Battlestar Galactica: S02E10: Pegasus

In the original series, the Battlestar Pegasus finds the RTF and is commanded by a famous and very manly Commander Cain. He’s a bit of a hothead and wants the Galactica to join him on a daring, read: suicidal, attack on a cylon base. There are some differences in this “re-imagining”, all to be discussed in the review.

Pegasus begins with a mysteriously large capitol ship jumping into the same sector as the Galactica and the RTF. Adama orders that the fleet be ready to jump away to another sector in their typical “run and hide” manoeuvre. Apollo and Kat fly out to investigate the ship and act as a sacrificial diversion for the cylons while the rest of the fleet run away like the . But things change when the it’s discovered that the unknown is using a colonial transponder signal.

And that when the really shitty 1980’s MIDI music starts. The music is so out of place and cheesy that it destroys the entire scene and any tension that might have existed about the uncertainty of the baseship. We all knew it was the Pegasus already, but I’m sure there were two or three fans in a non-English speaking country who might have been surprised.

Adama orders the RTF to hold their jumps until he establishes what’s going on. He has Dualla send out a hostile challenge to the ship demanding to know who they are. A human voice replies back, “This is the battleship Pegasus to the ship claiming to be Galactica. Please respond.” In the background you can hear thousands of fans cheering.

Adama asks that they authenticate with the proper codes. Pegasus does, followed by a female voice that says, “Galactica, this is Pegasus actual. Adama, is that you”? It’s the voice of the new Admiral Cain.

I knew the gender bending of Admiral Cain was going to happen before most fans, and I’ll bet even before the writers too. This series has been infamous for changing the genders of loved characters and generally putting womyn in positions of power. The actress portraying Cain is Michelle Forbes. This did come as a minor surprise to me, even though I think the role was cast well. Most science fiction fans will immediately recognize Michelle Forbes as the bajoran Ensign Ro Lauren of Star Trek: TNG. I personally associate her first and foremost with Dr. Cox, the medical examiner on Homicide: Life on the Street.

A show I highly recommend.
Apollo and Kat fly near the target and confirm for the Galactica that the ship is in fact the Pegasus, and We are treated to several long shots of the Pegasus surrounded by her own vipers. Several of which will be made into desktops in no time. Apollo says, “It’s like a dream”. The music however gets louder and campier making the scene into more of a nightmare.

There is a lot of pomp and circumstance for when Cain and her command staff first board the Galactica, and more lame music. Most of the Galactica crew is there in full uniform to greet the first military survivors they’ve encountered in months. After the obligatory ceremony and speech by Cain, everyone breaks out in celebration and start introducing one another.

In the next scene Roslin and Adama have dinner with Cain to catch up and find out how the Pegasus survived the attack. I Should point out here that Cain purposefully ignores Roslin through most of this scene.  Cain explains, “We were docking at Scorpion Fleet Shipyard. We were getting ready to go for a three-month overhaul. Most of the crew was getting ready for extended shore leave and family reunions. XO had the deck. I was down in my quarters, wrapping up some  paperwork, and getting ready to pack up and go home to Tauron. And that’s when the cylons attacked. They hit the shipyard with three, maybe four nukes. Five ships, two of them Battlestars, they were destroyed right there. And by the time I got back to CIC, I discovered that I’d lost over 700 men  We were completely defenseless. So I ordered a jump [to someplace random]”.

We are saved the screentime of Adama retelling the story of the rag-tag fleet, when Roslin asks for the Galactica’s logs for her to review later. Before Roslin leaves she notices that Adama is subordinate to Cain (obviously) and is a bit shocked. Adama explains that Cain is his superior officer and that he’s been taking orders his entire life. Cain adds that she doesn’t plan on interfering much with Adama’s command nor with the day to day affairs of the Galactica. Oddly enough I believe her at first.

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Immediately after Roslin leaves the room, Cain starts talking trash about her by asking, “The secretary of education”? Adama replies that “she’s come a long way”.

Meanwhile Tigh and the Pegasus X.O., Fisk are catching up too. They have their meeting in the Galactica’s new speakeasy (tool room) over some of Tyrol’s pickle jar alcohol. We learn that Fisk is a boozer just like Tigh and they both have great pride in their ships. More importantly we get some well deserved back story into Cain. Fisk tells Tigh that Cain is a balls-to-the-wall hawkish commander.

They’ve been fighting cylons ever since the nuclear holocaust. He continues with a story about one of their missions, “We were going after what we thought was a little Cylon Comm Relay. Easy target, right? Turns out it wasn’t a comm relay at  all. It was a staging area full of 15 squadrons of raiders. Admiral Cain ordered our XO to attack. Those two were real close. He had served with her for years. But here’s the thing– he refused the order.” Cain then asked for the XO’s gun and shot him in the head with it. Damn, shooting a guy in the head with his own gun is just cold! Cain turned to Fisk and he immediately ordered the attack. This was our first indication that things were really frakked up on the Pegasus.

