The Captain's Hand is an episode of the TV series, Battlestar Galactica, and aired during the show's second season.
Leland Adama has been promoted to Major and assigned to the Battlestar Pegasus as XO to Commander Barry Garner, formerly the ship's chief engineer. Crew morale is still low after the deaths of Admiral Cain and Commander Fisk. Garner is obsessive over maintaining a strict order; highly-paranoid, he bans talk of Pegasus operations with Galactica personnel and has crew report on colleagues who criticise him.
Captain Kara Thrace has been assigned command of all pilot training for the fleet. Two Raptors, piloted by Buster and Shark, report distress and disappear from DRADIS. Due to the ban on discussing operations, Captain Thrace is left in the dark for an hour, and only finds out about the disappearance of her crew from Commander Garner himself, who accuses her of incompetence over it.
Major Adama visits the Pegasus Air Group to discuss planning a rescue operation, finding them badmouthing Garner after he restricted Stinger to quarters. They get back to work following his visit, and Captain Thrace believes she has deciphered some of the Raptor radio communication, that they received a distress call and went out to investigate, rather than were reporting themselves in distress. Captain Thrace is unable to bring the theory directly to Commander Garner, however, who has been made aware of her part in badmouthing him as "paranoid" and has her arrested for sowing mutiny. Major Adama visits Captain Thrace, and she warns him of her suspicion the two Raptor crews were lured into a trap by the Cylons.
Red Devil, one of the Raptor pilots searching for the trainees, hears Buster's voice on the radio, in distress, and reports back to CIC. Major Adama warns Commander Garner that Buster may now be bait for Pegasus, but refuses to accept it out of contempt for Captain Thrace. Admiral Adama voices the same concerns, having experienced such a Cylon strategy during the Cylon War. Commander Garner lies about having his son' support, but the Major disagrees over the wireless. Rather than let Pegasus jump into a possible trap, the Admiral orders a five Raptor search and rescue operation. Garner goes against the Admiral's word and prepares the ship to jump while in Condition One, allowing for an immediate launch of vipers to counter any Cylon threat. Having contradicted a superior officer, Major Adama makes a push to relieve the Commander of duty; Garner likewise calls for the marines to arrest Adama for mutiny. Adama is arrested, and Pegasus jumps away.
Pegasus arrives near to the two Raptors' position. When Red Devil confirms the two crews to be dead, three Basestars jump in range and immediately fire nuclear missiles at Pegasus, disabling its FTL drive with two hits and forcing it to head off all three. The engineering crew are inexperienced with the kind of repairs necessarily, and Commander Garner is forced to abandon CIC to repair it himself, putting Adama back in control. Though they are successful in crippling one Basestar, Pegasus continues to take damage from the other two. In desperation, Garner enters a decompressing compartment to restore power to the FTL drives and dies from oxygen deprivation, but, successful, Pegasus jumps back to the Fleet. After reporting to Admiral Adama, Lee is promoted to Commander, and begins packing up the rest of his belongings on Galactica.
On Galactica, the deck hands discover a pregnant teenager, Rya Kibby, in a shipping container, who has stowed away to get an abortion, having heard of Dr. Cottle's no-questions-asked services. She admits to Admiral Adama that she had to stow away to escape her parents; in Gemenese law children are the property of their parents and abortion is culturally opposed. Fearing harsh punishment, she takes Cottle's advice and requests asylum as a political refugee.
The issue spreads quickly around the Gemenese community, and their Quorum representative, Sarah, is frustrated by President Roslin's refusal to ban abortion and demands Rya be returned to her parents, warning her that the Gemenese vote would be lost otherwise. Admiral Adama is concerned about the continued legality of abortion, having recently discovered Cottle's practices. Due to the dire state of mankind, he feels a ban is necessary, despite the social implications of stripping women of a hard-fought-for right.
The issue is brought to President Roslin, and proves a difficult issue as her bid for the upcoming Presidential election against Tom Zarek. Roslin is dependent on the Gemenese vote, but is insulted by the prospect of the right of abortion being rescinded. Admiral Adama and Vice President Baltar are both concerned that the birth rate is dangerously low and that their species mathematically could die out within eighteen years. Accepting the issue, Roslin makes a speech declaring abortion to be abandoned, but does so after Rya's abortion is over. As a further insult to Sarah, Rya's asylum request is accepted. Over the course of these events, Zarek persuades Baltar to make a Presidential bid, realising his terrorist past will almost guarantee Roslin's re-election. In Roslin's first press conference after the abortion ban, Baltar publicly announces an election bid on the policy of restoring the right to abortion.
- Christian Tessier as "Tucker 'Duck' Clellan"
- Stephanie von Pfetten as "Cpt. Marcia 'Showboat' Case"
- Kavan Smith as "Lt. Richard 'Buster' Baier"
- Amber Rothwell as "Rya Kibby"
- Patricia Idlette as "Sarah Porter"
- Rekha Sharma as "Tory Foster"
- Brad Dryborough as "Hoshi"
- Aaron Pearl as "Ensign Abel Thornton"
- Christina Schild as "Playa"
- Tammy Hui as "ECO Lyla 'Shark' Ellway"
- James Bell as "Lt. Steve 'Red Devil' Fleer"
- Kimani Ray Smith as "Pegasus Sergeant"
- Kurt Max Runte as "Ensign Charles Bellamy"
- Extending from the scene where Starbuck is relieved of duty, Commander Garner relieves Hoshi for not giving him notice of a Raptor launch.
- Prior to Pegasus going on Condition One, Lee meets Starbuck in her quarters, where he reveals he is dealing with anger towards her for having shot him in "Sacrifice".
- In an extension of the scene where Sarah complains about Rya's abortion, it is revealed she attempted to kill herself with an overdose of painkillers. Dr. Cottle restores her heartbeat through CPR.
- In an extension of Lee and Starbuck's goodbye, Dee walks in on the two hugging and, hearing about Lee's new promotion, believes their relationship is over. Lee promises he will find a way to make it work.
- While the idea of Pegasus experiencing a crisis situation was in the initial pitch, the actual nature of the crisis - a Cylon trap using dead pilots - was conceived of much later during the writing stage.
- To continue with a theme that Pegasus was experiencing serious problems in the aftermath of Admiral Cain's death, the idea was that Commander Tramel would also be contributing to these problems. In early drafts, Tramel would be too focused on a "nice guy" image among the crew, leading to a lack of discipline where insubordination and fights become common place, with Lee taking on the "hardass" role as XO to fix this problem. Over time it was decided this be swapped round, with Pegasus instead being an authoritarian atmosphere where the CO - now Commander Garner - arrests officers for petty issues. The name was changed due to Sci-Fi's concerns it was close to a real name, forcing his name to be replaced by ADR in an earlier episode.
- After the decision to make Garner the "hardass", Moore felt they went too far in showing it, being more aggressive to Hoshi in one draft. It was decided instead he would be more pleasing at the start so Lee slowly realise how poor his leadership is.
- The writers had conceived of the idea that pilots have a special signal of hanging boots over a hatch when they are having sex.
- The idea for an abortion debate was pitched in Season 1 but was left unused. It was one of several threads in Season 2 that was to lead Roslin in a much more authoritarian direction, having previously been written as the "dove" to Adama's "hawk".
- Ronald D. Moore recorded a podcast, which can be found here.