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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: The Woman King

Battlestar Galactica

"The Woman King"

TV episode

Written by Michael Angeli

Directed by Michael Rymer

Original air date: February 11, 2007

 

Assigned to supervise a burgeoning civilian refugee camp housed on the Galactica's starboard hangar deck, Helo struggles to assert his authority among both the civilians and his fellow officers.

 

Read the summary of the episode at the Battlestar Wiki site

 

Didja Know?

 

The opening titles show the fleet population at 41,401, down two from the previous episode "Taking a Break from All Your Worries". That episode did not feature any deaths; presumably a couple of people in the fleet died off-screen. During this episode, five people die, leaving the population at 41,396 (assuming no other unseen deaths or births).

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode

 

Helo

Athena

Hera

Apollo

Starbuck

Racetrack

Skulls

Colonel Tigh

Dr. Michael Robert

Portia King

Willie King (dies in this episode)

Dee

Mr. Buckminster (dies in this episode)

Mr. Buckminster's son

Dr. Cottle

Admiral Adama

President Roslin

Baltar (mentioned only)

Tory Foster

Vice President Zarek

Charlie Connor

Chief Tyrol

Lt. Gaeta

Callie

Marine Henry Cheadle

Caprica Six

Head Baltar

Marine Allan Nowart

 

 

 

Didja Notice?

 

The "Previously on Battlestar Galactica..." segment at the beginning of the episode includes a previously unseen moment that informs us Helo has been assigned to see to the refugees on Galactica. It also tells us that the refugee camp is in the starboard hangar of Galactica, which is the hangar that had been converted into a museum in anticipation of the battlestar's retirement from service just before the fall of the Twelve Colonies. We also learn that more refugees are about to arrive from the overcrowded Thera Sita.

 

At 1:59 on the Blu-ray, the Agathons have a couple of what appear to be stuffed dog toys in their quarters. Is one of them a dog fanatic? Or have people been giving Helo the toys because of his assignment to administer Dogsville?

 

    At 3:00 on the Blu-ray, Starbuck calls Helo "the mayor of Dogsville". Dogsville is the nickname that has been given to the refugee camp of New Capricans in the starboard hangar of Galactica. The name was first used (chronologically) in "Visitation". Since then, Helo has been placed in charge of managing the refugee population there.

    Helo is seen to be serving as a sort of administrator of the goings-on in Dogsville, rather than performing his traditional pilot and ECO duties. Possibly, his assignment to Dogsville is an informal punishment for the various insubordinations he has perpetrated when he feels it is just, such as preventing the use of the Cylon disease ("A Measure of Salvation") and his and Athena's unsanctioned mission to rescue their daughter Hera from the Cylon baseship ("Rapture").

 

It is made clear in this episode that Dr. Robert is a civilian physician, not military like Dr. Cottle.

 

Some of the refugees are found to have Mellorak sickness, an infection originating in the kidneys which, if not treated, can lead to death in a manner of days. It is treated with a drug called bittamucin. Since the series tends to use real world medical terms, illnesses, and treatments (sometimes with an altered name), it's possible Mellorak sickness and bittamucin are based on some real world illness and treatment with different names here on Earth, but I haven't been able to determine specific relationships.

 

Many of the Sagittaron refugees are said, and seen, to use burdock root as a calmative for those afflicted with Mellorak. Burdock is an actual type of plant (genus Arctium) with roots that are used as a medicinal herb (though not generally as a calmative from what I've been able to find).

 

Many of the Sagittaron refugees wear what they refer to as a "soma braid" bracelet on their wrist, believed by them to bring good health.

 

At 19:16 on the Blu-ray, President Roslin and Tory Foster observe Caprica Six in her cell through a window and see her talking to herself (Caprica Six is seeing and reacting to Head Baltar). Roslin remarks to Tory that she's seen Caprica Six do this before. It seems as if Roslin should start making a connection to Six's behavior and the similar behavior Baltar has exhibited numerous times in the past (when he is seeing and reacting to Head Six), but she never does make the connection.

