Battlestar Galactica

Season 1 Episode 10

The Hand of God

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 11, 2005 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

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out of 10
803 votes
  • I am an instrument of God...

    Yeah, I'd say that this episode makes up for the ridiculous last episode pretty well. This one has a really different feel from a lot of the episodes that we've seen in the series so far: the pace was WAY faster than the average BSG episode, and the entire back half was a single extended action sequence.

    And so a lot of the credit for making this episode great goes not just to the writers and actors, but also all of the technical SFX people who made that very long battle sequence into an exhausting, yet awesome piece of scifi. It's about as Star Wars-y as the series will probably ever get, but did a great job all the way through of maintaining a sense of tension.

    Yet a lot of the tension that we get out of The Hand of God isn't really about whether or not we win the battle. After all, this is a single, relatively self-contained episode that deals with the fuel shortage and little else, and we expect that the battle will be won by the end just because that's how TV works. What makes that battle sequence so exciting (aside from looking stunning) is the way that it puts emotional weight on the shoulders of Starbuck, Apollo, and Baltar. It's the most interesting story for Starbuck, as it puts her in not one, but two unfamiliar situations. First, she has to deal with the helplessness of not being on the front line and having her fate out of her control, and secondly this is HER plan. For every pilot that is shot down by the Cylons on the mission, Starbuck feels personally responsible. Katie Sackhoff does some great subtle face acting here, as she listens to the chaos of the pilots getting massacred because of her own underestimation. It's one of the many genuinely chilling sequences in the episode.

    Meanwhile, Lee is in the opposite situation, having to work alone on the front line. It's funny to think that these characters are such polar opposites - one would be more comfortable watching and one doing, and this episode puts them both outside of their comfort zones. The heart of the feel-good moment at the end is knowing that Lee successfully accomplished his mission.

    And yet there's still another personal storyline behind this battle, perhaps the most intriguing of all - Gaius Baltar's. This episode completes his transition from atheism to Cylon monotheism, due to God apparently guiding his hand and showing him where the correct place to bomb is. Along with Roslin's equal but opposite vision of snakes, this episode more than ever begins to put into place the idea that they are actually being guided by some sort of divine intervention, but in both cases it's left ambiguous. Roslin's vision could have just been subconsciously triggered from reading the scripture and having forgotten, and Gaius could have subconsciously figured out the location of the bombing site himself. But, as of now, it certainly does look like this show is venturing into actively religious territory. It's appropriate that an episode called The Hand of God would be the one to bring us there.

    I docked points for the Caprica scenes, which have become boring now. They stop running, and then start running again. Oh, and Not!Boomer throws up. Meh.
  • Hand of God

    Hand Of God was a superbly entertaining episode of Battlestar Galactica and I really enjoyed watching this episode because the story was intriguing, the action was awesome and the actors were perfect in portraying their characters. After searching for fuel as they are running low, the fleet finds a source occupied by Cylons. It was great how Adama decided to roll the hard six, as he said, to get the fuel here and now while there is a chance. There was much more character and plot development and the space scenes were amazing. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • The one where: they took our ore!


    A fairly straight-forward, capture the flag episode, ''The Hand of God'', like the last instalment, purposefully leaves out chunks of the storyline to create tension. Now, don't get me wrong, there's tension dripping from every pore of the rest of the episode, but the denouement, that Starbuck had a back-up plan that was kept secret from the President (and the viewers) felt a little bit like cheating.

    Gaius has finally given himself over to God. He is apparently a Divine instrument. Or just a cylon lackey, it's early days yet. This plot does keep you guessing and is genuinely the most intriguing aspect of the show. We literally have no idea what's going on, but the pace and different story elements from episode to episode keep you glued to your chair.

    So are Roslin and Baltar both prophets? Is Baltar dying too, then?

    Meanwhile, Sharon and Helo are still on the lamb. This really is starting to grind my gears. Unlike Gaius and Six, most of the time it feels as though this story is treading water. Sharon does throw up in this episode...was it the cold beans, or morning sickness? I'm not really bothered either way right now.

    Spoilerish Title Sequence: I watched this episode last night...hmm. I'm gonna say the 5 min mark?

    Frak-O-Meter: 5 fraks. (This aint a guess, I remember I counted 5.)

    Cylon Sex: Sharon and Helo enjoy a nice cuddle, but that's as close as we get during this eppy.

    Spot the six: Cap-Six makes a cameo while head-Six dispenses Pithia scripture.

