Once again, I must chastise myself for slacking on my Battlestar Galactica review. I know people don’t like hearing excuses, but it really was difficult to blog from outside of Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium. I am also just very lazy. This episode marks the last installment of the second season and if we are taking the first season as a precedent, then we can expect an episode filled with a ton of anticipation and one crazy cliffhanger. But coming into this episode, things were actually calming down for the most part. The civilians and the military officers protecting them have started to come to an understanding and after some concerns with burnout, the crew rallied to build a fighter of their own design. Even their Cylon prisoner was cooperating with them and helped them escape near certain death. With the relative serenity, it might actually be time for the fleet to start thinking about what had inspired them to keep going in the first place – finding Earth.You know something? If everything was too easy or there were no surprises, life just wouldn’t be that fun. So not two minutes into the episode, the Galactica is already ready for battle. There is an unidentified ship coming straight for them. They assume it is a Cylon basestar, but it is sending a colonial signal. When they hail this ship, the people onboard identify themselves as the Battlestar Pegasus. By the time the intercept vipers can in fact confirm the identity of the ship, Commander Adama is already celebrating the arrival of Admiral Cain. That’s right, it really was another colonial ship, and TVgasm readers should love captain of the ship. It’s ranking officer is Admiral Cain, played by Michelle Forbes who starred as Lynne Kresge during the second season of 24 and took an unfortunate fall soon after she discovered a traitor among Palmer’s staff, but we have loved her ever since her stint as the medical examiner with the odd mole in Homicide: Life on the Street.
The presence of another human ship is northing short of a miracle. One of the reasons why the Galactica was able to make it while the rest of the fleet was getting slaughtered was because of its age. It was old and didn’t have a lot of the modern technology and weaponry that newer Battlestars enjoyed. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because the Cylons weren’t able to exploit that technology for their own use. With this in mind, the crew of the Galactica waited in the hangar for the arrival of a landing party from the Pegasus.
When the members of the Pegasus crew came aboard, I was kind of surprised at how formal things were going. There was no small significance in the fact that they made contact with other humans, because it immediately boosts the moral of everybody in the fleet. Everybody had assumed that they were the only humans left in existence, and even thought the Pegasus was clearly a special case, if they could survive, maybe there was others out there. Despite what I would consider one the most exciting times in Galactica memory, Cain and the rest of the people accompanying her to the Galactica weren’t exactly excited to see everybody, and when she met Adama, she wanted to make it clear who was in charge by telling him “Welcome back to the colonial fleet”. Despite the low-rent Dido playing the background, I didn’t get the sense that they thought this moment was special at all.
So, what exactly happened? The various officers of the Pegasus split up and started to talk with their counterparts on Galactica. Cain was in Adama’s quarters, telling her story to him and the President, who was conveniently on board when all of the craziness was happening. They stumbled upon the Galactica while tracking what they thought was a Cylon fleet. It turns out this Cylon fleet was actually the colonial fleet. Well, that is a great explanation, but what we really needed to know is how the Pegasus had escaped the Cylons. As it turns out that story is not so surprising. They were docking for repairs and scheduled rest and relaxation at Scorpion when the Cylon attack happened. In order to get away, they did a blind space jump. It was a bold move because just putting in some numbers into the computer and telling to jump into space gives you a pretty good chance of jumping into the middle of a star or planet or something. That didn’t happen and the Pegasus has spent the rest of the time trying to kill as many Cylons as possible.
As soon as Cain stepped onto the Galactica, you could tell that maybe her priorities were not the same as the members of the colonial fleet she just bumped in to. For better or worse, Adama has bought into the idea that his main job should be preserving the fleet and helping humanity continue. Cain, on the other hand, is still squarely in the mindset that they are at war, and they should be trying to kill as many Cylons as possible. How determined is she to go to war? Well, Colonel Tigh and the Ex-O of the Pegasus got together. It turns out the Ex-O of the Pegasus is also an old codger who likes to drink (and was killed with Susan Lefforts at the Night Owl), and when Tigh introduced him to some of Chief Tyrel’s special stash, Tigh learned some interesting information. It turns out Cain had shot an officer of the Pegasus for refusing an order, and this wasn’t a “he was court-martialed and shot for treason” type of thing; Cain shot him in the head on the bridge with everybody watching. Although the guy from the Pegasus tried to laugh it off, Tigh knew that there was something seriously wrong with the Pegasus.
