Sunday, March 04, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Eye, Eye, Captain Thrace

Big, big, big "Battlestar Galactica" spoilers coming right up. (And a note to folks who haven't seen the episode already and are looking at this on their RSS readers and therefore see the whole entry at once, just stop reading right now. Seriously. You'll be much happier that way. I promise. Look away now. Please. Got that?)

Whoa. I'm not sure which is more stunning: that they killed her, or that they did it in what seems like a completely pointless way.

She didn't go down buying time for some civilian ship trying to get its jump drive on-line to escape the Cylons, wasn't executed for going past insubordination and right into treason, didn't stand on the edge of an erupting volcano with her hands wrapped around Leoben's throat (or Tigh's) and his hands around hers. She died because she had a religious vision at the wrong place and the wrong time. Hell, Kat had a better death.
With a lot of characters, I would be fine with the notion of an unglamorous, stupid demise, but they've built Kara up for so much more than that.

Maybe it has more weight if you care about the mystical/spiritual side of the show, and therefore you assume that Non-Leoben is going to take her on some great voyage of discovery with much cosmic significance. (Even so, this really doesn't feel like it lived up to Leoben's boasts about Kara's great destiny.) I'll grant that there's been enough evidence over the seasons that there are forces at work beyond human understanding, but that's not what I watch "Galactica" for. I watch for the politics, and the military drama, and the character studies, and all of the ways in which the show goes against the skiffy grain, so to have the final fate of one of the show's most fascinating characters tied into one of my least favorite parts of the show is damned frustrating.

After her great arc as Leoben's prisoner/plaything on New Caprica, the show pretty much forgot about Kara (the quadrangle aside, and the less said about that, the better). When I saw the previews for "Maelstrom," I was excited that Moore and company had realized how much they were wasting one of their best assets. Instead, it feels like they ran out of ideas for her and decided having her blow up mid-hallucination would solve everything.

Now, I write all this having not watched the season's final three episodes (though I have a screener of them), without having listened to Moore's podcast, without having checked spoiler boards or anything else. So for all I know, Kara's going to turn up alive and well as the season-ending cliffhanger, or Baltar's trial is going to be intercut with Kara hanging around a ghost version of Galactica with Kat, Duck, Jammer and Socinus, "Grey's Anatomy"-style, or Tigh's going to wake up in the next episode acting strangely like Starbuck (would anyone notice the difference?), or Moore has something else brilliant up his sleeve, in which case I'm more than willing to revise my opinion.

But based solely on "Malestrom," I'm puzzled and not that pleased right now.

What did everybody else think?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm really hoping that there's more to Starbuck than that.. They need to make her one of the Final Five or something because killing her off in such a way and still shoving her "great destiny" down our throats even in this last episode just might turn me off this show for good.

I'm glad Adama smashed the crap out of that boat since it figuratively captured my frustration with this development.

Anonymous said...

There's no way she's permanently gone. They've put far too much effort into her "special destiny." Baltar recognized one of the final five--it could very well be Starbuck. One way or another, she'll be back. But not until next season!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I am totally pissed they cut her out like that. WHAT THE FRACK?!!! I'm speechless. I watch the show because of the cute female cylons, Admiral Adama, and because of the chemistry between lee and starbuck. What the frack were the writers thinking?!!!

I also have to disagree that she will turn up as one of the final 5... That's completely uncharacteristic. Starbuck in the original was an original member of the colonies... an the last time I checked, none of the Cylons are. Also, if "this has all happened before and this will all happen again", as the Cylons continue to prophecy, then there's no way she could be a final 5.

Either way, I'm kinda unsure about whether or not I can continue to be enthuastic about watching anymore. I'm a little hurt right now. Who gives a frack about other episodes. Who wants to watch a dogfight anymore if Kera Thrace isn't gonna be in it? Your thoughts?

Andrew said...

Either Starbuck is really dead (pointlessly). Or (completely unfounded prediction): Kara wakes up in a tub of goo. Not resurrected like a Cylon, but brought back to health by the Cylons. As if she wasn't screwed up enough already. From the story perspective, Kara becomes our POV into the Cylons, until she comes back to Galactica from the dead (and Roslin tosses her out of an airlock :)

But if Moore and Eick just really killed off Starbuck? I give them props for having fracking balls of steel. It's a gutsy choice.

