Thursday, December 15, 2005

BSG: Pegasus

The final episode before the mid-season break sees homage being paid to the classic show, in a big way.

Believed lost in the initial Cylon attack, the Galactica comes face to face with the brand-spanking new Battlestar Pegasus, commanded by Admiral Helena Cain (played superbly by Star Treks Michelle Forbes).

Michelle Forbes as Cain

While initially jubilant at the thought of a fully manned, fully armed battlestar joining the fleet, things soon take a turn for the worst as Cain initiates sweeping changes; transferring key crew members to the Pegasus. Events are complicated yet further when an incident involving Helo and Tyrol leaves a Pegasus crew member dead.

After a short break from serious hostilities, the tension is definitely back. Having Cain as a woman (in the original show the character was played by the late Lloyd Bridges) is a masterstroke as it only heightens the tension between the old warhorse (Adama) and his superior.

Again, Ron Moore and David Eick push the boundaries of mainstream sci-fi by highlighting some harrowing events on board pegasus. The sight of a Cylon prisoner, battered and motionless, after suffering months of physical and emotional abuse, is quite shocking and gives Tricia Helfer (Number Six) and James Callis (Baltar) a chance to break from the mould we have seen them in over the previous 18 months. Although only short scenes, they include some of the best performances by both actors.

A brutally tortured Number Six

If I have a criticism, it is that the story feels rushed. While things are brought to a head by a serious turn of events, Adamas crucial choice at the end of the ep, does seem hasty. I've since discovered that the 45 minute ep was originally shot as a 90 minute TV-movie and as such, vast sections have been cut out. Rumours persist that the full-length ep may find its way onto the DVD release.

In summary, a classic cliffhanger that deals with some pretty heavy issues. Sometimes it really is hard to believe Ron Moore once worked on Star Trek.

Pegasus: 9/10

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