Saul Tigh

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Saul Tigh
Battlestar Galactica character
Tigh Season 3.jpg
First appearance Miniseries
Last appearance Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
Portrayed by Michael Hogan
Species Humanoid Cylon [1]
Occupation Colonel (BSG Miniseries - Daybreak Part II)

Acting Commanding Officer of the Battlestar Galactica
Acting supreme commander of Colonial Fleet (Episode 2.01 - 2.04)
Commander of New Caprica Resistance (Episode 2.20 - 3.04)


Rear Admiral (Episode 4.11 - 4.13)
Affiliation Colonial Fleet, Final Five Cylons

Saul Tigh is a fictional character on Battlestar Galactica played by Michael Hogan. He is one of the main characters of the show.


Overview and personality

Saul Tigh is a line officer assigned as executive officer on the Galactica. At the opening of the series, he believes himself to be a Colonial Viper pilot, the son of another military pilot and the grandson of a Presidential military advisor, and to be around 70 years old. Memorabilia in his quarters suggest that he flew with a squadron named "Vigilantes". [2]

It is revealed during season four of the show Tigh's early memories are artificial, implanted by Brother Cavil when he killed and temporarily boxed Saul and his fellow Final Five Cylons. It is unclear if these memories were fabricated or taken from a human by Cavil. Tigh is actually a survivor of the ill-fated 13th tribe, a tribe made entirely of Humanoid Cylons. He is approximately 2000 years old, with his last body having been operational since the first cylon war - any memories prior to that time are artificial. Tigh and the rest of the Final Five worked at the same research facility to rebuild resurrection technology lost since the Cylons started reproducing biologically. Since the destruction of the original planet known as Earth, he and his colleagues traveled to the 12 colonies, where the Cylon war was already in effect. There, they made a deal with the Centurions: stop the war and they would teach them how to make humanoid Cylons as well as resurrection technology, which eventually led to the Five's memory wipe and placement in the colonies. He has struggled with alcoholism for much of his life, a problem that stems from Posttraumatic stress disorder connected to his artificial memories of the First Cylon War and his depression after he was mustered out of the fleet. Despite this, he has excellent tactical skills and is fiercely loyal, especially to William Adama.

Tigh is gruff and rather unlikable. He once observed that "If the crew doesn't hate the XO, then he's not doing his job." [3] He initially had a particularly unpleasant relationship with Kara Thrace, whom he regarded as an insubordinate hothead, while she considered him mentally weak. Tigh attempts to bury the hatchet at one point, but does it in such a high-handed manner that he fails to accomplish anything. [2] They appear to have reconciled at some point during the colonization of New Caprica and relations between them are now much warmer. [4] Tigh also has a strong dislike of Gaius Baltar; this turns into murderous rage during Baltar's tenure as head of the collaborationist government. Tigh had a particular respect for his subordinate Felix Gaeta, going so far as to defend him after he makes a foolish mistake separating Galactica from the civilian fleet, [5] though this respect all but evaporated after Tigh suspected Gaeta of collaboration with the Cylons on New Caprica. It is unclear how Tigh feels about Gaeta after he found out it was Gaeta supplying the human resistance with vital information.

He expresses contempt at civilians' unwillingness to forego certain comforts, such as having more than "a thimbleful of water a day" [6] and seems genuinely shocked they refuse to accept martial law. He has an unrelenting moral vision and sense of duty, to the extent he publicly refuses to shake hands with Tom Zarek, a former Sagittaron rebel turned politician, even though it would be politically expedient to do so. [7]

Early life and the First Cylon War

According to the memories implanted by Cavil, Tigh entered the Colonial Fleet as an enlisted man during the first Cylon war. Whether he replaced an existing human being, or was a complete fabrication, is unknown. Still a teenager, he was serving on the Brenik when it was boarded by Cylon Centurions. The bloody hand-to-hand shipboard combat that ensued left him with mental scars lasting for the rest of his life and convinced him that, although they are machines, the Cylons truly hate the human race. He is also frequently able to anticipate Cylon tactics from his considerable combat experience. [8] Tigh was eventually trained as a Viper pilot and commissioned as an officer.

Some time after the first Cylon war, he was mustered out of the service, and took low status work in civilian freighters for several years.

