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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138-at-popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

Battlestar Galactica

The Plan

TV movie

Written by Jane Espenson

Directed by Edward James Olmos

Original air date: January 10, 2010

 

What was the Cylon plan? 

 

Read the summary of the movie at the Battlestar Wiki

 

Notes from the BSG chronology

 

The Plan takes place over the course of seasons one and two of the series, the episodes "Humanity’s Children" through "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2.

 

Didja Know?

 

   The Plan was a TV movie that aired 10 months after the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. The movie was more-or-less hyped as the explanation of the "plan" the Cylons were alleged to have, as stated in the preamble of most episodes of the series: “The Cylons were created by man. The rebelled. They evolved. There are many copies. And they have a plan.” This movie reveals only that the plan was to eradicate humanity via the nuclear genocide they inflicted on the Twelve Colonies. When that failed to entirely wipe out humanity, they began to improvise, as they went along, ways to destroy the remnants. There is no real "plan" after the assault on the Twelve Colonies. The movie is interesting as a study of the personalities of two aspects of Number One (John Cavil), but it's not a revelation of any Cylon plan.

    Some fans are very bitter about this and I don't mean to sound that way myself. I'm just not sure that series preamble should ever have been there. Show runner Ron Moore has explained in some of his audio commentaries for the series that his partner-producer, David Eick, suggested the preamble idea as a way of telling the audience that they (the producers) had a plan for where the series would go, being as complex as it is; as far as the Cylons' plan, they thought they would figure something out along the way, but they never did!

 

This study is based on the unrated version released on Blu-ray. The unrated version has a few scenes of background nudity.

 

The following characters appear in the movie only via establishing scenes from earlier episodes and these actors did not film new material: Baltar, Number Three, Lt. Gaeta, Dee, Apollo, Starbuck, Cally, Boxey, Racetrack, Helo, Jammer.

 

President Laura Roslin does not appear at all.

 

In the closing credits, the movie is dedicated to producer Harvey Frand (1940-2009).

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode

 

Admiral Adama

Colonel Tigh

Caprica Cavil

Fleet Cavil

Baltar

Caprica Six

Ellen Tigh

hybrid

Sam Anders

Jean Barolay

Tory Foster

Number Eight

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six

Number Two

Centurions

Number Three

Coach (unnamed)

Caprica Buccaneers team doctor (another "Dr. Simon O'Neill, a Number Four model Cylon)

Simon O'Neill (a Number Four model in the fleet who fell in love with and married a human)

Jemmy O'Neill (Simon's adopted daughter)

Shelly Godfrey

Lt. Gaeta

Chief Tyrol

Dee

Apollo

Starbuck

Cally

Giana O'Neill

Boomer

Boxey

Rally

Hillard

Sergeant Alan Nowart

John (little boy)

Tough Six

Socinus

Sue-Shaun

Kai (dies in this film)

Gina Invieri

tattooed pilot

Racetrack

Helo

Jammer

Athena (when she was Caprica Valerii)

 


 

Didja Notice?

 

The globe of the Universal logo at the beginning of the movie is of the planet Caprica, not Earth.

Universal Caprica logo

 

The preamble of the series ("...and they have a plan") is repeated here, now spoken in turns by a number of Cylons, which only seems to emphasize that the story will reveal the Cylons' grand "plan"...a plan that never really existed.

 

The movie opens during the spacing of the two Cavils, implied to have occurred in "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2 but not seen. Here we see it. At the time of that episode, the Galactica crew likely assumed that the two Cavils were dead for good because the humans had destroyed the Resurrection Ship in "Resurrection Ship" Part 2, but Caprica Cavil reveals near the end of the film, just before the two are spaced, that another Resurrection Ship is now within range.

 

The marines guarding the Cavils as they go to the airlock are carrying Beretta CX4 Storm rifles.

 

At 4:12 on the Blu-ray, among the buildings of Caprica City are a couple of representations of the real world traffic center of the Incheon International Airport in South Korea. This building was also seen in Blood and Chrome.

