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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Battlestar Galactica: Wars of the Gods (Part 2) Battlestar Galactica
"War of the Gods" Part 2
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Daniel Haller

Count Iblis delivers on his promises to help the fleet, but Adama views him with suspicion.

Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki

Didja Notice?

Count Iblis has seemingly used his mental powers to coerce Baltar into making the decision to journey alone (except for his two pilots) to the Galactica, where he is quickly taken into custody. But it's not made clear exactly why Baltar chose to go there in the first place. Wouldn't Iblis' mental persuasion have at least required some kind of pretext to make Baltar think he had some good reason to go to the fleet? Baltar does try to argue at his sentencing that the humans and the Cylons need to unite to protect themselves from the mysterious orbs that have been harassing both sides in this area of space. 

As seen in "Trial and Error", Colonial justice moves swiftly, as Baltar, after being delivered to the fleet at end of the previous episode, is convicted and sentenced to life on the prison barge at the beginning of this one!

During his talk with Iblis in his cell, Baltar remarks that Iblis has the same voice as that of the Imperious Leader (which is true, as actor Patrick Macnee, who plays Count Iblis, also provides the voice of Imperious Leader). That and comments from Iblis himself suggest that he was involved in the reptilian Cylons downfall to their own cybernetic creations.

Baltar also seems to state that the Cylons were overcome by their own technology 1,000 yahrens ago, at the onset of the war with the humans.

At 12:54 on the DVD, a patch on Boomer's triad uniform can be seen. It features three interlocking rings that look similar to our own Olympic rings. Triad patch

At 13:20 on the DVD, in the audience stands of the triad game, we can see that Athena is holding Boxey on her lap to watch his father play.

Sheba is seen wearing a dress at the triad game in several shots. But at 13:45 on the DVD, a shot of the game televised for the fleet shows her in her warrior's uniform! Obviously it is a reused shot from the triad game in "War of the Gods" Part 1.

At the club on the Rising Star, there are people dancing while maneuvering short lengths of rope in their hands, similar to that seen in episodes of the 1979-81 TV series also produced by Glen Larson, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

After Boomer's disappearance after chasing the white lights harassing the fleet, Tigh comments that the lights are not necessarily hostile, to which Starbuck objects, "What do you call losing eight pilots?" Actually, it should be nine now that Boomer is missing!

In this episode, we see that Commander Adama is capable of using mind-over-matter (telekinesis) to move an object, just as Count Iblis did in "War of the Gods" Part 1. He tells Apollo how he used to drive his wife mad by bending eating utensils with his mind. This is similar to the alleged psychic talents of Earth's own Uri Geller. Adama tells Apollo he learned of his own limited abilities during a study at the military institute.

At 23:41 on the DVD, we finally can read some of the words on the display on the wall of Adama's quarters.
Wall monitor

Adama reveals that the human life expectancy in their society is about 200 yahrens.

Colonel Tigh tells Commander Adama that Count Iblis is visiting Agro Ship 9. Is it really necessary to number the Agro Ship if it's the only one left? The other two were destroyed by the Cylons in "The Magnificent Warriors" (though "War of the Gods" Part 1 seems to suggest multiple ships).

At 30:06 on the DVD, we see the monitor in front of Colonel Tigh on the bridge.
Bridge monitor

In his confrontation with Iblis in his quarters, Adama tells him he believes the crashed ship on the planet was full of beings who had chosen to follow Iblis and paid for it with their lives.

When Apollo and Starbuck arrive at the wreckage site on the planet, they find no radion levels to speak of, determining that the readings on their previous visit were somehow manufactured by Count Iblis.

Attempting to break Sheba out of Count Iblis' spell, Apollo tells her to think back to the ancient records and the names Mephistopheles, Diaboles, and the Prince of Darkness; these are all alternative descriptions for what most Western religions would think of as the Devil.

When first Apollo and then Starbuck fire their guns at Count Iblis, he absorbs the laser's energy and appears briefly in what might be his true form.
Iblis' true form?

Taking Apollo's body back to the fleet, we see both Starbuck and Sheba in the cockpit of the shuttle. What about Sheba's Viper? They just left it behind? (In the novelization, Starbuck comments to Sheba that they'll send someone back for her Viper when they reach the fleet.)

When Starbuck wakes up in the Ship of Lights, the Beings of Light comment, "His restons are normal and responding to balcon infusion." The terms "restons" and "balcon" are obviously some kind of diagnosis of well-being and treatment response by the Beings of Light; the exact meaning of these terms is unknown.

The Beings of Light tell Starbuck that he is in a dimension "quite apart from your own."

The voice heard in the Ship of Lights sounds male, yet the figures present, though draped in robes and cloth, appear female. It can just barely be made out, in the close-up shots, that the mouth of one of the figures moves when speech is heard, though it does not seem to match the words heard spoken. Perhaps it is meant to suggest that the language of the Beings of Light is being translated in the minds of their human visitors. (The novelizations suggests the voices come to them only in their minds, not through spoken word.)

