Battlestar Galactica (1978) – The Living Legend

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This week’s Galactica installment is a two-parter with a teleplay by Glen A. Larson, based on a story crafted by Larson and Ken Pettus, and sees the appearance of a Battlestar thought lost two yahren ago… the Pegasus, commanded by the legendary military leader, Commander Cain (Lloyd Bridges).

As the 220+ fleet is brought to a standstill due to a lack of fuel, Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) are on a deep space probe searching for options when they come under attack…. by two colonial vipers, who identify themselves as Sheba (Anne Lockhart) and Bojay (Jack Stauffer) of the Battlestar Pegasus. Brought on board, they are introduced to the genius, but arrogant Commander Cain, and they lead him and the Battlestar back to the fleet, where they are all met with joyous celebration.

It becomes pretty clear very quickly that the two leaders, Cain and Adama (Lorne Greene), have different ideas about what they should be doing in terms of the cylons. Cain is convinced that with two battlestars, they can put a serious hurt on the cylons, especially on the planet they are close to, Gamoray, which would supply the fleet with fuel and ammunition.  Adama believes that they must put the needs of the fleet first, and shepherd them safely onward on their journey to earth.

Cain pretends to agree, and leads a viper assault, with his silver-spar squadron and Galactica’s Blue squadron, to commandeer two cylon tankers. While blue squadron is engaged, Cain destroys the two tankers, forcing the need for the attack on Gamoray for fuel.

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Adama relieves Cain of command for his actions, putting Tigh (Terry Carter) in charge, but they come under assault of Baltar’s (John Colicos) three base-ships, and their accompanying flight squadrons.

In a surprise maneuver, the Pegasus comes in behind the cylon attack force, and the cylons are forced to withdraw as our heroes plan their assault on Gamoray.

Cain’s arrival at the fleet has also caused problems for Starbuck, as apparently, Cain and Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang) had a relationship before the Pegasus disappeared into deep space. This rather upsets Starbuck, someone who tends to keep people at a distance so they can’t hurt him. It’s also a little funny, because as Boxey (Noah Hathaway) points out, he still has Athena (Maren Jensen) and a number of others that he lists off.

As a small group ready for the Gamoray ground assault, Adama and Cain come up with a battle plan to take on the base-ships while supply ships scavenge what they need from the cylon-controlled planet.  While Sheba, Bojay, Starbuck, Apollo, Cass and Boomer (Herbert Jerfferson Jr.) kit up for the assault – black cat suits and black hockey helmets (seriously), Cain is putting his own plan into action – he plans to thrust his battlestar right into the heart of the three base-ships trailing the fleet, buying the fleet escape time, a suicide maneuver.

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The assault team takes out the planet’s defenses, and as Baltar begins to push his attack on the fleet, we learn that the Imperious Leader (voiced by Patrick Macnee) is on Gamoray, and Baltar redirects his fighters and base-ships to rescue their leader, leaving the fleet alone.

Cain uses the opportunity to make his attack, and Baltar orders his fighters back in a panic, in a series of explosions, two of the base-ships (not Baltar’s) are destroyed, and the Pegasus is gone!

But our heroes have made good of the sacrifice the Pegasus made, welcoming some of its crew aboard, and refueling the fleet, to continue their journey to earth.

While not as strong as the re-imagined series that follows some of the same story, this one is great episode, still a little camp, but there is a hint under all that is going on, of deeper things, Starbuck’s personal pain, the dueling leadership styles of Cain and Adama, how Adama is not only a military leader but a spiritual one.

It also expanded the cast again, brought in a new romantic interest for Apollo, in the form of an equal in Sheba, and introduced us to the concept of a civilian cylon planet… how does that happen? Aren’t they all robots? I don’t quite get that one.

Yes, there is still lots of stock footage, not only of the models, but of actors as well, but for all that, this one is still a captivating episode.

I’m enjoying my journey to earth with this ragtag fleet. How about you?

bsg

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