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Battlestar Galactica Episode 310: "The Passage"

Mister Nizz


Now that's action... and pathos

Spoiler Alert, as Usual.. Big Time!
The recent episode of BSG marked a return to form for the show, featuring action, incredible danger, death, and mayhem. Whereas last week's show was a minimalist exploration into character, this week's show was space opera at its finest.

One of the elements of plot that we all assume is going on is that the rag-tag fleet has some way of generating new food from some form of biomass conversion process-- hydroponics, synthetic food conversion, recycling, or some other oh-gee-whiz device. For once, the writers talk about the infrastructure behind feeding 47000 people, trapped on ships, flying around in space. The situation is dire. The food converter whizbang device has been contaminated, and the whole fleet food supply is in desperate shape. Naturally this calls for a nearly suicidal plan with little chance of success. A planet is found that is teaming with algae required to feed the food processing plants. The only problem is that it's behind some sort of hideous radiation cloud and a trip through the cloud is almost lethal.

The fleet has to make four trips through (for reasons they aren't that clear about). Most of the civilians are cooped up in the Galactica's hold to take advantage of its shielding. And it is there that Kat (aka Louanne Katraine), the crusty, bohemian rival to Starbuck, meets a blast from her past. It's her old boyfriend (and fellow drug runner), Enzo. And Enzo is hungry and looking for the meal ticket that Kat represents. Surprise, it turns out that "Kat" isn't Kat after all. She's a young woman named Sasha, a former trucker and drug runner. When civilization packed it in after the Cylon attack, she saw a natural opportunity to turn her life around, and assumed the name of a recently deceased pilot. Now Enzo will reveal that to the Colonials if she doesn't feed him. Alas, she doen't have anyh food either.

Meanwhile, Deanna and Baltar openly discuss some of the loopy suicide-ressurection antics she has gotten up to lately. Baltar has some sort of status with the Cylons now, apparently from being the meat in the Number 6/Number 8 sandwich he sleeps in every night. Baltar has apparently won her confidence and she openly discusses having seen "the Other Five" cylons we haven't seen in the show yet. Apparently she can see them in the intervening time between death and resurrection, but can't remember them when she wakes up.. this bit was typically confusing and felt tacked on.

Back at the fleet, the ships make the four incredibly harrowing trips through the radiation belt, and this is the best part of the show.. we haven't seen an episode this tense and relentless since "33" back in the first season. The palpable feeling of exhaustion is well acted by all participants.. standout performances from Jaimie Barber playing a near-babbling exhausted Apollo trying to debrief pilots, and Eddie Olmos and Michael Hogan sharing a quiet moment of near-hysteria as they laugh over a trifle. The hands down best performance, in my opinion, was given by Lucian Carro as Kat.. caught between a rock and a hard place, she makes a terrible sacrifice and emerges an unlikely hero.. alas, this is also her death knell.

I realize that a show that depicts dangers this harrowing probably demands some sacrifice of a character, but I was pretty bummed that they killed off Kat like this. She was a great little ensemble character and she added a lot of tension with Starbuck. The show will miss her.

This episode rates up there with "33" and "Exodus part 2" for rock em sock em action, and I loved it. It probably used up the effects budget or two episodes, but it was definitely worth it. Well done, Ron Moore!