...And we're back! It's no gold-medal "Home" or "Pegasus," but it's a good solid silver, along the lines of "Bastille Day" or "Flesh And Bone": a complex, multi-layered story that moves the arc forward while still sniffing the roses here and there. We jump ahead a month -- jumping ahead a month is the new "48 hours earlier"! -- to find the newly-promoted Major Lee Adama doing long-term rotations on the Pegasus, now commanded by a barely-competent and paranoid former engineer, played by John Heard. Everybody's already done mourning Billy, although we do see Roslin smiling at a picture of him and feeling a bit itchy about his awesome replacement, pollster/hottie/total Cylon Tory Foster. Zarek and Dualla -- having gotten over the losses of Maier and Billy, respectively -- are ready to hop in bed with Baltar and Lee, respectively. Neither match is very romantic, but only the former is a universal bad idea on every level. The other one is just a wet blanket of exposition and suddenly-evaporating chemistry. Starbuck butts heads with John Heard and puts Major Lee into the fresh and exciting position of having to yell at her a lot, but some time during the lost month, they've done almost all the necessary work to forgive each other their season-long sequence of trespasses. The tag-team bitch-slapped John Heard then dies saving the Pegasus from a really impressive and spooky Cylon "distress call" trap, and Lee becomes the Commander of Pegasus, making Starbuck the new CAG back home. A young Geminese stowaway is convinced by Doc Cottle to ask for asylum when Adama balks at her underage abortion, and Baltar uses the resulting standoff with the Geminon fundamentalists to basically set Roslin up to lose the elections: after convincing Roslin that the 50,000 survivors in the Fleet are sustainable only by a squeak, she outlaws abortion in the Fleet against her own ideals -- and he then very publicly castigates her for the policy, putting in his own bid for the President. Basically, he makes her look so awful -- and so skillfully uses her past history as the David Koresh of the Geminon literal-interpretationist militants-- that it doesn't even really matter if the whole sustainable-population thing is actually true. It's so sneaky, smart, schemy, and cool that even Six has to give Baltar the slow clap. This show rocks.
Previously: Billy died; Starbuck got smacked around by fate and shot Apollo, who was so very much in love with Dualla that it overruled some important shit we only get to see in the "Not Actually Previously On...": Gina apparently told Gaius to run for President in the upcoming election, and Adama put a man named Barry Garner (played by John Heard from Cat People and C.H.U.D., of course, but especially notable for playing my favorite character ever to appear on The Sopranos in possession of both legs) in command of the Pegasus, over Tigh's complaints that he was just an engineer, and not the excellently recommended officer that both Cain and Fisk were.
Open on a Pegasus training mission, Raptors 718 and 314 in the sky. The non-pi one, with which we'll mostly be dealing, is piloted by Lt. Richard "Buster" Bayer and ECO Lt. Lyla "Shark" Ellway. Their red shirts are very flattering. Buster is also apparently a regular guest on Stargate: Atlantis, which explains why he is so charming, and why I've never seen him before. Back on Pegasus CIC, the Dualla is named Lt. Hoshi, which is very funny if you have poor taste in spin-offs. His name means "Star," he looks like Red Devil (whom we'll meet a bit later) but without the lips, he's got this crazy Vulcan hairdo snatched right off the scalp of Jolene Blalock, and he was cut from "Pegasus" but appears briefly in "Resurrection Ship, Part I" -- which I note only because it means he's been in CIC longer than almost anybody. The Pegasus Gaeta is Ensign Abel Thornton, who looks exactly like a younger, blonder Laird. Actually, you could switch their functions and I wouldn't notice, so I might be wrong, but Thornton runs around a lot more, like Gaeta does. Buster and Hoshi talk about how their dradis contact is being continually interrupted by stellar EMI activity from a binary star system, just like Sharon said it would be, about, I assume, these very pulsars. I draw the connection to Sharon's intel because one of the three kinds of pulsars, the x-ray kind, results when another kind, the Rotation kind whose radiation comes from slowing spin, happens in a binary system -- the expanding partner transmits matter to the neutron partner, and that's where the radiation comes from. This show increases my science power. Buster decides to put "a little distance between" them and the Fleet, since it's only a trainer exercise and it's good to have dradis contact, but Shark is kind of icked out by this, because Cylons are scary and they're already like baby gazelles out here.