Admiral Cain's in her office, wondering if Starbuck drinks. Starbuck: "Only to excess, sir." Cain laughs. "Learn that from Colonel Tigh, did you?" Starbuck's answer is very telling: "Not exactly." Considering the ongoing mother stuff under the surface with Cain, I wonder if this isn't an oblique reference to another thing on the list of stuff making Starbuck's mom a dick. "I understand you belted him once," says Cain, not-quite-conspiratorially. Starbuck gets sheepish: "Yeah...That was something that I did without really thinking." It's more embarrassed than you might think, this. "Don't apologize," says Cain. "From what I read about your XO, maybe he needs to get popped in the mouth every once in while, hmm?" Huge word from yours truly, of course, even though I've liked him more in the past few episodes than ever before. Starbuck doesn't answer; she just drinks. Deep.
Then things get crazy intense. Cain: "I know you're very close with Adama. And I know he's a good man. And I know he's had to make some very hard choices over the last few months. Lord knows I have." Starbuck seems about ten seconds from bursting into tears, but still has enough in her to complain that this should help Cain to understand why Adama went so nuts about getting Helo and Tyrol back. "Let me tell you something," Cain begins, angry and fierce -- no blinking, totally edge, doing the slow burn. "I've had to watch a lot of kids be put into body bags. They're covered with flags and they float out that airlock. You think I don't understand [Adama's] feelings towards his men?" Starbuck stares at Cain, who goes on: "Sometimes terrible things have to be done." She looks away, only briefly flicking her eyes back to Starbuck's. "Inevitably, each and every one of us will have to face a moment where we have to commit that horrible sin. And if we flinch in that moment, if we hesitate for one second..." Starbuck's almost crying but I'm long since. There's absolutely no reason for her phrasing to go this way. She knows. She's got to know. "That horrible sin"? Huge flip from what she's supposedly talking about, the thing with our boys, which she did by the book every step of the way, and thus involved no sins. Cain's exhausted. "If we let our conscience get in the way, you know what happens? There are more kids in those body bags. More kids floating out that airlock." Cain's almost crying by this point. What a wonderful actor Michelle Forbes is. What a serious woman Admiral Cain is. Remember last week when I said that I retroactively respected Cain more in the episode before? I'm almost nearly okay with her at this point. "Now, I don't know why," she tells Starbuck, "but I have a lot of faith in you." She nearly smiles, behind her eyes, but it's not a happy smile. It's a sad one. "And I want you to promise me that when that moment comes, you won't flinch." There's a softness in her voice at the end there. We cut to a radically focused shot of Starbuck's profile in the foreground, Cain blurry behind. Watch for this shot again a few times later. "Do not flinch." For a second I could love Cain almost as much as Roslin, honestly. Starbuck drains her drink.