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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Black Market

Battlestar Galactica

"Black Market"

TV episode

Written by Mark Verheiden

Directed by James Head

Original air date: January 27, 2006


President Roslin begins a campaign to end the black market on food, medicine, and luxury items growing within the fleet.


Read the summary of the episode at the Battlestar Wiki


Didja Know?


The opening titles show the fleet at a population of 49,597, down one from "Epiphanies". It seemingly should be lower than that since a number of people died in the suicide bombing aboard the tylium refinery ship in that episode. But, in our current episode, President Roslin is seen, at 23:17 on the Blu-ray, to have apparently just altered her population whiteboard aboard Colonial One to read 49,597, indicating the loss of one is due to the murder of Commander Fisk at the beginning of this episode. The only possible explanation continuity-wise is that the fleet gained several individuals after the events of "Epiphanies" to make up for the deaths in that episode (several births? an additional ship of survivors found in space?).


The story is a play on classic film noir: a detective (Apollo) solving a murder mystery, lost love, a femme fatale, a heart-of-gold prostitute, and dark themes with a liberal dose of moral ambiguity.


This episode bears some slight resemblance to a three-issue storyline in the BSG70 comic book series published by Marvel Comics (beginning in "A World for the Killing") about Jolly, with an assist from Apollo, infiltrating a network of food pirates in the fleet.


The presence of legal prostitution in the fleet (and that it was legal in the Colonies) may be a nod to the socialators described in BSG70, in which profession Cassiopeia had previously been employed before the destruction of the Colonies.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode



Phelan (dies in this episode)


Colonel Tigh

President Roslin

Admiral Adama


Commander Fisk (dies in this episode)

Gianne (seen in Apollo's memories only, presumed deceased)



Dr. Cottle

Ellen Tigh (mentioned only)

Head Six


Sonny (mentioned only)

Butch (mentioned only)

Duke (mentioned only)

Tom Zarek

Billy Keikeya



Didja Notice?


In the flash-forward at the beginning of the episode, Apollo holds a Vektor CP1 pistol against Phelan.


When Dr. Cottle removes the cubit from the back of the late Commander Fisk's mouth, it is octagonal in shape. Earlier, in "Humanity's Children", we saw rectangular-shape cubits during Starbuck's card game. As I speculated then, there could be different-shaped cubits depending on the coin's denomination and/or colony of origin.


Notice that Commander Fisk's quarters are now what was formerly Cain's quarters.


Apollo finds three boxes of Caprican Imperial cigars in Fisk's quarters. This brand has been seen or mentioned in previous stories of BSG2000 and Caprica.


At 11:41 on the Blu-ray, Apollo sees the initials "E.T." on the inside of a gold bracelet among Fisk's black market stash. He silently realizes it must have belonged to Ellen Tigh.


Apollo tells Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh that Fisk's black market activities show that he raided the McConnell and at least a dozen other ships in the past week. This is the only mention of the McConnell in the series. (Maybe the McConnell is the proposed possible "additional ship of survivors found in space" speculated in the "Didja Know?" section above!)


A locker labeled for "Sonny" in the pilot's workout room is seen at 19:09 on the Blu-ray when Apollo opens his locker. About 30 seconds later, lockers for "Butch" and "Duke" are also seen.


At 20:45 on the Blu-ray, we see that Shevon and Paya live in apartment 1258 aboard Cloud Nine.


At 22:39 on the Blu-ray, a magazine called In Music is seen in Shevon's apartment. This appears to be a fictitious magazine made up as a prop for the episode as a publication from the Colonies. Notice that the magazine's title font appears to be very similar to that of the opening title font of the original Star Trek series!

In Music magazine


During his conversation with Apollo in Shevon's apartment, Zarek says he is the representative of the Astral Queen. But the Astral Queen is just the prison transport he resides on. "Colonial Day" made it clear he is the representative of Sagittaron.


Zarek tells Apollo that Prometheus is the hub of the fleet's black market. This episode is the first appearance of the ship; it appears in a few later episodes.


At 30:23 on the Blu-ray, a black market vendor tries to offer Apollo packs of Sarcoma cigarettes. In English, "sarcoma" is a type of cancer.

Sarcoma cigarettes


In the end credits, actor Gustavo Febres is credited as "Herbalist". This character's scene was cut from the final version of the episode, seen only as a deleted scene on the Blu-ray.


The R&D TV animated sequence at the end of this episode depicts executive producer David Eick transforming into a creature that appears to be an homage to one of the Thing constructs in the 1982 John Carpenter film The Thing. A book spine in the background has the name Bottin on it; Rob Bottin was the creature effects artist on that film. At about this time, Ron Moore was writing a draft for a prequel movie of the Carpenter film; the prequel film which was released in 2011 did not use Moore's script.



Memorable Dialog

you spent the night.mp3
Pegasus lost two.mp3
I know whose son you are.mp3
I can't think of anything I want more.mp3
standing in the mud.mp3

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