    Death/Injuries: 4 viper pilots are killed here, including Chuckles. I liked Chuckles.

    Boomer or Sharon?: Sharon, I guess?

    Ships Lost: Aside from Vipers, nada in the fleet.

    Battlestar Bleakness: Well, the fact that there are only about a dozen pilots left doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

    A good hour, but not great. Once again Starbuck is called upon, this time for her ''out of the box'' thinking, cos she's literally a one-woman army and the absolute best at everything ever. She is a frakkin' awesome character, so I guess I shouldn't mind more screen-time. And that celebration towards the end was delightfully cheesy. Gotta love the Celtic music.

  • Out of the box.

    Damn, now that was alright. It's almost like they knew they needed to make up for that last episode. This one had everything; snappy dialogue, fire-fights(pulled off with some clever strategic planning), and some well acted dramatic moments.

    The attack on the Cylon controlled asteroid made for a riveting plot and was a nice way to reestablish the drama after the last episode kind of derailed it. I also loved that their military finally got to be on the offensive and go after the enemy themselves instead of waiting for the Cylons to find them. I was as happy for their victory as they were and they definitely needed/deserved a win.

    Baltar was excellent, as he has been, in his scenes during the attack, half hoping the mission fails so he doesn't end up being wrong about the bombing site and then worrying about them surviving the attack at all. He really is one of the most perfectly written cowards, and his performances almost always add to what's on the page. His scenes were also the first time I enjoyed the use of the word frak, with his line, "This sounds fraking awful." As the Strike Team 1's Vipers were torn apart by the Cylon Raiders. Just sounded very natural when he used it.

    Well it took seeing another copy of Six to do it, but Helo is finally questioning who this woman that works with Cylons is. So that's good. Sharon's morning sickness kicking in also provided some plot development. Even though I was expecting her to be pregnant, it still freaked me out a little.

    I thought it was a solid episode all around.
  • "Most of the episode was action and helped us learn more about Cylon's fighting tactics." SPOILERS

    This episode seemed to have a lot to it. The idea that the Galacica needs "fuel" in order to jump adds another sense of realism in this world. The tension in this episode was done very well, and without just being shallow action, there was some character depth learning that the audience perceives during it. Adama gives Apollo a lucky lighter this episode and it really helps show the relationship of the two. One thing I found strikingly odd was how insecure Apollo was with himself and how much he got annoyed the people wanted "starbuck." I guess it really showed through to the viewer once Starbuck took a back seat, but still in the end, looking good after the battle. Most of the episode was action and helped us learn more about Cylon's fighting tactics. We learn that the humans CAN and have the power to DEFEAT the Cylon's and out wit the cylons when it comes to battles. The cylons seem to have technology that changes the paths of missiles which is kind of cool. The idea of religion continues to be a striking presence these past couple of episodes. We learn that Laura seems to be hallucinating during the day and these hallucinations tell of an ancient prophecy. Is this true? Who knows but it certainly shakes of Laura. Helo is starting to figure out that what might be happening is not what he thought. He sees No. 6 a live and seems to start making questions. He also figures out that Boomer gets sick when she doesn't take her radiation medicine. 8.5/10
  • A STAR WARS ripoff! But a very good one!

    I am a big fan of the Star Wars Saga, and what I most like about BSG is that it is trying to avoid the original series mistake of beeing a quite obious "rip off" of Goerge Lucases saga. This one was a definit step backwards... but a nice one. The space action was not as heroic as Star Wars, but more military focused, so it was a diffrent take on the Death Star Mission... but it still felt like a "Death Star - Best Of"... we had the trench run, we had the "flying through a tube" thing, but hey when you have to copy something... than copy from the best there is... so no hard feelings! The religous aspect of Baltars charakter was quit nice developed! His arogant way of beeing and his vanity made him a true beliver... a believer of himself as the hand of god! Man I love this guy!

    Minus pionts are for the plot itself... of course the search for Starbuck used up a lot of fuel... but hey... they should have once or twice mentioned it in the earlier episodes.. and what kind of strategic masterminds are they when they start to worry when there is only 5% fuel left! This one was a lot of fun... my heart says 10 points... but my brain resists... therefore its only 9.5!
  • Overall, this episode created a very hard situation to overcome and this created some great tension, one of the best episodes of this season.

