"A Death in the Family"
("Lost Planet of the Gods", Part 2)
Written by Glen A. Larson and Donald Bellisario
Directed by Christian I. Nyby II
The rag-tag fleet discovers the
planet Kobol, the lost homeworld of humanity.
Read the complete synopsis of
"Lost Planet of the Gods" Part 2 at the Battlestar Wiki site.
I borrowed the title of issue #5 of the BSG comic book by Marvel
Comics for the title of part 2 of "Lost Planet of the Gods".
As their journey through the void is underway, Omega conveys
damage reports from the Rising Star and Edena.
Possibly the Edena is the same ship that appears as a
socialator ship, the Adena, in the novel
Apparently one of the religious books Adama puts great faith in
is called the Book of the Word.
In the previous episode ("Into the
Void") we learned that Athena is now Starbuck's wingman.
Here, we learn that Serina is Apollo's wingman. Is the Colonial
military in the habit of pairing lovers in their viper
One of the great scenes of Battlestar Galactica I've remembered
ever since I was a kid, is Starbuck striking a match for his
cigar on the chest of a Cylon centurion after being taken
prisoner aboard Baltar's base ship.
The Colonials generally use the term "sealed" for marriage. This
term was derived from the Mormon Church, of which BSG creator
Glen A. Larson is a member.
Adama seems to acknowledge there are many faiths derived from
the history of Kobol when he says, presiding over Apollo and
Serina's wedding, "...under the eyes of God, bound by the symbol
of the faiths of the Lord of Kobol, I declare you sealed."
When the fleet comes upon the lone star in the void, Adama
orders a scan to search for a planet 1-3 parsecs from the star.
In the real world, a parsec is 3.26 light years of distance,
i.e. the distance light travels in 3.26 years! However, the BSG
Writer's Guide defines a parsec differently, just 90 million
miles (which is the average distance of the Earth from the Sun).
The Writer's Guide also states that a parsec is the equivalent
of 10 hectars in Colonial parlance.
The shot of one of the fleet ships approaching Kobol at 18:21 on
the DVD, is reused footage of the mining ship approaching
Carillon in "Exodus".
The outdoor shots of the
Kobolian ruins and pyramids were
shot at the Giza Necropolis in
(possibly the city of Eden)
(photo from Wikipedia)
Adama says that Eden was the largest city on Kobol and the first
to fall. But fall to what? Why?
Adama tells Apollo and Serina that the Ninth Lord of Kobol was
the last Lord of Kobol before the migration.
Although we don't see the turn
on screen, it's obvious from
before and after shots (at
around 22:59 on the DVD), that
the indented symbol on wall of
the Ninth Lord of Kobol turns
horizontally after Adama places
his matching medallion within
The electronic torches (working yet!) found inside the tomb,
suggest a level of technological sophistication in the former
civilization not necessarily evidenced by the ruins on Kobol.
Shouldn't there have been an empty slot in the torch holders
when Adama, Apollo and Serina come upon it, considering we
shortly learn that Baltar beat them to the tomb and is carrying
an identical torch?
Baltar remarks that he was a member of the Council of Twelve
back in the Colonies and that he lost his family in the attack.
All indications throughout the stories of BSG seem to indicate
that he was unmarried and had no children. To what family does
refer? Parents? Siblings?
"There Will Be Blood"
later reveals that Baltar's father is already dead by this
point; his mother is not mentioned.
When Adama confronts him about his role in the destruction of
the Colonies, Baltar claims he was a victim as well, trapped
during the Cylon attack between the President's battlestar (the
Atlantia) and his own. What was Baltar's battlestar?
When he says "his" does he mean he was in command of it? Or just
that he was assigned to one (or it to him)? It's hard to imagine
the Colonial military giving Baltar command of a flagship of the
Adama says that Baltar has the soul of a serpent. This may be an
allusion to having the soul of a Cylon as well since the
original Cylons were reptilian.
Adama reveals to Baltar that he is planning to lead the fleet to
Earth to make a new home. Was it wise to give this information
to the biggest traitor in human history?
Lucifer seems to suggest that he could have been the Imperious
Leader after the destruction of the previous one at Carillon.
