Sine Qua Non

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Sine Qua Non
"Sine Qua Non"
An episode of the Re-imagined Series
Episode No. Season 4, Episode 8 (discuss, thread)
Writer(s) Michael Taylor
Story by
Director Rod Hardy
Assistant Director Michael Shandley[1]
Special guest(s)
Production No. 410
Nielsen Rating 1.3
US airdate USA 30 May 2008
CAN airdate CAN 30 May 2008
UK airdate UK 27 May 2008
DVD release USA 6 January 2009
Population 39,674 survivors (Symbol Up Arrow.svg 1)
Extended Info {{{extra}}}
Episode Chronology
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Guess What's Coming to Dinner? Sine Qua Non The Hub
Related Information
Official Summary
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Listing of props for this episode
Satirical view of this episode on WikiFrakr
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Watch this episode's promo (on-wiki)
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iTunes: USA | Canada | UK


President Laura Roslin's disappearance with the Cylon basestar triggers a bitter power struggle within the Fleet. The Quorum has little information and demands to know what happened, while Tom Zarek insists that he is to be declared interim president. Lee Adama opposes him and enlists the help of notorious lawyer Romo Lampkin to find a candidate for the post, leading to a surprising decision. Meanwhile, Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh come to blows over Tigh's relationship with Caprica-Six and Adama's obsession with finding Roslin.



  • With President Laura Roslin missing, a meeting is held by the Quorum of Twelve. Vice President Tom Zarek, who informs them that the rebel basestar jumped with Roslin and Gaius Baltar—and many of Galactica's pilots—also notes that Natalie was shot by "one of Galactica's Marines"; he fuels the assumption that the basestar's sudden jump and abduction is related to Natalie's death. Zarek tells the delegates that with Roslin missing, he is to be sworn in as interim President.
  • Upon hearing the news, Lee Adama contacts his father, who doesn't take it well.
  • Natalie, who has just been shot by Sharon Agathon, is taken to the infirmary. She starts to project that she is in a forest on a sunny day. In real life, she only focuses on the faces of those who are taking her to the infirmary.
  • Dr. Cottle immediately starts to operate on her. When she tries to make physical contact, likely sensing that she is about to die, Cottle takes her hand. However, just as they operate, her image of the forest brightens to a bright flash. The second this happens, her heart monitor flatlines, and Cottle announces her death.
  • Admiral Adama sees Sharon Agathon and is angered by her decision to kill an unarmed woman, even if she was a Cylon. Agathon starts to explain her dream about a Six taking away her child at the Opera House. Eventually, Adama orders a guard to take her away to the brig and refuses her access to her daughter.
  • When the topic of Adama's support of a Tom Zarek administration is raised, Jacob Cantrell pointedly asks Lee Adama whether Admiral Adama would support Zarek or the government. Delegate Adama replies in the negative, raising ire and outrage.

Act 1

Romo Lampkin and Lee Adama haggle over the price of searching for an interim president.
  • When Admiral Adama returns to the CIC, he hears that the Resurrection Hub has disappeared from its last known location, further the rebel baseship is not there either. Adama tells Saul Tigh to continue looking for the hub, since that's the only place the rebels can head given their objective: to unbox D'Anna.
  • Tigh reports that Thrace (apparently CAG, given her seniority) is having problems assembling a sufficient CAP to protect the Fleet, as half the air wing's Vipers were transfered to the basestar. As a result, Adama agrees with Thrace's recommendation (told via Tigh) of having the ships tighten their formation for easier defense, despite the inherent hazards posed by inexperienced civilian pilots.
  • President Zarek and Lee Adama have a meeting, where Lee recommends that Zarek step down as president. Despite Zarek's vocal disbelief over this—correctly noting that he is the only public official in the executive branch to have been voted into office legally, a claim Laura Roslin is unable to make—Lee suggests enacting a Quorum provision that allows the Quorum to pick an interim president during a time of crisis to serve out the remainder of Roslin's term. Zarek reluctantly concedes after Lee points out that Admiral Adama will never recognize Zarek, and they need someone who Adama will recognize. Zarek gruffly wishes Lee luck in his search for an interim president.
  • In a Talk Wireless interview conducted by James McManus[2], Zarek indicates that the government post-Fall is not a true government, but a "tacit agreement between a military strong-man [Adama] and a political strong-woman [Roslin] to rule by fiat." Zarek also notes the creation of a civilian force to maintain order, noting that the government should not rely on the Marines due to the last political upheaval.
  • Lee Adama visits Romo Lampkin, asking for Lampkin's help in searching for potential presidential candidates. Despite his initial refusals, Lampkin accepts to work pro bono in search of a replacement with the right skills and abilities that meets with the approval of both the Quorum (who won't act, since Zarek has them "inhaling fear and exhaling anger") and Admiral Adama. Lampkin offers one more piece of advice, telling him that it's better to accept what they already have.

