Valley of Darkness
|"Valley of Darkness"|
|Battlestar Galactica episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Michael Rymer|
|Written by||David Weddle
|Original air date||July 22, 2005|
In the episode, Cylon Centurions board Galactica; the crew, led by Lee "Apollo" Adama, beat them back but suffer heavy casualties. On Kobol, Gaius Baltar's visions continue, and Chief Galen Tyrol euthanizes a dying comrade. On Caprica, Starbuck and Helo relax in Starbuck's apartment and then take her truck out of the city.
According to executive producer Ronald D. Moore, production and post-production for "Valley of Darkness" was contentious. Nonetheless, critics reviewed it favorably. The episode received a nomination at the 2005 VES awards for the (animated) Centurions.
In "Kobol's Last Gleaming", Commander William Adama staged a military coup and confined President Laura Roslin to Galactica's brig. In "Scattered", Tigh assumed command of Galactica following an assassination attempt on Adama. The Cylons tried but seemingly failed to infiltrate Galactica's computer network with a virus. Unbeknownst to the crew, Cylon Centurions boarded Galactica. On Kobol, Head Six told Baltar that they would have a child. Cylons killed Tarn, one of Tyrol's subordinates, after Crashdown ordered them to retrieve a medical kit for the wounded Specialist Socinus.
Galactica loses power; Lieutenant Felix Gaeta attributes it to the Cylon virus. Emergency power comes online, and Captain Aaron Kelly receives a report of Centurions aboard. Tigh determines the Centurions' objective is to vent the ship's air and crew into space and then turn the guns on the civilian ships.
A Centurion attacks Apollo and his fellow Viper pilots; a Marine destroys the Centurion by firing an explosive round at its head. Apollo releases Roslin from the brig so she can flee the Centurions. He goes in search of more explosive rounds but finds only a few in a small arms locker full of corpses. A deckhand fixes an intercom and patches Apollo into the CIC. Realizing Apollo's party is all that stands between a group of Centurions and the aft damage control, from which the Centurions could vent the air, Tigh orders Apollo to intercept them.
At Apollo's suggestion, Roslin makes her way through the dimly lit ship toward sickbay with Billy Keikeya and two Marines. Along the way they pass several corpses but pick up a traumatized Dee, who blew off Billy earlier but is now happy to see him. The group is forced to detour toward the aft damage control, realizing too late that Centurions are close. Two Centurions open fire on them, but Apollo's party destroys them with explosive rounds, saving Roslin's group and the ship.
In sickbay following the crisis, Dee and Billy kiss. Roslin and Apollo stand by the still unconscious Commander Adama. Tigh announces Doctor Cottle is on his way, orders Roslin back to the brig, and exchanges reprimands with Apollo.
Baltar has a dream in which Adama drowns his and Six's baby. Six reflects on the barbarity of humanity and tells him of the human sacrifice that was performed on Kobol. She warns him to stop Adama from trying to kill their baby.
Cally consoles Tyrol over Tarn's death. They arrive too late with the medical kit; Diana Seelix tells them Socinus's death is inevitable and suggests euthanasia. Tyrol is horrified at first but ultimately agrees. As he administers the lethal dosage to his subordinate, Tyrol smiles and tells Socinus a rescue party has arrived, and they are "going home."
Starbuck and Helo continue to argue about Caprica-Boomer. They stop at Starbuck's old apartment, where they listen to a recording of Starbuck's father playing the piano as Starbuck reflects on her life. They retrieve the keys to Starbuck's truck and escape the city in it.
In a deleted flashback of Tigh's set decades before the events of the series, at the same time as his flashbacks in "Scattered", Adama relates how Cylons boarded Galactica during the First Cylon War and tried to vent the air. This was to be how Tigh recognized the strategy.
In another deleted scene, when Apollo calls the CIC, Tigh tries to relieve Apollo of his command of the Marines and tells him, "You've been a disappointment your entire life." Only after Apollo refuses multiple times does Tigh order him to intercept the Centurions. This would have been paired with additional dialogue between Tigh and Apollo in sickbay. Apollo would have asked whether his father called him a disappointment. Tigh would have replied that the elder Adama thought the world of Lee and that Tigh didn't understand why Apollo had sided with Roslin over his father during the coup.
In his podcast commentary on "Valley of Darkness", Moore discusses his views of the symbolism appearing in the episode.
- He connects Baltar's dream about Adama killing the baby to episodes of infanticide in the Bible, such as the Massacre of the Innocents. The symbolism is intended to contextualize the magnitude of the threat to the baby Baltar is supposed to perceive.
- Baltar comments that Six's description of human sacrifice on Kobol differs greatly from the accounts of the in-universe Scriptures, which describe the planet as a paradise. Moore connects this with the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden. As in the case of Eden, he says, humanity was driven out of paradise as divine punishment for its sins, except Kobol was home to "a more brutal, ugly kind of sin than simply getting some fruit off of some old tree that you weren't supposed to be snacking on."
Much of the action in "Valley of Darkness" set on Kobol and Caprica was originally written as part of "Scattered". This produced a script that was too long for one episode but too short for two. The Cylon boarding party plot was conceived to fill enough time for a full second episode.
