Battlestar Galactica

Season 1 Episode 22

Experiment in Terra

Aired Sunday 7:00 PM Mar 18, 1979 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Apollo and Starbuck follow the escaped Eastern Alliance ship and encounter the advanced race that had earlier helped them defeat Count Iblis. Apollo and Starbuck end up on Terra, where they help the Terrans by averting a nuclear holocaust.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Apollo and Starbuck find Terra after being asked by the mysterious stranger John to stop a nuclear war.

    This episode brings an interesting close to the Terra/Eastern Alliance storyline. However, the ending seems a touch hasty and ill-drawn, leading to some loose ends and contrived forms of deus ex machina. First, the entire idea of Apollo inhabiting another man's identity seems pointless -- he gets captured, accused of being crazy, and eventually saves the day by owning up to his identity as stranger. Why couldn't he just be himself? Everything would have followed the same. It seems a strange detour along the way.

    Secondly, the Battlestar Galactica is apparently now able to use its lasers to surround a planet's atmosphere and destroy all foreign objects in the ionosphere? Really? They certainly could have used this sort of technology when fighting Cylon military planets (as in "The Living Legend").

    Thirdly, the mysterious stranger recruits Apollo because he has no body, and therefore cannot be seen outside his spaceship -- and yet this doesn't stop him from talking to Apollo and to Starbuck as long as they have an "aura."

    This episode is basically making up its own rules as it goes, and suggests that the writers, while unwilling to let the Eastern Alliance storyline go without a conclusion, were equally unwilling to give it a proper conclusion.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • While on the mysterious white ship, Apollo asks John what he is. John replies that he is a "reflection of intelligence". In using this language, Glen A. Larson is drawing on Mormon theology yet again: the term "intelligence" is a more basic term in Mormonism for the soul.

    • Highlights from episode are shown prior to opening credits.

    • Goof: When Apollo asks Brenda her name, she responds, "Amnesia," meaning that she thinks the individual in whose place Apollo is had lost his memory. Apollo responds that it's a "pretty name," as if he'd never heard the term. Yet Fred Astaire's character in "The Man with Nine Lives" used the term, "amnesiac," referring to his earlier loss of memory, and Apollo understood.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • John: (looking upwards as Starbuck goes into the building) I know it 's not our way. It's the best I can do with the material I've got. Primitives...!

    • Apollo: I came from a world where the people believed, the opposite of war was peace. We found out the hard way, that the opposite of war, is more often slavery, and that strength, strength alone can support freedom.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Anne Lockhart (Sheba) returns to star credits at beginning of show though it is a different picture of her than previously shown.

    • Apollo is somehow 'inserted' into the identity of an important person in order to prevent a catastrophe. This premise anticipates the series Quantum Leap by eleven years. Frequent Battlestar Galactica writer Don Belassario was the creator of Quantum Leap.


    • Episode Title: Experiment in Terra:
      The episode's title is a pun based on Blake Edwards' 1962 movie Experiment in Terror.

    • This episode seems to be inspired by the 1978 movie Heaven Can Wait. In both stories an individual is inserted into an already existing person's life by angelic beings and must deal not only with evil doers but uncomprehending loved ones. In fact the all white angelic realm shown on Galactica greatly resembles the one in the movie, right down to the fact that both are run by dignified Englishmen.

    • Faction Names: "Eastern Alliance" and "Nationalists"
      The conflict on Terra in this episode parallels the Cold War between the Communist "East," led by the Soviet Union, and the free (more "Nationalist") "West," led by the United States. This parallel and the message given by Apollo may go to explain why the series was banned in the Soviet Union.