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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: The Hand of God Battlestar Galactica
"The Hand of God"
TV episode
Written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Directed by Jeff Woolnough
Original air date: March 11, 2005

With the fleet running low on fuel, Commander Adama orders an attack on a Cylon refueling station.

Read the synopsis of this episode at the Battlestar Wiki clone site

Notes from the BSG chronology

This episode opens 36 days after the annihilation of the Twelve Colonies and 8 days after the previous episode, "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down".

Didja Know?

This episode shares the title of a BSG70 episode in which the Colonials also attacked a Cylon base. Producers Moore and Eick have claimed they had no idea such an episode existed. It is fairly common for televsion producers to deny connections to the stories of previous writers in most cases to avoid any appearance of infringement on another's work that could result in legal issues or renumeration claims.

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

President Roslin
Playa Palacios
Sekou Hamilton
Billy Keikeya
Ensign Davis
Colonel Tigh
Lt. Gaeta
Commander Adama
Hot Dog
Chuckles (dies in the episode)
Joseph Adama (mentioned only, deceased)
Evelyn Adama (mentioned only, deceased)
Chief Tyrol
Fireball (pilot listed in the closing credits)
Stepchild (pilot listed in the closing credits)

Didja Notice?

The fleet's tylium fuel reserves are down to 5% as the episode begins. Reporter Playa Palacios remarks that this is only enough for two more FTL jumps.

The snakes seen in Roslin's hallucination during the press conference appear to be a boa constrictor, king snakes, corn snakes, and a couple others I was not able to identify.

At 4:55 on the Blu-ray, the Cylon refueling base looks a lot like it's made out simple cut pieces of dimpled plastic!
Cylon refueling base

At 9:58 on the Blu-ray, notice there are zoomed-in images of the Cylon refueling base behind Colonel Tigh.
Cylon refueling base images

Elosha tells of an ancient prophecy of 3600 years ago written by the prophetess Pythia that seems to foretell the current predicament of humanity, led by a dying woman who would have visions leading them to a new home. In Greek mythology, Pythia was the title given to a series of prophetess's at the Oracle of Delphi.

The twelve serpents spoken of in the prophecy may be a reference to the twelve models of humanoid Cylons.

Describing the plan to hit the Cylon refueling base to President Roslin, Adama tells her, "Sometimes you have to roll the hard six." He said something very similar in "The Hard Six", explaining it was something his father used to say when he was about to make his closing argument on a tough case. "Roll the hard six" is a phrase originating in the dice game of craps; it refers to rolling threes on a pair of 6-sided dice.

In the discussion of what it would take to destroy the Cylon base while leaving the tylium ore intact and processable, Baltar states, "Refined tylium contains tremendous enthalpy to the order of half a billion megajoules per kilo. If subjected to the right heat and compression, say, from a conventional warhead, you should get a suitably devastating explosion without the radioactive fallout." Enthalpy is a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the total heat content of a system; it is equal to the internal energy of the system plus the product of pressure and volume.

The fleet apparently has a tylium refinery ship among it.

Commander Adama gives Apollo his father's lighter, telling him his mother gave it to him in law school. This lighter was first seen in the Caprica episode "The Dirteaters". Since Bill Adama's mother was Joseph Adama's second wife--after he had already been a lawyer for some years--it is only just barely plausible that she was the one who gave him the lighter in law school.

In the war room, when the apprehensive Starbuck tells Commander Adama she never wanted this kind of responsibility, Adama says to her, "Welcome to the big leagues." This is a well-known American idiom originating with the game of professional baseball, distinguishing players of the minor league teams when they graduate to playing for a major league one. Does this mean the Colonies had their own version of baseball?

A chalkboard in the war room lists numerous pilots never before named. The board is too out of focus to see with any clarity in the episode. A photo of the board is available at the Battlestar Wiki, though it does not entirely match what is seen in this episode (additional names seen here are Bobo and Ninja. Strangely, none of the regular pilot characters are listed (Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, etc.) except for "Cat", possibly a misspelling of "Kat". Pilots listed on the war room chalkboard photo: Hex, Spender, Trip, Brakes, Falcon, Bomber, Buttermilk, Ruins, Showboat, Pookie, Blindspot, Grayshirt, Beetle, Kingston, Screamer, L-Boogie, Beehive, Feline, Cat, Flim-Flam, Spider, L-Zyk, Scary, Creeper, Doom, Tailgate, Spiceman, Snicker, Flash, T-Bone, Deadbolt, Silverstep, Sever, Thumper, Freaker, Sleeper, Kitty-Kat, Hiccup, Snaps, Winger, Chinstrap, Fuzzy, Wingnut, Gumball, Playboy, Tackle, Sparky, Poorboy, Stubb, Anvil, Skypilot, Swords, Field Goal, Headcase.
War room chalkboard

Chuckles is killed during the Viper attack on the Cylon refueling base.

As Apollo flies through the refining tunnel, notice that giant robotic arms are moving throughout it. Presumably they would normally be separating tylium ore from rocks, etc.

Apollo's run through the refining tunnel and destruction of the tylium-precursor tank seems an obvious tip-of-the-hat to Luke Skywalker's run through the Death Star trench in Star Wars: A New Hope.

At the end of the episode, Baltar seems to accept Head Six's declaration that his correct "wild guess" choice of target at the Cylon base was God acting through him. This would seem to make Baltar the hand of God spoken of in the title of this episode.

In the last shot of the episode, something resembling railroad tracks can be seen on Baltar's property in his head trip.

Unanswered Questions

Why does the command staff think Baltar would know where the tylium-precursor tanks are located at the Cylon base? Sure, he's there "Cylon expert", but that's only because he knows computers; he's not actually an expert on Cylons and they know it!

Where are only Mark II Vipers seen in the attack on the Cylon refueling base? What happened to the few Mark VIIs on the Galactica? They are seen in some later episodes.

Memorable Dialog

don't you want to be a hero to Ensign Davis?.wav
the bus driver jumps in and takes the credit.wav
catch them with their pants down.wav
end of game.wav
out of the box.wav
the Lords anointed a leader.wav
God doesn't take sides.wav
the fate of the entire human race.wav
this isn't an ego trip.wav
it seems like the whole ship thinks Starbuck would do better.wav
welcome to the big leagues.wav
I couldn't have done it better myself.wav
I am an instrument of God.wav

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