Act 2

Eammon Pike's body floating in the damaged Raptor.
  • In CIC, Admiral Adama, noting that he has a rapport with Caprica-Six, asks Colonel Tigh to interrogate her about the Resurrection Hub. Before he leaves, he tells Adama that they'll find Roslin and the missing humans.
  • In the brig, Tigh questions Six about the Hub. After telling him what she knows about the Hub, Tigh believes that she's lying; she assures him that she'd never lie to him. Tigh slips, telling her that the rebels took off with half an air wing and Roslin. Six ferrets out the fact that Admiral Adama's primary concern is for Roslin. Six, who then appears to Tigh in the form of his dead wife, asks if Tigh loves her. Before he can answer, Condition One is called. He grabs her neck and tells her that her mind games with him end at that moment, and he leaves.
  • Tigh reports to CIC, learning that one of their missing Raptors from the rebel baseship has jumped to the Fleet. A Raptor crewed by Margaret "Racetrack" Edmondson and Hamish "Skulls" McCall are en route to intercept the craft, which has not returned hails and does not appear to be emanating anything radiological. Edmondson performs a spacewalk, discovering that the Raptor was jumped by its lone, now-dead occupant, Eammon "Gonzo" Pike, whose body floats in the back compartment.
  • After retrieving the Raptor, Adama investigates the Raptor himself, discovering the copy of Searider Falcon he gave to Roslin in burnt condition, identifying it as the craft she took over to baseship before it jumped. Tigh joins him, noting that Laird retrieved the coordinates that the Raptor jumped from. Adama orders a search to that location, ignoring Zarek's request for a briefing.
  • In the Quorum meeting room on Colonial One, Lampkin discusses how one achieves and wields power with Lee Adama. During this conversation, Lampkin and Lee see Galactica jump away. Lee is concerned over the abruptness of Galactica's departure.
  • A Raptor reconnaissance party comes across a debris field, consisting of Cylon debris and damaged Vipers. Tigh informs Adama that the debris consist of a Cylon baseship and fragments indicative of resurrection technology, and notes that they detected radiation from nuclear weapons. Adama refuses to believe that the destroyed baseship was the rebels', insisting that Roslin has survived. Adama presses on with the search, until Tigh points out that the Fleet is left behind with "their asses hanging out in the wind." Adama thus revises his orders to include only four Raptors to stay behind to search until they "find something concrete."
  • Galactica jumps back to the Fleet. Zarek notifies the Quorum of Adama's decision to reroute all tylium supplies to fueling the search efforts, along with requisitioning several civilian ships to aid in this endeavor. The delegates are furious over being bypassed.
  • Back in Lampkin's "room with a view," Adama and Lampkin go over the list of candidates, among them Doyle Franks who has no aspirations for political office, however. As they brainstorm, Adama nearly trips over an overturned bowl, resulting in his quip of "do you ever feed that animal?" and inquires about the cat's whereabouts. From Lampkin's perspective, he sees Lance run around a swivel chair. Lampkin later begins to throw in the towel, erasing the names on the whiteboard, much to Adama's consternation.
  • In sickbay, Admiral Adama consults Doctor Cottle about how Roslin's sudden disappearance will affect her Doloxan treatments. Cottle stresses that, with her weakened immune system and her cancer's ability to regroup, the sooner she's found, the better. He also provides Adama with a medical report on Caprica-Six: she's pregnant.
  • In Adama's quarters, Tigh reports to Adama about the Raptors lack of success in finding anything about the whereabouts of their missing people. Adama replies that he's not interested in the search, confronting Tigh about impregnating the Six and putting the Fleet at risk over his weaknesses. After Tigh broaches the topic of Adama's reckless search for Roslin, Adama brings up the question of what Ellen Tigh would say about Tigh impregnating a Cylon, which resorts in a brawl. After Tigh's fall cracks the model ship, the fight stops and they both ask each other what they'll do about their feelings for their respective women.
  • In the brig, an upset and alone Sharon Agathon hums a lullaby to herself.
  • Adama orders Kara Thrace to continue the search with additional Raptors. Thrace objects to this, citing a decreased CAP, but her objections are overruled.
  • As Adama watches the goings-on in a part of the hangar deck, Lampkin joins him with writs of forfeiture for him to sign; the captains of the ships Adama's borrowing do not want to be held liable for any wrongdoing that may occur in the rescue operation. As Adama signs the papers, he and Lampkin converse about people giving up hope when it is most needed, and while "on a roll," he adds that Zarek is not the worst choice for president. Adama brushes him off thereafter.
  • In his quarters, Lampkin changes the search to find someone who best suits an ideal candidate and, after hissing like a cat, settles on Lee Adama. He leaves with Lance's bag, and meets up with Lee Adama. Lampkin informs Adama that the Quorum has selected him to be the interim president, much to Adama's bemusement; Lampkin points out that Adama always wanted the position, which is why he had to cross out 47 candidates to prove it. Lampkin claims that Adama's the perfect choice for president, and, after pulling out a pistol, notes that he'll never get the chance to serve.

