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Battlestar Galactica “Pegasus”/ “Resurrection Ship” Review (2×10/2×11/2×12)

2 Aug

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ARC 4: Pegasus

Although there are plenty of other factors to take into play, the Pegasus is essentially what the Battlestar Galactica would be without Roslin. It’s not that Adama is Cain; rather, you would be looking at a military ship stripped of obligation to the political side of things, to the overarching goal of maintaining the well-being of its citizens, implementing a democracy, etc. Pegasus is led by means of a rigid, militaristic structure wherein that leader always has her sights set on destroying the enemy, and although the primary reaction to the Pegasus arrival is excitement and joy, it’s inevitable that the system under Admiral Cain will clash with that of the BSG.

Clash it does, and then some. The relationship between Adama and Cain starts fraying from the moment they look each other in the eyes; first, it’s merely a matter of pride, but that then descends into all-out scheming and threatening and glaring. Cain won’t even take Roslin’s phone calls, and that’s a huge indication of the rules the Admiral plays by. Whereas before, the ideological differences between Roslin and Adama could be settled and used to improve the well-being of the fleet, here, the ideological differences between Adama and Cain quickly spiral out of control. The fleet has Adama and Roslin and both of their perspectives–keep in mind that Cain’s plan to take back the Colonies is what Adama wanted to do, but was talked out of–but when we’re talking specifically about the Pegasus, it’s an insulted environment in which everyone turns to the nearest authority.

So, simply put, shit goes down when the two ships enter each other’s orbits. The ominous mood steadily increases as the episode progresses, and we see the way the Pegasus crew treats not only the Six prisoner on board, but also the Galactica‘s Sharon; rape is condoned as a form of torture, and when Tyrol and Helo break up Lt. Thorne’s interrogation–eventually leading to Thorne’s death–the two are sentenced to death. The rape scene raises the question of identity and the difference between Cylons and humans, the lengths you can go to when you’re handling a “machine”, the inherent dilemma present in the fact that Cylons can take human form. The show’s grappled with “Can you love a machine?” and “Can you torture a machine?”, and now, it’s “Can you rape a machine?”. And of course, the question swirling around those questions is: “Are the Cylons really machines?”

Cain certainly thinks they are, and she has no sympathy for Tyrol and Helo, holding them responsible for Thorne’s death. At this point, I’m ecstatic about the existence of DVDs, because when the credits roll, we’re left with a good ol’ cliffhanger, one in which both Cain and Adama send out fighters, Adama purposefully strides down the hallway, and Bear McCreary’s thrilling score plays. It isn’t really surprising that that they end up not battling it out, but the ending to part 1 of the season is operatic and flat out brilliant.

It doesn’t stop there. The end of “Resurrection Ship, Part 1” outlines two plans: Adama sending Starbuck to kill Cain–in a scenario similar to that of Sharon’s in the season one finale–and Cain sending the XO to take out Adama. The plans are essentially the same, but it’s a nice touch by the writers to have Cain’s go through the Marines; it’s also nice that we get a pinch of moral ambiguity with her willingness to actually go through with the plan, even if the point of her character is to paint a picture of someone without that much of it. In addition, although I think Starbuck would at least question Cain, I like what the show does with their dynamic: add her lingering distrust of Sharon and her military core together, and you get someone who, for the time being, might side with Cain even if she doesn’t necessarily condone her actions.

The resolution to the arc, just like the introduction to it, is a bit too pat. It seems like the writers try to condense all the character work and plot into three episodes, and it’s disappointing that some of these threads don’t linger as much as they should. Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away from the fact that these three episodes are as exciting as the show has ever been.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Hey, Roslin and Adama kissed.

-There’s a thread in here about wanting to die: Lee talks about how he didn’t want to come out of the mission alive–and him floating away in space is a fantastic visual to convey his isolation–and the Six prisoner aboard the Pegasus wants the same fate.

-“Your plan sucks.” Starbuck. Ya gotta love her.

-If Adama’s plan worked, it would essentially be a suicide mission, wouldn’t it? So, to have him send someone as close to him as Starbuck is to kill Cain is both surprising and understandable.

-Bye, Resurrection Ship. That was fast.

-James Callis and Tricia Helfer are both great throughout, and the latter in particular is able to play a version of her character that we haven’t seen before. It’s difficult to watch, but it’s a nice change from the usual Six antics.

-Apparently, there’s an extended version of “Pegasus”. I have not seen it yet and don’t plan to, but I wonder what else is added there.

-Next up: UGH. Arc 5, aka “This is what happens when you have to make 20 episodes a season”.

Photo credit: Syfy, Battlestar Galactica

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