The last time Battlestar Galactica faced a food shortage was in 1978, in the original series episode, “Those Magnificent Warriors.” The tone then was a lot lighter, with Match Game trollop Brett Somers macking on Lorne Greene’s Adama. That was another time and another Galactica. Today, as the events in “The Passage” demonstrate, the universe is a far darker place to traverse.
A snafu has contaminated the fleetâ€™s food supply, and the 41,000-odd surviving humans are down to the last of their rations. Athena returns from a scouting mission with news of a planet crawling with algae that can be processed into pure protein to replenish the cupboards. One problem: Getting there is next to impossible — a deadly cluster of stars stands between the fleet and their next meal. The only way to navigate the cluster is to send raptors ahead to guide each individual ship in the fleet through the hellish whirlpool of light and radiation emanating from the stars. Five complete round-trip flights will be required to shepherd everyone through. Most of the civilians are relegated to an already overcrowded Galactica, while skeleton crews coordinate maneuvers with the raptors. As can be expected from the Powers That Be, this does little to prevent further loss of life and hardware for the ragtag fugitive fleet.
In the first jump, Hot Dog loses the Adriatic. Does that also mean Tom Zarek is lost forever, since Adriatic was his ship? Kat misplaces another vessel during her fourth foray. The starving pilots, already on the verge of cannibalizing the first civilian who looks at them funny, absorb enough cancerous radiation to leave them puking their guts out and scrambling for black market Rogaine.
A brief interlude to the Cylon basestar fleet reveals that Three is still three-waying with Caprica Six and Baltar, who figures out Threeâ€™s snuff secret. Baltarâ€™s dip in the pool with the Hybrid down in the basestarâ€™s core unleashes a cryptic revelation: The Cylon God and Jupiter, the head of humanityâ€™s polytheistic beliefs, could be one and the same. The Hybrid blathers more mumbo-jumbo about "the Eye of Jupiter," a powerful talisman that figures prominently in next week’s fall finale.
Meanwhile, one of the civvies shuttled over to Galactica outs Kat for being not who she claims. It turns out Kat is really a drug runner named Sasha who pulled a little identity theft to blend into the fleet. Enzo was her supplier. Starbuck shakes the truth out of Kat in yet another of their Alexis/Crystal routines. The druggies, Starbuck informs us, are theorized to have allowed the Cylon skinjobs access into the Colonies because, in addition to controlled substances, they were also peddling flesh. But Kat atones for her past crimes by leading her last vessel to safety through the cluster, at the cost of her own life. Another peripheral regular bites the dust (following Billy, Ellen, Duck, and Jammer), and the fleet suffers more crippling loses. Roslinâ€™s number board is sure to go down plenty during next weekâ€™s opening credits. Ugh.
Let me be frank: I adore Battlestar Galactica. Given my reaction to these two most recent episodes, some might be questioning this claim. Rest assured, I bawled my eyes out when the original series was canceled, and filled with tears again years later when the Sci Fi Channel gave the thumbs-up for a relaunch. Iâ€™ve eaten dinner with Richard Hatch in New York City, peed beside him in the menâ€™s room at a convention, and was invited to his gorgeous home in Hollywood (guarded by a cactus the size of a frakkinâ€™ redwood) for wine and a private screening of the brilliant film trailer he poured his heart, soul, and finances into creating. Since the reimagining, Iâ€™ve fallen in love with Roslin, rooted for Helo to escape Old Caprica, and every time the human race triumphs in its big battles and its small, Iâ€™ve been happily reminded why Iâ€™ve devoted so much of my life to this showâ€™s mythology.
But as with any healthy relationship, my love isnâ€™t blind, and it isnâ€™t offered freely without conditions. Sometimes an episode leaves an ache in the gut, like last weekâ€™s treatise on codependence and physically abusive partnerships. â€œThe Passageï¿½? skirts similar territory. I am still cheering for the humans to triumph against the dangerous forces of the universe, and to make it to the safe harbor of Earth. Letâ€™s just hope thereâ€™s more than a handful of Colonials left when they do.
Next up: The big midseason cliffhanger. The Cylons propose a truce, and sweeten the deal by offering Baltar as one of the incentives.
Related Links and Stories: