For the original series episode, see The Hand of God (TOS episode).

The Hand of God is the 10th episode of the 2004 TV series Battlestar Galactica. It is part of the show's first season.



President Laura Roslin holds a press conference onboard Colonial One, where she confirms that the fleet is running dangerously low on Tylium, with only enough for every ship to jump twice. The contingency if Raptors find no ore is to jump to the next planetary system to settle. During the conference, President Roslin is distracted by hallucinations of snakes.

Lt. Sharon Valerii and Lt. Alex Quartararo crew a Raptor assigned to the Tylium search operation. Lt. Valerii teases him over Ensign Davis' apparent infatuation with him and how she credited him for finding water, but the subject changes when his equipment detects a Tylium source in the asteroid field on their eighty-seventh attempt. They quickly discover there is a highly defended Cylon outpost on the asteroid.

Act 1Edit

The senior staff examine photographs of the asteroid, which they see has conveyor equipment and is large enough to suggest an extremely large source of the ore, which Col. Saul Tigh estimates is enough to fuel the entire fleet for "a couple years". This is the only site of ore within 12 lightyears of the fleet, prompting Cpt. Adama to suggest taking Raptors out ten or fifteen jumps out to find other sources, but there is no certainty such an asteroid won't also be guarded or that a refinery ship would be able to get there. Commander Adama rules therefore they must attack the Cylons and seize the ore. Lt. Kara Thrace briefs the rookie pilots on flying skills and is visited by Commander Adama, who wants her to plan the asteroid mission due to her "out-of-the-box" way of thinking.

President Roslin seeks help from a priestess, Elosha, where he describes her hallucination of twelve snakes. Elosha suggests she is playing a prank by reciting Pythia. Roslin is not as religiously educated and inquiers as to who Pythia is. Elosha explains Pythia was the writer of one of the sacred texts; written on Kobol thousands of years ago it is a prophetic text describing the exile and rebirth of the human race. President Roslin shares the hallucinations with the "Dying Leader" of the "caravan of the heavens", who has visions of twelve serpents. This character suffers a wasting disease that will forbid her from settling on their destination.

Cpt. Leland Adama details his vision of the asteroid seizure operation, which is a textbook operation. Lt. Thrace insists that because it is straightforward, the Cylons would have prepared a countermeasure for it. His plan suggests jumping Galactica on the far side of the asteroid to launch a surprise Viper strike, but she suspects they will have recon patrols ready. They must instead trick the Cylons into ruining their own plans. Lt. Thrace presents an alternative plan, wherein a cluster of civilian ships will jump on one side of the asteroid, far enough out of range that the Cylons will work out their position by their wireless chatter. A group of Raptors will be positioned to warn them when to jump away to escape destruction. Meanwhile, Galactica will jump on the opposite side and launch its Vipers, which will destroy the Cylon military installations and then confront the Raiders. The mission is projected to have sizeable losses only made-up for in the need for Tylium ore.

Dr. Gaius Baltar is briefed on the plan. As radiation makes the fuel inert, they cannot bombard the base with nuclear weaponry. He suggests a conventional bomb, but they will have to strike a specific spot to ensure destruction of the base without destroying the ore. Not knowing where to strike, Dr. Baltar seeks out help from the Messenger Six. She tells him to seek out God's guidance. He responds by pointing to a random building on a photograph of the base, insisting a 3kt bomb would be sufficient. After the meeting he is disappointed, as God did not speak to him, and the random spot he picked was entirely random.

Commander Adama meets Lt. Thrace in a gym, where he finds her training her leg muscles for the battle. The mission is projected to take its toll on the fighters, subjecting them to as much as 6Gs of force. The Commander toys with her by placing weights on her equipment; her leg gives way at only 3Gs, and she is not allowed to fly. Briefing Cpt. Adama ahead of the attack, he suspects that her disappointment in not joining the mission is about her not thinking he is good enough. Commander Adama meets with his son in the hangar deck and hands him a lighter that belonged to his father, Joseph, which he believed was a good luck symbol. Cpt. Adama believes this means even his own father thinks he's not good enough to lead the mission; he insists that isn't the case.

On Caprica, Lt. Karl Agathon and the Number Eight pretending to be Lt. Valerii have escaped the city and crash out at an abandoned barn, where the animals appear to be missing. He is still confused at the total lack of any human survivors, and he has not seen anyone since the Number Six who held him captive weeks ago. When the Number Eight throws up, a sign of morning sickness, he suspects she is starting to suffer from radiation sickness from neglect in taking medication. They go to sleep from the rain, but are soon after woken up by a Cylon patrol passing through the area. Lt. Agathon spots a Number Six, and is confused as to how she could be alive, unaware of her Cylon nature.

Galactica and the civilian ships, dubbed "Constellation", "Bravo" and "Nebula" for the mission, jump into the asteroid field to begin the mission. The ships broadcast openly while Galactica remains silent, and everyone in CIC waits for the Cylons to take the bait. Lt. Valerii spots a force of ninety Raiders approaching the ships, prompting the launch of "Strike Force 1" in place of the typical Alert Vipers. The Cylon patrol is suspected to be most of their fighter strength, which should benefit Strike Force 1. Lt. Quartararo soon reports bad news - the Cylons have detected Galactica and have launched an additional fifty raiders to intercept Strike Force 1, meaning Galactica and its Vipers must destroy over 140 Raiders. With the Raiders now only two minutes away from Galactica, Strike Force 1's Squadron leader - "Fireball" - gives the order to engage. The force is outnumbered, and Fireball's Viper is shot from behind. Brendan Costanza has trouble fighting and soon warns Galactica "mission outcome doubtful".