As if all of that wasn’t disturbing enough, the worst part of all of this was that Cain outranked Adama, and so she would be the one would be calling the shots; she would be the commander of the fleet. She asks for the ships logs so she can review them and see how things were going, and Adama has no choice but to hand them over. Roslin, who is as useful to Cain as a solar panel in Saudi Arabia, wonders what the hell is going on, but Adama knows that rank is rank, and can’t do anything about it. Even why Tigh relays the information about her shooting an officer, Adama says that they can’t do anything unless they know what the context was. Remember, the Galactica shot down a civilian ship themselves when they thought it was controlled by Cylons. If Cain took that out of context, it might be considered quite the problem.
There were a lot of instances were Commander Adama wanted to make sure there was context. For example, there was the situation with Sharon Valeri. How Ballistic was Cain going to be when she discovered that Galactica had a Cylon, and was trying to use it to help them? In the end, it wasn’t that surprising at all, because Pegasus had their own Cylon prisoner. Hearing this, Gaius agrees to see who it was that was on Pegasus. When he gets there, he finds out that the Cylon prisoner on Pegasus is model Six, the woman that he fell in love with on Caprica and has been haunting his memory ever since.
When Baltar gets to the cell, he is shocked at what he sees. The image of Six in his mind sees the body of the woman in the cell, shackled, beaten, and lying motionless on the floor. She begs Baltar to help out the prisoner, and he assures her that he will because she has a “striking resemblance to somebody he cares very deeply about”. During the course of the season, we have all been kind of shocked at some of the treatment Boomer has seen while she was locked up. She was punched and beaten, but in comparison, nothing has happened to her like model Six. When Sharon isn’t being interrogated, she is left in solitary confinement, but is allowed to eat and move around freely in her cell as long as she cooperates, and has ready access to the father of her child. Seeing what has happened to Six, Baltar pleads with Admiral Cain to let him have access to the prisoner. It is clear that physical violence hasn’t helped them at all, so they should probably try the carrot, and a little bit of peanut butter.
After she reviews the logs from Galactica, Cain meets with Adama and lets him know that they had been tracking the Galactica, but they were also tracking another Cylon fleet that appeared to be following Galactica. Cain proposes that the two ships form a joint task force to strike the Cylons. Adama welcomes the opportunity because it has been a long time since he has been able to attack the Cylons on his terms. The reason the Galactica survived was because it was the oldest ship in the fleet, but the Pegasus was much newer, was fully supplied with modern weapons, plenty of ammo and spare parts for repairs, so they have a fighting chance. When Cain says that she is going to reassign some of the crews, she lets Adama know that Apollo and Starbuck aren’t going to be sticking around Galactica. It’s true, the two of them have had a lot of discipline problems, but Adama is really bothered with Cain. She had promised that she wouldn’t interfere with the politics on Galactica, and while Adama had given her the benefit of the doubt, this was the first sign of the type of personality that he had heard rumors about.
As disturbed as he is with the news, Adama lets Starbuck and Apollo know what the plans are. They are more upset than he was about having to leave Galactica. Discipline problems? What discipline problems? Well, the type of discipline problems that get Starbuck kicked off her first possible mission during her new assignment. The Pegasus Air Group wants to go on a photo recon mission for the Cylon fleet they have been tracking. They have identified that two basestars have been guarding an unidentified ship, and they wanted to know what this ship was supposed to do.
Originally, the plan was to hide in the Cylon’s blind spot behind a planet, but Starbuck thinks the plan is a joke. The Cylons aren’t stupid, and the only way to get close enough to get any recon would be to use something the Cylons aren’t expecting; that would be the stealth ship Galactica made, the Blackbird. The Air Group Commander of the Pegasus thinks that is a joke, and kicks Starbuck off the mission, and as further insult, he takes Apollo out of the Viper, a fighter, and puts him in a Raptor, which is a support ship and doesn’t see any combat. It’s an insult to both of them, but Apollo was able to pick up a photo kit, and instructs Starbuck to steal the Blackbird and get the photos in their style.
The rest of the crew reassignments aren’t going very well either because the attitudes of the Pegasus crew reflect their captain, which is ruthless and uncaring. Some of the engineering crew heard rumors about the Cylon prisoner. They heard that Boomer was quite a nice piece, and they were hoping that they would get a shot at her, and we are not talking about interrogations. If you had any sort of question what type of leadership Pegasus had, you had all of the answers you needed as a couple of them discuss how they took turns raping model Six until she just layed there with a blank look on her face. Helo had to be restrained a couple of times by Tyrel, but when they hear that the person on the Pegasus in charge of Cylon interrogation was going to be taking his shot at Sharon, they both raced off to the holding cell.
