The Captain's Hand

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The Captain's Hand
"The Captain's Hand"
An episode of the Re-imagined Series
Episode No. Season 2, Episode 17
Writer(s) Jeff Vlaming
Story by
Director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Assistant Director
Special guest(s) Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek
John Heard as Commander Barry Garner
Production No. 217
Nielsen Rating 1.7
US airdate USA 2006-02-17
CAN airdate CAN 2006-05-06
UK airdate UK 2006-04-25
DVD release 19 September 2006 US
28 August 2006 UK
Population 49,584 survivors (Population decline. 6)
Additional Info
Episode Chronology
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Sacrifice The Captain's Hand Downloaded
Related Information
Official Summary
R&D SkitView
Podcast TranscriptView
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
Related Media
@ BW Media
Promotional Materials
Online Purchasing
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When two Raptors go missing after a training mission, new Pegasus commander Barry Garner challenges Admiral Adama's orders by sending his battlestar directly into the rescue zone — and a trap.



  • Two Raptors leave Pegasus for a training mission, which is near a binary star that causes DRADIS and communications interference. Shortly after, contact with the Raptors is lost.
  • Lee Adama and Anastasia Dualla are in bed together, having begun a sexual relationship. He has been promoted to major, an achievement he does not regard as particularly significant.
  • On Galactica, Chief Tyrol and the deck crew are in the process of unloading containers, when Tyrol finds a pregnant teenager inside who asks for Dr. Cottle.

Act 1

  • Major Adama arrives on Pegasus, where he is acting XO, and runs into Kara Thrace, who serves as the ship's CAG. Both report to Commander Garner in the Pegasus CIC. Garner argues with Thrace over the disappearance of the Raptors, letting her know that "any training officer worth a damn" would have been in the flight deck monitoring the Raptors and would already know that four pilots were missing. Thrace leaves angrily.
  • Still upset, Thrace arrives at the officer's washroom to confront the Pegasus pilots about not being informed about the missing Raptors. The pilots inform her that Garner hasn't authorized anyone outside the Pegasus crew to be informed of flight deck situations. Thrace sneers that Garner is "barely competent and paranoid."
  • Garner and Adama talk in private about the discipline on Pegasus. Garner thinks that Thrace is a huge part of the problem and that the virtues learned in his experience as an engineer would do the ship some good.
  • On Colonial One, President Roslin is reminded by her new aide, Tory Foster, about preparing for the upcoming presidential election. A Fleet-wide poll reveals that Roslin is way ahead in the polls, her only competition being "a convicted terrorist." Foster also informs her that she has an enthusiastic endorsement from the Gemenese, likely as a result of her previous religious visions and her obvious support of religious agendas.
  • Elsewhere, Tom Zarek discusses the idea of presidency with Dr. Baltar. Zarek admits he has no chance of winning the office for himself, but that he is willing to support someone more popular: Dr. Baltar.
  • Major Adama visits the Pegasus pilots as they are supposed to be looking for the missing Raptors. Instead, led by Thrace, they are exchanging insulting remarks about Commander Garner, who is widely reviled for being a former engineer and not a command officer.
  • Back on Galactica, Dr. Cottle and Admiral Adama discuss the fate of the young woman found in the container, Rya Kibby. Dr. Cottle reveals that he has been performing abortions for women on the Fleet for quite some time without "asking a lot of questions". This is why Kibby wants to see him. However, Admiral Adama, on request from the Gemenese delegate, is intent on sending her back to her family. Dr. Cottle semi-sarcastically suggests that she request asylum aboard Galactica, a suggestion that she takes seriously.

Act 2

  • Gemenon Delegate Sarah Porter confronts President Roslin regarding Kibby's fate. Her voters regard abortion as an abomination and demand that the girl be sent back to her parents and her petition for asylum denied. Without committing to a yes or no answer on the overall subject of abortion or whether or not she intends to approve the asylum petition, Roslin dismisses Porter.
  • Roslin meets with Admiral Adama to discuss the matter further. She declares that since she has fought for a woman's right to control her body over the course of her entire career, she will not consider banning abortions. However, Admiral Adama quotes her own words back to her, reminding that in order for the human race to survive, people have to start having babies.
  • While reviewing the last transmissions from the Raptors, Thrace discovers the reason the Raptors are missing may be that they responded to a distress call. She attempts to bring this up with Commander Garner, but his personal dislike of her, bolstered by the comments she made about him earlier in front of the other pilots, causes him to flatly rejects the theory. Instead, he orders Thrace confined to quarters.
  • Major Adama visits Thrace as she does push-ups to vent her frustration. She complains about the way Garner has treated her, and Adama surprisingly concurs with him, yelling that maybe she needs "a kick in the ass." Thrace swallows her anger long enough to tell Adama her theory.
  • Shortly thereafter additional search parties learn of the distress call that lured the first Raptors away. Major Adama, having returned to CIC, lets Commander Garner know that he and Thrace agree on the theory that the distress signal is a trap, a faked signal from the Cylons to lure Colonial vessels into a trap. Ignoring this, Commander Garner decides to start preparing the Pegasus for a jump.

