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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Battlestar Galactica: The Young Lords Battlestar Galactica
"The Young Lords"
TV episode
Written by Donald Bellisario and Frank Lupo and Paul Playdon
Directed by Donald Bellisario

Starbuck crashes onto the planet Attila, where he meets some warrior children trying to free their father from a Cylon prison.

Read the complete synopsis of "The Young Lords" at the Battlestar Wiki site.

Didja Know?

Actress Audrey Landers plays the teenage girl, Miri, who develops a crush on Starbuck while he's trapped on her planet among a tribe of children. Possibly the name Miri was inspired by the 1966 Star Trek episode "Miri" in which a teenage girl by that name develops a crush on Captain Kirk while he's trapped on her planet, on which all the human adults have died.

The voice of the IL-series Cylon, Spectre, is provided by Murray Matheson. Matheson later plays Statesman Geller in "Greetings from Earth" Part 1. Spectre appears again in the BSG novel The Nightmare Machine.

Starting with this episode, Baltar seems to have abandoned his towering "Imperious Leader" style throne on his basestar and taken on a more practically-sized one inside the command center of the ship.

Didja Notice?

On Viper patrol in the Omega sector with Boomer, Starbuck seems melancholy and is about to announce a decision he's come to, but we never hear it, as a squadron of Cylon Raiders approaches. In the novelization, it is revealed that Starbuck has sought out therapy for battle fatigue and he announces to Boomer that he is giving up gambling and socializing (read womanizing); his sacrifices are also hinted at in the deleted scenes on the DVD.

Starbuck's comments about his former flight instructor as a cadet refere to a man named Lt. Wyler (as depicted in "Starbuck" Part 1).

Three Cylon Raiders appear on Boomer's scanner, but we see four of them in the ensuing dogfight.

The Colonies were apparently aware of the existence of Attila because it's name comes up on Boomer's scanner, even though it lies in a different galaxy.

The scanner on Boomer's Viper classifies Attila as a Delta-class planet, identified as swamp-like, with high levels of humidity. 

At 6:15 on the DVD, there appears to be a hitching post in the Cylon garrison just like the one outside the saloon on Equellus in "The Lost Warrior". This at first seems odd, but makes sense when you realize that this was a human-populated world which uses horses (well, unicorns) and the Cylon garrison is actually a captured human castle.
Object in Cylon garrison Hitching post on Equellus
Object in Cylon garrison Hitching post on Equellus

Apparently the Cylons have not had time to install electric lighting in the castle because they are still using candles to light the place! Actually, given their robotic nature, shouldn't they be able to see just fine without visible light?

The Cylon at 11:37 on the DVD appears to have a lot of dried water spots on his armor! Actually, it makes sense considering the humid environment of Attila.
Those dirty water spots

The helmets worn by Megan's children appear to be based on Viking helmet designs.

The children are seen carrying (and using) captured Cylon laser rifles.

The human inhabitants of Attila often refer to the Cylons as "tin cans".

Apparently Boxey has been sick once or twice since becoming Adama's adopted grandson because he asks Adama if he would like him to tell a story like he does when the boy is in sickbed.

Boxey begins to tell Adama a story set on "a shiny planet", which Adama guesses is called Earth. Boxey's phrase "a shiny planet" harkens to the coda at the end of most episodes of the series stating that the Galactica is leading the fleet to "a shining planet known as Earth". In this case, however, Boxey informs him the planet is called Mushieland.

When it is depicted as raining outside the castle/garrison at 21:18 on the DVD, it is a nice bit of detail that the Centurion that has just walked in from outside actually does have water drops all over his armor. Somehow, however, Spectre comes in as well and appears to be dry!

At 22:10 on the DVD, we see for the first time that IL-series Cylons possess arms when Spectre hands Kyle's prisoner exchange offer to Megan. The arms, however, remain covered by Spectre's robe, so we don't actually see them. In Die, Chameleon!, Spectre's fingers are described as skeleton-like.

