After the tiniest bit of script massage to make us love her, of Lee giving us permission and the command to love her, which is irritating but expected, he invites her to be his new XO. She's a new thing in the universe, but she fits into it well. We've never seen anybody like her, anybody so closed down and dark, but she speaks in the rhythms of the show. (Like Michelle Trachtenberg: say what you will about Dawn, but she was a Buffy character from the first second; she fit into the world really well, like this.) "One thing I learned from my father, before he 'tossed me the keys,' is that a Commander needs a strong right arm. I also need to send a message to this crew, that I respect Cain's legacy. Even if the truth is that I don't." He doesn't, and not because she's crazy: he doesn't respect Cain because she's everything that terrifies him. "I'm no Cain, but I intend to give this crew their pride back." That's Lee, in a nutshell. He offers Kendra the chance to carry Helena's torch for him, the Lie of Cain, and drops Major insignia on the table for her. She takes them and scampers, and he doesn't even really wonder if she'll be good at this, because he knows she will. She demands that he consider his imperative, positioning the gun over her heart, screaming at him to fire; finally she pulls the trigger herself, and he shits his pants. She picks up the missing piece and shows it to him: "Again." Out in the corridor, Adama's kind of scared of her. "Didn't think it possible you could find an XO meaner than Saul Tigh." Lee agrees that she's tough, but knows that's what is necessary for this ship, at this time. He tells his father that the only real conflict is with Kara, of course; Adama laughs and asks for a share in the tickets to that dance. One of the million discarded framing devices for this story was a movie-long conversation between Kendra and Kara. Think about that for a sec.
They walk off down the hall and Adama talks about Lee's relationship to Kendra, now and moving forward, but let's pretend he's talking about Helena and Kendra. It's Michael Taylor, my very favorite writer on the show (and the only one besides Anne Cofell-Saunders that I would trust with Helena), so he might as well be, because this whole thing is really just a poem: "Just remember that an XO is not a blunt instrument. The two of you have to make up a team. That takes trust." Kendra's never been a blunt instrument, but by the same token, razors don't trust. But Lee doesn't know about any of this because he will never understand razors, even as he's becoming one. At this point, Lee can say that they trust each other to do their jobs, and that's a start. "Now that your house is in order, I have a mission for you," Adama says. "Against my better judgment, I let a science team take a Raptor from us, go out to study a supernova remnant. They're overdue." Three civilians, two pilots. Adama tells him it's a search and rescue, but as far as getting into a firefight, he should use his judgment: "This is your command." Adama jumps back and forth across that line so many times in this story, it's unbelievable. Or, I mean, it would be, except this is Adama we're talking about. I'm sure it all makes sense to him. And out on the SAR, Starbuck and Showboat are singing "99 Bottles Of Ambrosia." Showboat is the way Kara made her peace with Pegasus, during Garner's time as Commander. Now they sing.