Galactica 1980

Season 1 Episode 10

The Return of Starbuck

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM May 04, 1980 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Dr. Zee tells Adama about a dream where he sees Starbuck, crashed on a distant planet, befriending an injured Cylon Centurion and a mysterious alien woman who gives birth to a baby boy.

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  • Dr. Zee has a dream about his origins and it includes what happened to Starbuck.

    Many nice touches in this episode. Cy being jealous of the woman he found for Starbuck and finally in the end, giving his life for a Colonial Warrior.

    Almost echoed are words stated by the Super Race from War of the Gods by Angelica about Starbuck. How he is a good person despite himself. It is also hinted that she is one herself and it is quite possible the child was conceived by genetic material gathered from Starbuck while he was with them. One major flawed plot point - Starbuck had a Cylon fighter he could have escaped in. Why didn't he? Why did he stay in exile on that desert planet? (Did it remind anyone else of Tatooine or Dune?)moreless
  • This episode was originally written for the original Battlestar Galatica, but when the show was cancelled the script was never filmed. After it became clear that Galactica 1980 was doomed, Glen Larson pulled this out and filmed it. The best of 1980!moreless

    When Galactica 1980 attempted to revive Battlestar Galactica fans were aghast that their favorite characters were now gone with no explanation of their disappearance. Knowing fairly early on that Galactica 1980 was headed for cancelation, Glen Larson pulled out an old unfilmed script from the original series and made it a sort of "flashback" episodes, except the flashback was an entirely new episode.

    In this episode Dr. Zee tells Adama about a "dream" he had. The dream turns out to be the true story of what happened to Starbuck from the original series. In that dream, Starbuck crash lands on a deserted planet save a single Cylon which survived a crash landing. Starbuck, being lonely, reprograms the Cylon and makes him a friend. When a mysterious woman appears from nowhere, Starbuck and "Cy" begin to have conflict. Does the Cylon remember that his mission is to exterminate all humans?

    This was a good episode from a mediocre series. The plot is borrowed from a similar theme seen in movies like "Enemy Mine." For many Battlestar Galactic affectioanos this episode is like a "missing" BSG TOS episode. Although Galactica 1980 is often forgotten by fans, many still "remember" this episode and often asked why it was not included in the Battlestar Galactica Complete Series DVDs. Answer : because it was not Battlestar Galactica. It was the only really good Galactica 1980 episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Goof: It's never made clear what Starbuck was going to do for food once his emergency rations ran out. Plus it seems hard to believe that he was carrying enough rations in that one fighter to last as long as they did, especially once he had to feed two more people.

    • Highlights from episode are shown prior to opening credits.

    • Starbuck has been on this planet for several weeks, with the Galactica moving farther all the time. How could that little ship possibly hold enough fuel to catch up to the fleet?

    • The episode uses several references to Earth terms for units of time, rather than the BSG convention of sectars, yahrens and other alien terms.

    • And finale features three Centurions landing on the planet in search of Starbuck and their downed colleague. Cy and Starbuck shoot them all dead, but Cy deactivates. First off, Starbuck now has three more Cylons to try to attempt to fix Cy. Second, the three Centurions landed in a ship. Why doesn't Starbuck try to use it to escape from the planet? Answer to the last: It was established in the BSG episode "The Hand Of God" that a minimum of two pilots is required to fly a Cylon Raider.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Starbuck: We need water. Cy, go to the spot where my laser opened the underground stream.
      Cy: By your command... although technically you have no real authority to order me around.
      Starbuck: Cy, go!
      Cy: I'm going... I'm going!

    • Starbuck: What did you do when it came time for a little... personal initative?
      Cy: We were taking a vote when the ground came up and hit us.

    • Boomer: ...but, sir, we can't just leave him out there!
      Adama: Boomer, don't you think I want to go back for him? Do you think I leave someone I love like a son knowing we can never see him again? Take a look out there! We'll be lucky if we can save the fleet!
      Boomer: You mean we can never go back?
      Adama: That is correct! There is no going back! Our enemy pushes on and on and on and unti we're strong enough or can find Earth and get help, we can never stop or turn away or look back!

    • Starbuck: It's just you and me now. One human and one Cylon.
      Cy: No, Starbuck. Not human. Not Cylon. Friends.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Troy, Dillon and Jamie Hamilton do not appear in this episode.

    • Starbuck asks Boomer to say goodbye to Cassiopeia and Athena. He does not mention Apollo or Sheba. Is this an implication they were dead by this point?

    • Dirk Benedict reprises his role as Lieutenant Starbuck from the original series of Battlestar Galactica, in a desperate, last minute bid by the producers to win back viewers who had by now abandoned the series in droves.


    • The episode's concept is similar to the 1960's Lee Marvin film Hell in the Pacific. The same plot will be adapted for the 1980's film Enemy Mine.