BSG - Season 2 - Episode 10
BSG - 2x10 - Pegasus - Originally Aired: 2005-9-23
The mood aboard the Galactica turns jubilant when the top-of-the-line battlestar Pegasus, long thought to have been annihilated with the rest of the colonial fleet, appears out of nowhere.
The Galactica's relatively ragged crew meets their spit-and-polish counterparts from the Pegasus, among them Admiral Helena Cain; her X.O., Col. Jack Fisk; and the ship's CAG, Capt. Cole "Stinger" Taylor. Cain warmly greets Commander Adama, who chooses to yield command of the fleet to his superior officer.
In private, Adama and Cain compare notes. Cain reveals that the Pegasus crew had taken its computers offline for servicing shortly before the original Cylon assault and therefore was able to escape the nuclear genocide. Since then, the ship has been on a relentless search-and-destroy mission against the Cylons.
Each battlestar holds a single Cylon prisoner. Because Vice President Gaius Baltar has successfully extracted information from Sharon, Cain invites him to study her Cylon captive on the Pegasus, a bruised and bloodied replica of Six named Gina.
It is revealed that the Pegasus encountered the Galactica while tracking a Cylon fleet, which itself appears to have been pursuing the Galactica. Plans are laid for both battlestars to attack a mysterious vessel guarded by this fleet.
However, Adama fumes when Cain announces that, due to rampant discipline problems on the Galactica, she will be reassigning key crewmembers from the Galactica to the Pegasus. Later, sparks fly quickly when Stinger maps out a reconnaissance plan that Starbuck bluntly criticizes.
Meanwhile, Lt. Thorne, the chief interrogator from the Pegasus, sets out to "break" Sharon like he broke Gina. Learning of Thorne's brutal tactics, Helo and Tyrol rush to Sharon's aid. A fistfight ensues, and Thorne is accidentally killed.
Cain orders a snap court-martial, and both Helo and Tyrol are sentenced to death. Refusing to allow his men to be convicted and executed without a full tribunal and the opportunity to mount a legal defense, Commander Adama initiates a high-stakes game of chicken that leads to Vipers from both ships training weapons on each other. [Blu-ray] [DVD]
- Not necessarily a problem per se, but Tyrol had previously served aboard the Pegasus as was established earlier in the season. It would have been nice if there was a reference to this somewhere in this episode.
- This is my personal favorite episode of the entire series, with the next two episodes being close runners up.
- This episode won a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance By A Female in a Dramatic Series regarding Tricia Helfer's performance of Gina. (2006)
- This episode has been nominated for the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 49605. (This is a 1752 gain, meaning there are 1752 crew members on the Pegasus. Cain claims she's lost over 700 men, so it's possible that the maximum capacity of the Pegasus is upwards of 3000 people.)
- Michelle Forbes, who plays Admiral Helena Cain in this episode, also played Ensign Ro Laren on Star Trek TNG.
- John Pyper-Ferguson, who plays Stinger in this episode, also played Eli Hollander in Star Trek TNG: A Fistful of Datas.
- This episode establishes that ever since the fleet fled the colonies, they've been jumping to star systems with natural resources, presumably for food, water, and fuel, and that the Cylons have been scouting these systems as well in the hopes of locating the Galactica. The Pegasus was chasing the Cylons, so they too started scouting for natural resources, hoping to conduct hit and run attacks on the Cylon fleet, and accidentally discovered Galactica. With this information in mind, it seems that during the last two episodes, Galactica has been more concerned with supply problems than with going to Earth.
- During the Cylon attack on the colonies, the Pegasus was docked at the Scorpion fleet shipyards preparing for a three month overhaul. Presumably, the Pegasus did not have Baltar's Command Navigation Program installed yet, as it was part of the planned overhaul, and that's how they were able to escape without being destroyed.
- Admiral Helena Cain hails from the colony of Tauron.
- When this episode first aired on the SciFi Channel, a "Viewer Discretion Is Advised" black and white message was displayed just prior to the beginning of Act 3, warning of "mature subject matter" and content. This was in reference to the following sequence depicting drunken Pegasus crew members bragging about raping Gina and Lt. Thorne sexually assaulting Boomer, then Helo and Tyrol beating him to death for it.
- The original cut of Pegasus was about 15 minutes too long, so large sequences of this episode were cut from the original broadcast. A longer director's cut was released with the DVD version. This review focuses on the longer cut.
