Podcast:The Passage

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"The Passage" Podcast
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore
Terry Dresbach
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Teaser

Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I am Ronald D.- this is Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica. And we're here to do the podcast for episode nine of season three, "The Passage". There will be no Scotch, no smokes today. I am not well. (Chuckles.) But such is my dedication that here I am doing my podcast anyway. Yes, yes, yes. Let's all pat me on my back for doing my fuckin' job. (Coughs.) Anyway.

"The Passage" is an interesting show. It's one of the, I think, one of the most harrowing shows that we've done in quite a while. There's ref- internally, we talked a lot about its similarities in tone and mood on this particular show to, all the way back to "33". No, it's not really another "33", but certainly in the sense of desperation, the exhaustion, and the fatigue, and the continuing toll that it takes on the pilots is similar in that regard.

This episode was written by a freelancer for us, named Jane Espenson. Jane is someone that we're very excited to have do an episode for us this season. Jane, some of you may know her work from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other things. I actually remember when [impersonating old man] Jane started in this business way back when she was but a lass and I was much younger. Yes. [resumes normal voice] She came into pitch a story to Star Trek when I was there and we ended up buying it and that's when I first had the pleasure of meeting Jane and I tracked her career from afar over the years and never got a chance to really ever work with her again but she was doing a deal at Universal Television and we heard that she was really excited about the idea of doing an episode of Galactica and become a huge fan of the show and so we jumped on the opportunity to have Jane write one for us. (Coughs.) It turned out very well.

This story, actually, is very similar to the story that we started out with. The idea was to do a, literally a passage. We wanna do something that was demonstrating the Fleet's survival problems, the problems of food, and also do a gauntlet that the Galactica and the rest of the rag-tag Fleet had to go through back and forth. So breaking that down into some components. One of the things that I've always liked keeping into the show and integrating whenever possible are the realities of their situation and the difficulties of surviving out in the universe without any means of support other than the ships that you brought with you and the occasional odd planet you might find something on. So what we did here was, we said, "Ok, when they left New Caprica, let's assume that they had some food." That there were food supplies in some of the ships. There were probably emergency supplies on the ships in orbit. I'd say that there was some planning had been done and that they weren't just com- taking off completely without anything in their hands. So that got them through the initial stages of the escape after "Exodus". And let's also assume that there is some kind of food processing facility. That they have some methods of keeping foodstuffs going, of generating sustenance from some kind of materials, some kind of organic material. But let's say now, for this episode, that something's happened to that supply. We'd had this notion kicking around the writer's room for quite a while that at some point let's do the show where there's- something has attacked the food supply and suddenly, you thought you had all this- all these reserves and all this stuff sitting in various cargo holds and then you find out that it's all gone and suddenly you're on the verge of starvation and you weren't prepared for it and how would that impact everyone and what would they do? (Coughs.) And so that was the basis of this episode.

The notion of going through a gauntlet was- it's something that has tooled around in my mined now and again, and I think it's come up in the writer's room every once and a while. It's a desire to play the Galactica like ship- Galactica, the rag-tag fleet like naval vessels. Which is, one of the key metaphors in the show is that we treat the Galactica like an aircraft carrier. We treat the other ships like ships in a naval sense. We're always moving back and forth across the line about when they're spaceships, when they're not. This one is a melding of the two. The spaceship quality of them is emphasized by the fact that the food supply is suddenly destroyed and they have to suddenly scramble to make up for the shortfall, and then the naval aspect of it is to do the passage through the storm, which is essentially what this is. We- at Star Trek we had done a couple of stories where the Enterprise had to pass through various space phenomena and you always liked to treat those like the ship at sea. I mean, there's always something evocative and interesting about the roots of these kinds of dramas can all be found in sea stories. These are sea yarns, on some level. (Sniffle.) The plots, that is. And to do an episode like this is to really go into that oeuvre. (Sniffle.)

That's the end of the tease.