Act 3

Lampkin holds Lee Adama at gunpoint.
  • Adama faces down the gun-wielding Lampkin, who explains that Adama's the perfect candidate for president and thus should die. However, Lampkin says that hope is the last thing they need; he says that humanity is a doomed race and should accept its fate. Lampkin kicks over the duffel bag, which has Lampkin's rationale for his actions. Adama opens it, discovering Lance, who had been dead for weeks. Lampkin explains that "those debased dregs of humanity" killed Lance, and are looking for a place to "roost and rot again." Lampkin explains that the cat is immaterial, but it is the last physical connection he had with his wife. Adama assures Lampkin that everyone that survived had to make difficult choices: there was nothing he could have done for his wife and two daughters (Jennifer and Kate), noting that only a handful of people elected to stay behind on Gemenon who were on Lampkin's shuttle during the attack.
  • Adama talks down Lampkin in a speech about having to make choices about their own survival at the cost of other people's lives, urging him to put the past behind him and move on. Adama believes that he can make a difference in the Fleet; Lampkin asks him if that's his final word, then asks him to swear by it.
  • Leland Joseph Adama is sworn in as interim president in a ceremony on Colonial One, attended by Admiral Adama, Tory Foster, and Tom Zarek, in addition to the press corps. Lampkin listens to the ceremony on the wireless in his quarters.
  • Admiral Adama informs Colonel Tigh that he's stepping down as military leader of the Fleet, promoting Tigh to admiral, as Tigh's the only person he can trust to command Galactica. Tigh scoffs this, reminding Adama of the last time he commanded the Fleet; Adama notes that Tigh is a different man who found out a lot about himself since that time. Adama tells Tigh to bring the people to Earth. As his last order, Adama tells Tigh to give custody of Hera to the in-hack Sharon Agathon, expressing a need for everyone to have a family.

Act 4

William Adama watches the Fleet jump away.
  • On Colonial One, President Adama makes notes on a press release relating to an information and technical services upgrade, which he gives to Tory Foster to correct. Romo Lampkin arrives, comically commenting that Adama already has a first pet. Lampkin is told of Jake's exploits on New Caprica and Adama gives the dog to Lampkin—who hates dogs more than cats—as a "new pet to loathe."
  • President Adama visits his father, who is packing things in his quarters. The admiral doesn't agree with Lee's thinking on retaining Tom Zarek as vice president; Lee replies that he doesn't agree with his father's thinking on his one-man mission to find Laura Roslin. William Adama recalls a "good memory" of one of his first missions in enemy space during the Cylon War, then, when pressed, admits that the reason he undertakes his current mission is because he cannot live without Roslin. He has faith that Roslin will get to the rendezvous point.
  • A suited William Adama makes it to his Raptor in the hangar deck; he is seen off by his son and Kara Thrace, the latter exchanging a well-worn, friendly exchange before he boards the Raptor. Adama asks for them to keep the light on for him, to which they reply in the affirmative.
  • Per Adama's final order, Hera is reunited with her mother in the brig; Agathon hums a lullaby to her daughter.
  • William Adama launches from Galactica as Admiral Tigh orders the Fleet to jump. After Adama watches all the ships jump away, he sits in his Raptor and reads the singed copy of Searider Falcon as he awaits Roslin's return.


