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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Deathtrap "Deathtrap"
(Saga of a Star World, hour 3)
1:23:15-end on Side 1 of the DVD
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Richard A. Colla

The human survivors fall into a Cylon trap at Carillon.

(This episode begins with Apollo's conversation with Boxey about the Cylons and ends with the new Imperious Leader sparing Baltar's life and giving him a basestar to command.)

Read the complete synopsis of the three-hour "Saga of a Star World" at the Battlestar Wiki site.

Didja Know?

I borrowed the title of issue #3 of the BSG comic book by Marvel Comics for the title of this hour of Saga of a Star World

The talkative woman in the casino elevator is Carol Baxter, who played Mary in the Curse of Dracula segments of Cliffhangers! She also returns as another character on Battlestar Galactica in "The Lost Warrior".

Didja Notice?

At 1:25:42 on the DVD, as Starbuck dumps his winnings on the cocktail table, one of the cubits falls off the edge, forgotten. Considering Starbuck's love of money, I don't think he would let a single cubit out of his sight unless he was spending it!

As Apollo, Serina, and Jolly are escorted into the Ovion queen's chambers there is harp music playing in the background. It sounds like just background music on the soundtrack, but if you look closely, you will see that there are actually a couple of Ovions playing harps in the room.

Apparently Colonial Warriors carry a Languatron device with them. Apollo uses one to translate the squeaking speech of the Ovion queen. The Languatron must be BSG's equivalent to Star Trek's universal translator.

Colonial flag At 1:30:44 on the DVD, we see a Colonial flag in Adama's quarters. Another flag is visible in the pilots' barracks at 1:48:05. Colonial flag

Adama comments in his journal that Carillon lies on the outer rim of the Colonial star system.

Notice that at 1:31:22 on the DVD, the image of the Galactica moving past the camera is flipped...apparently we are seeing the long missing battlestar Acitcalag!
Battlestar Acitcalag

After catching Starbuck in the casino with Athena, Cassiopeia tells him, "Next time, it's office rates, Lieutenant," before storming off. This is a reference to her previous profession as a socialator (prostitute).

During Sire Uri's proposal to destroy their weapons and settle on Carillon, Adama points out that the Cylons had originally attacked the Colonies when the humans helped the alien Hasari, whose civilization was being taken by force by the Cylons.

During Starbuck's conversation with the alien singer, two voices come out of her two mouths. The main voice is female, but the second voice is deeper and sounds male! The novelization refers to the singers as Tucanas and the original BSG writer's guide states that this is their species. Some BSG licensees refer to the girl Starbuck speaks to as "Android Sister". Are she and her cohorts intended to be interpreted as literal androids? Another possibility is that the term "android" is here used to represent "androgynous" rather than robotic. PopApostle reader Jace Toronto suggests that maybe the name of her group is The Android Sisters, a play on the famous singing trio The Andrews Sisters who performed 1925–1967, though he also points out that the BSG soundtrack album refers to them as The Space Angels.

Notice that when Colonel Tigh sits down in the viper to have his secret conversation with Adama, the canopy closes without his having pushed a button to do so. Just a few seconds earlier, we saw that Adama did push a button to close the canopy of his own viper.

When Starbuck and Boomer catch Colonel Tigh filching uniforms from the barracks, Tigh gasps, "Felger--", half of the Colonial swear word "felgercarb".

At 1:41:22 on the DVD, the Ovion symbology for numbering the floors in the elevator appears to be based on ancient Mayan numerals. Just as seen here, Mayan numerals use dots to depict 1-4 and a bar for 5; then a bar with one dot above it would be 6, etc.
Ovion elevator panel

At 1:58:58 on the DVD, we see an Ovion larva that has been feeding on the remains of a human body.
Ovion larva

At 2:01:34 on the DVD, Athena's screen gives us Cylon raider specifications.
Cylon raider specifications

At 2:03:13 on the DVD, Apollo almost gets himself tangled up in his own cape as he hands Boxey off to Serina and turns around to help the humans flee the Cylons attacking in the casino.

