Roslin's reaction to finding out she has breast cancer.
The most poignant may be when Adama believes he just lost Lee, his only remaining son. It's too bad EJO hadn't perfected his ship-smashing routine yet.
Roslin being sworn as President of the colonies; she's trembling and teary, completely terrorized by the chaos around it and the fact that she is taking charge of everything for better or for worse.
Roslin's refugee fleet being forced to abandon thousands of people unlucky enough to be aboard ships that didn't have FTL capability when the Cylons found them. The pleas and curses of ship captains realizing that they are being left to die by the others are heartrending.
Lee's bitter words to his father, made even worse when we learned what he was talking about later on in Season 1.
Lee: You killed him!
The first episode of the new Battlestar Galactica - "33" - has a tear jerking scene right after the opening credits when ALL of the grief-stricken, sleep-deprived Galactica pilots take a moment to touch the picture of a fellow soldier who was watching the destruction of his home world. If you listen very carefully, you can hear most of the pilots say something along the lines of "Never forget". Later on, President Laura Roslin breaks down after learning that a baby was born during the chaos of the multiple jumps through space, and updates the running survivor count accordingly.
The scene in "Maelstrom" where Kara "dies", her ship blows up, Saul frackin' Tigh, of all people, cries over her, and then Bill Adama breaks down in his quarters and smashes his model ship.
Doubly so because that was genuine anger on the part of Edward James Olmos, who plays Adama, and who had not been told that Starbuck would return. That model ship he smashed? That was an improvisation - the ship wasn't a prop, it was a museum piece being loaned to the production team...
Adama looking through some of his effects. He finds an old birthday card from Kara in which she confesses that she always thought of him as a father, and includes a photo of herself on which she's drawn a moustache like he used to have, asking if he sees the resemblance. A moment both hilarious, and yet shockingly sad.
Callie's death scene. The fact that its at the very end of an episode where she's become an emotional wreck and has just discovered her husband Galen is a Cylon and she's broken down and shattered into a million mental pieces just makes it all the worse.
Consider the fact that she just trusted Tory, one of the secret Cylons along with Galen and got backhanded for it. It's more than likely that she died thinking her husband was complicit in it.
Let's face it, Tearjerker moments are a Once an Episode deal with Battlestar Galactica. The start of season 2 when Chief Tyrol is shocked at the loss of a life during a short mission he was leading
Callie: Talk to me you mother-frakker!
(they both laugh and Callie breaks down)
The term "frak" has often been a source of Narm in the show. To be able to go from narm, to comic relief to heartbreaking in the space of a few seconds as Callie just gets overwhelmed by the shock of her situation... it makes me well up just thinking about it. It's brilliant writing.
Whenever Edward James Olmos sheds tears,. Especially in Resurrection Ship 1, during the "I can't see you as a blonde." conversation. When he turns around after Roslin calls after him, subtly wiping his eyes...
Then "Notion", at the start of season 4.5, has has Dualla's sudden, shocking suicide, and the fallout resulting from it.
Agreed on this one. From the beginning of the episode it looked like she was in trouble but her date with Lee had the appearance of walking her back from the brink. Made the eventual suicide, especially the matter of fact way she did it,seem much more heartbreaking.
The worst part? Utterly, heartrendingly realistic. It is not an uncommon phenomenon for people who have chosen to commit suicide to try and have one good day (Seriously, radical changes of behaviour like that can very often be indicators of trouble, this is just on example). It's not even that Lee didn't walk her back from the brink; there was just flat out no chance of his doing so. To watch that episode and realize what's become nigh-inevitable...
And earlier in that episode, when Roslin gets out of the Raptor, looks at the anticipatory faces of the people in the bay, and she's too heartbroken to even speak.
Peggy! Nooooo!! Way to go, Lee, you fat moron.
Aforesaid ship-smashing after Starbuck's death, especially as she had just gotten him the perfect figurehead hours earlier.
Adama breaking over Boomer's dead body.
Adama: "You did it. You brought 'em home, Saul." Tigh: "Not all of them." Gets me everytime.