Essentially the same white Colonial Warrior uniforms worn by the humans on the Ship of Lights here, return in the Galactica 1980 TV episodes that featured time travel.

Commander Adama mentions Dr. Paye as having treated Apollo after his return from death at the hand of Count Iblis. Paye's only actual appearance in the series was in "Exodus", treating Cassiopeia's injured arm.

At 45:19 on the DVD, there is an interesting-looking statue behind Sheba in the dining room of Adama's quarters. Perhaps it's Toltec or Mayan in origination? Statue in Adama's quarters

Unanswered Questions

What did Commander Adama tell the Council and the fleet about the disappearance of Count Iblis? That he was a being of evil who was found out? Would the denizens of the fleet believe him? (In the novel, Adama mentions in his journal that they simply told the fleet that the white lights called Iblis back to where he'd come from, but he had fulfilled his promise to them by supplying the potential Earth coordinates actually given by Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba. In a story set 20 yahrens later in "War of Eden" Part 4, Iblis foretells of what he sees as his soon-to-come victory over the Galactica and ruling over the civilians of the fleet, most of them not knowing why he disappeared all those yahrens ago.)

Why were the 9 other Viper pilots abducted? Were they also part of the Beings of Lights' attempt to judge the evolutionary potential of humanity? Were any of these pilots also given subconscious information of any kind as Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba were?

Notes from the Deleted Scenes

The 9 other missing warriors are found on the red planet after the Galactica suddenly received distress signals from their ships.

The dining room seen at the end of the episode (and seen in previous episodes) is in Adama's quarters.

Notes from the Glen Larson interview on the "Saga of a Star World" DVD

Larson reveals that they shot a scene of Iblis' body in the ship's wreckage and it was shown to have cloven hooves (like the Christian devil). The network made them take the scene out. 

Battlestar Galactica: War of the Gods 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 79-end cover the events of "War of the Gods" Part 2.

Page 79 reveals that some of the members of the Council of Twelve are the same ones who were there before the destruction of the Colonies. Others, of course, were elected from within the fleet to fill the vacant positions.

The novel reveals that the triad game in which Apollo was choosing not to participate, was actually a game for the championship.

Page 84 reveals that when Apollo chose not to participate in the championship triad game, a young med tech called Doc Hansen, was going to be Starbuck's partner in the game.

On page 85, Doc Hansen is concerned that the crowd will not accept him in lieu of Apollo on the triad court. Not much help, Starbuck jokingly admonishes, "Try shaving off your beard and walkin' around like you've got a broomstick up your ass. Maybe that'll fool 'em." Suggesting that, despite their friendship, Starbuck does tend to think of Apollo as kind of stiff.

In the novel, Apollo is lying on his bunk in his own quarters rather than in the pilots' barracks as in the episode, when Boxey enters and shuns him.

Not only does Boxey shun him for being a coward for his refusal to play in the triad game, Muffit even growls at him (presumably sensing the boy's attitude)!

Page 89 describes cans of baharri being thrown at Doc Hansen on the triad court. Baharri has only previously been mentioned as a drink in the novelization of "The Living Legend". The description of it being in cans suggests to me that it may be analogous to beer.

Doc Hansen loses his temper when the spectators start throwing cans of baharri at him, and he calls them a bunch of combrids with nictitating membranes. "Combrids" is an unknown term in the BSG universe, but sounds like it must be some kind of lower animal. A nictitating membrane is a secondary eyelid for protection and moisturization found in many birds on Earth. Perhaps more importantly, it is found in some reptiles, so it may be a derogatory term for Colonials as representing the original reptilian Cylons; if true, "combrid" may be a particularly loathsome Colonial reptile.

The novel goes into quite a bit more detail of the championship triad game, including Boomer's ruthless play and blank, possessed look that lends further support to the probability that Count Iblis was actually playing through him.

Page 101 uses the Earth mythological term "Dionysian" to describe the scene of Count Iblis seated in the lounge of the Rising Star with Sheba curled up against him and two other women reclined at his feet. In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of ecstasy (as well as wine and intoxication).

On page 104, Starbuck muses that "any technology that was sufficiently advanced would appear to be magic to the more primitive culture." This is a paraphrase of the Arthur C. Clarke quote, "Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic."

On page 105, as Starbuck and the other hungover officers are awoken by the alert claxon in the pilots' barracks, there are also several unconscious women in various stages of undress!

On page 114, Boomer recalls a time as a cadet when he was skiing Mt. Ursus on Caprica.

As he does in the novelization of "The Living Legend", on page 115 Starbuck says, "shit" (instead of the Colonial equivalent, "pogees").

Page 120 suggests that Iblis may have the effect of draining life force from living things near him; a tree on the agro ship from which he had earlier pulled off a leaf now appears to be dead a day later.

Before allowing Apollo and Starbuck leave to return to the red planet to investigate the wreck of Iblis' ship, Adama counters Apollo's arguments regarding his distrust of Iblis, saying he felt the need to briefly play devil's advocate before allowing them to go. Ironically, "devil's advocate" may be an apt description considering what Iblis is finally revealed to be!

