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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Battlestar Galactica: War of the Gods (Part 1) Battlestar Galactica
"War of the Gods" Part 1
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Daniel Haller

The fleet encounters strange light ships and a seemingly supernatural being named Count Iblis.

Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki

Didja Know?

Starting with this episode, Anne Lockhart as Sheba is added to the secondary credits sequence, with the music slightly altered to accommodate the additional few seconds. 

Didja Notice?

At the beginning of the episode, we see five Vipers on patrol, led by Bojay. When they are intercepted by the Ship of Lights and fail to return to the fleet, only four are said to have disappeared.

At 3:57 on the DVD, why am I reminded of Gilligan's Island? Listen: Jolly's exclamation

At 4:07 on the DVD, Jolly says that his instruments are "spinning like fire-tons" (at least, that's what the subtitles say; it sounds more like "fire-tots"). Whatever those are. 

As the Ship of Lights approaches the Vipers, the pilots hear a high-pitched sound they can't stand. Since sound does not travel through space, it could be argued that the "sound" they are hearing is actually a sort of telepathic knock-out blast sent by the beings on the ship.

Notice that whenever we see a frontal shot of the tailfin of a Viper, the fin is much shorter than it should be.
Viper

4:28 on the DVD is about the best look we get in the series at the exterior of the Ship of Lights.
Ship of Lights Ship of Lights
 
At the triad game, a number of banners are seen hanging above the crowd. Do the banners represent the flags of the 12 Colonies?
Colonial banners A Colonial banner A Colonial banner

For the second time in the series (previously in "Into the Void") Starbuck uses the phrase "for Sagan's sake" (after Colonel Tigh tells them there's an emergency meeting in the war room). Possibly Sagan is the name of one of the Lords of Kobol, but it is also most likely an homage to scientist and science popularizer Carl Sagan.

Sheba tells Commander Adama, "Bojay is like my family. He's all that I've got left." I guess it could be that she is just closer to him than any of the others, but there were a number of Pegasus crewmembers left on the Galactica when the Pegasus went missing in action; recall that Commander Cain said he was evacuating all the wounded and all nonessential personnel over to the fleet while he took Pegasus into battle against the three basestars in "The Living Legend" Part 2. (although the novelization does seem to state that only Sheba and Bojay are left from the Pegasus.)

The graphical planet image that appears on Apollo's scope at 8:55 on the DVD is the same one that is seen on Boomer's scope of the planet Attila in "The Young Lords"!

The Viper computers (and the pilots themselves) keep saying there are no life forms on the planet. But even discounting Count Iblis, there is obviously abundant plant life on the surface when they arrive! And that pretty much means some kind of native microbial and animal life as well. Obviously they are referring only to human life, but that's pretty narrow-minded thinking!

Count Iblis' first appearance in the episode has somewhat of an ominous aspect in that he standing regally among the burned-out remains of trees and shrubs.
Count Iblis

Count Iblis' clothing seems to be similar in fashion to Colonial formal dress.

Both Iblis and the Colonials seem to use the measurement unit "radion" as the equivalent of our "rad" for measuring radiation levels.

At 11:34 on the DVD, we get a fairly good look at the medallion on Iblis' chest; the design looks rather generic though. Iblis' medallion

Iblis refers to his enemies as the Great Powers.

At 12:24 in the episode, Apollo attempts to get a life reading on Count Iblis on his handheld scanner. It's a pretty cheesy looking prop!
Handheld scanner

After he's found at the crash site on the planet, Iblis tells Sheba he's very weary. She offers him some emergency rations, and he replies that it's not food he requires, but he doesn't say what it is he does need. I suspect it's the worship of him by others he requires.

Apollo tells Starbuck to go back to the ship and send for a shuttle so they can take Count Iblis back to the fleet with them. It seems to me like he's saying "go to your Viper and make a call". But at 15:27 on the DVD, as Apollo is talking to Iblis, you can hear in the background the sound of Starbuck's Viper powering up and blasting off! I guess the planet is just too far from the fleet for communications to work and Starbuck has to get out into space to make the call. Same blasted thing happens on my cell phone.

At 17:12 on the DVD, the picture of the Galactica which was once seen on the wall just inside the door of Adama's quarters in some early episodes, is now seen on the back wall of his quarters. The coffee table with the "three-dimensional chess" set on it that used to be under the viewport is now gone as well.
Adama's quarters

At 18:03 on the DVD, Sheba tells Iblis they can stop for some hypernutrients and energon treatment. The statement seems to be related to a visit to the Life Station.