Not mentioning that Adama is trying to give Tigh some consolation, but the cheering crowd takes him away, leaving Tigh to grieve on his own.
Gaeta's Lament from "Guess What's Coming to Dinner?" Gaeta had to have his leg amputated and so, whenever he feels pain and can't take it, he starts to sing. Here's the song (sung like an opera)
Alone she sleeps in the shirt of man With my three wishes clutched in her hand. The first that she be spared the pain That comes from a dark and laughing reign. When she finds love may it always stay true This I beg for the second wish I made too. But wish no more My life you can take To have her please just one day wake To have her please just one day wake
Part of the reason that song was so damned effective was that it was performed live on the set, as part of the acting. (Apparently it had people trying not to cry on-set.) Alessandro Juliani is really singing it there, as you see him. Also, the version on the Season 4 soundtrack is *gorgeous*, presented first a cappella, then with strings and drums—it's worth a listen by itself.
Half-way through the episode Scar, Apollo says he's worried he'll forget the faces of their dead pilots. Starbuck's response is a half-humorous: "I don't even remember their names." Then at the end of the episode she proposes a toast, and lists the dead pilots, one by one. By the end she's in tears. She's not alone.
In something usually missed by many fans of the show, in the episode The Oath Laird, the deck chief's death. Let's put this in perspective, Peter Laird was on a tiny freighter with his family when the Cylons destroyed the Twelve Colonies. He survives on the ship until they meet up with Battlestar Pegasus who then conscripts him and kills his entire family, he serves on Pegasus until its destruction at New Caprica, then becomes deck chief on Galactica. When the mutiny begins, he is beaten to death by Tom Zarek so he can escape to Colonial One, nobody even mourning or remembering him afterwards.
What about this Tearjerker/Nightmare Fuel: Razor Flashbacks Episode 3, when the Columbia is destroyed. The last dying screams of the crew...
No mention of Unfinished Business? Oh, god. Not even counting the heartbreaking Tigh flashback, this episode is emotionally crippling to any Kara/Lee shippers as well as probably anyone who's ever been in love and rejected for someone else. Let's see, first up you have the boxing tournament framing device that hints at some MAJOR Unresolved Sexual Tension between Apollo and Starbuck. Then the flashbacks start. Apollo's longing stares at Starbuck at the Founders' Day party. Their drunken hooking up. Their shouting their love on the rooftops (or, well, in the middle of the forest). And we're not even at "heartbreaking" yet - that would be Apollo waking up alone and confused, walking back to the village and discovering that Starbuck just got married that very morning. If you watch it in slow-motion, you can see the exact moment where his heart breaks. Then there's Apollo bitterly settling for Dualla, who it turns out has absolutely no illusions about being a silver medal. Meanwhile, back in the present, Apollo and Starbuck go from viciously pounding on each other to collapsing in each other's arms, tearfully admitting that they missed each other. Every single second of this episode is a Tear Jerker, doubly so on repeat viewings when you already know what happened.
The conversation between Baltar and Gaeta before Gaeta gets executed.
Gaeta: Don't. And please, no religion. (smiles bitterly) I'm fine with how things have worked out. Really, Gaius, I am. I just hope...I hope that people realize eventually who I am.
Baltar: I know who you are, Felix. I know who you are.
In "Faith", when Roslin starts chatting with a dying cancer patient, you know it's going to end tear-jerkingly. But the dream scene where the patient, Emily, runs across a meadow towards her welcoming, also-dead family... And what makes it all the worse is Roslin watching the scene, in the dream, and just knowing that when she dies too (much later), there will be no crowd waiting for her. That was rough.
Everything that happens after Starbuck dies.
Lee's anguish when he watches Kara's Viper explode, right in front of his eyesafter he's begged and pleaded with her to pull her bird out of a tailspin so it won't blow up in-atmosphere and she won't die. No wonder the poor guy's mindfrakked...
Anders getting blind drunk, standing on a Viper flipping a coin constantly, and then falling off and bursting into tears. Then there's this line:
Anders: "She's still alive, right?