- In response to BSG TOS purists who refer to this show as "GINO" which stands for "Galactica In Name Only," RDM has named the Six model which appears in this episode Gina. It is never spoken onscreen, but I will henceforth refer to the Pegasus Six as Gina, as it is a nice way to distinguish her from Baltar's Six.
- The music played at the end of this episode is part of a song called Prelude to War on the soundtrack composed by Bear McCreary and is my favorite piece of music of the whole series up to this point. The piece is very reminiscent of, but superior to in my opinion, the song November 25: Ichigaya composed by Phillip Glass for the film Mishima. Most of Prelude to War is played in this and the next two episodes.
- The Pegasus' appearance.
- Apollo: "Galactica, Apollo. You are not going to believe what I'm looking at out here."
- Admiral Cain boarding the Galactica.
- Tigh's drinking session with Fisk.
- Admiral Cain telling the story of how the Pegasus escaped and what they've been doing since the attack.
- Cain regarding Roslin's reaction to Adama ceding command of the fleet to Cain: "Madam President, you look like I just shot your dog."
- Fisk telling Tigh the story of the fate of the Pegasus' original XO. I love Fisk's disturbing laugh. He tries to brush it off as just a joke, but that laugh makes you know for sure that it's the truth.
- Cain meeting with Baltar. I love how Baltar mistakes Cain's rank and she promptly corrects him. Speaks volumes about her arrogance.
- Baltar boarding the Pegasus to see the Cylon prisoner. The eerie music is fantastic and when he finally sees who the Cylon prisoner is, I love the reaction the Six in his head has to seeing her counterpart beaten, raped, and tortured.
- Six: "Can't you stop being a scientist for one moment and look at the abused woman lying there in front of you?"
- Cain dressing down Adama for being too close to his officers. I especially like this line: "Let's not even discuss your XO."
- Apollo: "Transfer to Pegasus?" Starbuck: "Why the frak should we do that?" I love the audacious way they both say their lines.
- Starbuck to Stinger in the middle of the mission briefing with all the pilots: "Your plan sucks."
- Lt. Thorne violently interrogating Boomer.
- The "yee haw" boys talking about Lt. Thorne and his history with their Cylon prisoner.
- Lt. Thorne sexually assaulting Boomer, then Helo and Tyrol beating him to death for it.
- Adama: "The assault happened here. They should face court martial on Galactica." Cain: "Commander, I am the senior convening authority present and they will be tried on Pegasus." Adama: "They're my men." Cain: "One of my men is dead." Adama: "Fine. We both have strong feelings about the case. That only underlines the need for an impartial trial." Cain: "Oh, you mean independent tribunal? Because according to your logs commander, you dissolved an independent tribunal when you didn't like the verdict. And if I'm not mistaken, Chief Tyrol was on trial there as well."
- The scene when Baltar offers food to the Six on Pegasus was fantastic. He delivers a fantastic monologue: "The food is yours. It's not a trick. I'm not going to take it away at the last second. You know, I, um, I'm just gonna talk right now. I don't expect you to say anything. Back on Caprica before the attack, and sometimes I forget there was a world before the attack, I knew someone. A woman, unlike any other woman I'd ever known. She was unique. Beautiful, clever, intensely sensual. When she wasn't in my bed, she was in my thoughts. She was a Cylon. And she changed my life in a very real, very fundamental way in that I have quite literally never stopped thinking about her. Because I love her. To this very day I love her. And she looks exactly like you. My name is Gaius Baltar and I'm here to help you." She then slowly, painfully, reaches for the food, grabs a small bit, and starts eating as Baltar sheds a tear. To top it all off, the minimalist music (dubbed The Cylon Prisoner on the soundtrack) in the background was a fantastic backdrop. One of the most moving scenes of the whole series.
- Tigh: "I just talked to Fisk. The court martial's over." Adama: "Over? When did it start?"
- Adama's phone conversation with Cain about her judgment against Helo and Tyrol. Cain's justification for judgment: "I am a flag officer on detached service during a time of war. Regulations give me broad authority in this matter."
- Galactica launching a strike force against Pegasus and Pegasus launching a (much bigger) strike force to defend herself.
And Galactica delivers us its finest offering so far. Pegasus is based on BSG 1978's The Living Legend which was the best episode of BSG TOS, so people were expecting a lot when this show set out to do a Pegasus episode and this episode delivers on every level.
