Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Adama’s Motives and Cylon Babies
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 read previous interviews via our BSG Weekly Archive or the links at the end of this article.
After a week off, this week Verheiden answers questions about Episode #8 of Season Four, "Sine Qua Non," which aired May 30, 2008. Note: These answers may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.
First, before we get to the questions, here’s a personal message from Mark about the recent fire that destroyed a large part of the Universal Studios backlot.
Readers may have seen the news story about the big fire at NBC/Universal Studios over the weekend. The fire was actually across the lot from the Galactica offices, and we’re all grateful for that. But we’re even more grateful to the police and firefighters who did such a heroic job putting down the blaze. So say we all!
And now, on with the questions.
COMIC MIX (from reader Tom): Where did Jake the dog come from? What happened to his previous owners?
MARK VERHEIDEN: Jake was obviously rescued from New Caprica. As far as his previous owners, truth is we never really discussed Jake’s ownership lineage. Because I don’t want to believe Lee would steal the pooch from someone (uh oh, I smell a Boxey story!), I assume the dog was being housed somewhere in the fleet sans real owners.
CMix (from reader Trish): Who killed Romo’s cat and why was he carrying around the dead cat for weeks? He never seemed that crazy before. Or was he?
MV: I think it’s just as Romo says, the cat was killed by someone in the fleet. Who, he has no idea. Remember that Romo wasn’t the most popular fella walking the halls after Baltar’s acquittal. Regardless, the dead cat became a vivid symbol of the guilt he’s been carrying since he fled the original holocaust.
And not to parse words, but “crazy?” Romo isn’t hearing voices (“meow” doesn’t count) or obeying some secret master. What he is, however, is painfully, morbidly depressed — In that unique, Romo-esque sort of way. That can’t be an emotion too far from the surface of anyone in the fleet after four years on the run…
CMix (from reader Anthony): Why would Zarek step aside so easily and also how could he be replaced with Lee so easily? That seems odd considering the Admiral won’t acknowledge Zarek as President so then the Quorum goes ahead and replaces him with Lee so both the military and civilian government is run by an Adama?
MV: Zarek’s been in this position before, post-New Caprica, and he’s smart enough to realize that trying to remain in power without the support of the military would be problematic and even dangerous. The Quorum’s more or less in the same boat. If you’re asking, was Adama within his rights to challenge Zarek’s ascendancy, the answer is probably no.
But the Admiral still remembers what happened when he did the “right thing” and reluctantly backed Baltar’s electoral victory over Roslin (way back in season two.) I’m not sure you can blame the entire Cylon occupation on Baltar, but even before they arrived it was clear his administration was a disaster.
So, does any of that make what Adama did re: Zarek right? I have my own opinion, others may have another, and either way I think it’s interesting there’s no black and white answer.
CMix (from reader Avery): It wasn’t too long ago that Adama was telling Roslin that they had "certain responsibilities." What made him change his mind and decide to leave? Is it really for love?
MV: Adama’s not leaving, per se, he’s waiting behind in case Roslin and the Cylons find their way back. Yes, there’s a sort of finality involved, since the chances of the baseship making it back seem remote in the moment.
But his sense of responsibility explains why he abandoned the larger operation and organized this very personal mission in the least invasive way possible. One man waiting in one Raptor, while the fleet and Galactica are safely away.
And it’s pretty clear that yes, Roslin is very important to him.
CMix: How could Adama question Tigh’s fitness and judgment one minute, then have a fist fight with him and then give him command of the fleet a short time later?
MV: Not to harken back to my own sad past, but I can remember a particularly heated poker game years ago where best friends came over the table at one another, punches were thrown, and yet ten minutes later the combatants were all smiles.
Now, the fate of the human race wasn’t at stake (more like three bucks), but the point is, friends can sometimes have violent disagreements and in the end still come around.
Adama absolutely questions Tigh’s bad judgment, but remember this is a man he’s known for many years, someone Adama’s seen hit rock bottom before. And the same is true the other way, Tigh’s been through hell and back with Adama.
In the end, they’ve always been there for one another. (Remember also that while the audience knows Tigh is one of the final five Cylons, Adama’s in the dark.) So when push comes to shove and the decision has to be made, Adama turns to the one guy who always has his back.
CMix: How can two Cylons have a baby (Tigh and Six)? I thought the whole problem was that they needed a human/Cylon combo to make it work?
MV: How can two Cylons have a baby? Well, it’s like this, the Daddy and the Mommy have to… oh, never mind. Unfortunately, any serious discussion of this development spills over into spoiler-land. Suffice to say this particular story was not done without considerable deliberation.
CMix: What was your favorite part of this episode?
MV: Tigh’s reaction when he learns Caprica Six is pregnant. Michael Hogan’s expression is priceless.
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