Season 2, Episode 17:
The Captain's Hand
On Galactica, Tyrol and other engineers are busy offloading containers when they hear a noise from inside, and open it to discover a pregnant girl who asks for Dr. Cottle's help.
Elsewhere on the ship, Lee and Dualla have begun a serious relationship, and he reveals to her that he has been promoted to Major while laying in bed with her. At the same time, a training mission being conducted by two Raptor teams results in them losing contact with the fleet after jumping to their destination.
Lee reports to the Pegasus and meets Kara, and they head to meet with the new commander, Barry Garner. A seasoned engineer and deckhand, Garner argues with Thrace for not being aware that the two Raptor crews are missing, causing her to leave in anger. Garner then tells Lee that Kara is a problem for the ship's operations, while she goes to talk with other pilots on the ship and learns that Garner is a paranoid leader who doesn't let anyone outside his inner circle know what's going on.
On Colonial One, Roslin is introduced to her new assistant, Tory Foster, and discusses the upcoming Presidential election with her. Tory notes that Roslin already has impressive support from most of the fleet, and that Tom Zarek (who is running against her in the election) has no hope of catching up. At the same time, Zarek goes to Baltar and convinces him that they could do a lot together and Baltar could become President, even though the latter is opposed to the idea.
Bill meets with Cottle in Galactica's sickbay and asks who the young girl is. Cottle informs him that she came to see him because he has been abortions for women in the fleet for some time, and although Bill wants to send her back to her family, the girl takes Cottle's suggestion of requesting asylum onboard Galactica seriously and asks if it can be done.
Adama and Roslin discuss the matter, with Roslin arguing for a woman's right to choose and Bill arguing that the fleet needs to have more children, echoing words she said to him just after they fled the Colonies.
On the Pegasus, Kara realizes that the missing Raptors went missing while checking a distress call and relays the information to Garner, only for him to confine her to quarters because he disn't like her. Lee meets with the angered Kara afterwards and suggests she needed some discipline, but she relays the information to him as well, leading him to send search teams to investigate further.
When he realizes Kara's information is correct, Lee goes to Garner and confirms it, only for Garner to prepare a jump to the missing Raptor's location to investigate. Even after discussing the matter with Bill and Lee and being told it is likely a trap, he forges ahead anyway and dismisses Lee from the CIC.
Roslin meets with Baltar and discusses the abortion issue with him so she can make a decision. Baltar tells her that, at the current projection rates, the fleet population will die out in eighteen years if abortion isn't outlawed. Roslin subsequently orders a Fleet-wide ban on abortion, though not until the young girl on Galactica has already had the procedure done and received asylum onboard the ship.
Incensed at being forced out of CIC, Lee orders Kara to help in the rescue effort, then attempts to relieve Garner of duty before he's confined to quarters. Garner jumps the ship to the Raptors' known location, only to discover that the crews are dead just before three Basestars jump into the area and begin pummeling them with missile strikes.
In the confusion, the Pegasus's FTL drive is knocked out. Panicked by the staff's confusion, Garner goes down to the engineering deck himself to fix the drive, while transferring command to Lee. Reeling from what has happened, Lee orders the ship to target one of the Basestars and succeeds in destroying it, while Garner attempts to repair the drive in a room which is leaking oxygen.
Garner repairs the drive, though not before dying from a lack of oxygen. The ship barely manages to jump out before being pummeled with another missile strike from the attacking Basestars.
Reunited with the fleet, Lee meets with his father, who asks why Garner couldn't handle command. Lee responds that Garner didn't know how to manage people, while Bill rewards him with his Commander's rank and command of the Pegasus.
Roslin holds a press conference to discuss her decision to outlaw abortion, but her moment is upstaged by Baltar, who makes a surprise announcement by both arguing against her position and revealing that he is running for President. As Roslin and Tory hastily leave to figure out what to do, HeadSix applauds Baltar and the reporters eagerly shout questions at him
- 100% Adoration Rating: It's strongly implied by Tory that Roslin has this at the start of the episode, outside of Zarek and his followers, plus a few Gemenese who don't think she's hardline enough on abortion, thus technically making it more like a 98.5% Adoration Rating. Her banning abortion naturally causes her approval ratings to tumble, though even then only to the point where it just gives Baltar a glimmer of hope of being able to beat her, as opposed to the Landslide Election she would otherwise have likely enjoyed over Zarek.
- Absentee Actor: Sharon does not appear in this episode.
- Almost Out of Oxygen: The Pegasus escapes and normalizes the oxygen in the compartment where Garner is, but he can't be saved.
- Call-Back: When discussing whether or not to outlaw abortion, Bill references Roslin's "we need to make more babies" discussion they had in the miniseries.
- Dead All Along: The Raptor crews after jumping to investigate the jump signal, and whose corpses are discovered by the Pegasus crew just before they're attacked.
- Double Standard: Briefly discussed. Lee rails at Kara for being able to buck authority and get away with it, while he got severely reprimanded and nearly lost the ship when he tried to do the same thing.
- Field Promotion: Lee is given a promotion to Commander of the Pegasus by his father after Garner's death.
- Idiot Ball: Garner nearly gets the Pegasus destroyed by being stubborn, secretive and refusing to listen to any advice, as well as abdicating his command when things go south. Everyone calls him out on being a terrible leader afterwards.
- Ironic Echo: Garner's need to ignore orders and go on a rescue mission is one to Bill doing the same thing at the end of "Pegasus", right down to both of them using a variant of the line, "I'm getting my men back".
- Macross Missile Massacre: The three Basestars try this against the Pegasus. It doesn't work.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: The girl who is discovered in the container says her parents won't let her have an abortion, and the religious beliefs of the colony she was from before the Cylon attack forbade it despite its legality. Though pro-choice herself, President Roslin understands that there are less than fifty thousand humans left in the universe, and that they will have to grow their numbers if they're to survive as a species. In the end, she outlaws abortion via executive order after the girl has had her abortion and has applied for asylum aboard Galactica so she doesn't have to go back to her parents.
- Military Maverick: Subverted with Garner. He disobeys orders to save his men, is backed up by his crew in this decision against the outsider observer (aka Lee Adama), jumps into unknown territory and learns that yes, it was a trap. It very nearly costs the fleet its most powerful warship and gains them nothing because the Raptor crew was Dead All Along. Oops.
- My Greatest Failure: Bill considers giving Garner command a monumental screw-up on his part, and makes up for it by giving Lee command.
- The Peter Principle: Garner is clearly an excellent engineer who understands how a Battlestar runs on a mechanical level but he's completely out of his depth when he's put in charge of the human crew.
- Personal Effects Reveal: Roslin going through some of Billy's possessions.
- Relationship Upgrade: Lee and Dualla.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Cole Taylor (Pegasus's former CAG) is mentioned as being locked in the brig for insubordination, but is never mentioned after this episode and his fate is never revealed.