The First Evil (asta77) wrote,
The First Evil

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Two Podcasts Down...

Ron mentioned, repeatedly, in the podcast that he was not satisfied with how the episode turned out. I actually empathized with him (yeah, I'm shocked too!) because I know what it’s like to create something, think it’s OK, know it could be better, but your at a point you can’t go back and fix it.

Like other episodes that were problematic, it worked out pretty well, but Ron had some issues with what they finally delivered to the screen. He felt it was an interesting episode, with a lot of great moments which save it, but that he made a mistake in structuring the story. He leaned a little too much on the Cally story - their marital problems, her attempt at suicide - which they made the “A line story”, yet they didn’t give it enough. There were interesting ideas, questions of trust and identity, the conflict in Tyrol realizing his true nature, how talking to Tory impacts his marriage, but it should have been more of a subplot. The story doesn’t sustain itself.

In early drafts, instead of asleep in the bed, Tyrol is looking down at Cally. He’s contemplating his life together with her. At one point he flashes to an image of him killing Cally and Nicky. The thought of potentially being able to do that freaks out and drives him out of the room. The scene wasn’t working for Ron and he opted to shift the focus and make it more Cally’s story. He used elements that were already there - she’s a young mother, losing sleep, dealing with a stressful job, her husband is conflicted and having his own problems, and she’s become dependent on meds. She’s going round the bend and getting to a place where she wants to throw herself and her child out the airlock. They played with ways to emphasize the jagged nature of her existence, show how she’s looking at the world differently than everyone else. The fuzzy camera lens was director Michael Nankin’s idea. Hey wanted to give some POV to Cally, get inside her head where she’s in a drug induced fog.

Ron was disappointed with the Tory/Tyrol scene. You don’t get a sense of what she is specifically after. The sexual undertone is left unexplained. Is she coming on to him? She seems to be alluring him in a flirtatious direction, but the idea is not developed far enough. It’s stutter steps. They start in that direction then start in another direction. It never quite came together in the way he wanted it to.

The Adama reading to Laura scene he loves. Their story is “one of the best things of the year” and “keep your eyes on these two character”. The scene was to be at the end of the episode. In early drafts, he came in with the book and she says something about reading her the first paragraph because she can tell whether or not it’s a good book. The scene got paired back in subsequent drafts. They had been at each other over the Demetrius mission, then Adama made this lovely gesture to just come in, sit down and start reading to her. Ron moved it to act one because he wanted to hit you with the emotion of it early, then wanted to counterpoint it. You see how close they now are, how far they have progressed, that this man was doing this lovely gesture for her without even being asked to and she was appreciating it, then they cut to the press conference. Their relationship is a more complex thing. He wanted to start with showing Adama loves her on some level he can’t say, but then when she’s back on her feet and they are back at their jobs they can still fight. He didn’t want to save the scene for a sweet, sentimental ending. He wanted to show how they go on with their lives.

There were more machinations by Zarek in early drafts. Instead of Lee going to the Quorum as he does later, the press conference was followed by Lee going to his father and wanting to know about the Demetrius mission. He argued that people should understand what is going on. Adama responds with ‘I thought you were a politician now’ and that is military need to know.

At that point in development, they writers were still playing that Adama was not embracing Lee as warmly as he would in later drafts of the early episodes. Many scripts were being started simultaneously and the sentiment was that Adama was not going to welcome Lee joining the government. In production drafts, they made changes and Adama ended up embracing Lee and giving him a warm sendoff. Other episodes had to be frantically rewritten to follow that line.

Lee and Zarek were in the beginning of the scene with Laura and Adama that takes place after the press conference (I recall seeing a bit of this in an on set visit shot by Space last year). Laura summarily dismisses both of them to talk to Adama. She has no qualms about telling Adama he’s wrong when she is back in her role as president. There exists delineation between the professional and personal with these characters.

Ron gave the model builders fits because he made them redo the model of the Demetrius to include the vipers on the outside of the ship.

The little figurehead was actually a subplot in ‘Six of One’. Adama had plucked it off the model ship and gave it back to Kara to take with her. The subplot was cut for time and they couldn’t play it in this ep, but they also couldn’t get the figure out of the cut. There was also more on an exchange between Kara and Gaeta about the goddess Aurora and it played a more significant role in the episode – it also had to be cut for time.

The first scene with Kara on the Demetrius was going to be Kara addressing the crew with a long speech, acting like the tough captain. They were just starting out on the mission, but they opted instead to pick it up further in. The crew was already questioning her and it was already ugly.

It was several drafts before Helo appeared. Ron is embarrassed that the network had to tell him he wasn’t paying attention to Helo and Tahmoh. He had to go back and work him in. He did feel they needed more players on the ship and that the story wasn’t gelling so it worked out well. Helo and Kara were friends, they trusted each other, he would be a loyal first officer. As the crew beneath them starts to crumble, he has to defend her, but doesn’t really believe her anymore. He’s a good man in tough position

The centurions cleaning up the blood is a gag. ;) Originally, there were to be centurions all around the room. They were looking at one another, than at their hands, and when Cavil would make a hand gesture, they would repeat it. They were trying to emulate the skinjobs. A direction they thought they would be going in was to show their growing self-awareness. They eventually decided not to go in that direction because it was cumbersome – they already had too many plot directions and could barley get all the established characters in the show. They didn’t have time to focus on CGI creations so Ron had almost all of them removed.