Anonymous said...

Didn't she have her hand on the eject stick right before her ship blew? Didn't Apollo confirm that he saw the Cylon raider? What if Starbuck ejected and was picked up by the raider? That would be a RDM sort of thing...

Velvet said...

...

...

I'm still a mess. My favorite character... even through all the crappy stuff she's done...

I live in De Nile. The water is deep.

Lee definitely did see the Raider, because right before he finds her again the Raider is in his view, then she swings up in front between them. She did have her hand on the eject, but it seemed like she was choosing to face death...

I don't know. I can't believe her whole "destiny" was to die, because that's not special. Will this show the road to Earth? What the hell just happened? I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about it. This is worse than any other show's big character deaths. It makes no sense. I refuse to believe it. She was scooped up by Leoben to face her destiny. This can't be it. I love Starbuck.

Anonymous said...

No way is this the end of Starbuck kids, no way. SHe'll be back for she still has her destiny to fulfill

Anonymous said...

Katee Sackhoff is pregnant so they had to find a way to loose her for the rest of the season...she ejected and was picked up by Leoben in the raider - yes it was there.

She will return in next season's opener.

Tony said...

Alan, Have faith in the power that this show has as one of the most compelling dramas ever aired in television history. It makes all that Law and CSI formulaic pabulum look remedial( exception: The Shield).

You said "I watch for the politics, and the military drama, and the character studies, and all of the ways in which the show goes against the skiffy grain". Me too.

This show seems to kill off more regular characters than The Sopranos. How much more "realism" could you ask for? Besides Anonymous @1:02am was right. I rewinded too check. As heartbreaking as her apparent death was, there's definitely more going on. So everyone, chin up and just be glad you were able to witness one of the greatest series in the history of television.

Anonymous said...

tony-

What regular characters has the show killed off? Billy?

Alex R. said...

Add me to the chorus of those who feel we will be seeing plenty of Starbuck again in the future...whether it was being pulled from ehr ship at the last second by Leoben, or whether it's the tub of goo theory, or whether Kara is actually a Cylon herself (which is something that's possible), I can't believe they would just end Katee Sackhoff's run like that.

If they have chosen to kill her off and no more Starbuck, then Ron Moore should retire now and let someone else run the show. But I do believe she will be back in one of those aforementioned capacities.

Kristin said...

I agree with some of the commenters on here. Starbuck had her hand on the eject lever. Lee saw the raider for a split second. They never did show inside the cockpit when the raider was crushed/crashed/whatever.

She is still alive somewhere. I don't think she is reincarnated as a Cylon. She had a bigger destiny, and in that last scene with her dying mother she pointblack said, "You're not Leoben, are you?" And he told her that he wasn't.

Something else is going on here. They would not set her up for a 'special destiny' and then have her die in this manner without any destiny revealed.

What I liked is that they alluded to nothing at the end of the episode. And nothing in next week's epsiode has anything to do with Kara. They are so going to surprise with something soon!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Her hand was on the eject lever, but she didn't pull it: the canopy was still in place at the time of the explosion, and in Apollo's report to Adama, he said he saw no parachute.

Again, I'm willing to acknowledge that there could be much more here than meets the Eye, but I'd feel better about that if the show hadn't been in a prolonged slump.

Niffer said...

*grumble*

I liked the show, for the most part, until the end. I am going to believe that we will see Starbuck again simply because that was a frakkin pointless death. It'd be one thing if they hadn't built up the whole destiny thing and just showed her as a pilot who'd lost it. But, the storyline buildup makes me think there's gotta be a bigger payoff in the future - either this season's finale, or sometime next season. Otherwise, I'd be PO'ed.

The other part of the ep I didn't like too much was Leoben as Starbuck's Ghost of Christmas Past. That didn't feel right to me. But I missed the line where she asks if he's Leoben. I'll have to watch it again.

Anyone think that Lee's decision to chair the Baltar trial is a reaction to Lee losing one of his best pilots and feeling ilke he failed as CAG?

Niffer said...

