Battlestar GalacticaEpisodes

Season 4 - Episode 401

The untold story of Lee Adama's first mission as commander of the battlestar Pegasus begins as Lee asks Kendra Shaw to be his executive officer. Kendra-- who's tough but troubled-- was considered an exemplary officer by the Pegasus's original commander, the late Admiral Helena Cain. Although Lee doesn't want to continue Cain's autocratic legacy, he does want to renew the Pegasus crew's pride by choosing a strong XO drawn from their own ranks. Kendra accepts the job.

Months earlier, Kendra had just joined the Pegasus's crew when the Cylons attacked the Colonies. Cain immediately ordered her crew to make a dangerous, faster-than-light jump to unknown coordinates, a bold move that saved their ship from destruction. Deep in space with the burning Colonies far behind them, Kendra and the rest of the grief-stricken crew were strengthened and inspired by Cain's ironclad determination to seek revenge against the Cylons.

But Cain became increasingly ruthless as she led her ship in its lonely guerrilla war. She shot her executive officer when he objected to her methods, and her last glimmer of genuine affection was stolen away when her romance with Gina Inviere, a civilian computer expert, ended in a horrific betrayal: Kendra exposed Gina as a Cylon agent. In response, Cain ordered Gina to be brutally tortured.

Soon afterward, the Pegasus encountered 15 ships full of civilian human refugees-- men, women and children. Unmoved by this happy discovery, Cain ordered her officers to board the ships, conscript skilled personnel, strip useful equipment-- including FTL engines-- and then abandon the remaining passengers to die in their barren, powerless ships.

The civilians aboard the Scylla, the first ship that Kendra and a team of Marines boarded, resisted. As they grew violent, Cain ordered her officers to shoot the family of any conscript who refused to obey. Ultimately, Kendra fired the first shot. She killed a defenseless woman and ignited a massacre that left ten civilians dead. All resistance died, too. The ships were stripped and abandoned.

Cain gave Kendra a promotion for her actions. The Admiral praised Kendra for following tough orders like a true soldier and declared that humane behavior was a luxury when survival itself was at stake. Kendra accepted the promotion and, with it, Cain's bleak worldview, which had kept her alive so far. But the murders she committed have haunted her ever since.

Now, as Kendra takes up her new duties as Lee Adama's XO, Admiral William Adama assigns the Pegasus to find a Raptor that vanished during a scientific-research mission. At the Raptor's last known location, an armada of antiquated Cylon Raiders piloted by Centurions attacks the Pegasus.

The battlestar escapes back to the human fleet, where the captive Sharon identifies the old-fashioned machines as "guardians," a particular group of Cylons who experimented on humans during the first Cylon War. The guardians created the first Cylon hybrid-- a living entity that was part machine, part organic, and which disappeared into space with its Centurion guardians.

Sharon's story matches a discovery that Admiral Adama made as a rookie Viper pilot during the first Cylon War: a Cylon laboratory where human prisoners endured ineffably cruel experiments. Now, decades later, those same guardians of the first hybrid have captured the Galactica's research team to continue their experiments.

The prisoners must be rescued and the first hybrid's base ship destroyed to prevent further atrocities. Following a plan designed by Kendra, the Pegasus jumps to the base ship's coordinates and draws the fire of its protective swarm of Raiders while Kendra leads Kara and a rescue team inside the base ship itself.

They rescue the surviving prisoners, but then Centurions discover them and open fire. Kendra is wounded, and to make matters worse, the remote detonator for the nuclear warhead they brought to destroy the base ship isn't working. Someone must stay behind to detonate it manually.

From the Pegasus, Lee reluctantly orders Kara to give her life to get the job done. Swallowing her feelings, Kara complies, but then Kendra pulls a gun on her. Spurred on by the blend of courage and guilt that is the legacy of her service with Admiral Cain, Kendra forces Kara to escape with the others, remaining behind to detonate the bomb herself.

Kendra drags the bomb deep inside the Cylon ship, where she discovers the first hybrid-- an old man in a bath of liquid. He knows who Kendra is, and he wants her to relay a warning to the fleet: Kara Thrace will "lead humanity to its end." Kendra tries to radio Lee with this prophecy, but the Centurions are jamming transmissions, and her words don't make it through. In the end, she simply embraces her duty and squeezes the bomb's detonator. The base ship vanishes in a blinding nuclear blast.

Kendra Shaw's death leaves everyone saddened and uncomfortable. Kara tries to joke about the suicide order that Lee gave her, but nonetheless asks to be reassigned to the Galactica. Lee, troubled by the paradoxical mixture of heroic dedication and inhuman pragmatism displayed by both Kendra and Cain, seeks guidance from his father, but finds no easy answers. In the end, the survivors can only move on, acknowledging the past and facing the future as best they can.

written by

directed by

guest stars
MICHELLE FORBES as Admiral Helena Cain

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