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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

Battlestar Galactica: The Man With Nine Lives Battlestar Galactica
"The Man With Nine Lives"
TV Episode
Written by Donald Bellisario
Directed by Rod Holcomb

Starbuck encounters a fellow gambler who may just be his father.

Read the story summary at the Battlestar Wiki

Didja Know?

There is a sort of epilog to this episode on pages 56-57 of the novel Die, Chameleon!, as Starbuck reflects on the meetings between him and Chameleon that took place shortly after.

Didja Notice?

The title of this episode may have been inspired by the 1940 mystery film of the same name, starring Boris Karloff.

At the beginning of the episode, Commander Adama is dictating into his journal and he states that it has been 12 sectons since Baltar's surrender to the fleet. A secton is roughly analogous to a week, so that would be about 3 months. Quite a long break between events. Adama's statement may also imply that they have not seen the Cylons in all that time either.

At 2:12 on the DVD, notice that the readout of Adama's spoken words into his journal has a typo in the spelling of "Baltar's".
Adama's journal

Adama also states into his journal that their scouts have discovered increasing signs of the trail taken by their ancestors. What signs are these? It is never explained.

When Starbuck boasts about his new gambling system that "can't lose", Apollo brings up a past system of his that failed on Pinius. Presumably, Pinius is a planet somewhere relatively close to the 12 Colonies. Whether it was a human or alien world is unrevealed. (Notice that at the very end of the episode, Chameleon also mentions Pinius in relation to gambling, saying that he once knew a three-handed dealer there.)

The recruiting announcement by Omega broadcast over the fleet channels states that the Colonial Warriors accept recruits in the age range of 16-46 yahrens.

During Zara's interview with Starbuck on "Warrior of the Centare", there appears to be a station logo on the wall behind them. The letters are likely IFB, standing for Inter-Fleet Broadcasting.
Interview with Starbuck

The word "centare" in the segment "Warrior of the Centare" may be a misspelling of "centar", which is the Colonial equivalent of "hour".

Starbuck tells Zara during the interview that his parents were probably killed in the village of Umbra during the Cylon sneak attack of 7322.

Aboard the shuttle to the Rising Star, the passengers are asked for their ducats. On Earth, a ducat is a gold or silver coin under numerous stamps that has been in use in Europe since 1140 AD. In the BSG universe, the term "ducat" seems to denote a "ticket" or "pass"; in this episode, it seems to be a small red coin denoting passage paid for the shuttle and in "Take the Celestra" Cassiopeia obtains two ducats (or tickets) to a concert for her and Starbuck.

Chameleon uses the phrase, "By the Lillium moons..." This may be a reference to an actual planet in a star system known to the Twelve Colonies or merely a colloquialism based on legend, myth, or culture of the Colonials.

At 6:53 on the DVD, we see a sign naming the club on the Rising Star as the Astral Lounge.

Guest star Fred Astaire (as Chameleon) was well-known for his dancing skills in musical films and on Broadway during his heyday of the 1930s-50s. He gets a very minor dance scene with Siress Blassie in the Astral Lounge in this episode.

Maga remarks that the name Borellian Nomen strikes fear into the hearts of those who hear it like a scorpius. A scorpius is likely the Colonial term for a scorpion-like creature.

Maga also comments that they come from "the land of the mega sun and endless sands". This may imply that they are from a desert region. Armageddon reveals that Nomen are a branch of humanity that arrived on Caprica millennia before the exodus from Kobol and that their leader, Borellus, decreed that technology was to be abandoned and the race to live off the planet's biosphere. The Borellian Nomen's warrior ways and code are similar to the Klingon warriors of Star Trek.

Possibly the term "Nomen" is a play on the word "nomad", plus the idea that the Borellians are not-men (not human, or not entirely so, as evidenced by their pronounced brow ridges; though they are apparently considered so by the fleet).

Starbuck appears to use a simple standard calculator to calculate pyramid hands in his new system.
Starbuck's calculator

It would seem that "Starbuck" is not Starbuck's original given name or Chameleon would recognize it. Presumably, the boy who grew up to be known as Starbuck didn't remember his real name after the trauma of losing his parents in the Cylon attack on Umbra. So what is his real name? Chameleon should be able to tell him! Possibly his real name is Karl Thrace. ;) (The later Starbuck mini-series published by Dynamite Entertainment reveals that he was, in fact, amnesiac after being orphaned in the attack on Umbra and was given the name Starbuck when he was found in the Thorn Forest by Adama!)

To help determine if there is any blood relation between them, Chameleon tells Starbuck they could do a hemotype and iris cone count. These are probably Colonial medical terms relating to blood (hemo) and eyes (iris, cone).

The maitre d' of the Astral Lounge, seen in the background in a few scenes, is the same man who assisted Starbuck with his "double date" in "The Long Patrol".

