Podcast:A Measure of Salvation
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Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica and I would like to welcome you to the podcast for episode six, "A Measure of Salvation". I'm at home, for those of you who monitor such things. And I'll turn down the volume here a little bit. And I've returned from my sojourn to Cornell. The- sorry, I'm just organizing everything here a little bit. The Scotch is Macallan 12 and the smokes are American Spirit Lights, both of which were provided to me. A very generous gift from a student at Cornell named Josh, who came up and gave me both after the end of the lecture that I gave at the Willard Straight Hall at Cornell last week. Which is very kind. I like to see that people are still supporting vice in all forms, evil and bad for you, in the Ivy League. So, without further ado, here we go into "Measure of Salvation".
We're still in the recap here. This is obviously the second part of a two-parter. The events that were setup for us in "Torn" now come to play into this episode. We broke these two episodes simultaneously in the room. Broke them both out as a piece. We had this concept of the infected baseship that we all were really intrigued with and wanted to play and it was question of where does that story take you. And very quickly, in the writers room, came this idea. That well, once a baseship was infected with a virus, that the Cylons couldn't- were defenseless against and Galactica and its crew came upon that baseship, wouldn't that be a biological weapon? And that was such an intriguing idea for us that we quickly glommed onto the notion of, "Let's do a whole episode like that."
Here we are back in the show. Or the top of the show. Adama is in the Raptor. Oh, I'm sorry. I jumped ahead of myself. This used to open with Adama and Sharon in a Raptor. There was a scene that was cut here that was scripted and shot that showed Adama himself sitting in a Raptor with Sharon, guarded by a whole phalax of Vipers surrounding him, because the idea being that Adama himself wanted to get some eyeballs on what they were dealing with out there. So there was a short scene where Sharon and Adama basically scoped out the exterior of the baseship, saw all the floating dead Raiders in the air and he asked her what she thought. She gave some theories. And then it was after that that he gave the go-ahead to do it. 'Cause one of the things that we stumbled on, or kept stumbling on, was the justification for them going inside the baseship and it was such a big thing. And what are the dangers? And couldn't it be a trap? And so on, and so forth. And the idea was, "Well, maybe if Adama looks at it himself it'd kinda help justify it." But when we got in the cut, the show was long, as always. It was one of the first things to go. 'Cause you just jump right into it and get past it. That shot right there where there Raptor's pushing through the Raiders, the dead Raiders, was suggested by Gary Hutzel. I don't believe that it was actually scripted, but Gary and his crack VFX team came up with this idea of the Raptor physically moving through the sea of dead Raiders to get into the baseship. And as soon as I saw the previz on it, the previsualization, which are like crude animatics that VFX provides to us, I fell in love with the idea and I was like, "Oh, more, more, more. Let's have more of that." And I want to see him really pushing through it and getting into- inside the basestar, 'cause it was such a cool idea. These scenes- the intercut between Galactica and the baseship were cut several different ways and with different speeds of how fast to get them through the corridors, at what point do they see the dead Cylons. There's a bit of a discontinuity between this sequence and the sequence that we saw in part one in that the halls were strewn with dead bodies when Baltar came aboard and the hallways are a bit emptier here. And we avoided that by simply getting getting them to- avoided the discontinuity really slapping you by getting them to the control room a little bit faster. Because we wanted to play the action in the control room. We didn't want to play it out in the corridors what was going on.
This whole bit of business with Lee leading the Marine team, in some ways is a holdover for an idea that I think I alluded to last week. That we had this idea, as we were dealing with "Fat Lee", as it were, and what we're gonna do with "Fat Lee", and one of the notions that came up was that "Fat Lee" would rededicated himself to being much more of a Spartan, in the truest sense of the word. He and Dualla were going to become Marines. He was going to leave flight- leading the pilots altogether and he and Dualla were gonna go into basic training as Marines and eventually become more ground soldiers to give him a different arc and a different goal for the second- for this season. And that didn't really come to pass. We did play- we scripted various scenes of putting them in training and getting going on that road, but they just kept getting squeezed out by other ideas, or they didn't play right, or for whatever reason we never really cracked that, and ultimately abandoned it altogether as a story. But one of the results was this story still maintains the idea that Lee is leading the Marine team. And that's really why he's there. It was scripted as part of his evolution into a Marine officer. He was gonna be leading squads and platoons like this a little bit more often. And that's why he's here to begin with.
