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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Serve and Protect "Serve and Protect"
Battlestar Galactica (the mini-series, part 1, hour 2)
TV episode
Written by Ronald D. Moore and Christopher Eric James
Based on a teleplay by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Michael Rymer
Original air date: December 8, 2003


The aging Battlestar Galactica enters the battle while the Colonies fall against the Cylon onslaught.


(This episode opens with Colonel Tigh burning a photo of his wife and ends with the seeming death of Apollo and President Roslin in a nuclear detonation in space.)


Read the full story summary of Part 1 of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series at the Battlestar Wiki


Notes from the BSG chronology


This episode takes place immediately after the events of "Humanity's Children".


Didja Know?


The Battlestar Galactica mini-series was made up of two 2-hour parts, originally broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy). I have chosen to break down the mini-series into four ~45-minute segments to more closely match the running times of episodes of the ongoing TV series that followed it. For this episode, I have assigned the title of "Serve and Protect" based on events in the story such as Laura Roslin's choice to serve the Colonies in public office, first as Secretary of Education, and now as President, and the Colonial warriors' choice to protect and defend their fellows and civilians.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Ellen Tigh (in photograph)

Colonel Tigh

Lt. Gaeta

Specialist Prosna


Chief Tyrol

Commander Adama

Chief Petty Officer Dualla





Giana O'Neill

Laura Roslin

Pilot of Colonial Heavy 798 (identified in the novel as Captain Russo)


Aaron Doral

Billy Keikeya

Co-pilot of Colonial Heavy 798 (identified in the novel as Eduardo)


President Adar (mentioned only)



Boxey's mother


Captain Kelly


Specialist Johnson



Didja Notice?


The photo that Tigh is burning with his cigar at 46:22 on the Blu-ray is presumably that of his wife, Ellen, though it is not the same actress (Kate Vernon) who goes on to play her when she turns up alive in the fleet in "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down". In the audio commentary of this episode, Michael Eick says that the photo is of his wife, Jenny (producer and actress Jennifer Birchfield-Eick). It seems odd that the photo does not have the corners cut off as most paper-based media in the Colonies does.

Ellen Tigh


During his shipwide announcement of the Cylon attack against the Colonies, Commander Adama says that Admiral Nagala has taken command of the fleet aboard the battlestar Atlantia after the destruction of Fleet Headquarters on Picon. Nagala was previously mentioned in "A Higher Purpose". Fleet Headquarters on Picon was visited in "Twisting in the Wind". In BSG70, Atlantia was the battlestar President Adar was on when he was killed in its destruction in the Cylon ambush in "Annihilation".


Notice that even the monitor screens on the Galactica are often in the octagonal shape favored by the Colonies.


As Starbuck enters CIC at 50:39 on the Blu-ray, notice that she looks at Colonel Tigh and taps her cheek, indicating the bruise he wears from her punch in "Humanity's Children".


Adama tells Starbuck they've already lost 30 battlestars in the attack. Starbuck says that's a quarter of the fleet.


When the red electronic eye opens and begins scanning back-and-forth on the Cylon Raiders at 53:30 on the Blu-ray, it is an early indication that the Raiders themselves are now autonomous robots in their own right, with no pilot (as Starbuck later learns in "Act of Contrition").


When Cylon Raiders fire missiles at their Raptor, Helo tells Boomer to drop the swallow. A swallow is a drone device used by the Colonial military to lure enemy missiles away from their true target. 


As Helo and Boomer's Raptor approaches Caprica orbit at 58:21 on the Blu-ray, notice that the shattered and burning hulk of a battlestar is seen floating on the left side of the screen. Seconds later, the silhouettes of two Cylon basestars can be seen in the distance against the glow of Caprica's blue and white surface.
shattered battlestar Basestars


At 58:33 on the Blu-ray, Commander Adama almost looks to have a halo around his head with the tactical map behind him!

Adama's halo


At 58:40 on the Blu-ray, one of the old Mark II Vipers is marked with the call sign "Ready".


When the gauges in his Viper go out after destroying the Cylon missile intended for Colonial Heavy 798, Apollo calls for help from the larger ship, saying, "Krypter! Krypter! Krypter!" This term is the Colonial equivalent of "Mayday".


In the audio commentary of this episode, it is stated that the pistols used by Boomer and Helo are based on the pistol carried by Rick Deckard in the 1982 film Blade Runner. The two guns are similar, but not exact matches. (Photos from the Internet Movie Firearms Database.)
Colonial pistol Deckard's pistol in Blade Runner
Colonial pistol Deckard's pistol in Blade Runner


At 1:08:11 on the Blu-ray, notice that Boxey's mother(?) is seen sending him forward to get on board Boomer's Raptor with the other children. The woman is not the same woman in the framed photo that his presumed father sets on the desk at Armistice Station in "Humanity's Children", so it's hard to say which woman, if either, is his mother. The Boxey entry on the Battlestar Wiki site states that the woman in this scene is his aunt, but it's not corroborated in any way. In "Bastille Day", Boxey tells Colonel Tigh his mother is dead.


As the Galactica launches Vipers at 1:09:03 on the Blu-ray, the launch officer says, "Joker, this is shooter, I have control, stand by." The term "shooter" appears to be slang for "launch officer" in Colonial military parlance.


At 1:09:53 on the Blu-ray, Starbuck is seen piloting the Mark II Viper that once belonged to Captain Raymond "Raygun" Lai. In the real world, Ray Lai was a concept artist for the mini-series.


The scene of the crewmembers becoming trapped behind the bulkhead doors while fighting the fire on Galactica may have been inspired by similar scenes in the BSG70 episode "Fire in Space".


