Hotdog suddenly swings his ship around and heads back.
The Cylons open fire on Starbuck, who lifts up out of the line of fire and then aims down at the approaching Cylons. Hotdog zips past her, without doing the thing where you try to avoid getting hit. He opens fire, and a Cylon explodes as Starbuck asks what he's doing. As they both fire, Hotdog explains, "You said never to leave your leader." We know; that was five minutes ago. Starbuck snaps, "And I also said never disobey an order." A raider swings in behind Hotdog and fires, hitting the side of his ship. Starbuck says she'll take care of him, and orders him to break right.
Adama and Apollo look kind of tense, for some reason.
Hotdog breaks off and flies toward a very pretty ringed planet. Starbuck fires at the Cylons.
Adama mutters, "She'll make it." Tigh thinks, "If I'd said that, he'd probably glare at me."
Starbuck takes out a Cylon as Hotdog announces, "I've just lost all three mains." Starbuck reassures him, "You did good. You're gonna be okay, I promise you." Less reassuringly, she adds, "At least one of us will." She turns tail before the remaining Cylon and leads it away. Her ship spins to avoid the Cylon's fire, and her readouts get staticky for a second.
On the wireless, Starbuck says, "He's right on my tail, but I got it covered." And then she's cut off, and her ship vanishes from the radar. Apollo winces and turns away. Dualla announces that Starbuck's wireless and transponder have cut out. The alert fighter leader reports that he sees Hotdog, but not Starbuck. I can't tell you how grateful I am that nobody bellows "Noooooo!" at this point.
But Starbuck's still there, dodging the Cylon. She suddenly wheels her ship around, slows, and opens fire. She hits the Cylon, and it starts to flip as it zooms toward her. As it passes Starbuck, a whirling end of the Cylon scrapes across the side of her Viper, scaring the crap out of me. Neat.
The Viper goes dead as Starbuck groans, "Oh, frack me." The Cylon ship tumbles down toward the planet below, and Starbuck's Viper isn't far behind.
And now we finally know what the plummeting scenes were all about. Pretty flames start forming around the Viper as it falls through the planet's atmosphere. A wing snaps off. Starbuck pulls the eject, and pops out of the ship. The Viper, Starbuck, and her chair plunge toward the ground. If there is any. Well, okay, I'm pretty confident that there is. Fade out. "To be continued."
Next time: Adama orders Apollo to "find our girl," and Tigh points out that they're risking other people's lives to find Starbuck.