Battlestar Galactica (1979) – Baltar’s Escape & Experiment In Terra

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There are some interesting things afoot in this week’s viewing of the classic Battlestar Galactica.

In the first episode, Baltar’s Escape, which aired 11 March, 1979 and was written by Bellisario, the series shows once again that, yes, there is a bit of continuity at play, as references are made back to the Beings of Light (more about them in the next episode) as well as the Eastern Alliance men and ship they captured at the tail end of Greetings From Earth as well as the Nomen from The Man With Nine Lives.

Baltar (John Colicos), the leader of the Nomen, Maga (Lance LeGault) and the captured Alliance men plan an escape from the prison barge that they are jailed on, while the Council of the Twelve have voted to remove martial law, and have the fleet under civilian rule.

As such, Siress Tinia (Ina Balin) begins to join Adama (Lorne Greene) on the bridge and has a say in all of his orders, something all of the warriors bristle at.

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Things get worse when Baltar and his cohorts seize Boomer (Herbert Jefferson, Jr.) and Sheba (Anne Lockhart), along with the Council while they are aboard a shuttle, and hold them all hostage.

Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) have to figure a way out to save their friends…

It’s the second episode in this viewing pair that was the most interesting for me though…

Experiment In Terra, written by Glen A. Larson, you can see the seeds for Bellisario’s later series (and my fave of his work) Quantum Leap at work in this episode.

Airing 18 March, 1979, the Galactica is closing in on Terra, their long range patrols can see it on their scanners, and as they close on it, Apollo is taken by the Beings of Light, and given a mission by John (Knight Rider’s Edward Mulhare). It seems the people on the planet, the Nationalists and the Alliance are racing too close to nuclear war, and in a shades of The Day The Earth Stood Still moment, Apollo will be sent as an emissary to warn them of the dangers they face.

A message from the stars.

It gets better though. Apparently, despite the fact that we the viewer see Apollo as himself, everyone else around him sees him as a long missing pilot who has returned. He’s aided by a vision of John that only he can see and here, well Starbuck can too when he arrives on the planet.

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It sounds very familiar.

Apollo meets up with Barbara (Flash Gordon’s Melody Anderson), who doesn’t believe Apollo’s story and turns him into the authorities.

But everyone slowly comes around to Apollo’s reasoning, but far too late… the Alliance has launched its attack on the Nationalists, and they have retaliated, mutually assured destruction…

That is until the Galactica arrives, unseen from the planet, they destroy all the missiles, and an uneasy peace is brokered.

I wish there would have been a bit more in the way of politics in the first episode, but love the way that I can see homages and other projects in the second.

I’m going to be sad to end this revisit to Galactica, but it ends next week with the last two episodes of the series…

Will they reach Earth??

bsg

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