 

The scene at 5:45 on the Blu-ray finally reveals who Caprica Six was talking to when she said, "About time. I wondered when you'd get here," back in "Humanity's Children".

 

    6:19 on the Blu-ray finds Ellen Tigh at a strip club on Picon called Club Pink Moon. In the Caprica episode "Retribution", an advertising hologram for a strip club called Pink Moon was seen on Caprica. Maybe its a chain throughout the Twelve Colonies!

    The car parked on the street in front of the club is a 1998 Honda Accord.

 

Number One (Fleet Cavil) "bumps into" Ellen at the Pink Moon and they appear to flirt. Ellen tells him her name, but he tells her only, "I...am a mysterious stranger." When Ellen was reveled as a survivor in the fleet in "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", she said, "Some thoughtful soul just rescued me from almost certain death, and put me on the last flight out of Picon."

 

At 7:10 on the Blu-ray, many, many baseships are seen docked at or orbiting around the Cylon Colony. A Resurrection Ship also appears to be docked there.

 

The film reveals Tory Foster was in Delphi, Caprica when the Cylons struck the planet.

 

8:56 on the Blu-ray reveals that the baseships are able to pivot their two halves on the axis pylon to align the points so the ships are more aerodynamic when entering the atmosphere of a planet. 

 

At 10:22 on the Blu-ray, a battlestar identified in dialog as Yashuman is seen in orbit over Caprica before the Cylon assault. Three other battlestars of the same class are also seen in orbit. They appear to be the same class of ship as Adama's former command, the Valkyrie, seen in flashback in "Hero". Battlestar Yashuman and friend

 

Mistakenly, only the new type of Cylon Raider (introduced chronologically in Razor, a season two story) with a more sharply-angled head like the modern Centurions are seen for the scenes of the Cylon assault on the Colonies. In the mini-series, only the more rounded head style of Raiders were seen.
Cylon Raider head, V1 Cylon Raider head, V2
Cylon Raider head, version 1 Cylon Raider head, version 2

 

Similar to the situation with the new Raiders above, the Cylon Centurions in the film are the newer versions seen in the fourth season of the series beginning in "Faith". This version has a strange spinning sphere in its chest (and other cosmetic modifications) the earlier-seen models did not.

 

The Caprica Buccaneers team doctor, not named here, is a Number Four model Cylon. When Caprica Cavil ingratiates himself into the Buccaneers resistance group, the Number Four tells him he's kept himself from being seen by Starbuck when she returns to Caprica seeking the Arrow of Apollo (as she does for several episodes beginning in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 1). "Gods & Monsters" Part 1 tells us this doctor used the same name at least two others of his model did when acting with humans, Simon O'Neill.

 

At 12:17 on the Blu-ray, Dr. O'Neill is seen drinking from a mug with the Caprica Buccaneers logo on it.

 

At 12:26 on the Blu-ray, the city over which the bombs are falling, as pointed out by the Battlestar Wiki, is actually Vancouver, Canada, where the TV series was shot!

 

At 13:29 on the Blu-ray, we see Pegasus taking fire from the Cylons at the Scorpion Fleet Shipyards as was revealed to have occurred in flashback in "Razor" Part 1.

 

At 13:40 on the Blu-ray, a type of cargo hauling ship not previously seen takes off from Gemenon.

cargo hauler

 

At 14:48 on the Blu-ray, the city representing Libran is reused as Tauron City in the Caprica episode "Know Thy Enemy".

 

The Cylon hybrid's dialog during the bombings suggests that Scorpia is known for its jungles. This is repeated in "The Final Five" Part 4.

 

At 16:15 on the Blu-ray, the Buccaneers are seen listening to a Centrios radio for news of the attack on their planet. Centrios is a real world electronics brand.

 

At 16:53 on the Blu-ray, the car Tory was driving and which is wrecked in the bombing is a 1987 SAAB 900.