Act 1

The pa- "The Passage" story on Galactica changed very little from story outline to what was finally presented. (Phone rings.) I mean, there's a lot of rewrites- Oh I'm- sorry about that, folks. Can't turn off the phone, unfortunately. Not from where I am. (Sniffle.) So you'll just have to suffer through hearing it ring incessantly. Oh. They stopped calling. Anyway. "The Passage" story on Galactica didn't change that much. I mean, we did a lot of internal rewrites, obviously. A lot of scenework. A lot of manuevering around of the Kat story and Kara's impact on it, and so on. But the basic contours of that storyline were pretty much intact.

This storyline on the Cylon baseship did go through several major changes. This was going to be- it was gonna involve the baby Hera a lot more, we had a great deal more dealing with the impact of D'anna sleeping with Baltar and Caprica-Six, how that was causing division within the Cylon world. That the other models were starting to go, "What's up with the Sixes and with the Eights? They seem to be sleeping with Baltar? Where's that going? He's causing problems." And then those model were getting defensive. Essentially, it was starting to portray Cylon society as starting to come a bit unraveled and starting to have problems because of the entry of Baltar into that world, which I thought was interesting. But it took up a lot of time and we kept having to pare back that storyline.

The other tale that was in this episode that ulitmately did not see the light of day was a long- was a Laura story, which I really can't talk too much about, other than to say that there are elements of that story that subsequently found their way into episodes much later in the season. So, that's why I can't really talk about them too much in this podcast, but when we get to those episodes I'll try to harken back to the halcyon days of yore when we were doing episode nine.

(Coughs.) Sorry.

There was something about having the danger be radiation as a visceral fright in the episode that I thought was an interesting way to go and very effective. Radiation has that special invisible terror, I think, in people. I think it's really- if you're in the room where there's radiation or you're in the city that's been irradiated, all those sorts of ideas, I think, really strike those of us who grew up in the Post-war world with a special kind of fear and resonance. The idea of the hair falling out and all the stages of radiation sickness I think hold a special terror for the audience and so I wanted to make that the real villain in the episode. The radiation was gonna get 'em as they went back and forth.

There was a great deal of discussion on the technical aspects of this show, and while I am sure that there are continuity errors, or maybe some unscientific things that made it into the show, all I can tell you is that a lot of conversation went into how these things work and exactly what we were gonna portray, and what were the mechanics of getting through the cluster. I had extensive conversations with Michael Nankin, the director, who's directed several of these episodes for us. At one point it was going to be that the planet was g- that the planet that they're going after was going to be inside a star cluster itself, so you would have to get all the way inside of this cluster to even find the planet. And ultimately we went away from that because that setup certain problems for subsequent episodes. When- [9:11] By the end of this episode, I'm not giving anything away, this is the podcast afterall, we do realize the Cylons are heading to the same planet where Galactica is. You didn't want a situation where the people on Galactica and down, they had to leave that planet. We had to, like, repeat the passage. You didn't wanna have to like do the passage all over again, just to get out of that situation. And as we struggled with the technical parameters of it, talked- we talked a lot about star cluster, we talk a lot about novae, we talked a lot about, oh, just, every imaginable kind of space phenomenon. We settled on this idea of the cluster and making it a true passage and just positing that the cluster was so large and so vast that there were limits to what these people can do, technically. To get all- to go all the way around this thing was gonna take too long. They would not have time to literally go around to get to this planet and get the food, and the only way to do it in the time allowed was to actually pass through. We also posited, ok, Galactica herself is shielded, heavily shielded, she's- can take a hit from a nuke, afterall, so people inside Galactica will probably be safe from the radiation. People on the civilian- the civilian ships weren't designed for that. They would have some shielding for random space radiation of various kinds, but probably would shield their cockpits the most. The storage compartments and so on would not be as well shielded. Their navigational sensors would not be as good as Galactica's, etc. etc., etc. So, I'm only bringing this up to emphasize the fact that all these underlying technical issues are discussed at length in all the production meetings and script the script's story stage, and so on. And even so I'm sure there are mistakes.