Act 3

  • Over wireless, Commander Garner, Major Adama, and Admiral Adama discuss the situation. Commander Garner feels that Pegasus should jump to bring home the missing crews and ships, but Admiral Adama asks for his son's opinion. After glancing at Commander Garner, Major Adama states that he believes the signal is a trap. The Admiral agrees, and orders a 5-Raptor recon mission to ascertain the training mission's fate. After they disconnect their communication with Admiral Adama, Garner sarcastically thanks the Major for his help, then dismisses him from CIC.
  • President Rolin meets with her vice president, Dr. Gaius Baltar, in his lab. She is requesting population estimates so that she can make an informed decision about the abortion issue once and for all. Baltar's internal Six appears to sneer at the fact that Roslin is requesting his help and referring to her presidency as "our administration." Six thinks she must be desperate. Nevertheless, Baltar informs her that he made population estimates months ago before anyone cared, and tells her that according to his calculations, the human race will be extinct in eighteen years if it continues on its present course.
  • Roslin makes a radio address to the Fleet on the issue of abortion. She announces that she has made an executive order that any interference with the birth of a child, be it the mother or the medical practitioner, will be punishable by law.
  • Garner orders a combat jump despite Admiral Adama's orders. After discovering this, Major Adama lets Thrace out of confinement so that she can join in the rescue effort since she's the "best pilot" they've got. He then confronts Garner and attempts to relieve him of duty. However, the Marine guard takes Garner's side instead and chooses to escort the Major back to his quarters.
  • SAR Raptors at the rescue site find both Raptors, but the crews are dead. At that moment, three basestars ambush Pegasus with conventional and nuclear missile barrages seconds after their arrival.

Act 4

  • In light of the situation, the Marine allows Major Adama to return to CIC.
  • Pegasus's FTL drives are disabled. Garner attempts to determine the drive failure's cause from CIC, but the engineering crew are confused from the attack. Apparently recognizing where his strengths lie, Commander Garner heads down to Engineering to assess the damage himself, and transfers command of Pegasus to Major Adama who is briefly in shock over his new responsibility. Adama then orders Pegasus to head straight toward the nearest basestar, targeting the basestar with the Pegasus forward batteries. The basestar is severely damaged, buying them more time.
  • In the engineering room, Garner insists on being the one to risk his own life in the oxygen-deprived room where FTL drive repairs need to be made.
  • As he orders the battlestar into combat, Major Adama keeps a close eye on the time, using a watch Garner has left on the CIC command table. The Vipers in the air are out of ammunition to fight back the Cylon Raiders attacking them. Meanwhile, Garner runs out of air as he struggles to repair the FTL drives alone.
  • Garner dies attempting to repair the FTL system, and as the wrench he is using slips from his hands in his death, it makes the last turn of the screw needed to finalize repairs, allowing Pegasus to escape. Garner, however, dies in the process due to vacuum exposure.
  • In Admiral Adama's quarters, the admiral and Lee Adama review the reports from the incident on Pegasus. Major Adama gives Garner a positive report, emphasizing that he gave his life to save the ship. The admiral notes that Thrace's report "wasn't so kind," and asks his son for a personal opinion of why Garner failed as commander. He replies that Garner "was used to working with machines. Command is about people." Apparently satisfied with this answer, Admiral Adama tells his son to "remember that," then makes him the commander of Pegasus, handing him a pair of commander's rank pins.
  • President Roslin meets with delagate Porter, who still insists that Kibby be prosecuted for having her abortion. Roslin points out that Kibby's abortion occurred before she signed the executive order criminalizing it. Porter then insists that the girl be returned to her parents, but Roslin has approved her petition for asylum and tells Porter to be satisfied with the "pound of flesh" that she already has, then dismisses her. Porter leaves in a huff.
  • Back on Pegasus, Thrace is congratulating the now Commander Adama on his promotion, and making sure that they are okay after their fight earlier. Adama reveals that he was upset with her because she can buck authority and get away with it, while the one time he did it, it nearly cost him everything.
  • Back on Colonial One, President Roslin holds a press conference to discuss her decision on the abortion ban, which has cost her significantly in the polls. Baltar uses the opportunity to both oppose her on the issue and announce his candidacy for presidency. Annoyed but obviously not all together surprised, Roslin, Foster and a few other aides abruptly leave the press conference as the reporters begin shouting questions to Dr. Baltar, presumably to plan their new strategy. Meanwhile, Baltar's internal Six is the lone person smiling and applauding his decision.


