dignity and Mary felt Laura would relent at a certain point. Ron let it go and feels that the scene still works very well, but part of him wanted to see Laura humiliate Baltar to that level, yet fell regret. And Baltar would have his victory, but also shame.
The director, Wayne Rose, has been a first AD since the show began, but this was his first directing gig. All the refinery ship stuff was shot on location at a still working sugar processing facility. (Ron didn’t say it, but I believe they used a sugar factory in the mini for the munitions base and I would think this was the same location.)
He talked about how the people stuck on these ships at the time of the attacks must continue to do what they did. They don’t have a lot of flexibility to change jobs. The people on Galactica have a well defined role, are needed everyday, and they signed up for that job. The guys on the tillium ship perhaps only did it for a short time and rotated out. They had the option to leave, to quit, but no more.
Tyrol is conflicted as a non-commissioned officer and union leader. He has sympathies to the fleet, yet is still a military man.
The missing seals are a magoffin. Ron has no clue why they are so important.
The character beat of Milo wanting to turn the whole thing on was a creation of Jane’s and Ron feels moments like that really add something.
Laura knows what is happening on the ships and has to accept that children on there are working. The Laura Roslin who was the secretary of education is long gone because that world is long gone.
The kid getting dragged off to work is an injustice, it’s not right, but this happens in bureaucracies and mistakes are made.
Tyrol finding Baltar’s book - originally, Tyrol comes across two people reading the book, tells them to get back to work, etc. But union rules wouldn’t allow the two ‘actors’ to speak, they couldn’t direct them and they were terrible so they changed it to Tyrol just coming across it. Also, when it was a Dualla story, she goes to Baltar to figure out who he was and figure out why he is as screwed up as he is. (Heh? I was a bit confused by that remark.) Also, we were to find out Baltar was Sagittaron.
It’s in the show bible that Baltar grew up in rural community, a farmer’s son, but that he is accepted as someone from Caprica.
The goal Ron had for the show when he started it was to ask questions, not deliver messages. But he felt that what was said here needed to be said so they overrode the manifesto. The union is a good thing, workers need to be protected.
It’s one thing to have Tyrol do his ‘Norma Rae’ on a civilian ship, it’s another thing to have people on Galactica refuse to do important things. There is a difference; these are not fundamentally equivalent situations. When Ron took his pass at the script he came up with thing with Adama and Tyrol (Yep, the moment most of us hated was ALL Ron!) At that point we move into another category. The situation had been fairly clear up until then, but the notion of disobeying an order on a war ship during a time of war – Adama would not tolerate that for a second. He *is* going to put someone against a wall and shoot. Ron completely believes Adama would have done it. He’s smart enough to realize he can’t have a union in the military which must works differently than a civilian population. Rather than have his ship and fleet destroyed, he would execute Cally. He would cry later and part of his soul would be destroyed, but he’d do it. However, Ron does feel that Adama’s sympathies are with Tyrol and the people on the other ship up to that point.
OK, I have to admit, I did not think about the fact that the breaking point came when the deck crew decided to throw in with the idea of a union. Unlike the civilians, those aboard Galactica signed up for their duty (even if it was, as in Cally’s case, to put themselves through school) and made a commitment. War, however remote, was a possibility for them as was putting their lives on the line. It’s a whole different scenario. Plus, these people do get a break now and again and have better access to food, medicine, etc. So, yeah, suddenly refusing to do their work unless absolutely necessary to get, what? They are already better off. I can see that pushing Adama over the edge. Still, executing people??? Sure, throw them in the brig, leave Tryol and Cally to wonder who will raise their child, but executing people without trial is *exactly* what Cain did and contrary to the laws, both civilian and military, that they are fighting to preserve. I also feel Adama’s sudden declaration and why he made it would have been clearer had we seen him be more sympathetic to those on the civilian ships and Tyrol’s earlier arguments.
It’s better for the government to deal with Tyrol – to reach a collective bargaining agreement and balance the peoples needs with needs of fleet and government.
Perhaps I missed something in the ep itself, but Ron refers to the CWA – Colonial Workers Alliance.
Ron admits that episodes 13 and 14 (he views DH as Ep 15) were sort of missteps, but they got back on track with this episode. The story with Seelix was sweet and sentimental, but he likes it a lot. It also both acknowledges and breaks the class system. Movement is possible and the possibility of change is not foreclosed.