And the bad news keeps coming. The deck chief from the Pegasus, Laird, comes over to the Galactica to drop off some supplies and sneak a look at the Blackbird. After a socially awkward introduction to Tyrol, we find out that Laird was a civilian engineer who designed the engines that the blackbird employs. He was a passenger on the Scylla when they were “rescued” by the Pegasus and conscripted into the being the deck chief. When asked to elaborate further he replies, “Things happened”, and then quickly changed the subject.

We learn next that the Pegasus has captured there own biocylon, Baltar is tasked with examining the new prisoner. #6 gives him an earful of taunts on their way to the brig, but she and Baltar are soon silenced by what they see. In a very clean and cold looking Plexiglas cell, they find a beaten, starved and tortured model #6 biocylon. Her name is Gina (a play on the name GINO, Galactica in Name only, that the TOSers assigned to TNS). Physically she resembles #6 save for the marks of CIA grade torture and light brown hair. Gina lies in a prone state and hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. She is clothed in only a potato sack dress and chains around her neck, ankles, wrists and elbows. My first thought was that she was repeatedly gang raped by the Pegasus crew. But I thought that there was no way they would actually discuss it on the show.

Baltar looks over Gina and finds that she isn’t too physically damaged and that her comatose state is from repeated psychological trauma. #6 is upset with Baltar in how emotionless he is in his giving his diagnosis. But really she is just using him as a scapegoat for her anger against the human captors. Baltar in an uncharacteristic show of spine, rebukes her and takes control of the situation. He has a plan.

Afterwards Baltar discusses Gina with Cain. He tells her that she is totally broken now. With proper training though she can be made into a very loyal asset. Cain allows him to perform his little experiment.

Meanwhile Tigh discusses what he learned with Adama about Cain. Adama is at first defensive about Cain and urges Tigh to view the situation in context, which of course they can’t do without the Pegasus log books. Adama hopes that the Admiral will use the same reasoning when looking over the Galactica’s logs. After all they’ve done some pretty frakked up stuff themselves, like destroying the Olympic Carrier.

And Cain did view everything in context. She has a meeting with Adama in her chairless conference room. First she shows Adama some surveillance photos of an unknown ship (Resurrection Ship) that two basestars are protecting. The both agree it makes for a tempting target.  But when that’s done she turns to discussing the Galactica’s affairs. After reviewing the Galactica logs, Cain decides to transfer some of the crewmembers off Galactica, and place Pegasus crew in positions of power on the Galactica. Adama reminds her that she said she wouldn’t interfere in the Galactica’s affairs. She says that the transfers are for his good and uses quotes from his logs and evidence; “[Apollo]’s been “insubordinate, even mutinous”, and these are direct quotes from your logs, by the way. And I dare say he’s not the only one with disciplinary problems. There’s a Kara Thrace who “habitually strikes fellow officers and disobeys orders”. This Lieutenant Agathon has “fraternized with and evidently impregnated an enemy agent”. Let’s not even discuss your XO.” At first myself and many fans just thought that Cain was just being a bastard and a control freak. But after repeated viewings, its clear that she really was doing this for everyone’s good.
Two of the transfers are Starbuck and Apollo. They don’t take the news well. And they took out their frustration during their first briefing on the Pegasus. The Pegasus CAG, Captain Taylor, gives the briefing for a recon mission to take photo’s of the resurrection ship.

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The plan is to hide behind a moon, but Starbuck rudely explains that it won’t work. She knows that the Cylon’s wouldn’t venture near that blind spot and advocates using the stealth blackbird. Taylor says no, and pulls her off the mission. He orders Apollo to pilot his raptor during the mission though, which is an insult.
Immediately after the briefing, Apollo gives Starbuck a surveillance package and tells her to take the blackbird to do her own recon mission.
I don’t even register parental advisory warnings anymore. At one time I would see one immediately after a commercial break and think “this is gonna be good”. But after so many unnecessary warnings in the past by Sci Fi Channel, I’m jaded. I should have paid more attention though, because the next few scenes caught me off guard.

Many members of the deckcrew, both Galactica veterans and newbie’s from the Pegasus are enjoying some drinks in the Galactica speakeasy. The conversation turns to the Galactica’s own biocylon prisoner, Boomer. Two Pegasus slimeballs discuss how they would “Like to get me some of that cylon stuff, huh? A little of the oh-yeah, oh-yeah.”. The talk about the gang rapes get steadily more disgusting after that prompting Cally and some of the other deckwomen to leave in protest. Plus a warning from Tyrol and Helo.
Elsewhere Lt Thorn enters Boomers cells with a couple marines and starts interrogating her. When she tells him that she doesn’t have the answers he’s looking for, he starts beating her.

Back in the speakeasy, the Phi Kappa Sigma brothers reveal that Thorne is the cylon interrogator, and he often uses rape as a tool for extracting information. After a disturbing comments, that made every non-sociopath viewer want to reach through the screen and beat him. Helo is about to do just that, but Tyrol stops him and alerts him that Boomer might be in trouble. They run out of the tool room toward her cell.