Return to the Fleet

Tigh met William Adama during a bar fight that began when Tigh was taunted by his shipmates over his wartime service, and the two quickly became firm friends. Adama was instrumental in saving Tigh from his most self-destructive tendencies. After his marriage, Adama was able to use his new wife Carolanne's connections to get first himself and then Tigh reinstated in the Colonial Fleet. [9]

He had a strained relationship with his wife, Ellen; as Adama later puts it, there were rumours "she slept with half the Fleet while Saul was in space." [10] After her infidelity was discovered; he carried a great deal of bitterness about it, to the extent he attacks Kara Thrace for mentioning it during a card game. [2] After Ellen's reappearance on the Rising Star and move to the Galactica, they rebuilt their relationship. Part of their marital problems apparently came from their inability to have children, though in one episode he makes a comment thanking the Lords of Kobol he was childless after seeing the issues William Adama was having with his son Lee.

Up until approximately one year before the Destruction of the Twelve Colonies, he served as William Adama's executive officer on board the Battlestar Valkyrie. After a failed Black Ops mission along the Armistice Line, the two friends were reassigned to the less prestigious Galactica to serve out the twilight of their careers. [11]

At some point during this period Tigh had three volumes of war history published, until his personal problems interfered.

After the Destruction of the Twelve Colonies

In the long years of peace, Tigh carries out his XO duties competently but unexceptionally; that all changes with the return of the Cylons. Almost immediately, Tigh is tested: after a nuclear missile hits Galactica, he has to decide whether to seal off the affected area and doom the crew serving there or fight the fire and potentially lose the ship. After some slight hesitation, he orders the area sealed off, dooming 87 of the crew but saving the ship. [2]

Tigh leads the marine detachment sent to overthrow Laura Roslin's presidency. Declaring it isn't worth it to sacrifice democracy, Captain Lee Adama puts his gun to Tigh's head. Calmly telling him, "this is mutiny, you know that," Tigh takes control of the situation after Roslin surrenders and is able to take both Roslin and Lee into custody. [12]

Tigh's greatest challenge comes soon after, when Sharon Valerii shoots Commander Adama. As Galactica's interim commander, Tigh has to deal with both military matters and mollifying the civilian population. His first test comes when he orders an emergency jump to forestall a potential Cylon attack; due to Gaeta forgetting to transmit recently updated emergency jump coordinates to the rest of the fleet, Galactica jumped to a different location than the rest of the civilian fleet. With the fleet's only surgeon on another ship (and thus unable to perform surgery on Adama), Tigh orders the ship's computers to be networked in order to reunite with the fleet as soon as possible, despite the fact that Adama had strictly forbidden any networks on Galactica as the Cylons could easily infiltrate them. [5]

Not possessing Adama's sensitivity or regard for the civilian population, Tigh finds them almost impossible to deal with. He tries to keep the press and Quorum of Twelve from seeing Roslin. When they finally make it through, she reveals she has cancer. [13]

Perhaps Tigh's most problematic decision is his declaration of martial law and dissolution of the Quorum of Twelve. Like many of his less objective decisions, it is spurred on by Ellen. [13] The civilian ships declare they will not resupply Galactica until the Quorum is restored. As a show of force, Tigh sends Marine contingents to important supply ships with instructions to forcibly take what is necessary. On board the Gideon, protesters begin to throw coffee at the Marines, inflicting a bloody head injury on one of them, and causing the others to open fire. Several civilians die and the media dub the event "The Gideon Massacre", [14] The lieutenant in charge becomes mentally unhinged by the situation and later tries to kill Tigh. [15]

With Adama's recovery, Tigh returns to his preferred position: Adama's right-hand man. However, with more and more civilians believing in Roslin, ships begin leaving the fleet and jumping to Kobol, where Roslin has told them to meet. [16] After seeing the futility of allowing the family of what remains of humanity to be split apart, Adama goes to Kobol and uses his rapport with Roslin to resolve the situation. [17]

Tigh supports Adama's reconciliation with Roslin even though he himself did not have the political skills to hold the Fleet together, and appears to bear her no ill will. Indeed, he, along with then-Petty Officer Second Class Anastasia Dualla, instigate the attempt to rig the presidential election in favor of Roslin when it becomes clear Gaius Baltar is nearly assured victory. When the rigging attempt is discovered, he confesses his guilt to Adama. [4]

New Caprica

Saul and his wife, Ellen, join the settlers on New Caprica, a short time before the Cylon occupation. [4]