    ***This review details –» this is a "I" perspective, based in what I like and recognize to be good or interesting, this is not a "god" where the guy thinks what he thinks is the true or the "you" perspective where I know what you will like and what you don´t.***

    In this episode, things turn out to be more interesting, since our characters have a great problem and they have to overcome it or they are simple screwed. There are some interesting hints through this episode and even if this episode didn´t focus on Apollo, the writers tied the main cast very well to the situation. Helo situation still on running mode, but now is seen something that he shouldn´t see, maybe the payoff it´s close?

    Presentation Phase - » (9/10) finally a interesting situation to overcome,
    Complication Phase - » (9/10) the problem is very interesting,
    Climax Phase - » (9/10) great tension in the final moments,
    Ending - » (8/10) nice and happy closure,

    Details/Progress (To point A to B) -» (10/10) complete,
    Time and Scene Management - » (10/10) hard to identify filler scenes,
    Plot Details/Holes- » (10/10) Fine,
    Storyline -» (9/10) very good, is about believing,

    Drama - » (8/10) nice deaths, besides that, nothing,
    Suspense/Tension - » (9/10) great tension.

    Overall, this episode created a very hard situation to overcome and this created some great tension, one of the best episodes of this season.
  • With the lose of fuel, Galactica prepares a mission to get fuel from the Cylons in an action-packed, emotional rollercoaster!

    Probably the best episode yet. I've given 3 episodes 9.5's so far. It's not something I usually do. All these episodes deserve it. This episode, especially. Probably the best one yet! Very action-packed, the song "The Good Lighter", composed by Bear McCreary is simply fantastic and goes with the story so very well! Bravo! The action sequence is without a doubt the best one yet. I was in awe during that. The plan and slow build up was exceptionally well done and the payoff was incredible. Just a brilliant episode. Not much more to say. Almost a 10.

    9.5/10. It's an A. It's a frakking A.
  • The fleet is running out of fuel ... they find a suitable asteroid ... but it's populated by Cylons. They have to decide whether to leave and search for another fuel source or attack

    I absolutely loved this episode. Although, I gotta admit that any episode with a lot of inter-stellar fight scenes, I will more than likely enjoy.
    I loved the line ... "sometimes, when facing a bully, you gotta turn to him and uppercut him in the stomach". Finally the humans fight back!
    Before this episode, we'd only seen a whole bunch of running, panicking, being deceived, and more running away.I was struggling to see how these humans had been such a strong force in the galaxy and how they'd managed to survive the first Cylon wars.
    This is the first episode where the true human, never give-up, unrelenting nature shines through. After all, I think, along with the ability to love, this is the greatest quality that humans have, amongst many many flaws. So, I'm glad that they've finally shown it (Not that I was worried they wouldn't show it - nobody would watch the show, if the end game was to show our as*es handed to us by the Cylons on each episode)
    All in all ... a great episode. Probably the best so far.
  • Great action packed episode

    I liked this episode much better than previous one - first the new crises - the fuel. Maybe it was very similar to the water crise they had but they took the episode in totally different side - they are going to fight with Cylons in order to get their fuel and for that, they need a crazy plan and Starbuck is good with it but they do not let her fly because she is still injured and we have that tension trough the episode - will Apollo manage it or is Strabuck too implacable..

    And the whole back door thing with that plan - added much excitement.
  • You want battles? We got your battles right here.

