Battlestar Galactica - 1.1- *Open Spoilers* - "33" - the plot

I know all the hip and trendy people watched BG years ago, but anyway I haven’t caught up with it before now. I heard good things about the series so Mrs P & I have begun to work our way through. I’m not going to box spoilers so do an FTL jump right out of here, now, if you don’t want to see them.

So, the first episode of season one - “33”. If you can answer my question you already know the plot of the episode, so I won’t bother to recap. There is an unexplained aspect to the plot. I can only think of one explanation, without invoking aspects of the BG universe that are as yet not revealed. My explanation is not confirmed or mentioned in the episode at all. [by the way if the explanation does involve aspects of the BG universe that are not revealed at this stage of the series, then please don’t spoil it for me.]

Anyway, the problem is this: after the Olympic Carrier was destroyed the Cylons lost the ability to trace the fleet every 33 minutes. So their ability to trace the fleet was tied to the Olympic Carrier obviously. Presumably it had been infiltrated by the Cylons. OK but why was the Olympic Carrier late on second last jump? It would be sad to think that the plot is simply that the humans lucked out, and out of the entire fleet the one ship that happened to get left behind on one jump (causing it to be suspected) happened to be the one ship that was already infiltrated.

The only explanation I can think of (but there is no in-episode confirmation) is that the Cylons’ original plan was just to use the Olympic Carrier to trace the fleet, keep attacking and eventually catch the humans out. Then after 238 attempts they decided to change plan and hold the Olympic Carrier back and put nukes onboard, and use it as a Trojan Horse. Putting the nukes on board caused the delay.

Am I close?

That’s certainly a plausible explanation. I’m not sure how much more I can discuss this without invoking future episodes. I don’t think it would spoil anything, but I’d rather err on the side of caution, because I think you’re in for a hell of a ride, and I’d rather allow you to experience everything as freshly as possible.

Out of curiosity, how did you like “33?” Personally, I thought the mini-series that launched the reboot was OK; intriguing and well-done enough to make me think, “I’ll give this a shot when it becomes a series.” After “33,” I thought, “This is AWESOME!” Seriously, I thought it was one of the most well-crafted hours of television to date. Action-packed, tense, and moved the story along without a lot of exposition, or rehashing what went on in the mini-series. It just threw you right in, and expected you to keep up.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There’s some really, really cool stuff coming up.

I’ll join in the discussion here, since I’m still only about half-way through season one.

I really liked 33, though I did wonder why everybody in the Colonial fleet seemed to be so on edge with the business of having to make a jump every 33 minutes. Is it just that trying to keep up to a schedule was something that required all hands to be working at 110%, or is there supposed to be some physiological effects to the jump, so that even if you’re not on duty and sacking out, you wake up every time the frackin’ ship jumps, so that you don’t really get much decent rest anyway?

The first one. Without networked computers, it took everybody working at full speed to get the jump calculated and set. After a few of those, it starts to get tense.

BSG had a lot of very good episodes during its run, but “33” has got to be in the top five for the whole series. It really kicked off the reboot on the right foot after the miniseries.

The jump has physiological effects. Minor, but it seems the jump gives some people symptoms akin to motion sickness - before the first jump in the miniseries, Calley complains that she hates jumping, and is admonished to hold on to her lunch.

So, yah, I don’t doubt that the combination of fear and frequent jumping would keep most folks awake.

Not to mention that, even when it’s not your shift, it’d be tough to get sufficient sleep when you know you could die any given half-hour.

Well that, and the constant jump schedule involved pretty much all of the Galactica crew–bridge staff, flight line tech, pilots…probably even sick bay and cooks. IIRC, they’d jump, Cylons follow, vipers launch and buy time for the next jump. And the vipers have to be refueled/rearmed, etc. Wash/rinse/repeat.

There’s also the physical exhaustion of being on full alert status for 100 hours straight. NO sleep, NO down time, just a never-ending cycle of FIGHT, prep, FIGHT, prep, with no opportunity to recover.

carlb: I get the implication that the show comes back to address that point. I’ve only seen “33” and “Water” – disk 1 – so I’ll get to the rest of S1 in due time.