- After most of the shooting had concluded, the episode was viewed as too heavy. Moore and executive producer David Eick responded by adding the scenes between Dee and Billy before and after the crisis. Moore felt that these "bookends" provide better context for their relationship at the expense of sense of urgency in the episode's first minutes. The scene between Tyrol and Cally and some extra time between Starbuck and Helo on Caprica were also added to lighten the mood.
- The drowning scene was controversial because of its perceived brutality, but Moore and Eick fought to keep it in the episode. Ultimately the scene was shot and edited to minimize the screen presence of the drowning itself. Moore acknowledged that the scene would disturb some viewers but enjoyed the way it advanced the show's mythos.
- Socinus's death was controversial because of its emotional impact, but Moore considered it an important part of the episode. He had second thoughts about including it after learning that actor Aaron Douglas (Tyrol) had suffered a personal loss, but Douglas "really embraced it. He really wanted to do these scenes." Asked in a December 2005 interview what was the most difficult scene in the series to shoot, Douglas said, "The scenes where someone dies in the Chief's arms are difficult to do because they take a really long time to shoot and you are constantly in a state of loss and sadness. They are very draining."
- Moore pushed for the scenes between Tigh and Apollo that were ultimately deleted to be included but changed his mind after they had been filmed. He called that element of the script "a misstep".
The piano piece Starbuck and Helo listen to is "Metamorphosis One" by Philip Glass. It is reprised at the end of the episode. Glass's music was often used for temp tracks during production of the series. The microcassette format she uses is an homage to the film A Clockwork Orange.
When Tyrol and Cally rejoin the others, they use a kind of challenge-response authentication in which one party says "flash" and the other "thunder". These were the challenge and password, respectively, used by Allied soldiers on D-Day during World War II.
Actress Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) played a large role in planning the look and feel of Starbuck's apartment. She and actor Tahmoh Penikett (Helo) did much of the painting on the walls and the canvases strewn about the room.
"Valley of Darkness" received a nomination at the 2005 Visual Effects Society Awards for the Centurions, in the category "Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program, Commercial, or Music Video". It lost to the following episode, "Fragged", which won for the Centurions in that episode.
"Valley of Darkness" received favorable critical review. Jen Segrest of AOL's TV Squad commended the scenes between Starbuck and Helo and said the final confrontation with the Centurions was "a [scene] you'll want to rewatch a few times in slow mo." Susan Tankersley of Television Without Pity gave "Valley of Darkness" a B+. Simon Brew of Den of Geek praised Tyrol's scene with Socinus, calling it "moving".
Connection to other series elements
- The image painted on the wall of Starbuck's apartment, three concentric, colorful disks, reappears in the Temple of the Five in the third-season episode "The Eye of Jupiter".
- "Metamorphosis Five" is also featured in the fourth-season episode "Someone to Watch Over Me".
Notes and references
- Vernon is credited but does not appear in the final cut of the "Valley of Darkness". She appears in deleted scenes included in disc 1 of the season 2.0 DVD.
- "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2". Battlestar Galactica. Season 1. Episode 13. 25 Mar 2005. Sci Fi.
- "Scattered". Battlestar Galactica. Season 2. Episode 1. 15 Jul 2005. Sci Fi.
- Battlestar Galactica DVD, season 2.0, disc 1, "Valley of Darkness" deleted scenes.
- Moore, Ron (22 Jul 2005). "Battlestar Galactica episode 202 commentary" (Podcast). http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/battlestar-galactica/id73329453. Retrieved 18 Jul 2011.
- The connection, if one exists, between the Earth of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and the real-life Earth is unknown at this point in the series.
- Moore, Ron (12 Aug 2005). "Battlestar Galactica episode 205 commentary" (Podcast). http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/battlestar-galactica/id73329453. Retrieved 21 Jul 2011.
- Douglas, Aaron (19 Dec 2005). Aaron Douglas interview. Interview with Gilles Nuytens. The Scifi World. http://www.thescifiworld.net/interviews/aaron_douglas_01.htm. Retrieved 21 Aug 2011.
- Eick, David, and Moore, Ronald D. Commentary for "Pegasus" extended edition. Battlestar Galactica DVD, season 2.5, disc 1.
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (1994). D-Day. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster. p. 193.
- Visual Effects Society. "4th Annual VES Awards". Retrieved 9 Aug 2011.
- Segrest, Jen (24 Jul 2005). "Battlestar Galactica: Valley of Darkness". TV Squad. Retrieved 19 Jul 2011.
- Tankersley, Susan (Strega) (27 Jul 2005). "Rock 'em sock 'em robots". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 19 Jul 2011.
- Brew, Simon (1 Sep 2009). "Battlestar Galactica season 2 episode 2 review: Valley Of Darkness". Den of Geek. Retrieved 19 Jul 2011.
- Goldman, Eric (26 Mar 2009). "Battlestar Galactica: 20 best storylines and moments". IGN. Retrieved 18 Jul 2011.
- "The Eye of Jupiter". Battlestar Galactica. Season 3. Episode 11. 15 Dec 2006. Sci Fi.
- "Someone to Watch Over Me". Battlestar Galactica. Season 4. Episode 17. 27 Feb 2009. Sci Fi.
- "Valley of Darkness" at the Battlestar Wiki
- "Valley of Darkness" at Syfy
- "Valley of Darkness" at TV.com
- "Valley of Darkness" at the Internet Movie Database