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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: The Long Patrol Battlestar Galactica
"The Long Patrol"
TV episode
Written by Donald Bellisario
Directed by Christian I. Nyby II

Starbuck test-flies an experimental viper which is then stolen by a convict from a forgotten human prison planet.

Read the complete synopsis of "The Long Patrol" at the Battlestar Wiki site.

Didja Know?

I have placed "The Long Patrol" ahead of "The Lost Warrior" in the chronology (defying the original airdate order) because it is at the beginning of this episode that we see the fleet entering a new galaxy for the first time (according to Apollo's dialog to Boxey on the bridge). And in "The Lost Warrior", Boomer comments that "...the stars are kind of nice in this galaxy," which would seem to suggest that they are no longer in their old (Cyrannus) galaxy at that time. I postulate in "The Living Legend" Part 2 that this is in fact the Krillian galaxy, former home of the Delphian Empire and current lurking space of the battlestar Pegasus.

Actress Cathy Paine was the uncredited voice of C.O.R.A.

Adulteress-58 is played by Arlene Martel (going by Tasha Martel here), who also played T'Pring, Spock's erstwhile mate in the Star Trek episode "Amok Time".

The humans inhabiting the asteroids in the this episode are suggested to be descendants of colonists from Aeries and speak in what sounds like Irish accents.

Didja Notice?

The episode title and supporting cast credits are printed in white starting with this episode. In previous episodes they were yellow. Notice, though, that Terry Carter's credit is still in yellow for some reason!

As the camera pans across the bridge at 2:51 on the DVD and Colonel Tigh reports the Galactica is almost past the asteroid dust, several members of Blue Squadron can be seen observing in the background.

At 3:45 on the DVD, as Boxey turns toward Muffit, it appears he is wearing on his shirt the Colonial Warrior insignia pin given to him by Apollo in "Exodus". It is also seen in many later episodes.

When Athena looks up Starbuck's current personnel status before his mission, the monitor screen seems to suggest she is looking at the status of Blue Squadron personnel, but many are missing and others are not members of Blue Squadron to my knowledge; Athena herself might be considered a member due to her Viper training in "Into the Void" and continuing pilot duties as depicted in the Marvel comic book issues, but Omega and Rigel? Really? I suppose it's possible they were trained as well when most of the regular pilots were sick in "Into the Void". The screen also tells us that Omega and Rigel are both sergeants. The red and green designations in the last column seem to indicate whether the individual listed in that row is on duty (red) or off duty (green).
Blue Squadron personnel

On the Rising Star, as the fleet exits the asteroid dust, the waiter comments that it reminds him of "the old days, before the war." Well, the old man would have to be over a thousand yahrens old to remember the days before the Cylon war! Presumably, he is more accurately referring to times before the recent near-annihilation of humanity in "Annihilation". (In the novelization, he says he is reminded of the time before the war interfered with "our annual run to Quatora." He explains that Quatora was a beautiful system of seven red stars and one blue.) Just a little later in the episode, the waiter also refers to Starbuck's daring of balancing the two ladies (Cassiopeia and Athena) as "very pre-war".

When Starbuck asks for a bottle of ambrosia, the waiter tells him ambrosia is as rare as Tilinium. This is an unknown substance, not mentioned before or since in the series. Possibly, the actor is mispronouncing "Tylium", the starship fuel used by the fleet.

At 6:53 on the DVD, Starbuck pulls a cigar out of his sleeve!

At 8:36 on the DVD, Starbuck appears to be wearing a digital watch on his left wrist. Adama also appears to be wearing a different one at 37:49.
Starbuck's watch Adama's watch
Starbuck's watch Adama's watch

In the room Starbuck is sharing with Cassiopeia on the Rising Star, at 9:24 on the DVD, there is a bottle with what appears to be a stylized "A" on it on the shelf behind them. In later episodes this type of bottle is implied to be ambrosia.
ambrosia bottle

While he's on the Rising Star, an announcement comes over the P.A. system telling Starbuck to report to the Galactica, flight deck blue. Possibly "flight deck blue" is meant to indicate the home deck of Blue Squadron (which would, in turn, suggest there are red and other color flight deck identifications).