Regarding the Cylons stationed on Attila, Starbuck tells Miri that she and her siblings have been "a laser in their side". This is, obviously, a play on the Earth colloquialism "a thorn in their/his/her/my/your side".

At 31:42 on the DVD, we see what I assume is a type of small Cylon gunboat.
Cylon gunboat Cylon gunboat

At 32:04 on the DVD, an additional red light can be seen flashing and moving on Spectre's lower body. Presumably this is part of the IL-series design.

When he realizes he's been deceived by the children, Spectre exclaims, "Those little sclime." This word is unknown in my researches. Perhaps it is a Cylon derogatory term? (It almost seems to be a portmanteau of "scum" and "slime".)

The poem that Starbuck has the children memorize to denote the battle plan goes as follows:

Through the tunnel, under the land, Starbuck and Miri creep hand on hand.
We swim the moat to the petro dump and blow it up with a great big whump!
At the bridge, the youngest daughter drops tin cans into the water.
And around the castle, the son firstborn rides at a gallop and blows his horn.
The first to go is Starbuck and Miri, carrying torches to keep things cheery
Then the brothers swim through the water, to set their bombs for a Cylon slaughter
Ariadne is ready to throw captured grenades at the bridge below
We go up the steps to the castle floor and sneak a peek through the secret door.
Although the dump is double-guarded we'll sneak across when the guards are parted.
Robus sets one bomb and then the other, leaving the rest to his older brother.
When all is ready across the moat, Kyle will sound the signal note.
At the bridge, the youngest daughter drops tin cans into the water.
Through all the confusion, noise, and bother, Starbuck and Miri rescue Father.

The so-called secret door in the castle does not appear to be very secret! It's an obvious entry panel!
"Secret" door

At 36:48 on the DVD, there appears to be some kind of Cylon symbol on the crate resting on the table.
Cylon symbol

Possibly the bombs the children use were captured from the Cylons, so the symbol on them may be Cylon as well.

Stupidly, at 37:44 on the DVD, the boy called Nilz doesn't even hide his bomb in a place the Cylon guard won't see it on his next pass!

At 38:29 on the DVD, it sounds as if Lucifer says "feldercarb" instead of the proper "felgercarb". Listen: oh, felgercarb.wav

When Spectre (mis)informs Baltar that his centurions are destroying the last remaining structures of human habitation to prevent any newcomers from using it again, Baltar is impressed with the robot's use of scorched planet policy. The term "scorched planet" is inspired by our own term "scorched earth", a military strategy of destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing or withdrawing through an area of land. The policy has been used throughout human military history.

Spectre spends much of his time in this episode lying to Baltar about his garrison's accomplishments on Attila. Baltar falls for it and even acquiesces to Spectre's manipulations that the garrison be reassigned to a more hospitable environment than Attila. But wouldn't the other Cylons of the garrison eventually reveal the truth of what went on there after reporting in to Baltar or other Cylon commanders?

Notes from the Deleted Scenes on the DVD

It seems fairly obvious this would the case, and one of the deleted scenes seems to confirm, that the physical acting of Spectre is performed by Bobby Porter (who also performs Lucifer throughout the series); in one of the scenes we hear someone off-camera (probably the director or assistant director) say, "Cover this way, Bobby," as Spectre turns to look to his left.

During the scene mentioned above, at 2:43 in the Deleted Scenes, Spectre accidentally bumps into one of the centurions as he is walking away.

Memorable Dialog: prisoners on the grid barge.wav

Notes from "Inside Battlestar Galactica" from the bonus materials on the DVD

Dirk Benedict tells how a stuntman in Cylon costume was almost killed during the making of this episode. In the scene where the Cylons are chasing Starbuck through the swampy water, the stuntman stumbled and fell, becoming submerged, and, in that cumbersome armor, was unable to pick himself up and get back above water. Thankfully, crewmembers ran in and pulled him out.