There was more banter and things going on in this sequence, that we did cut out, with Hotdog and some of the other Marines reacting to the dead Cylons a little bit more. Just character for them, going back and forth. All that got dropped along the way.
Now this tease-out where they realize that they're surrounded by infected Cylons and there's a disease here and, "Oh my God. We've walked into a sick ship." I think- You could mak- There's a valid criticism in that you could say that, "Well they did see all the dead Raiders from the outside. There's clearly something wrong with this baseship. And that maybe they should have thought about that before they went aboard." But I- I get pa- and I think that's a valid- you could certainly make that argument. I mean, my counter-argument to that is there's never been a Cylon disease, there's never any- Sharon's never encountered one. They've never gotten sick. These guys don't get head-colds, for God's sakes. It's like- they don't have the same problems that we do, so the notion of a disease wiping out a whole Cylon baseship wasn't something that any of them were thinking about going into this episode.
The beacon, you'll note, has moved into the control c- control room at this point. I'm not even sure if that's correct. We might have stolen that shot of the beacon from the prior episode, because I don't believe we had it in the control room for this sequence. Oh, that's right. In fact, there was another sequence where they actually went and got the beacon and brought it aboard Galactica. Forgive me. On some level I'm seeing this episode after several weeks of not seeing it. David Eick took over some of the later post-production work on this episode and consequently I haven't sat down and actually looked at this episode in a little while, so I'm seeing it with fresh eyes and there'll be points in this commentary where I'm going to refer to things that I either think are still in the show and may be not and vice versa. You'll see- yeah. See that? That shot right there that you just saw of the flashlight beam going across the beacon was definitely stolen from the prior episode. Because the beacon was not, in fact, in the control room when we shot this whole piece. The idea was that the beacon was elsewhere in the ship, still down where we last saw it in the Hybrid chamber, and they were gonna go down and get it in a subsequent sequence. But I believe that was all cut. We don't have that sequence in the show any longer.
But one of the continuing confusion points was the whole notion of the beacon as the source of the virus, so we felt it was important that you see it again, and that you see it in that moment when they're talking about it and when we're dealing with the origins of the virus.
Ok. Now we're dealing with the consequences. Ok, we've got guys over there that've been exposed to an infectious disease. How do we deal with it? We didn't really wanna see all the procedures, but we definitely wanted to say there were procedures and this sequence is justify bringing these people back aboard the ship and how they deal with it and the fact that there would be a quarantine and that noone quite knows what's- what they're dealing with here.
It's good to see Doc Cottle back with us, as always. It's always odd, I think I've said this before. It's always odd to see Cottle, to me, in his uniform 'cause I always think Cottle just belongs in that white coat.
Ah, yes. See, now every- they're coming back to Galactica already, but there was an entire sequence where they- after Sharon sussed out where the beacon was and that it was the source of the ra- of the virus, what they did is they went back down to that Hybrid chamber, they wrapped the beacon in a radiation blanket, and then they put it on a Raptor and brought it back to Galactica. The beacon was then aboard Galactica for the balance of this show. Cottle examined it. He tracked down the virus to something specific on the beacon, and that helped explain where the beacon came from, how the virus got aboard, etc., etc. The problem became a structural one late in the show in that what we used to do was there was this idea in the plot at the end where they were going to push the beacon out into space and shoot it towards the Cylon fleet. And the Cylons were gonna see it and go, "Oh my God, that's the beacon, get the hell out of here. That's the beacon that infected everyone and killed everyone. Get out! Go! Run, run, run, run away!" And it didn't really work. We just could never make it work, so we opted to cut it completely and- that meant that the beacon was gonna be onboard Galactica, and we didn't want that. I didn't wanna have to spend the next few episodes dealing with the stupid beacon, 'cause we hadn't planned for any of that and we weren't- didn't wanna follow up on actually dealing with the beacon. So we opted to leave it aboard and in the cut, in the cutting room we left it aboard the Cylon baseship, got them out of there, so the beacon is neatly destroyed and taken care of at the top of the show. If we had kept the beacon aboard Galactica it just would have meant that all the subsequent episodes would have had to deal with them taking it apart, doing metallurgical analyses, all the expected scientific things that you would expect, and it just didn't feel like it was worth it.