This story with Kat. We talked early on about the idea that if you're gonna do a show like "The Passage", there had to be a price to pay, to give it meaning. Going through something this harrowing and watching just some day-player person who we've never met before show up and then conveniently die just wasn't gonna have a lot of meaning. It would not really have an impact. And we started talking, unfortunately, about Kat and we all sparked to the idea that this would be Kat's sendoff in the show and that she would die in this. And there was something poetic about it. There was something perfect about it. And we were conflicted. That's the end of act one.

Act 2

And then we've watched her grow into her own and become a rival for Kara and become this- become a real pilot. She was the CAG during the year and a quarter when everyone was on New Caprica. (Sniffle.) So she's a real member of the crew. A trusted member of the crew, if not a loved member of the crew, at least somebody that is respected and fits right in as accepted as one of us. And we talked about if she dies, that hasn't been- that's a big story. That's an impact. And that that would be a real loss to take. And it's also that sense of whittling through the pilots that you just see over, and over, and over again in this show that the pilots in that ready room, their mortality is always there with them, and losing one occasionally, or two, or having these tragedies befall our core group of pilots tends to make that an honest assessment and really keep us online in terms of what the show is and what the situation is for these people.

This line with D'anna and Baltar. This is starting to really open up doors to where the show is going, in terms of this season and beyond. That the mythology that we're starting to unravel is the reason to do the Cylon baseship storyline this season. D'anna starts seeing things between the moment between life and death. She starts to realize that there is something there, and what does that mean? And what does it have to do with the final five? And so on. And where is that all going?

Back on Galactica. This story with Enzo. There was more to this story with Enzo. In early drafts there was- he was- and I think as shot he was blackmailing her for food. He was going to tell people the truth about who she really was and in return for his silence she was going to be getting- swiping and getting him other food rations in various ways and feeding him, essentially. That it was all about food and he was starving and he was using this as extortion to come out ahead. (Sniffle.) We played around with versions of it. It never quite came into focus entirely. I think that- I think it was probably an in- a more interesting idea in concept than it was in execution. His most valuable role in the piece is really to tell us that Kat is not who we thought she was. And his role as the villain, or the blackmailer, or the problem, in an active way in the show became less and less interesting. So now we pared the Enzo line back to the point where he's essentially just the mystery person out of the past that comes in, delivers an implied threat to Kat, and then reveals who she really is to Kara later. And in that role he serve- he's fine, but I'd rather- I wanted to make time in the episode for moments like the one you're watching now, with Tigh.

Tigh's return to CIC. And playing these beats. And really staying out there in the corridor with Tigh while he adjusts his eyepiece. And playing this whole big walkthrough into CIC. And the slow applause. And all this. This all takes time. And this is often the problem in the show. You've often heard- you've heard me talk a lot about the shows always being long, and having to cut back and make these kind of hard choices, and cutting story points or cutting characters and doing those kinds of things. It's because the show wants to be about this. This is- or at least this is what I want the show to be about. I wanna spend those extra seconds in the corridor with Tigh, and I wanna watch him walk in the door, and I wanna see the applause, and I wanna play the moment and the emotion of it and play the character beat. And I'm willing to sacrifice certain plot elements and certain storylines in order to do that. Because I think that's what the show is all about. Usually there's various axioms that they tell you in writing, especially writing in television and film. It's like, "Oh, cut all the entrances and the exits." Which means, you write the scene and somebody enters through the door. "Well, cut that. Just cut into the scene. And don't see them exit. Just cut out of the scene." And you do that. Those are tricks to trim up sequences and trim up scenes and tighten for pace, and so on. But there are times you just want to preserve that. There's times when I want to see the guy walk in the room, because it makes a point. I wanna see the guy wait outside the door, because it makes a point. You could have easily cut into Tigh already in CIC and just have, "Welcome back," or cut in on the applause and he's standing at the table- excuse me. And all that would've been fine, but it's- to me it's not as heartfelt and it doesn't quite root you in the point of view of the character like it does to spend the extra time with him.