 

At 18:34 on the Blu-ray, a red and white search and rescue Raptor is seen on Picon.

Search and rescue Raptor

 

The character of Giana O'Neill, the wife of the Cylon Simon O'Neill, first appeared in the mini-series in a small role with no name given. The actress, Lymari Nadal, is the wife of Edward James Olmos.

 

At 21:06 on the Blu-ray, we get a split-second glimpse of Boxey in a re-used scene from "Serve and Protect".

 

The scene of Adama finding a note in his quarters stating there are only twelve Cylon models is from "Enemies Among Us". The shot of Baltar, hinting that he is the one who left the note for him, is borrowed from another episode; it was not indicated in "Enemies Among Us" (though the audio commentary of the mini-series does inform the listener of this).

 

The scenes of the Cylons attacking the fleet every 33 minutes are borrowed from or inspired by the episode "33".

 

The resistance vehicle seen at 23:39 on the Blu-ray has Goodyear tires on it.

 

Anders formulates a plan against the Cylons based on a plot element from an old Colonial movie called The Tauron Line.

 

During the Cylon meeting on Galactica, Fleet Cavil refers to a sleeper agent in the fleet. He refers, of course, to Boomer.

 

At 28:50 on the Blu-ray, a SureFire weapon light can be seen mounted on the front of a resistance member's shotgun.

 

The resistance character of Sue-Shaun who appears here was first seen (and dies) in "The Farm".

 

Giana tells Tyrol she used to inspect aircraft for Sun Airways. This is the first mention of the company in the series.

 

Fleet Cavil uses a small carved wooden elephant to trigger Boomer's Cylon programming as needed.

 

At 39:55 on the Blu-ray, the Cybele, one of the cargo transports from Gemenon now made part of the fleet is seen to be carrying a large shipping container with the company name Aerilon Express painted on the side. It has a stylized ram as part of its logo, just as the Earth constellation Aries is the sign of the ram. The Cybele is mentioned but not seen in "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2 and "The Passage".

 

At 41:47 on the Blu-ray, the Cylons are using a Bobcat T-190 compact tractor to help bury human bodies in mass graves.

 

The scene of Boomer waking up back to her human personality after having planted the bomb in the Galactica water tank is from "Water".

 

The scene of a Number Five using a suicide vest to blow himself up in an attempt to cause damage and causalities on Galactica is from "Litmus".

 

The truck seen in use by the resistance at 48:24 on the Blu-ray is a GMC CCKW, circa the Korean War of 1950-1953.

 

As he's chastising Fleet Four for not meeting up with the rest of the Cylons in the fleet for marching orders, Fleet Cavil remarks there is a Three who had a similar problem, though he's allowed her to pursue her path. He is referring to D'anna Biers, who is working as a broadcast journalist within the fleet as seen in "Final Cut".

 

The scenes of Shelly Godfrey presenting evidence that Baltar acted as a traitor to humanity on Caprica are from "Six Degrees of Separation". The scene of Boomer finding the word CYLON written on her locker mirror is also from this episode.

 

At 53:34 on the Blu-ray, we see that Leoben Conoy is painting Starbuck's mandala (a repeated artwork of hers, as well as other representations of it, seen throughout the series) while listening to some of the fleet military broadcasts of Starbuck he's intercepted. He's listening to a recording of a broadcast from earlier in the timeline ("Act of Contrition").

 

    Leoben tells Fleet Cavil about Starbuck having learned how to fly a Raider. He says she "plucked that knowledge from the stream..." Starbuck gutted and flew a Cylon Raider in "You Can't Go Home Again".

    Bulldog also flew a Raider after escaping from a Cylon prison in "Hero". However, in that case, we soon learn that the Cylons allowed him to escape (in hopes that he would assassinate Adama due to his feelings of betrayal) and may well have prepped an easily-flown Raider shell for him to steal.