Commander Adama orders Starbuck to wear a non-regulation flight uniform during his test mission on Recon Viper 1 so he won't be recognized as a Colonial Warrior in case he has to land somewhere. But then, why don't Apollo and Boomer wear non-regulation uniforms when they later go out to intercept the stolen Viper? I guess they just figured they were going out to destroy the ship and would have no reason to be landing anywhere.

Apollo says that the engineers have doubled the range and speed (at the cost of weapons) of a normal Viper in the new recon Viper.

Recon Viper 1 appears to have the more formal name of Starchaser, as the name is emblazoned on the ship's fuselage as seen at 12:30 on the DVD. The name is never mentioned in dialog, nor is it mentioned in the novelization.
Starchaser Viper

At 13:12 on the DVD, the gyroscope in the recon viper has the name "Collins" on the panel. Collins is a manufacturer of gyroscopes here on Earth.
Collins gyroscope 

The voice display panel of the C.O.R.A. computer on the recon Viper seems to be a precursor to K.I.T.T. on Glen Larson's later series Knight Rider. (The Knight Rider series also reused the electronic humming sound of the Cylon centurions for K.I.T.T.)
C.O.R.A. K.I.T.T.
C.O.R.A. (Computer/Oral Response Activated) K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand)

After briefly testing C.O.R.A.'s piloting capabilities, Starbuck tells her to relinquish control, to which she replies, "Your wish is my command..." This may have been intended by writer Don Bellisario as a play on the Cylons' well-known command acknowledgment of "By your command."

I wonder if the engineers who designed the C.O.R.A. interface with a sexy female voice had Starbuck in mind, figuring it was a voice the reckless pilot and womanizer might actually respond to?

While maneuvering to investigate the two unknown ships detected, C.O.R.A. announces she is slowing to sublight speed, implying the recon Viper (and possibly regular Vipers) are capable of speeds at or above the speed of light.

When Starbuck comments that the two ships they've encountered are ancient, C.O.R.A. says they are 6th millennium shuttle and fighter craft. Since it was established in "Annihilation" that the series takes place during the 7th millennium of mankind, that makes the two craft in the neighborhood of 1,000 yahrens old. Both the shuttle and fighter craft are designed in a manner reminiscent of the "modern day" shuttle and Vipers of the fleet.

To frighten the fighter pilot away from the fleeing shuttle, C.O.R.A. suggests a high-speed flyby and that their backwash will "scare the pogees out of him." "Pogees" seems to be a Colonial equivalent of "shit". (Lucifer also uses the term in "The Living Legend" Part 2). In the novelization, she says "bejabbers" instead of "pogees"; according to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "bejabbers" is a euphemism for "by Jesus"!

When Starbuck comes in for a landing on an asteroid at 16:55 on the DVD, notice that the starfield in the sky is slowly rotating, indicating the asteroid has a rapid rotation on its axis. The rotating starfield is noticeable in several other scenes taking place on the asteroid as well.

At 18:46 on the DVD, Starbuck easily uncorks a bottle of ambrosia from Robber's stash using just his teeth. The bottle sure wasn't sealed very well if that is the case!

The corks used in the ambrosia bottles look just like the plastic corks used in many of our own Earth bottles of liquor!

Assault-9 tells Starbuck that he and his fellow prisoners have been making ambrosia for the Colonial Warriors for 700 yahrens. The prisoners don't realize that their product has not been supplied to the home galaxy for almost that long and that their small outposts have been forgotten in history.

At 36:15 on the DVD, Adama is carrying a book that appears to have the Star of David on it! On Earth, the Star of David is a symbol of Judaism.
Star of David

The drawing of the Earth solar system in Starbuck's cell depicts the most prominent features of the planets in the system. Notice that the sphere representing Earth even has the outline of the continents on it.
Earth system

There are also other drawings on the cell walls of symbols, animals, and what appears to be a river. Are these all aspects of Earth drawn by the Silent One?