  • Sine qua non is a Latin phrase meaning "without which not"; usually appended to mean "without which it could not be." It is famously used by Andrew Jackson, who says the following after receiving an honorary degree from Harvard: "E pluribus unum, my friends. Sine qua non."
  • While being taken to surgery, Natalie whispers the Prayer to the Cloud of Unknowing. This is the second instance of the prayer being used since its introduction in "A Measure of Salvation".
  • The pistol Lampkin uses to threaten Adama is a Stallion. The model previously appeared prominently in "Home, Part II". Such multi-barreled pistols are commonly known as pepper-box.
  • The episode features the first explicit mention of artificial gravity in dialogue.
  • The book Searider Falcon makes another appearance. Adama finds it in the derelict Raptor, somewhat singed.
  • The lullaby Sharon Agathon hums to Hera is the same one hummed by Sharon Valerii to a captured Raider in "Flesh and Bone". It is a traditional Korean children's song.
    • Previously, Grace Park took part in a videotaped Q&A on, answering questions submitted by members of the forum. One question, by user Noneofyourbusiness, was whether the lullaby from "Six Degrees of Separation" would reappear. Grace responded that it was a good idea for Athena to sing it to her child, and "I think I'll use that".
  • The infamous number, 47, appears in this episode as well: Romo Lampkin tells Lee Adama that they went through 47 candidates for interim president when confronting him on Colonial One.
  • Although Tom Zarek rails against the government of the "past five years," it has only been about three and a half years since Laura Roslin and William Adama have risen to power.
  • James McManus, a high ranking journalist, is talking to Tom Zarek during the wireless interview, given that Zarek calls the interviewer "Jim" and the fact that McManus is referred to by name in the script.
  • William Adama's comment about how often he had to repair his model ship is a reference to the end of "Maelstrom", as well as a possible inside-joke about the fact that Edward James Olmos smashed the very expensive prop in an ad-lib during the shooting of that episode.
  • In the scene where Kara Thrace complains to Admiral Adama about their continuing to search for Roslin and the rebel Cylon baseship, Thrace mentions that she is missing two pilots. However, no such events occurred earlier during the discovery of the battle site at the Resurrection Hub. Judging from Adama's order to continue the search at a pilot's last known location, they appear to be referring to another recon patrol that isn't shown on screen, but is now overdue. It is possible that a scene explaining this further was filmed but cut.
  • William Adama, after having temporarily stepped down as commander of Galactica, and having donned a raptor pilot's uniform, is heard to identify himself by his old callsign, "Husker".



  • Most civilians appear to have assumed that the basestar's disappearance was a deliberate act of kidnapping, possibly in retaliation for Natalie's shooting.
  • The apparition of a loved one dredged up by a survivor—this time Lance, the only remaining physical connection to Romo Lampkin's wife, Faye—is reminiscent of not only Adama's apparition of his ex-wife in "A Day in the Life", but of Saul Tigh's apparition of Ellen Tigh during the fourth season, in which they cling to some memory of their wives.
  • Despite the fact that Galactica has left the Fleet before to engage combat, this episode marks the first time that the civilian Fleet is intentionally left without any defense. The only other time the Fleet was left without military aid was after Boomer's assassination attempt of William Adama, when Galactica accidentally jumped to different coordinates than the rest of the Fleet (Scattered). The fleet was also left without support when Galactica tried to eliminate the Cylons through biological warfare not long after the Pegasus was destroyed and the fleet rescued from New Caprica.
  • It is possible to estimate the size of Galactica's Viper air wing for the first time since she absorbed Pegasus's Vipers. Dialogue from the previous episode and this one states that 40 Vipers and pilots are stationed aboard the rebels' basestar - mentioned as half the air wing. This puts the air wing at roughly 80 Vipers. This tallies well with Galactica's known Viper complement at the time of discovering Pegasus (around thirty-four), plus the larger Viper loadout that the more advanced battlestar enjoyed, taking into account casualties due to combat or wear and tear since.
  • Given that the Galactica air wing consists of only 50 or so more planes than she originally possessed before encountering Pegasus, it seems unlikely the potential two squadrons of new Vipers promised in the episode "Scar" fully materialized, otherwise it could be expected that there are substantially more Vipers seen or mentioned by this point.
  • Despite having roughly as many Vipers as before Pegasus joined the Fleet, Kara Thrace maintains that there are not enough to maintain CAP duties. This implies that Galactica's optimum Combat Air Patrols need a larger number of Vipers than has been shown on screen before, or that there is currently a pilot shortage with the air wing split in two.