Oh, and I forgot to add another complaint. This one is aimed at the marketing folks.

Her death was completely anticlimatic for me. A big part is the whole bid in the ads that someone was going to die. So by the final 5 minutes of the episode, I expected her to die. If I hadn't already known that someone on the show was going to die this episode would have been more dramatic for me.

I also expected her to wake up in goo and discover she was the Imperious Leader or something since someone will discover they're a Cylon.

Danny said...

Even if she had ejected, wasn't the whole point of the "Pull up Starbuck!" thing that the pressure was going to crush her? She ejects, and she still gets crushed.

Kristin said...

Hmmm, you are right, Alan. The canopy was still intact.

As for the comment about it not being Leoben in the scene with the dying mother, I had to turn on my subtitles in order to understand what she said. It was not very clear without them. But she definitely said it. And he definitely told her that, no, he wasn't Leoben.

If she really did have a bigger destiny and her mother kept telling her how special she was, then I have to believe she will be back and she was somehow saved from being killed. And I don't think it was a Cylon thing.

I don't know! But I guess I'll have to wait and hope. There's no way they would have killed off Kara in such pointless way.

velvetcannibal said...

I've been reading more discussion and am still in denial a day later. But some stuff is adding up differently.

I mentioned above that we know the raider was real because we saw it through Lee's field of vision. It was a Heavy Raider, one of those used for transport.

On the second sighting, which was this one, Starbuck disappeared from Dradis. She never reappears on it, and Lee only gets a visual on the Viper.

How do we know that was Starbuck's Viper? Wouldn't it make sense, if Leoben was "coming for her," that the Heavy Raider would lure her away and scoop her up, and a decoy Viper would be sent to be detonated, making it appear that she had died? Starbuck's cockpit was suffused with white light before the Viper we saw began to disintegrate. I'm holding out hope that the Viper we saw reappear in front of Lee was not actually Starbuck's, and she was picked up in the Heavy Raider by Leoben. The decoy blew up so that she would be thought dead, and the Fleet would move on. Thus, Starbuck is alive and still has a destiny to fulfill.

I can't accept her death.

Kat Coble said...

Any of you all watch Grey's Anatomy recently?

Zodin2008 said...

No interest in "Grey's" and I am sure Alan can start a seperate blog for that for those that care.

I know how everyone saw Starbuck 'eject' but I just didn't see it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think Kat was alluding to the same "Grey's" episode -- the one where the main character "died," spent a while in an afterlife version of the hospital, then was brought miractulously back to life -- that I mentioned in the main post.

Kat Coble said...

That I was, Alan. That I was.

The similarities between this episode and that three-episode arc were kind of laughable after a point. All we lacked was Apollo standing around the bridge inanely repeating "But she's my person"

My money is still on the fact that the Eye of Jupiter is some type of wormhole toward earth, and Kara's Destiny was to be the First One Through. We'll all be pleasantly "surprised" when she greets the fleet on the other side.

Not for nothing was much made over the statuette of Aurora--the goddess who renews herself. If they'd alluded to the Phoenix everyone would have gotten it. Aurora is much the same allusion with maybe a bit more subtlety

Zodin2008 said...

sorry!

Dan Coyle said...

"What did everyone else think?"

I think there's a resurrection ship with a very interesting passenger right now.

Jules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jules said...

If she isn't dead, RM is doing a pretty good fakeout on the podcast. If she is truly gone from the show, yeah that's ballsy, but that doesn't make it good.

Erica said...

I'm with Jules here. Just listened to the podcast and it sounds as though this is for real....

and yet, I'm still having a really hard time believing it.

I wish RM would have spent some more time talking about the discussion amongst the writers regarding this decision. I mean, no one in the room wanted a more heroic send-off? No one had a problem with Starbuck killing herself??? I get that there is something woefully tragic about Kara going out like this, but as a fan I am left so completely unsatisfied.

I simply don''t believe that this is all we get of Kara Thrace and her special destiny.

-Erica
...ah well, denial is a long, hard road...

Tom I. said...