Now this whole bit of business here, Baltar and the Cylons, is really trying- is why we did a lot of this, was to get to the point where, okay, he's been over there, he's been having a good time, he's been roaming the halls. It's been a little weird, mysterious, but now the gloves are coming off. Now these guys think that he was involved in something, they think that he was responsible for the destruction, the deaths, of all those Cylons, forcing them to leave them behind, and that essentially Baltar has been lying to them all along and what are they gonna do about that? And as much as Baltar tries to, in his way, come clean, to talk to them in this moment, they've now pushed to the point where they no longer believe him.
There was a lot more of this sequence of James Callis being naked (chuckles) that we cut. Which he did wonderfully. He walked in, he stood up, he put his hands over his crotch, he was much more defenseless and vulnerable in the moment but James is so charming and so funny in those moments that unfortunately when you put it together it leeched all the seriousness from the scene. I mean, and that's a valid way to go. You could have the comedy of the scene playing on top and the undercurrents of fear and tension and the threat underneath. It's a valid way to construct the scene, but we just opted not to go in that particular direction.
Ok. Now this is actually not on location. This is actually a completely CG environment that we have put him in. This is really James and Tricia in the lounge chair and a bit of sand and then the table and the objects on the table are on a soundstage against a big green back- big green screen, and then we're compositing in the beach scene and the ocean and all that. And you can feel it in this. You can feel the slight artificiality of the environment, which I thought was ok because of the nature of what's really happening here. That this is really all in his mind, and you're in this hyper-real environment. It didn't bother me. In fact it didn't bother me so much that we had to do it that way. We had to do it that way because- they were going to go out to the location and shoot it, but it was a public beach and Tricia was gonna be getting naked and unfortunately that wasn't gonna work. (Chuckles.) I don't think she really want to do that and, although I'm sure the beach enthusiasts would have been more than happy to have her disrobe out there and be humping our- one of our characters, it ultimately did not work out, and we had to bring it back to the stage.
Ok. This torture bit. See, you can see- you can tell I'm at home because the front gate is creaking and the dogs are barking and on my brand new high-gain microphone is, I'm sure, picking all this up. Sorry.
The torture sequence here was definitely something that we went back and forth with the network on several times about how graphic to be, how much screaming, how gr- how much pain he was gonna be in, at what points you cut to his face, at what points do s- how many th- you get down to these conversations with Standards and Practices about, literally, how many pelvic thrusts can Number Six do sitting on top of Baltar. Which, you know, is one of these absurd conversations that you do in television because they all have- for some reason. I always imagine that in the Standards and Practices office there's some chart on the wall that outlines how many pelvic thrusts are beyon- are unacceptable on Scifi Channel and how many cuts to somebody screaming and all that jazz. Which is just insane.
Ok. We didn't want this to really be all about how they resolve the virus for the humans or the Cylons, so you'll note that we got them quickly out of this thing. 'Cause it wasn't- the point was not how do we medically tech our way out of this- out of a crisis, or out of a jeopardy situation. The point was really that this was a virus that was harmless to humans, potentially dangerous to Sharon, and ultimately lethal to the Cylons. So you'll not that we move rather quickly through all that bit of business.
So we get here into Galactica again. Alright, these scenes were all moved around quite a bit because, again, we had this other subplot of the beacon being aboard the ship and in sickbay and Cottle examining it and figuring things out. And I believe this sequence actually came later, after they had had a discussion about potentially ways of cur- of not curing, but make- allowing the Cylons to live a little longer, giving them the equivalent of AZT to extend their lives. And this sequence took place after that discussion. This discussion coming up here. First we had this structurally, where they talk about the disease in all of its glory, as it were, and then Cottle says, "Well, I can keep 'em alive for a while." And Laura Roslin says, "Ok. See about that." And then you were gonna cut to that scene. We restructured it for various reasons. Ultimately it felt like I wanted to keep in the moment of the sick Cylons, remind you that they were still onboard the ship, and watch Cottle just come in and yank one out and see that they were doing experiments and things on them.
You'll note that Lee, we're positioning here as the harder ass of the- the hard line, hardliner, of the group. He's in his t-shirt as opposed to in his uniform. Again this is a nod towards the direction of a slight shift in Lee's character. That he's becoming more of the warrior. A little less upright and neat in the way that, say, Helo is playing. This turned out to be, ultimately, a very big Helo- a very important episode for Helo.
