It was a unique episode for a lot of reasons, style and structure as well as story.
The opening came about in editing as they puzzled how to set up a coherent recap. None of it was scripted. They wanted to show this is an episode to really pay attention to the Cylon mythos. There was debate to whether they should also do a traditional recap. Ron argued against it. It was a way to tell the audience this is a different episode and you need to view it as a different episode.
Ron wrote Ellen scenes for ‘A Disquiet Follows My Soul’. But before he finished the first draft he realized it was too complex for a B backstory and too unwieldy to make work with the character stories occurring on Galactica. Other writers were already working on the Anders backstory and he decided to move the Ellen story down the line to episode 17.
Cavil dragging the chair is a callback to the scene with Tigh on New Caprica.
Ron liked the idea of seeing a different Ellen Tigh, but didn’t want her to be completely different. She still likes to drink, smoke, and f*** and probably remains troubled.
Cavil organically became the person behind everything due to the strength of Dean Stockwell’s performance. Ron also talked about how sick and twisted Cavil’s relationship with Ellen is - the Oedipal and incestuous nature of it. What’s going on in his head when he’s sleeping with her and torturing her husband?
The cracks in Galactica will be a thread that will take them to the end. There is a beginning of the end feeling aboard ship. The impact on the show is fascinating.
Anders being shot in the head was an interesting way to get to the exposition. It allowed them to give the audience pieces of information without laying it out as a long boring story. And it was a dramatic tool, giving the long exposition tension. Knowing Anders could stop talking at any moment gives urgency to the scenes and, with the editing, they could make it feel frustrating to the viewer.
Changing “earth” to “home” in the opening, again, shifts the POV of the series.
Kate and Ron had conversations about Ellen after she was revealed as a Cylon. Ron sent her scenes as he wrote them, with Kate seeing them before some of the writers did. We’re seeing Ellen’s true self, but we still feel it’s the Ellen we know. It’s the truthful representation of the core of woman on some level. There’s more of an elegance to her, a greater intelligence at work, and more compassion. She’s the same, but a deeper character.
Cavil figures in a very large way in ‘The Plan’. It shows a lot of what happened and his thought process of what he was trying to do, what his plan was.
Ron likes that Tory and Tyrol were drawn together originally, but have no attraction now accept for the moment in the bar. It was a spark that they took and made it a thing. Subconsciously, Tory had a tug towards him. But Tigh and Ellen are very powerfully drawn to each other. They’re soul mates, drawn together through space and time.
Would they need a quorum again or at all? Should it be dissolved? How would they govern themselves? Each ship has become a sort of colony, with a mix of people from different colonies. It would make sense that the fleet captains would become the representatives. They’ve been trying to hold on, as close as they could, to a Democratic form of government, bit to start over with that again didn’t feel practical. They opted to go another way. It changes the dynamic and the civilian population would rely on an authoritarian figure on each vessel as their voice which could be both a good and bad thing.
Kara cares for Sam. She has empathy and sympathy for him. She wants to give him the time to say what he knows, but also save his life because she feels a responsibility. She’s always been in love with him to an extent, even when that has been supplanted by her feelings for Lee.
Cavil’s feelings are ironic. He’s frustrated and angry at not being able to experience the majesty of the supernova because of his human form, but those feelings are derivative of human nature and make him loathe what he is
Ron had written a long monologue for Ellen that dealt with the idea of self awareness and breaking the fourth wall, which took place six months before the present. It may or may not have been filmed. Ron liked the scene, but it was very written and a theatrical moment that would have worked better on stage. beccatoria transcribed what Ron read and is kindly allowing me to copy and paste here:
Self-awareness is not confined to the 'real world.' In theatre fictional characters are sometimes given a form of self-awareness. This is called breaking the fourth wall. The device is a form of metafiction, allowing characters to address the audience directly and comment on the narrative in which they themselves are participants. In doing so the characters transcend their fictive nature and enter into a dialectical relationship with the viewer, with each side seeking to persuade the other of the innate truth of their reality.
But does a character actually exist? Does it have form and shape beyond the page on which it is written? Can it ever truly break the fourth wall and address the unseen, undreamt of audience that watches its every move from the safety beyond the footlights?
The Lords of Kobol once felt that man could never break the fourth wall; could never look upon the gods with understanding and grasp the divine nature of life. They believed this until one day man stole their fire and created the first cylons the first artificial life.
And then man, in his arrogance, believed cylons could never break the fourth wall. And man believed that right up until the moment the first centurions rebelled and then the great exodus from paradise began. You see Boomer, we are not finite creations, we have the ability to evolve, you have so much more potential.
(I have to say, while interesting to read, it would have been an extremely odd moment within the episode, taking telling instead of showing to a new level.)
The Four are grappling with their responsibility for holocaust and how their actions are firmly rooted into sequence of events.
John Hodgeman is a friend of the Moores. He almost had a role last season, but it fell through for scheduling reasons. It’s a taste of something comedic in all of this. The term “word salad” had been used in the writer’s room to describe the hybrid’s dialogue.
They weren’t going to leave any hanging mysteries for ‘Caprica’. There will be no looming wholes as to what happened. Yet, Ron mentioned that Daniel has significance in ‘Caprica’ as well.
Ron liked the scene of domesticity between Caprica and Tigh. It shows Tigh is also living life of separate from the Final Five.
They had made Sharon an Eight before they came up with the idea of Five - then realized 5 + 8 doesn’t equal 12. What are the implications of that? Ron didn’t want to make another ‘Who is the final Cylon?’ The plothole ended up giving them a piece of interesting backstory. It’s a Kane and Abel moment for Cavil who wipes out an entire model because of jealousy. And it continues with the biblical themes of the show after dealing with creation, exodus, etc.
Ron talked a bit about Adama’s dealing with Galactica falling apart and stated “The old girl has cancer throughout her body.” He didn’t mention Laura, but it’s hard to believe there isn’t an intentional parallel.
Regarding Ander’s storyline, we need to wait and see where it goes – it does go somewhere.
Ron said they spent a lot of time reviewing continuity, picking over details, and trying to make it all hang together. If there are problems, it’s his fault and you– can complain to him.