They arrive just in time to see Thorn with his pants down behind a restrained Boomer. Tyrol throws Thorn off her. Thorn flies head first into a wall, which mysteriously has a nut sticking out in a close up scene, which wasn’t there before. The blunt force kills him instantly. But Tyrol still beats on him. Helo starts pummelling one of the other marines. However there is still one marine left who forces the duo to surrender with a high powered rifle. In the background, Boomer cries under a sheet.

Tyrol and Helo are sent to the Pegasus for court martial despite Adama’s objections.

Elsewhere, Apollo and Taylor are in a raptor preparing to jump for the surveillance operation. Apollo is disturbed about the arrest of Helo and Tyrol. Taylor tells him to not think about it.

Baltar begins his “training” for Gina. He has the guards unlock her from her bondage and orders them to leave her cell. A plate of food is placed in front of her and Baltar tells her “The food is yours. It’s not a trick. I’m not going to take it away at the last second. You know, I…um…I’m just going to talk right now. I don’t expect you to say anything, back on Caprica, before the attack… and sometimes I forget there a world before the attack.. I knew someone– a woman, unlike any other woman I’d ever known. She was unique– beautiful, clever, intensely sensual. When she wasn’t in my bed, she was in my thoughts. She was a cylon. And she changed my life in a very real, very fundamental way in that I have quite literally never stopped thinking about her, because I love her. To this very day, I love her. And she looks exactly like you. My name is Gaius Baltar, and I’m here to help you.” A sickly Gina reaches out for the food and starts eating. A tear runs down her face as she eats. I’m beginning to think this experiment might be more for Baltar’s sake than the Colonials.

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Adama learns that Helo and Tyrol have already had their court martial and have been found guilty in what must’ve have bee the fastest court martial… ever. They are sentenced to death. Adama calls Cain in protest but she basically tells him to frakk off by quotes regulations that shows that she has the authority to do this. Adama won’t hear it and demands his men back. When that doesn’t work he orders a raptor with marines launched to bring them back. Viper are launched as an escort. Of course Cain notices this and has her own vipers deployed in response. Fisk tells her that this will spiral out of control.

Both ships have launched their vipers and the Galactica is seriously outgunned! The vipers on each side start to make formations for an attack. And the music still sucks!

End SUMMER SEASON. It’ll be three months and an overpriced half-season DVD set will be released before we learn what happens next.

Dissecting the Episode

Is the pistol part of the Admiral’s uniform?It’s part of Cain’s uniform. She likely wears it as a sign of strength and power. It probably belong to the XO she shot when he refused an order and now wears it as a warning to the rest of the crew to do as she says.

The rest of the uniform doesn’t convey that though. It’s dishevelled, unkept and barely fits. No self respecting admiral would wear a messy uniform so I’m inclined to believe that the costume department messed up and gave her an extras uniform. This is reinforced by the fact that senior officers wear red piping on their edges, and junior officers wear grey/silver. If she has a different color piping, I can’t see it.

How many crew members are aboard the Pegasus?There 1,752 crew aboard the Pegasus. By comparison the Galactica has 2,695 crew. Something isn’t right here! Pegasus should have more crew members then that, as they have more functioning equipment and by association more crew. Even before the cylon attack, the Pegasus only had around 2,500 crew. The only explanation I can come up with is that Pegasus has more automated systems and doesn’t need as many crew members to be operated.
What’s up with Baltar?It appears that Baltar is feeling guilty about the whole human genocide thing, and wants to make amends for it by rescuing someone. Even if that someone is a biocylon. Or he might just really miss #6 and wants to screw her some more.

Why was Michelle Forbes chosen to be Cain?I don’t know. But I can tell you why none of the dozens of candidates discussed on the were chosen. The revered JMS, of B5 fame, likes to point out continuously that people can’t send him story ideas and similar things, because then legally has he to pay them if he uses it. The board is well read by Michael Moore (how else does he could he answer the questions found in the Q&A thread?!), so its legally safer for him to not use anything posted there. Even if he thought it up first! Here’s a tip if you want a certain story idea to happen, DON’T PUBLICLY AND REPEATEDLY SHOUT IT OUT on A BBOARD!

What is Cain’s true feelings toward Roslin and the civilian fleet?
If I had to guess, I would think that Cain’s feels that the civilians are a liability and quite possibly even a drain on resources. Based on how she was withholding supplies from the civilian ships and not answering Roslin’s calls, my guess is that Cain would sooner abandon the fleet than try to protect them. Or worse…

47 References: There are no visible 47 references in this episode.

I rate this episode a phenomenal 39,105 out of 10 with points taken off for godsawful music.

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Review is copyright 2005 Ryan Bechtel

Battlestar Galactica names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, NBC Universal and R&D Television

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