Battlestar Galactica 3×10: The Passage

Food shortages force the fleet to make a dangerous trip through a dense star cluster to a planet where they can harvest algae to replenish their food processors.

Cast

James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Edward James Olmos as Admiral Adama
Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
Michael Hogan as Col. Tigh
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Grace Park as Sharon “Athena” Agathon/Boomer

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Aaron Douglas as Galen Tyrol
Luciana Carro as Louanne “Kat” Katraine
Kandyse McClure as Anastasia “Dee” Dualla
Callum Keith Rennie as Leoben Conoy
Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson
Alessandro Juliani as Felix Gaeta
Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster
Lucy Lawless as D’Anna Biers

Synopsis

With food shortages compounded by contaminated storage facilities, the fleet must make a dangerous passage through a dense star cluster to a planet where they can harvest algae to replenish their supplies. On the Cylon Basestar, Baltar and D’Anna work to find out about the final five.

High Points

  • Adama and Tigh talking about paper shortages
  • Starbuck and Kat’s confrontation
  • Starbuck’s visit to the medbay
  • The very final scene

Low Points

  • Baltar’s unnecessary reminder of what D’Anna has been up to, halfway through the episode after we’ve already been told what she’s been up to. A minor moment, but it jarred me out of my suspension of disbelief for a bit.

The Scores

Originality: I was almost convinced that they weren’t going to go one way, then I became convinced that they would and that they’d never take the story another way, but then it started heading that way… there are a few surprises in here, although there’s definitely some well-trodden material albeit with the usual Galactica twist. If you just read the premise, it is also reminiscent of an episode of the original series of Galactica, but doesn’t really feel like it once you sit down to watch it. Five out of six.

Effects: I wish I could watch this in HD to see the effects properly, because the shots of raptors and other ships in the middle of the star cluster with their hulls slowly burning away were absolutely gorgeous. There were also some wonderful visual moments around some of the jumps within the cluster. I should also mention the makeup. Six out of six.

Story: And so we come to what is essentially the story of Kat and how she got here and who she is. While the start of the episode springs onto us pretty quickly — it might have been nice if the food shortages had been mentioned last week as a growing problem — we’re quickly into the flow of things, and we certainly do come in at a tense and worrying point. The Cylon plot seems unrelated at first, but it’s clear that the two lines are heading for a collision fairly soon, possibly in a giant mid-season cliffhanger. The sense of impending doom is palpable. Five out of six.

Acting: Katee Sackhoff and Luciana Carro take the prize this week. Unfortunately Tahmoh Penikett didn’t do the worried husband role very well, preferring to stand about looking like he had something stuck in his teeth. Fortunately he doesn’t have much screen time in that situation. Five out of six.

Production: Some very well-chosen camera angles in the raptors during their escort runs through the cluster, and it’s good to see the hall on Galactica where all the photos are. It’s still a very powerful place, and I hope it continues to be used throughout the series. Five out of six.

Emotional response: There’s a lot of tension here, and the end of the episode is a particularly emotional one. Five out of six.

Overall: A much better episode than last week’s, and hopefully it will have regained the interest of anybody who flagged after last week’s disappointing showing. Five out of six.

And so The Passage gets a grand total of thirty-six out of forty-two.

18 replies on “Battlestar Galactica 3×10: The Passage”

  1. Daemonik says:

    Overall, pretty good
    Overall I liked the episode. I liked when the command structure was standing around the plotting table discussing how to get the civilians through the star cluster and Adama casually slides the model of a raptor in front of a civie ship, then waits for one of the junior officers to get the connection. That was a very subtle but real life move, it’s how someone with seniority teaches his bright pupils. Don’t solve it for them, but use experience to point them at the solution.

    Starbuck, however, is getting on my nerves. She all but puts a noose around Kat’s neck and then, in an act of "mercy" gives her some sleeping pills, but is too cowardly to stick around for the end. I’m rather tired of her self-absorbed bullsh*t.

    • quantaman says:

      Re: Overall, pretty good

      Starbuck, however, is getting on my nerves. She all but puts a noose around Kat’s neck and then, in an act of "mercy" gives her some sleeping pills, but is too cowardly to stick around for the end. I’m rather tired of her self-absorbed bullsh*t.

      Well even ignoring the fact that the two of them have never really gotten along Starbuck had some pretty legitimate reasons to be pissed off. Those viper pilots really need to depend on eachother since one screwing up can easily mean the death of another. This is probably a large part of the reason why Starbuck was so mad about Kat getting hooked on stims, because Kat was putting everyone else at risk while high. Now finding out that Kat was lying about who she was, that she was actually a drug runner, and someone from her old life was exerting some kind of influence over her. Starbuck now had very legitimate reasons to doubt Kat’s trustworthiness and reasons to think that Kat may have been placing herself and other pilots at risk.