Pages 130-132 go into more detail after Iblis leaves Adama's quarters furious about Apollo's mission to the planet. As soon as Adama bolts out the door after him, he finds the Count has vanished from the hallway. Then Sheba runs up looking for her wicked new boyfriend and learns where Apollo and Starbuck have gone, setting up why she follows them to the planet (which is not really explained well in the episode).

In "War of the Gods" Part 1, Apollo guesses the wrecked ship must have been the size of a battlestar. Page 135 of the novel states that in comparison to the wreck, the Galactica would look like a Viper! That's ginormous!

Page 138 describes the dead, decomposing body found in the ship besides just the cloven hoof: it's bipedal, but twice the size of a human, with a long, prehensile tail; a grotesquely large and misshapen chest; fingers ending in talons; and horns upon its head. Could it be, oh, I don't know...Satan?! (Actually the name "Iblis" is an Arabic word for "devil"!)

Page 147 mentions the Battle of Sagittaria, a Cylon ambush in which a young Lt. Adama became a hero. He serves alongside Lt. Cain in Bronze Squadron aboard the battlestar Cerebrus. In "Baptism of Fire", Adama and Cain are also depicted as lieutenants and members of Bronze Squadron aboard the battlestar Cerberus (notice the spelling difference of the battlestar). I think it's fair to say the spelling in the novel is mistaken and should have been "Cerberus", which is an Earth mythological name (the three-headed dog guarding the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology), in keeping with the names of many people/places/things in the BSG universe, and "Cerebrus" is not, as far as I know.

Pages 147-151 tell the story of the Battle of Sagittaria and of Adama's and Cain's fellow pilot, Lt. Apollo. Yep, he was the inspiration for Adama later naming his first son Apollo.

Page 150 states that the Galactica was newly commissioned when Adama received command of her. The novelization of "The Living Legend" also seems to suggest this, although other sources suggest the Galactica is much older than that and has had many commanders over her lifetime (including Adama's own father!).

In the novel, Starbuck, Sheba, and Apollo are naked on the Ship of Lights rather than clothed in all white versions of their uniforms.

When describing the location of Earth, Apollo here says Sector Beta instead of Quadrant Alpha as in the TV episode. (In the Star Trek universe, Alpha Quadrant is also used as the location of Earth!)

In the Adama's Journal entry on page 172, Adama states that he has no doubt that Iblis did spend time on Earth and he hopes the people of Earth were stronger and better able to deal with him than did he and the inhabitants of the fleet. This may be a suggestion that Iblis is a "fallen angel" and force of darkness as believed in by many Earth religions.

There is no mention in the novel of Iblis' voice sounding like that of the Imperious Leader, nor does Iblis visit Baltar in his cell as he does in the televised episode. Also, there is no demonstration of Adama's own, limited telekinetic abilities.

At the end of the novel, Baltar finds himself mysteriously back on board his basestar. Lucifer informs him that they found his shuttle drifting in space with Baltar aboard, unconscious. Baltar remembers nothing of his visit to the fleet. Presumably, Iblis used his powers to free Baltar to continue his haranguing of the human fleet. This makes Baltar available for appearances in some of the later original novels written by Robert Thurston. In the TV series however, Baltar remains a prisoner on the prison barge through the last episode. It is difficult to reconcile these two opposing circumstances, though in the final TV episode, "The Hand of God", Adama does promise to leave Baltar free on the next habitable planet they find in exchange for his knowledge of Cylon basestar designs for a mission of sabotage, though we don't see him freed in the episode. (As far as the PopApostle chronology of BSG is concerned, Baltar escapes the prison barge in the Realm Press comic book Battlestar Galactica #5, "Prison of Souls" Part 3).

Lucifer describes Baltar as having taken a shuttle, alone, to rendezvous with the Galactica. In the TV series it was shown in "Baltar's Escape" that he had arrived in a Cylon Raider, with two centurion pilots which were dismantled upon arrival on the battlestar. 

Memorable Dialog

guilty of treason.wav
that voice.wav
I see no reason to delay electing Count Iblis.wav
the voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader.wav
does everyone seem especially festive that we lost?.wav
enjoy life to its fullest.wav
we're all saved, so relax.wav
I might like this place you come from.wav
soul mates.wav
are you jealous?.wav
what do you primitive children know.wav
Count Iblis is becoming very popular.wav
Count Iblis has Sheba swooning.wav
what are you up to, Adama?.wav
you know who I am?.wav
another time, another place.wav
Apollo's dead.wav
his restons are normal.wav
there is some truth to your speculation.wav
this is an exception.wav
what are you, delirious?.wav
we fight a common foe.wav
as you are now.wav
what about Count Iblis?.wav
to the end of Count Iblis.wav
you challenged Count Iblis.wav
caught between good and evil.wav
Earth.wav

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