This excellent two-parter has your standard opening with Apollo (Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) flying a reconnaissance patrol and once again they find themselves in the crosshairs of enemy fighters. Lucky for them it turns out these fighters are Vipers from the presumed destroyed battlestar Pegasus commanded by the legendary Commander Cain (Lloyd Bridges) and they are escorted back to the “lost” battlestar by Lieutenant Sheba (Anne Lockhart) and Lieutenant Bojay (Jack Stauffer) of Silver Spar Squadron. That Sheba and Bojay almost blow away our two heroes, until at the last second their ships scanners register the occupants as human, makes me wonder if in the past Cylons were flying around in Colonial Vipers. If not there is no reason why Sheba wouldn’t try and make radio contact with a pilot flying a Viper before trying to destroy it. Even after Sheba makes radio contact with Apollo and Starbuck she is still suspicious that it could be a trick.
The crew of the Galactica are of course ecstatic to find out that another battlestar survived the initial Cylon attack, but shortly after things get a bit tense when it’s clear that Cain’s way of doing things is very different from those of Commander Adama (Lorne Greene). Cain informs Adama that the Cylons now control Gomoray, a society once thriving with 50 million people (I'm not sure how that works but let's go with it). This means the Cylons now control over half the universe and so it is imperative that the Galactica join forces with the Pegasus and destroy the Cylon outpost. Adama is against this plan because their fleet is almost completely out of fuel and if the two battlestars went off to attack Gomoray it would leave the rest of the fleet completely defenceless if the Cylons chasing them arrived.
Note: Back in the pilot the Cylon Imperious Leader put a stay of execution on Baltar because of the belief that his knowledge of human thinking could aid in the tracking down and destroying of the Galactica. How does this translate to Baltar being some form of Galactic Dictator? Sure they gave him command of some basestars but he’s is still human, which is not something the Cylons are too keen on. Once the Galactica is destroyed you should be able to measure Baltar’s life expectancy with an egg timer. How does he not see this?
When the Galactica spots the approaching Cylon task force Adama and Caine put aside their differences and plan a decisive battle strategy. The Cylons not knowing that the Pegasus has joined the Galactica fleet makes perfect ingredients for a surprise attack, so they pull out the Pegasus and swing it around to catch the Cylon forces between them. To improve his glorious image Baltar actually gets into a Cylon Raider so that he can be part of this epic victory, and things do go well for a bit even to the point where the Galactica’s landing bays are on fire, but when the Pegasus arrives it becomes a complete and utter route. Baltar calls for an immediate retreat and flees back to his base ships.
Note: This is the only reason the civilian ships are not completely destroyed and being neither Adama nor Cain had any knowledge of the Imperious Leader's visit this could not have been part of their plan, which means their plan could have easily ended humanity. Great work guys, I guess it's better to be lucky than smart.
When Baltar sees the Pegasus not stopping to engage his raiders he assumes she is a decoy and orders all his fighters to continue to Gomoray to engage the Colonial fighters. What Baltar doesn’t realize is that Cain is planning on taking out the three basestars himself, without a Viper escort. Starbuck and Apollo figure out Cain’s plan and they fly in to take out some of basestars guns, and without Cylon Raiders to defend them Cain has every chance of making it through.
The episode ended with the Pegasus's ambiguous disappearance amongst the exploding basestars so one can assume this would have led to the return of Commander Cain in further seasons, alas it was not to be as we only got the one season. But his character was so well regarded that he did kind of return in the updated series.