The current Leader was part of the same series as Lucifer, the
It's left unexplained whether
Kobol and its star exist in the midst of the void or if they've
exited the void when they arrive. That is, it's never stated
that they've exited the void, yet we see background stars during
the Cylon attack on Kobol, indicating the planet is outside the void. However,
the Marvel Comics stories that begin immediately after this
episode depict the fleet as journeying through the void for
quite some time more before exiting it. If Kobol does lie within
the void, was it always this way? If so, is there some significance in the
fact of the human life form having originated on a world that existed in the
void and not in the normal galaxy of stars? In fact, the star of Kobol is a confusing issue in itself in that the scriptures
claim that the twelve tribes that fled Kobol were led out of the
void by the sudden appearance of a star, and the fleet was led to
Kobol by the sudden appearance of a star, in this case, the star
of Kobol. They can't both be the same! The Kobolians would be
pretty stupid if they didn't know their own star.
How was the void created? We learn in this episode that the star
of Kobol is pulsing and, presumably, dying. Is it possible that
the void was once a normal stretch of space, full of stars...but
that something in the region has gradually caused the stars to
flicker and fade at an accelerated rate, one-by-one, as Kobol's sun has been doing for
several thousand years?
Baltar tells Adama, "You could drift forever in search of what?
A planet that may be the myth of half-drunken star voyagers who
came back to die here?" This suggests that the Kobolian
mythology may have references to individuals who returned to the
planet from Earth to tell of it. How else would the 12 Colonies
know of the alleged fate of the 13th tribe and its settlement of
Earth unless some came back (or communicated over the vast
distance) to tell of it? And this brings up the possibility that
the so-called 13th tribe may have been the first tribe to leave
Kobol; maybe they suspected the decline of Kobol's sun before
the rest of the world was willing accept it, left, discovered
and colonized Earth and allowed a few members to return to tell
of it. Although, if that were the case, why would the 12
remaining tribes not head to Earth themselves once the danger to
Kobol became clear? Maybe they intended to but became lost in the
void, came out in the opposite direction, and found the 12 worlds
that became the Colonies instead.
However, later in the episode, in the tomb of the Ninth Lord of Kobol, Adama finds hieroglyphs
on the wall that seems to tell of the known 12 tribes leaving
Kobol first. Then, in the last days, the 13th tribe makes its
exodus. (The novelization gives us some more interpretations
though; see the novelization notes further below.)
At 33:54 on the DVD, Adama's
medallion of the Ninth Lord of
Kobol has a significantly larger
diamond shape in the middle than
it did in previous scenes!
|At 22:50 on
||At 33:54 on
|The scene of
destruction at 35:55 on the DVD
is simply the same as the one at
You'd think the first thing the Cylons would want to hit when
attacking the camp would be the vipers on the ground, but they
don't. This allows the human pilots to take to the air and
eventually rout the Cylon attack.
In a rare moment, at 36:33 on the DVD, Rigel has let her down!
Notes from the deleted scenes
Omega says the Galactica's sensors detect a galaxy
beyond the pulsing star they've found in the void.
There is a gag scene in which we
see Muffit sitting in someone's
quarters. We hear the trainers
of Evie (the chimp who was most
frequently in the Muffit
costume) call her out of the
shot to reveal a pile of bolts,
washers and metal pieces on the
floor where Muffit just did his
business! I was reminded of the
original Mad Magazine parody of
BSG called "Cattlecar Galaxica"
in which Bummer (Boomer) says to
"Your dog had an
"accident" in my sleep bay!"
"But that's impossible! Moxie is
"I know! I found a
big, smelly pile of nuts and
bolts on my blanket!"
a copy of the parody online.
Notes from the novelization of
"Lost Planet of the Gods", The Tombs of Kobol by Glen A. Larson
and Robert Thurston
(The page numbers come from the 1st
printing, paperback edition, published September 1979)
Pages 111-end cover the events of
"A Death in the Family"
After his capture, on pages 125-127 Starbuck is interrogated by
Lucifer before being taken to Baltar. It's a rather friendly
interrogation though. Lucifer seems to like the maverick pilot.
Page 135 reveals that Serina's bridesmaids were Athena,
Cassiopeia, Dietra, Brie, Gemi, and Rigel.
The book suggests in several passages that Kobol's sun fades out
and pulses up again in rapid intervals. However, it does not
seem to be a true pulsar the way the term is understood on
On page 145, Adama's interpretation of scripture suggests that
it was, indeed, the decline of the star that caused Kobol to
wither and humanity to be forced to leave in search of a new
home. (The episode also contains references to the pulsing of
On pages 138-140, Lucifer plays a game of pyramid with
Starbuck...and loses, of course, even though his computer brain
should be able to beat any human. They bet Cylon coins! Who knew
the Cylons used money still?
