8:48 PM

The Maelstrom of Starbuck

Posted by Skye |

Starbuck: Is She or Isn't She?

By now, you've seen the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica. If
you haven't, go frakkin' watch it and come back when you're ready to read some spoilers. Yes, there will be spoilers in the very next sentence! So Starbuck (Katee Sackoff) blew up in that swirly storm full of visions or whatever -- it was possibly the stupidest and most pointless death imaginable for a kickass pilot and awesome pivotal character. Delving into Starbuck's childhood abuse and turning it into a flimsy excuse for a sudden mental breakdown made no sense whatsoever. And what about the whole Leoben paint-sex scene, coupled with his puppy-eyed sympathy as she remembers her dead mom? As they say in Australia: yucko.

Why the hell do we want Leoben to help Starbuck "pass over into the s pace between life and death"? He's the creepy asswipe who tortured her repeatedly on New Caprica. But redeeming the creepy is apparently the whole point of this episode. Not only is Kara's abusive, finger-crushing mom recast as a nice lady in her deathbed scene, but Leoben is recontextualized as spirit guide. WTF? I'm feeling nothing but the squick.

The real question, however, is whether Kara is really dead.

We know for sure that Sackoff's name won't appear in the credits for the season's final three episodes, but that doesn't mean crap. Starbuck might be a cylon; she might have zoomed into a wormhole or something in that lower-atmosphere storm; or she might have gotten rescued by the phantom Raider she saw. So what are the pro geeks saying?

Rampant speculation on Starbuck's fate below the fold . . .

Marc Bernadin at Entertainment Weekly's blog says:

I just don't understand what her destiny is, other than to disregard orders and commit suicide by flying into a storm. I'm all for heroic sacrifice, provided I understand what the sacrifice is for. And here, I don't. I will say, though, that I'm not terribly worried about never seeing Kara Thrace again. This is science fiction, where no one ever truly dies. Especially in a world where they can download.

Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has seen the last three episodes of the season, and has this to say:

If fans are in a tizzy now, what will they think of the mindbending season finale? I can't even imagine . . . One thing to keep in mind is that in their January interview, Ron Moore and David Eick were very careful to never use the words "death" or "dies." They called what happened to Starbuck "a major event," and when I asked directly if she would die in "Maelstrom," Moore said, "I don't know that I want to say that directly. I think people will have to watch that episode and judge for themselves what happens." I'll just say I find that comment telling.

Boston Globe's Suzanne Ryan spoke with Katee Sackoff, and writes:

[Sackoff] won't confirm rampant Internet rumors that her character will be killed in tomorrow night's highly anticipated
episode "Maelstrom." But Sackhoff will say that she's currently
negotiating to star in an unrelated independent film, that she's not interested in doing new science-fiction projects.

Star Trek and comic book scribe Peter David blogs:

Have we seen the last of Kara? I wouldn't bet on it. First of all,
blondes named Kara have a habit of coming back. Trust me on
that . . . Powerful viewing that was also disconcerting and
annoying. Still, I have to think BSG is gonna take a hit in terms of
fan support for this one, a hit that could conceivably damage the
show especially when one considers that between the departure of Lucy Lawless's Cylon, the death of Kat and now of Starbuck, strong female characters are dropping like flies. Short term shock value could be hurt by long term anger. Save Starbuck. Save the show.

On the TV Guide BSG blog, Angel Cohn is in shock:

Out of all the ways I ever imagined Starbuck dying, this was the last possible thing I would have ever considered. She basically committed suicide. I always thought that someone as badass, argumentative and disobedient as Starbuck would go down swinging, or chasing down some toasters.

Starbuck is dead by her own hand. Way to go Ron! The glamorization of suicide and the trivilization of child abuse has brought this show to a new level of 'jumping the shark'.

Of course, Starbuck will return. When the ratings are in the gutter and the network executives are using terms like CANCELLATION when discussing BSG. Will the return of Starbuck save the show? I'm not certain. Ron Moore and David Eick have, in one episode, managed to break a fundamental element of this show. Not even the mighty Starbuck can fix that...

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