Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: Michael Nankin
Starring: Luciana Carro, Lucy Lawless
The One Where: They have to cross the star cluster.
The fleet’s food supplies are critically low. A planet with vast quantities of algae holds potential salvation, but it’s on the other side of a star cluster whose lethal radiation stops Dradis from functioning.
It’s possible to cross in two jumps, so each ship in the fleet is assigned a Raptor as a guide. Getting everyone across will take five round-trips, but the dangers involved are soon all too obvious, as Hotdog loses his ship on the first mission.
On the Cylon baseship, Baltar confronts D’Anna about her downloading habit. She explains that she’s seen the faces of the missing five Cylon models, and Baltar demands that she help him learn whether he’s one of them – he thinks it will help him understand his destiny.
We’re now on the fourth outbound trip, and the pilots are suffering from the effects of hunger, fatigue and radiation sickness. The ship Kat is guiding gets lost in the cluster, and she is distraught. On her return to the Galactica, she has an argument with Enzo, a man from her past. Starbuck witnesses the incident and confronts Kat about it. It emerges that Kat used to be a drug runner called Sasha, and she stole the real Louanne Katraine’s identity. Starbuck accuses her of betraying her people, as some believe the Cylons infiltrated the Colonies by hitching rides on illegal smuggling vessels. Kat begs Starbuck not to reveal the secret to Adama.
On the fifth and final trip, Kat loses sight of her ship, but she
is determined not to leave a second behind. Ignoring the call to jump away she rescues the vessel, but receives a fatal dose of radiation in the process. As Kat lies on her deathbed, Starbuck gives her “enough” sleeping pills, before Adama promotes her back to CAG in recognition of her heroism.
After taking a break in the previous, boxing ring-set episode, Galactica’s special effects team return to earn their keep in style. Despite some spectacular scenes of Raptors falling apart in searing bright light, however, “The Passage” is first and foremost a character piece.
Colonel Tigh returns to the CIC, pilots are put through the wringer (just how much vomit can one flight deck take?) and there are even some rare smiles as Tigh and Adama dissolve into laughter at a sublime slice of gallows humour.
It’s just a pity that Kat’s backstory is limited to this one episode, her death taking with it the potential for exploring the underworld she inhabited before the attack on the Colonies. As for the “piano moods” Cylon bits, they feel like an unashamed attempt to set up the next episode. Which is exactly what they are.
Baltar (to D’anna and Caprica Six): “I’ll never understand what you all do all day long, living on this thing like fleas on a cat.”