Trying to reassure Tyrol (and himself) about the fates of the crewmembers in the vented part of the damaged Galactica during the battle, Tigh tells him, "No one's a rook anymore." The term "rook" is short for "rookie".


According to the audio commentary of this episode, the first woman who is granted passage on the Raptor in the lottery at 1:16:35 on the Blu-ray is the wife of actor Edward James Olmos (Adama). She appears again in The Plan in a more expanded role and is given the name Giana O'Neill.


At 1:16:54 on the Blu-ray, notice that the old woman who asks Baltar to read her lottery number for her because she forgot her glasses actually has her glasses sitting on top of her head! 


The swearing in of Laura Roslin as President of the Twelve Colonies aboard Colonial Heavy 798 after the death of President Adar is reminiscent of that of Lyndon B. Johnson as President of the United States aboard Air Force One after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Roslin swearing in LBJ swearing in


The scorched dead body that Cally cries over at 1:24:06 on the Blu-ray is Specialist Prosna.


According to the novelization, the navigation specialist who brings Adama a sheet indicating the battlestar's present position is Specialist Johnson.


At 1:30:36 on the Blu-ray, Adama pulls off his glasses as he's about to speak to Apollo over the commlink. Then he is seen pulling them off again about 10 seconds later!


The name of Ragnar Anchorage comes from the Norse mythological prophecy story of the battle at the end of the world, after which the Earth will be reborn and repopulated. Since the epic story of this TV series is revealed at the end to have taken place about 150,000 years in our past, it could be interpreted that the Ragnarok myth derived from the story of the end of human civilization (in the Twelve Colonies) and the final battle between humans and Cylons at Ragnar in the solar system of the Colonies before the "return" of Earth when the human fleet settles our current world.


As the Galactica prepares to make a hyperlight jump to Ragnar Anchorage, Adama receives notification that the Atlantia, Triton, Solaria, Columbia and other battlestars have been destroyed. The Atlantia and Triton were also battlestars reported destroyed during the Cylon armistice in BSG70 in "Annihilation". The Solaria was mentioned as destroyed during the armistice in the novelization of that BSG70 episode. The Columbia was seen or mentioned in numerous past stories of both this series and BSG70.


    As Colonial Heavy 798 rendezvous with an assortment civilian ships in the system, Captain Russo decides on the spur of the moment to refer his ship as Colonial One now that it is carrying the newly sworn-in President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. The name is obviously that of the ship normally used by the person holding that office, just as Air Force One is the name of any Air Force aircraft that carries the President of the United States here on Earth.

   In the same scene, Captain Russo is calling Gemenon Liner 1701. The "1701" is likely a reference to Star Trek and the starship Enterprise's registry number NCC-1701.


BSG-MS-novel Notes from the novelization of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series by Jeffrey A. Carver

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published July 2006)


Chapter 16


On page 98, Tyrol says that most of the Galactica's ordinance was off-loaded at Rhapsody Station, but a small amount is still aboard which was to be delivered to Caprica Base.


Chapter 17


Page 102 names a couple of Galactica's Viper pilots in the Cylon battle as Scott and Erin.


Chapter 18


Page 108 names the captain of Colonial Heavy 798 as Russo.


Page 111 reveals that Colonial ships typically use tylium as fuel, just as in BSG70. The later episode "The Hand of God" confirms this.


Chapter 19


Page 118 reveals that the presidential advisor Roslin talks to on the comm link from Colonial Heavy 798 is named Jack Nordstrom (in the episode, we get only the first name).


Chapter 20


On page 122, Baltar estimates that the blast force of the nuclear explosion that destroys much of his house was 30 klicks away. A klick is military slang for "kilometer" least on Earth.


Pages 122-125 give us new material not seen in the episode. Baltar picks himself up from the blast that smashes into his house at the end of "Humanity's Children" and finds Natasi's (Caprica Six's) dead body, which helped to shield him from the blast; then he heads off into the hills to gain some distance from the continuing nuclear explosions occurring towards Caprica City. We also get a scene of Boomer landing the Raptor in the grassy field on Caprica.


On page 125, the pistols carried by Helo and Boomer are referred to as Previn automatics. This name is never used in the TV series itself, but then no other name is applied to them either, so this works as well as any.


Chapter 21


Page 127 names the co-pilot of Colonial Heavy 798 as Eduardo.


Page 129 describes the cargo bay of Colonial Heavy 798 where Apollo's Viper is brought aboard as looking like the lower deck of a seagoing ferry. As the Battlestar Wiki points out, this is likely an in-joke, as these scenes were shot on the lower deck of an automobile ferry.


Chapter 22


On page 134, Boomer feels pity for the children left in danger on Caprica, reflecting on her own lucky escape from a cataclysm on her homeworld of Troy. This is part of the false backstory programmed into her as a Cylon sleeper agent. "Flesh and Bone" reveals that Troy was a mining colony that was destroyed, but the nature of the cataclysm is never revealed.


Chapter 23


Page 136 states that the tylium used in the Vipers is a quantum-catalytic variety. According to Wikipedia: In quantum information theory, a quantum catalyst is a special ancillary quantum state whose presence enables certain local transformations that would otherwise be impossible.


On page 138, a pilot with the call-sign Choker is said to be flying a Mark IV Viper. This model has never been seen elsewhere.


On page 140, pilots called Wedlock, Keyhole, and Karen are mentioned.


Chapter 27


Page 165 reveals that Commander Adama brought Tyrol aboard the Galactica when no one else wanted him due to a single mistake he had made that cost lives. Adama had found him to be the best spacecraft mechanic he'd ever met and a good leader.


Memorable Dialog

a Cylon attack against our home worlds is under way.wav
kick some Cylon ass.wav
it's a gift shop now.wav
the lady's in charge.wav
no one's a rook anymore.wav
a nice ring to it.wav

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