From 2:03:33 on the DVD, it is obvious that the Cylons and Muffit are not walking on dirt and rock, but merely the hard surface of a soundstage! Add to that, the edge of the stage can be seen on the left edge of the screenshot and the leg of a stage crew member can be seen on the right edge. (Click the image to see the larger picture.)
soundstage

At 2:08:00 on the DVD, the shot of the Galactica is missing the ship's identification.
Galactica minus identification plaque

At the end of the episode, the Imperious Leader is killed when his basestar is destroyed along with the planet Carillon. In the epilogue, we are introduced to his replacement, who is nearly identical, and who reprieves Baltar from execution and asks the human to seek out the fleeing human remnant and offer them the hand of truce, explaining to Baltar that his predecessor had been programmed at a time when the Cylons were less capable of tolerance than they are now. Baltar, of course, is skeptical that the human fleet will be receptive to that offer again after the armistice attack. But, shouldn't Baltar have blown up in the same basestar as the Imperious Leader at Carillon? That's where he was being held earlier! (In "Into the Void", this scene is replayed, but this time the overtures of peace have been cut from the dialog.)

Notes from the deleted scenes on the DVD

A centurion speaks to a communications globe on Carillon at 27:02 in the deleted scenes. Here, we get our best look at the face of the Imperious Leader.
Imperious Leader

A scene of Commander Adama and assembled crewmembers giving thanks for deliverance features a song (the Colonial anthem?) from 31:21-end. The words of the song are below. In Earth terms, the song seems to reference the story of the Book of Exodus from the Old Testament, in which the Hebrew people flee oppression in Egypt and journey across the desert for decades before finally settling in the holy land of Israel. The story of Battlestar Galactica could be said to somewhat resemble that of the Book of Exodus. In "Saga of a Star World" alone, there are several comparisons: the Hebrews fled the Pharaoh's tyranny in Egypt--the Colonials flee the Cylon tyranny in their solar system; the Pharaoh's troops pursue them--the Imperious Leader's troops pursue the fleet; God decimates the pursuing troops with the parting/closing of the Red Sea--the Cylon star force is decimated at Carillon, near the Nova of Madagon (depicted red in color) through which the fleet had to pass after disabling a mine field.
     
  Hail to thee, O lord of manna, bounteous be thy hand.
Blessed be the core of freedom throughout the land.
Keep us safe from powers of darkness, liberty and might.
Man rejoices, land of Zion, lead us by thy light.
We salute the cause of freedom 'neath our flags unfurled.
Standing for eternal right through the star-wide worlds.
 
     
According to the Old Testament, manna was the name of a food provided to the Israelites by God during their journey. "Zion" is a term referring to the holy land of the Jews.  
 
The scene above also shows some additional Colonial flags.
Colonial flags
 
Colonial flags
 
Colonial flag Colonial flags

Notes from the audio commentary by Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict and Herbert Jefferson, Jr. on the DVD

Richard Hatch comments that creator Glen A. Larson changed the Cylons from being cyborg reptilians to being entirely robotic due to concerns by the television network (ABC) about the number of Cylons we see killed onscreen; substituting robots makes the kills "cleaner" because they're not really living organisms. Unfortunately, it also makes the Cylons less interesting.

Richard Hatch mentions that the various collar pins worn by the Galactica personnel are actual pins worn by members of U.S. Army Intelligence.

Battlestar Galactica novelization Notes from the novelization of "Saga of a Star World", Battlestar Galactica by Glen A. Larson and Robert Thurston
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published September 1978)

Pages 152-end cover the events of "Deathtrap"

On page 148, Starbuck comments that the Carillon casino is the biggest splash he's seen outside of Orion. In BSG continuity, Orion seems to be a planet which traded with the Twelve Colonies; it is later mentioned in both "The Magnificent Warriors" and "Murder on the Rising Star".

Page 148 also gives the name of the casino on Carillon, Festival of Paradise.

Page 150 reveals that Starbuck's favorite drink and dessert are a Sagittarian straight-arrow and Aquarian ambrosia cake.

