The 15 greatest episodes of Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica

24 April 2023
Oh, where to begin with Battlestar Galactica! This critically acclaimed series, developed by Ronald D. Moore, is a sci-fi masterpiece that has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world. It's not just an incredible science fiction show - it's a powerful, character-driven drama that explores deep themes of humanity, identity, morality, and survival.

Throughout the series, there are a number of standout episodes that showcase the exceptional writing, directing, and acting that made Battlestar Galactica such a beloved show. 

Here are just a few examples of some of the most amazing Battle Star episodes:

the last supper battlestar galactica
The Last SupperWhy do Cylons believe in God?

"Scar" (Season 2, Episode 15)

This episode is memorable for its intense action and character development. The crew of the Galactica is faced with a deadly Cylon Raider named "Scar," which has been taking out pilots left and right. 

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace takes it upon herself to take down Scar and get revenge for her fallen comrades. The episode showcases her dogfighting skills and her grief over the loss of her fellow pilots. It also explores the toll that war takes on the human psyche, as the pilots deal with the trauma of losing their friends.

"Sometimes a Great Notion" (Season 4, Episode 11)

This episode is memorable for its shocking twists and emotional impact. The crew of the Galactica discovers a planet that may be suitable for human settlement, but they soon realize that the Cylons have set a trap for them. The episode features a heartbreaking sacrifice by one of the characters and a shocking revelation about the true nature of the Cylons. It also explores the idea of sacrifice for the greater good, as the characters must make difficult choices in order to ensure the survival of the human race.

"Occupation" (Season 3, Episode 1)

This episode is memorable for its powerful commentary on occupation and resistance. The Cylons have occupied New Caprica, and the humans are forced to live under their rule. The episode shows the struggles of the human resistance movement, led by Saul Tigh, as they fight to maintain their freedom and dignity. It also explores the psychological toll of occupation, as the characters grapple with the loss of their homes and their way of life.

"Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2" (Season 1, Episode 13)

This episode is memorable for its epic scope and stunning revelations. The crew of the Galactica finally reaches the long-lost planet of Kobol, where they discover the truth about their origins and their destiny. The episode features a dramatic confrontation between Admiral Adama and President Roslin, as they argue over the fate of the human race. It also sets up many of the major plot points for the rest of the series, including the search for Earth and the nature of the Cylons.

"Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1" (Season 2, Episode 19)

This episode is memorable for its political intrigue and emotional drama. The fleet discovers a habitable planet and must decide whether to settle there or continue their search for Earth. The episode features a tense election between President Roslin and Gaius Baltar, with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance. It also explores the personal struggles of the characters, including Starbuck's search for meaning and Baltar's crisis of conscience. The episode ends with a shocking cliffhanger that sets up the events of the next episode.

"Pegasus" (Season 2, Episode 10)

admiral cain battlestar galactica michelle forbes

This episode marks the introduction of the Battlestar Pegasus, another surviving ship from the human fleet that has been missing for some time. The Pegasus is under the command of Admiral Helena Cain, who has a very different approach to leadership than Admiral Adama. 

The episode is memorable for the tense, uneasy relationship between Cain and Adama, as well as for the revelation of the Pegasus' dark secret: they have been using human prisoners as labor and a Cylon as a sex slave, something that is horrifying to the Galactica crew. The episode is a powerful exploration of the moral complexities of war and leadership.

"Revelations" (Season 4, Episode 10) 

This episode is a major turning point in the series, as it reveals the identity of the "Final Five" Cylons and sets the stage for the show's ultimate resolution. The episode is emotionally charged and full of surprises, including the revelation that Tigh, Tyrol, Anders, and Tory are all Cylons. The reactions of the other characters to this revelation, particularly the anguish of Chief Tyrol and the confusion of President Roslin, are heart-wrenching. 

The episode also features a stunning visual sequence in which the fleet jumps into a star system and discovers the ruined remains of Earth.

"Maelstrom" (Season 3, Episode 17)

This episode focuses on the character of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, who is haunted by visions of her own death. The episode features a number of memorable scenes, including a flashback to Starbuck's relationship with her abusive mother and a dramatic space battle in which Starbuck sacrifices herself to destroy a Cylon base star. 

The episode is a tour-de-force for actress Katee Sackhoff, who delivers a powerful performance as Starbuck grapples with her own mortality.

"Daybreak, Part 2" (Season 4, Episode 20)

This episode is the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, and it delivers an emotional, satisfying conclusion to the story. The episode features a number of memorable scenes, including the final confrontation between Adama and Cavil, the revelation of the fate of the surviving members of the fleet, and the poignant final scene between Adama and his daughter, Lee. 

The episode is a fitting end to a series that was always focused on the humanity and resilience of its characters.

"Downloaded" (Season 2, Episode 18) 

Sharon "Boomer" Valerii

This episode is unique in that it is told from the perspective of the Cylons, specifically the characters of Caprica Six and Sharon "Boomer" Valerii. The episode explores the Cylon perspective on the war, as well as their own internal conflicts and relationships. 

