As of this afternoon, there were still only two podcasts up - ‘Six of One’ and ‘The Ties That Bind’. What makes things even screwier is Ron, several times, referenced the podcast for ‘He That Believeth in Me’. Listening to podcasts out of order is on par with watching the episodes out of order.
I know Ron had to use borrowed recording equipment for this as well as some of the other podcasts. His voice actually sounds different.
They broke the first ten episodes as part of one long story arc.
In the first podcast, Ron read from the initial story document they had created for the season. He read, very quickly, the part that was specific to this episode. This section of the podcast, as well as some others, I had to replay several times because I found the information and insights very interesting. First, Ron read what the episode was about in a nutshell. The theme being civil conflict - Kara and Laura’s conflicting directions, Lee brokering a compromise, Tyrol’s obsession over the viper, and the birth of the Cylon civil war. Then, he read the intended “in depth” summary for the episode:
* Leoben responds by making the centurions more alive.
* Kara surrenders the gun to Adama and puts her life in his hands. Her raw emotional purity convinces Adama to reinstate Kara.
* Laura is outraged by Adama’s action. She has visions of her own as to the way to earth, plus her visions tell her Kara is not Kara.
* Lee brokers a compromise. Kara will lead a scouting mission while the fleet embarks on Laura’s direction.
* Adama promises himself that he will be there for Laura and her cancer regardless of their disagreements.
* Zarek gets Lee appointed to the Quorum as the new delegate from Caprica. Zarek has his own plans.
It still is a rough outline of the episode, but you can see how elements changed siginificantly.
Ron pointed out that we never see Adama running from the CIC in a crisis, yet he did so when Kara was holding Laura at gunpoint. Ron still doesn’t quite buy Adama’s actions, but he guesses he ran off because Laura was personally in danger.
The Laura/Kara scene went through several iterations. In the first draft, Kara puts down the gun and dares Laura to pick it up. Laura refuses as she did in ‘Valley of Darkness’. Then it was debated that maybe she does pick it up, points it as Kara, and decides to shoot her, but the safety is on. Both Mary and Angelli objected to this because it made Laura look stupid as opposed to fate intervening. Mary believed that Kara needed to push Laura further, really get in her face, go at her, if we were to get the response from her we get. Kara’s extended dialogue lets the thought tool around Laura’s brain that maybe she is a Cylon. Mary also sent them another note that if Laura really thinks Kara is a Cylon, then she probably would shoot her. She’d take the action because the lives of the fleet hang in the balance. It’s the one time she could see her doing it.
They wanted an out of control sense of Kara. She had seen something and was desperately trying to convince them of it. There was no rational way to get them to listen to her. Her extreme idea was confronting Laura. Even as she is being dragged out by the marines, she still is still trying to plead her case and play on peoples sympathies for her.
At the time of the podcast, Ron was working on the series finale. He mentions he wrote “fade in” for the last time on a Galactica episode. Sniff.
The scenes of Boomer performing nude ti che and Nathalie and Sharon listening to the hybrid were compiled together in editing. Originally, they were much longer, individual scenes. But the ep went too long (surprise!) and they decided to cut to the chase.
Ron finds it interesting that the Cylons are not programmed to think of five, but they are consistently talking about them. It doesn’t seem to take much to get them to think outside their programming. He pointed out why the three that split from the rest make the most sense to do so. The Leobens are inherently more spiritual. The Sixs are free thinkers, less likely to go with the crowd, and have their own agenda. The Sharons are more naïve, vulnerable and prone to change their minds about things. They all take umbrage at Cavils lobotomizing raiders. They feel they have the right to life as much as the rest of them.
There is a division forming within the ranks of the four as well. Tyrol is already in a different place, paying far less attention to rank and protocol, and separating himself from authority figures. In early drafts, Tory just ended up in “Baltar’s lair”, more out of a case of curiosity, but ends up being pulled in by his message. They decided she should be sent instead and that it should be more of a mission. (Funny, I felt the scenes came off more like their original intent.)
In the first draft, Kara was put in cell with Caprica Six. There was a line about ‘putting her in with the other Cylons’. Immediately, Kara gets in Six’s face and asks if she is a Cylon? Then they started hitting each other. It was a reprise of the Season 1 fight between the two. Everyone was jazzed about another fight between them. But Ron felt they were doing it just in order to do it. Kara was then dragged out of cell to a face Adama and then he begins hitting her. It was repetitive.
There is also about a page lifted out of the Kara/Adama scene. Watch closely and you’ll see a change of expression by Kara/Katee that doesn’t match.
