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Monday, March 05, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Maelstrom

Spoilers are so obviously going to be here - so avert thy gaze if you haven't the latest Season Three. Big spoiler here - so if you're confused as to what I might be talking about ... you haven't seen the episode in question. So bail the frak out right now.

For me, Starbuck has always been part of the lifeblood of the new Galactica. The new show really banked on the promise of space battles that was a core - and failed - concept of the original. And at the core of fast-paced ship to ship battles? Starbuck. She characterized the fun of getting strapped into a cockpit and having good hunting.

Season three has been critiqued for moving slowly away from the space battles that were a staple of both the mini-series and seaon one. And now ... we don't have Starbuck either. Heck, we don't even have Kat at this point. I can only name a couple of Viper pilots - Hot Dog and Apollo. Is Seelix flying yet?

Starbuck's departure (assuming it is final) was powerful in terms of imagery but a little lacking in terms of action. Perhaps more of a metaphor for the show than herself. Instead of mighty conflict like we saw in Scar - Starbuck was mostly plagued by her own past. We didn't get a gritty portion of flying but rather a surreal descent which ended not in a blaze of glory (despite the fireworks style graphics) but rather an implosion.

I'm not saying it wasn't a good episode - the writing was good and it was hands down one of the most eye catching of the year. Still, part of me thinks Kara Thrace deserved more.

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Thomas said...

The writer from TWoP is fond of saying that this show is about everything you want, in the worst possible way.

I never felt like Galactica was about the space battles, to be honest. It was always about putting these people--good people--into bad situations, and grinding them down to the core. At her core, Starbuck was always courting death, and her biggest problem was that she was just too good for it.

I think this episode was about realizing the tension in the character, that the only way she would stop flying would be when she was fundamentally broken--or in this case, when she realized that, and fixed it.

Because honestly, wouldn't you feel a little cheated if she just got shot down by a cylon? As if there were a cylon that's as good as she is?

But it's a pretty personal show, I guess. The lifeblood of it has always been between Sharon and Baltar, for me.

Josh said...

Well, I wouldn't describe it as "about space battles" - but I think it was part of the draw. Nukes in space, the nearly defenseless fleet against massive groups of Cylons, the possibility of a raider hiding behind any rock.

I think as BG has less of the military combat ... there's a part of the show left behind, and a rather fun part at that.

And Starbuck was a centerpiece of that fun.

Critically, I would only fault this death scene with feeling somewhat forced. Starbuck just goes unhinged, her "special destiny" is funneled into a poignant moment, and then she dies in an accident she probably could have easily avoided - but simply chose not to avoid. It's a very odd case for suicide. The cause and effect doesn't really line up for me.

I wouldn't call it bad though - it just seems her life as a Viper pilot came crushing down to a singular memory. She lives her life with spit and vinegar but snuffs with a snob. I would have liked to see her go with the same spit and vinegar we'd grown to know.