    This is one awesome episode! One of the many downsides about being a fleet on the run and under constant pursuit is that supplies run out. Especially food and fuel. The Cylons aren't stupid. They know this. One of the best thins they can do to catch Adama and his fleet is to anticipate, find, stake out, or even take over any and all resources the Colonials will need to survive. When the holocoust happened, most every ship in the fleet was in transit to one destination or another, taken by surprise with no chance to re-fuel, and has jumped away from the Cylons hundreds of times since the attack... using up vast amounts of remaining fuel in the process. The fleet's fuel is in danger of running out. Boomer and Crashdown's Raptor patrol runs into an asteroid rich in Tillium fuel along with a refinery... crawling with Cylons. They have two choices. Make another jump..on the slim chance of finding another source, which the Cylons will most likely have taken control of as well. Or they can do the unthinkable, and take the fuel from the Cylons by force. Crazy plan, right? So..who ya gonna call? The craziest pilot in the fleet is also the best pilot in the fleet. Adama approaches Kara for a plan..which she has. Now... Kara does not trust any other pilot but herself to pull off her own ops. However, Kara is still recovering from having her kneecap shattered (You Can't Go Home Again), and cannot pull off the maneuvers for this one. Lee will have to fly in her stead. Lee tells Kara that he WILL get this one done, but the truth is.. he's very worried that, in this case..not being as crazy as Starbuck might just get him killed. Adama reassures him of the faith he has in him. "You're my son", he tells him. Kara, not leading her squadren for the first time in combat, is going crazy just sitting on the sidelines. Both Bamber and Sackhoff are awesome to watch as they explore , come to terms with, and eventually overcome their insecurities with the almost impossible task at hand. It's also great to see Father and Son moving closer together again. I love the moment when he gives Lee his Grandfather's good luck lighter. Lee tells his Father.." I'll bring it back." Adama replies, "You'd better, or I'll kick your ass. It's a good lighter. " It seems head Six has finally made progress in convincing the slightly insane Gaius that he is an instrument of God. I don't know how much money they poured into this episode, but the effects and battle shots are nothing short of breathtaking! Apollo does find his "beyond insane" side, and performs a maneuver that would probably make Starbuck soil her panties. But he gets the job done, and tosses the lighter back into his Fathers hands. This is the first indication that Laura Roslin's Kamala induced halucinations have to ties to the prophesies of Pythia, which truly begin the search for the REAL Earth. On Caprica, Sharon has her first bout of morning sickness, and Helo sees another Six, which will start him on the path of learning the truth about the woman he's with.
  • Drama and Action at its best.

    This episodes centers around the fleet and its first offensive maneuvers after the attack on the colonies. While everyone agrees the attack must take place you see the differences on how the attack should be done. There are two moments that I really like with this episode. In the Galactica Gym where you see Starbuck working out, Adama explaining the procedures of an engagement. He explains how the G forces work and the effects on pilots. He clearly explains there is gravity in space. The second part is the briefing room meeting. The out of the box thinking plan and how its executed. Baltar’s expression when he is told all assets is in play and there is no reserves is one of self preservation where once again his choices dictate humanity’s fate.
  • the first mager battle between Galactica and Cylon since the Mini Serise makes for great viewing.

    After a shortage of Tyluim and the only avialable source that they can get two is sworming with Clyons the Galactica plans to take it from the Cylons. Remindeds me of the Ressurection Ship from Season 2 only not as good but thats to be expected. The episode was a great add on to season 1 which had great battle scenes for a Tv Show the Sub plot was a little dull this time round but that dosn't matter becuase the main plot was so great. Dr Baltar trying to guess were the right place to shoot was good fun and how he was panicing near the end overall a great episode and worth wacthing.
  • Everything has already been written about the story behind this episode.

    What sets this episode apart is the intense flying action and tense tactical suspense maintained until the very end. Many episodes fall short in terms of pure action but this one really delivers on this front.

    Lee gets to step up and show his peers that he can pilot a fighter ship and the physics of the maneuvers appear real and accurate and add to the quality feel of this episode.

    Most of the episodes in the series need a story to help the overall or "big picture" plot progress btu every now and then, it's good to have an action packed fight fest to keep us on the tip of our sofas!

    Keep it up!
  • This is without a doubt the best episode of season 1. If not the whole series.

    I rewatched season 1 a few days ago, and the episode that stood out was this one. The episodes starts with a classic term: the convoy is desperate to get supplies, and they need to fight for their lives to survive. In this episode they need to attack a Cylon-moon to get ores for Fuel, so that they can have fuel for years (and that is how they dont have to think of fuel, when the die-hard-über-nerd-fans try to play engineers, and claim that certain things could not be. Like the space convoy sustaining it self).

    In this episode they also managed to tie in some prophesy-stuff that made the whole series (especially season 3) so good. That Baltar gets "guided" by the hand of god (I.E. the title of this episode), then 6 quotes him a holy-text verse that says 12 snakes guiedes the way for mankind. The snakes being the 12 vipers in the attack on the Cylon-moon. All the holy-text and prophesies is what is so cool about this show, that it is a combination of Indiana Jones, Top Gun and Star Wars. In a Series.