  • Timeline-wise, Baltar says that he made an initial projection of the Fleet's population "over seven months ago". This would have been before the arrival of Pegasus, since he said he factored in the arrival of her crew subsequently.
  • Baltar states that he added the crew of the Pegasus into his calculations, with the result of the end of the human race within 18 years at current attrition rates.
  • It has been "almost a month" since Apollo was shot in "Sacrifice".
  • The recap at the beginning of this episode includes two scenes that did not actually appear in any previous episode, but were constructed by redubbing existing footage.
    • The scene where Colonel Tigh and Admiral Adama discuss Garner's promotion is constructed from the scene in "Black Market" when Adama and Tigh are telling Apollo to go to Pegasus on the hangar deck. The scene has been cleverly redubbed, so that Adama is saying entirely new lines when the camera is pointed at Tigh (not at Adama's face), and then Tigh says new lines when the camera is pointed at Adama.
    • The same technique is used when Baltar is talking to Gina Inviere: when the camera is pointed at Baltar, Inviere says "You must betray Roslin and run for President in the upcoming election," but this never occurs in the aired version of "Epiphanies".
  • From the podcast, it seems that the "previously" scene (above) was actually meant for "Black Market," but the original hangar deck scene had to be heavily edited due to the legal complications surrounding Commander Barry Garner's name. The character was originally named "Barry Trammel," but at the last minute it had to be changed for legal reasons when the production team found that there was a real person with that name.
  • Captain Cole "Stinger" Taylor is still on Pegasus, mentioned by Kara Thrace as being in the brig for insubordination. The actor, John Pyper-Ferguson, was unavailable for the episode, and the character was ultimately dropped due to difficulties in booking Ferguson.
  • The adjectival form of "Gemenon" is "Gemenese".
  • Under Gemenese law, minors are the "property" of their parents.
  • Mercury class battlestars do not need to retract their flight pods prior to a jump, unlike the Galactica type.
  • The coolant pressure gauges on Pegasus measure in PSI, presumably Pound-force per square inch. This is consistent with the use of customary units on the Viper Mk. II's altimeter, seen in "Act of Contrition".
  • This is the fourth episode of the season in which Grace Park does not appear as Sharon Valerii.
  • Writer Jeff Vlaming references Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" when he has Laura Roslin tell Quorum of Twelve delegate Sarah Porter, "you have your pound of flesh".
  • Sharon warned Admiral Adama in the previous episode, "Sacrifice," that the Cylons might try to lay ambushes near some pulsar stars ahead of their position, due to DRADIS interference.
  • A promotional image for the episode is from a deleted scene, in which Rya tries to kill herself by overdosing on pills when she is told that she can't have an abortion, and she has to be resuscitated. See List of Deleted Scenes for the summary.
  • This episode had the lowest Nielsen ratings figure that an episode of the Re-Imagined Series received up to that point, although the episode was well-received by critics and fans. This is possibly the backlash from what Ron Moore himself feels were the less desirable episodes "Black Market" and "Sacrifice" (Reference: Podcast:Sacrifice#Teaser).
  • Several fans thought that in the final scene with Apollo and Starbuck embracing, Apollo whispers "forever" into Starbuck's ear (after his last line that "we're okay," etc.). However on repeat viewing it's just Starbuck sighing three short times in a row, which vaguely sounds like three syllables. When actor Jamie Bamber was asked about this, he confirmed that he did not whisper "forever".
  • Visual effects gaffe: In the shot where the pressure gauge is showing zero the pressure hand is on the wrong side of the zero-stop pin, actually indicating a severe over-pressure instead of vacuum.