  • William Adama's actions in the search for Laura Roslin, namely the unreasonable allocation of resources and putting the Fleet at unnecessary risk, are precisely the same actions he executed when searching for Kara Thrace in "You Can't Go Home Again". Similarly, it is Colonel Tigh who helps bring the end to Adama's irrational actions, this time without Roslin's help and more violently.
  • Admiral Adama's resignation seems unnecessary, given that once he leaves the fleet and Galactica the ship will automatically default to Saul Tigh's command, as he is the next highest ranking officer. Promoting Tigh to admiral makes no sense militarily unless Adama intends it merely as a symbolic gesture or an implication that he will not return without Roslin.
  • Adama's belief in the importance of civil liberties does not, however, prevent him from effectively subverting the democratic process of succession by refusing to recognize Tom Zarek's authority despite the fact that Roslin approved his assumption of that role. In what is perhaps a sign of how powerless they really are without the military, the Quorum choose an acceptable interim president instead of insisting that Zarek assume the presidential seat. Significantly the former rebelliousness in the fleet that once broke out following Adama's arrest of Roslin (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II) does not seem to occur in response to this demonstration of military overrule of the president's authority.
  • Odd as it seems, Romo Lampkin's erratic behavior towards Lee Adama is not wholly uncontrolled. Throughout the encounter, Lampkin forces Adama to defend his willingness to make tough decisions, his courage, and his optimism. He uses his personal tragedies to full effect, confronting Adama with the dead cat just as he used the memory of his love for Faye to manipulate Caprica-Six. He tacitly admits his plan towards the end, in his response to Adama's determination to make a positive difference: "Is that your last word?....Then swear it." While there is still a streak of craziness in Lampkin's actions that goes beyond his usual eccentricities, this behavior is in line with his previous manipulations of people (e.g., through his kleptomania), including Lee Adama.
  • Tigh mentions that Peter Laird—the former Pegasus deck chief—retrieved the navigational data from Pike's Raptor, indicating that Laird replaced Galen Tyrol after his demotion in "Escape Velocity." This is later proven true, up until "The Oath."


  • The child of Caprica Six and Tigh will be the first full-Cylon child, should it come to full term.
  • Of note is the fact that Caprica Six is currently being held prisoner in the same room that once held the (then pregnant) captive Sharon Agathon—the same room that Virtual Six once told Baltar would be the birthplace of "our child." It could be implied that Virtual Six was referring not to Agathons's child, but to the child that has resulted from the relations between Caprica Six and Saul Tigh, as the child would most likely be born in this same room. One could surmise that Virtual Six and Caprica Six are more closely related than once thought, and that Virtual Six could somehow see her physical counterpart's future, or that the child of Six and Tigh is part of the prophecy that intrinsically ties the fates of Human and Cylon races.
  • The ability of Tigh to impregnate Six perhaps indicates a fundamental difference between the Final Five and Significant Seven, as Significant Seven Cylons have been thus far unable to conceive with one another. That Tigh often sees Caprica Six not as herself but as his deceased wife could very well be a determinative factor. If this proves to be the case, then the conclusion is that Tigh learned how to love, as required for reproduction according to the Cylons' theory regarding their biological reproductive limitations ("Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II", "The Farm"), from his marriage to a human being.


Answered Questions

  • What exactly happened to the rebel baseship and the Resurrection Hub? Did the rebels and Colonials escape if their baseship was destroyed? (Answer)
  • How will the Fleet react to an Adama as President?
  • Will Caprica-Six's child remain a secret? (Answer)
    • Is she aware of her pregnancy? (Answer)
    • Will she be allowed or able to give birth to what would be the first fully Cylon child? (Answer)
    • If so, what will happen to the child? Will Tigh take on fatherly responsibilities? (Answer)
    • How will Gaius Baltar react to Caprica-Six and Saul Tigh's child? (Answer)
    • How will the other Cylons react? (Answer)
  • Will Zarek attempt to undermine or manipulate President Adama? (Answer)
  • Will Adama manage to find Roslin by waiting out in deep space? (Answer)
  • Has Kara Thrace been re-accepted by her comrades? (Answer, Answer #2)

Unanswered Questions

  • Is there any significance to Natalie's dying visions? If so, what?
  • Could two members of the Final Five (unlike the Significant Seven) procreate with each other?
  • How will the Quorum and the Fleet respond to Tigh being left in charge of Galactica and the military?
  • Did someone really kill Lance, or did the cat die of natural causes or possibly neglect?
  • Why does no one notice the awful smell of a dead cat?
  • Were the damaged Vipers from Sector Delta 9 retrieved for salvage?

