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Battlestar Galactica (2003)/Act of Contrition (1)

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Act of Contrition
Season 1, Episode 4
Airdate • November 8, 2004 (UK)
• January 28, 2005 (USA)
Written by Bradley Thompson &
David Weddle
Directed by Rod Hardy
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You Can't Go Home Again (2)
Battlestar Galactica (2003)Season One

Act of Contrition is the fourth episode of the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

Edward James Olmos (Commander William Adama), Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin), Katee Sackhoff (Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace), Jamie Bamber (Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama), James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), Grace Park (Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii)

Michael Hogan (Colonel Saul Tigh), Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol), Tahmoh Penikett (Helo), Kandyse McClure (PO Dualla), Paul Campbell (Billy Keikeya), Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Gaeta), Sam Witwer (Crashdown)

Guest Stars: Lorena Gale (Elosha), Donnelly Rhodes (Dr. Cottle), Jill Teed (Sgt. Hadrian)

Cast: Tobias Mehler (Zak Adama), Colby Johannson (Flat Top), Bill Meilen (Caprica Cleric), Bodie Olmos (Constanza/Hot Dog), Luciana Carro (Katraine/Kat), Terry Chen (Perry/Chuckles)


Plot Summary

A deadly accident on the hangar deck during a celebration forces Galactica to draft inexperienced civilian pilots to fly Vipers—and dredges up painful memories for Kara and Lee. Meanwhile, on Caprica, Helo and Sharon search for shelter.


Arc Advancement


  • An accident kills 13 pilots, leaving Galactica in need of more. Those put through training are those who are given the call signs "Chuckles" "Hot Dog", and "Kat".
  • Helo and Sharon find the source of the transmission coming from a bomb shelter. It's empty, but has enough supplies to keep them safe.
  • A small squadron of Cylon Raiders jump in sans basestar. Kara, thanks to the help of Hot Dog, takes them out, but not without taking damage, sending her into the gravity of one of a nearby moon where she ejects.


  • It's revealed Kara was engaged to Zak.
  • Thanks to Lee letting slip something he understood she already told his father, Adama meets with Kara where she confesses about passing Zak when she shouldn't have. Adama is visibly furious following the revelation.
  • Roslin meets with Doctor Cottle who confirms her cancer diagnosis. She suggests chamalla extract as an alternative to tradition medicine. While against it, Cottle promises to ask among the fleet for some.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • The accident that kills the Viper pilots is based on a similar incident that occurred on the USS Forrestal in 1967.
  • This episode borrows a plot element from the original series episode "The Lost Planet of the Gods". In the original, pilots were drawn from various other compatible jobs in the fleet (such as shuttle pilots) to replace pilots lost in the Cylon ambush that destroyed most of the fleet and set the stage for their final attack on the Twelve Colonies.

Memorable Moments


  • Roslin: I would like to explore alternate treatments.
Cottle: Prayer?
Roslin: Witty. Have you ever heard of chamalla extract?
Cottle: Oh, Gods. You're one of those.
Roslin: What if it works?
Cottle: All the evidence on chamalla is anecdotal. It's nothing but a bunch of loose talk and false hope.
Roslin: I'd take that as a "yes".
Cottle: All right. I'll put out a med request to the civilian fleet. Maybe there's some other wide-eyed dreamer out there with a secret horde of chamalla extract in their luggage. You can put your clothes back on now.
Roslin: Thank you.
Cottle: And for what it's worth, I would seriously consider prayer.
  • Kara: Pilots call me Starbuck. You may refer to me as God. You have all flown before, but you're about to enter a whole new world, so pay attention. We don't have any flight simulators o­n board so we're putting you in the cockpit, today. This is the Viper Mark II. It's as manoeuvrable as a jackrabbit and can flip end for end in .35 seconds. You have never flown anything remotely like it so don't think that you have. Today we will be doing basic launch, approach, and landing manoeuvres. Anyone not paying attention is liable to end up as a puddle of something to be hosed out of the cockpit by the chief of the deck.
  • Adama: He said something else. That you might have been feeling guilty about something you did for Zak. What did you do for him?
Kara: I don't know. You'd have to ask Lee.
Adama: I'm asking you.
Kara: Well I don't kn- I, ah... I don't really know what he was talking about, so...
Adama: Don't fence with me, Kara. I love you like a daughter. I don't deserve that.
Kara: Zak failed basic flight. He wasn't a bad pilot, he just had no feel for flying...and when it came to his final check ride he busted three of the test manoeuvres, and I should have flunked him, but I didn't. The bottom line is your son didn't have the chops to fly a Viper...and it killed him.
Adama: You did it because you were engaged.
Kara: Because I made a mistake. And because I was just... I was so in love with him and... and I let that get in the way of doing my job... and, um, and he, um, he just wanted it so much, and I - I didn't want to be the one who crushed him.
Adama: Reinstate the trainees to flight status.
Kara: I will... but I just want you to understand that I...
Adama: Do your job.
Kara: Yes, sir.
Adama: And walk out of this cabin while you still can.