Monday, March 05, 2007

Kara Go: "BOOM!"; Dee: "Yay!"

If you watched the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica last night, you saw Kara "Starbuck" Thrace seemingly die in an explosion during a mind trip while piloting her viper far too low above the surface of an uninhabitable planet. I've been following this show since it debuted almost four years ago, and I count myself among the growing chorus of fans who are tired of the whole "soap opera" aspect of most of this season's episodes. Story arcs are what keep today's science fiction shows interesting. Ever since Xena was boxed in January, each episode has focused on the Miserable Character of the Week.


The drama is missing. We don't care anymore who is in love, or who is having the worst luck getting along with the establishment. We want more clues to the identities of the "Final Five" Cylon models. We want to see more of the journey to Earth. The biggest problem I had with the original Galactica was the elimination of the Cylons from the show halfway through the season. The didn't return until the final episode of the season (perhaps the best episode of the show's only season), by which time the show's fate was sealed. The new show is making the same mistake. We're tired of the soap opera. We want the Cylons back, and the action to pick up again.

Blowing up Starbuck is a step in the right direction. I say "blowing up" and not "killing off", because who's to say that she won't wake up in a new body aboard a Cylon base ship? Starbuck could well turn out to be one of the Final Five, and the whole soap opera with her chain-smoking, cancer-suffering mother could just be Cylon programming. Why else would she draw the Eye of Jupiter without knowing what she was drawing? Why else the Leoben visions? I'm having a hard time believing her to be anything but a Cylon.

If that does turn out to be the case, it will certainly make Kara Thrace a much more interesting character, in my opinion. Episodes that have focused on Starbuck have mostly left me cold, unless she's in a situation of extreme peril, from which she always makes a great escape. It's the action Starbuck that I find interesting, not the human Kara -- perhaps because she's not human after all. The Lee-Kara love affair from earlier this season was the kind of arc that might appeal to weepy female fans, but not to the "guy" demographic. I found myself unable to sympathize with either Lee or Kara, and Kara's husband, Mr. Anders, lost his action hero appeal once he joined the fleet. The only affected party with whom I could sympathize was Lee's wife, Dee. She was the only character who seemed genuinely hurt by the other parties' actions, and she's a cutie, so I could easily imagine lending her a shoulder to cry on if I were a character on the show.

Yeah, that's how a guy sees it. "Rebound!" Anyway, I don't recall any scenes in which Dee and Kara made peace after the lovers decided to go back to their respective spouses. Deep down inside, Dee must be partying about Kara turning into a fireball. And I'm there with her.

It will be interesting to see how everyone reacts when Starbuck returns piloting a Cylon heavy raider and demanding the fleet's unconditional surrender.

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