On page 151, Starbuck decides to play Hi-Lo at the casino. This may be a reference to High-Low Poker as played on Earth, a variation of poker in which the pot is split between the holders of the high and low hands.

Page 164 suggests that the Cylons were not waiting for the Colonials to show up at Carillon, they were waiting at Borallus as Adama had predicted. A lone Cylon centurion stationed with their Ovion allies on Carillon alerted the Imperious Leader of the Colonials' arrival and the Leader dispatched his star force from Borallus to Carillon for an ambush.

Page 177 mentions that when Starbuck was a child, his gambling father flipped him a pack of cards, which apparently started the boy on his gambling habit. (PopApostle reader Jace Toronto points out that it seems odd that Starbuck remembers this event from his youth but apparently not his father's name or what he looks like, as we see later in "The Man With Nine Lives". Of course, the more recent comic book mini-series Starbuck depicts him learning most of his vices from his mentor, Lt. Wyler.)

The book suggests that the Ovions drugged the food and drink in the resort to make the humans more susceptible to suggestion and muddy thinking.

On page 193 Adama mentions the Lords of Kobol, even though Kobol is not mentioned anywhere else in the book.

Pages 195-197 feature a scene not found in the episode in which Serina's reporter instincts cause her to question Seetol about the Ovions work and culture. At one point, she comments on the Ovions' apparently entirely female culture and asks if they reproduce by parthogenesis. She must mean "parthenogenesis", a form of reproduction, in some rare cases of species, in which females are capable of producing offspring without male fertilization. Seetol denies this, saying they have males for reproductive purposes, but that they have no place in their society after they have served that purpose. The writers were probably inspired by those Earth insect species in which the female kills (and often devours) the male after mating (such as the praying mantis).

As Adama puts the Galactica on alert and prepares to spring a trap of his own on the Cylons at Carillon on page 199, he remembers a story from his childhood about a sleeping giant awakening. This is probably a reference to the quote attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant," (though it is probable that Admiral Isoroku did not actually say anything quite like this). The reference in the book may be intended as another indication that Earth was the ancient homeworld that seeded the 12 Colonies (not Kobol as in the filmed version of the script) and WWII is part of that ancient history.

Page 202 suggests that Cassiopeia's training to be a socialator also included many other disciplines and she won the highest academic honors.

Page 203 suggests that Cassiopeia had a long, intermittent love affair with a Gemonese artist. She felt bad when she was not able to find him among the surviving refugees.

Page 229 reveals that Cassie's father was the pilot of a freighter. Also revealed is the fact that she doesn't like to be called Cassie.

Unlike in the episode, in the book, the Imperious Leader lives and finds that he has taken on the human desire for revenge, very un-Cylon. He determines to chase down the human fleet for as long as necessary to destroy the last remnants of humanity and torture and kill the hated Commander Adama personally. 

Battlestar Galactica #3 (Marvel Comics) Notes from the comic book adaptation of "Deathtrap"

"Deathtrap"
Battlestar Galactica #3 (Marvel Comics)
Script by Roger McKenzie
From the teleplay by Glen A. Larson
Art by Ernie Colon
May 1979

On page 16, panel 7, Boxey is depicted with blond hair.

On page 17, panel 3, there is writing on the screen next to the Cylon. It appears to mix Arabic numerals with characters from a made-up alphabet.
Cylon writing

On page 27, panel 3, the Ovion larvae look like six-legged mammals instead of insects or grubs.

Also on page 27, panel 3, Apollo calls Starbuck "Apollo"! 

Unanswered Questions

Did Apollo, Starbuck, and Boomer receive their Gold Cluster awards? The ceremony is interrupted by a battle with the Cylons and Ovions.

Memorable Dialog

we better have this drone checked.wav
a battlestar sitting on their front door.wav
big money.wav
I may have said that.wav
office rates.wav
utter contempt.wav
our raiders are all destroyed.wav
some home.wav
ragtag fugitive fleet.wav

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