The Curious Question of Kara Thrace
March 19, 2007
SPOILERS AHEAD: So if you have not watched up to episode 17 (Maelstrom) of season 3 of Sci-Fi’s Battlestar Galactica, then I urge you to stop reading this post right now. I really mean it, so just stop. Move on, nothing to see here. If you are caught up on Galactica, then by all means, continue on my fellow Colonial.
After episode 17 & 18 aired on Sci-fi, the lot of us over at the Iconfactory were discussing the episode over the proverbial “water cooler” and got into a feverish debate about the apparent death Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, one of the show’s central characters. I hate to brag, but this was the kind of debate that geek legend is made of. The central point of our discussion was “Is she really dead?”. My friend Corey was leaning toward thinking that Ron Moore really did get rid of the character. Why would he think this? Well, if you’ve listened to the podcast commentary from Moore on Maelstrom and The Son Also Rises, he does a very good job of making the case that Katee Sackhoff has in fact, left the show and her character is indeed dead. I don’t buy it for one fracking second.
Moore tells the tale of the writers discussing killing Starbuck off, calling Sackhoff up and letting her know, and even deducting the number of survivors between episodes 17 & 18 by one in the opening credits. Deliberate points laid out by the show’s creator to let the listener know that Starbuck is dead. Moore’s not kidding. Really. She’s really, really dead.
What? Still not convinced? Yeah, me neither. Here’s why:
1) Loose Ends: The writers just spent the better part of the last 6 episodes opening up an entirely new plot line dealing with Kara. She evidently has been having visions of the “Maelstrom” since she was a kid. Since this seems to be the key to finding Earth, its a little wierd that the writers would pick just this moment to just kill her off right before the completion of the arc.
2) The Non-Phantom Raider: Right before Kara’s viper exploded in Maelstrom, there was a quick 1-second shot where Lee saw her supposed “phantom” raider dart into the clouds. She wasn’t imagining it, it really was there and it did shoot her. There is no reason to show this except to give Moore an “out” to bring Starbuck back later on. Either she ejected and was picked up, or she’s…. a Cylon!
3) Savvy Moore: Ron Moore is about as far from a dummy as someone who works in television can get. He knows that the only way to retain the shock value for Starbuck being revealed as one of the “Five” later on is if the audience buys her death now. It therefore makes sense to try and build the foundation of Katee Sackhoff leaving the show in the episode’s podcast. We’re about to have the hiatus between seasons, so what difference does it make if Kara is not in the last 3 episodes? She might not even be in the first few of the new season. If Moore’s done his song and dance properly, then the fan base will believe and the trap is set.
So is Starbuck one of the final five models of Cylons? I’m leaning toward the answer being “yes.” As usual, the season finale will most likely serve up even more questions and keep us guessing all summer long. Moore and company have said publicly that next season everything will change. Nothing would be a bigger change than 5 of the characters we’ve come to know and love, turning out to be Cylons. Personally, I’d rather have Kara be a Cylon than accept her pointless death, and I’m betting that Moore and company feel the same way too.