At 21:53 on the DVD, in the docking lounge of the Rising Star, a triad game is playing on the tele-viewer. Funny thing is, Boomer is seen as one of the players at the same time he is walking into the lounge himself! I guess it was a highlights reel...either that or he's a Cylon! ;)

Apollo and Boomer both draw their guns lightning-fast when threatened by Taba at 22:19 on the DVD.

At 23:47 on the DVD, Starbuck asks Chameleon if he's ever smoked fumarellos (cigars), likely trying to see how much he and his possible father have in common. (Chameleon's answer to the question is "no." Plus, it seems that Starbuck only picked up the habit from his mentor Lt. Wyler, as depicted in "Starbuck" Part 1.)

When he is ganged-up on for expressing doubts about Chameleon's story suggesting he may be Starbuck's father, Apollo says he's beginning to feel like an equinus' atrum. Most likely this is equivalent to "horse's ass" in Colonial jargon (from the Latin equ=horse; possibly "atrum" is meant to be a play the words "anus" and "atrium" {a cavity in the body}).

When Starbuck and Chameleon are sequestered in the extraction room for the brain cell probe, notice that through the glass partition at 31:22 on the DVD, Starbuck and Boomer exchange thumbs up in the background as Boomer walks into the room with Apollo.

The same Ralph McQuarrie painting of the Galactica seen in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 1, is hanging above the bar of the officer's club at 34:12 on the DVD.

Besides mugs of liquor, the bartender also appears to be serving small bottles with the letter "A" on them. Probably the "A" stands for ambrosia.

Something that looks like a dart board with darts sticking in it is seen in the officer's lounge behind Boomer at 34:23 on the DVD.

At 36:43 on the DVD, Colonel Tigh is carrying something that looks like an "electronic clipboard" with a keypad on each end and possibly a display surface in the middle.
Electronic clipboard

During his confrontation with Apollo and Boomer in the hallway regarding the security check on Chameleon, Starbuck repeats the accusation he made earlier in the episode that Apollo has no faith (this time, no faith in Chameleon's integrity rather than faith in Starbuck's latest gambling system).

While showing Chameleon his Viper, Starbuck comments that the laser guns on it release millions of voltons of firepower. A volton is a Colonial unit of measuring electrical voltage. 

The genetic tests run by Cassiopeia prove that Chameleon is Starbuck's father, but Chameleon asks that the results be kept secret because Starbuck would quit the military career he loves to spend time with him. Chameleon promises Cassie that he'll tell his son the truth someday, perhaps when he gets sealed. The truth about Chameleon comes out some time sooner in the novel Die, Chameleon!

There appears to be a sheathed ceremonial dagger (or something) on Adama's desk at 44:07 on the DVD.Cermonial dagger

This episode reveals that besides the agro ship, there is also a livestock ship, though we never see it. Also, there is apparently a "senior ship" where the elderly are cared for.

Instead of the "three-dimensional chess" game that was seen in many earlier episodes, there now appears to be a scale sitting on the coffee table in Adama's quarters at 46:35 on the DVD.
Scale in Adama's quarter

What appears to be a small, stone-carved obelisk is seen on the display shelf in Adama's quarters at 46:46 on the DVD.
Small stone obelisk

At 48:04 on the DVD, the graph below appears on one of the monitors on the wall of Adama's quarters. It is unknown what the graph is meant to represent.
Wall monitor in Adama's quarters

Notes from the Deleted Scenes on the DVD

Siress Blassie comments that her billeting ship is named the Crucible and that it was nearly shot down by the Cylons during one of their past raids. She confirms in her comments that this is the "senior ship" mentioned in the episode. 

From 6:17-6:58 in the deleted scenes, Apollo appears to be using something similar to a public phone booth on the Rising Star to call Commander Adama on the Galactica. The symbol on the glass door behind Apollo may be a Colonial symbol indicating such. Notice also that the holes of the video phone's speaker do not entirely line up, like they are really just dots made with a Magic Marker; the prop may have been a quick job under a short time constraint.
Colonial phone booth Colonial phone booth
Colonial phone booth
Memorable Dialog

stay clear of my ion trail.wav
lack of faith.wav
this is my conscience.wav
this man could be my father.wav
we've got to be related.wav
not practically.wav
my hero.wav
nothing in there to extract.wav
more than just a medical interest.wav
Cassiopeia is the only woman.wav
the end of a friendship.wav
count the mess hall silver.wav
we'll be a great team.wav
blood hunt.wav
a laser in a launch tube.wav
a little old to start breaking in a father.wav
Starbuck will give up everything he loves.wav
maybe the day he gets sealed.wav
it is so ordered.wav
unless you cheat.wav

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