2.10 Pegusus

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I truly despise this “summer finale” business that the SciFi Channel consistently shoves down our collective throats. It forces the producers and writers to segment their season arcs in a way that doesn’t always fit the traditional three-act story structure that those arcs are built around. When the writers force it, it doesn’t work very well; “Stargate: Atlantis” is a good example. This series, however, took the opportunity to touch on the original series (thematically, anyway) while taking advantage of the fact that the first season arcs came to a relative conclusion.

Adama and his crew have gone through some trying times over the past 20+ episodes, and as many detractors have pointed out, some decisions by the command staff have been questionable at best. In particular, Adama has allowed a number of things that would never be overlooked in a traditional military structure. He tries to make the crew a family, and he treats them as such. In the face of extreme adversity, Adama’s flaw is often his compassion.

As I mentioned in my comments for the previous episode, one criticism against the series is the deeply flawed nature of every character. None of them are sterling officers with a sense of protocol; they all have agendas and concerns of their own, and those often get in the way of true unity. But that begs the question: would a strict enforcement of martial authority be any better?

In keeping with the concept of the series in terms of its characterizations, the crew of the Pegasus may be following the chain of command, performing as one would expect during a war, but they are hardly pristine and perfect officers. If anything, that strict and regimented lifestyle, when sustained over time with no prospect of an end in sight, must inevitably have an outlet for the negative energy.

As the episode marched on and the depravity of the Pegasus crew was revealed, I was struck by reports of what ordinary soldiers during the Vietnam conflict had done under vaguely similar circumstances: rape of “enemy” prisoners, for one thing. One could argue that Boomer is treated a bit too well, and that Tyrol and Helo are being played, but simply from the point of view of Boomer’s pregnancy and the opportunity to understand the Cylon agenda, it makes sense for them to keep her in good condition. The treatment of Six on Pegasus only reinforces what the Cylons think of humans.

As Ron Moore says on his podcast for the episode, the worst part is that Admiral Cain (played by the very hot Michelle Forbes) is right about Adama’s shortcomings. Of course, that doesn’t make her own methods any better, and it doesn’t give her the right to execute people without a fair hearing. Cain also fails to take into consideration all the things that Adama accomplished; first and foremost, he kept the majority of survivors alive despite issues with the civilian president and an assassination attempt. Cain has actually killed survivors to keep others in line. It’s a question of keeping the goal in sight, even under extreme circumstances. (Perhaps those justifying the gang rape of prisoners in their reviews might stop to consider what they are championing.)

Were Tyrol and Helo right to defend Boomer as they did? Hard to say, but it’s a testimony to the writers that the audience actually has sympathy for Boomer and Pegasus’ version of Six. At the very least, they were provoked. I can’t imagine what the female crew members on Pegasus thought of the men happily celebrating gang rape. I did note that Cain was dismissive of the President, who is technically in authority over her as well. That ought to be fun to watch in the second half of the story. Whatever the case, this is going to be one hell of a ball of string to unravel come January!

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