Experiment in Terra
|"Experiment in Terra"|
|Battlestar Galactica (1978) episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Rod Holcomb|
|Written by||Glen A. Larson|
|Original air date||March 18, 1979|
Melody Anderson as Brenda
|List of Episodes|
"Experiment in Terra" is an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica television series. It concludes the Terra story arc begun in "Greetings from Earth" and features the second appearance of the Seraphs first seen in "War of the Gods".
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (August 2011)|
In his report, Commander Adama exposits the current situation of Eastern Alliance escapees and their other destroyer ships which search the area for opposing forces. A patrol led by Captain Apollo and Lieutenant Starbuck follows the escaping Eastern Alliance craft to determine the exact location of their outpost on Lunar 7. Apollo is overtaken by the Ship of Lights and awakens once again inside dressed in white, though he has no memory of his last visit. A being calling himself John informs Apollo that he must go to Terra to stop a war. Apollo is given a "protecting white aura" - the identity of a lost Terran warrior - so that he may fit in.
Apollo awakens in his Viper but realizes that what he experienced was not just a dream. On Terra, he meets Brenda Maxwell, who calls him Charlie Watts, the name of the lost warrior. Charlie and Brenda had previously been in a relationship, and she thinks he has amnesia. Believing him delirious, Brenda secretly informs the authorities of the Western Nationalists (a democratic government and the chief enemy to the Eastern Alliance), who then arrest Apollo.
The Nationalist president, who has secretly negotiated a peace treaty with the Eastern Alliance, is worried that Charlie Watts has reappeared. An authoritative body called the Presidium suspects the truth, that Eastern Alliance attacks on the satellite planets are being concealed. On board the Galactica, Adama informs the fleet that the Battlestar must temporarily leave the fleet for Terra, traveling at light speed, to rendezvous with the Viper patrol. Starbuck, meanwhile, also arrives on Terra and finds Apollo's Viper. In Brenda's apartment, her father General Maxwell, a supporter of the Presidium, informs her that the president has already turned over all the satellite planets to the Eastern Alliance. They are taken to Apollo's detention facility, while Starbuck shows up outside. John appears as well, touching Starbuck so that he may communicate with him. Starbuck's uniform turns white and he remembers his experience on the Ship of Lights. Against John's warnings, Starbuck blasts his way through the facility and frees Apollo and the other prisoners.
General Maxwell plans to challenge the president with proof of an Eastern Alliance-caused holocaust, using Apollo as a witness. John appears again and warns Apollo and Starbuck of an impending strike by the Alliance. Meanwhile, the sinister Eastern Alliance commanders meet in a war room whose appearance is suggestive of Nazi Germany. The Nationalist president reveals his plans for appeasement to the Presidium, and General Maxwell counters him by introducing Apollo, who relates the story of the Twelve Colonies and advocates peace through strength. Simultaneously, the Eastern Alliance launches its first missile strikes.
The general informs a disbelieving president of the strike and tells him everything is automatic now: their missiles will launch and mutual assured destruction is inevitable. Starbuck is able to launch his Viper, and upon John's suggestion he informs the nearby Galactica of the situation. On Adama's order, the Galactica destroys all the missiles with a powerful laser shield over the planet. Believing the missiles to have been destroyed by secret technology of the Nationalists, the Eastern Alliance sues for peace on the Nationalists' terms.
Apollo slips away and prepares to return to the fleet. In appreciation of his services, John informs Apollo that Terra is not in fact Earth, but his people should have faith that they will reach it some day.
"It is now seven sectars since the escape of our captives, numbering amongst them, a group of Nomen and the dangerous soldiers from the Eastern Alliance, whose ominous destroyers apparently cruise these skies in search of any opposition to their political will. I have a recon patrol launched to track the escaping destroyer to its base on Lunar Seven. Once located, we can assess the strength of the Alliance on the outpost and determine our next step."
- The episode's title is a pun on the name of the 1962 film Experiment in Terror.
- The character of John resembles Edward Mulhare's better-known role, the poltergeist Captain Daniel Gregg in The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, in his ability to appear and vanish at will, making himself visible to whom he chooses.
- This episode was re-edited into a telemovie in 1980, combined with deleted scenes and footage from the Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck".
- Dirk Benedict - Lieutenant Starbuck
- Terry Carter - Colonel Tigh
- John Colicos - Count Baltar
- Lorne Greene - Commander Adama
- Richard Hatch - Captain Apollo
- Noah Hathaway - Boxey
- Herb Jefferson, Jr. - Lieutenant Boomer
- Maren Jensen - Lieutenant Athena
- Anne Lockhart - Lieutenant Sheba
- Laurette Spang - Cassiopeia
- Tony Swartz - Sergeant Jolly
- Experiment in Terra at the Battlestar Wiki