Official Statements

I was in the editing room, watching one of our talented editors assemble a rough cut of a single scene. Not a huge scene, just a relatively brief but quietly powerful scene between Adama and Tigh (you’ll see it in Episode 8, “Sine Qua Non”). What struck me is that while the dialogue was relatively simple, these two actors brought so much to it that the smallest looks and gestures carried immense weight. It made me realize anew how, after four seasons, these characters have accumulated so much history and nuance. As embodied by actors like Edward J. Olmos and Michael Hogan, they are wrenchingly human. Less characters than people I have now spent years with, and who still surprise me.[3]

Noteworthy Dialogue

William Adama: I know that you've been spending a lotta time interrogating the Six, but now the brig guards tell me that every time you order them out, you turn off the cameras.
Saul Tigh: I'm not torturing her, if that's what you're worried about.
Adama: I'm not. That I could almost understand. This I can't. Cottle tells me she's pregnant. What the frak have you been thinking, colonel? Do you deny it...? You don't... You can't. What the hell have you been thinking? Who's interrogating whom? How many of our secrets have you told this thing?
Tigh: How can you even ask me that? Question my loyalty?
Adama: Your loyalty? I need more than your loyalty. You're my first officer, I need judgment. I need your competence. You're jeopardizing this ship, putting it at risk because of your weaknesses.
Tigh: My weaknesses?
Adama: Yeah, your weaknesses!
Tigh: You're risking all our lives—for what? Our missing pilots? No, for a woman! A frakking woman!
Adama: You watch what you frakkin' say about that woman! She's the president! Not some frakkin' skinjob that I've been banging! What do you think Ellen would say about this?
Tigh: Leave Ellen out of this.
Adama: What do you think Ellen would say about her husband impregnating a frakkin' Cylon prisoner?
Tigh: You motherfrakker! (violence ensues)
Adama: You murdered an unarmed woman, and by doing so you put the lives of every single person in this fleet at risk; and quite possibly cost the lives of the president and your husband. You disobeyed the direct orders of your superior officers, but more importantly, you betrayed a promise to me. I trusted you.
Agathon: Sir, I will accept any form of punishment that you think I deserve. I just ask that you please don't take away Hera.
Adama: I'm afraid the brig is no place for a little girl. Guards! Get her out of my sight!
"Lampkin's First Rule of Legal Dynamics: When an irresistible force meets a movable object, stand aside and wait for the class action suit."
  • More Lampkin:
Lampkin: So you can't be dissuaded, will you? Not even when you hear my fee?
Lee Adama: Fee?
Lampkin: Appearances to the contrary, I'm actually in this for the money. I have a reputation to maintain after all.
Adama: OK, so what did Roslin offer you to defend Baltar?
Lampkin: (pointing at a small window in the bulkhead) Room with a view.
Adama: I'm not sure I can improve on that.
Lampkin: Then pro bono it is, counselor. Word to the wise: sometimes it's better to settle for what you've already got.
  • Lampkin about political power and Lee Adama:
Lampkin: Quandary is, one doesn't generally get the chance to wield political power without the ambition to actively seek it. That same ambition often compromises the unselfish motives that began the quest. In other words, in a battle of id versus ego, that ego rarely wins.
Adama: Roslin never sought power.
Lampkin: Exception that proves the rule. One could argue that Laura Roslin is a study in repressed ambition, just like you, Mr. Adama. Never seeking out a job until it's handed to you. Flight leader, battlestar commander, Quorum delegate. Man doesn't carve out a path like that through life without...
Adama: Alright, enough of the psychoanalysis. Let's get back to the job at hand.
  • Lampkin and Admiral Adama on the hangar deck, watching the deck crew and pilots at work:
Lampkin: Writs of forfeiture for the ships you're borrowing. The captains want to be absolved of any blame should anything untoward happen. One of the less ennobling consequences of a legal culture: No one wants responsibility. (hands him a pen to sign) Lee said you once gave him something before a mission. A lighter, wasn't it?
Adama It belonged to my father. Foolish to think a hunk of metal can keep him safe.