Lee: (Looking on helplessly) "She's gone."
Anders: (Bursting into tears) "... I know."
The kicker is the aforesaid ship-smashing.
How about in Exodus: Part 1, where the Adamas say goodbye in Galactica's hangar deck? Sure, the Old Man always comes through, but they don't know that. Seeing them both get choked up is too much for me.* Kat's Heroic Sacrifice in "Passage", especially the scene at the end where she's made honorary CAG then Starbuck adds her photo to the wall.
The last conversation between Lee and Starbuck where she tells him she needs to go but doesn't know where and asks him what he plans to do. He looks away for a second and when he looks back, she's disappeared. Kara has earned her rest with Anders.
Galactica's death, full stop. Watching the last battlestar, the ship that survived countless battles, protected humanity's remnants for four years (almost entire single-handedly) against superior odds and carried humanity to their new home, come out of her last jump groaning and shaking as her structure failed was heart-wrenching. Makes it all the more heart-breaking when you realize the ship's job is done. She is beyond repair, and will never jump again.
Roslin's reaction to her family's death.
The Fleet's final voyage straight into the Sun.
Even more so because the music and shot used are homages to the 1978 series, it's saluting both Galacticas.... best ship in any fleet. May they rest in peace.
Laura's death, Adama burying her, and the last shot before the Distant Finale of him sitting next to her grave talking to her.
Not even that. The real tear jerker is when he slips his wedding band on her finger after she dies.
"Goodbye Kara, you will not be forgotten."
Except she was, wasn't she? Because they abandoned all their technology and their history was lost with the ages.
The final episode not only shows Gauis Baltar finally growing a spine but also serves to humanize his motivations significantly.
To Caprica-Six on prehistoric earth while planning a new and simpler life:"You know, I know about farming. *breaks down crying*"
Five years earlier just before unknowingly dooming most of humanity to death:"The things men do for love."
To explain: Gauis was a poor farm-boy from a backwater colony before changing himself completely to be respected as a scientist and spent the rest of his days trying to forget who he originally was. The only reminder of his humble beginnings was his senile father whom he was ashamed of. Cue a beautiful woman who is not just another bimbo for Gaius to play his erudite playboy shtick on- but a genuine lover. She helps him gain something resembling peace with his father and he admits he loves her with the latter quote before giving her state secrets to help her gain success in her "company." Forward a couple months to the start of the series and his life is shattered and his love dead- but not before revealing she is a Cylon and he inadvertently responsible for the deaths of 50 billion people.
Chief Tyrol choosing to live out the rest of his life alone on an abandoned island after finally arriving on our earth. Understandable, considering the half dozen Break the Cutie scenarios he went through.
"I've had enough of people, humans or cylons."
Baltars heartfelt promise to Gina-Six (who has been constantly tortured, humiliated and raped to the point of catatonia for the last few months) that he will help her escape.
He makes good on it but, being Baltar, fucks it up a couple episodes latter by offering her sex (the last thing she needs) instead of emotional support. Her subsequent suicide via atom bomb is another tear-jerker.
When Starbuck admits to Adama that she got Zak killed by clearing him to fly a fighter he was unqualified on.Made even worse because Adama tells her "I love you like a daughter," right before, and right after he tells her to "walk out of this cabin...while you still can."
When Adama explains to Roslin why he's never finished Searaider Falcon after reading it multiple times (it's his favourite book and he doesn't want it to end), she tells him that she likes the idea and would like to try it with a book she hasn't read yet. Then she looks at him and says "That's a bad idea. Maybe not." Heartbreaking in that it's the first time either Roslin or Adama have acknowledged the fact that she is going to die.
In "Flight of the Phoenix", when the crew reveals that they've named their newly-built stealth fighter "Laura", for President Roslin. Her reaction is enough to make any room get dusty. Crosses over with Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
So much of the content of the Galactica crew interviews from the documentary being filmed in "Final Cut" qualify once you know the ultimate fates of the characters.