As the first season begins to wrap up, Baltar decides to take an opportunity aboard the prison barge and the fleet comes upon the Terra star system and its inhabitants.
Joining forces with the detained Eastern Alliance crew and the Borellians, Baltar escapes the prison barge, steals a Galactica shuttle and kidnaps members of the ruling council.
Adama is forced to deal with the ruling council who wish to remove the fleet from martial law, believing any major crisis is over with there being no Cylon attacks in some time. Adama is appointed an aide who causes some friction on the Galactica bridge, especially with Colonel Tigh and the sensitive transfer of prisoners from the Eastern Alliance back to their ship.
It's during this time that Baltar and his own alliance strike, and due to the meddling aboard Galactica, finds very little resistance. Adama and crew have very little time to meet Baltar's demands, but manage to pull a plan together which ultimately sees the Eastern Alliance destroyer leave for home with the Borellians aboard, but Baltar back in custody.
I quite liked this episode and don't remember seeing it previously. Bringing back the Borellians was a nice touch, even if it was a cost-saving measure for the production teams, it showed some continuity to the show. The dealings between Adama and his crew and the civilian ruling body and security force also provided some good story elements.
Experiment in Terra
The mysterious beings of light return and transport Apollo to Terra so he can prevent a terrible conflict between the major powers.
We (the audience) have been hearing about this Terra and its people for a few episodes now and we finally get to see them. Why the beings of light choose to interfere is not revealed but it allows Apollo to interact with the people and try to convince them that he is who he says he is.
Starbuck comes to help after alerting the Galactica which leaves the civilian fleet to render assistance. Good thinking there as they need the firepower of the Battlestar to prevent an all out nuclear war.
We find out whether Terra is the thirteenth colony they have been searching for and we are left to wonder whether Adama feels confident that they are no longer being pursued by the Cylons with his decision to leave the civilian fleet behind relatively unguarded. It is interesting too that Adama would use the Galactica to investigate rather than send a smaller ship and crew - however, it does prove to be beneficial for the people of Terra in the end.
There are parallels here with the pilot episode, what was happening to the people of Terra is what happened to the colonies when the Cylons attacked, except here there was an outside party able to intervene.