I rewatched this recently. I’d thought, when I watched it the first time a few years ago, that it was just dumb luck that the Olympic Carrier was the one that had problems, leading to the Fleet realizing what’s up and destroying them. Kind of lazy, I thought, but the rest of it was so good I gave it a pass. But this time around, I finally got what they were suggesting. The Cylons have infiltrated the Fleet, we know that by now. A few people - Adama, and, of course, goddam Gaius - know that some of the Cylons looks like us (hotter than us, often enough, but you get me) and are mingling with the people on ships. They are pretty sure that one or more of these Cylons are reporting back to the base ships to keep them attacking the fleet.

In order to distract from the Cylons hidden among the crew of the Galactica, the toasters sacrifice the Olympic Carrier as a decoy. The hope is that the Fleet now thinks the immediate danger is over. The Cylons on the Galactica can now work freely, without worrying that further steps will be taken to find them out too quickly. It basically buys Cylons time for, you know, stuff that comes after this.

And that’s what I think is going on there. Enjoy! I frakkin love that show.

I think also that, from the human point of view, a ship should not be “followable” through a jump. (I presume that there are too many variables to know where, precisely, a ship jumped to, based solely on observing the ship make it’s jump.)

But the Cylons are more advanced, jump theory wise.

We jump, but they keep following, regular as clockwork. It’s only a matter of time before we slip up, slow down, run out of energy, whatever. Than we’re dead. Kinda like running in front of a pack of wolves. When we are at our most utmost, we can just stay out of tooth range, but then we start to lag a little, and then we can feel the hot breath on our legs.

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What?

Actually it worries me that I keep reading that it is one of the best in the series. OK, the basic premise is good but there were aspects that jar me out of suspension of disbelief.

Why do they keep sending out fighters? What’s the point? What can they do that their artillery can’t do (other than provide a role for a couple main characters)? Every time they go out they lose a fighter or two. Multiply that by 238. Do the math. They’d have nothing left by the end.

Where is all the ammo coming from? The BG is, what, a couple of klicks long? It has this amazing array of artillery that throws out fire like a rainstorm. Thousands of shots a second through 238 attacks. Yet they re-stocked ammo at that base by hand in a few hours. A ship like that would have to load for days and days, taking on ammo by the trainload. A major logistical excercise. Do the math. It just doesn’t add up.

And then there is the tiredness thing. A ship that size has one fricken shift? What are they thinking? They have 5000 people on board but their radio operator and FTL calculating guy have to stay awake for over a hundred hours because there is no second shift? It’s just laughable.

I thought it was pretty clear that Olympic Carrier was being tracked and/or controlled in some secret manner and, on the last jump, the Cylons held it back, likely killed all the humans inside (Apollo and Starbuck report that they can’t see anyone at the windows, despite that it had over a thousand people aboard) and send it back as a trojan horse.

I don’t see how any other explanation makes sense. It had nuclear weapons aboard when they were forced to destroy it. If the Cylons had planted nukes on it before, they would have blown it up before.

Stop doing the math. There are exactly 0 fictional television shows that will stand up to this level of scrutiny.

The Galactica was about 15 minutes away from being decommissioned when the Cylons attacked. Why would they bother having multiple shifts on board?

That’s the catch - there is no second shift. What you see is what they have.

Your other objections may be valid, but remember that the Galatica was literally hours away from being turned into a museum when the mini-series started. It would be MORE unrealistic to assume they had a full combat crew.

And they keep sending out fighters because that’s their primary armament. Aircraft carriers in our world probably have a few deck guns and surface-launched missiles, and they’ll use them in a fight, but they’re still going to scramble aircraft.

Here is my relatively recent thread on re-watching it.

Not to mention the guns were mainly used to take out missiles and whatnot that got close to Galactica. The Vipers were necessary to protect the other ships until they jumped.

Forgot to add: One thing I never under stood is why did they wait until the Cylons to show up before they jumped? I know it took time to get everybody ready to go, but why didn’t they try jumping at 31 minutes?