Battlestar Galactica (2003)/Act of Contrition

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Act of Contrition
Season 1, Episode 4
Airdate • November 8, 2004 (UK)
• January 28, 2005 (USA)
Production Number 1x03
Writer(s) Bradley Thompson,
David Weddle
Director(s) Rod Hardy
← 1x03
Bastille Day
1x05 →
You Can't Go Home Again
Battlestar Galactica (2003)Season One

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

Secondary Stars: Michael Hogan (Col. 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)

Co-Stars: 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



  • Thirteen pilots are killed and seven seriously wounded in an accident in the hangar bay.

Zak Adama

  • While Adama did pull some strings to get Zak into flight school, Starbuck passed him even though he had failed basic flight and 'didn't have the chops to fly a Viper'. She did this because she loved Zak and didn't want to hurt him. Her confession was a blow to him, because Starbuck was basically admitting that she was responsible for Zak's death and (by allowing Apollo to believe that what happened to Zak was Adama's fault) alienating him from his surviving son.

Roslin's Cancer

  • This is the first episode which mentions the chamalla extract therapy. In later episodes, Laura attributes chamalla as the source of her visions and premonitions.




The Show

Allusions and References

  • 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


Adama: He said something else. That you might have been feeling guilty about something you did for Zak. What did you do for him?
Starbuck: I don't know. You'd have to ask Lee.
Adama: I'm asking you.
Starbuck: 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.
Starbuck: 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 maneuvers, 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.
Starbuck: Because I made a mistake...because I was just...I was so in love with him...and I let that get in the way of doing my job...and, and he, 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.
Starbuck: I will...but I just want you to understand that I...
Adama: Do your job.
Thrace: Yes sir...
Adama: And walk out of this cabin. While you still can.