The Man With Nine Lives
|"The Man With Nine Lives"|
|Battlestar Galactica (1978) episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Rod Holcomb|
|Written by||Don Bellisario|
|Original air date||28 January 1979|
"The Man With Nine Lives" is an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica television series.
The Colonial pilots head to the Rising Star for some relaxation and leisure, and Starbuck is particularly excited about the gambling deck. Apollo is markedly less excited about Starbuck's system though. Aboard another shuttle, two older passengers are watching a broadcast of an interview with Starbuck, who reveals his past as an orphan. The gentleman claims he is head of Interfleet Broadcasting, while managing to dodge paying his shuttle fare. On the Rising Star, he also finagles money from his recent traveling companion, who is Siress Blassie. Many of the pilots are engrossed in the on-stage entertainment of body-suit clad dancers. The revelry of the ship patrons is abruptly cut short by the presence of Borellian Nomen who are apparently on a blood trail, and Boomer attempts to defuse the tension. One activates his laser bolas though, and Boomer confronts them. The Nomen agree to leave the ship. However despite the agreement, the Nomen don't leave, and the leader admonishes the inexperienced one named Taba, stressing their adherence to their code.
A gentleman joins Starbuck in a game of pyramid, and points out a flaw in Starbuck's gambling system. Starbuck loses, but he thanks the man, who introduces himself as Chameleon (pronounced with an sh /ʃ/ sound). He buys the officers drinks, and Chameleon claims he is a genetic tracer, one who can unite orphans with relatives through various tests. Chameleon tells a story of having amnesia on Caprica, which coincides with information Starbuck gave on a broadcast about his own past, so Starbuck's hopes are raised that Chameleon is his father. Chameleon and Starbuck leave together for the Galactica.
Boomer relates the story of the Nomen to Apollo, and Jolly adds that he is sure they are on a blood trail. In confronting them, Boomer and Apollo draw their pistols, but the Nomen leader, Maga, turns over Taba to them. The Nomen try to find a way to board Galactica because their prey, Chameleon, is there, and under Starbuck's protection. Boomer and Apollo piece together these facts as well.
Cassiopeia performs a blood test which reveals a general genetic correlation between Starbuck and Chameleon, though it cannot confirm the accuracy of the results. Adama calls an informal council, and the pilots decide to conduct a security check on Chameleon.
Omega leads new Galactica recruits to their quarters, and Tigh notices the Nomen among them. Meanwhile, Cassiopeia continues with the tests, but Apollo and Boomer warn her that Chameleon may be pulling a hoax. Boomer and Apollo interview Chameleon, but he eases their suspicions with another story.
Meanwhile, the Nomen demand a room to pray in, based on their right to freedom of religion. After the coporal-on-watch opens the door to a storage compartment, they knock the corporal unconscious, and gain access to the rest of the ship.
Starbuck is upset with Apollo and Boomer over their investigation of Chameleon, and then Tigh arrives with the news that they found no record of Chameleon in the Fleet. The presence of the Nomen comes to light at the same time. They are directed by a crew member to the flight deck, where Starbuck and Chameleon are presently talking. The Nomen confront Starbuck and attack with their bolas, which Starbuck is able to evade. The Nomen stalk him through the launch tube, right in the line of fire of the Viper where Chameleon is hiding. He fires and hits them with the Viper lasers. Chameleon then admits that he had conned the Nomen and was using Starbuck.
Cassieopia comes back with the test results: they are positive! Chameleon convinces Cassieopia not to tell Starbuck that he is actually his father because it could negatively affect Starbuck, and he would rather be his friend. Adama later explains that Siress Blassie will now take full responsibility of Chameleon, and though he is reticent, Chameleon thanks them for their help. Starbuck escorts Chameleon back, and they joyfully discuss their gambling strategies.
In this episode is a bit of Hollywood history. Fred Astaire, who was famous for his dance numbers in the golden era of movie musicals, had been reluctant to dance in any productions for years, but made rare exceptions. "The Man with Nine Lives" is one such exception as he danced, albeit briefly. It also marks the last time he danced on screen.
- Anne Jeffreys did not have to audition for the role of Siress Blassie. She jumped at the role upon finding out that she would be acting with Fred Astaire. Coincidentally, she holds the honor of being the last woman to dance with Astaire on screen.
Cast of characters
- The Man with Nine Lives at the Battlestar Wiki
- The Man With Nine Lives full summary and review at Sheba's Galaxy
- Anne Jeffreys GALACTICA.TV Interview
- Dan Barton GALACTICA.TV Interview