Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Nine: Fire in Space

During some down time aboard the Galactica, Boomer joins Athena and Boxey in the Rejuvenation Center for some fun and games. When the Cylons attack, Blue Squadron is scrambled, and they find out that the Cylon attack is not a mere probe. The rest of the squadrons are scrambled and the internal doors shuttered – trapping Boomer, Athena, Boxey, Muffit 2.0 and many other officers within.

Meanwhile the Colonials intercepting the Cylons find that the Cylons are not fighting back. When some of the Cylons penetrate the defenses, one Cylon heads for the bridge. Although the Cylon is destroyed by Apollo’s Viper, the explosion penetrates the Galactica’s shields and causes massive damage on the bridge. Adama is severely injured, and Tigh has to take over.

A second attack commences, this time on the Galactica’s port landing bay. The Cylon crashes, causing massive destruction within the Galactica. The fires onboard start spreading, threatening to destroy the Galactica and kill everyone aboard.

Dr. Selik attempts to stabilize Adama, who now has a fragment lodged inside of his body that threatens his very survival. The Damage Control Commander is trying to contain the fires with Boraton, but is having very little success. Meanwhile, the people in the Rejuvenation center are assessing their options, as one door has a damaged lock, and the other is their only barrier to a fire just outside. Boomer uses his expertise to open the damaged door and they manage to find a few oxygen masks.

Meanwhile, Apollo and Tigh clash over what needs to be done to save the Galactica and his father. Apollo finally suggests that they use the fighters to strafe the landing bay and use one of the main energizer’s mega-pressure pumps to smother the fire in the landing bay. Soon, Starbuck, Sheba, and Apollo launch and perform firing runs. Unfortunately, the mega-pressure pump breaks, and the fire continues to spread.

Boomer has Muffit 2.0 take a message to get help. Apollo gets the idea of using Boxey’s favorite snack (which Muffit is trained to sniff out) to lead Muffit to the bridge. Meanwhile, a nearly incapacitated Adama tells Tigh to blow holes in the Galactica and have the fire sucked out into space.

Muffit finally makes it to the bridge, and Tigh sends a message along with sufficient masks back to Boomer. Apollo and Starbuck set the charges, but Apollo ends up drifting away into space. Starbuck rescues him, and Sheba reports on their position. The charges detonate, and the fire is contained before it reached the main energizers and overheated the main fuel tanks.

Western Show Parallel:

As I stated before, Apollo is Butch Cassidy, Starbuck the Sundance Kid. Well, Sheba just became Calamity Jane. Call me cynical, but this means that Boomer will probably be out the cockpit more, and Jolly just found himself in the same position as Greenbean – nowhere to be found.

What to Watch for:

When Sheba gets in the cockpit for the first time in this episode for her launch sequence, she is shown wearing her Pegasus helmet.

Sheba's First Helmet Shot

Sheba's First Helmet Shot

When she launches, she is in her Pegasus helmet.

Sheba's Helmet When She Launches

Sheba's Helmet When She Launches

When she starts fighting the Cylons, the helmet from this point on swaps between her Galactica Helmet:

Sheba in Her Galactica Helmet

Sheba in Her Galactica Helmet

to a Pegasus helmet:

Sheba in Her Pegasus Helmet - In the Same Flight

Sheba in Her Pegasus Helmet - In the Same Flight

During the Same Battle.

Boomer the Car Thief:

Whoever decided this parallel needs to Die. In. a. Fire. When Boomer explains that he could open one of the sealed doors that they were trapped behind, he tells Athena that he was busted many times for hot-linking hover-mobiles many times (in fact, lots of times).

In other words, Boomer is a criminal and petty thief. And he just happens to be “black.” How much do you want to bet that this kind of back story would not have been assigned to Starbuck, Apollo, Jolly, Greenbean, Athena, Sheba, or anyone else who happened to not be “black?”

I realize that this was the B-story that Boomer gets – as everyone gets their bone once in a while, but Boomer’s hacking could have been explained as part of an electronics background or specialization in school or at the Colonial Academy.

But no. Instead, we get Boomer, the Car Thief of Caprica.

Fail.

Does Anyone Respect Tigh’s Rank – and Does the Colonel Ever Get to Form an Idea that Actually Works?

Tigh is supposed to be the XO aboard the Galactica, battle trained and experienced. However, it takes a nearly dead Adama to suggest the idea of using the fighters as “scanners” when the Galactica goes down. It also takes Apollo to suggest using Muffit to relay messages to Boomer and the trapped crewmembers, which Tigh shoots down – although the idea is done in proxy by Boomer. It also takes Apollo to suggest using the fighters to blast Boraton into the landing bays using fighters – and the fire chief to use a mega-pressure pump to assist in the firefighting efforts. And, once again, it takes a nearly dead Adama to suggest using explosives to suck the oxygen the fire uses into space.

In other words, we have a Colonel and XO who plays it safe, never initiates an idea that actually works, shoots down suggestions from the “stars” of the show only to be proven wrong, and is usually ignored because of it.

Fail.

Final Analysis:

[Lost Cause] 2.0 of 10 points. Boomer gets to be a sub-hero being the voice of command and reason for the “troops” trapped in a compartment. The score would have been a lot higher if Boomer wasn’t the Car Thief of Caprica. Since Sheba is the “new toy” of the show, we see more of her than we do of Tigh and Boomer. But understand that this is a pattern of Hollywood productions in general – when generating more sex appeal, the African-American characters get the wrong end of the laser pistol far too often.

In the case of Colonel Tigh, this comes off of the heels of his shabby treatment in “The Living Legend.” I am always looking for ways that Colonel Tigh has been helpful to Adama and the Colonial Fleet and have found them far and few between.

I want to like this show. I really do. Instead of the bright-eyed wonder I had back in the 1980s when I watched the show the first time around, I wanted to like the show for things that I didn’t comprehend then that I can see bright as the sky now. Instead, as I stated in an earlier review, my re-watch of Battlestar Galactica has not been anywhere near what I expected. In terms of story structure, I have no real complaints – just a few tweaks here and there would have been sufficient. Unfortunately, it is execution that I look at, and all it takes is something that was supposed to be a throwaway line to explain a situation and it can turn an episode from cruising along to crash into a pothole and limping to the repair shop.

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2 Responses to Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Nine: Fire in Space

  1. Bob K says:

    Found this site by accident and finding your BSG:TOS writeups very interesting, with many insights as well as other stuff I disagree with but still well argued.

    Mostly wanted to mention that this one (Fire In Space) doesn’t appear on your BSG:TOS contents pages (slips between the two). I only found it by guessing the URL based on the pattern from the others.

    Also curious if you ever watched more BSG:TNG beyond the miniseries as I’d be interested on your take. If not, I’d suggest giving it ONE more chance as the first post-mini ep is one of the best. But if you don’t like that one then yeah it’s probably best to go with something else.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts with all.

    -Bob K / cassielsander

  2. Heavy Armor says:

    Bob,

    I’ve actually viewed the first three seasons of the BSG:Re. I posted some of my supporting analysis which I had planned to use when I finished the deconstructions. Unfortunately, real life had decided to intrude greatly which forced me to scale back immensely on my deconstruction project. I am hoping that things stabilize over the next few days so that I can at the very least post my deconstruction of “33,” and follow up with the rest.

    Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned.

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