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Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Unfinished Business’ And ‘The Passage’


This is the 23rd in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘A Measure Of Salvation’ And ‘Hero’” here.

Spoilers ahead.

“Battlestar Galactica” is so filled with flashbacks that they occasionally seem like a writing crutch. “Unfinished Business,” however, requires them to move forward from the New Caprica storyline. As noted in prior recaps, Galactica’s strength is its reliance on character. “Unfinished Business” has enough character to seem soapy, were it not for the subtlety of the performances.

“The Passage” is the story of Kat’s death. It is a tribute to the series that even tertiary characters are sufficiently explored to make this a story worth telling. “The Passage” is a star exit for Luciana Carro, though presumably an actress with a recurring series role might prefer to remain.

‘Unfinished Business’

Boxing matches are the focus of “the dance,” during which Galactica’s crew fights without issues of rank. Adm. Adama explains to Pres. Roslin the tradition lessens grudges.

At the outset, Apollo boxes with Helo, which seems motivated by Apollo’s continuing efforts to get back into shape. The event begins fulfilling its purpose when Adama sees Tyrol allowing a crewman to watch the fights before finishing his duties. Adama climbs into the ring, removes his tunic and challenges Tyrol to join him.

Adama unexpectedly scores a quick knockdown. Tyrol rises and eventually puts Adama on the ropes as the round ends. In his corner, a bloodied Adama tells Roslin and Dr. Cottle he intends to continue, but not win. During this match, Adama recalls he initially refused Tyrol’s request that he and Cally be allowed to settle on New Caprica – in part because of Cally’s pregnancy, but mostly for military preparedness.

Adama’s attitude softened while attending the New Caprica settlement’s groundbreaking ceremony. Adama spent the evening with Roslin, drinking, smoking and discussing her plan to build a cabin; the romantic tension was palpable. Afterward, Adama granted Tyrol and Cally permission to settle and build a new life.

In the ring, Tyrol puts Adama down for the count. When Tyrol and Tigh (as referee) help Adama to his feet, he tells the crowd he let his guard down and let the crew become too close to him; he will not permit laxity in the future. Adama’s speech throws cold water on the spectators. Tigh announces the end of “the dance,” but there is an unanticipated main event.

Starbuck, after rebuffing another attempted reconciliation by Anders, arrives at the end of Apollo’s match with Helo. Starbuck goads Apollo into a match, climbing into the ring following Tigh’s announcement. Apollo follows, with both Anders and Dualla among the remaining spectators.

As they fight, both pilots recall their unresolved feelings for each other, which came to a head after the New Caprica groundbreaking ceremony. With their fiances missing, Starbuck took Apollo to the field where she planned to build her home.

One thing led to another, meaning sex. Starbuck wondered what they should do. Apollo said they should reveal their true feelings to Dualla and Anders. He shouted his love for Starbuck to the sky and had her do the same.

The next morning, Apollo awakened to find Starbuck gone. When Apollo returned to the settlement, Adama told him that he missed Starbuck’s snap marriage to Anders.

In the ring, the pilots exhaust themselves into a standing clinch, with whispered admissions that they missed each other. Anders leaves as Dualla lowers her head.

‘The Passage’

The rag-tag fleet’s grain supply is contaminated, leaving as little as six days of untainted food.

Athena locates a planet with algae that can be processed into a food substitute. The planet is on the far side of a radioactive star cluster so large that ships will have to make a FTL jump into it before jumping to the planet.

The cluster is turbulent and has low visibility; civilian ships must be escorted by Raptors and Galactica. Pilots are issued radiation badges that turn black at maximum safe exposure.

Following a briefing on the mission, Kat is approached by Enzo (G. Patrick Currie), who calls her “Sasha” and tries to enlist her in apparently criminal activity. Kat rejects him, but clearly knows him.

The fleet begins five rounds of passage through the cluster. Several ships get lost inside the cluster, including one assigned to Kat. Between flights, Starbuck overhears another conversation between Kat and Enzo. Confronted by Starbuck, Kat admits she previously smuggled drugs and criminals. She even stole the “Kat” identity shortly before the Cylon attack on the Colonies.

Starbuck observes that human smuggling may be how Cylons infiltrated humanity. Kat, pleading that no one knew about humanoid Cylons then, begs Starbuck to let her confess to Adama personally.

Kat breaks down under the stress of the accusation, guilt over losing a ship, and the radiation itself (her hair is falling out). She has sex with Enzo, then steals Helo’s radiation badge to conceal her exposure level.

During the next flight, Kat remains in the cluster until she finds and escorts her assigned ship to the planet. She returns to applause on the hangar deck, where she collapses. In the sick bay, Starbuck apologizes to Kat and provides her a bottle of sleeping pills, “in case she needs them.” Adama also visits, telling her he is reappointing her to CAG. He is uninterested in hearing Kat’s confession.

The pilots commemorate Kat’s promotion in the ready room. But afterward, Starbuck pins a photograph of Kat up on the wall commemorating the dead.

On the Cylon Basestar, Baltar ponders Three’s odd behavior, which is also troubling Caprica Six. Baltar deduces that Three is having a Centurion execute her repeatedly. Three tells Baltar that when she is shot, she sees the faces of the Final Five models of Cylon. Yet she resurrects with only fragmentary memories and cannot say whether Baltar is among the Final Five.

Baltar and Three visit the ship’s Hybrid. When Baltar puts his hand into the liquid surrounding her, the Hybrid grabs his arm and delivers a cryptic message. Baltar and Three believe the message refers to the “Eye of Jupiter” – a planet in the shadow of a star cluster that marks the path to Earth.