Battlestar Galactica: The Young Warriors Notes from the novelization of "The Young Lords", titled The Young Warriors by Glen A. Larson and Robert Thurston

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published August 1980)

The book is titled The Young Warriors instead of The Young Lords as the episode is called. Oddly, the credits of the book also state it is adapted from the episode "The Young Warriors". Possibly that was the original title of the teleplay but, since the book was published a couple years after the episode had aired, you'd think they'd credit the final title, not the working one. "The Young Warriors" is the more apt title; possibly the producers of the TV series felt another warrior-titled episode was too many, having already produced "The Lost Warrior" and "The Magnificent Warriors".

The painted cover of the book appears to depict Apollo in the scene instead of Starbuck! Not to mention it's a scene that never takes place in the story.

At the beginning of the book, Starbuck goes in for therapy, as he's been feeling depressed, unable to sleep much (and having nightmares when he does) and has not felt cheerful since the fleet left Kobol; significantly, this is when Serina was killed (in "A Death in the Family") and for which Starbuck blamed himself (in "The Memory Machine"). The therapist is a computer programmed to help humans with psychological problems. After listening to him, the computer diagnoses him with battle fatigue. (Starbuck also sees a human psyche-med later in "Fear of Flying".

As Starbuck walks through some of the lowest, darkest passages of the Galactica to get to the therapy room on page 2, he muses that the corridors remind him of the ones he walked through on his one-and-only visit to the prison barge during a special mission. This seems like a veiled reference to "Baltar's Escape", but that episode takes place later in the timeline! It is possible he paid a visit to the prison barge off-camera in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 1, but it doesn't really seem to fit with his role in that episode. Possibly he is thinking of some other mission to the ship that has not been chronicled.

The therapy room is incorporated with fantasy-interplay devices that allow the computer to project waking-dream-like scenarios in the patient's mind to help them work through their psychological issues. The devices are said to be derived from Sagitaran technology.

Page 2 suggests that Starbuck has been awarded a large number of medals for his valor as a warrior.

Starbuck's thoughts on page 2 also suggest that Commander Adama has been solemnly mourning the fact that he left Kobol without any additional knowledge of where Earth is located. It's true that he did not glean any knowledge of Earth's location on Kobol in his conscious memory, but he was able to uncover a clue from his subconscious memories through the use of the memory machine, over the course of a number of issues of the Marvel BSG comic, as told in "Trial and Error", plus the fleet did glean some fresh clues to the path to Earth from the ship Starbuck stole from Scavenge World, as seen in "The Last Hiding Place".

Page 6 reveals that Starbuck was shaken by his interrogation by Lucifer, as depicted in the "Lost Planet of the Gods" novelization, The Tombs of Kobol, despite the fact that Lucifer seemed to rather like Starbuck.

The book reveals that, during his youth, Starbuck's foster parents were disabled veterans of the war named Gawr and Doreen. Gawr's war injuries left him with a hook for a hand and a limp; Doreen was nearly blind from a laser attack she'd survived. Starbuck's foster parents are depicted in the later Starbuck comic book mini-series, but go unnamed and do not resemble the descriptions stated here.

Page 7 reveals that Starbuck has heard rumors over the years of his real father still being alive, roaming the worlds, gambling and getting into scrapes. This foreshadows the revelation of Chameleon as Starbuck's father in "The Man With Nine Lives".

Starbuck laments that his whole life has been guided by the war and that even his diversions of gambling and romance are pursued with a tactical efficiency. He tells the therapy computer he feels guilty about how he manipulates Athena and Cassiopeia off each other, but he does it anyway.

On page 9, it seems odd that the therapy computer is not familiar with the swear word "felgercarb".

Page 9 also features the first mention of the sport of triad in the chronology.

One of the strangely-shaped fantasy-interplay devices that emerge from the walls of the therapy room reminds Starbuck of an Ovion cabbage! These have never been mentioned before, but I guess they are vegetables found on Carillon, visited by the fleet in the episodes "Exodus" and "Deathtrap" where they met the Ovion species.

On page 10, belts emerge from the therapist's couch to wrap around Starbuck and hold him reluctantly on the couch for the fantasy-interplay.

