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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Bastille Day

Battlestar Galactica

"Bastille Day"

TV episode

Written by Toni Graphia

Directed by Alan Kroeker

Original air date: January 21, 2005


Apollo is held hostage on the prison barge by a group of convicts led by a freedom fighter convicted of terrorism.


Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki


Notes from the BSG chronology


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


Didja Know?


The title of this episode comes from the name used by most foreign countries for the French national holiday, The National Celebration. Foreign nations often call it Bastille Day because the holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress turned into a prison, on July 14, 1789. The Bastille had been seen by the common people in revolt as a symbol of royal abuse of power.


This episode is the first appearance of actor Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek. Hatch, of course, is best known for playing Apollo in BSG70. Most of his scenes in this episode are with the new Apollo, played by Jamie Bamber.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Colonel Tigh

Chief Tyrol



President Roslyn

Commander Adama


Billy Keikeya


Dr. Cottle (mentioned only)

Captain Wilkens

Eric Seaborne

Tom Zarek



Caprica Six

Number Five

Benedict Mason





Number Six

Lt. Dwight "Flat Top" Saunders

Frosty (mentioned only)

Hyper (mentioned only)

Sniper (mentioned only)

Ninja (mentioned only)


Lt. Gaeta

President Adar (mentioned only)



Didja Notice?


In the "Previously on Battlestar Galactica" recap sequence at the beginning of the episode, Billy's line about the prison ship in "Flight" has been re-dubbed. In "Flight" he said, "The Captain of Astral Queen wants you to know that he has nearly 500 convicted criminals under heavy guard in his cargo hold." In the recap, the new line is "The Captain of Astral Queen wants you to know that he has 1,500 prisoners under heavy guard." Additionally, in our current episode, Apollo says the prisoners were being taken to Caprica for parole hearings, but in "Flight" it was said they were being taken to a penal colony.


A real world portable video player is used by Colonel Tigh to view footage of the ice moon at 1:46 on the Blu-ray. I've been unable to identify the actual brand.


Apparently, the Colonies had lemons because Tigh makes a joke about making lemonade with their new water discovery.


President Roslyn has a new hairstyle starting in this episode.


Adama mentions that Dr. Cottle's rank is Major. Cottle does not actually appear until the following episode, "Act of Contrition". Here, Adama says Cottle is currently making medical inspections throughout the fleet.


The patches on the jackets and jumpsuits of Captain Wilkens and the other prison ship personnel read "Prison Transport Services".


Zarek is prisoner number 893893.


At 10:06 on the Blu-ray, the building Helo and Caprica-Valerii are approaching is actually the Vancouver Public Library.


At 10:52 on the Blu-ray, a person's head can be seen bobbing around in the pub window behind Helo on Caprica in the supposedly deserted city.


The prison ship guard called Seaborne helps Zarek lead a prisoner revolt on the Astral Queen due to events in "Zarek" Part 4, where Zarek saved Seaborne's life in an encounter with Cylon centurions during the attack on the Colonies.


At 16:11 on the Blu-ray, a transparent covering with a lattice can be seen covering the landing bay opening on the starboard side of Galactica. It is seen many times throughout the series.

Galactica starboard bay


Boxey appears briefly in this episode (last seen in "Enemies Among Us"), tagging along with Starbuck on the Galactica. After this, he is never seen or mentioned again in the TV series (though he does make an appearance in the later novel Sagittarius Is Bleeding). Producers Ron Moore and David Eick have stated that scenes featuring Boxey were shot for other episodes, but kept getting cut, as they found that his story was not flowing well with the dark-themed episodes of the series. By the time of season two, they had decided not to use the character at all for that reason.


The names of several unseen pilots are depicted on the flight roster board in the ready room at 17:51 on the Blu-ray: Frosty, Hyper, Sniper, and Ninja.


At 20:21 on the Blu-ray, Number Six's eyes have changed color in the close-up as she yells at Baltar. In the audio commentary of this episode on the Blu-ray, Moore and Eick reveal this was an homage to a scene in the 1985 film Jagged Edge.


With water being scarce in the fleet, notice that Adama pours the remainder of his glass of water back into the decanter when he is finished drinking at 22:54 on the Blu-ray.


President Roslyn tells Adama about a time when Colonial President Adar offered Zarek a full pardon if he'd apologize and give up violence as a means of political change. We saw this meeting and offer occur in "Zarek" Part 3.


The rifles carried by the inmates after the takeover of the prison ship are the real world Mossberg 500 Bullpup.


Noting Lee's nickname, Zarek reminds him that the Kobolian god Apollo was the son of Zeus, a god of archery, hunting, and healing. Except for hunting, these attributes are also true of the Greek god Apollo.


Mason's prisoner number can be seen as 705238 at 31:51 on the Blu-ray.


At 32:55 on the Blu-ray, Flat Top's raptor shows his name as Ryan Cisco. But the following episode, "Act of Contrition", has his name announced as Dwight Saunders instead.


The rifles carried by the marines who storm the prison ship are the real world FN P90 (made by FN Herstal).


The gun Mason uses against Cally is a real world pistol, a Vektor CP1. Apollo also snags one from an inmate and uses it to shoot Mason, in defense of Cally, then holds it against Zarek as they "negotiate".


According to Eick on the audio commentary of this episode, the shot of Apollo holding the gun at Zarek at 35:51 on the Blu-ray is an homage to the classic "I know what you're thinking," scene from the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, Dirty Harry.


In the end, the prisoners on the Astral Queen agree to performing the needed work on the ice moon to get water for the fleet. This is somewhat similar to the events of the BSG70 episode "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 1, where a number of inmates from the prison barge are chosen for a mission (to destroy a powerful Cylon pulsar gun) on an ice planet.


Notes from the audio commentary by Ron Moore and David Eicke on the Blu-ray release


Ron Moore says the name of the Astral Queen comes from the name of a transport ship in the Star Trek original series episode "The Conscience of the King".


Memorable Dialog

we could make lemonade.wav
you want to start releasing hardened criminals into the fleet?.wav
nothing to say.wav
picking sides.wav
I'm a bus driver, not a warden.wav
freedom is earned.wav
good to see you.wav
I wonder if she's a real blonde.wav
speaking of falling off.wav
dealing with terrorists.wav
we let everyone get away with murder.wav
wonders never cease.wav
a blaze of glory.wav
if you're telling me we're throwing out the law.wav
I am so on to you.wav
that's my girl.wav
you'll have my vote.wav
are you planning a vacation?.wav
you can count on me.wav

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