Idol Chatter

How much do we love Battlestar Galactica? Not only does this show deliver some of the most erotically charged, unconventional love scenes on television, but it also satiates our less carnal appetites while delivering some of the most metaphysical and thought-provoking programming in recent years.

From the very beginning the show has incorporated elements of Christian and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Eastern religions. It has also tackled morality issues like a doctor who purposefully, but painlessly, killed members of the Geminon tribe whose beliefs didn’t allow them to take conventional medication in order to cure themselves of a quickly spreading illness.

This week, Kara, a.k.a. Starbuck, is going a little crazy. And we’re not talking cigar chomping, hard liquor drinking, superior-punching crazy. She’s been seeing things: The Eye of Jupiter–an ancient Earth relic that will lead the fleet to safety and that she has been painting mindlessly since a child; her “daughter” Kasey; and a mystery raider ship that no one else can see. Kara is clearly depressed. After the failure of a marriage, captivity on New Caprica, a recent crash landing, and everyone going on about how you have a “special destiny,” who wouldn’t be suffering from a little post-traumatic stress disorder?

But, as we see in a sequence of moving flashbacks, Kara’s past with an overbearing and abusive mother have contributed to her black mood as much as the disturbing dreams she’s been having. Starbuck’s mother, we learn, never thought that her daughter was living up to her potential and was verbally abusive even up to the day she was given a terminal cancer diagnoses. Kara runs out on her mother and never stops running.

Instead of heading to the ship’s shrink, Starbuck heads to an oracle who tells her that Leoben, the Cylon who held her captive and spewed all kinds of mystical mumbo jumbo about her destiny, would find her and show her the path. Kara continues with the theme and runs from the oracle.

Meanwhile, Adama and Apollo (a.k.a. Lee) have a little chat about whether or not they should remove her from the cockpit, but Lee has faith in her. And although Lee tells Kara that he will be her wingman in case anything goes wrong, he probably should have reconsidered when Starbuck tells him where she would like her picture to be placed when she’s dead.

Everything is going smoothly on their flight until Starbuck catches sight of the phantom marauder and engages. Out of nowhere, Starbuck is hit by enemy fire and nose dives. As she sits unconscious at the controls, Leoben, who has been flitting in and out of the flashbacks (like the Ghost of Christmas Past), takes Kara to her mother’s deathbed where she makes peace with her mother, accepts that she has a special destiny, and finally receives a motherly compliment.

As she comes to, she tells Apollo that she will see him on the other side, that “they’re waiting” for her, and that she’s not scared of death anymore. That’s when Apollo starts to worry that maybe Starbuck isn’t just sad, she might be suicidal. He tries to save her, but it’s too late: Her ship explodes.

Sure, we know that Leoben promised to show Kara a place “between life and death,” where she wasn’t just severly depressed or really dead. But there’s still a part of us that isn’t so sure. And that’s just how we like it.

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