The Cylon and Galactica stories will collide at some point, lending a greater credence to the Cylons as ‘our’ characters. We’ve begun to invest in them as their own story, to care about them. It’s an interesting challenge because they have pretty much been the villains and now they are evolving to their own legitimate story. Typically, shows don’t go over to your villain’s side and legitimize them as characters. They are as involved as the heroes’ story now. We can watch all the characters and draw our own conclusions as the universe expands outward. (I have mixed feeling about this. Yes, I am beginning to care about the Cylons, at least some of them. But wasn’t the series suppose to be about humans struggle to survive and retain their humanity? Should the focus be split? Should we care about the enemy?)
Lee’s send off was originally suppose to take place in Joe’s bar and be more informal, just getting drunk with the pilots the night before he leaves. When they shifted the idea to have a more formal farewell ceremony, Adama was much more standoffish. In the early drafts of the scene, he wasn’t even going to be there. He was still kind of mad at the direction Lee was choosing to go in.
Filmed and cut, was an exchange between Lee and Adama later in the party. They are sitting by themselves and both are plastered. Adama leans over and tells Lee that the bell’s going to ring which leaves Lee to go, ‘Huh?’ Adama then explains that you have to get up and answer the bell (At this point Ron mentions it’s like a boxing metaphor. Sigh.) He’s giving Lee a prediction that even though he has given up the wings, the uniform, and the flight suit and going into politics, there is going to be a part of him that is going to miss being a pilot. Part of him had gotten use to the idea that when the bell rings, when the fire breaks out, certain men get up and answer that call. They rush towards the sound of guns and Lee had become one of those men whether he had understood it or not. From now on, he’s never going to be able to do that again. He’ll be over there (Colonial One) and will be one of the people who need to be protected. He’ll no longer be one of the people to answer the bell and it’s going to bother him. He warns him that that day was going to come for him soon and he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. The scene was really long and ultimately they didn’t need it – but it will be among the deleted scenes.
My two cents on this: I'm glad it was cut. Adama comes off as really passive-aggressive to me. Instead of being supportive of Lee's decision, which is the vibe I get from the final cut, he's undermining his choice. He's not looking to the future and what Lee might be able to do for the fleet, he's trying to make Lee second guess himself, even make him feel guilty, because he's potentially not just failing himself, but letting everyone else in the fleet. End of rant. ;)
“Baltar’s Lair” (this seems to be the official name for it) is where the first Baltar/Tory scene was originally set to take place. Ron was a bit disappointed in the way the scene ultimately turned out because it’s not clear that Baltar is being guarded. His people are watching the doors and him. Tory is only able to get so close and it’s why Baltar has to approach her rather then she approaching him.
They had discussed for awhile the head characters doing change ups. They also felt it would be a chance for James to do some interesting stuff. Ron described the process of James having to work with himself. They would play the audio of the previous take so he’d have his own voice to give him guidance. There is not a lot of flexibility in the process since you only have one take to work with. You have to keep to one take that everyone feels satisfied with.
Ron intended to have more head Baltar gags run throughout the season, but now there is not as much appearing as he once thought there would be. While it was Ron who pushed for the idea, he had a growing sense of reluctance to it. He even thought that Head Baltar maybe should have been pulled out of this ep all together since Head Baltar is not a major player now. But he hated to lose the moment and it doesn’t damage the explanation as to what all the head characters mean.
Note: I hope the description of the A/R scene makes sense. I wasn’t watching the episode while listening to the podcast, Ron seemed to jump around a bit and I got a bit lost.
The Adama/Roslin: One of Ron’s favorite scenes between the two. They’ve progressed to a point of intimacy and trust. Adama is drinking a lot more these days which he says he’s sure we’ve noticed. There is a nice reversal of positions. She needed him to believe and now he’s coming to her and pushing for the exact thing. They know each other, respect each other, care about each other on some profound level, love each other on some level that they can’t put a name to, yet are really willing to go for each others jugular if pushed to it. Both are very strong and neither will defer to each other if they think they are right. They are willing, able, and capable of taking their claws out to the point they’ll say really vicious things to each other which is on some level a sign of true love…at least in the Galactica universe. She tries to force him to face it (her death) when on some level she hasn’t faced it. She shuts him down. He exposed himself, pulled the miracle card, and got nothing for it. It’s the human frailty of it that she nails him on. He’s not really one to let people get in and understand and put words to his frailties. As flawed a man as he knows he is he can’t really stand to hear someone else be so true, be so accurate, about the truth about Bill Adama. He reaches out and casually claws her up. Just tosses it out there. It’s the casualness that makes you know he really believes it. Laura pulling her hair out is as close as Laura comes to falling apart. They couldn’t take these two characters to this place until now. They needed to lay the groundwork and the actors needed to know their characters well. They can send them places they couldn’t earlier in the series. Wither the actors might have resisted or not had the underpinnings. The actors know the characters better than the writers do, they know them in a more profound way.
