Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Tyrol’s Guilt and Baltar the Traitor
Welcome to the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica Weekly, our recurring Q&A with Mark Verheiden, co-executive producer of the hit Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. Each week, we’ll interview Verheiden about the events of the week’s episode, what those events might mean for both the season and the series, and hopefully unearth some clues about what to expect as the final season of Battlestar Galactica nears its conclusion.
Along with posing our own questions to Verheiden, we’re also taking questions from fans — so be sure to send your questions to me, your official BSG Weekly interviewer, after each episode airs at chris [at] comicmix [dot] com. New episodes of Battlestar Galactica can be seen every Friday at 10 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel. You can view previous interviews via the links at the end of this article.
This week, Verheiden answers questions about the fourth episode of Season Four, "Escape Velocity," which aired April 25, 2008. Note: These questions may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.
COMICMIX (from reader John): What did Tyrol do at Cally’s funeral that Tigh felt might have given them away?
MARK VERHEIDEN: When the Chief grabbed Tigh and Tory in the receiving line, I think they could sense the intensity of his desperation and confusion.
Their concern was less about what he did during the ceremony than his precarious mental state in the wake of Cally’s death. Given Tyrol’s explosive comments to Adama, it’s not that far-fetched.
CMix (from reader John): Wouldn’t the final four put themselves at less risk if they stopped getting together and chatting about what they are all the time? Or, are they just programmed to do that?
MV: Short answer is yes. But on the other hand, they do have ongoing Cylon business to discuss in private. But programmed to do it? I don’t think so.
CMix (from reader Leah): How can the Six in Baltar’s head lift him up and turn him around?
MV: I would argue that Baltar’s gyrations were still him contorting himself, as if Number Six were hoisting him from the floor. I am reminded of Church services where people, in the throes of religious fervor, can evidence remarkable physical contortions, ”speaking in tongues," etc.
But feel free to interpret the scene in other ways if you’d like…
CMix (from reader Avery): The reading scenes between Adama and Roslin have been lovely. Will we be seeing more of that – or potentially more than that – as their relationship, and her cancer, progresses?
MV: I can’t get into spoilers, but obviously the Adama/Roslin relationship is an important one and will continue to evolve as the series goes on, just as it has from the very beginning. As for where it goes… you’ll just have to keep watching!
CMix (from reader Avery): When Roslin and Lee were arguing about Baltar, she became very emotional, especially discussing their time on New Caprica. Can you tell us a little about what happened to her, personally, that affects her so deeply?
MV: This starts to get a little complicated, I think, which of course means you’re watching Battlestar Galactica! But Laura’s emotions about New Caprica have to be a swirl of righteous resentments and animosity.
Remember that she was removed as President by the will of the people (in a squeaker of an election), replaced by a guy she knew would be a poor leader. That proved to be true even before the Cylons arrived and the occupation began.
So she would have watched the political machine on New Caprica flounder under Baltar’s rule, then see the Government’s total capitulation when the Cylons arrived and he immediately surrendered.
While Baltar more or less cooperated with the Cylons (regardless of whether his reasons were pragmatic and practical, as pointed out in his trial), humans were rounded up, imprisoned, eyeballs were gouged out, people were tortured, the nightmare went on and on.
After all that, Baltar managed to evade Laura’s idea of justice AND he falls into a sect of acolytes who look to him for spiritual guidance.
Is it any wonder that the guy gets under her skin? And that she fears for the fleet should he find another power base?
CMix (from reader Tony): In the scene where Adama reads to Roslin, he closes the book and continues speaking. Is he doing it from memory, even though he said he had not read that far in the book? Or, is he just telling her how he feels?
MV: Adama is speaking from the heart in that very lovely moment.
CMix: When the Chief has it out with Adama it seems as if he’s doing it on purpose, knowing Adama has to bust him. Is it because he feels he sabotaged the Raptor on purpose due to some Cylon programming or is he saying what he really feels about Cally because he’s still pining away over Boomer?
MV: I think Tyrol’s in hell because he doesn’t know if he intentionally sabotaged the Raptor or not. One of the perils of suddenly realizing you’re a Cylon.
And I don’t know about “pining”, but remembering the way he treated Boomer after she was revealed as a Cylon, given his own revised situation, must be tearing him apart.
CMix: When Adama says "I don’t like things to end" he’s not talking about a book is he?
MV: I think that’s safe to assume.
CMix: During the scene between Six and Tigh she tells him about when she helped destroy Caprica and about her relationship with Baltar. Doesn’t that mean she’s just given him up as the collaborator Roslin had always suspected he was? Nobody seemed to react to that rather interesting bit of information.
MV: Keep watching!
CMix: What’s your favorite part of this week’s episode?
MV: I’m going to cheat this week, because there are several moments that really stand out for me. The first appearance of dream-Ellen in Caprica Six’s place. The scene between Laura and Baltar in the jail cell. Adama reading to Laura, closing the book and continuing.
And the explosive confrontation between Adama and Tyrol in Joe’s bar, which is so raw and ugly and yet powerful because it speaks to some ugly, usually unspoken truths.