This was- this beat here with Simon being brought down the corridor and ultimately interrogating Simon. This used to come out of a very different set of circumstances. They went in and dealt- brought out a Six, one of the Six's came out, and started to talk to them because they had- oh that's right. There was- in fact, we shot this. I'm sorry. We shot a whole scene where, essentially, after that meeting in Adama's quarters they were talking. Adama said, "Somebody needs to go down there and talk to them. Who's gonna get them to talk?" That, "Why would they ever tell us anything." And he said, "Well I know someone who might be able to get them to talk." And we had Kara. We cut to Kara. Kara went into the cell and had a conversation with the sick Leoben. And it was a reversal and a play on the fact that she had been held prisoner by Leoben and that now she was the interrogator once again. And it was a way for her to turn the tables on him and she was using the fact that he was dying and she had a way to keep him alive as her way to torture him. Leoben was trying tap back into her mind, into her psyche, and screw with her head again and talk about Kacey, talk about God and her destiny, and ultimately the other Cylons in the room were listening to the whole thing, and when Kara was saying that they had a way to keep them alive, but they had to help them. They had to give up information. What happened was that one of the Six's copped to it and said, "Oh, he- I'll talk, I'll talk, I'll talk." And they take the Six away, and then the Six came into this scene. In the script we star- I started to feel like that was a mistake. That it was weird and unusual for Six to roll over so quickly and we weren't using Simon very effectively. We hadn't used him as a character in the show in quite a while and it f- it just felt more interesting, somehow, to bring Rick Worthy in and have him be that guy that rolled over. So we made that change before we shot it. And then when in the cutting of the episode, it felt like you could get to this idea that the Cylons wanted to live and were afraid of dying 'cause they knew that they would not be resurrected and that you could bring in one of the prisoners and have him just spill his guts, as it were, without going through the whole machinations with Kara and Leoben, which ultimately they didn't feel right. When I saw the scene it was ok but it just didn't feel like it went anywhere and it felt like a tangent in the episode and it didn't feel quite right so I opted to cut it fairly early in the process. Now it's just a cleaner, faster line because you're getting to the heart of the drama. I mean, the point of the show is not to deal- to dip back into the Leoben-Kara storyline. The point of the show is really to get to this idea of the virus as a biological weapon. And so this act is all moving rapidly towards Lee giving this- Lee having this epiphany and realizing what the virus could give them a way to wipe out the Cylons permanently. Which takes us to a scene with the President.
These scenes about the biological weapon and about the morality of using the biological weapon, here, and later with Adama and Laura, mimicked very closely a lot of the arguments that happened within the writers' room. We discussed these issues at length about what would they really do, and there were certainly writers who felt rather strongly that, "Well, why wouldn't they use it? Isn't that the thing that you do? I mean, my God. The Cylons wiped out their race, been pursuing them. They're the implacable enemy. And why wouldn't you use this weapon? They'd be fools not to." And then there were others who felt, "Well, wait a minute. If genocide is just tit for tat, what does that mean about us? And aren't we better than them?" And, "What are we saying?" And it felt like a really interesting moral conundrum. And it raised some difficult issues. I was really- like this idea of Helo as the voice of that. That Helo, the man who had fallen in love with a Cylon and fathered a child with one, stepping back, "Ok, now wait a minute. What are we doing here? We're no different than they are. Is that what we're about?" I think it's a l- I think it's an interesting argument. I'm not sure there's a clear answer to this argument. I'm not sure that there's a clear answer to the right and the wrong of what they're debating here. Which, to me, is what the show is all about. That it's not about giving you the answers it's about raising the questions. What is the right choice in this circumstance? What is- Is genocide ever justifiable? Can- is there a line beyond which you cannot cross and still be a moral person. And- or does that all get wiped away if you say that the stakes are survival and the very legitimate argument that, "Hey, if you don't survive, all the moral conundr- all the moral quandaries go away and are pointless if you're not around to argue them. So doesn't the s- your own survival outweigh everything else?" And it does come down, on some level to whether they're people. Are they people? If they're a race of people, it's genocide.