In this episode, Starbuck is given the alias Bootlegger-137 for his crimes in the system.

The actor portraying the enforcer outside of Starbuck's cell at 38:28 on the DVD is Robert Hathaway, the father of Noah Hathaway (Boxey).
Robert Hathaway

The concluding scene of the episode suggests that the fleet has taken on the penal colonists as new members of the fleet.

Starbuck's revelation of the map of Earth's solar system gives Adama and the fleet an indication that they are on the right track to finding Earth. This makes the third time Starbuck has provided information leading the fleet towards Earth. He earlier helped retrieve ancient information about Earth from Maytoria in "Risk and Luck" and brought an old ship from Scavenge World that had pulsar charts mapping the way towards Earth in "The Daring Escape of the Space Cowboy". This makes for a nice connection (probably coincidentally) with the Starbuck of the reimagined BSG, in which she was instrumental in leading the fleet to Earth.

Unanswered Questions

Did the Cylon raiders that attacked Proteus signal Baltar's base star of the human presence there? It seems likely, since the Cylons are immediately seen in pursuit of the fleet in subsequent episodes. In the novelization of this episode, the loss of communication with the Cylon fighters does, indeed, prompt the Imperious Leader to send more raiders to investigate.

Who was the Silent One spoken of by Robber who left the drawings on the walls of Starbuck's cell on Proteus yahrens and yahrens ago? He is never mentioned again. 

What happened to Recon Viper One and C.O.R.A? Starbuck's test flight seemed to be fairly successful, so why are the ship and computer never seen again in the series? Possibly the ship did remain in use, piloted by specialized recon pilots and we just never saw it in the course of subsequent stories.

Notes from the novelization of "The Long Patrol", by Glen A. Larson and Ron Goulart
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published November 1984)
The novel has some fairly significant differences from the TV episode:
Here, Robber is female instead of male as depicted in the TV episode and she is single and without child.    
The Imperious Leader is in command of the base ship currently pursuing the human fleet, instead of Baltar as depicted in the TV episode. Possibly this is because this novel was actually published 10th in the series, which was after the novelization of "War of the Gods" (Book 7) in which Baltar was delivered to the fleet by Count Iblis and incarcerated (although in the novelization, Baltar is returned to the Cylons by unknown forces, presumably Count Iblis; however Book 9 of the series, which adapts both "Baltar's Escape" and "Experiment in Terra", depicts Baltar still in custody of the fleet, without explanation).    
The details of Starbuck's arrest by Croad and the search and rescue by Apollo and Boomer is fairly different than the simpler version presented in the televised episode, with several other characters who are friends or enemies of Robber appearing.    
There is no fire to destroy the crates of ambrosia during the Cylon attack, so a number of crates of the stuff are brought to the fleet at Starbuck's suggestion.    
Three Cylon attacks take place instead of just the one on Proteus. In the final attack, the Cylon Raiders attempt kamikaze runs against the Galactica, trapping a group of people in the battlestar's lounge, much like the "Fire in Space" episode which was never adapted into a novel.    
No mention is made of the Earth map in Starbuck's cell, nor of a similar map drawn by Boxey as depicted in the TV episode.    

In the novel, it is the Astro Lounge on the Edena that has been approved by the Council to be reopened as a high-class restaurant/club, not the Rising Star. This ship was mentioned previously in "A Death in the Family", and possibly is the same ship as the Adena, known for its socialators, in the novel Armageddon. In later episodes of the series the lounge of the Rising Star is identified as the Astral Lounge.

Cassiopeia's name is consistently misspelled Cassiopea throughout the novel.

On page 10, Starbuck exclaims, "Holy mulrooney!" An odd, somewhat comical phrase for him to utter.