 

At 59:45 on the Blu-ray, in the public showering facilities on Galactica, is what is called in the movie industry a "pickle shot"; a shot of a man's genitalia. In the audio commentary of this movie, director Edward James Olmos relates that he deliberately acquired this shot because he feels it's unfair how mature productions will often show female nudity but not male. The composition of the shot is very awkward though, with the camera deliberately panning down through a row of sink faucets and zooming in to get the penis in view; a shot that serves no other purpose than to showcase the organ.

 

At 1:00:20 on the Blu-ray, Adama picks up a pair of Shelly Godfrey's eyeglasses off the CIC console and the Venus Eye Design brand can be seen on them. This is another scene from "Six Degrees of Separation".

 

When Fleet Cavil is about to send Shelly Godfrey out the airlock, he tells her to give their people the coordinates of the fleet after she resurrects. But shouldn't the Number Five who used the suicide vest on Galactica have given them the coordinates already? I suppose it would be logical to assume that Adama ordered the fleet to jump almost immediately after the Five sacrificed himself, knowing he was a Cylon and that he would resurrect. Or possibly there was no Resurrection Ship in range at the time; after all, there is also no evidence that Shelly Godfrey made it back to the Cylons either.

 

    The scenes of Starbuck interrogating Leoben and Leoben's later execution is from "Flesh and Bone". When Leoben attacks her, we see glimpses of their interactions in future episodes; these glimpses, of course, were not seen in "Flesh and Bone". Here, now, it almost seems as if Leoben actually had a vision encompassing these glimpses in this moment with Starbuck.

    Again, we must ask, did this Number Two resurrect and give the Cylons the coordinates of the fleet? It might be argued that the average citizen of the fleet never knows the location, let alone exact coordinates; it would make some sense to keep that information privileged only to the command staffs of each ship.

 

The scene of Boomer attempting to commit suicide is from "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 1. The scene of Adama asking Boomer to take on a mission to nuke a basestar and her later shooting him is from "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 2.

 

The scenes of Starbuck interacting with the resistance on Caprica while searching for the Arrow of Apollo are from "Resistance" and "The Farm".

 

The scene of Boomer's assassination by Cally is from "Resistance".

 

At about 1:17:58 on the Blu-ray, the studio microphone is briefly glimpsed at the top of the screen.

 

The resistance vehicle used by the resistance on Caprica seen at 1:21:06 on the Blu-ray is an AM General HMMWV M998.

 

At 1:23:42 on the Blu-ray, Caprica Cavil and Buccaneer Simon are playing a game similar to chess with makeshift game pieces made out of valve and/or plumbing parts.

 

As Anders' resistance team rescue's Starbuck from the farm, he sees other Simons there and immediately knows that their Simon is a Cylon. In a voiceover that was not in the original episode of "The Farm", he orders Barolay to return to the camp and take out the doctor. However, in the later published comic book mini-series Gods and Monsters, Anders interrogates their Simon and more dealings with him follow throughout that mini-series.

 

The scene of Tyrol seeking out counseling from Brother Cavil (Fleet Cavil) is from "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 1.

 

The scenes of Starbuck returning to the fleet with the Caprica resistance are from "Lay Down Your Burdens" Parts 1 and 2.

 

At 1:41:53 on the Blu-ray, in a scene from "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2, Starbuck has just returned from rescuing the resistance group on Caprica and she relays to Adama the news that the Cylons have ended the occupation there. She mistakenly addresses him as "commander", though he is now an admiral and she knows that. In the original episode she does not use his title at all, just speaks directly to him. It seems the producers may have wanted to avoid potential confusion to viewers not familiar with the series; through most of this movie, Adama has the title of Commander and receives promotion to Admiral in an episode that is skipped over in this film.

 

The scene of Fleet Cavil being placed in a holding cell next to Caprica Cavil is from "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2. The original scene had President Roslin suggesting they throw both out the airlock; here, it is Colonel Tigh who says it instead.

