Gun on Ice Planet Zero

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"Gun on Ice Planet Zero"
Battlestar Galactica (1978) episode
Episode no. Episode 8 & 9
Directed by Alan J. Levi
Written by Leslie Stevens
Michael Sloan
Don Bellisario
Production code 50206 & 50207
Original air date October 22, 1978
October 29, 1978
Guest actors

Roy Thinnes as Croft
Christine Belford as Leda
Britt Ekland as Tenna
Dan O'Herlihy as Dr. Ravishol
James Olson as Thane
Richard Lynch as Wolfe
Larry Manetti as Giles
Denny Miller as Ser 5-9

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Long Patrol"
Next →
"The Magnificent Warriors"
Episode chronology

"Gun on Ice Planet Zero" is a two-part episode of the original Battlestar Galactica television series. Robert Thurston adapted the screenplay into a novel he titled The Cylon Death Machine.


Herded into a confined area of space, the Fleet must pass within range of a lethal Cylon pulsar cannon unless an expedition from Galactica can assault the ice-bound fortress housing the weapon. Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer lead a team of cut-throat demolitions and cold-weather experts (and the stowaway Boxey) to the planet. Along the way, they encounter the misguided human scientist who built the weapon, as well as his legions of clones.[1]

Plot synopsis[edit]

The Galactica has been recently attacked by Cylon forces pincering the Fleet on a specific course. The Fleet thus has no choice but to pass close to Arcta, a planet occupied by a Cylon garrison. As a patrol of vipers discovers, the frozen world holds a dangerous Cylon pulsar cannon capable of destroying the Galactica in a single shot. Starbuck and Boomer lead the patrol with three cadets—Cree, Bow and Shields. The Cylon garrison is commanded by an exiled First Centurion named Vulpa; Vulpa orders that two vipers be destroyed and a third captured. The pulsar blasts two vipers and a trio of Cylon raiders shoots down the third (Cree). Furious, Starbuck attempts to rescue Cree but must return to the Galactica with Boomer while the cadet is captured by Cylon centurions and imprisoned in a brain probe for interrogation.

Pincered between basestars under the command of Baltar and the pulsar, Commander Adama orders the formation of a surface unit to infiltrate and destroy the weapon. Cold-weather and demolition experts are needed, but to Adama's, Apollo's, and Starbuck's mutual chagrin, they are also all convicted criminals serving time on the prison barge of the Galactican Fleet. Their leader is Croft, a disgraced ex-warrior; his estranged wife Leda; demolitions specialist Wolfe; and environments expert Thane.

Starbuck reprograms a computer to put himself on the team and thus try and rescue Cree, while Apollo's adopted son Boxey and his daggit Muffit stow away with the team. The team is attacked by a Cylon patrol and shot down, but manages to escape. Centurions on the ground track down the team, but the humans are rescued by a legion of clones who identify themselves as Theta-class lifeforms. They are led by their "Father Creator"—Doctor Ravoshol—a misguided human scientist who has entrusted his "intelligence-transmitting" pulsar to the Cylons and who resists effort to infiltrate the weapon. Meanwhile, Thane, Leda, and Wolfe are determined to escape and bring a reluctant Croft with them.

Baltar launches two raider attacks on the Galactica—even though his basestar is barely in range to attack, and without relying on his companion basestars—in order to "push the Galactica forward", withdrawing just as his companion basestars arrive and he can begin closing in on the Galactica. He then orders Vulpa to fire the pulsar in random directions through the corridor that the Galactica and the Fleet must pass through to evade his basestars. Meanwhile, Dr. Ravoshol devises a plan with Apollo to make the gun self-destruct—but this requires Apollo to put his trust in Thane, Leda, and Wolfe. Also, Ravoshol must convince the Theta clones—who have been secretly having children, and feel they need the pulsar to protect themselves from future Cylon attacks—to help the Demolition Team to destroy the weapon; he promises "I will protect you," confiding to Starbuck that he didn't give "everything" he made to the Cylons. Ultimately, the pulsar is destroyed at the very last micron, just as the Galactica comes into its range.


  • The episode "Bastille Day" in the Re-Imagined Series was partially inspired by elements of this episode. In both episodes, a group of criminals is conscripted from a prison ship to work on the icy surface of a hostile planet. A notable difference between the two episodes lies in how the workers were chosen. While the workers in "Bastille Day" are chosen in part for their expendability, the conscripts in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" are chosen for their expertise in harsh environments and in demolition work.[1]
  • This was actually the second episode in order of filming, hence Cassiopeia's absence, as she was originally not intended to be a continuing character. In fact, she had been scripted to die on Carillon at the hands of the carnivorous Ovions.
  • As the title suggests, the episode combines story elements from Alistair MacLean's novels The Guns of Navarone (military mission to destroy an enemy gun emplacement) and Ice Station Zebra (mission conducted in dangerous arctic conditions). It also draws inspiration from The Dirty Dozen with the recruitment of convicted criminals to serve as a commando squad in exchange for their freedom.[1]

Guest cast[edit]


External links[edit]