Previously, on Battlestar Guiltica: Starbuck confessed to Adama that she passed her fiancee (and his son) Zak on his Viper pilot training because she felt pressure to, not because he was capable of actually flying a Viper. Then she went out and tried to get herself killed on a suicide mission.
Boomer brings "Hot Dog," a trainee, back to Galactica and Apollo gives Hot Dog his flight wings. Then he goes out looking for where Starbuck might have ended up. What they don't know is that she ejected on to the rocky surface of a nearby moon. After getting the crap kicked out of her by her own parachute, smashing her knee up, she determines the air on the moon is unbreathable, and her oxygen tank is running out. She's got 46 hours of reserve air.
Adama prepares a search mission for Starbuck, while Roslin meets with Baltar aboard Space Force One. Number Six appears to Baltar and tells him it'll be only a matter of days before the Cylons come looking for their missing fighter squad (something Adama and Tigh also are realizing.) Baltar points out that sticking around and looking for Starbuck puts the whole fleet in jeopardy.
With her bum knee and a broken radio, Starbuck climbs to higher ground and hopes someone can see her before she runs out of oxygen. She runs across the downed Cylon raider that she in the attack (the one that crashed in to her Viper.)
The rescue mission goes badly, as visibility is poor and close passes at the moon's surface for "eyeball" searches drains the fighters of almost half the Galactica's fuel reserves. On the Bad Moon (Rising), Starbuck breaks in to the Cylon Raider to find that there is no pilot and no robot aboard, but instead the ship is part biological, with a brain and several limbs that control it.
Back on the hanger deck, Lt. Whiny has a hissy fit. Here's my interpretation:
Apollo: Wahn! Wahn! My ship's broke! Fix it!
Tyrol: It'll take a while to fix it.
Apollo: Wahn! Wahn! I want a new ship!
Tyrol: Sorry, but there is a shortage of ships. You'll have to wait.
Apollo: WAHN! I WANT I WANT!
Then Apollo saunters in to command and gets in to it with Tigh.
Apollo: WAHN! SHIP BROKE! WANT MORE!
Tigh: That's not the greatest of ideas.
Apollo: WAHN! WANT SHIPS! WANT!
Tigh: That'd be putting the whole fleet in danger.
Apollo: WAHN! YOU'RE MEAN!
Tigh: Shut up, sissy boy.
Or, okay. It didn't go entirely like that. But it ends with Adama insisting on continuing the search, even after the time they've estimated Starbuck's oxygen has run out. When Tigh puts up a fuss, Adama relieves him of duty.
Back on the Bad Moon, Starbuck is figuring out where the oxygen hoses are on the Cylon Raider. She grossly sticks a weird tentacle thing in her mouth in order to keep breathing from the ship's air supply. (Appropriately, "I know you were right, believing for so long" is going to be an important lyric for this episode.)
Space Force One docks on the Galactica. Tigh fills Roslin in on why the Adamas are so keen on Starbuck. Roslin is horrified by the depletion of fleet resources just to find one pilot, and insists the mission be called off, regardless of who was having sex with who's son in the past. She uses the ol' "future of humanity depends on you" guilt trip. My mom used to do that when I refused to eat my vegetables. "Some people out in space don't have broccoli! Because of the robot genocide!" Adama calls off the search.
Apollo says "WAHN! What would you do if it were me that were missing?" and Adama says that they'd never leave. If Apollo wasn't such a little bitch, that'd be a touching sentiment.
On the Bad Moon, Starbuck finally figures out the controls of the downed Raider, and flies it off the planet. She approaches the Galactica just as they are about to jump away. Apollo hops in a Viper and goes out to attack, but then Starbuck shows him up by outflying him in an alien frakkin spaceship. She pulls in to formation and shows him the underside of the ship, where she's written "Starbuck" on the wings in yellow tape.
There's another touching moment in sick bay when Adama visits Starbuck and forgives her (in his own way.) She almost cries as he kisses her forehead like a good daddy would. He also brought her a stogie. Awww.
Meanwhile, back on Cylon-Occupied Caprica, Helo and Boomer #2 (the "fake" Boomer) have been making themselves cozy in their Cafe Fallout Shelter of Love. Centurions find them, and in the scuffle, Boomer disappears.