  • The distance between Pegasus and the lost Raptors is reported in SUs.
  • When Baltar announces his candidacy for the Presidency, Number Six applauds with a slow clap. This action runs in parallel to how then-Commander William Adama led the entire crew in a long, drawn-out slow clap in respect of President Roslin when she was re-instated to her office in "Home, Part II".
  • The survivor count is decremented by six from "Sacrifice," but seven people died in that episode - terrorists Sesha Abinell, Kern Vinson, Nelson Page and George Chu, two unnamed Marines, and civilian Billy Keikeya. At least one birth must have taken place to offset the population count between the two episodes.
  • Based on the Colonial One whiteboard seen toward the end of the episode, only five people died as a result of the ambush on Pegasus: Richard "Buster" Bayer, Lyla "Shark" Ellway, the unnamed crew of Raptor 314, and Commander Barry Garner.
    • This casualty figure is conspicuously low, considering that Galactica lost 85 crewmen as the result of a hit by a single nuclear missile in the Miniseries, while Pegasus is hit with no less than three in this episode.
    • On the other hand, it is consistent with the also surprisingly low number of casualties incurred in the Battle of the Resurrection Ship, and may indicate that the hull armor on Pegasus is significantly stronger than on Galactica, which has many conspicuously bare structural ribs.
    • A large number of the casualties Galactica incurred were due to the firefighting crews failure to use breathing gear when Tigh ordered the flight pod vented. However, based on dialogue in this episode, it appears that the Pegasus firefighting teams did take this precaution.
  • It seems clear now that the Cylons are again shadowing the Fleet. They are doing so accurately enough to vector three basestars onto Pegasus. However, as explained in "Scar," they are afraid to engage the Fleet directly because the Resurrection Ship was destroyed. In the past, one basestar was willing to simply wade into Galactica and its Vipers, but now they resort to both a sneak attack/trap, and ganging up on a battlestar using superior numbers. With regard to the Cylons' jump accuracy, keep in mind that it was the Cylons who set up the trap; therefore, it stands to reason that they knew exactly where to jump. In no way does this support a theory that the Cylons want the Fleet to survive, and further, Ron Moore has repeatedly stated that the Cylons are not doing that and truly want to destroy the Fleet (at least, before the Season 2 finale).
  • In the course of this episode, Lee Adama rises from the rank of Captain (CAG of Galactica) to Major (No details are given on that posting except Adama was assigned to Pegasus), to Commander and CO of Pegasus in the wake of Commander Garner's death saving his ship.
    • Major Adama's duty was intended as a temporary stint as Pegasus acting XO, in order to support Garner and evaluate the performance of the Pegasus crew. In the opening scene, he tells Anastasia Dualla that he expects to return to Galactica "in a couple of weeks".
    • The aired episode leaves the nature of Apollo's assignment somewhat open. One could think that he is officially Pegasus's XO. However, Garner doesn't consider him part of the crew. Moreover, according to a deleted scene, his father sends him there over concerns about Garner and the performance of the crew, while being undecided on whether to make him the ship's XO or not.
  • Garner's decision to mount a rescue operation in contravention of his commanding officer's orders is an explicit parallel to "Pegasus," down to the choice of words:
Adama: "I'm getting my men."
Garner: "I'm going to get our men."
  • Kara Thrace's posting is finally clarified in this episode: she is now serving as CAG on Galactica.
    • She was transferred to Pegasus in "Pegasus" and then promoted to that ship's CAG over Cole Taylor in "Resurrection Ship, Part I". In "Epiphanies," it is made clear that Lee Adama regained his posting as Galactica's CAG. In the same episode Thrace is piloting one of Galactica's Mk. II Vipers with Kat; in "Scar" she is serving on Galactica, and appears to have assumed the majority of Adama's responsibilities as CAG, although she still takes orders from him.
    • During this episode it is mentioned that she has only been on Pegasus for four days before getting thrown in the brig, possibly referring to the time she spent away on Galactica in "Scar" and in the Fleet on leave in "Sacrifice".
  • Although there is no clear evidence of this, it is nice to imagine that when Admiral Adama promotes his son to commander, he gives Lee his old commander rank insignia.
    • This is actually quite likely. The decision to bump Lee to commander seems to be made immediately following Garner's debacle, and given that Billy Keikeya had to search extensively for a jeweler to get Adama his admiral's insignia, giving Lee his old rank insignia is probably as much practicality as it is sentiment.
  • There are several factual errors in the scenes where Garner opens the valves to restore the FTL drive coolant pressure:
    • Garner should not be able to open the hatch to gain access to the FTL auxiliary controls, since the inside of the compartment is losing pressure and the hatch opens outwards. Assuming the breach formed during the attack, the air pressure outside of the compartment would make it nearly impossible to open the hatch.
    • A rupture of that size would not cause a wind-blown effect; otherwise the entire cabin would have its atmosphere vacated in a shorter amount of time.
    • As the atmosphere escapes the air pressure would decrease slower over time. However in this case it clearly decreases faster over time.
  • This is the first time that the Pegasus flight pods are closely seen in operation. As indicated before, the lower landing bay is upside down. Vipers also land upside down and are likely kept in place by magnetism. To create this effect, Starbuck's cockpit scene was flipped in editing. See Gravity in the Re-imagined Series for more details.
  • Major Adama orders the battlestar "left" rather than "port" or giving a more accurate bearing. This was normal on British and US naval ships during World War II – even though the officers commanding would know "port" and "starboard" there was no guarantee that the draftee actually steering would know the difference, or be expected not to get confused in the heat and stress of battle.