There were certain- it reminds me. There was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that dealt with similar issues with the Borg and Picard and a virus. Whether he was gonna unleash a virus against the Borg, and whether they were such a threat to the Federation, and so on. This show ultimately, the characters take a different approach to it. They debate the issue in somewhat starker terms and even the decision itself is actually quite different than in that episode. But we did bandy that about in the room. So, for those of you who were fans of the Next Gen and wonder, yes, we did talk about that Next Gen episode.
Meanwhile, back in the torture chamber... James Callis, I think, fairly early on had posited this idea that, ok. He was concerned when went aboard the baseship that he didn't want it to be all sweetness and light for him over there. There wasn't just all fun. That actually would we- what happen if these guys started torturing him? And that stuck in my head. We hadn't broken this story yet but I liked the idea of it and I remember thinking- thinking as we were developing this story that that was a great thing to do. They actually torture this man until- put him really under pressure. It's also this idea of moving his relationship forward with D'anna, the D'anna models. 'Cause his relationship with D'anna will now shift and change as a result of this episode and move that relationship forward, and this is a critical piece of business of that.
This is all great stuff, I have to say, for James. There was a lot more of this torture sequence. There was a lot more of the sex. I should actually make a mental note here to be sure and preserve all that for the deleted scenes so that you can enjoy the full pain and sex of it all. But essentially the fundamental idea that here's a man being tortured and his mind is this woman having sex with him and the going back and forth between one kind of physical sensation to try to take the place of another physical sensation. On some level he's either imagining or literally experiencing himself having sex with Six while he's being tortured and then that's making it all possible for him to mo- transcend the moment of what's happening to him in the torture room. Again, there were more pieces of this. It was more graphic. It was harder to watch. All the things that we like to do. Then you- there was a lot of negotiation and back and forth and cutting and this and that. But- this was actually one of the easier conversations with the network, even though there was arguing back and forth about how much was gonna be in there, we didn't fight it too hard. We understood their point and they weren't asking to radically gut the scene. They just were asking for things like less pelvic thrusts and, "Could you use this angle instead of that angle." When Six takes her top down here you could actually see her nipple in one shot, which none of us really noticed but the Standards and Practices guys did. "Y'know there's a quarter of her nipple at the bottom of the frame! You can't have that on tv!" Yeah, 'cause God forbid. You can't have a Janet Jackson moment in Galactica or the world would come to a fuckin' end.
This little riff of- that he goes on about God and our knowledge of God being imperfect was something that I actually- I think it was one of these things. I was sitting in bed watching tv with my wife late at night when I shouldn't have. Getting ready to go to bed and I had this jag in my head about all this stuff and I just walked out and went in my office and just wrote it down. And thought it was gonna work in the torture scene, and then I woke up the next morning, looked at it and actually it was ok. So I put it in the torture scene. Sometimes you don't find ideas and speeches on the page. Sometimes you find them in odd moments and I think I was watching Project Runway with my wife, actually. We were watching it on TiVo in our bedroom late at night and doing something completely different and my mind was mulling over the show at the same time and I came up with that whole line about God and our knowledge of him being imperfect because it's based on these half-remembered myths and if we all knew the mind of God we'd all be Gods. And I just wrote it all in a stream of conciousness as I- when I came into my office and then worked it into the show. And that's how a lot of these things fall into place. A lot of times I'm doing something else and talking to somebody else, I'm watching something else, and without even really knowing it there's a part of my brain that's working on the show and comes up with these little lines of dialogue or character moments or structures or story changes that I'll go off and I will scribble them down as fast as I can.
This is so, like, Gaius Baltar. I mean, this is really pushing the character and who he is and what he's about and his strange surrealistic experience one step further into the reality and the fantasy of it all. And which is real? Which is real to him, and which is objectively real?
Standards and Practices has this odd thing about people climaxing. There's a note I got back, "She can't climax. She can't come. Number Six cannot climax." I was like, "What? Why?" Ellen climaxed in the premiere and they were like, "Oh, she did? Oh my God!" And they were all freaked out. And then they just let it go, 'cause I guess we had done it on the show, but it was- it's strange the things that the Standards and Practices feels are across the line and not. It's like people can have sex, but they can't really enjoy it. Or they can't bring it to a conclusion. They can have implied sex, implied nudity, but can't really- you dance and skate around a lot of these issues as you deal with television.