      • Daemonik says:

        Re: Overall, pretty good

        Well even ignoring the fact that the two of them have never really gotten along Starbuck had some pretty legitimate reasons to be pissed off. Those viper pilots really need to depend on eachother since one screwing up can easily mean the death of another. This is probably a large part of the reason why Starbuck was so mad about Kat getting hooked on stims, because Kat was putting everyone else at risk while high. Now finding out that Kat was lying about who she was, that she was actually a drug runner, and someone from her old life was exerting some kind of influence over her. Starbuck now had very legitimate reasons to doubt Kat’s trustworthiness and reasons to think that Kat may have been placing herself and other pilots at risk.

        Okay, Starbuck and Kat had previous issues, but from the start of this episode Starbuck was a total d*ck to Kat, automatically assuming that Kat was witholding food, which is the only reason she started stalking her. As far as the pilots depending on each other, it was Starbuck, not Kat, who keeps putting wedges into the team.

        Starbuck has become a self-destructive self-absorbed a-hole and she doesn’t care, even after repeated chances to redeem herself. Her attacks on Kat were never about team unity, and when finally confronted with her own prejudice she would rather Kat "go away" in the guise of a mercy death than suck it up and show some friggin’ compassion.

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: Overall, pretty good

          Well even ignoring the fact that the two of them have never really gotten along Starbuck had some pretty legitimate reasons to be pissed off. Those viper pilots really need to depend on eachother since one screwing up can easily mean the death of another. This is probably a large part of the reason why Starbuck was so mad about Kat getting hooked on stims, because Kat was putting everyone else at risk while high. Now finding out that Kat was lying about who she was, that she was actually a drug runner, and someone from her old life was exerting some kind of influence over her. Starbuck now had very legitimate reasons to doubt Kat’s trustworthiness and reasons to think that Kat may have been placing herself and other pilots at risk.

          Okay, Starbuck and Kat had previous issues, but from the start of this episode Starbuck was a total d*ck to Kat, automatically assuming that Kat was witholding food, which is the only reason she started stalking her. As far as the pilots depending on each other, it was Starbuck, not Kat, who keeps putting wedges into the team.

          Starbuck has become a self-destructive self-absorbed a-hole and she doesn’t care, even after repeated chances to redeem herself. Her attacks on Kat were never about team unity, and when finally confronted with her own prejudice she would rather Kat "go away" in the guise of a mercy death than suck it up and show some friggin’ compassion.

          On the podcast Ron mentions that in a script draft Kat actually was stealing food and giving it to the guy that was blackmailing her. So the early scenes may be referring to that except that it ended up on the cutting room floor.

          But it does bring up one of my issues with the show. Also mentioned in the one of the podcasts is talk of "how far they can push Starbuck’s behavior and have you still like her" and "how much they can evoke sympathy for Baltar given all that he’s done". The funny thing is I totally hate this about the show. Starbuck is almost "Rikerish" in her ability to save everyone one week and then frak things up the next. As for Baltar, I find his character much more palatable when thought of as the villian. I just can’t feel any sympathy for him.

          Sometimes I think the show tries a little too hard to be gritty and real.

    • Chillum says:

      Re: Overall, pretty good

      I’m rather tired of her self-absorbed bullsh*t.

      Man, I’m right with ya on this… I’d even go further and say you could apply this same comment to half the cast. I’m finding it hard these days to find a character I actually like :(

      • Daemonik says:

        Re: Overall, pretty good

        I’m rather tired of her self-absorbed bullsh*t.

        Man, I’m right with ya on this… I’d even go further and say you could apply this same comment to half the cast. I’m finding it hard these days to find a character I actually like :(

        Actually, Tigh seems to be moving on to redeem himself quite well.

    • justdrew says:

      Re: Overall, pretty good

      Starbuck, however, is getting on my nerves. She all but puts a noose around Kat’s neck and then, in an act of "mercy" gives her some sleeping pills, but is too cowardly to stick around for the end. I’m rather tired of her self-absorbed bullsh*t.

      Kat is the one who decided to pick a long running fight with Starbuck, not a wise move, but she did it because she thought she could get something out of it, she was not a sympathetic character, she was a conniving bitch with something to hide all along.
      She may well not even have made the sacrifice she did if she didn’t have to face returning to the Galactica and telling Adama she may have helped smuggle cylons into the colonies, etc. Anyway her rad meter badge was already black well before she stayed to find the lost civy, so she was mostly toast anyway by then.
      As for Starbuck… seems to me everyone’s basically not even bothering to ask what the hell happened to her during months of cylon captivity. What went on is not something she’s going to just ‘get over’ – it was far worse for her than for Tigh even.

