Just when I think the Galactica storyline is getting a bit stale, the writers draw me back in with in-fighting and a few more well-thought out surprises. In reality, this episode is all about juxtaposing the Galactica and the new-found Battlestar Pegasus.
1. Admiral Helena Cain
She appears only in this season and the TV film Razor, but boy, do I remember Admiral Cain. Michelle Forbes kills it playing this character. The episode opens in medias res and the Galactica has made contact with what they believe to be a Cylon ship. After verification, Adama and his crew realize this isn’t a Cylon ship, it is in fact another Battlestar they assumed was lost during the Cylon attack, the Pegasus, led by Admiral Cain. The reuniting between crews seems to feature more Enya-like music than usual, but that’s an analysis for another day. Commander Adama appears more than willing to turn over control of the fleet to his superior officer, but President Roslin appears…displeased, suspicious, or maybe it’s concerned. She knows Adama; Cain is an unknown. (Perhaps her name should tip them off as well.) Adama tells Roslin he’s been taking orders his whole life, it’s the military way and he’s willing to take orders from Cain as she insists she’s not trying to shake things up on Galactica. As time goes on, not much time in fact, Adama’s hand is forced and he takes action against his Admiral.
2. Adama v. Cain
Adama has shown himself to be a tough, but compassionate leader. He loves his crew, maybe a bit too much, as Cain points out, but what is life without that human connection. Cain, on the other hand, is tough, but we see no compassion from her. As her XO recounts a story, which he claims is just a fictional story, in which she shot her former XO because he wouldn’t follow her command. Tigh tells Adama the story, and forever level-headed, Adama tells his second in command that there are many sides to a story.
3. Galactica Sharon Prisoner v. Pegasus Six Prisoner
The way we treat others during wartime says a good deal about us as human beings. Do we want our enemies to destroy us from the inside? To force us into inhumane acts? Not on the Galactica. While Adama, and others, show great disdain for the Sharon locked in their brig, she lives in clean conditions, with a bed, and food, and a shower, and activities to keep her mind busy. For the Six on Pegasus, life is quite different. She has no furniture, is basically wearing a burlap sack, she’s filthy, beaten, and we’ve been led to believe, raped, repeatedly. Baltar meets this Six, and in a scene that shows us why James Callis wonderfully plays a character I love to hate, he tells her about his love for a Six. But before this, he determines that Cylons respond to repeated trauma just as humans would, by shutting down, just as Pegasus Six has done. The juxtaposition of the treatment of Cylon prisoners tells us all we need to know about the differences between the people aboard, and in command of, the Galactica and the Pegasus.
4. CAG v. CAG
Apollo may be the CAG on Galactica, but Starbuck has always been his, let’s say, unofficial second in command. Her opinion holds just as much weight as his, and she’s never, ever afraid to speak her mind, basically to a fault. The Pegasus pilots keep track of their Cylon kills on the side of their Vipers; the Battlestar pilots do not, and Starbuck makes fun of them so hard. In a power play, meant to be seen as a reorganization based on Adama’s lack of impartiality, Cain transfers Apollo and Starbuck to the Pegasus, and despite the fact that Adama is against this move, and states just that to the Admiral, he forces the two to follow orders, despite their protests. He’s still following the chain of command as he has been trained to do.
5. Whatever It Takes
A statement usually meant to have positive connotations, but can be taken too far, just as Admiral Cain and the Pegasus have taken to doing whatever it takes in order to defeat the Cylons. It seems they’ve lost their humanity on the way to doing whatever it takes. Once one of Cain’s Cylon interrogators attempts to rape Sharon, the Chief and Helo take matters into their own hands and attack their own, and accidently kill a man in the process. Cain orders an immediate court-marshall, and in what seems like a matter of hours, declares both the Chief and Helo guilty of treason and sentences them to death. The humans are down millions of people and she decides to kill two guys standing up for their principals. This is where Adama will not step into line. He orders an attack on the Pegasus, and Cain orders one in return.