Ok. Again, incredible kudos go to our visual effects team who worked their little asses off on all these sequences in "The Passage". This is a very complicated show. There's a lot of visual effects in the show. There's a lot of matching of ships. There's a lot of geography. Marrying up the Raptors to each pi- the Raptor to each ship that it's escorting. All the reversals, etc., etc. It was a long process. I think David Eick and I drove the visual effects guys crazy because we were slow getting them some notes and then we were changing things and we kept changing cut and these guys are- they have to deliver their visual effects on- to- at a certain point in order to make the airdate. (Sniffle.) And we definitely pushed 'em a bit on this episode. But I think that it finally does come through. I think the idea of being lost in this blinding storm of material and trying to find that ship you're looking for comes through powerfully. It's very visual. Again, I think- I don't know what I was going to say. See? I shouldn't do these while I'm sick. (Sniffle.)

I like that little beat of the blistering of the Galactica letters on the hull is a nice touch they came up with.

We lost- yeah. Hotdog loses a ship this time. Kat loses a ship next time. I think there was always planned to be three- to dramatize three jumps through. The first one where you see the danger, the second one where you see how bad it's gotten, and then the third one where Kat makes the sacrifice. And it's the old thing about threes working usually really well in drama, much like three act structure does. And it just- it lent itself really well to the rhythm of the story that we were doing here.

Act 3

Have the algae (sniffle) to produce food as unpalatable as it may be. (Sniffle.)

You'll notice that everyone's flying Raptors here. That's 'cause Rap- only Raptors have the ability to Jump, and that was an important story point. We had to rejigger some- I've continually evolved my thinking on the Raptors and the Vipers. At first I wanted to keep a bright line between the two. That you're a pilot and you specialize in Vipers or you specialize in Raptors and you don't really crossover. But as the show go- went on there just became more and more circumstance where I just wanted Apollo or Kara, somebody, to be in a Raptor. Served the story better. And I felt that, ok, I can start to cheat that line a little bit because I started to believe, well, ok, now they're in a unique situation. These guys would have tremendous incentive to learn how to fly a Raptor, and they would take the time and they would train to do all these things.

I love this little sequence constructed here, in the editing room and by the director, of the pilots coming out and the looks on their faces, and that beat you just saw a moment ago of Hotdog vomiting as he stumbles across the deck is one of my favorite shots of the show. It just says so much.

There was another little storyline, I should mention, that was shot and cut, that involved Helo. Helo, I thought, would be an interesting guy to play as he's the one who's really deathly afraid of radiation because he was on Caprica, Cylon-occupied Caprica, for all those months and dealing with radiation as his constant companion and having to give himself shots all the time and so, there was a fear. I can feel that there was a fear in his bones of facing that again. And so there were sequences of him talking to Sharon, him being afraid to get back in the cockpit, him forcing himself to do it, trying to gut it out and get back in there and deal with it. But ultimately those all went away as well.

This is a nice little sequence, too. See this is another little piece that, to me, conveys the texture and the mood of the show while- even though it doesn't advance the plot too much. So again, I chose to keep this kind of a scene in there with Apollo talking to his pilots and giving you a sense of what they're all going through and the toll it's taking on them and see Apollo leading his men. That seemed more important to me than certain other plot details like Enzo exactly, or the beat with Helo, even though it's more of a character beat. (Sniffle.) But these are the kind of choices that you make. It's what kind of show do you want it to be? What's the story you're trying to tell? What are the emotions that are important in the episode, to you? And then deciding to go with those moments as opposed to maybe the more conventional ones or the ones that explain everything or sometimes even just like chucking other plotlines entirely, just in favor of giving the sense of what you're trying to convey. (Sniffle.)

This scene I like a lot, too. This also- this reminds me a bit of the scene in "33". The mood and the context is very different. It reminds me of that beat in "33" where Adama shaving and Tigh is sitting on his coat and eating his noodles. It was funny and the audience was referring to the characters.

