Battlestar Galactica #64: The Captain's Hand

"He was used to working with machines. Command is about people."
SO SAY WE ALL: The Pegasus' newest commander doesn't do a good job either.

REVIEW: The Pegasus lost its two top-ranking officers, and now it's the chief engineer's turn, Commander Garner, and he's not doing much better. It's less a case of the Pegasus crew being rotten to the core, and more about a competent officer put in the wrong position. Napoleon was right. Garner's thoughts are with his engines, and when he gets a chance to fix them, he takes it and sacrifices his life to get the jump coils online. THAT'S his place. In C.I.C., he's paranoid and thinks everyone's a slacker, most of all his current CAG Starbuck. He sabotages her at every turn, keeping her out of the loop, then accusing her of being uninformed. Lee is sent in to back her up and interface with Garner, but he's soon on the receiving end of the Commander's mistrust. The truth is, Garner is severely overwhelmed and doesn't have the tactical experience to command a battlestar. And so he flies right into a Cylon trap from which he doesn't walk away, though his ship miraculously does, in no small part thanks to Apollo taking the con. He'll later be rewarded with full command of the Pegasus, and we'll see if can turn the ship's toxic culture around. Given a choice between one of their own and a member of the Galactica crew, the men of Pegasus have always gone with the former and obstructed the latter. It's no easy assignment, but full props to the show for changing the status quo by promoting Lee in this way. Here I was worried they'd added to a piece to the board without knowing what to do with it. (Now if only Adama can stop appointing the wrong people.)

It's been a month since Billy's death, and while Dualla and Lee have been very cozy and made it seem like he's long forgotten, he hasn't left Roslin's toughts. Billy's been replaced by Tory Foster, a deft political operative who may not be as scrupulous as he was. Where he was a proponent of transparency, Tory is a former pollster, and her ideas about public relations may not be as ethical. We don't know yet, but the impression she makes is that she's going to do the job, whatever it takes. The first PR emergency relates to a Gemenese girl, smuggled aboard Galactica to get an abortion. Apparently, Dr. Cottle has been doing these when asked, even if in this case, the more orthodox Gemenese forbid it. It puts Adama and Roslin in a sort of Star Trek dilemma (when the girl asks for asylum), but things aren't as easy in BSG. There's no Prime Directive. The stakes are higher. Roslin is fiercely pro-choice, but it could cost her votes as the Gemenese think of her as a prophet and are in-pocket for the next election. Then Adama gently mentions the whiteboard and how it hardly ever goes up. To save the human race, should abortion be outlawed? And it's choking on the words that Roslin makes that announcement (though still, it should be noted, AFTER the pregnant girl avails herself of her right under Colonial law). And still the Gemenese are unhappy, even if they've won the larger victory. The political landscape is shifting.

Shifting so much in fact that Baltar seize his moment. Zarek has abandoned hope for himself, but convinces Baltar (who he hopes will be beholden to him) that the presidency might be won as a contest between Religion and Science. Are there more people who see Roslin as a Messiah than not? It may hinge on that point. And right there, in the middle of a press conference about the merits of the anti-abortion law, he decides to part ways with Roslin and announce his candidacy, stealing the spotlight as Six looks on, not quite happy with his arguments (taking away human rights makes us closer to the enemy machines), but still applauding his performance. Roslin bolts from the room, perhaps already planning to unleash everything she has on him, up to and including evidence that he betrayed the human race... but does she HAVE any evidence? A few loose memories aren't going to cut it.

CAPRICANADA: The president's new aide, Tory Foster, is played by Vancouver actress Rekha Sharma, who contemporary sci-fi fans will recognize as Star Trek: Discovery's Commander Landry, though she also had recurring roles in The 100, V, Smallville, and Dark Angel.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The Pegasus caught between multiple base stars harks back to the ship's last appearance in the original series.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: Headcount starts at 49,584. Later, Roslin's whiteboard shows 49,579, representative of the death of two raptor crews and Garner himself.

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include Garner feeling the need to micro-manage everyone and not trusting anyone; the first part of Starbuck and Lee's conversation about her disobedience and having shot Lee, after Garner has sent her to her quarters; the pregnant girl attempting suicide and being resuscitated even while Roslin confronts the Gemenese representative; and Dualla coming in at the end sad that Lee is leaving Galactica, which will make their affair more difficult to maintain.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Things are finally moving again. There's a strong action set piece. They decide what to do with the Pegasus AND Lee. And the political story is exciting.

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