Many of the scripts for the early part of the season were being developed at the same time. Jane Espenson had to do some changes on the fly as changes were made on other episodes.
Ron really liked the idea of showing the service in the temple. It’s one of the few times we’ve really seen the polytheistic worship of the colonies. Jane developed the actual service. Ron sees the irony that at this point in the series we know more about the Cylon belief system, their conception of god, and how it works in a practical terms, than we knew about the Colonial belief system. (Gee, this just occurred to him?) Ron was also intrigued by showing a polytheistic service on TV and validating the colonial belief system.
Laura talking to Adama – she’s grappling with death in practical ways while Adama doesn’t want to deal with it. (What a surprise? ;p)
Ron recalled a scene that had been scripted in which Laura looks over samples of wigs they had dug up within the fleet. Presumably barbers are still around and they would make the wigs from human hair. There was also discussion amongst the writers and with Mary about Laura’s cancer and the progress of it - how far they would go with it, where it would end up, and what the reasons were for the choices they made.
They knew word would get out that Kate Vernon was back on set, but were happy that the general assumption (on the boards) was that Ellen would appear in flashbacks.
The relationship (or lack of) between Tyrol and Nicky was developed further in the first draft. There was more of Tyrol being really disconnected from his son and not knowing what to think about it. There was also a scene later involving Helo finding Nicky crying all by himself and confronting Tyrol about it. (This was before Helo was shipped off to the Demetrius.)
They wanted to start sending the final four on fundamentally different directions. Anders was off on the Demetrius. Tyrol is having an existential crisis and coming unglued. Tigh is hanging on tighter and tighter. At this point, Ron mentions that some people, online, noticed that Tigh was wearing admiral’s pips. He encourages the fans to spend a great deal of time trying to figure out why he would do that and what it means…..or it could just be a wardrobe mistake. But that’s not as much fun, is it? (I sense that this was a thinly veiled comment on people spending hours analyzing the Last Supper photo. ;)
As he’s done on the other podcasts, Ron read the initial description for this episode:
The theme is redemption and unlikely alliances. Tigh seeks out answers from Caprica Six. An accident in space leads Tyrol to believe he may be sabotaging vipers. He asks to be relieved from duty. Martyr-like Baltar defends his one god church. Zarek manipulates Lee against Laura.
And then the in-depth description:
• Goons bust up non-violent Baltar revival meeting. Baltar marches on the pantheon and denounces polytheism as reason for the holocaust. Laura, the reactionary, outlaws “Baltarism”.
• Zarek works on Lee. Tells Lee the president is losing it. Lee states that Baltar is no threat, but denying freedom of worship is. Lee tries to reason with Laura and fails.
• Baltar, with an assist from Head Six, braves an ‘On the Waterfront’ type clubbing to worship which increases his flock. Lee and the Quorum overrule Laura. Reveal - Zarek paid the goons to start whole thing. He clearly has designs.
• Tyrol story – Helo is out in space and his raptor crashed due to mechanical failure. Tyrol blames himself, but isn’t sure if it was an honest mistake or sabotage on his part. He asks to be removed from duty. Adama grants it thinking it’s fallout from Cally’s death.
• Tigh attempts to console Tryol who blames himself for Cally’s death. This leads Tigh to guilt trip over dead Ellen, the meaninglessness of life, plus being a Cylon. It all leads him back to the bottle, but this doesn’t work so he seeks answers from a true Cylon and goes to see Caprica Six. Caprica Six realizes his motivation is to purge his guilt through punishment. He eggs her into hitting him – “masochism interuptus” with Caprica Six. Six kisses him, Tigh kisses her back.
• Tory is moved by Baltar’s faith, outlaw savior quality, and embracing the uniqueness of one god. Tory thinks to herself that maybe being a Cylon isn’t that bad. For the first time she refers to Laura, Adama, and company as “the humans”.
The problem with the Sons of Ares is that there isn’t enough foundation laid for who they are. Why a hatred of the “Baltarites”? They are supposed to be an outgrowth of a previous episode – Conner attacking Baltar. It’s all kind of connected together. But Ron realized they sounded better in concept. It was easier to talk about group after Baltar, and with a lack of time to develop the idea, the group became shorthand for nameless, faceless guys after him. They kind of came out of nowhere, we’re not really invested in them, and you’re trying to invest yourself in Baltar and the cult and bringing in other guys didn’t really work.
Ron voiced a concern that the raptor crash was too spectacular for anyone to survive. It actually was toned down, but he’s still amazed anyone made it out alive let alone being in such good shape.