 

At 1:43:53 on the Blu-ray, it seems likely that the woman who is climbing down the personnel ladder just above Tory Foster is meant to be President Roslin; we only see her skirted legs before Tory stops her due to the passing of the Cavils and marine guards as the two Cavils are led down the Galactica corridor to the hangar bay for their execution. Actress Mary McDonnell (as Roslin) did not shoot any new scenes for the movie.

 

At 1:44:10 on the Blu-ray, as the two Cavils are led down the Galactica corridor to the hangar bay for their execution, they are witnessed by a gathering of passersby which just so happens to include all of the Final Five! This is what Fleet Cavil is referring to when he mutters to his cohort, "Not how I imagined it," meaning their reunion with the entire Final Five.

 

As they are about to be airlocked, Caprica Cavil asks Fleet Cavil if there's a Resurrection Ship in range and Fleet Cavil answers that there is. How does know? Is he receiving communications from the Cylon fleet somehow? He should think, as the humans do, that there is no Resurrection Ship in range, as the humans destroyed the one that had been trailing the fleet in "Resurrection Ship" Part 2. However, that was just over 100 days ago in the timeline, so it might be reasonable to assume another Resurrection Ship has been brought into play by now.

Closing monologue by Cavil heard as the two Number Ones tumble through space is from the angry lament he gives to Ellen in "No Exit" about wanting to be a true machine so he can "...see gamma rays...hear x-rays...smell dark matter...and feel the solar wind of a supernova..."

 

Notes from the audio commentary by Edward James Olmos and Jane Espenson on the Blu-ray release

 

According to Jane Espenson, the carved elephant figurine used by Cavil to trigger Boomer's sleeper programming is similar to one seen in Boomer's apartment in an early episode. I've been unable to confirm what episode this occurred in.

 

Espenson points out that the little boy, John, is wearing jeans, which there had always been a rule against on the series!

 

It is admitted that the "plan" is really all improvisation on Fleet Cavil's part after the attack on the Twelve Colonies fails to kill all humans.

 

Unanswered Questions

 

   Was the little boy called John real? Or was he just a figment of Fleet Cavil's imagination, made real to him through his Cylon projection ability? Could the boy be a representation of Cavil's own desire to accepted by his "parents", the Final Five? Note that both are named John and both feel that they were unwanted by their parents. Notice that no one besides Cavil is ever seen interacting with the boy. Also, in the audio commentary, Jane Espenson remarks that they hired this particular young actor (Alex Ferris) because he resembled what actor Dean Stockwell (Cavil) looked like as a child actor in his 1948 fantasy-drama film The Boy With Green Hair, about a young war orphan taken in by a retired old actor. The clothing John wears here is similar to that worn by Stockwell in part of that earlier film. One line spoken to the boy by Cavil is "Are you a war orphan?" which is a line from Stockwell's earlier film. Though the boy here gives his name as John, in the closing credits the character is called simply "Boy".
   If the boy is just a projection of Cavil's, is it unintentional on his part and he believes the boy is real? Could it be an indication of a psychotic break in his mind?
John the boy with green hair
John The boy with green hair (Dean Stockwell)
Photo from IMDB

 

Was Caprica Cavil boxed as Fleet Cavil threatened? Caprica Cavil does, at least, seem to have been silenced, with what seems to be Fleet Cavil becoming the One who leads the charge against humanity in the third and fourth seasons of the series. 

 

What happened to Tough Six? As far as we know she was never discovered. Possibly, she returned to the Cylons after the Cylon occupation of New Caprica at the end of "Lay Down Your Burdens" Part 2.

 

Memorable Dialog

preamble.mp3
what went wrong?.mp3
doomed from the beginning.mp3
no one changes who they really are.mp3
the plan is everything blows up a week ago.mp3
maybe it's the glasses.mp3
a suicide vest.mp3
the universe still has these cockroaches.mp3
I'm happier when I'm human.mp3
plucked puppies from God's ass.mp3
once in the head.mp3
a progress report.mp3
we could use more Cylons like that.mp3
I don't like you.mp3

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