This beat I love, just because of the way- I really like the way Eddie laughs in this scene. He's so on the verge of losing his mind. I mean, this just- this really out of control, wacked out quality to his laugh that I just- I just love it. (Sniffle.) "Still eating paper?" "Paper shortage." (Laughs.) Mike starts to- Michael starts to go and Eddie just goes. That just makes me laugh. (Chuckles.) There's something about just the complete absurdity of it all and just how it's completely fucked they really are. (Laughs.) If everyone saw these guys just going- "Not a good sign." I love it. (Laughs.) (Sniffle.) It's great.

Played around with time here. Kara- this is actually a scene from earlier in the show. It was structured to be seen earlier in the show. Where Kara gets in the Raptor, looks up, sees Enzo and Kat up on the catwalk (sniffle). Kat on the catwalk. This was actually gonna be much earlier in the show, before they had even gone through the passage. But the way it worked out it- I wanted that moment of Kara clocking Enzo to be much closer to the moment when she actually confronts Enzo so subsequently I shifted all of that down the line. That Enz- Enzo and Kat up on the catwalk, I can't believe I keep saying that, you saw them, they confront each other, and then they go off- they go through that hatch, and that used to lead directly to the scene that you've already seen where they're in the ladder and they're talking (sniffle). Or the downshot looking at the ladder and you see them talking down there.

These scenes were also- the D'anna-Baltar scenes were also longer. They had more texture to them. There were more dissolves. There was more, like, discussion of the final five, and what they might have- what she might have seen, and what it could all mean, and her dreams, and all that. And it was really nice stuff but again, this was an area I chose to truncate and chose to make much, much smaller as we went through the show. (Sniffle.)

I like the emerging relationship here between Baltar and this other Cylon woman. That sh- that what she sees and gleans from Baltar is very different than what Caprica-Six gets from Baltar, and yet it's a legitimate relationship in its own right. And of course we, the audience, know that Baltar is after his own agenda here, trying to find out if he's a Cylon, of all things. (Sniffle.)

Yeah, here's Enzo just being slimy with some other woman. (Chuckles.) It's interesting. One of the changes in this season was the ability to have civilians onboard the Enter- on board the Enterprise. I almost said it. (Sniffle.) The ability of having civilians aboard the Galactica really opened a door to stories like this where you could justify having these people aboard to do stories, and we capitalize on that a lot more this season.

This scene we cut pretty substantially into. This scene opened with a longer conversation and argument between Kat and Kara. Kara was really going after her and yelling at her and busting her balls about something and then Kat coming back at her and there was a little bit of shoving. And then there was a beat where Kat was walking away and Kara said, "Where ya going, Sasha?" And then Kat froze and sat down and knew that she was busted. And it was nice. I liked it all but in the- as we were looking for cuts there was a way to just cut into the moment, 'cause you knew where it was going. You knew that she wasn't who you thought she was, and you knew that Enzo knew that, and that he had told Kara, so you could take the journey all the way to the point where she's sitting down and she's already admitted the truth.

I also like this storyline because it was, again, it plays into the premise of their society was wiped out. That the people on our ship just happened to be caught on these ships and that's why they survived and it seemed like Kat was the kind of character who took the opportunity to reinvent herself. Noone knows who I am in this world. (Sniffle.) I wanna be somebody else. And I wanna be a Viper pilot. And I'm gonna take this other name and I'm gonna be this other person and noone will ever be the wiser. And she succeeds at that. And succeeds at a (sniffle)- beyond, I think, what even she hoped, and becomes a respected- a good pilot, a good Viper pilot. Becomes the CAG of Galactica at one point. And then her past inevitably catches up with her. And I thought that was a really fun and interesting turn on who she was. (Sniffle.)

There were other scenes, also in this episode. In the earlier, the much earlier, scene in the ready room, when Lee and Kara are briefing the pilots and they're telling them about taking the stims, Kat objects to taking the stims, and rather violently, and after that scene we learn that Kat had gone to Adama with her concern about it. And then Kara was talking to Adama about Kat saying, "She's out of control. She's a problem. We gotta do somethin' about her." And Adama then would bring up the- brought up the point about the stims and- he thinks that she's right about that. And Kara was taken aback. (Coughs.) Sorry. Kara was taken aback, and didn't know what to make of it. (Sniffle.)

