Battlestar Galactica season 2 episode 10 review: Pegasus
Simon sits gobsmacked, as Battlestar Galactica delivers yet another stunning, and game-changing, episode...
Many TV series have what you might consider to be a game-changing episode, but this one was both utterly unexpected, and flat-out outstanding. Just when you thought that Battlestar Galactica didn't have enough story threads to mesh together, the scriptwriters lob a grenade the size of another Battlestar into the mix, and the genius of its introduction simply can't be understated.
Pegasus all starts ominously enough, and I thought we were in for another Cylon attack episode when the crew are alerted to the sudden appearance of a big ship on DRADIS. It's straight to action stations, until it's revealed that it's a colonial ship. In fact, more than that, it's another, more advanced Battlestar, Pegasus.
Given that the crew of the Galactica believed that there were no further survivors from the original Cylon attack, there's obvious rejoicing at the news that another Battlestar survived. Led by the young and very ambitious Admiral Cain, the leading lights of the Pegasus grab a shuttle to Galactica, and it looks like it's going to be warm handshakes all around.
Only that's not how this show works. Instead, it's soon apparent that Admiral Cain, in spite of her youth, outranks Commander Adama, and while she promises to not interfere in the running of Galactica, she's nonetheless taking control of the fleet. The same fleet that Adama has been steering pretty much since episode one. Yikes.
And Cain isn't on a mission to make herself popular. While she first shares intel about a large and mysterious Cylon ship that she wants to launch an attack on - for the Cylons have been secretly following Galactica since day one - she soon, after reviewing Adama's logs, starts rubbing people up the wrong way.
Adama and Cain agree on the attack, but then Cain reassigns Apollo and Starbuck to the Pegasus, criticising the way that Adama has been running things. That said, it's not long before Starbuck starts making waves, and after criticising the planned approach to gathering more information on the Cylon ship, she eventually sneaks out in the Blackbird stealth ship that Tyrol built in the last episode.
While all this is going on, Tigh is cracking open the booze and sharing it with his opposite number on Pegasus, Colonel Fisk. And Fisk soon starts spilling the beans about the new boss. Ruthless doesn't begin to cover it, as we discover that she shot her previous XO for refusing an order.
Then there's the small matter of the Cylon that the Pegasus is holding in its brig. It was always a long shot that we'd discover the identity of another Cylon quite so soon, and so it proves, as Dr Baltar is sent over to the Pegasus to interrogate the prisoner. Only it's another copy of Number 6, and one that's been treated very, very badly. She's been raped and beaten, and Baltar is understandably shocked.
But that's just a precursor, for the tactics of Pegasus begin to sweep Galactica, and the more hardened than usual military culture steps in. When the Pegasus team find Galactica's Cylon, Sharon, in her cell, they - led by Lieutenant Thorne - start to exact the same treatment on her. When Helo and Tyrol find out this is happening, they run straight for her cell, and in the ensuing fracas, kill Lieutenant Thorne. Admiral Cain, acting like someone straight out of a Judge Dredd strip, then plays judge and jury, in condemning Helo and Tyrol to death, to the dismay of Adama.
The episode ends with Adama sending fighters to Pegasus to retrieve the pair, and with Cain ordering a counter-attack. And by this point, I was reeling. A substantive plot development, with plenty of mileage left to play out, the arrival of the Pegasus has, for me, been the shock of season two to date. The effective demoting of Adama, especially behind such a single-minded Admiral (albeit one who has, by whatever means necessary, kept her ship going), is also a ticking time bomb and a half.
Next? The name Resurrection Ship suggests that we'll find out more about the mysterious Cylon vessel.
Why can't all telly be this good?