After the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, Tigh is the highest-ranking officer left on the planet, and leads a human resistance movement, with Chief Galen Tyrol and Samuel Anders as his right-hand men. [18] He is jailed and tortured several times by the Cylons for acts of resistance against them, and his right eye is violently ripped out. Now even more embittered, Tigh allows volunteers to carry out suicide bombings against the Cylons, despite qualms from others within the Human community. [19] [20] Tigh reluctantly kills his wife by poisoning after she betrays the resistance to the Cylons—she had slept with the Cylon Cavil to get Tigh out of jail, and was threatened with his death if she did not provide information on the resistance. When her betrayal of the humans to the Cylons is discovered, Anders tells him "You know what you have to do"; Tigh then poisons Ellen while sharing a final drink with her. While Saul views her death as necessary, he weeps bitterly as she dies in his arms. [21]

Back with the Fleet

Following the Second Exodus, Tigh is appointed as part of a group of 6 called "the Circle". The group is a secret jury created by President Tom Zarek for the purpose of secretly trying and punishing known (or suspected) Cylon collaborators. Colonel Tigh, along with the other members of the Circle, secretly execute 13 people, including one of Tyrol's deckhands, James "Jammer" Lyman. [22]

Following this, Tigh expresses bitterness and resentment over Captain Karl "Helo" Agathon's continued occupation of his former position as XO of Galactica, stemming from both his lack of respect for anyone not involved in combating the Cylon occupation on the ground, and also his rage toward anyone he considers a Cylon collaborator. Adama confronts Tigh, accusing him of spreading discontent and lowering morale. Adama tells Tigh he is to stay in his quarters until he can return to being the man Adama has come to know after 30 years of service together. Tigh replies, "that man doesn't exist anymore, Bill, and you won't be seeing me again," and returns to his quarters, drinking heavily from any bottle he can find. [23]

When Lieutenant Daniel "Bulldog" Novacek is picked up by the Galactica after three years in Cylon captivity, Tigh reveals Adama's role in Bulldog's capture, again driven by his depression and anger: "Sometimes surviving can be its own death sentence," he says bitterly. Nevertheless, this incident ultimately provides the stimulus for him to break out of his downward spiral: when Bulldog attacks Adama, it is Tigh who comes to the rescue, saving his old friend's life and making Bulldog see how he was acting as an unwitting pawn of the Cylons. After Adama is awarded a long-service medal by President Roslin, Tigh visits Adama in his quarters. Although still not sure of himself, he shares a drink with Adama and the two begin to talk and repair their friendship. [11]

After this point, Tigh begins to return to his former self, participating in ship-board activities. He acts as referee for the rank-free boxing competition held aboard Galactica, and calls the event to a halt after Adama's fight with Tyrol and Adama's subsequent speech. [24] He eventually returns to duty as Galactica's XO: before returning to duty, he stands outside the CIC self-consciously adjusting his eyepatch, then enters not via the main hatch but via a less-visible door on an upper level, eschewing the attention and praise of the CIC crew. [25] Confessing to killing Ellen Tigh during Baltar's trial and suffering a breakdown, Tigh's position on the bridge is taken by Captain Karl "Helo" Agathon until he feels fit to resume the post.

The Final Five

Throughout the cliffhanger Season 3 finale, "Crossroads, Part II", Tigh, along with Samuel T. Anders, Galen Tyrol, and Tory Foster experience snippets of hallucinatory music, that only they can hear, yet cannot grasp. As they are drawn to meet and the music becomes clearer in their minds (which turns out to be the Bear McCreary cover of "All Along The Watchtower"), a mental "switch" (as described by Chief Tyrol) is activated and gives them the revelation they are, in fact, Cylons. [1] As the four come to terms with this knowledge and its consequences, the Cylon fleet attacks. Tigh orders the others to report to their stations and defiantly declares, "My name is Saul Tigh. I'm an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be."

Soon after, he joins William Adama in the CIC (Combat Information Center) of the Galactica to coordinate fleet efforts to repulse the Cylon fleet. During this time, Tigh has a vision of himself calmly shooting Adama through the head with his service pistol, which is reminiscent of Boomer's attempted assassination of Adama earlier in the series. Tigh is shocked and dazed, but quickly regains his composure. However, his visions continue as he visits the captured Cylon, Caprica Six, and hallucinates her with his dead wife Ellen's face.

