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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Act of Contrition

Battlestar Galactica

"Act of Contrition"

TV episode

Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle

Directed by Rod Hardy

Original air date: January 28, 2005


When Starbuck is assigned duty training new viper pilots, her guilt over the death of Zak resurfaces.


Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki


Notes from the BSG chronology


This episode takes place two days after the events of "Bastille Day".


Didja Know?


The character of Hot Dog is played by Bodie Olmos, the son of Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama). 


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story




Flat Top (dies in this episode)

Commander Adama

Chief Tyrol

Sergeant Hadrian


Zak Adama (in flashbacks only; deceased)

Carolanne Adama (in flashback only; presumed deceased)


Lt. Gaeta




Dr. Cottle

President Roslin

Hot Dog



Colonel Tigh

Scar (?)



Didja Notice?


In this episode, Flat Top's name is announced over the P.A. system on the hangar deck as Dwight Saunders. In the previous episode, "Bastille Day", his Raptor showed his name as Ryan Cisco.


As Commander Adama, Apollo, and Starbuck are heading to the landing bay to help celebrate Flat Top's 1,000th landing, Starbuck starts to tell Apollo the story of Adama's 1,000th landing on the Atlantia decades ago; Adama's landing was depicted in "Armistice".


Flat Top's fellow pilots sing a military cadence in ode to his accomplishment. Unfortunately, the words are mostly too difficult to make out through the other dialog, sound effects, and jump cuts between shots.


In this episode, Adama's ex-wife is referred to by the priest delivering the sermon over Zak's grave in flashback as Caroline. In all later stories, she is Carolanne (or "Anne" for short). The actress who plays her here, wearing a black veil of mourning, is uncredited. She is played by another actress, Lucinda Jenny, in flashback in "A Day in the Life".


Military Humvees are seen at the Colonial base where Commander Adama visits Starbuck in flashback.


The rifles fired by the honor guard at Zak's funeral are modified and painted L85A1s (mostly used by British armed forces).


The photo of Zak, Starbuck, and Apollo in the door of Starbuck's locker at 17:35 on the Blu-ray is supposed to be the same one seen earlier in "Flight", but the previous actor standing in for Zak (Clarke Hudson) has been replaced with the current actor, Tobias Mehler.


At 20:06 on the Blu-ray, some real world books (with normal, squared corners!) are on the shelf that hides the secret stairway in a Caprican restaurant: Puppet on a Chain by Alistair MacLean, Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler, The Angry Tide by Winston Graham, Daughter of Silence by Morris L. West, The Warbirds by Richard Herman, Passport to Peril by James Leasor, Burr by Gore Vidal, A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, Quiller by Adam Hall, How to Manipulate People by Your Apparent Friendliness by Onan Goopta, The Black Swan by Day Taylor, Hollywood Kids by Jackie Collins, The Siege of the Villa Lipp by Eric Ambler, The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey, and Of All the Bloody Cheek by Frank McAuliffe. A book with a Nazi swastika on the cover is also seen.


At 20:24 on the Blu-ray, the fallout shelter symbol on the basement door found by Helo and Caprica-Valerii is similar to the radiation symbol used on Earth.
Caprican fallout shelter Earth radiation symbol Earth fallout shelter sign
Caprican fallout shelter Earth radiation symbol Earth fallout shelter symbol


Dr. Cottle tells Roslin that her cancer is too far advanced for surgery and recommends gamma treatments and IV of cis-Doloxan. Roslin tells him she prefers to try an alternative treatment, Chamalla extract. Doloxan is a fictitious drug. Chamalla seems to be a type of Colonial plant.


Water is still being collected for the fleet from the ice moon (as begun in "Bastille Day").


Some of the pilot recruits brought in from the civilian fleet are referred to as "boonie jumpers" by Starbuck. The term is not explained.


At 29:34 on the Blu-ray, we see the framed photo of Adama with the young boys, Lee and Zak, given to him by his crew in "Humanity's Children".


Apollo remarks that the Galactica currently has 40 Vipers.


This episode reveals that not only were Zak and Starbuck lovers, they had become engaged to be married.


At the end of the episode Starbuck and a tenacious Cylon Raider shoot each other down over a moon. In the following episode, "You Can't Go Home Again", Starbuck has baled out of her Viper and eventually finds the crashed Raider and cuts into the partially-organic ship to use it to escape the moon and get back to the fleet. It's possible that the Raider is the one that later targets Starbuck and members of her Viper flight in resurrected form and is given the nickname Scar by the human Viper pilots in "Scar".


Memorable Dialog

what happened to him could have happened to any qualified pilot.wav
attention and professionalism.wav
something smells horrible.wav
alternate treatment.wav
I would seriously consider prayer.wav
you may refer to me as God.wav

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