    But the best part of the show is the personal tale. That Starbuck cant go, and that it is all up to Lee to save the day.
    All that part was the most powerfull in this episode, because it really brought out some heartfelt father-son story-line between Lee and his Father. Lee wanting to live up to the expectations, and his Father believening blindly in him because of Fatherly love. It is by far the best episode of Season 1.
  • Another great episode, but i must admit i had my doubts too. POSSIBLE SPOILERS

    I really enjoyed watching this episode, when we found out that Kara couldn't fly a viper on the mission, i did think that it wasn't going to happen, but then Lee pulled it out of the bag and performed better than expected, i do love Lee but i still wasn't sure. It was really great even if Lee did have to think like Kara to pull off the mission. I also liked that we got to see the more technical side, for example we got to see them making up the plan, which was very good and very Kara, what on earth would we do without her?
  • Young Adama shows he can stand by himself! SPOILER ALERT

    I think this is an awesome episode(along with all the previous ones, so you can understand my rating of the show). We finally see captain Adama stand by himself and shine of his own light, not reflecting anymore his father's light. Doctor Baltar calls for a lucky guess, but without Apollo's flight skills, with Starbuck useless due to the previous battle accident in the search for water, the fleet couldn't have destroyed the Cylons' outpost!
    This is a true character development - too bad it won't develop at the same ratio in the next episodes -, a necessary evolution for captain Adama, otherwise obscured by the other characters. Another cliff-hanger episode (so common in this spectacular series), with thrilling action and breathtaking space battles, but also intrigue and as usual a perfectly written plot!
  • I am an instrument of God

    In a desperate gamble, Adama turns the tables on the Cylons by attacking a mining station. All the cards are laid on the table, and Baltar comes to a rather interesting conclusion.

    Apollo gets a chance to show his stuff here, as he leads the Starbuck-less Viper squadron against a vastly superior force of Cylon Raiders. Will he follow a textbook maneuver or pull it all out with a daring stunt? Will he return his father's precious heirloom?

    Tense, explosive action, Starbuck's continuing struggle, and Baltar's renewal of faith (I usually don't assign refinery explosions to the will of God, but I guess He works in mysterious ways) all combine for a wonderful episode of a top-notch program.

  • “You’re all clear kid now let’s blow this thing and go home”

    A few months ago a friend of mine recommend I watch Samurai Jack. We were having a discussion about Star Wars: Clone Wars series and she suggested that I should watch the creators' other series Samurai Jack. Curious I asked what the show was about. She told me it was about a Samurai who is sent into the far future by an evil demon. After hearing that all I could think of was Ronin. Not the Robert De Niro film with the labyrinth plot, silly double crosses and pulse bounding brilliant car chases no I was thinking about the graphic novel by Frank Miller which also tells a story about a samurai who is sent into the far future by an evil demon. Well the book is actual a lot more complex then that but the central concept is so similar I'm surprised Miller hasn't sued yet. I can't but make the same comparison with this episode of Galactica and a certain well know space franchise. Basically this is Star Wars, minus the story but with all the action scenes.

    A rebel force leads an epic battle against the stronghold of an evil empire where a brave, but dull, pilot saves the day by display his great piloting skills. Since this is supposed to on an episode from the original series I'm not surprised George Lucas took legal action. Even the scenes in the mission room were right out of the movie with Starbuck and Roslin playing Leia and C-3P0 respectfully. Then again Lucas has no right to complain, he nicked half his ideas from Jack Kirby and Akira Kurosawa so it's only fair that someone steal from him. Especially after Episode I & II he practically has it coming.

    Away from everyone playing Jedi and Stromtroopers the writers managed to fit in a nice little bonding scene between the father and son of the show, which shows once and for all no matter how dull Apollo may be, Edward James Olmos is all you need. Give that man an Emmy already.

    Yet the problem with this episode is that it fails to fit in with any of the series continuity. This sudden fuel crisis is completely out of the blue that I thought I missed an episode. One of the series strengths has been the refusal to hit the reset button and allow events to aftermaths and consequences. This feels like the show descending into Voyager territory where a problem is introduced out of nowhere and solved at the end of the episode with no actual repercussions next week.

    A fun, but pointless episode.

    Good Bits
    -Glad to see some pilots we've seen before dying. I'm sick of faceless red shirts biting the bullet.

    -Apollo displaying some nifty flying skills.

    -Adama letting Starbuck know she won't be going, The Hard Way.

    -Baltar's ego. Is there not limit to this man opinion of himself?

    -Boomer. Funny and cute.

    -Apollo: I'll bring this back.
    Adama: You better or I'll kick your ass. That's a damn good lighter.

    Bad Bits
    -Starbuck's ego. Get over yourself girl. Despite what might Adama think you can't do everything.

    -The 50 Raiders deciding to chicken out was a bit anticlimactic.

    -Caprica. They stopped running and then they started again. Repetitive doesn't cover it.