Iblis tells Sheba he fears that the Life Station's technology may be destructive to him (probably he just doesn't want doctors scanning his body and realizing he's not truly human; or he may have the uncontrollable effect of rendering scanning devices useless in his presence as happened with Apollo's handheld scanner and when Count Iblis walks close to electronic scanning equipment on the bridge; they lose signal and regain it when he walks away). Sheba objects that their technology is the very latest and he responds "For your time, yes." This could be just a reference to what may be his own, more technologically advanced, society; but it could also be a literal reference to the "time period" he is now in. "Nostalgie De La Boue" suggests that Iblis lives his life non-chronologically as far as how we consider time or, that he at least as advance knowledge of things that happen in the future. (In the novelization, Iblis actually tells her, "I don't come from your world. Or from your time.")

Don't know what it means, but at 18:54 on the DVD, we see the following information on a monitor on the Galactica bridge.
Monitor screen on Galactica bridge

Count Iblis tells Adama that he's come to prepare the fleet's way to Earth. In a way, he does since it is his presence that brings the fleet into contact with the Beings of Light who wind up giving Apollo, Sheba, and Starbuck clues to the path to Earth at the end of "War of the Gods" Part 2.

In his journal, Adama says that Iblis' promises have given the people of the fleet their first real hope in a quarter-yahren. That must be how much time has passed since the destruction of the Colonies. It doesn't seem like much time considering the distance they seem to have travelled. If the distance was travelled this easily (relatively speaking) why was there no other recent Colonial exploration? Did the war with the Cylons tend to keep the Colonials contained to their system(s)?

When we see the monitor display of the words spoken by Adama into his journal at 24:40 on the DVD, it has left off his words "and yet" at the beginning of the last sentence. 

When Apollo asks if Count Iblis could actually be an android designed to look human, Dr. Salik responds that the Colonies' biorobotics institutes were well-advanced in that science. When Apollo and Starbuck visit Dr. Wilker to discuss the possibility, we see him working on what appears to be a humanoid android! There are also a number of android body parts on the shelf behind him. Are there actual working androids in use within the fleet? (The robotic face appears to be a slightly modified fembot from The Bionic Woman TV series, another Glen Larson production from 1976-78!)
Dr. Wilker's android
Fembot from The Bionic Woman

Iblis tells Sheba she will see her father again. Was he telling her the truth? Or just another lie to manipulate her?

Sheba tells Iblis there is a dark side to him that reminds her of her father, who had a love of war and conflict. Iblis responds that that is a very perceptive observation. Implying, perhaps, the Iblis also has a love of war and conflict.

The ship on which Count Iblis meets some of the denizens of the fleet and promises increased food supplies appears to be the same ship, the freighter Gemini, that Cassiopeia was on when Starbuck first found her in "Exodus".

At 40:00 on the DVD, an old woman on the Gemini freighter tells Count Iblis she has a talon plant that apparently provides her some food. It's not revealed exactly what a talon plant is.

Iblis tells Apollo to go to the agro ships to see the growth there for himself. But, last we knew, the fleet was down to just one agro ship after two others were destroyed by the Cylons in "The Magnificent Warriors".

On the external view of the agro ship at 41:16 on the DVD, there appear to be two screws (a Phillips-head and star-head) holding the model together!

At 41:47 on the DVD, a single fruit tree on the agro ship seems to be bearing multiple types of odd-looking fruits. (The novelization seems to suggest that many of the fruits that have grown overnight are unexpected and unusual even to the gardener and scientists.)

During his discussion with Apollo in his quarters, Commander Adama ponders whether the Lords of Kobol, from whom the humans of the Colonies are descended, were not themselves descended from some greater race than their own, such as Iblis' people.

Apparently Blue Squadron (of which Apollo and Starbuck are the primary members) is considered an elite squadron. When Baltar sends a message that he wishes to come aboard the Galactica under a universal sign of truce, Adama orders Blue Squadron to escort his ship in and later, in his journal, he refers to Baltar's ship as being escorted in by an elite squadron.

 

Notes from the Deleted Scenes

The deleted scenes reveal there were five planets in the system, not just one, all lifeless. 

Unanswered Questions

How is it that Iblis is apparently able to speak the Colonial language (whatever it is) when he claims to have no connection to the human Colonies? Shouldn't this be an early clue to the landing party and other Colonials that he is much more than he at first seems? 

Notes from the novelization of "War of the Gods" by Glen A. Larson and Nicholas Yermakov

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published December 1982)

Pages 1-78 cover the events of "War of the Gods" Part 1.

In the Adama Journals entry on page 2, Adama comments that the day the Twelve Colonies made contact with the Cylon Empire is a day that will live in infamy. This is a callback by the author to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech decrying the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, launching the United States' entry into WWII.

Also on page 2, Adama asserts that the Cylons originally chose to make war against the Colonies simply because they saw humanity as unfit to engage in interstellar travel. In "Deathtrap", Adama states that it started when the Colonies chose to aid the alien Hasari, whose civilization was being taken by force by the Cylons. Possibly, these two assertions are not mutually exclusive.