      • Stargazer says:

        Re: Overall, pretty good — OR NOT
        This is actually the first episode I’ve hated. For two reasons:

        First, I don’t think they sold the whole Star Cluster setup, to make it convincing that they could have detected the algae planet through the highly radioactive cluster in the first place, let along that it would take so long to jump AROUND the cluster that it was worth pushing everybody THROUGH even with 10% attrition rate. This felt equal-and-opposite to the many Star Trek implausible setups…

        Second, Starbuck-Kat. Starbuck drove Kat to suicide because Kat wasn’t willing to risk that Adama & Company’s willingness to let bygones be bygones would extend to her — which seems unduly hateful even for Starbuck, followed by unrealistically stupid and unobservant for Kat (who’d been Adama’s CAG for how long during the New Caprica 18 months?). And it’s supposed to be made up for by the fact of Starbuck’s (degrading rather than generous) offer of deathbed drugs and then by sticking Kat’s photo up near Riley’s girlfriend (irony, or just Strabuck making sure her briefing room half- threat from "Scar" came true)?

  2. rickyjames says:

    Burning Bright
    >Adama casually slides the model of a raptor in front of a >civie ship, then waits for one of the junior officers to >get the connection.

    Huh, beautiful touch that went right over my head. I’ll have to go back and watch for that. But then, this was a ep full of excellent non-verbal acting, my favorite of which was the paper shortage scene.

    This ep was pitch-perfect in creating the darkest of atmospheres in the middle of blinding light. Also, I thought it was the best depiction of combat stress since the very first "33" episode, using a MvE (man vs. envronment) instead of MvM (man vs. man – er, cylon) conceit to boot.

    The D’Anna subplot is developing extremely interestingly; I thought the "low point" was not so an unnecessary reminder to the viewer as much as an acknowledgement that Baltar was in on her little secret. This bonds the two of them much closer emotionally which is going to be real interesting when Six’s eyes (either the one inside his mind or out, take your pick) start glowing green instead of red. One can’t have love without jealousy, right?

    However, the whole exploration of what happens during resurrection is a little scary to me in where it can lead the storyline. Specifically, I’m afraid we’re could veer off into JJ Abrhams territory a la Lost, where there is continual tease but never any resolution. This is already happening to some extent; surely D’Anna knows at least SOMETHING about the Unseen 5 she could tell Baltar, and why should trans-ressurection dreams be about the UF anyway?

    There is hope, tho. Basically, the experiences between bodies impliy the Cylons have a religious soul. The next logical step is for D’Anna is to realize she will never be able to enter the afterlife as long as she continuously resurrects into a new body in this life. So I’m calling it – when Lawless’s guest shot is up, D’Anna will deliberately die outside of range of a resurrection ship. Sort of a Cylon version of Flatliners.

    • Kaki says:

      Re: Burning Bright

      However, the whole exploration of what happens during resurrection is a little scary to me in where it can lead the storyline. Specifically, I’m afraid we’re could veer off into JJ Abrhams territory a la Lost, where there is continual tease but never any resolution. This is already happening to some extent; surely D’Anna knows at least SOMETHING about the Unseen 5 she could tell Baltar, and why should trans-ressurection dreams be about the UF anyway?

      There is hope, tho. Basically, the experiences between bodies impliy the Cylons have a religious soul. The next logical step is for D’Anna is to realize she will never be able to enter the afterlife as long as she continuously resurrects into a new body in this life. So I’m calling it – when Lawless’s guest shot is up, D’Anna will deliberately die outside of range of a resurrection ship. Sort of a Cylon version of Flatliners.

      It doesn’t have to necessarily be religious. Could be that when their mind is being rebuilt by the resurrection mechanisms, they are put in touch with repositories of information that they otherwise can’t access… or something. D’Anna filtering that through her religious framework on the world sees it as visions from between life and death or from god or something. A more pragmatic cylon might see it more like a brief attempt through a noisy channel to sync a small, size limited, database with a much larger one that has a very different organization.

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: Burning Bright

        However, the whole exploration of what happens during resurrection is a little scary to me in where it can lead the storyline. Specifically, I’m afraid we’re could veer off into JJ Abrhams territory a la Lost, where there is continual tease but never any resolution. This is already happening to some extent; surely D’Anna knows at least SOMETHING about the Unseen 5 she could tell Baltar, and why should trans-ressurection dreams be about the UF anyway?