As in the previous BSG novels, the Cylons are presented as cyborg reptilians. Starbuck comments that they have not been able to learn much about Cylon bodies because more than half of their internal organs turn to dust upon death. He describes Cylons as lizardish with vaguely insectoid heads and rather humanoid bodies.

Page 15 reveals that Colonial mythology suggests that unicorns once existed on Aquarus and Virgon.

Page 19 suggests that the ship's engineers refer to the lower levels of the Galactica as the devil's pit, due to the hazardous presence of the ship's fuel storage, in "allegedly shatterproof containers", on the level above. The devil's pit is referenced or seen in several of the later BSG novels.

Page 20 suggests rumors of ghosts of former crewmembers roaming the Galactica.

Page 21 suggests that Apollo is still reeling from the death of Serina and trying to care for his adopted son, Boxey. In the timeline of the novels, this one follows The Tombs of Kobol, hence the reference to Serina's death as recent. In the timeline of the TV series (and expanded universe) it has been a fair amount of time since her death.

Page 21 also reveals that the ailment from which Commander Adama is currently suffering is Sagitaran flu. Ensign Greenbean is also suffering from the outbreak.

Page 25 reveals that the planet is in what Boomer refers to as the A4477 star system.

In the book, the planet is called Antila instead of Attila.

Boomer's onboard computer indicates that the Colonies were aware of Antila and the human life on it; the planet was declared off-limits for unspecified reasons. From Miri's book, we learn that the small human colony on Antila were outcasts who were banished from the somewhat militaristic Scorpia for their peaceful political beliefs.

When Starbuck thinks he's about to die in a crash landing on page 28, he thinks, "Good thing Boomer's not here to see me buy the agricultural complex." Obviously, this is a paraphrasing of the Earth euphemism, "buy the farm", meaning "die".

Although, as in the previous novelizations, the Cylons are presented as reptilian cyborgs, most, if not all, of the centurions on Antila are actual robots, designed by Spectre, to replace the true Cylons who died of native diseases on Antila after the garrison was established.

Spectre chooses to name his robotic Cylons according to landmarks in view at the time of each activation. They have names such as Hilltop, Treebark, and Mudhole.

Page 31 suggests that the ships at Spectre's garrison are outdated.

Page 32 reveals that Cylon spaceships are allocated by the Cylon Spacecraft Bureau.

Page 32 reveals that Spectre was designed to be the perfect bureaucrat.

On page 32, Spectre refers to his robes as an "anti-rust shield". Is this why all IL-series Cylons wear similar robes?

Also on page 32, a brief history of Spectre reveals that he was made the executive officer to the Cylon commander of the garrison, in an unheard of move by the mentally ill commander, whose two brains were damaged by Antilean disease.

Page 34 reveals that the Cylons have a stiffly ceremonial salute, which Spectre has modified into a complicated four-stage salute among his mechanical troops.

Page 34 also describes that seven Cylon Raiders attacked Starbuck and Boomer during their earlier patrol, not four as seen in the televised episode. The lone survivor of the Cylon patrol is also the last pilot robot that Spectre has at the moment.

Page 35 reveals that Lucifer does not care about locating the Galactica at all, the way the Imperious Leader and Baltar do.

Although he liked the pilot during their time together on Baltar's baseship in "A Death in the Family", Lucifer has forgotten Starbuck's name, thinking it was something like Starshine or Starluck or something like that. It seems odd that a computer-being could so easily forget a detail like that.

On page 37, Lucifer uses the phrase "oil flushed out a chute" in the same way we would use the euphemism "water under the bridge".

In the book, the unicorns of Antila are telepathic and can communicate, to a degree, with certain humans that are naturally receptive to telepathy; Miri is one of the receptive ones, Kyle is not. Starbuck turns out to be receptive as well, at least to the mount called Magician. The human colonists did not capture and tame the wild unicorns; the unicorns came to the settlement themselves and allowed only certain people to ride them. Miri and Kyle ride unicorns named Rogue and Demon, respectively. The horn of a dead unicorn is reported to have medicinal properties.