Baltar’s messiah journey – how far will they go? Some of his actions are Christ-like. For example, Baltar going to the temple and smashing icons is similar to Jesus driving out the money changers. This is deliberate, but they are simply using familiar tropes for us to recognize and help advance the story. This is more of a clash of civilizations – one god driving out the many gods, not a tale of Baltar as literal Christ.
Tyrol discovering the fuse – in an earlier beat we see him put it in his pocket and forget to put it in. Originally, it was Helo, not Racetrack, in the raptor. When the decision was made to send Helo with Kara they realized they were running low on pilots and rather than pull in a day player or faceless person we have no investment in – the “red short phenomena” – they chose Racetrack, who Ron pointed out, has had an adventurous life in the raptor, making some major discoveries and almost dying on several occasions.
They had Head Six and Head Baltar both in one scene. Ultimately, Head Baltar got cut because, having to shoot James twice for so many scenes, complicates everyone’s life. So they’ve opted for more Head Six.
Laura/Adama is one of his favorite stories of the whole year. The book will become a plot point – what happens to it, where it goes.
In early drafts, there were no Quorum scenes. Arguments were much more about the theoretical idea of Laura cracking down on Baltar and her motivations were a little more grudge driven. She just hated Baltar and wanted to quash him while Lee was voicing it was wrong and unethical.
Caprica Six and Tigh – they are laying the groundwork for later episodes.
Earlier, Ron had talked, briefly, about the great job Aaron did in this episode. And then he went into a lengthy discussion of Eddie’s awesome directing skills. (Putting aside, I beg to differ, there really was nothing informative said.)
In the discussion between Laura and Baltar there is a sense of danger to Laura courtesy of Mary’s delivery.
The Adama and Tyrol scene: In the first draft, this scene took place on a catwalk on the hanger deck. Helo had found Nicky, alone, and brought Nicky to Tyrol. Tyrol was being abusive to the deckhands and then turned on Helo. Later, Adama hears about what happened, tracks down Tyrol, and tries to reason with him. He tells him he needs some rest, but not to leave Nicky alone again. Tyrol agrees at first, but then tells Adama not to tell him how to take care of his kid and tears into him. They eventually moved the scene to Joe’s Bar, pushed it to be more confrontational, and the Nicky part went away. Adama is trying a sympathetic outreach, but Tyrol unloads on him. He does it publicly and gives Adama no choice as to his actions. Adama tells him, ‘Don’t make me do this’, but Tyrol wants this punishment. He’s out of his mind on so many levels - his identity, the suicide of his wife, and the near fatal accident have pushed him into a self-destructive mode.
Apparently, there is a USC Jersey in Joe’s Bar. Oops!
Originally, before they decided to show the Quorum meetings, Laura was to come see Lee in his cramped little office on Colonial One. Lee was pushing something in an off camera Quorum meeting and she wasn’t happy about it, it had to do with Baltar. She tired to confront him and it came out that she was still pissed at Lee for defending Baltar.
In the Quorum meeting, there isn’t quite enough of an implication that there are other forms of religious worship within Colonial society and that some have something approaching a monotheistic point of view. Ron had hoped to make clear that there are subgroups within the polytheistic belief system. They have the Cult of Athena, people praying to different gods, some have a belief akin to Buddhists, some are monotheistic believing in only one god, and that Colonial society was tolerant of all of them and all were welcome in the belief system. When the delegate stands up to voice her concerns that Baltar’s beliefs are not a new thing, it should have been more a statement of fact. Unfortunately, they only have so much time.
Ron wasn’t entirely happy with Baltar being pulled up by Head Six. The intention was not to have him appear to hover or levitate off the deck. It goes a little too far to Head Six actually doing it to him and you can’t read it either way as he had hoped. No one in the scene actually thinks anyone but Baltar is doing it.
Adama reading the book to Laura, looking up from the text, seeing Laura has closed her eyes and is out, and he just starts talking – this was a choice made by Eddie. What is he saying? What are they saying? Has Adama memorized the book? Did he lie to her, has he read ahead? Is he making it up? Is this a confession? Ron doesn’t have an answer. He doesn’t know what Eddie was thinking. He’s not sure if he wants to know. It leaves you wondering where the character is going and it adds a bit of life to something. The scene is not completely scripted, just like life.
He talked a little bit about Baltar’s sermon. Is he crazy? Self-rationalizing? Insane? Truly inspiring? There are many questions raised and where are they going with this?
Lee is hanging around, compelled into listening longer than he intended to.
In earlier versions, Tory guided Baltar more. (I was curious about this, but time ran out on the podcast. :/)