The Hand of God (2004 Battlestar Galactica)

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"The Hand of God"
Battlestar Galactica episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 10
Directed by Jeff Woolnough
Written by Bradley Thompson
David Weddle
Original air date UK: January 3, 2005
US: March 11, 2005
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down"
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"Colonial Day"
Episode chronology

"The Hand of God" is the tenth episode of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series. It shares its title with the last episode of the original series.

In the episode, the humans capture a fuel-rich asteroid from the Cylons using a plan devised by Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. President Laura Roslin begins seeing visions, and Gaius Baltar comes to believe that his contribution to the raid on the asteroid was guided by God. On Caprica, Helo and Caprica-Boomer keep running from the Cylons.[2]

Plot[edit]

The human fleet[edit]

As Roslin gives a press conference regarding a critical fleet-wide fuel shortage, she experiences a hallucination of snakes produced by the herbs she is taking to fight her breast cancer.[3] Later, Priestess Elosha tells her about a prophecy of a leader of the human race in exile: the leader receives a vision of 12 serpents and later dies of "a wasting disease".

Galactica-Boomer and Crashdown discover an asteroid made of tylium, the substance used for fuel, being mined by Cylons. Commander William Adama decides to take the asteroid by force and asks Starbuck to devise an unconventional assault plan. Starbuck describes the plan, which uses civilian freighters as bait, to Roslin, who approves it.

Colonel Saul Tigh and Starbuck consult Baltar about where to bomb the asteroid to destroy the Cylon mining facility. Baltar is stumped and, in his mind, asks Head Six for advice. Six demurs and suggests he rely on God's guidance. Under pressure, Baltar picks a random spot on a reconnaissance photograph of the facility and tells them to bomb there.

Starbuck wants to fly in the raid but is waylaid by injuries from an earlier Viper crash.[4] She fears that her fellow Viper pilot Lee "Apollo" Adama will bungle the mission, and she tells him so. Apollo's father, Commander Adama, gives him a lucky lighter his own father, Joseph Adama, owned, and expresses confidence in Apollo. Apollo promises to make it back with the lighter.

The raid[edit]

As the raid begins, the Cylons deploy Raiders toward the freighters, as expected, but then more Raiders are sent toward Galactica. Several of Starbuck's piloting trainees engage these Raiders in Vipers launched from Galactica, but they are forced back. The Raiders moving toward the civilian ships then change course for Galactica. Just as all seems lost, the freighters unveil a squadron of 12 Vipers led by Apollo who now have a clear path to the asteroid. Adama admits to Roslin that he concealed this part of Starbuck's plan in her initial briefing.

Apollo's squadron takes heavy fire from the facility's defenses. The Cylons jam their missiles, so Apollo performs a Starbuck-like[3] maneuver: he flies through the mine tunnels and emerges inside the facility. He bombs Baltar's target, and the facility is destroyed with several years' worth of tylium left for the humans. The Raiders retreat.

Celebration erupts aboard Galactica. Starbuck congratulates Apollo as he returns and offers him a cigar. Apollo lights it with his grandfather's lighter, which he then returns to his father, as promised.

In his fantasy world, Baltar reflects on the victory. Head Six reminds him of the prophecy, and Baltar realizes that the 12 serpents may have referred to Apollo's Viper squadron. Baltar, previously a militant atheist,[5] marvels at the fortune of picking the correct target and begins to accept Six's proposition that he is "an instrument of God."

Caprica[edit]

On Caprica, Helo and Caprica-Sharon hide from the pursuing Cylons in an abandoned stable. Helo expresses surprise that they have not encountered other people, but Sharon brushes this off. Sharon vomits and attributes it to food they ate earlier. They flee after spotting a nearby group of Cylon Centurions led by a Number Six copy.

Production[edit]

The writing staff referred to this episode as "the Big Mac" during production because they believed the action would make it a crowd pleaser. It was originally slated to be the ninth episode of the first season, with "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" as episode 10. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore realized that the end of the eighth episode, "Flesh and Bone", in which Leoben Conoy causes Roslin to fear that Adama is a Cylon, was an ideal segue to the paranoia of "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", so they were switched. The only major change that had to be made was to switch the action on Caprica between the episodes.[3]

Roslin's conversation with Elosha in this episode begins the introduction of the Battlestar Galactica mythos in the re-imagined series. The show's creators wanted to retain the epic narrative of the original series but introduce it gradually, after fans had already committed to the show.[3]

Roslin receives her briefing on Starbuck's plan on an illuminated table with large figurines representing ships; the plan is later tracked on it as the raid is underway. Moore explained that the decision to use the "big board" was a result of financial and narrative constraints. Using computer graphics to narrate space battles is often expensive, and the product often has to be simplified heavily so the viewer can understand it. The idea for a big board came from classic films about World War II such as Sink the Bismarck!, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and Midway. The idea for the models came from production designer Richard Hudolin.[3]

In an homage to the original series, the appearance of the freighter that conceals the Vipers is based on the Colonial Movers freighter from the original series. Apollo's attack run through the mine shaft is an homage to Star Wars.[3]

Composer Bear McCreary said "The Hand of God" was one of his favorite episodes to score of the first season and described it as "a lot of fun."[6]

Reception[edit]

"The Hand of God" was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Series in 2005. It lost to Lost's pilot episode.[7][8]

Susan Tankersley of Television Without Pity gave "The Hand of God" an A-, calling the action sequences "pretty awesome".[9] Simon Brew of Den of Geek reviewed the episode favorably, singling out for praise the use of the big board and "the increasing complexity of Roslin".[10]

John Kubicek of BuddyTV ranked "The Hand of God" as the 11th best episode of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and called the episode "brilliant".[11]

Series context[edit]

Caprica-Sharon's vomiting is the first sign that she is pregnant.[3]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ This character is billed as "Playa Palacios" in later episodes.
  2. ^ "The Hand of God". Battlestar Galactica. Season 1. Episode 10. 11 Mar 2005. Sci Fi.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Moore, Ron (10 Mar 2005). "Battlestar Galactica episode 110 commentary" (Podcast). Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  4. ^ "Act of Contrition". Battlestar Galactica. Season 1. Episode 4. 28 Jan 2005. Sci Fi.
  5. ^ "Six Degrees of Separation". Battlestar Galactica. Season 1. Episode 7. 18 Feb 2005. Sci Fi.
  6. ^ Green, Earl (May 2005). "Bear McCreary: creating the new sound of Battlestar Galactica". theLogBook.com. Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  7. ^ Primetime Emmy Awards. "Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series 2005". Retrieved 22 Jul 2011. 
  8. ^ Heusser, Jeff (14 Jul 2005). "Special Visual Effects Emmy Nominations". fxguide. Retrieved 22 Jul 2011. 
  9. ^ Tankersley, Susan (Strega) (16 Mar 2005). "Kick; splode; robot". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  10. ^ Brew, Simon (18 Aug 2009). "Battlestar Galactica season 1 episode 10 review: The Hand Of God". Den of Geek. Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  11. ^ Kubicek, John (12 Mar 2009). "Best 25 Battlestar Galactica episodes". BuddyTV. Retrieved 22 Jul 2011. 

External links[edit]