Mutiny on the Pegasus

Oh, come on, what else would you expect for a blog post title, given Michelle Forbes’ wonderful performance as the twisted Admiral “Cain”?

Before I get into my review of the last two episodes of Battlestar Galactica, I encourage you all to give the latest Bloggers Hotstove a listen. It was a rolicking good debate between myself, Greg Staples, Greg Bester and Jason Cherniak. It illustrates, in my view, just why the daycare debate is so heated, and yet we managed to maintain our respect for each other, and even agreed on a few things. So check it out.

And in other news, we have another post in the Unwritten Blog, talking about a Toronto book signing and a possible launch party in Ottawa in June. I also have more bells and whistles together, including an RSS and Atom feed, comments and permalinks.

And now on with the review…

Pegasus and Resurrection Ship, Part 1, Reviewed


I haven’t written much about Battlestar Galactica in recent weeks, because I sort of ran out of things to say. The show has maintained its high standards of writing, acting and directing and one can gush only so much (or, at least, I can only gush so much). And recent episodes have been… well, not pedestrian exactly, but… average. Most shows would kill to have episodes as good as the average that Battlestar Galactica can muster, but this still doesn’t give me the opportunity to gush.

Things changed last week with the sudden arrival of the Battlestar Pegasus in the fleet. Suddenly a new, more powerful ship, and new higher ranking officers arrive to shake up the family that has formed out of the rag-tag humans searching for a new home. Even the music reflects this, with guitar riffs and choral themes that I don’t think have been heard before in the series. Despite the elation, everybody is on edge, like a wolf-pack adjusting to the arrival of a new alpha male, as we wonder how the Pegasus crew will change those things we’ve grown accustomed to. Hard to believe that, even as a rag-tag bunch of refugees fleeing the worst holocaust in the history of the Universe, you can still find things to grow accustomed to, but there you go.

This is what drama is all about: challenging our expectations, taking our assumptions and turning them on their head. The initial joy at suddenly discovering almost 2,000 new survivors (the number is updated in the credit’s whiteboard of doom) soon sours as this group of newcomers starts acting as if they own the place (a point driven home well when Admiral Cain — played wonderfully by Michelle “Ensign Ro” Forbes — welcomes the Battlestar Galactica “back to the Colonial Fleet”). The fact that technically, they do own the place doesn’t matter, because we know how hard the fleet has suffered to get where it is today. What right to these johnny-come-latelies have to run things? Especially given how cagey Cain is to explain how the Pegasus survived for so long.

I cannot say enough about the acting of the guest stars in this episode. Cain and her executive officer colonel Jack Fisk (played by Graham Beckel) give the impression almost of a mirror universe of the Battlestar Galactica, where Adama didn’t heed President Roslin’s statement that the war was over and humanity had lost. In particular, the scenes where Tigh gains key information from the Pegasus X-O and the scene where the Pegasus Chief admits he’s a drafted civilian, show us in hearsay more about the hell the Pegasus has gone through than any flashback.

Then there are the intense scenes between Gaius Baltar and the Number 6 Cylon held prisoner in the Pegasus holds. Tricia Heifer shines in her dual role, here, and James Callis surprises us all by being the calm one. As Erin said earlier: is it our imagination, or is Baltar going sane on us?

The cliffhanger to Pegasus was brilliantly handled, and the ending to Resurrection Ship Part 1 somewhat less so. The latter is more over-the-top than the former, but then, for U.S. viewers, there’s no several month-long wait for Resurrection Ship Part 2 as there was for Resurrection Ship Part 1 after Pegasus.

All told, Pegasus and Resurrection Ship Part 1 were like the return of an old friend who we hadn’t realized had left, a gentle reminder of what Battlestar Galactica is still capable of.

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