The episode is notable for its strong character development, as well as for the striking visual sequence in which Caprica Six and Sharon "download" into new bodies after their deaths. The episode is a standout example of the show's willingness to challenge the viewer's assumptions and explore complex moral and philosophical issues.

"Crossroads: Part 2" (Season 3)

This episode is widely regarded as one of the best in the entire series, and for good reason. It's a dramatic, emotionally charged finale to the third season that brings together many of the show's most important characters in a stunning climax. The episode centers around the trial of Gaius Baltar, who is accused of collaborating with the Cylons. 

But the trial is just a backdrop for the real action - the emergence of a mysterious figure known only as the "Fifth Cylon," who is revealed in a shocking final twist. This episode is a masterclass in storytelling, with incredible performances from the entire cast, and it sets up the fourth and final season perfectly.

"Sometimes a Great Notion" (Season 4)

This episode is a standout in the final season of Battlestar Galactica, and it's a true showcase for the talents of the show's writers and actors. The episode is centered around the character of Tyrol, who is struggling with his identity as a Cylon and the consequences of his actions in the previous season.

The story is told through a series of flashbacks, as Tyrol remembers key moments from his life and struggles to come to terms with who he really is. The episode is beautifully shot and edited, with a haunting musical score that perfectly captures the emotional tone of the story. It's a powerful and moving episode that really drives home the show's central themes of identity and belonging.

"Exodus" (Season 3)

This two-part episode is a true epic, with some of the most intense and action-packed moments in the entire series. The episode follows the Galactica and its fleet as they attempt to rescue a group of human prisoners from a Cylon-occupied planet. But the mission is complicated by the arrival of a Cylon basestar, which threatens to destroy the entire fleet. The episode is filled with tense and thrilling moments, as the crew of the Galactica fight for their lives and the lives of the people they're trying to save.

But it's not just an action-packed spectacle - the episode is also filled with poignant character moments, as the survivors struggle with their own demons and try to find meaning in a world that seems destined for destruction.

"Blood on the Scales" (Season 4)

This episode is one of the darkest and most intense in the entire series, and it's a true gut-punch for fans who have grown to love the characters over the course of the show. The episode follows the aftermath of a military coup on the Galactica, as the crew is divided into factions and forced to fight for control of the ship. The episode is brutal and unrelenting, with shocking twists and turns that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. 

But what really makes this episode stand out is the incredible performances from the cast, particularly Jamie Bamber as Lee Adama and Michael Hogan as Saul Tigh. It's a powerful and emotional episode that really drives home the stakes of the show and the consequences of the characters' actions.

Why these episodes are amazing comes down to Ronald D. Moore and his writing team

Ronald D. Moore and the other writers of Battlestar Galactica were true masters of their craft, and they created a show that was unlike anything else on television at the time. One of the things that set Battlestar Galactica apart was its focus on character-driven storytelling. The show was never just about the science fiction elements - it was about the people who were trying to survive in a dangerous and uncertain world.

Moore and his team of writers were able to create such rich and complex characters because they were willing to take risks and challenge the audience's expectations. They didn't shy away from difficult topics like religion, politics, and morality, and they weren't afraid to let their characters make mistakes or suffer the consequences of their actions.

At the same time, the writing on Battlestar Galactica was incredibly nuanced and layered. The characters were never just one-dimensional archetypes - they were fully realized individuals with their own hopes, fears, and desires. Even minor characters were given depth and complexity, which made the show feel more like a real world with real people in it.

Another key element of the writing on Battlestar Galactica was the way that the show tackled big ideas and themes. The writers were able to weave together complex philosophical and moral questions into the fabric of the show, without ever sacrificing the story or the characters. Whether it was exploring the nature of humanity and identity, or questioning the ethics of war and violence, the show always managed to be thought-provoking and engaging.

Ultimately, it was the combination of these elements - the focus on character-driven storytelling, the nuanced and layered characters, and the exploration of big ideas and themes - that made Battlestar Galactica such a delight to watch. The writing was consistently excellent throughout the show's run, and it's a testament to the talent and skill of Moore and his team that the show has become such a beloved classic of the genre.

Here is a list of some of the writers who worked on Moore's version of "Battlestar Galactica" and some of the episodes they wrote:

1. David Eick - Executive Producer and Writer: Co-created and wrote several episodes of "Battlestar Galactica," including "Kobol's Last Gleaming," "Pegasus," and "Lay Down Your Burdens."

2. Bradley Thompson and David Weddle - "Scar," "Maelstrom," and "The Oath."

3. Jane Espenson -  "Taking a Break from All Your Worries," "Escape Velocity," and "The Hub."

4. Michael Taylor - "Occupation," "Precipice," and "Deadlock."

5. Anne Cofell Saunders -  "Fragged," "The Captain's Hand," and "A Measure of Salvation."

6. Mark Verheiden -  "Bastille Day," "Resistance," and "The Ties That Bind."

7. Toni Graphia - "The Woman King," "Sine Qua Non," and "Islanded in a Stream of Stars."


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My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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