        There is hope, tho. Basically, the experiences between bodies impliy the Cylons have a religious soul. The next logical step is for D’Anna is to realize she will never be able to enter the afterlife as long as she continuously resurrects into a new body in this life. So I’m calling it – when Lawless’s guest shot is up, D’Anna will deliberately die outside of range of a resurrection ship. Sort of a Cylon version of Flatliners.

        It doesn’t have to necessarily be religious. Could be that when their mind is being rebuilt by the resurrection mechanisms, they are put in touch with repositories of information that they otherwise can’t access… or something. D’Anna filtering that through her religious framework on the world sees it as visions from between life and death or from god or something. A more pragmatic cylon might see it more like a brief attempt through a noisy channel to sync a small, size limited, database with a much larger one that has a very different organization.

        I’d actually prefer it to be religious. Because, if they make it technical it would require too much Star Trek technospeak to explain it all. A religious reason they could leave mysterious without requiring all explaining technical mumbo jumbo.

        • Timeshredder says:

          Re: Burning Bright

          However, the whole exploration of what happens during resurrection is a little scary to me in where it can lead the storyline…..

          There is hope, tho. Basically, the experiences between bodies impliy the Cylons have a religious soul.

          It doesn’t have to necessarily be religious. Could be that when their mind is being rebuilt by the resurrection mechanisms….

          I’d actually prefer it to be religious. Because, if they make it technical it would require too much Star Trek technospeak to explain it all. A religious reason they could leave mysterious without requiring all explaining technical mumbo jumbo.

          It could also just be a wiring glitch into which D’Anna is reading too much. It’s an anticlimax, but I suspect she wouldn’t be the first sentient being to read a religious experience into a weirdness of brain chemistry.

          Personally, I’m waiting for the humans to use the Cylons’ religiosity against them in some significant way.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Burning Bright

      >
      There is hope, tho. Basically, the experiences between bodies impliy the Cylons have a religious soul. The next logical step is for D’Anna is to realize she will never be able to enter the afterlife as long as she continuously resurrects into a new body in this life. So I’m calling it – when Lawless’s guest shot is up, D’Anna will deliberately die outside of range of a resurrection ship. Sort of a Cylon version of Flatliners.

      I suspect what D’Anna is experiencing is a glimpse inside the mind of a hybrid, which seems (from the dialogue we’ve heard so far) to act as a channel, receiver, or conduit for all Cylons within its range.

      Let’s remember that Ron Moore has a plan too. :) We’ve been shown hybrids for a reason: Caprica Six told Baltar that the Leobens believe the hybrid speech has profound meaning, now Baltar has interacted directly with a hybrid in the presence of the very Three that kills herself every afternoon to have "visions", and one of her dreams includes the bulkhead marked "End of Line", a phrase that we’ve heard the hybrid say.

      This is definitely going somewhere.

      :)

      -Joe

  3. rickyjames says:

    Approaching Zero
    >The Cylon plot seems unrelated at first, but it’s clear that the two lines are heading for a collision fairly soon…

    Au contrair. In addition to the obvious Eye of Jupiter connection we’re building up to, the viewer is obviously meant to compare and contrast Kat and D’Anna’s changing attitudes to facing death. At least, that’s what jumped out at me…

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Approaching Zero

      >The Cylon plot seems unrelated at first, but it’s clear that the two lines are heading for a collision fairly soon…

      Au contrair. In addition to the obvious Eye of Jupiter connection we’re building up to, the viewer is obviously meant to compare and contrast Kat and D’Anna’s changing attitudes to facing death. At least, that’s what jumped out at me…

      Yes, unrelated ‘at first’, but then it becomes clear that they are related and that they’re going to bash into each other soon. With fireworks.

      Boom!

  4. Zarhim says:

    Food Shortage

    — it might have been nice if the food shortages had been mentioned last week as a growing problem —

    I got the impression that it was a recent issue, because they were discussing rations that were found to be contaminated and after dividing the good from the bad, finding the rest were shot as well.

    • Timeshredder says:

      editing
      The problem and development in this episode were good, but in some ways I found last week’s held together better. I found this week’s a bit choppy, or perhaps I should say, "jumpy."

      • Kaki says:

        Re: editing

        The problem and development in this episode were good, but in some ways I found last week’s held together better. I found this week’s a bit choppy, or perhaps I should say, "jumpy."

        I had the same feeling. That maybe time constraints ate the flow of this episode. I think it would have made a better two parter. It would have let the food shortages build tension longer, give some time to develop more than half a care about Kat (which I never did before or during this episode, so the events involving her didn’t much matter, AFAIC), play up the lack of other options (maybe have the president put up another great number on the white-board, countdown of days until people start starving).

        On a different line of thought. I would like to see more of what goes on out in the fleet. On "normal" days as well as during times when they are hit with something like the threat of starvation.

Comments are closed.