This scene was tricky. There was a version of this scene that they shot where Helo walked in and she was faking it a little bit. She was still like- her head was hanging down and she was upset and crying and then Helo and "Oh my God!" and she said, "I'm fine! I'm fine!" and jumped up and grabbed him and was very happy. And it was an interesting take on it. But it just didn't work because you came to this moment, you just came out of the torture scene, and then you're right with Sharon and she's still unhappy and upset and you're like, "Oh my God. And she's dying too." And before you can even think, "But wait a minute, she's out of sickbay, so she can't really be dying." Then she pulls the surp- "Ha ha! I was just kidding," and she kisses him. And you felt more pissed off than enjoyed it. I love the fact that she's just going right at him. She's like pulling his pants down and gonna blow him or something in their quarters. And that takes us to the "Wait a minute, there's something ugly going on here that you need to understand."
I regret the fact that we never followed up on an idea that I posited. There was a draft in episode- I think it was in "Collaborators", when everyone was still settling into their old jobs, and there was a scene that got cut between Helo and Dualla in CIC where there- everyone was talking about where their quarters were gonna be and there was all these civilians on board and where were everybody living, and Helo said something about, "We're moving into Sharon's old cell." And Dualla's like, "Really? You're kidding me." He was like, "No, no. It's gonna be cool." And they were living in her cell. They made it her- their home, and I regret we never did that.
This scene I like a lot. There's- so often my favorite scenes in the show are the one on one scenes between Adama and Laura as they wrestle with some fundamental question of morality or ethics. It really plays to both their strengths. The actors really commit and they find textures and moments and really intriguing bits of business in between. I always love the- it just seems like this is the show at its best, when they really, these two people really wrestle with a dilemma.
I'm sorry. I'm watching this again, myself. 'Cause I haven't seen it in a little while.
This, I thought was a notion. An interesting notion. That Sharon was not gonna be the one that would stop this plan. That Sharon took the oath seriously. And this to me is a character defining beat for her. To me, this Sharon has now turned a certain corner. She has raised her hand and sworn an oath to Galactica. She's going to obey the orders. She's not going to go against them. She's not gonna mutiny. And if it costs her her entire race, she's not gonna break her word. 'Cause she's gonna prove she's a person. And that's how she proves it in her mind. And on some level that makes her even better than a human being. I thought that's a really interesting approach for her to take. I mean, you can certainly argue with the ethics of it, or the morality of it, or the logic of it on some level. But I thought it was a really interesting statement to make on her behalf and on behalf of the character and I felt that once you do that- we can't take that back. I don't think Sharon can ever go off again. That that Sharon can never turn on Adama. She will never break the oath. She has committed herself fully to the point that she was willing to sacrifice her entire race. Her child, potentially her child. Everything in her world. Because she had- she was a person and she was not gonna dishonor that.
That scene- that. I'll come back to this in just a moment at top of the next act.
I'm at top of four. My favorite line in that scene with Laura and Adama is that when Adama says, "It'll be a stain- if we can do this it'll- if we do this, if we commit genocide, it'll be a stain on our shield." That line is actually taken from an interview that the director John Ford did years ago. He was talking about his westerns. He was being interviewed about the west, and the real west versus the fictional west, and some of the things he was doing his movies like The Searchers. And he talked about the treatment of the American Indian and the fact that the way the American Indian had been treated in this country and killed, and hunted and pursued, and the horrible story of what happened to the native peoples in America. And he said, "The treatment of the American Indians is a stain on our shield." And that was a really evocative phrase that really summed up, I thought, in a way, where we are with that story in our history. It's a- we have this shield. The symbolism of a shield and the warrior ethic and a bright shining shield and armor and there's a beauty to that idea, and there being a stain on it. A stain on your shield, as something that you couldn't wipe away and something that you always carried with you that meant that the picture was less than perfect. That you had done something wrong. And I really thought that was great and I've never forgotten it. And I thought that was a really telling insight on behalf of that director, and it shows in his movies in terms, especially in his later films. How he felt that very keenly, very strongly. And I thought that that again ecapsulated the idea here. That if they committed this act, if they committed genocide against the Cylons, it would be a stain on their shield as well. But nonetheless Laura was gonna push through that. Laura would do it. 'Cause the survival of the human race is her upper- is uppermost in her mind and Adama, despite his moral quandaries, knew that it wasn't his decision. It wasn't a military decision. It was truly a political decision, and he was gonna bow to that. And he would carry it out even though he had deep, fundamental, ethical misgivings.