Act 3 Edit

During the fight with the Raiders, the officers in the war room overhear the pilots' desperate struggle against the Raiders, which are swarming individual Vipers. Spinner is taken from the side before Deadbolt can save him, and he is himself set upon, with Buzzer ordering Diamond to protect him. The order is finally given to abort the mission and return to Galactica. The Cylons overhear the recall order, and "Stubb" reports from his Raptor that the larger force of Raiders has turned around towards Galactica.

As part of Lt. Thrace's plan, Petty Officer Second Class Anastasia Dualla is given orders to transmit a scrambled message to Cpt. Adama, reading "black door is open." A cargo ship in the fleet launches twelve additional Viper Mark IIs, which represent "Strike Force 2". Commander Adama leaves to CIC to more directly oversee the fight against the Cylons approaching Galactica.

Strike Force 2 makes it to the asteroid, but is taken by surprise when missiles destroy a Viper. Louanne Katraine discovers that the Cylons are interfering with their missile guidance systems, requiring them to destroy the target - or indeed any target - in an unguided, straight-trajectory. During the fight, Donald "Chuckes" Perry is killed, followed soon by "Stepchild". Strike Force 1 is given orders to reverse and fight the Raiders head on once more. Cpt. Adama separates himself from the others and goes into a trench taking him into a conveyor tunnel. Following the tunnel into the facility, he finds it opens adjacent to the target. The missile is dropped unguided as a bomb, and destroys the building in a blast that confirms Dr. Baltar's theory. The Raider force becomes disorganised with the loss of the base, and begin fleeing, with Strike Force 1 destroying many in the rout.

The pilots return to the hangar deck, finding a huge celebration waiting for them, and are provided with alcohol despite being on-duty. Ensign Davis rushes to Lt. CRASH to hug him, proving Lt. Valerii's claim about her. Cpt. Adama lights a cigar with his grandfather's lighter to celebrate the successful mission. Elsewhere, Dr. Baltar is told to remember the sacred texts by Messenger Six, as a verse describes twelve serpents, which would fit with Strike Force 2 consisting of twelve Vipers. She tells him there is a later verse which describes a confrontation at the home of the gods. As he is part of God's plan and gave himself to him, his random guess was made correct per God's will. He finally starts to consider he is in some way an instrument of God, rather than a hallucinating madman.


The script was handled by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, and was directed by Jeff Woolnough. According to Ron D. Moore, virtually nothing was changed between the initial proposal and the televised version.[1] It was nicknamed the "Big Mac" during Season 1's production; as having a major battle sequence every episode was not economically viable and creatively taxing, the episode's heavy focus on a battle was significant.[1] The decision to keep the fighting limited was brought on by Moore's dislike of Star Trek's Borg enemy, when their popularity meant continued appearances in which they were defeated, and Thompson proposed this episode to show the fighting while still conveying how serious the problem-of-the-week is.[1] 

The episode was originally to appear earlier in the series, but it was decided that Flesh and Bone and Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down were to instead take place before it. The scenes on Cylon-occupied Caprica were moved around accordingly due to the linear nature of the plotline there.[1] The subplot of Lt. Thrace being unable to join in the mission due to her recovery was related to the Season 1 story bible idea that her Viper career took of due to her suffering a knee injury which ruined her aspiring Pyramid career, and that suffering a second injury to the same leg would require a longer period of recovery, as opposed to her being fit for duty in-between episodes.[1] The final battle was made in homage to the X-Wing and Y-Wing battles in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, but also served to critique it by having Cpt. Adama's Viper slow down and even stop in the tunnel to allow for manoeuvring, which was absent in the latter film's sequence of ships flying through Death Star II and crashing due to an inability to slow down.[1]

The episode's focus on a fuel shortage was a means of directly addressing the low-tech nature of Colonial starships, with a petroleum-like substance being required for engines as opposed to some form of nuclear propulsion. The original series also had this idea of Tylium as a fuel.[1] Another callback to the original series was the concept of 'ancient astronauts', which was common in science-fiction in the 1970s. President Roslin's snake vision and the quotes of scripture was to indicate the influence of a third party beyond the humans and Cylons, which would become God and the Messengers.[1]


Actor Character
Edward James Olmos Commander William Adama
Mary McDonnell President Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff Lt. Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace
Jamie Bamber Cpt. 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 Galen Tyrol
Tahmoh Penikett Lt. Karl 'Helo' Agathon
Kandyse McClure Officer Anastasia Dualla
Paul Campbell Billy Keikeya
Alessandro Juliani Lt. Felix Gaeta
Sam Witwer Crashdown
Lorena Gale Elosha
Nicki Clyne Crewman Specialist Cally Henderson
Cailin Stadnyk Ensign Davis
Bodie Olmos Brendan 'Hot Dog' Constanza
Luciana Carro Cadet Louanne 'Kat' Katraine
Terry Chen Perry / Chuckles
Christina Schild Playa Palacios
Biski Gugushe Sekou Hamilton
Paul Cummings Pilot / Fireball
Camille Sullivan Pilot / Stepchild


Further notesEdit

  • Gaffe: In the scene in the war room where Starbuck begins going over the plan of attack she says the decoy ships will jump into the asteroid field at extreme RADAR range from the Cylon base. In the Galactica universe, RADAR is referred to as DRADIS.
  • Ronald D. Moore recorded a podcast, which can be found here.

Sources Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 bsg_ep110_FULL.mp3. Archived from the original on 2006-07-10. Retrieved on 2019-03-27.

External links Edit

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