On page 146, Adama remarks that the 12 worlds of the Colonies
are in a trinary star system.
On pages 146-148, Adama tells of several legends that may
explain the disappearance of the 13th tribe. The one that seems
to answer the most questions suggests that an earlier expedition
of explorers discovered Earth and sent a messenger ship back to
Kobol with the news, but the crew had contracted a plague that
killed all but one member and a crash-landing on Kobol destroyed
the ship's computer records. The lone surviving crewman dies
not long after, telling what he could of Earth. Some believe,
says, that the Ninth Lord of Kobol received information about
the location of Earth but was skeptical, so kept it to
himself. Adama goes on to say that some documents that made the journey from Kobol to the
new Colonies were discovered in the archives of the Planetary
Museum on Caprica and, when translated, suggested that the
information about Earth may have been buried with the Ninth Lord
in his tomb. (These documents may be the "secret history books"
Adama refers to in the novelization of "Saga of a Star World";
see the entry in the "Annihilation"
On page 151, Starbuck comments, in regards to his card play,
that "devious is my middle name". While "...is my middle
name..." is a common euphemism for us on Earth, what use would a
society that seems to have only single names for individuals
have for the term "middle name"? (However, the Sagitaran
inhabitants of Maytoria in "Behind Enemy Lines" seem to have at
least dual names, if not triple ones.) Starbuck's next statement
turns his comment into a mild joke, "Star-devious-buck."
Page 167 suggests that, while the Kobolians were polytheistic at
one point, they gradually grew towards monotheism as the
planet's tribes united, with the previous gods considered lesser
deities. Serina and Adama seem to imply as well that the
Colonies were generally monotheistic. This goes a long way to
explaining the show's (and particularly Adama's) differing use
of "gods" or "God" at different times.
Page 175 reveals that Lucifer chose to attack the humans on
Kobol despite Baltar's orders because he wanted to act
impulsively the way Starbuck told him most of his heroic feats
had been achieved.
Page 193 suggests that the cadets' inexperience was actually an
advantage during the Cylon attack on Kobol, the pilots erratic
flying confusing the Cylons.
If you look and listen closely at 37:25 on the DVD of the
episode, you will notice that the viper destroyed at this point
was Gemi's (corresponding to her death on page 193).
On page 197, Starbuck reflects that Athena just "saved his
bacon". Another Earth phrase used by a Colonial.
On page 202, Starbuck refers to centurions as "red lights".
In the epilog of the book, Lucifer rescues Baltar from his
entrapment in the tomb. An alternate version of Lucifer's rescue
of Baltar also takes place in issue #7 of Marvel's BSG comic
book, "The Memory Machine". In the TV series we don't get an
explanation of how he made it back to his basestar.
Notes from the comic book
adaptation of "A Death in the Family"
"A Death in the Family"
Battlestar Galactica #5 (Marvel Comics)
Script by Roger McKenzie
From the teleplay by Glen Larson and Don Bellisario
Art by Walt Simonson and Klaus Janson
In this issue, the character of Dr. Salik is instead called Dr.
Spang. Possibly the doctor had not yet been given a name in the
early script from which this issue was adapted and writer
McKenzie thus chose to give him the name Spang. Note that Spang
is the last name of the actress who portrays Cassiopeia, the
doctor's new assistant (Laurette Spang)!
On page 3, as he and Apollo visit Boomer in the life center,
Starbuck accuses his sick friend of spending more time on his
back than a Gemonese socialator
(prostitute). Kind of a rude comment to make considering
one of his recent girlfriends is Cassiopeia, a former Gemonese
socialator! Hope the beautiful medical assistant wasn't standing
For some reason, Baltar appears to be wearing a shirt with the
image of a partially eclipsed planet or sun on the chest in
panel 2 of page 15. But the shirt does not appear the same
anywhere else in the story.
On page 17, panel 3, Adama appears to have been given Baltar's
On page 27, panel 1, Starbuck's viper has a tally of the number
of Cylon raiders he's destroyed painted just below the cockpit
On page 30, Starbuck regretfully says that the two centurions
who shot and killed Serina were the ones who brought him to
Kobol to be returned.