There was a version of this where Sharon, early in the story plotting or first drafts, that Sharon was the one who went in and somehow got into the Cylon prisoners and shot them all in the head, and secretly did it. But, again, I felt in subsequent drafts that it was wrong for Sharon to do that. I wanted Sharon to not be the one to take that action and betray the uniform that she so recently put on, and I gave it to Helo. There was a scene that was cut where Helo, in the ready room. Adama was briefing the pilots and telling them exactly what the plan was and why they were doing what they were doing, and Helo was standing there and he opted out at that point. He said, "Permission to be relieved, sir?" Adama relieved him as XO and he walked out of the room. And that's why Helo is not in the CIC sequences and why nobody's looking for him. In the cut I didn't feel like the scene played particularly well. I also thought in some ways it gave away what was gonna happen and I didn't want to give it away. So I cut the scene and now it's just- there's a slight discontinuity. Like, ok, they're all in CIC. Doesn't Adama notice that Helo's not there? And yeah. That's true. That's a legitimate criticism. But I think you also, in the drama of the show I think you're moving past it.
The whole fight with these guys kep- was always problematic. Like I said earlier, there was- the idea was they were going to push the beacon out at this point and the beacon was gonna scare away the Cylons, but it just didn't work conceptually. It was like, "What? The Cylons running away 'cause they see the beacon? What? Why?" And so it just didn't work. It was one of those things we put on the page and then we watched it on screen and go, "Well, that's stupid. That doesn't make sense. How can we get away from that?" So we just opted to just get the hell out of this battle as quickly as you can. Just move it, just bring the fighters home, jump the fuck out of here and wrap up the show and get on. 'Cause it's not about the battle. It's not about how they get out of the battle. It's about the fact that they almost did this horrible thing, and barely got away with it.
And I like the ending here that they all know that He- these two were expecting Helo to get taken away and then next scene implies very strongly that Adama has a pretty good suspicion. But that Adama knows in his heart that what they were doing was wrong, or at least in his opinion it was wrong, and he's not gonna go after Helo for it. And they opt to let this one go. That as Adama says in the next scene, "All I know is that we didn't commit genocide today. And that's a good day." And that they weren't gonna follow up on it. I think we had scripted lines for Laura to be going af- wanting to find out who tha- who did that, and she had a pretty good idea who it was and she wanted them punished, and so on. But it just seemed harsh and unnecessary and the show has brought you along so that you understand Helo's motives and what's going on, and I don't think you wanna see him thrown in the brig. And I don't think you wanna see them chasing after him. And we never really were interested in doing that. It's a much more complicated idea in a complicated show to keep it like this.
Again, a nice little button here with Laura and Adama at the end and what they're gonna do, and what they did, and the morality of it all.
It's an interesting episode. I like this episode. It's in some ways- it's hard to think of this episode without the previous one, as most two-parters are. They're one story and it's interesting that now when I watch this episode I feel like in some level that it takes something away from the first one. That on some level Baltar's journey inside the baseship on the first episode is less significant and less harrowing because it's really- that whole sequence is really just a setup to get you to this point. So on some level the second episode in some weird way makes the first episode slightly less satisfying, which is a bizarre reality for me. But that is how I feel about it. I always- whenever I watch this episode, and I- again, I haven't watched it in a while. But when I do watch this episode I always feel a little let down about my feelings about the first episode. That somehow it's not quite as, not quite as satisfying anymore.
What do they say here?
I'm turning it up (unintelligible). Oh, the virus. Right. Beacon- I mean, it's not the biggest revelation in the show. 'Cause I think you get that all the way along. The beacon must have been left behind by the Thirteenth Tribe. What is important is that the Cylons are going for Earth too and that the humans now it, and now it's a race. This would- the idea of it being a race was something we talked about in the beginning of the season. That eventually the Cylons were gonna go for Earth too, and that now it's a race. In fact, it was an idea that we almost put into the end of the season finale for season two, that it was a race for Earth. But subsequently we changed that whole storyline and it went very differently.
Ok. Well that's the podcast for "A Measure of Salvation". I hope you enjoyed it. I'm rushing because I've gotta get this to FedEx as quickly as possible. Hopefully I make it. Hopefully you get this on Friday. If not, it was just because I missed the cutoff. I will talk to you next week for episode seven, "Hero". Good night, and good luck.