 

At 19:24 on the Blu-ray, while Roslin and Tory observe Caprica Six, the boom mic can be seen poking in and out in the upper left corner.

 

At 19:31 on the Blu-ray, a young military man who appears to be assisting with the refugees in Dogsville is holding a clipboard and a typewritten page is visible on it. A zoom-in on a screengrab of the page shows that it does not appear to have anything to do with the refugee situation; it is a review of tactical concerns when facing Cylons!

tactical review

 

At 24:40 on the Blu-ray, an old style Colonial shuttle (from BSG70) flies past the Galactica.

 

At 29:08 on the Blu-ray, a mobile of Vipers and a Raptor is seen hanging above Hera's crib.

mobile

 

    A list of fatalities under medical care is seen at 31:12 on the Blu-ray. The name Ian Radley appears on the list twice with two different ages (64 and 46), reasons for fatality (Mellorak sickness and heart infection), and colony of birth (Sagittaron and Tauron)!

    Many of the names on the list are of people associated with visual effects on the show. Several more are known to have places in the transportation crews of film and television production and probably worked (uncredited) on the show.

    The names are: Jim Thompson, Ian Radley, Bob Mcarther, Duncan Calloney, Jack Marshall, Greg Behrens, Anthony Alvaro, Kelly L Myer, Steve Woland, Justin Huang, and Erin (something). 

 

Dr. Cottle finds that two of Dr. Robert's patients were killed by injection with a toxic bisphosphonate. Bisphosphonates are a type of drugs used on Earth to treat a number of conditions, including bone diseases and cancer; though they have some adverse side-effects, they do not normally include a high risk of death. Cottle does specifically say "toxic bisphosphonate", so it's possible Robert used a bisphosphonate somehow bonded with another chemical capable of causing death.

 

When he is finally convinced of Dr. Robert's guilt in killing some patients, Dr. Cottle angrily asks him, "What the hell happened to 'do no harm,' doctor?" This would seem to be a reference to the ethics of the medical practice in the Western world here on our Earth, the Latin phrase primum non nocere, "First, do no harm."

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Zarek warns Roslin about what will happen if she puts Baltar on trial: "Baltar will get his trial. And this is what you'll get: a hurricane. The media will descend on you and watch and question your every move. You will have sectarian violence, assassination attempts. You will have civil unrest on a scale we've never seen. Work, labor, everyday routine in this fleet will come to a complete halt. This trial is going to bring this entire fleet down...A hurricane, Laura. If I were you, I'd declare martial law during the trial." Roslin doesn't back down, but she does admit to Tory after Zarek leaves that she's never seen him so truly frightened, implying she takes his warning seriously. Yet, when the trial of Baltar does take place in "Crossroads" Parts 1 and 2, there is no specific unrest in the fleet to speak of and no indication that she has declared martial law for the duration of the trial. The scene may be more of a leftover of the abandoned plotline about the Sagittarons on New Caprica and how it was to be a major factor in Baltar's trial (see the notes on Ron Moore's audio commentary for "Taking a Break from All Your Worries").

 

What is to be the fate of Dr. Robert? Evidence and his own seeming admission indicate he has murdered a number of people in the guise of treating them, mostly Sagittarons, both on the Galactica and on New Caprica previously. We don't hear anything more on him after this episode, but he was presumably tried for his crimes and either imprisoned or executed.

 

Memorable Dialog

root-sucking jackasses.mp3
this trial is going to bring this entire fleet down.mp3
there's a trick to being human.mp3
snuggled up in bed with your Cylon wife.mp3
they forget you're a Cylon for five minutes.mp3
my defining characteristic.mp3
I think he's killing people.mp3
is there anything you hate more than a Sagittaron?.mp3
there's hate and there's allowing hate.mp3
the lone voice in the wilderness.mp3

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