Act 4

Ultimately, that went away because I thought- I think one of the problems was it made Kat look petty that she went around Kara and Lee to talk to Adama and I wasn't sure why- that Kat had done anything- had done enough in the scene in the ready room to justify Kara then going and whining to Adama. So it felt like too many characters going to daddy and whining about the other and so it all went away and I felt like it was enough- that we would just accept Adama's connection to her. She talks about it and then the end of the show of course is very powerful about how he feels about her, and so on.

We did go back, when we were shooting pickup scenes for other episodes, one of the pickups that we shot (sniffle)- We were doing a scene. We were picking up some material for ep- for "Exodus", because as I've talked about before, "Exodus", when it got split into two parts, there were a couple of extra scenes that we picked up to insert into those two episodes to bring them to time. One of the scenes that we picked up for "Exodus" and did shoot was a scene of Adama and Kat before the rescue mission. And it was her going down to the hangar deck the night before the mission, looking around her Vipers and Adama catching up to her there. They had a nice little talk where you saw that he believed in her and he told her, explicitly, that he trusted her and that she was CAG and that he had faith in her. And it was this nice little scene that I- we wrote, in part, to set up this episode. In part to connect those two pieces. But ultimately it turned out that we didn't need it in "Exodus", either. It was- we had plenty of other material. That wasn't a very important scene, and we wanted "Exodus" to move a little faster, and so it ended up getting dropped. (Sniffle.) Hopefully all these things are- that I talk about are on the deleted scenes DVD, even as we speak. If they are not, write a letter to Universal Home Video and complain.

See now we're in the- here in the Baltar-D'anna story you're starting to see some of the connections of the mythology starting to line up. What does that mean that their scriptures have meaning to us, and vice versa. What, their Gods our God? How could all these things be? What is the deeper plan that's going.

(Sniffle.) Yeah, the hand. The hand, the five.

All these Hybrid scenes were shot much later. I think I talked about this earlier in another podcast, but the Hybrid was a difficult thing to pull of. We had shot one version of the Hybrid in it's initial episode, saw it, didn't like it. Stopped everything. Did not shoot subsequent Hybrid scenes until we had worked out exactly how it was supposed to be. Then went back, reshot the first Hybrid scene, and then shot all the subsequent ones. So that scene with Baltar and D'anna was shot much, much later than the rest of the episode.

I like this little beat a lot. It's- this is just character. This is just straight-up character and texture of the show, and it doesn't move plot. You know that she's not feeling well. But the hair falling out, the doom signal of radiation sickness, and I think speaks volumes and really puts you in her head and you start to understand that she's probably not gonna make it outta here anyway, at least to her own mind, and then that really informs (sniffle) the decision that she subsequently makes when she loses her ship. (Sniffle.)

Lots of discussion about this radiation badge business. This is one of those things that seems simple and it's like, such a pain in the ass to actually do. The badge is sp- that, we had to go in and color that badge. That badge is supposed to be black, as you can see. Black, meaning, it's completely covered and that she's gotten all the dose that she can survive. On the day, for reasons that I don't understand, it was completely white, so we had to have the visual effects guys go in and painstakingly turn the white badge black in that scene. All the little inserts of badges all through the show had to be either redone a couple of times or the visual effects guys had to tweak them. It was just, like, a long pain in the ass about tracking these badges and how much black they had on them, and had we made the point clear, and couldn't see it in this one, and they shot it wrong here, and do it again, and blah, blah, blah.

This sequence here with Kat and Enzo, and the question, I think, arises of why would she sleep with this guy? This guy betrayed her secret. He's essentially, at least implicit- impli- there's at least an implication that he's blackmailing her still. Why would she have anything to do with him? But there's something about human beings, I think, that reach out and need comfort and need intimacy and they reach out for it in moments of crisis and when they f- when they- when really need a human connection, and I just felt that that's what Kat would do. And in the back of her mind, in some way, she knows she's not coming back from these- from this mission. And I think that's why she has sex with Enzo one last time. (Sniffle.)

