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‘Battlestar Galactica' exec answers the burning questions

Maureen Ryan
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

There were several "holy cow" moments in Friday's powerful and affecting "Battlestar Galactica" (10 p.m. EST Friday, Sci Fi) episode.

Don't read on unless you have seen it.

To recap: A tragic death occurred midway through the episode: Colonial officer Anastasia "Dee" Dualla (played by Kandyse McClure) killed herself. And Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) had a vision in which he realized his wife, Ellen (Kate Vernon), is the 12th Cylon model. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore discusses the episode:

Q. Why Ellen?

A. There's a certain logic to it. I figured out early on that I liked the pairing of her and Tigh.

(I liked) that there was something deeper to their marriage and deeper to their relationship, that it was literally a relationship that had transcended time and space. ... And he had killed her for collaborating with the Cylons! There were layers and depths to that I felt were really fascinating, about guilt and blame and memory and responsibility, and I just really liked the way that all tied together.

Q. So we'll see her again.

A. I don't want to give too much away, but it won't be the last time that you see Ellen.

Q. Why reveal this in the first episode back?

A. I think it was - we wanted to shock, and we wanted to change the game plan. I knew that I didn't want to reveal the final Cylon at the end. I just felt like that was too much (pressure) on the end of the show, and I didn't want to have to answer this question (then). And I didn't want the show to devolve into, "Who's the fifth Cylon?"

Q. And there's Dee. You really played out very strongly the emotional fallout of this discovery of (a destroyed) Earth.

A. That felt really important. If they're going to get to Earth and Earth is ashes, that felt like it has to have a huge impact on all these characters. There had to be a cost. There had to be a price somebody paid for that discovery.

Not everybody could take that.

Not everyone could just say, "OK, that didn't work out; let's go on to next week's episode."

Q. At one point, Tigh and Baltar are offering this theory that the Cylons are the 13th tribe and they found this planet and they called it Earth. Are we to read that as a theory or as fact?

A. I think you can read that as fact.

Q. Did anyone at the Sci Fi network or studio say, you know, this is too dark?

A. There were questions about, "Wow, this is really dark. Is anyone ever going to come back and watch the rest of the episodes?" My attitude was pretty much, "Look, we're in the last chapter here (only nine more episodes air before the series ends).

"Anyone who's come this far and doesn't want to watch the rest - they're a minority at best."

And yeah, this is a very dark chapter. This may not even be the darkest chapter.

Q. That's a scary thought.

A. (Laughs) It may not get better.

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-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

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