On page 20, C.O.R.A. uses the curse "nertz". This has an unknown meaning and has not been used elsewhere in the series.

Also on page 20, C.O.R.A. comments that, from his record, protocol and dignity are not part of Starbuck's normal routine, mentioning his being found in the Nurses' Dorm in an otherwise unspoken escapade. Possibly this is an in-joke to Zac's unrevealed escapade with a nurse in the novelization of "Saga of a Star World" (see "Annihilation").

On page 22, Starbuck tells C.O.R.A. to never call him Bucky. Why? Is there a story behind his request?

On page 24, C.O.R.A. says Croad's fighter is heading for an asteroid .71 mectares distant. "Mectare" is not a measurement unit that has been used previously in the series. In the TV episode, C.O.R.A. says "hectars" instead, which is a known unit of Colonial measurement, 1/10 of a parsec (9 million miles).

On page 27, Robber tosses Starbuck an electrowrench. This is the first and only time the tool is mentioned in the BSG universe as far as I am aware.

Also on page 27, Robber tells Starbuck that the fighter ship that was chasing her was probably a pirate from the Hohne system.

On page 28, Robber tells Starbuck she is hauling a load of agritools to farmers on Croton.

On page 38, Starbuck blames Robber's gender and attractiveness for allowing himself to be caught off-guard to where she was able to conk him on the head and make off with his ship. He muses, "if Robber had been a grizzled male spacehauler, he'd never have turned his back." This may be an in-joke reference to the TV episode, in which Robber is depicted as a grizzled male spacehauler, who manages to conk him on the head and make off with his ship anyway!

Page 39 describes a clay flowerpot holding a geranium perched on the control panel of Robber's ship. A geranium is a genus of flowering plant found on Earth, so it is interesting that one should be described as existing so far from the planet. Perhaps it is intended as a subtle suggestion that Earth has influenced the human outposts found in this small system of asteroids?

In the TV episode, Starbuck describes flying Robber's ship as being like flying a museum. Here in the novel, he says instead, "Flying this clunker is going to be like taking part in a historical pageant on the early days of space flight."

On page 52, Starbuck uses the exclamation "jitters" when he spies an abandoned agritractor in the forest. To my knowledge, this exclamation has not been used before or since in the BSG universe.

Page 52 describes an old workbot in a pair of overalls that is somewhat reminiscent of the robots Vector and Hector in "Greetings from Earth" Part 2.

On page 69 the Imperious Leader is described as wearing a helmet. It may be intended to be the same communications helmet he wore in the novelization of "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero", The Cylon Death Machine. Issue #3 of the Battlestar Galactica: Season III comic book ("Fire in the Sky") hints that the large afro hairstyle worn by the Imperious Leader is actually a circuitrized helmet mounted to his throne.

Page 118 reveals that about two dozen of the Proteus prisoners chose to join the fleet, with about twice that number choosing to remain behind.

On page 131, Starbuck mentions having played chicken in skycars during his wild youth. The skycars might be similar to the ones depicted on Scorpia in the flashback story "Shuttle Diplomacy".

When Robber decides she wants to take on a legitimate name, Starbuck suggests Roberta.

Page 154 describes the people trapped in the Galactica lounge as being able to faintly hear the sounds of the space battle outside. Since sound does not propagate in the vacuum of space, they should not be able to hear the battle! It could be argued that what are hearing is the sound of blasts striking the battlestar itself and possibly reverberations from the firing of its own guns. 

Memorable Dialog

a young cadet on his first orbit.wav
perhaps Boxey should take the helm.wav
he's your father.wav
Starbuck, a volunteer?.wav
a warrior on his last night.wav
very pre-war.wav
your wish is my command.wav
don't be a bore.wav
my name's CORA.wav
quiet please, I'm scanning.wav
by all that's holy.wav
trying to fly a museum.wav
been hanging around Starbuck too long.wav
a story about Earth.wav
we're rich.wav
there goes my fortune.wav

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