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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Battlestar Galactica: Murder on the Rising Star Battlestar Galactica
"Murder on the Rising Star"
TV episode
Story by Michael Sloan
Teleplay by Donald Bellisario and Jim Carlson & Terrence McDonnell
Directed by Rod Holcomb

When his triad arch rival, Ortega, is found murdered, Starbuck is arrested and accused.

Read the complete story summary at the Battlestar wiki site

Didja Know?

The title of this episode was probably inspired by the 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

The character of Ortega is played by Frank Ashmore, who would go on to be known as both Martin and Phillip on V.

The character of the Chief Opposer, Sire Solon, is played by Brock Peters. Peters is also known for providing the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars radio dramas produced by National Public Radio and as Benjamin Sisko's father on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Didja Notice?

Adama's journal entry at the beginning of the episode is noteworthy in that it does foreshadow, perhaps unintentionally, the opening episode of Galactica 1980 (though here Adama says he feels they will find Earth soon, whereas in Galactica 1980, it is about 30 years later; it must also be noted that most fans, and even Glen A. Larson himself, no longer consider the poorly received series to be part of BSG canon). Of course, the real reason Adama is given these lines by the producers is to set up the audience for the upcoming stories "Greetings From Earth" and "Experiment in Terra" and lead them to believe the fleet may have actually discovered Earth of our future. "Our scouts have sent back word of yet another planet along the coordinates given us by our mysterious super race. More and more often, the planets we come across bear signs of the lost 13th tribe. We are getting closer to Earth. And once we have plotted her precise location, we will carefully formulate a plan for observing and sampling her culture. Too sudden an appearance from their relations in space could send our sister world into a wave of culture shock from which she might never recover. And are the inhabitants of Earth far in advance of us in their development or merely primitive animals fallen from a greater time? I feel we will soon know."

A previously unseen flag or pennant (of the Colonies?) is seen at 3:20 on the DVD. Colonial pennant

Boomer is acting as a co-commentator on the inter-fleet broadcast of the triad game at the beginning of the episode. The other commentator is Zed, the same broadcaster seen on the IFB channel in "The Man With Nine Lives".

Cassiopeia comments that every time Starbuck plays triad against Ortega, his body comes out looking like a black-and-blue Orion hasher. In BSG continuity, Orion seems to be a planet which traded with the Twelve Colonies; it was also mentioned in "Deathtrap" and "The Magnificent Warriors". It is unknown just what a hasher is.

The dialog between Cassie and Athena reveals that Starbuck and Ortega have been at each other's throats ever since the Academy, fighting over gambling, women, and triad.

Notice that the waiter at the private lounge where Adama and Tigh are watching the game on a televiewer at 4:26 on the DVD, is the man who will later be revealed as Karybdis, Ortega's murderer. Notice also that he comments that he is going off duty in a few centons, allowing him time to get to the triad game (just down the corridor) to perform the deed.

Cassie's closing statement in her conversation with Athena and Sheba foreshadows Ortega's fate when she says, "...if those two keep at it, they're going to end up killing each other." Later, after being ejected from the game for fighting with Ortega, Starbuck also leads himself into trouble by angrily saying, "I'll kill him." Later, Ortega sees a person off-camera whom he obviously recognizes and considers an opponent. Still later, Starbuck rushes out of the locker room, rudely bumping into a passerby in the corridor and then seems nervous about the delayed shuttle while waiting with Cassie to leave the Rising Star. These are all rather cheap and easy ploys by the scriptwriters to ratchet up the suspense and suspicion in viewers minds as to whether Starbuck might actually be guilty of Ortega's murder.

After his confrontation with Starbuck, Ortega walks into a room labeled as Blue Squadron, so he must be a member of the squadron.

The term "turbo wash" used by the triad players to refer to cleaning up after the game must be the Colonial equivalent of a shower.

Dr. Wilker performs a laseronics ergon test on Starbuck's sidearm. The terms "laseronics" and "ergon" appear to be fictitious ones used just for the story; however, "ergon" is an Ancient Greek word meaning "work" and it lends its prefix to our English word "erg", which is a unit measuring the amount of work performed by one dyne of force exerted over a distance of one centimeter. "Ergon" may have a similar Colonial meaning here as "erg".

