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Tear Jerker / Battlestar Galactica (2003)

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  • Several moments in the Miniseries.
    • 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. The overall tone of the scene was inspired by the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson aboard Air Force One following the death of President John F. Kennedy.
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    • 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 lyrics to the OST song "Wander My Friends". A generally hopeful sounding song that often shows up during CMOH, but when translated from Irish it becomes very heartbreaking. The song is from one old friend to another, telling them that though they are tired and weary, though they have lost so many people, they still must push on and finish their journey together. Rather like Adama and the Galactica.
    Wander my friends, wander with me
    Like the mist on the green mountain, moving eternally
    Despite our weariness
    We'll follow the road
    Over hill and valleys
    To the end of the journey
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  • 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.
  • Tyrol coming down to see Eight-Athena since she has Boomer's face, perhaps to see if Boomer is there. When Athena sees him, she's happy, since she has positive memories of him, and gives him a platonic hug. But Tyrol is baffled and confused and realizes in this moment that Athena is someone else, not Boomer.
  • Everything that happens after Starbuck dies.
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    • Lee's anguish when he watches Kara's Viper explode, right in front of his eyes after 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 actual 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, valued at over $100,000 (he didn't know that either).
      • Aforesaid ship-smashing after Starbuck's death, especially as she had just gotten him the perfect figurehead hours earlier.
    • Adama looking through some of his effects in the next episode. 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. Laughing through his tears he says that, yes, he does. A moment hilarious, touching, and yet shockingly sad.
    • Him and Lee arguing about their grief. As charged as the scene is, its heartbreaking because you can just see how broken they both are.
    • Lee SCREAMING a Big "NO!" as he watches the ship explode. One of the few instances of a Big "NO!" being done heartbreakingly right. Its so blood curdling it will tear you apart.
    • When Lee asks what Romo would have stolen from him, he admits that he would have taken the picture of Kara that Lee is carrying with him. The picture that he is unable to put on the memorial wall. But Romo then tells him he wouldn't do it it, because Lee has had enough taken from him already.
    • When Romo Lampkin is interrogating Six, he asks her 'Does your love hurt as much as mine?' and the camera cuts to Lee. You can see his lip trembling and its clear that in his head, he's thinking that their love could never hurt as much as his.
    • Too be fair, a lot of the episode after Maelstrom is just as painful as the episode itself. Watching Lee trying to process Kara's death is one of the most brutal storylines in the whole show.
  • When Kara returns from the dead and exits her viper for the first time everyone waiting in the hanger is backing away with looks of fear and disbelief. Apart from Lee. He rushes over from his viper as soon as he lands, and tearfully embraces her, not even saying a word. Not even Sam ran to her that desperately.
    • Lee and Adama watching the footage over and over from when Kara's Viper exploded after she comes back. Lee flinches every time.
  • 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, no matter how much we all hate her.
    • 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!
    Chief: 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.
  • 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.
    • When rewatching, you realise that for the few episodes before this scene, the instrumental version of Gaeta's lament is playing over a lot of the scenes of Starbucks crew, foreshadowing whats about to happen to him.
  • 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 battlestar Columbia is destroyed. The last dying screams of the crew, heard through a still-transmitting radio...
  • 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.
    Baltar: Felix...
    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.
  • Roslin quietly pleading with Lee while on the stand to not ask her if she is currently taking hallucinogenic drugs. She then follows this up reminiscing about when he was 'Captain Apollo' and saying that she is sorry for him now. This all said very quietly and with an aching sincerity.
    • Seeing as this happens so soon after Kara's death, you can't help that think that Roslin, along with the rest of the fleet, thinks that Kara's death has broken Lee irreparably. She's probably right.
    • In the same scene, Roslin mentions that her cancer was first cured when she was injected with the blood of a half cylon half human baby. The camera then cuts to Helo's furious face, reminding you that as sympathetic as Roslin is, what she did to the Agathons was awful and unforgivable, and poor Helo is still feeling that pain.
  • 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.
    • Roslin telling the other woman about her mother. It starts out funny and light, but then Laura completely breaks as she remembers her mothers own long and brutal death by cancer, and how she now believes that in the end there is no afterlife.
  • 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.
  • Caprica-Six's miscarriage.
    • Adama comforting Tigh, who cries that the baby would've been named after him.
  • Many, many, moments in the Grand Finale:
    • The final end of Sharon "Boomer" Valerii. She returns Hera to Helo and Athena, saying she owed Adama one. She then permits Athena her satisfaction by allowing herself to be executed.
    • 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.
      • Then why are we here talking about her? Think about it!
    • 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 Heartwarming Moments.
  • The Six on the damaged base ship remembering her murder on New Caprica.
    • To explain further, the Six, after having killed one of Kara's crew for a seemingly small slight of body checking her, she is forced to the ground and held at gunpoint by an enraged Sam. Sam isn't yet able to shoot her, which would endanger the tentative Cylon/Human alliance. As the rest of the crew arrives, one of the Six's goes over to her and, in an attempt to defuse the situation, asks her why she did it. The Six then breaks down and recounts how that soldier was a member of the resistance on New Caprica, and one day, she drowned the Six in a septic tank. Her 'sister' tries to calm her, saying that they worked through that when she resurrected, but the Six says you can't work through something like that, and that she still sees her killers face every night before she sleeps. Her sister is forced to execute her, releasing her from her pain. It's a reiteration of an idea that was hinted at in 'Scar', that the Cylons deaths are just as traumatic as human deaths.
  • Kara slapping Baltar after he reveals that she is dead. The thing that makes it most painful is that Kara is such a heavy hitter normally, and the small gesture of a slap is such a personal symbol of offence, you can tell that what he did to her is cutting her deeply.
  • After Adama finds out that his oldest and closest friend is a cylon, he has a complete breakdown in his quarters. Watching as he screams, punching out the mirror in anguish before eventually collapsing to the floor is soul wrenching.
    • Its made worse though when Lee finds him and tries to comfort his father, who is too distraught to even stand, but is completely unable to console him, all he can do is cradle him as he cries. When he tearfully says he can't kill Saul, Lee promises to take care of it, and Adama sounds and appears to be like a lost little child. It is one of the most horrible moments of the series, as not only is it the shattering of one of the integeral relationships, but it is one of the only times we ever see the fearless Bill Adama truly break.
  • Athena's scream of rage after Boomer kidnaps Hera.
  • Karl Agathon pleading with Adama to let him take a raptor and go look for his daughter. The man is completely shattered, chocking back tears, but he is trying so hard to keep his composure. By the end of the scene he is begging and screaming at Adama. Its very hard to see one of the most moral and sympathetic characters reduced to that.
  • 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.
  • After Roslin makes the decision to tell Athena and Helo that their daughter died and secretly adopt her out, we see them being informed, while the body of "their" daughter is next to them. Helo starts to break down and Athena completely loses it in her grief, calling the doctor a liar and screaming like she's in physical pain.
  • Kara spent much of the time fighting it, but Kara's face when she realizes Leoben had been lying about Kacey being her daughter and Kacey's real mother taking her back qualifies. You can see how much it hurts her, after she'd finally accepted Kacey as hers only to have that taken away.

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