Saturday, December 9

TV Recap: Battlestar Galactica - The Passage

Source : TV Blend

This week’s episode of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ might seem familiar to long time fans. That’s because “The Passage” is a mirror image of the season one episodes “Act of Contrition” and “You Can’t Go Home Again.” In a way that few other shows can, a plotline is retold with a fresh perspective and as much heart as before. The rehashed story could be construed as a copout by the writers, but the parallels between Starbuck and Kat are appropriate and masterfully handled. Also of note is that in season one the mission was to find water, this time around mankind is searching for food.

After the food supplies are contaminated, the fleet is in desperate need of replenishing the stock. Luckily a planet is found with algae that can provide relief. The problem is a star cluster that must be gotten through to obtain the food. The high radiation levels and blinding light provide a nearly insurmountable obstacle for the fleet. After it’s determined that the only viable way to deliver the algae is to lead the civilian ships through the cluster, the Galactica pilots are tasked with the job of leading them to the food and back out to safety.

Athena, being a Cylon and presumably able to withstand higher radiation levels, goes out and finds a way through the star cluster. She informs Adama that a series of jumps would be needed. Apollo and the Admiral come up with a plan to make five round trips in which to complete the mission.

After Apollo and Starbuck brief the pilots we get our first glimpse into Kat’s past. Some civilians are on Galactica hoping for food. One of them recognizes Luanne, calling her by the name Sasha. Kat tells him that she is no longer Sasha, informing him, “Sasha and you were a long time ago.” To which the man responds, “No more hanging with the sinners, huh?”

She takes him somewhere private to talk and asks him what he wants. He says he’s looking for a business partner, but she tells him to stay the frack away. The man, in a seedily passive aggressive way, threatens Kat by saying, “If they knew what you really are, you could get kicked out of the service. Do you think I want that?…If that happens, who’s going to feed me?” Kat tells him she has no food to give, and he asks when it became a crime to take care of your own.

On the first jump through the star cluster Hot Dog loses the civilian ship he’s responsible for. Apollo orders everyone to jump, and frustrated, Hot Dog makes the jump leaving The Adriatic behind. The next jump we see is the fourth, and this time it’s Kat who loses her ship. She too is forced to jump without the civilians. When they return to Galactica the weariness is evident on everyone, especially Kat. As the pilots are leaving Starbuck notices Kat having an altercation with the mystery man. So, being the take-charge woman she is, Kara questions him.

In a brilliant scene, Kara confronts Kat. Luanne informs Starbuck that she took the name Luanne Katrine from a dead girl right before the attack on Caprica. She was a drug runner. Kat defends herself by saying they were just truckers, “We just moved stuff.” “People,” Kara responds, “You see some think, that that’s the way the Cylon’s infiltrated Caprica…They used criminals to get to the capital. Anyone who is found guilty of helping the Cylons, is considered a traitor.” Kat says they never carried Cylons because no one knew they could appear like humans. Kara questions how, if that were the case, she knows for sure. When Kat asks if she’s being called a traitor, Starbuck says no. “You’re a smart young woman. That’s what the Old Man said….You lied your way into the company of good people.” Kat pleads with her to let her be the one to tell Admiral Adama about her past.

If the parallels between this episode and the two part “Act of Contrition” and “You Can’t Go Home Again” were not apparent before, they are blatant at this point. It appears that Kara is being overly harsh on Kat, which may even seem appropriate. But back in season one Starbuck went through the same ordeal. She had to confront her past, admitting to Adama that she passed Zack (his son who was killed) through flight school even though he had no feel for flying. Kara knows what it is to have such a weight bearing you down as you try to perform your duties. She also knows what it’s like to let the Admiral down. Rather than being vitriolic in her attitude towards Kat, she is actually helping her. Starbuck challenges Luanne to look at herself and accept what she’s done. Or as Kara so succinctly put it, “You’re just not smart enough to accept what you are.”

At first it appears Kat has betrayed her newfound self, because she goes to her former partner and embraces him. But later she redeems herself. Kat, who’s been through a few jumps into the radioactive star cluster, is losing her hair. The patch that informs her of radiation levels is black, indicating that her exposure has been high. On the last of the jumps, she once again loses her civilian ship.

Instead of returning as ordered, Kat stays out looking for the ship. After a few tense moments she jumps back to Galactica with the civilian ship, announcing, “Mission accomplished.” The toll her body has taken from the radiation is critical She collapses and is brought to the infirmary.

Kat asks to see Kara because she doesn’t want things to end the way they did between them. Kara tells her, “Everybody is stuck with the things they’re not proud of.” She apologizes for what she said before. Starbuck then gives her a bottle of sleeping pills, telling her, “Enough. So take them if you want.” Clearly indicating that they’re to be used if she wants to kill herself rather than suffer the pain of radiation sickness. Kara looks at Kat, and voice breaking simply says, “I gotta go.”