At 12:48 on the DVD, there appear to be a couple of robots standing in the background behind Dr. Wilker.
Wilker's robots

The dialog of Sire Solon to Starbuck tells us that Ortega was a Wing Sergeant in the fleet. The term "Wing Sergeant" is not generally used in militaries on Earth, though there is a rank known as Wing Sergeant Major. Oddly, later in the episode, during the tribunal, Solon refers to Ortega as a Flight Sergeant.

The recordings of the triad game are referred to as "computapes". This must be a Colonial term generally used for video recordings.

Solon seems to refer to the Colonial military as the Colonial Service.

Adama indicates that Apollo studied the law codes at the Academy, which is why he has at least some credibility as a protector (lawyer) for Starbuck. In the reimagined BSG series, Apollo also becomes a defense counsel, this time for Baltar.

As with Baltar's trial in "War of the Gods" Part 2, Colonial justice moves very swiftly. Apollo has only 10 centars (hours) to build a defense before Starbuck appears at the trial after his arrest.

At 17:49 on the DVD, Boomer and Apollo appear to log into the personnel computer by voice and handprint. But the "Galactica Discovers Earth" Part 1 episode of Galactica 1980 states that the Colonials do not have fingerprints!

It's not so surprising to hear Cassiopeia tell Starbuck she loves him. But it is surprising to hear the womanizer say he loves her too.

The Galactica's brig is not so shabby seeing as how the prisoners have a televiewer in the cell!

In this episode we learn that Baltar had help in betraying the Colonies to the Cylons in the form of Karybdis, code name Proteus, his pilot and electronics expert, who helped him sabotage Caprica's defense computers.

Notice that at 28:55 on the DVD, there appears to be a crack in the clear plastic of Baltar's cell door (at the top of the screen).
Baltar's cell

During the scene in the chancery on the Rising Star from 29:45-29:57 on the DVD, there are a number of people smoking something similar to cigarettes.

Chella tells of how, back on Caprica during the Cylon attack, he bribed Ortega to let him aboard the Rising Star and because of it, a child had to be left behind to die. Possibly this was the inspiration for the scene in the reimagined BSG where Baltar has the chance to take the winning lottery ticket that would let him escape Caprica from an elderly woman, but he doesn't, instead helping her aboard the ship.

Although the three Karybdis suspects are all wearing the same type of boots, the brown pants leg tucked into the top of the boots as the killer climbs back aboard Apollo's shuttle should tell us before the actual revelation that Pallon is the killer.

The weight load of the shuttle reads 2250 as Apollo is waiting for the suspect to reboard at 38:08 on the DVD. When we see the readout again just before Pallon reboards at 38:23, it shows 2425. Then, when Pallon actually steps aboard, we see the readout go from 2240 to 2425. It seems that the inserts of the readouts got mixed up in the editing room.

Notice that the launch bay of the prison barge at 42:21 on the DVD looks just like the Galactica launch bay!

Notice that Karybdis refers to Baltar as Commander Baltar. Is this an actual rank held by Baltar in the Colonial Service? (In the novelization of "Saga of a Star World" {see "Annihilation"}, Baltar is referred to as a Count.) 

Notes from the Deleted Scenes on the DVD

At 6:56 in the Deleted Scenes on the DVD, director Rod Holcomb is guiding the tribunal actors through the speech and sounds of Apollo, Karybdis, and Baltar over Alpha Channel. When Holcomb states, "Now a fight begins," it sounds as if Lorne Greene, as Adama, whispers, "Jesus Christ!" in reaction to the fight sounds he's supposed to be hearing.

Memorable Dialog

black-and-blue Orion hasher.wav
when your woman is not around.wav
it's my weapon.wav
we've been in tighter spots.wav
Starbuck, I love you.wav
I love you, too.wav
Adama will send Vipers after you.wav
I never thought I'd see Starbuck run.wav
you'll go far.wav
he won't live long enough to reach his cell.wav
thank Baltar.wav
maybe they oughta lock you up more often.wav

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