Pages 5 and 7 imply that the helmets worn by Viper pilots are enclosed by a transparent material, unlike the open-faced ones on the TV series. The pilots are described as activating their helmet mikes with a flick of the tongue and having a polarizing shield over their helmets.

Unlike in the aired episode, here Bojay sends out an automated warning to the fleet when his squadron encounters the strange lights in space. Makes more sense that way!

Page 9 describes the Ship of Lights as being of a size that would dwarf even the Galactica.

Page 11 describes the ball and uniforms of the game of triad as being made largely of polymesh nysteel. Nysteel is not a compound known on Earth. The soles of the players boots, which allow them to "climb the walls" to a slight degree are velotex, another fictional compound (though possibly the word was inspired by our word "velcro").

Page 13 tells us that Boomer's teammate in the triad game is Greenbean. Later, on page 90, during the game played in "War of the Gods" Part 2, Boomer is playing with Edbryn, a young member of the Council of Twelve!  In the episodes, it is an unknown, unnamed character who partners up with Boomer.

In the episode, after his team's win in the triad game, Athena asks Starbuck what she can do to reward him and we don't hear his response, even though we can see that he says something back to her. In the novel, he replies, "I'm sure I'll be able to think of something," implying a romantic liaison. Perhaps the line originally existed in the episode but was erased because the producers had decided at that point to make Cassiopeia more of Starbuck's only flame; this may be further evidenced by Starbuck and Cassie's closeness in the immediately subsequent episodes (after "War of the Gods" Part 2), "The Man With Nine Lives" and "Murder on the Rising Star".

On page 16, the dialog that was given to Starbuck in the episode is, instead, given to Apollo, reassuring Boomer after the loss of the game that "I'm sure there's something you're good at." Perhaps as an in-joke referencing the episode, Boomer responds to Apollo that "You're starting to sound too much like Starbuck for my tastes."

The planet is described as having a decaying sort of smell, besides the strange red hue to the plants. Is it meant to suggest that it has become contaminated by Iblis' presence or by the crash of the ship carrying Iblis' people (if his story is true)?

Page 30 mentions that a force field holds in the artificial atmosphere of the Galactica's landing bays. The guidance systems of the ship's vipers and shuttles allow the smaller vessels to pass through the field in such a way that it acts as a semi-permeable membrane, allowing only a minimum of amount of atmosphere to escape with each landing.

In the Adama's Journal entry on page 44, Adama comments that, in their search for Earth, they have been "searching, blindly, following an ancient trail, not even sure that our path is the correct one." Perhaps we could interpret the "ancient trail" as a reference to the trail markers of pulsars gleaned by combining the clues from Adama's glimpse of the markings in the tomb of the 9th Lord of Kobol in "A Death in the Family" and the information found on the ship stolen from Scavenger World by Starbuck in "The Last Hiding Place".

Also on page 44, Adama ponders whether Iblis could be an advance scout from Earth, seeking to learn whether the humans of the fleet are suitable to join them.

Page 49 suggests the agro ship is really just an old, decrepit supply tanker which was cobbled together into an agricultural ship as the fleet was fleeing the Colonies. This seems to ignore the fact that there were two additional, identical agro ships in the fleet until they were destroyed in "The Magnificent Warriors".

On page 68, some children on the Gemini freighter are playing stick ram, but we get no description of how the game is played. From the name, it may be a variant of what we would call hockey.

Page 74 reveals the names of a couple of members of the Council of Twelve, Sires Montrose and Edbryn. Montrose is the one who exclaims that there is no way that Count Iblis could have known what their first two tests for him were going to be. Edbryn is the one who Iblis says is the most skeptical of the council, with the possible exception of Adama. 

Memorable Dialog

wisdom of the lords.wav
holy frak.wav
reasonably proficient.wav
I'm sure there's something you're good at.wav
you look really weird.wav
big as a battlestar.wav
do you need our help?.wav
it's not food I require.wav
knowledge of the universe.wav
a little on the loony side.wav
overwhelmed.wav
the very latest.wav
I know you won't leave there.wav
you're far less sensitive than I thought.wav
where does that leave me?.wav
they are relentless.wav
greater and more infinitely dangerous powers.wav
under my leadership.wav
I've come to prepare your way to Earth.wav
blatant feminine wiles.wav
the most charming.wav
without Starbuck around.wav
you really got to him.wav
I am closer to your soul than anyone has ever been.wav
you will see him again.wav
all things will be possible.wav
a great believer in distraction.wav
games of life, games of death.wav
a very perceptive observation.wav
you'll forfeit your life in the wink of an eye.wav
a degree of being developed far in advance of your own.wav
I know your questions before you ask them.wav
a new and more powerful force in the universe.wav
the liking Sheba's taken for the good Count.wav
our enemy has been delivered.wav

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