The Lee storyline changed substantially. It was originally much more about Lee and Laura. (Gee, I would have hated to see that! :p) Lee was going to Laura, having many more debates and arguments about her telling the truth to the fleet. There were discussions about trust and politics. It was much more of a philosophical idea – and there wasn’t much to it. He then moved Lee to the position of a delegate for Caprica, but then he wasn’t acting as a delegate, he was just arguing with Laura. At that point, they made the change to see some Quorum scenes. They hadn’t seen the Quorum gathered together since 'Colonial Day'. The template for the Quorum is the House of Commons. It’s not like the US system where people sit in committees and take their turn to talk. There is a time for questions and he wanted to show that the president had to go before the Quorum periodically and be questioned, that she’s expected to have answers, and those answers could sway the vote of the twelve. Ron believes there are some advantages to the British system. He’d have long talks/debates with Jamie and James about the parliamentary system vs the American system. Each would see the advantages in the other’s system, yet they’d be vaguely defensive about their systems.

It was hard to let Nikki go. Both Ron and David called her and if they both call you know the Angel of Death is nigh. She was cool and funny about it, took it really well, and took them off the hook. It’s times like those they remember it’s ‘characters to us, but a livelihood to them’. The show is not the same without her.

In the Kara/Anders scene, he particularly liked the way Michael Trucco played this beat. Anders is pushed a bit and we see the rougher side of him. He gets in Kara's face more. She’s pretty vicious to him here, exposing her teeth. It’s one of the uglier scenes of Kara. The physicality really plays for him. He likes there is a pause before the kissing. The moment where the aggression spent itself, then shifts, then he shoves her to the bed. There is a strong, animal lust in this beat that he really likes.

In the meeting between Nathalie and the rest of the Cylons, there were many more centurions in the original cut of the scene. It looks like an odd grouping with so much wide space around them. Nankin had left space during shooting for the centurions to be placed in the background and by removing them it screwed up Nankin’s blocking.

You have to remember that quorum has been meeting off camera. Laura’s exasperation is reminder that she’s had to deal with this civilian government for years.

Lee in his first session tries to go to Laura’s defense. He steps in to lend her a hand, lend his political support to her, but Laura is going to have none of that. On some level, she is still pissed at what he did in the trial. She gets up and swats him back down in a very public way and got an enemy out of it, but not like Zarek. Then he gets up, proves his mettle and shows he has teeth too.

The talk of tribunals is a nod to current events and the executive branch wanting to control things. The executive branch has a tendency to reach for more and more power, mostly out of good intentions, but they are not above doing certain things. Laura is not above controlling the judiciary - the very thing that led Baltar be exonerated. She wants to fix that particular ‘flaw’ in the system.

The Cylon civil war has been a long time coming. They’ve alluded to divisions.

The Cavil/Boomer scene is a little bit of a mustache twirler and a minor flaw that stands out for him.

Because Cally – and the A plot - had been moved to the background and other pieces moved forward, the episode lurches from one story to another with no flow to the scene order. It’s random cuts with no cohesive narrative.

Ron didn’t know about the 1701D on the door until he saw the dailies.

The montage idea worked for him in earlier episodes, but lacks cohesion for him here. You’re not sinking into the story, but pulled from one story to another.

In an initial draft, the four met in a tool room and Cally got a piece of equipment from the hanger deck that allowed her to hear through the bulkhead. It was “very MacGyver”. When the idea came up for gaps between the walls he questioned it, but was presented with a rational explanation for it that sounded good. It gave the scene a sense of danger. Finding the note in door jam was a little rickety.

The flashes Cally has were actually Tyrol’s from the original concept of the opening. It was intentionally “jump cutty” to play her freak out. Tyrol reaching into crib – it’s now Cally imaging he wants to kill Nicky.

Why doesn’t she call Adama or CIC when she finds out Tyrol and the others are Cylons? (good question!) She’s out of her mind – a crazy mindset combined with the drugs. He does feel they should have found a more elegant way to get her there other than to make her completely deranged in post production.

He wanted the scene with Tory to be the sucker punch. Tory plays it honestly, not to give anything away, and you believe Tory has successfully talked Cally down. Early cuts had more ominous music. You believe it’s all going to be OK because that is what you want to believe. When Tory closes the door she makes her decision. To that point she’s wasn’t sure what she was going to do when she walked into the launch tube. She talked to her to the point to get the kid out of her arms. On some level, Cally wants to be talked off the ledge. She doesn’t want to die with her son. It’s a strong ending. It’s so shocking and disturbing. (If you say so, Ron.) You can’t believe it. No one is coming to the rescue.

There was dialogue written for Adama in the final scene. He was saying he was sorry and telling Tyrol they were investigating what happened. Ron feels it’s stronger the way it is.
Tags: bsg s4 podcast

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