Lampkin: And yet, that's what we do, isn't it? Hang on to hope in every hopelessly irrational way that we can. (watches the crew wishing each other luck) But not like those poor bastards. Giving away their luck just when they need it most. It's like they've given up.
Adama: If you've never been in combat, you have no idea what they're thinking.
Lampkin: I've always imagined you were a realist, Admiral, not one to indulge a vain hope at the cost of lives. But then, everyone has his limits. "Sine qua non," as they say.
Adama: Without which not.
Lampkin: Yes. Those things we deem essential, without which we cannot bear living. Without which life in general loses its specific value, becomes abstract.
Adama: You may have a point, counselor.
Lampkin: And while I'm on a roll: Tom Zarek may not be an ideal president, but we could do worse.
Adama: You're right. There are limits to my realism. Goodbye counselor.
  • Lampkin confronts Lee Adama after naming him the candidate for interim president:
Lampkin: Savor your victory Mr. Adama, because you'll never get the chance to serve (pulls out a gun and points it at Adama).
Adama: What are you doing?
Lampkin: Why? Because you're perfect for the job of course. Because after the vicious separation that was Baltar's presidency and the bitter disappointment that was Roslin's, you are a shining beacon of hope. Only hope is the last thing we need. We're a doomed race. It's time that we made our peace with that essential truth.
Adama: Romo, what the hell are you talking...?
Lampkin: Why? You want to know why? (drops his duffel bag and kicks it over to Adama) Open it!
Adama: (Adama does so and finds Lance's corpse inside) Eww. Frak.
Lampkin: That's right. They killed my cat!
Adama: They?
Lampkin: They! Those debased dregs of humanity out there! Lost tribe in search of a new home, so they can roost and rot again!
Adama: How long has the cat been dead?
Lampkin: "How long?" It's irrelevant! It's immaterial! It wasn't even my cat!
Adama: Romo, it's been dead for weeks.
Lampkin: It belonged to my wife. I just retrieved him from a vet on Gemenon when the bombs started to fall and fate presented me with a choice. I could get back on that shuttle, or...I could run home, try to save my family. How do you think I chose?
Adama: Romo, we all had to make difficult choices. You don't think I know? Your wife's name was Faye. You had two daughters. Jennifer and Kate. There were over two hundred passengers on that shuttle! Only a handful chose to stay behind. (Lampkin stares at him questioning) Yeah, that's right. It was in your file when you were handed the job as Baltar's counsel. And no one blamed you Romo, because at a certain point, we all made decisions that saved our lives at the cost of others. You think you're unique, Romo? Think your sins are so special?
Lampkin: Is that how it goes? You're gonna rest your entire case on that pathetic little bit of insight?
Adama: No. On this: the clean slate, the fresh start, maybe they are illusions like you said. But at a certain point, faith in ourselves, in our right to survive as a species, as a's not a given, it's a choice. Well, I made mine. And if you can't stomach that, then you had damn well better squeeze that trigger right now. Go on. What are you waiting for? Or you can make a choice. Put your past behind you. Put the gun down, and help me, because I'm telling you, I'm gonna make a difference in this fleet.
Lampkin: Is that your final word?
Adama: That's up to you.
Lampkin: Then swear it. (the next scene shows Adama being sworn in as president)

Guest Stars

External Link


  1. See: Sources: Sine Qua Non
  2. The assumption is that the "Jim" Tom Zarek is speaking to is McManus, given his coverage of government affairs.
  3. Ryan, Maureen (16 November 2007). Answers to your 'Razor' questions and clues about 'Battlestar Galactica's' final season (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 16 November 2007.

Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined) Season 4 (2008-09) Episode List

DVD Movies and Features: Razor | The Plan

Webisodes: Razor Flashbacks | The Face of the Enemy

< Previous Season Episode | He That Believeth In Me | Six of One | The Ties That Bind | Escape Velocity | The Road Less Traveled | Faith | Guess What's Coming to Dinner? | Sine Qua Non | The Hub | Revelations | Sometimes a Great Notion | A Disquiet Follows My Soul | The Oath | Blood on the Scales | No Exit | Deadlock | Someone to Watch Over Me | Islanded in a Stream of Stars | Daybreak, Part I | Daybreak, Part II

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