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

Battlestar Galactica


TV episode

Written by Jeff Vlaming

Directed by Rod Hardy

Original air date: February 11, 2005


When a Cylon suicide bomber strikes, President Roslin must reveal to the public that some Cylons now look human and may be hiding within the fleet.


Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki clone site


Notes from the BSG chronology


This episode opens about 1 day after the events of "You Can't Go Home Again".


Didja Know?


This episode is the first appearance of the deckhand called Jammer.


The reporter named Kimmit appears for the first time in this episode (named only in the closing credits; the actor is Raahul Singh).


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Number Five

Chief Tyrol



Colonel Tigh

Commander Adama

Dr. Cottle


Sergeant Hadrian




Caprica Six

Caprica Five


President Roslin

Billy Keikeya

Playa Palacios (reporter)

Kimmit (reporter)

Sekou Hamilton (reporter)


Candace Myson (tribunal member)


Head Six



Didja Notice?


At the beginning of the episode, the P.A. system announces that the Scorpia Traveller is now disembarking onto the Galactica.


At 6:41 on the Blu-ray, notice that the Galactica has electrical wall sockets that look just like the standard NEMA 5-15 grounded three-hole electrical sockets most commonly used in the United States.


Caprica has rats.


How are the three Cylons able to stand on the roof of a building and watch Helo without being seen (at about 9:00 on the Blu-ray)? All he has to do is glance up and he would see their figures. A similar situation occurs inside the abandoned building in which Helo rescues Caprica-Valerii later in the episode.


At 9:08 on the Blu-ray, a skyscraper on Caprica has an "S" logo on it. This is the logo of Scotiabank.


In the hangar bay wide shot at 10:33 on the Blu-ray, Sergeant Hadrian is seen speaking to a deckhand in yellow coveralls. But the next split second in the next shot, she is talking to Cally instead.


Reporter Playa Palacios appears for the first time in this episode. Her last name is instead listed as Kohn in the closing credits of this episode and "Six Degrees of Separation" and "Flesh and Bone", but stated verbally by her to be Palacios in "The Hand of God".


A reporter called Eick (in the closing credits) appears for the first time in this episode, appearing again in "Six Degrees of Separation". The actor, Biski Gugushe, then plays a reporter named Sekou Hamilton in later episodes. The "Eick" is obviously borrowed from producer David Eick. Probably the two reporters are intended to be the same person, the fuller name of Sekou Hamilton assigned when the role became larger.


This episode reveals that the Colonial military court (and probably civilian courts as well) allows defendants to invoke the right to remain silent, as provided for under the 23rd Article of Colonization.


At 27:51 on the Blu-ray, notice that Head Six appears to give Starbuck a dirty look (jealousy?) as she and Baltar leave sick bay.


Head Six tells Baltar not to make her angry, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." This may be a nod to the 1977-1982 TV series The Incredible Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics character, in the opening titles of which Dr. David Banner said every week, "Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."


At 30:57 on the Blu-ray, Adama's glasses are seen sitting on top of a copy of a Reader's Digest Condensed Books containing A Gift of Life, Daddy, Paddle to the Amazon, and A Walk in the Dark. These four titles are all real world books, as is the Reader's Digest Condensed Books series, though it does not appear there was ever an edition that featured these four books together.


In his search for Sharon (Caprica-Valerii), notice that Helo is led to the particular building she is held in by a flock of pigeons disturbed from its rest inside the building, followed by a sound of metal clanking from within. The Cylons have led him to that spot.


Adama remarks that his father was a civil liberties lawyer. In the Caprica TV series, we are introduced to Commander Adama's father, Joseph Adama, who was a criminal lawyer who eventually becomes a civil liberties lawyer, as implied in the Caprica finale "Apotheosis".


Sergeant Hadrian seems more interested in painting Adama as a poor commander than in finding out who really left open the combing hatch on C causeway which allowed the Doral-model Cylon to get into a restricted area. It's possible she feels that Adama has not performed well as the fleet's military leader or that she legitimately thinks he could be a Cylon.


Technically, Adama is breaking military law when he forces closed the independent tribunal. If this had happened while the Colonies still existed, it probably wouldn't have happened, as there would be higher powers available to prosecute Adama if he'd tried.


Sergeant Hadrian is confined to quarters by Commander Adama after a tense stand-off between the two of them over the right of the independent tribunal to continue what Adama described as turning into a witch hunt. She does not appear again in the series, though she is mentioned as still performing her duties in "Valley of Darkness", early in Season 2, an episode in which the Galactica crewmembers battle a Cylon boarding party, so it might be argued that she died during those events.


Unanswered Questions


Who left the hatch combing hatch open on C causeway? It seems that Socinus' story of being away from his post and leaving the hatch open is a fabrication meant to protect his boss, Chief Tyrol. The most obvious suspect is, of course, Boomer, but we never learn for sure that it was her.


What was the Number Five's target with the suicide bomb? Was it Baltar's lab to destroy his work on the rumored Cylon detector as speculated by Starbuck? We never find out, but in The Plan, it is revealed that Cavil had determined that Number Five was essentially compromised in the fleet because the humans already knew (or suspected) that Aaron Doral had been a Cylon, so they would recognize any other Number Fives they came into contact with and gave this Five the bomb to kill himself and, presumably, take out a convenient target in the process. So, it could be that Five was heading for Baltar's lab, but then blew the bomb when Adama walked up to him, seeing an even better opportunity.


Did Number Five resurrect and give the Cylons the last known coordinates of the fleet? It doesn't seem that any new attack on the human fleet by the Cylon fleet occurred, so it seems the Cylons didn't know the fleet's location. I suppose it would be logical to assume that Adama ordered the fleet to jump almost immediately after the Five sacrificed himself, knowing he was a Cylon and that he would resurrect. Or maybe there was no Resurrection Ship in close enough range to capture Five's consciousness.


Memorable Dialog

she says that about everyone.wav
I do not want a witch hunt.wav
a tightly-guarded secret.wav
duplicates of each Cylon model.wav
me, me, always me.wav
you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.wav
I'm a soft touch.wav
make your choice.wav
you should be in the brig.wav
you'll pay a different price.wav
the only answer you're ever going to get.wav

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