This show makes my heart hurt. Galactica picks up weird ship dradis signals and, assuming it's a Cylon vessel, immediately freaks out. After a bunch of military mumbo about proving that everybody is who they say they are, we realize that we've just run into the Battlestar Pegasus, which, thanks to fifteen fishy circumstances, has managed to (a) survive the original Cylon attack and lose only about 30% of its crew; (b) jump to triangulated location "wherever" without ending up half-Shadowcatted into an asteroid; (c) pick up various crewmen and supplies from other survivor ships and places without anybody giving any details; and (d) track a previously-unmentioned Cylon fleet to where it's been following Galactica. The good news is that their Chief looks to be cool and smart like ours, their XO is maybe worse, and their pilots make ours look clever and fun and classy. The bad news is, their ship is commanded by Admiral Nelena Cain, whom we'll talk about momentarily, and is full of terrible, awful people. People that make last week's recap look less like a proposal for the equivalent of the Geneva Convention and more like the manifesto of the People Against Scraping Your Fork Against Your Plate Because It Makes That Hideous Sound And I Have A Slight Headache. Apollo, Tigh and Helo meet their opposite numbers -- finding them creepy -- while Laura immediately wigs hardcore due to the extreme intensity and general wackness of Admiral Cain. The thing is that, militarily, "Admiral" is WAY better than "Commander," which means that half of our two authority figures have just been usurped, and Adama is no longer Big Boss of the Fleet. Cain takes her place with a certain elegance, stealing Adama's kids Apollo and Starbuck for the Pegasus. She mentions how the Cylon jump that has apparently been following our Fleet contains one particular weird-looking ship, of which they seem very protective. Theories are advanced, but nobody says the obvious -- that it's clearly the Ernestine switch operator ship for transmitting dead Cylon souls back to the Cylonplex. Cain continues to impinge on all kinds of things, justifying all of it by recapping the entire last two seasons' worth of Galactica's terrible ideas and fuckups, with a distinctly un-Strega-like lack of humor, but a whole lot of being correct about every single part of it. However, anyone would take Adama's somewhat messed-up track record over Cain's half-told tale, as horrors accrete: the Pegasus XO tells Tigh a not-so-shaggy-dog story about how she shot a crewman in the head for disobeying a risky order, only to fake-laugh about how it was a joke. Gaius and Six are introduced to the Pegasus's own captive Cylon, a Six model named Gina, whose hair is browner and who -- making Galactica's treatment of Boomer, and frankly Leoben, positively Four Seasons-esque -- has been tortured and gang-raped by the entire Pegasus crew of asshole pirate Kurtzes into severe shock and catatonia. Six and Gaius are disgusted and sad. I'm mostly pissed. And sad. The Pegasus pilots and techs gross out even Cally with their tales of sexual toaster humiliation and abuse, and one of them lets it slip that their Grand Dragon of Interrogation is currently trying the same routine on Boomer, in alleged pursuit of info on that mysterious Cylon ship. Helo and Chief combine forces, running to Boomer's cell in time to stop anything much beyond the usual humiliation Boomer's now used to. They accidentally kill the Interrogator himself, which is fun to watch. Less fun by 100% to watch is Boomer coming wicked close to getting violated. Just because this is the best show on television doesn't mean it's not also sometimes the worst show on television. Or at least the hardest. Apollo goes out with the execrable Pegasus CAG for Cylon recon, after sending some secret photographic equipment along with Starbuck, who's flying the Blackbird Laura all stealthy-like to learn about the HMS Ernestine. Cain sends Helo and Chief to a Kangaroo Court Martial so Gitmo we don't even see it, for killing the Interrogator, and pronounces them traitors and worm food after a good three seconds of deliberation. Adama then flips out like some kind of ninja, sending Vipers by the fistful to beat Cain down and get his people back, as Hardcore Cain orders her own set of Vipers in response. Whoa. To be continued in January. Argh!
Previously, Lee hated Helo for cuddling with Boomer, and then Helo and Chief fought about it, but Boomer calmed Helo down. Chief made the Blackbird Laura from scratch, and Starbuck thought she was so damn cute scaring Apollo by going off-dradis.
We open on the alert alarm sound, and see an unknown ship on dradis. Gaeta and Tigh are on CIC, sending everyone to action stations. "This is not a drill," Gaeta says, and that's always good. They communicate the situation to Adama, in his quarters.
"Looks like you picked a hell of a day for a visit," Adama tells the President. Tigh informs them that the size of the unknown ship would seem to indicate that it's a basestar. Adama calls for an emergency jump, and he and Roslin book it to CIC.
While Apollo radios in that he and Kat are headed for the putative basestar, and Dualla gives him an ETA on backup Vipers as Adama enters. He asks for the "sitrep" for about the fifteenth time. Somebody likes the word as much as I do. Gaeta tells us that the basestar as launched putative Raiders in response to the Alert Vipers. Tigh informs Roslin rather respectfully that their emergency jump is set for two minutes. Speaks highly that the entire Fleet can get their jump together so fast. I mean, I know it's the whole point of the Fleet, bust ass all over the place, but still. Gaeta is confused by the fact that he's picking up Colonial transponders, which excites Roslin. Tigh, of course, takes the half-empty on that, saying that it's now to the point where they're "using [Galactica's] own signals against [it]." Adama, with some hope in him, duallas for a hold on weapons and the jump, and Tigh looks at him like he's nuts. Roslin's intrigued. Adama gaetas for a ship-to-ship communication, starting with "hostile challenge and ID." Because, as usual, he's willing to believe the impossible. Which is, after all, why anybody ever lives on this show. It is at this point that music -- weird music -- starts. I think I like it, or at least don't hate it, but it's very unsettling.
At a range of 1700 somethings, Dualla hails the ship. Their XO, Fisk, comes over the radio: "This is the battleship Pegasus to the ship claiming to be Galactica. Please respond." Tigh's first word was NO, of course, so he explains that the entire Fleet was destroyed back in the miniseries. Like everybody's going to go, "Good point!" Dualla, at Adama's request, authenticates some recognition codes, and we hear the voice of Admiral Nelena Cain: "Adama, is that you?" He recognizes the voice and the weird music gets crazier. I don't know if they'll talk about this in Part II, but just to put your mind at ease: yes, Cain is very young for an Admiral, but was a real rising star in the Colonial Fleet -- I'm guessing of the hugely leapfrogging, ambitious, slightly grey type, not that a woman ever needs to be a snake to succeed. And yes, Cain's been Adama's boss before, technically, because she was promoted to Admiral in command of Battlestar Group 75 before the massacre. So they know each other and Adama thinks of her as an authority. And finally, nobody can be blamed for not knowing that Michelle Forbes always means bad news, because that's what she rocks at.