Battlestar Galactica #78: The Passage

"I don't need to know anything other than what I already know. When you were CAG, you protected your people. Made them feel safe enough to be brave. What you were gonna say, does it change that?"
SO SAY WE ALL: The fleet must go through a deadly radiation cloud or starve.

REVIEW: A follow-up to Kat's burn-out, The Passage isn't just a dangerous mission through a lethal part of space so the fleet can replenish its food stores after some kind of contamination, it's also a metaphor for her journey, not just out of stim abuse, but as we find out here, from criminality to productivity. I guess the big question is whether Kat really was in need of a redemption arc. I'm with Adama in those closing moments. She more than redeemed herself since we've known her, even when you include another "passage", the possibility that she smuggled Cylons onto Caprica without knowing it. But whether we believe it or not, Kat herself believes she needs redemption, and I like her despair when Starbuck (unfairly, it's Starbuck) confronts her with what she's uncovered. But if you're going to give someone a redemption story, her sacrifice better be worth it. I'm not sure it is.

The plan is to have Raptors with a single pilot aboard each guide empty ships through a blinding radiation cloud with a remote link, while all the passengers are brought over by the well-shielded Galactica. Five round-trips. The plot hole, I suppose, is that they keep using the same pilots instead of sharing the load. And so Kat's monitor goes black because she's too distracted to check on it, and in the end, after losing a couple ships in previous trips, brings one home at the cost of her (already lost?) life. She saves... hardware. Sure, all resources are precious, and there are still 2 ships lost out there, which means overcrowding for the remaining fleet (as we'll feel over the course of the next episodes), but that still feels a little empty to me. And so it feels more like a death wish, to avoid a prolonged illness and/or repercussions from Enzo's blackmail, or perhaps self-loathing and the need to pay for her crimes. Checking the headcount on the next episode, I guess there WAS a quick mention of skeleton crews aboard each ship. They should have mentioned their survival at the end. At least Adama and Starbuck give her some peace before she passes, a poignant ending, and they confer a special honor upon her. Of course, Adama seems to already be back-pedaling from his big speech in Unfinished Business, but I think it's warranted here.

Meanwhile, on the Cylon ship, we get another play on the word "passage" as D'Anna continues to play Flatliners to spark visions. Baltar may be instrumental in her understanding them, and he proves adept at deciphering the hybrid's monologues (partly because she alludes to the Greco-Roman gods). Here we get a prophecy and directions to Earth - so will the Cylons get there first now that they have equal information? And of course, it's all wrapped up into the mystery of the Final Five...

CAPRICANADA: Canadian actor G. Patrick Currie plays Enzo; he's been in episodes of a number of Vancouver-based productions, like Smallville, Stargate SG-1, and Millennium.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The original series had pilots guide the fleet through strange space terrain, like the void in Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL:
Headcount at the start is 41,420, an unexplained drop by 2. By the end, Kat dies from radiation poisoning, and an unspecified number of people who might have made up the skeleton crews of the lost ships.

VERSIONS: Among the deleted scenes we get... a scene between Helo and Sharon after she comes back where he's worried about dying on the mission; Kat lovingly inspecting her raptor, and Apollo suggesting her call sign should be Friendly Fire, but giving her his full support as one of the family; the conversation between Enzo and Starbuck; and a longer confrontation between Starbuck and Kat. The original Sci Fi Channel broadcast censored Starbuck's reference to giving head simply by blanking the word.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - I won't dispute the fact that Kat's exit is touching, but it's also more than a little contrived.

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