2.11 Resurrection Ship: Part I
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders and Michael Rymer
Directed by Michael Rymer
In which the discovery of a Cylon “resurrection ship” within the Cylon fleet postpones the final showdown between Cain and Adama, while Roslin’s health takes a turn for the worst...
“Pegasus” left off with hints of a possible civil war between Cain and Adama, and as the title of the episode indicates, resolving that situation required more than a single episode. I consider that to be another indication of the series’ depth. As Ron Moore continually notes in his podcast commentaries, the episodes almost always run long, because any given situation presents the writes with a ton of character-driven moments worthy of attention.
This episode is a strong “middle chapter”, especially since it centers on character conflict. A civilian leader dying while the fate of the fleet lies in the power struggle between two military commanders? Sounds practically Shakespearian when you come right down to it. And as the episode progresses, the end of the final act is almost a foregone conclusion. That doesn’t make it any less powerful in execution.
There are a ton of moments in this episode that come as a shock. Perhaps the most obvious is Roslin’s advocation of assassination. She’s speaking from a very pragmatic point of view, but that doesn’t make it any less surprising. Roslin is typically so concerned with the preservation of life that it seems out of character for her to advocate killing. At the same time, it makes perfect sense: she sees the issue as a question of fleet survival. If Cain takes control, Roslin suspects what is later revealed to be true: Cain would sacrifice civilian survival for the sake of the “war effort”.
As with “Pegasus”, it’s possible to understand and even agree with Cain’s goals. One might even agree with some of her methods. She correctly identified Adama’s weaknesses as a military commander, many of which were intentional (recall that Adama was originally depicted as a man looking forward to retirement, willing to overlook strict military protocol in many instances). Yet that doesn’t make her treatment of prisoners remotely justifiable, nor does her attitude regarding civilians win many points.
If the episode was simply focused on the conflict between Cain and Adama, it would have been more than sufficient. But there was also the evolution of the relationship between Adama and Roslin. I don’t need them to become lovers; that would be going a bit too far. But I do accept that their struggle since the Cylon attack has given them reason to respect and admire each other, and that shows in several scenes. The bedside scene, however, is one of the best moments of the episode.
I also like the fact that Cain and Adama each choose assassins who are conflicted about following orders. Is Cain’s XO willing to kill Galactica’s command staff, or is he tempted by the thought of serving a more reasonable commander? Will Starbuck, strongly motivated to return to Caprica, still kill the admiral who promises to do just that? The conclusion of the story is fairly obvious, but how the events will play out is far less certain.
I’m still only scratching the surface, which is an indication of how dense the story truly was. The scene with Sharon and Adama, the scenes between Tyrol and Helo, not to mention the growing relationship between Baltar and Gina…all of those scenes advanced plot and character threads that will surely have future implications. This is the kind of episode that begs pages and pages of commentary and consideration. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out!
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