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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix

Battlestar Galactica

"Flight of the Phoenix"

TV episode

Written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle

Directed by Michael Nankin

Original air date: September 16, 2005


Chief Tyrol attempts to design and build from scratch a new model viper; the Cylon virus resurfaces in the Galactica’s computers.


Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki clone site


Notes from the BSG chronology


It would seem that this episode takes place over the course of a few weeks, from the beginning of Tyrol's stealth Viper project to the end, possibly in between (and during) previous episodes and the events of the Returner comic book storyline.


Didja Know?


The opening titles show the fleet at 47,853 survivors, the same as at the beginning of "Final Cut".


The "phoenix" mentioned in the title of this episode is a reference to the Greek and Roman mythological accounts of the phoenix, said to be a type of bird, who could arise anew from it's own ashes (or that it gave rise to its offspring in this manner).


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Chief Tyrol



Hot Dog


Boomer (deceased, mentioned only)


Specialist Antony Figurski

Ensign Diana Seelix




Commander Adama

Colonel Tigh

Lt. Gaeta

Dr. Cottle



President Roslin


Billy Keikeya


Didja Notice?


At 1:44 on the Blu-ray, Starbuck is drinking a bottle of Hawryliw Beer, a nod to the show's property master, Ken Hawryliw. Other nods to him were seen in "Colonial Day" and in the Caprica episode "Retribution".


In this episode, Cally is released from her jail sentence for shooting Boomer.


During Cally's welcome back party, at 3:39 on the Blu-ray a crewman has a spare cigarette stuck above his ear.


At 7:28 on the Blu-ray, a pair of production cameramen can be seen shooting the scene at the left of screen!



Tyrol reveals that he and Boomer had planned (before the destruction of the Colonies) to leave the service after their current hitches and get married.


Commander Adama remarks that they've been on the run for months.


When the oxygen is sucked out of the firing range chamber and Hot Dog collapses, Starbuck giggles about his blue lips, saying, "You look like a blueberry." This would seem to imply that blueberries grew in the Colonies.


Adama remarks that it was "weeks ago" when Colonel Tigh authorized the computer network to be set up on the Galactica shortly after Adama was shot.


This episode is the first hint of an attraction between Apollo and Dee.


Colonel Tigh helps Tyrol procure some DDG-62 engines from a ship called the Baah Pakal. Possibly, the DDG-62 engine designation was borrowed from the registration of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), commissioned in 1995 and still in service.


President Roslin returns the book she borrowed from Adama back in "Water". The book was Dark Day by Edward Prima.


Under the threat of an imminent Cylon attack due to the computer virus on Galactica, Caprica-Valerii tells Adama "sometimes you gotta roll the hard six." This is something Adama's lawyer father used to say when he was about to make his closing argument on a tough case. Adama uses the phrase himself in "The Hard Six" and "Valley of Darkness". "Roll the hard six" is a phrase originating in the dice game of craps; it refers to rolling threes on a pair of 6-sided dice.


Ron Moore has acknowledged that too many Vipers are depicted in space during the annihilation of the Cylon attack ships. About 42 Vipers are seen, yet the fleet has only about 34 at this time and an even smaller number of pilots for them!


At 34:38 on the Blu-ray, the new stealth Viper is seen in space during the annihilation of the Cylon attack ships. But, its construction hasn't even been finished yet in the story! This was another goof in the visual effects.


The stealth Viper designed by Tyrol is called a Blackbird (probably named for the SR-71 Blackbird, a stealth reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. Air Force from 1964-1999). Tyrol's prototype is named Laura, after President Laura Roslin.


The wine bottle used to christen the Blackbird is Leonis Estates Sparkling Wine. Another bottle of this wine is seen later in "Scar".


Normally, a wine bottle is broken upon the surface of the christened vessel. President Roslin jokingly makes as if to break the Leonis Estates bottle over the Blackbird, but stops short and just pops the cork instead. The Blackbird is stated to have a hull made up of carbon composites (metal being mostly reserved for regular Viper repairs) and carbon composites are known to be relatively susceptible to impact (though strong at load-bearing points).


Memorable Dialog

Earth is out there.mp3
if it was a horse we'd shoot it.mp3
drifting out of control.mp3

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