In the book, Miri is older than Kyle (it seems to be the opposite in the televised episode). They both have dark brown hair instead of the blond seen in the episode.

While searching for Starbuck after the crash, the Cylons use an inflatable raft to cross the river (rather than wading through it as they do in the episode).

On page 47, Starbuck thinks of Tauron holographic puzzles.

In the book, Kyle's band of child warriors is more than just his brothers and sisters; the children of other imprisoned colonists are members as well, 27 in all.

In the novel, the imprisoned parent is the mother, not the father as in the episode. In both instances, however, the parent is called Megan.

Page 58 describes a type of paint on Scorpia which some telepathically-gifted artists were able to use to change the color of the art after painting via telepathy.

Pages 58-59 describe Scorpia as a bleak, cold, emotionally remote world, with a fairly militaristic government. Page 64 suggests that the Scorpian survivors in the fleet are rather known for these traits, and their volatile temperaments, as well. No mention is made of Scorpia's reliance on robots as depicted in Adama's memories in "Shuttle Diplomacy".

On page 65, Starbuck drifts off to sleep and dreams of being a kid again, playing Vipers and Raiders with his friends.

The book reveals that Miri is able to occasionally sneak into the castle through the secret passage to visit Megan, though she is unable to free her from behind the locked iron cell. Other adult prisoners are held there by the Cylons as well. Oddly, Kyle refuses to believe that Miri is able to do this; why didn't he just go with her one of those times?

In the book, the secret passage emerges through the back of a fireplace in a room used for storage by the Cylons. In the episode, the passage exit is so much more obvious, it's a wonder the Cylons haven't discovered it.

In the book, the kids actually send the bound Starbuck across the river to make the trade with the Cylons for Megan. In the episode, they send a stuffed dummy.

Page 119 reveals that Starbuck also rather liked Lucifer during their time together in "A Death in the Family".

On page 120, the captive Starbuck tells Spectre that he's from a tramp freighter called The Floating Dustbin. The term "floating dustbin" is often used to describe an old and worn-out ship here on Earth.

On page 169, to cover the loss, Spectre reports Starbuck dead, which thrills Baltar and shocks and disappoints Lucifer.

Spectre flees the garrison, to rendezvous with Baltar's baseship. Hilltop assumes command of the remaining Cylon robots and surrenders to the young human warriors. Days later we see that he and the other robot centurions are helping the now freed colonists to rebuild the colony.

There are a few hints in the novel that the whole adventure was just part of an extended simulation generated by the therapy computer, such as: the "ghostly" engineer Starbuck meets as he exits the therapy room; Starbuck's observation that the Cylon attack on him and Boomer is like the battle simulation game on the Galactica's rec level; the presence of a pretty, secluded world, on which a small human colony attempts to avoid the war, just as Starbuck wishes he could do sometimes; the presence of unicorns as in the overt simulation he experiences with the therapist. Then, there are other parts, like the book/journal Miri writes her thoughts down in, and which Starbuck never sees, and Spectre's return in The Nightmare Machine, that seem to mark it as real. But the story ends without depicting Starbuck's "awakening" nor a return to the therapy room for closure. 

Memorable Dialog

a Viper pilot only flies three Vipers.wav
these humanoids are not well-constructed.wav
we are warriors.wav
we learned of the Galactica from the Cylons.wav
you think I'm pretty?.wav
you'll drive 'em crazy.wav
a shiny planet.wav
trade Starbuck to the tin cans.wav
more binding than Cylon chains.wav
do not tell me how to command.wav
Lucifer, I do believe you're jealous.wav
the illustrious Baltar.wav
I can walk to my execution.wav
we are programmed to destroy humans, not save them.wav
one of the great leaders of our millenium.wav
half our garrison is down with rust.wav
daggit drivel.wav
what else can go wrong?.wav
you're a wonder, Spectre.wav
what happened here?.wav

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