Answered Questions

  • Will Roslin replace Baltar as Vice President? (Answer)
  • How will Zarek position himself in the Baltar campaign? (Answer)
  • Does the fact that the Cylons have such a large force waiting to ambush Pegasus indicate that they have a new Resurrection Ship in place? (See Analysis)
  • Now that Lee Adama is commanding Pegasus, who does he have for an XO since it is apparent both battlestars are short field grade officers? (Answer 1, Answer 2, Post-LDYB, Part I)
  • What kind of equipment is available to fix small breaches such as the one in the Pegasus's engine room? Karl "Helo" Agathon uses a hand-held pressure pad to seal a minor breach in the damaged Raptor during the Miniseries right after he receives his leg wound. Kara Thrace uses her flight suit to seal a fist-sized hole in her recovered Raider in "You Can't Go Home Again". Considering the importance of gaining access to that compartment why is no attempt made to seal the breach? (Answer)

Unanswered Questions

  • Why is Rya Kibby seeking an abortion? Who is the biological father to Rya's unborn child? Is this of any consequence?
  • Would Adama allow Dr. Cottle to be arrested, give that he is one of the few remaining Doctors? From the episode, he is of the opinion that he would do what is necessary.
  • Is Baltar's report real, or just invented to produce the opportunity to drive his wedge?
  • Can Roslin pick another Vice President, under Colonial law, if Baltar refuses to resign? (One of the reporters at the end actually directly asks if Baltar would remain as Vice President.)
  • Will Tigh accept (or even care) that Lee Adama now outranks him and has command of a ship?
  • What will happen to Rya now that she has been granted asylum on Galactica?
  • Had Garner been serving as XO to Pegasus's previous commander, the late Jack Fisk?
  • Why is abortion legal and established throughout the Colonies despite being against the religious views of at least one planet? Does this indicate a strong central government, that can dictate laws against the wishes of large population groups, instead of a federal system with the planets having more autonomy?
    • No, that describes a government that could subject individuals or minorities to the religious views of a majority. The Colonies have a system of ordered liberty in which the government cannot overrule the freedom of the individual in matters of personal conscience. Women who oppose abortions cannot be forced to have them, and women who disagree are free to decide the issue for themselves. Take away privacy and freedom of choice, and the government has the power to mandate abortions, for example, to prevent over-population.

Official Statements

Rekha Sharma: Actually, I hadn't seen the show at all until after I had shot the first episode .... but once I got all caught up, I thought - uh oh - people are gonna hate me... (ha ha !) what can I say ? - Billy was pretty sweet and unoffensive, and Tory's gotta whole different thing goin on.... but I'm glad I had no idea in the beginning. I'm always wary of preconceived notions getting in the way of the work.[1]

Noteworthy Dialogue

Admiral Adama: In your opinion, off the record, what was Garner's flaw?
Major Lee Adama: He was used to working with machines. Command is about people.
Admiral Adama: Remember that, as you take command of "The Beast" (Pegasus). Garner was my decision; his failures, my responsibility. Don't let me fail a second time. Congratulations, Commander.
Vice-President Baltar: It is true in the light of recent events, the President may have lost support in some quarters. I would ask the people to understand that if this is an extreme decision, we live in extreme times. The decision has been made with good faith. I, however, cannot with good conscience support it. I am so sorry, Madame President, but the Cylon have no understanding the meaning of the word "freedom". How could they? They're programmed...machines. Every time you take away one of our freedoms, every time we restrict or curtail one of our rights, we become one step closer to being like them. As the Vice-President, I am bound to follow the administration's lead; as President, I should have no such strictures. Given the current situation, I'm afraid that I have no alternative but to announce that I am, as of now, a candidate for the Presidency.

Guest Stars


  1. Nuytens, Gilles (May 16, 2007). Rekha Sharma interview by The Scifi World (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 26 May 2007.