Ladyghosts of TV Past: Battlestar Galactica,Episode 3.09, “The Passage”

I haven’t written much here about BSG‘s writers, a shortcoming on my part. This episode is written by Jane Espenson, who, in addition to BSG, has written for Buffy, Firefly, Torchwood, Game of Thrones, and many other of your favorite television shows. In other words, when you see her name, it pretty much guarantees you’re in for a good time. Well, not a good time per se, but a really well written one, at least. So let’s get to it!

Previously on Battlestar Galactica, Kat’s been taking stims, insulting Starbuck; Adama needs Tigh back in the CiC; Baltar wants to know who the final five Cylons are; the Cylon Hybrid is either full of nonsense or a prophet; and D’Anna’s killing herself to experience the moment between life and death.

Doc Cottle, looking dour.
Always cheerful, the good doctor is.

Currently, Athena’s in some sort of a fireball super-heavy atmosphere; and something bad’s happened to their food supplies – they’re contaminated. Ah, Athena’s figuring out passage to a planet full of algae, which tastes bad but is, according to Doc Cottle, mostly protein. (I always thought algae was plant-based?) Oh, Doc Cottle also tells us we’ve got 7″“10 days worth of food rations left, so that’s cheerful. And Helo mentions that Athena should’ve been back by now, wherever she is is high-radiation. We go back to Athena, and her little radiation-detecting armband is starting to turn.

In the racks, all the pilots are sharing what food they’ve got left – except Kat. Starbuck gives her grief. Everyone, it seems, is really frakking hungry – how long has it been since the food rationing started? And back to Athena, who doesn’t look so good.

A worried Baltar in the foreground, partially obscuring Caprica's face - she's lying on his chest.
Baltar is wondering. About Things.

Cylon baseship scene! If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m kind of a nut for the music they use in this show, and let me just say, the “Music of Battlestar Galactica” Wikipedia page is impressive and kind of read my mind. The music that they’ve been using for these scenes sounds almost like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – deliberately so, according to Wikipedia. (To my uncultured ears, it sounds like what Linus from the Peanuts cartoons always plays.) Anyway, pretty music. D’Anna gets up and leaves Caprica and Baltar abed. Baltar wonders where D’Anna spends her time, Caprica says D’Anna’s been “doing things.”

Hey, Athena’s back! And possibly gonna puke. More importantly, she found a way through the star cluster and to the algae-rich planet. The radiation levels are incredibly high, though causing logistical problems – the civilian fleet won’t make it through the star cluster. Lee comes up with the idea of pilot ships – Raptors partner up with civilian ships to guide them through. The Raptors are reinforced

A radiation badge - a white octagon, with several black spots on it.
This is a radiation badge! This one shows some radiation, but not a fatal amount.

against nuclear damage. Good idea, Lee! He explains this to the pilots, gives them their own radiation badges (is this the first time we’ve seen them? If so – they start off white. When exposed to radiation, they start to turn black. Once they’re all black, you’re fracked, and no more radiation for you lest you get sick.) Lee also announces they’re issuing stimulants to the pilots, as they’re on their own. Kat takes issue with this – stims up your metabolism, and everyone’s already pretty hungry.

They’re taking civilians on to Galactica, to minimize the number of ships that have to travel through the star cluster, and Dee is tasked with explaining that there is no food on Galactica. A dude shows up and calls out “Sasha””¦  And Kat turns around. Apparently it was necessary to explain to this dude that her name is Lieutenant Louanne Katraine, and she doesn’t know Sasha, or him. INTERESTING. She tells him to stay away, he asks if “they know who she really is” WAIT, WHO IS KAT?

The character I'm calling "sketchy dude"
Hello Sketchy Dude. Who are you, and what is your purpose?

Back to Baltar, he runs into D’Anna, and tells her that he knows that she’s been killing herself over and over so she can download repeatedly. This is apparently a serious allegation.

Kat pulls Sketchy Dude into a storage closet to yell at him, and he threatens her – either she brings him food or he’ll tell everyone who she is. He’s an ex-boyfriend, I’m thinking, based on how they treat each other. Kat tells him to get away from her.

HEY, TIGH’S BACK ON THE BRIDGE! STANDING OVATION!

Hot Dog and Kat, both looking ill and exhausted.
Too much radiation poisoning makes Lee's speeches boring. Also, ZOMBIE PILOTS.