The Lee/Kara scene: They cut some of the middle of the scene. They reminisced more and there was more about the two of them. They talked about her predicament more; Lee brought up this isn’t her first time in jail. There were a few more lines. They had to shorten and tighten the scene for time, but Ron feels it made the scene stronger.
Ron has mentioned this before but he feels that with Lee in his suit, the character has come to life in a way that he didn’t in the uniform. It’s symbolic of the character as well. Lee was never comfortable in flight suit. They had established he had gone into the service for presumably all the wrong reasons and was conflicted about them the day that we met him. Then he became the CAG and a leader. He put on the mantle and struggled with it, tried to find his own way, and even as he became the commander of the Pegasus he still struggled with it. Now, he’s left it and there is a freedom to it. There is a sense of him finding his own path at last. He’s not really living in his father’s shadow any longer and maybe he's even more comfortable with knowing who is father is.
Ron fought to keep the scene in the pilot ready room. He felt it set a nice tone and was reflective of the journey for Lee. They needed the last beat with him to be a formal sendoff, to have him be called Apollo one more time, to have his father and the president there, for them all to give him the respect he had earned.
The cut Lee/Laura scene: (Maybe it was the take they were leaning towards using, but the vibe sounded quite different than what I read in the SFX article.) Laura still had not forgiven Lee for being one of Baltar’s attorneys and showed a lingering animosity towards him. Mary wanted to play how Laura would naturally play it, but it felt wrong in that particular moment to play such a discordant note. Ron explained that sometimes it works, sometimes you want an elegiac kind of beat to be leavened with a discordant note because it reminds you that not all is well and good with these characters and that there are still buried animosities. But, in this case, he didn’t want to spoil the mood.
Lee and Dualla: It was important to give a nod to storyline. They had been playing their story on the show, not always successfully, and didn’t want to pretend it never happened. They’d have a goodbye; she’d make a gesture.
Ron talked about how it was a risk to take one of characters out of uniform. The sense is that you have to be a soldier in this kind of series to have any validity at all and walking away from the uniform in a time of war would be seen as a despicable act on some level by some elements of the audience. Ron is proud of the fact they pulled it off, it actually seems to give them more story, and it actually worked, but it was a somewhat risky move. He reflected back on his Star Trek days and how you never would take someone out of a Starfleet uniform. The change opens up possibilities for Lee and, as you will see, it opens up great story possibilities for them this season and the Lee Adama story is made by that move. (Yay!)
Ron really liked that we see repairs being made to the ring ship. Galactica will look more and more bang upped up as the series progresses and the ship is starting to feel it.
There was talk of having Tory involved with Baltar before the revelation that she is a Cylon, before they even came up with the final five idea. (Uh, yeah, they have a plan.) They hadn’t played the sexuality of Baltar for awhile, the carnal aspect of character getting him in trouble. They find it interesting that Baltar is involved with one of the final five Cylons.
Exploring the Centurion storyline: What it will all mean? How did the hierarchy develop? What did they think and feel as they came to awareness? It’s the repetition again, ‘all this has happened before and will happen again’. Another group of Cylons is starting to become aware of being used as slaves, essentially. Will this group choose not to treat them as slaves? They didn’t play as much of that as they thought they would.
In an early draft, Adama, out of frustration and a desire to understand what Kara went through, went down to her pristine viper, got in a flight suit, and flew it out around the fleet. He started firing the guns and yelling and gets out his frustrations. Then he comes back, brings her out, and gives her the Demetrius. Ron liked it, but couldn’t quite figure out what it meant. He couldn’t understand what he was going toward. And because Kara’s return was a mystical moment, he didn’t want to play the message that Adama was being influenced by it. Though, Ron still questions whether he made a mistake in losing the scene.
At end, in a draft, there was a beat with Tyrol inspecting Kara’s viper and finding hieroglyphics on one wheel well. The idea was dropped because they didn’t know where it went, it would need a payoff, and it wasn’t a direction they wanted to go in.
Helo was not originally going to go with Kara. They received a note from the network who noticed Helo wasn’t being given much to do. Ron realized they were right and Helo happens to be one of his favorite characters. The episode was already in prep so they had to got back and put Helo and Sharon on the ship.