Beautiful job of all this stuff with Anthony, our editor on this episode, all the nice walkups, and the montages, and the artful dissolving in and out of all these pieces. See, there's another shot of the covered black badge, which gave us, like, fits. (Sniffle.)

Faru Sadin, I believe is the name of the ship that they're- which we've established a couple of times. (Sniffle.) We had to actually come up with the n- I think I said this before. We had to come up with the names for all the ships for the election. That was the first time that all the ships in the Fleet had to be named. So at the end of "Lay Down Your Burdens", I apologize if I've already said this, but at the end of "Lay Down Your Burdens", when they're doing the election tallies, you see the full board with all the ships actually named for the first time. So that's become our master list of what the ships are actually named.

A question mi- a logical question comes up. If the light is so blinding, coming in those cockpits, and it's so hard to see, why don't they have, like, sun visors? Like, I mean if you see any picture of pilots flying the F-18 or something, they definitely have sun visors to pull down to keep the sun out of their eyes. It's a logical thing, but this is film. (Chuckles.) I need to see the characters' faces. If they all just have, like, reflective visors over their faces I got no scene. I got nothin' to play with, and it's all just a radio show at that point. So that's where you have to- you take the leap on some of these things. It's the same reason why the interior of their helmets is lit up. I mean, there's no reason to have little lights on the inside of their helmets. If anything that would distract the pilot. But it makes it much easier to see the faces of the actor in the helmet, so there's always a tradeoff on some of these things. You try not to make them too obvious. I don't think you think about the sun visor unless you really know something about aircraft and jetplanes. I don't think you think about the lights inside the helmet at all. I think that probably flies past most people, although I'm sure there's some people that it's occured to. (Sniffle.)

Just tremendous visual effects work, as always. I just can't say enough about that department. Visual effects guys are just one of those departments that just never lets you down. They just don't. You throw 'em something, you give 'em no time to do it in. You tell 'em to do it three times and fix it and they just do it. And it's just always good. There's a lot of departments like that on this ship. Ship. On this show, I must say. The art department's like that. I- now see, I can't start singling out all the departments, because I won't be able to name them all and they'll all get pissed at me, but- the visual effects guys are really good and all the other guys are really good too, but I love the visual effects guys. (Sniffle.)

I like this- I- all this texture, all this stuff with the decontamination stuff. Who knows what they're spraying at these ships? The spiderwebbing of the cockpit. The bleeding paint. A lot of that is just done by our production team, by the art department, and props, and set deck, and special effects. And a lot of that isn't even written in the script. It's either discussed with the director or it's textures that they add themselves. I've said this before. They just sweat the- in Vancouver, they just sweat the details. They really sweat the details because of their commitment to the show, and it really improves and it really like takes something that's pretty good and makes it great. In this case all this is really about how this looks visually, and having all the pieces of it. (Sniffle.)

This scene actually continued for another couple seconds. After she fell, they all rushed over to her and they turned her over and the face mask was- the faceplate was broken and her face was bloody, but- and they called for Doc Cottle, but we cut it because it seemed obvious. (Sniffle.)

Again, very, very sad to see Kat go. Unfortunately this is one of those situations where- that the actress actually found out that she was dying before we told her, which is a really big faux pas and a no-no, and I felt very bad about it. It was really just one of those things that fell throught the cracks and David and I just had not actually called her yet and I don't th- it just blindsided us when, suddenly, she got the script and I think it was a friend of hers. She was in an air- I think she- she told me this story. She was in an airport, called home, and a friend was reading the script to her over the phone and she said, "Jump to the end, see what happens?" And she's dead. And she was like, shocked and devastated. It was just, "Oh my God." Then David and I got her on the phone and apologized and explained and said, "Well, oh my gosh. We're so sorry you'd find out that way." It's just like such a nightmare. It's one of those things that ha- that actors live in dread of is that they're going to find out some terrible bit of news like that. This- by just reading it in the script and it's a bad thing to have happen and I st- do this day I still feel very guilty about letting that happen to our little Kat. 'Cause, she was a great, great character and I do miss her in the show. We miss writing for her. But there was something great about this beat with Adama that I think helped it go down a lot better for her. That she was dying with Adama and that in the end he promotes her to CAG, puts her back in that position that she once held. Which I thought was a lovely gesture. It's just a lovely gesture for Adama to do this. It's all symbolic. It has no greater meaning than that. And yet it means everything to Kat, and I think it means something to him, too.

