The Girl Hanging By One Foot
From Kendra ten months ago, whose face was open, who wanted to please and knew who she was, to Kendra now: a closed knife, click. Quiet and still. Acting-wise, I think this is my favorite scene in the whole thing. Her dignity and will, her curious absence speak volumes, not only in contrast to what we just saw, but in contrast to humanity. If Ada McGrath from The Piano ever spoke, it would sound like this. Immovable: "Who am I? I'm a soldier. As were Fisk and Garner. Neither of those men deserve my respect, so they didn't get it." Apollo is wonderful in this scene, the best flavor of Apollo there is: cleverness and wry grins, a tactical and open mind. "Fisk was a black market sellout. He was a piece of garbage, unworthy of the uniform. Garner was a martinet who tried to micromanage this ship like it was some bulky piece of machinery." Apollo agrees, precisely agrees with these, and asks for his own assessment: "Don't hold back just because I've got a pulse." Heh. "You're a step up. But that doesn't change the fact that you're an outsider who was brought in to clean up our mess, or the impression that your daddy just gave you a Battlestar, like he was tossing you the keys to a new car."
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.