In this new take on the story Cain is a woman and outranks Adama. I can hear the BSG 1978 purists now whining and complaining about the "castration" of Cain, much like they did with Starbuck, but the Michelle Forbes' Cain in this episode is every bit a hardass that Loyd Bridges' Cain was and more. Michelle brings a certain dark viciousness to the character without coming off as necessarily evil, which is fantastic. Cain completely steals the show in this episode and I'm all for that.
Because you know, when you get right down to it, Cain is absolutely right about Adama and his command. She runs a very tight ship and she's a very by the book admiral. A very young admiral, in fact, which speaks volumes about her personality. She's a career officer. She means business. She rises through the ranks like an athlete jumps hurdles. And while Adama has some of that in him, he's not like Cain. He runs a runs a loose ship. And Cain makes no apologies for pointing that out to him.
RDM said in the commentary: "Ultimately, Cain comes over here, she gets those logs, and she starts saying you guys are a bunch of fuck ups. You got your son as the CAG, you got Kara smackin' people around, you got a guy who's fraternizing with the enemy, you got two of'm fraternizing with the enemy for that sake, and the secretary of education, and... what? Your XO?" Exactly. Nothing Cain takes issue with throughout the whole episode is really all that unfair. But you still hate her for it. She's still wrong, somehow, even though she's right. And that's fantastic. That's how you write an antagonist.
Having no defense; no answers for Cain, Adama just gives up command. Doesn't question it. I love this detail, because Cain is a megalomaniac, and eventually she escalates her abuse of power to a point at which Adama can no longer let her get away with it. She summarily judges Helo and Tyrol as treasonous murderers for the aggravated, accidental killing of Thorne, who was in the midst of raping a prisoner, and sentences them to death. That's stepping over the line and Adama won't have it, so he launches a strike against the Pegasus in one of the most marvelous cliffhangers ever shown on TV scored to some of the best music ever played on TV.
And that's only the beginning of this episode's greatness. Besides the fantastic character dynamics between Cain and Adama, there's a message about human(oid) rights in this episode. Is it right to use torture as an interrogation method on Cylons? This was an issue hinted at in Flesh and Bone but never really explored in much depth. That episode instead focused on the (false) immediate danger posed to the fleet by Leoben. In the end Roslin apologized for the way Leoben was treated, then simply threw him out of an airlock. But now Boomer is here and they're not getting rid of her because she's proven to be a valuable intelligence resource and a valuable ally, at least on a temporary basis.
The Pegasus crew kept Gina around for essentially the same reasons that the Galactica crew is keeping Boomer around; they wanted to obtain intelligence from her. But the Pegasus crew has employed much different methods. They don't believe Gina has any human rights because she isn't human. As a result she's been put through extensive torture. The scenes she has in this episode are extremely moving as a result. You can only imagine what she's been through, but you can clearly see the result. And putting Baltar into the situation of having to deal with seeing a version of the woman he loves in this condition is fascinating.
So essentially the basic conflict in the episode has to do with whether or not you believe Boomer and Gina deserve basic human(oid) rights. After all, the Cylons did massacre billions of people. But then, is it right to treat anybody like Gina's been treated, no matter what their crimes are? The Pegasus crew and the Galactica crew disagree on this issue and it erupts into a tense military conflict and makes for one of the most utterly fantastic episodes of television I've seen in years. Because you truly can sympathize with either side of the debate, even after you've picked a side. It's a complex issue and its complexity is sufficiently explored in this truly remarkable episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2007-03-01 at 2:43pm:
This is a science fiction masterpiece. While watching this single episode you experience the whole spectum of emotion: the joy of seeing another large Battlestar full of people that were thought dead, the sadness of Baltar trying to heal a wounded cylon, the hate of the people trying to rape Boomer, and the nervous excitement of the two Battlestars sending thier fighters after each other.
I only gave it a 9 because I do think the actions that take place in this episode happen too rapidly. The "evil" of the newly discovered crew comes out almost immediately. I think it should have seeped out slowly. That is really my only complaint. It is a great episode worthly of rewatching.
- From Ray Mayers on 2016-04-22 at 4:08pm:
Best episode yet! Superb story and Forbes as Admiral Cain is fantastic (wife material definitely!) The scene where she boards Galactica was handled superbly, I really liked the way her team looked quite threatening as they stood to attention as she emerged from the Raptor. I think that the Pegasus has a top hairdresser on board to make Cains hair look that good! The way she bristled at Adama was cool, but you knew that he had the measure of her! Powerful episode!