It's so hard. It's such a hard scene to watch.

There was a cutaway here. [39:07] There was a cutaway to a shot of Enzo standing in the doorway to sickbay. You saw him standing there looking in forlornly, and then turning and walking away down the corridor. And we cut it 'cause I felt like, you know what, I don't care about Enzo at this point. And he's done his thing, and he doesn't deserve- we don't even deserve to feel sympathy for him losing her. He's just- he's gone. So we lost him from this. (Sniffle.)

This is all really good stuff with Eddie. He really just- he breaks your heart in moments like this, the way he carries himself and the look on his face. The attitude that he's got. He's there for her. It's not about him. He's not here to preen and be the steady commander for her. He's there just to be with her. He's just giving it all to her, and yet, it somehow increases his own stature in our eyes.

That's like a quasi-autobiographical thing. I'd always- before I had children I always thought of myself as someone that was gonna have girls. Always wanted a house of girls. And I have a boy and a girl. I love my boy- I have two boys, and a girl, actually. I love both my boys. I love my girl. But in the projection ahead of what you think your life is gonna be I thought I was just gonna have a house of girls so I gave that to Adama as well, which felt right, in that he quickly he had adopted Kat and that he adopted Kara before that, and it seemed in keeping with the man that there was something he wanted. To be a father of girls as well. And he had- but he had ended up, ironically, with two sons.

This organizational chart we also had to come up with. We called for it in the script, and never seen it on camera, but I'd seen them in pilot ready rooms on aircraft carriers before and so they had to assign all the pilots suddenly to squadrons and flights, and who were the flight leaders, and all that kind of stuff. But it was fun to have it actually all down in black and white, finally.

It's a nice bit of continuity here in that she puts (sniffle) Kat's picture next to Beano's girlfriend, from "Scar", you might recall. That was the picture that Kat put up there, back in that episode. (Sniffle.)

And then this last little bit with Lee and Kara. I think there was actually- there was another scene. I forgot about this. There was another scene on the Lee-Kara story in the episode, where you saw them in between passages, they were sitting with their backs against a wall on the deck, and they were bouncing a ball off the opposing bulkhead. And through their conversation you realize that they didn't quite know what to do with the feelings that they had dealt with in "Unfinished Business", but now was not the time to really delve into it, but the fact that they were just sitting side by side bouncing this ball off the wall spoke volumes about where they were as a whatever they are. (Chuckles.) Whatever relationship they are. (Sniffle.)

I really like that ending shot. That- it's Lee coming and standing behind her and Kara still looking at the board. It actually did go on a little bit where Kara turned around, Lee saw her, they rushed into each other's arms and Lee held her tight and then we faded from there. But there was something more powerful, I felt, about she's caught up in the moment of Kat and the loss and really feeling it. Allowing herself to feel it for the first time, and then over her shoulder we just see that he's there for her. He appears, he's there for her. He gives her distance and- but it's still her moment, and so that's how I wanted to end the episode. (Sniffle.)

Ok, so that's it for episode nine, "The Passage". (Sniffle.) Next time we will discuss... what will we discuss next time? I can't even remember. "Eye of Jupiter", which would be part one of our midseason finale, our midseason cliffhanger, that will then have to hold you until we come back in January. Thank you all for listening, and I hope you have a happy holidays. Or, no. I guess I'll do one more before the holidays. I'm sorry. I'm so (unintelligible). Good night, and good luck, to all of you.