It was interesting that in the episode's "previously on BSG" we saw Kara at the Cylon Breeding Farm. That makes me think that Kara was human like the other captives. If she were a Cylon (even one of the unknown models) wouldn't the Cylons have discovered this? It seems too awkward to write around. Is it possible that Kara was human, is now truly dead, and the Cylons will make a new model from her DNA?
And re: the wormhole idea, every time they showed that cloud, I thought they'd pull back to reveal it's resemblance to the Eye of Jupiter, but they never pulled back far enough. It just looked like the showers at the Bates Motel. So I don't think it was a wormhole.
And the Oracle said that Leoben was coming for her. Who Kara saw in her vision was not Leoben. So there is definitely more to Kara's destiny, because that crybaby Oracle is never wrong. So I guess I don't buy that she's really dead.
And where the hell was Amanda Plummer? Did they leave her on New Caprica? Her absence was felt. I love that nutjob.

Jim said...

Oh my gods, they killed Kara! You bastards!

Anonymous said...

never posted before, but found the show so amazing. Kate is working another gig as an ensemble character for NBC pilot,,,,which means she got the green light to do that from BSG...so her BSG part will become smaller at least.

The explosion of her ship may cause another chain reaction in space which leads them on a clear path to earth..that would distract some regarding her special destiny. But I too think she will be back next season at least in flashback cameos

jim treacher said...

Apparently Sackhoof said she signed a confidentiality agreement not to talk about what's happening with Starbuck, which leads me to think she's coming back.

Also, she didn't say "I smell bread"!

jim treacher said...

Or Sackhoff.

Anonymous said...

Well, Katee Sackhoff does have a six-year contract for the show... which means that, if the writers don't bring her back, they're paying the woman for three years of acting she won't have to do. You don't have to read The Wealth of Nations to fill in the blanks here...

Furthermore, the spiritualism that has developed in the show has driven plot lines before - why shouldn't it now? The scriptures push forward the search for Earth, and even Starbucks' story has been influenced by spiritualism, if you'll recall the Arrow of Apollo.

Battlestar Galactica, at the end of the day, is a tale of rebirth - civilization falls and must begin anew, the drama we watch unfold is the gray space between life and death.

Maelstrom was salted with these ideas, more than recent episodes have been: the idol Goddess Aurora, for one, which we are told is a diety of rebirth. The Oracle is quite clear that Starbuck will need her soon. Leoben's comments about crossing over also remind us of the bigger picture... remember, from a Cylon, crossing over means experiencing the pain of your consciousness being reborn - it does not mean death as we tend to think of it.

Kara's experience may be that of essence, her life reflecting the fate of the 13 colonies. Maybe only capable of fully realizing destiny through destruction.

Anonymous said...

sigh...

hard to accept this. i hope she comes back, she's a truly gifted actor, and an extremely well written character.

this whole show just blows me away; it's so good, i can't believe it didn't get cancelled - so many shows that i think are works of art get chopped LOL - like Boomtown a couple years back, and several others.

oh well, lots of quality acting and compelling characters, if she doesn't come back i'll get used to it eventually.

Pete said...

In Starbuck's vision the "Leoben" character did NOT tell her that he wasn't Leoben. She said, "You're not Leoben, are you?" His response was, "I never said I was."

That could mean anything. All he's admitting to is the fact that he didn't tell her he was Leoben. That doesn't mean that he actually wasn't Leoben.

Kenrick said...

Finally watched the episode, I found it to be pretty boring except for the last five minutes. My guess is also that Kara's one of the final five, otherwise this was a really lame death. When Xena saw one of the final five she was like "I'm sorry, I had no idea it was you" or something to that effect. Kara also mentioned something about between life and death, which was how Xena was investigating the final five.

andrew said...

dudes, get a grip! She is for sure NOT dead. She ejected, the raider picked her up, and I think Leoban has other plans, and they may not sit too well with the other cylons. After all the already deactivated one line of Cylon because of disagreements. How cool would it be that in season 4 the other cylons begin to experience the reality of disagreements and their own civilisation begins to fracture.

Come on, the writers have played a truly fantastic card here, and they know it! They have balls of titanium, and they are for sure enjoying fans freeking out, because the encore will be a starbuck freed from past guilt, and therefore more focused and more deadly than ever before.

Cool!