And now, for some thrilling outerspace heroics! The pilots are out, paired up with their civilian ships, and about to jump. They’re all back in that fireball sort of thing Athena was in in the opening, and no one can see anything. There’s chaos. Hot Dog lost the Adriatic. Galactica seems to have sprung a leak. There are five trips in total that need to be made to get all the civilian ships through, and this was just the first one. It’s the fourth trip, and Kat can’t find the Carina, and her badge is pretty much black. She comes back to Galactica and looks completely defeated. (Related, apparently radiation poisoning makeup looks a lot like zombie makeup.) Lee’s trying to give a pep-talk, but everyone’s totally fried.

Tigh and Adama back together! Tigh gives a situation report: Marines are dropping from exhaustion, civilians expect food as soon as they’re through (the algae has to be “processed”) and then, for one of the more iconic lines in the Tigh-Adama Comedy Hour!

Adama: I hear they’re still eating paper. Is that true?
Tigh: No. Paper shortage.

And then there were old man giggles. TIGH + ADAMA = BFF4L

Adama, laughing.
Look! A rare moment of laughter!
Tigh laughing.
The Statler to Adama's Waldorf, apparently!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the flight deck, Starbuck sees Kat getting hassled by Sketchy Dude.

Hey Baltar! He asks D’Anna about the final five – he wants to know if he’s one of them. Desperately. Baltar’s life would make total sense if he were a Cylon, right? D’Anna shows him some drawings she’s done, but she can’t remember what the final five look like.

Starbuck and Cat, their faces close together.
So what if a lot of my recapping is just telling you when I yell at the characters to make out?

So it seems Starbuck has gotten the full story from Sketchy Dude, and is questioning Kat. Kat, it seems stole her name from a girl who died during the attacks on Caprica. Before that, she was a drug runner, and Sketchy Dude, whose name is Enzo, was her supplier. Kat says she was just a trucker, that she just “moved stuff” – including people. Starbuck says that Kat could have helped the Cylons infiltrate the Colonies, trafficking the humanoid Cylons. They scream in each others’ faces a bit – is Starbuck calling Kat a traitor? Starbuck says no – the Admiral thinks highly of Kat. Starbuck says Kat lied her way in to a company of good people, and she needs to accept who she is. Kat’s crying at this point, and I may have yelled at them to make out, just once, because whoa were they close to each other. Kat begs to be allowed to tell Adama herself, and Starbuck doesn’t reply, just walks away.

Baltar, looking frightened and intrigued.
This, apparently, is what it takes to freak out Gaius Baltar.

More almost-Beethoven – D’Anna has taken Baltar to the Hybrid. As soon as he puts his hand into the Hybrid’s”¦ tank? tub? it grabs him, talks about intelligence, and says some other confusing things. D’Anna dismisses it as nonsense, but Baltar thinks it’s not nonsense at all, and interprets the Hybrid’s words to mean that they need to find a planet hidden in a star cluster, and that will point the way to earth. Hey, do we know of anyone currently heading towards a planet hidden in a star cluster?

Kat, wearing a space helmet, looking sick from radiation.
Oh Kat.

Oh Kat. Her hair’s falling out – radiation poisoning. Her badge is entirely black – it would be unsafe for her to go on any more trips through the star cluster. Enzo shows up, they hook up? Okay. She then takes her blacked out radiation badge and switches it with someone else’s that isn’t completely black, meaning she can still work, if she has that badge. So they take off for the last legs of the relay. Kat, again, can’t find her ship. Adama orders Lee to jump everyone away – Galactica’s sustained heavy damage in the radiation field. Kat says she’s not losing another one, and doesn’t jump back with the rest. For a few long seconds, Kat looks for the ship, and then finds it! Facilitating its return with the fleet on the other side of the star cluster. Kat exits her Raptor to applause from, well, everyone we know by name, but she’s not doing so good.

Adama put's Kat's name in the position labelled "CAG" on a white board.
This was sweet of him.

In sick bay, Starbuck goes to visit Kat, per her request. Starbuck apologizes, and, um, gives her “enough” sleeping pills? What? They leave on a sweet note. Admiral Adama shows up, and promotes Kat back to CAG again. He talks about her bravery, and how proud he is of her. Kat starts to try to tell Adama about her past, but Adama says he doesn’t care, and nothing she could say could change that (which kind of makes me think Adama knows?) Adama pulls up a stool – he’s staying. And then we get Adama backstory. Adama’s wife always wanted a girl – as did the old man himself. Kat, he implies, could be his daughter.

Starbuck pins Kat’s photo on the memory wall, below Riley’s girlfriend – remember when they talked about this? And how worried Kat was about being remembered? Poor Kat.

 

Hands pin Kat's photo to the wall of photos of people who've died.
Operation Remember Kat, anyone?

 

Monchichi’s screencaps are flawless, and thanks as always!

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CherriSpryte

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