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Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Pegasus’


This is the thirteenth in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Final Cut’ And ‘Flight Of The Phoenix'” here.

Spoilers ahead.

In a series based mostly on a closed system, you can only introduce new elements a few times without breaking viewers’ suspension of disbelief. “Pegasus” makes an excellent use of these limited opportunities.

Battlestar Pegasus is potentially a powerful asset or a looming threat. Adm. Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) is revealed to be running a brutal ship. But “Pegasus” is carefully written with enough initial ambiguity to let viewers wonder whether that brutality is the product of the sort of desperate circumstances with which Galactica’s crew is all too familiar.

Indeed, Cain proves adept at using Adama’s own prior moral compromises against him.


Galactica detects an unknown ship large enough to be a Cylon Basestar. Adama orders Apollo to conduct visual reconnaissance with a Viper.

Dualla begins receiving colonial signals identifying the ship as the Battlestar Pegasus.  Wireless communications are established. Adm. Cain enters the call to ask, “Adama … is that you?” Apollo confirms visual contact with Pegasus, to all appearances a larger and more powerful ship than Galactica.

Cain and her executive officer Col. Jack Fisk (Graham Beckel) fly to Galactica; they are met by Adama, Pres. Roslin, Galactica’s principal officers and crew. Adama presents Roslin to Cain, who is surprised the former Education Secretary is now President.  Cain welcomes Galactica back to the colonial fleet to raucous applause.

During a debriefing in Adama’s quarters, Cain explains she found Galactica almost by accident. She has been waging war on the Cylons and while tracking them was unaware the Cylons were attempting to catch up to Galactica. Cain requests Adama’s duty logs to study how Galactica has survived. Cain assures Adama she has no intention of interfering in his ship’s internal affairs.

This comity will be short-lived.

Roslin, also present at the meeting, is adjusting to Adama’s deference to Cain. He assures Roslin he is used to taking orders. Once Roslin leaves, the look on Adama’s face suggests he had become accustomed to not having to take orders.

Friction between the two crews emerges quickly. Outside the debriefing, Tigh and Fisk share drinks and war stories. Fisk claims he became the exec on Pegasus when Cain shot his predecessor in the head in front of the crew for refusing Cain’s order to mount an attack. Fisk then laughs and claims he was joking.

Tigh informs Adama of the conversation and his belief that it was no joke. Adama responds that he would be interested in the full story. When Tigh begins to challenge him, Adama reminds Tigh that Cain will be reading in the duty logs about incidents like the destruction of the civilian Olympic Carrier (in “33“).

On Galactica’s hangar deck, the Pegasus CAG (callsigned Stinger) imposes a policy of marking Cylon “kills” on each pilot’s Viper. When Apollo notes his commander is Adama, which is also his name, Stinger replies that he will not forget the daddy’s boy.

Peter Laird (Vincent Gale), the Pegasus deck chief, examines the Blackbird fighter with interest. During the conversation with Galactica’s crew, it emerges that he was an aeronautical engineer and not in the military. Laird avoids answering how he came into service on the Pegasus.

Baltar boards Pegasus to examine a Cylon prisoner. He is warned by Lt. Thorne (Fulvio Cecere) that the Cylon killed six of the crew. Baltar is horrified to discover Pegasus holds a Six, who has been badly tortured to the point where she is non-responsive. Baltar proposes to Cain that he work with the Six by trying the carrot instead of the stick; Cain appears to agree.

When Adama discusses some of these issues with Roslin, she mentions she cannot get Cain to return her calls.

When Adama next meets Cain, she shows him photographs taken by a Pegasus reconnaissance mission of the Cylon fleet. There is large, previously unseen Cylon ship that Cain believes must be important and the target of a joint strike by Pegasus and Galactica. To Cain’s surprise, Adama immediately agrees.

At the end of the meeting Cain orders the integration of the two ships’ crews, with Apollo and Starbuck to be transferred to Pegasus. When Adama reminds Cain she intended not to interfere, Cain responds that Galactica’s logs suggest Adama has become lax, tolerating insubordination by Apollo, Starbuck, Helo and Tyrol. She also harshly criticizes Tigh.

Apollo and Starbuck appeal to Adama regarding the transfer. He silences them and reminds them they are officers who need to follow orders.

Aboard Pegasus, Starbuck challenges Stinger’s plan for attacking the Cylons and suggests using the Blackbird. Stinger boots her from the mission. Apollo slips her a pack of recon gear and suggests she return to Galactica to commandeer the Blackbird.

During a party on Galactica, Pegasus crew members boast of repeatedly raping the Six on their ship. Realizing Thorne is due to interrogate Boomer, Helo and Tyrol race to her holding cell, where Thorne is about to assault her. Helo and Tyrol throw Thorne into a wall, where an extruded bolt penetrates the side of Thorne’s skull.

Cain has Helo and Tyrol flown to Pegasus to be tried for murder and treason. Adama argues for an independent tribunal. Cain reminds him that he once dissolved an independent tribunal when it produced results he did not like — and that case also involved Tyrol (in ‘Litmus‘).

On Pegasus, Baltar offers the Six food and tells her about his relationship with a Six on Caprica, adding she still remains in his thoughts because he loves her. The Six stirs and slowly takes a piece of fruit from the plate. Meanwhile, Tigh informs Adama (via a report from Fisk) that Helo and Tyrol already have been found guilty and sentenced to death. Adama orders the preparation of a strike force to retrieve Helo and Tyrol.

Adama calls Cain, furious at the lack of a jury trial. Cain cites regulations allowing her to conduct a summary trial during a time of war. During the call, Cain is informed of the strike force approaching from Galactica and demands an explanation. Adama replies, “I’m getting my men.”

Cain orders a launch of the ready Vipers on Pegasus.