Adama then comes in to see Kat. He informs her that he’s making her CAG again. Before she allows him to do so Kat wants to tell him the truth about herself. Adama, like Kara, has been here before. He knows that what she has to tell him is not important. Adama tells his new CAG, “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’re going to say doesn’t change that.” He then pulls up a chair, intent on staying with her.

Sadly, Kat’s redemption doesn’t result in a miraculous recovery as Starbuck’s did when she flew a Cylon Raider off the planet she crashed on. Kat, the newly made CAG, passes away. In honor of her, Kara pins Luanne “Kat” Katrine’s picture on the memorial wall.

This week also put us back on the Cylon Base Star with Baltar, a plotline that was sorely missed in the last episode. Unfortunately, this part of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ story is moving very slowly. But the little we get is still really good.

When D’Anna wakes up to leave, she tells Baltar she has things to do. He says, “I’ll never understand what you Cylons do all day. Running around this ship like fleas. I wonder where she’s off to then.” Caprica Six tells him that he’s not the only asking that. She tells Baltar that D’Anna is going off and doing “things.” What sort of things? That’s exactly what he asks.

He seeks out D’Anna to ask her where she’s been. She tells him she was in a meeting with a Simon discussing the next step towards Earth. Not believing her Baltar asks, “If I spoke to the relevant Simon, he’d actually ascertain you were at this meeting?” He then tells her he knows she’s been going off doing “things.” Noticing the goo in her hair, he realizes she’s been killing herself over and over.

D’Anna and Baltar talk about what she’s been doing. She reveals that during the resurrection she sees the faces of the final five Cylons. D’Anna asks why he wants to know about the final five, Baltar tells her he could be a Cylon. Then he goes on to reveal what is probably his deepest wish. “I would stop being a traitor to one set of people, and be a hero to another. I’d have a place to belong. You would help me understand my destiny.” He then asks if she’s seen his face. The images she sees are not clear though, and she’s been trying to draw them. She tells him, “It’s rubbish, I don’t remember.” Baltar then informs her that both humans and Cylons are just trying to figure out who they are.

After this discussion Baltar and D’Anna go to see The Hybrid aboard the ship. Intent on finding out what he can, Baltar reaches into the pool she lays in and she immediately grabs his arm. The seeming gibberish she speaks is not the ramblings of a crazed mind at all, as Baltar discovers. When D’Anna says The Hybrid just speaks nonsense, Baltar replies that he doesn’t think anything said is nonsense. “The husband of the eye. The eye? Hera. Hera, sometimes referred to as cow eyed Hera. The husband of Hera is [Jupiter].” He figures out that what The Hybrid is talking about is a location, and in order to discover the five faces of the remaining Cylons they have to find the planet in the shadow of a hand. Ironically, he thinks the planet will be near a star cluster. It’s not revealed whether or not the humans are already at that location.

I honestly don’t think I’ll cease to be amazed by the simple way the writers introduce such complexity through Baltar’s inner struggle to know who he is. In a way, it’s a larger version of Kara and Kat’s story. There’s a great personal moment between Col. Tigh and Admiral Adama that I’d be remiss to not mention in this recap. While discussing the personnel and problems facing them they discuss what’s going on. The people want food immediately and don’t understand the algae must be processed. Adama asks if the people are actually eating paper. Tigh responds, “No. Paper is in short supply.” This elicits laughter from both men that comes from their weary souls. It’s a funny and subtly poignant moment as these two old friends connect once again.

So, what did you think of the episode? Is Baltar a Cylon? And will his redemption result in the savior of mankind or the Cylons?


Rob Robinson said...

Great paragraph about the Adama and Tigh moment. My wife and I laughed out loud watching them. I'll be curious to hear the podcast because I wonder if that moment was improvised. It seems so natural and real.

I hope Baltar is not a Cylon. I think it's too simple a solution for such a complicated character.

Blade Runner said...

Sorry I don't see any parallels with any of the season one eps, of course people in the fleet have a past. Each time we visit a characters past will it be measured against AOC or YCGHA

MG11 said...

The season 1 episode had a desperate search for water. The Passage was a desperate search for food (parallel 1).

The season 1 episode involved something from Kara's past coming out and her fear realized as Adama rejected her when he found out what she did (passing Zak). She then goes on a mission that nearly gets her killed and earns Adama's forgiveness in the process.

In The Passage, we learn that Kat has been hiding her past from people. Her fears are realized when Kara finds out and rejects her. She then goes on a mission that inevitably gets her killed but earns both Kara AND adama's forgiveness in the process. (parallel 2)

I think the parallels are pretty straight-foward here. Its more than just characters having a past. That part is obvious. Its the fact that when Kara was put in the same position Adama was in with her, she behaved the same way he did (lashing out at Kat, making her feel bad) but when Kat is on the verge of death, Kara comes around and realizes what's in the past is in the past just as Adama did.

Rewatch Water and Act of Contrition from season 1 then watch The Passage and you'll see it.