It was revealed in the episode "Sine Qua Non" Tigh has been involved in a sexual relationship with Caprica Six and she is apparently pregnant because of it. This relationship has therefore apparently brought about the first successful Cylon-Cylon pregnancy, something which, according to Athena, wasn't possible between two regular Cylon models. During "Sine Qua Non", Saul is temporarily promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral with the command of the Galactica by Rear Admiral Adama who resigns his position and elects to remain behind in the hope the missing Basestar holding Roslin will attempt a rendezvous with the fleet. Saul never actually puts on the Rear Admiral insignia given to him by William Adama.

In the mid-season finale episode "Revelations", Tigh reveals his Cylon status to Adama, stating, "If I had the guts to airlock myself when I first found out, we wouldn't be in this mess" showing that despite his true nature, he still identifies himself with the human fleet. Tigh offers to let himself be jettisoned from an airlock in order to provide the Colonial Fleet with leverage against the Cylons, who do not want him harmed. Ultimately, Tigh and the remaining Final Five Cylons are given general amnesty by Acting President Lee Adama.

Upon finding Earth to have been devastated by a nuclear attack, Tigh has a vision that reveals his wife, Ellen, was actually the final Cylon. [26] When Ellen rejoins the fleet she is angry with Saul for the relationship he has had with Caprica Six and votes that the Cylons leave the fleet. Saul refuses to leave and tells Caprica Six to go with the rest of the Cylons. Ellen, upset with Saul, attempts to put herself on an even keel with Caprica and claims Saul loves the ship and Adama more than both of them. Caprica becomes upset and collapses, eventually losing the child she and Saul had intended to name Liam. [27]

Tigh is with Ellen, Tyrol and Tory in Joe's Bar when Kara starts playing the music, surprising them all. (Someone to Watch Over Me) Afterwards he's shocked when Adama decides to order Galactica's repairs to stop and the ship to be scrapped for parts. The two share a toast to the ship. (Islanded in a Stream of Stars)

When Adama calls for volunteers for a rescue mission for Hera Agathon, Tigh volunteers immediately alongside Ellen. (Daybreak, Part 1) During the Battle of The Colony, Tigh coordinates the battle with Adama in CIC. When a fire breaks out near Anders, he goes up with Tyrol to put it out and stays on the balcony afterwards. During the attempt to get Cavil to stop all of this and release Hera who he has taken hostage in CIC, Tigh offers him resurrection technology if he agrees to let Hera go and stop chasing humanity. After he agrees, the Five combine together to send the plans for resurrection to The Colony and Tigh tells a nervous Tory they forgive her sins when she gets worried about everyone seeing everyone else's memories. Tigh is shocked to discover Tory murdered Cally and can only watch as Tyrol kills Tory in revenge, sparking a firefight that results in the demise of the attacking Cylon forces led by Cavil. After Galactica jumps away, Tigh resumes his duties as XO and reports that Galactica suffered critical structural failures, "broke her back" and can't jump anymore. After landing on their new home planet which they name Earth, Tigh and Ellen say goodbye to Tyrol who plans to go off and live as a hermit. Tigh forgives him for killing Tory, saying he'd have done the same thing if someone had done that to Ellen. Tigh and Ellen rekindle their relationship and go off to spend the rest of their lives together. (Daybreak, Part 2)

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  2. 1 2 3 4 "Miniseries". Battlestar Galactica (TV miniseries) .
  3. "33". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  4. 1 2 3 "Lay Down Your Burdens". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  5. 1 2 "Scattered". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  6. "Water". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  7. "Colonial Day". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  8. "Valley of Darkness (Deleted Scene)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  9. "Scattered (Deleted Scene)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  10. "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (Deleted Scene)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  11. 1 2 "Hero". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  12. "Kobol's Last Gleaming". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  13. 1 2 "Fragged". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  14. "Resistance". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  15. "Final Cut". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  16. "The Farm". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  17. "Home". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  18. "Episodes 110". Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance .
  19. "Occupation". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  20. "Precipice". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  21. "Exodus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  22. "Collaborators". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  23. "Torn". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  24. "Unfinished Business". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  25. "The Passage". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) .
  26. "Sometimes a Great Notion". Battlestar Galactica. Season 4. Episode 13. 2009-01-16.
  27. "Deadlock". Battlestar Galactica. Season 4. Episode 18. 2009-02-20.