You really don’t want to say that this type of behavior was sanctioned, but it’s not like the higher ups simply looked past as the lower ranks did their business. No, it was the second in command who was responsible for a lot of this action, and if the second in command new what was going on, it was likely Cain knew what was going on. It doesn’t matter if it was a man or woman in charge of the Pegasus, to sit by and let this happen, on multiple occasions was a disgrace, and it didn’t even appear to bother her.
Tyrel and Helo make it to Sharon’s holding cell and come upon the scene that they had feared. She had been beaten up, and the interrogator had his pants down, ready to rape Sharon. As if he wasn’t enough of a coward, he had to have another person hold her down while he did his work. Helo and Tyrel race in, knock over one of the guards, and Tyrel manages to knock the Pegasus officer away from Sharon while Helo beats up one of the guards. By the time order is restored, the Pegasus officer is dead from a blow to the head and Helo and Tyrel are taken off of Galactica to await court martial.
With this latest incident, Adama’s loyalties are put to the test. He wants to make sure that Tyrel and Helo have a fair trial, but there is not even going to be a trial. This is the military, there will be a court martial, but where will that court-martial be? Adama wants it on the Galactica, Cain says that it will be on the Pegasus, but she will make sure that their side is heard.
Throughout all of this craziness, things are still going on as planned in the rest of the fleet. Dr. Baltar is busy trying to rehabilitate Six. He has the guards unchain her, and he places a plate of food by her side. Seriously, small consolation when you have been gang raped at will for who knows how long. Whatever she did in her attempts to cope with what happened to her, she wasn’t responsive. For Gaius, he sees this as something more than just a military task of being able to get some words out of prisoner. The person that is laying prone on the floor in front of him has the body of a person who he cared about. His only hope in connecting with her is really going to involve Baltar connecting with himself. He begins to describe not so much why Six needs to try and start speaking, but why Baltar needs Six to try and start speaking. He speaks of his relationship with her on Caprica, how much he learned from her, how much he loved her. He knows that the Cylons have memories of those that died, and he hopes that is enough to give her the strength to move. Whatever he said, something worked, and she began to move. The first step on her recovery was at least beginning.
The Pegasus fleet is also continuing with business as usual. They are preparing to jump to the coordinates of the Cylon fleet in question. Apollo is distracted because he has heard about Helo and Tyrel. The Pegasus Air Group Commander has had enough of his attitude and needs him to focus. At this point, I am sure he could care less how this mission goes, and I am sure he his hoping that Starbuck does what she needs to do, because this whole reassignment thing is beginning to suck. In fact, things might have been better if the Pegasus never showed up in the first place.
Among those people who wish that the Pegasus never showed up are Helo and Tyrel. Cain had her tribunal, and judging by the amount of time it took to finish, she simply took a look at them and marked the box next to “Execute”. That’s right, there would be no jail time for these two. Treason plus murder equals death. Commander Adama is not happy with the decision. He feels that the proceedings were not fair, and given her history of “Shoot in the head first, ask questions later” he decides that he is not going to let her get away with any more. He tells the marines to get ready because he is going to send the marines to go and get his men if Cain doesn’t stop the execution order. Cain is not going to stop the execution order, and when Adama doesn’t call back his Vipers, she sends out her own Vipers to intercept.
And that’s where they left us for this season. See you back in three months.
Needless to say, this was one of the best episodes of BSG to date. One of the great things about this show is that while we are nominally led to believe that the Cylons are the enemy, the lines between good and bad or right and wrong are very blurred, at least up until this point. Clearly, Cain is going to have to be stopped, but just how does the Galactica go about doing this? Well, one way to subdue the Pegasus would be to use the Cylon virus against it. The Pegasus is a much newer Battlestar, and it would be much more vulnerable to any sort of infiltration of that sort. But even if you did that, there is still the little matter of what you do with Gaius and the prisoners. And even if you did that, you are about to attack a massive Cylon fleet, what happens if something goes wrong and they enter the fray? What would happen if the Galactica lost this battle, besides having to change the name of the show? There are so many questions to answer and it looks like we will have plenty of time to speculate on how everything is going to be resolved.