Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S03E17 – Maelstrom

In the seventeenth episode of the third season of Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck becomes increasingly haunted by the events on New Caprica, and her ability to be a pilot is called into question. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.

Trigger Warning: Discussion of abuse below

I don’t ever do this sort of thing, and anyone who has been following me over the past two years knows that I have been more frank and open about the things that have haunted me than one might expect of a stranger on the Internet. I enjoy the freedom that writing has brought me, and it has allowed me to heal in beautiful ways. So understand that for me to say this, it truly means something to me:

I don’t think I can write about this episode.

At least not in any traditional way. I already have an idea of the words I’m going to fill this empty document with, but they’re a poor excuse for what I normally do. That’s okay. I’m fine with that, and I think I need to also understand that sometimes, opening up and being honest in brutal and detailed ways about myself and my past can actually be incredibly painful.

I’ll start by saying this: if you have ever wondered what it was like to grow up with the mother that I have written about extensively, look no further than Socrata Thrace. I think lots of us who grow attached to different shows, books, and movies and all sorts of works of fiction can find things in the text that speak to us. It’s one of the transformative acts of fiction, and it’s why I keep seeking out more and more, and why I dearly love what I do.

I did not see myself in “Maelstrom.” That is an understatement. That woman on the screen is my mother. It is as if David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, who wrote this episode, were flies on the wall in the house I grew up in Riverside, California. It’s as if they took detailed notes for eight years of sadness, depression, physical and emotional abuse, and an overbearing mother, and they simply copied it. They did not borrow from my story. It is the same, down to the very things that come out of the mouth of Socrata.

My mother smoked. My mother had cancer. My mother refused treatment. (Up until a point, to be fair, before finally conceding to surgery and chemotherapy.) And my mother believed that I was special, so much so that any attempt of mine that did not result in me being number one was met with derision, anger, pain, and a whole lot of abuse. I once got grounded for getting an A- in a class. Once, I tried to join Mock Trial. My mother believed that the teacher who taught it would try to steal my glory and then seduce me. Do you know what she said to me when I tried to be a part of that group?

I would be pissing my life away. I would be pissing my life away but wasting time working for a “megalomaniac b****.”

When my mother started to die, she made sure we felt the guilt and shame she did. She thought she was letting us down, despite that that was about as far from the truth as possible. But she couldn’t see that. She needed to be in control of my emotions in addition to my school work and what modicum of a social life I managed in between classes.

My mother is Socrata Thrace. So before we even got to the final act of “Maelstrom,” I was a wreck. Tears brimmed my eyes not out of sadness, but out of fear and shame. Have you ever read something, or watched something, and felt like it just opened your entire life up to the whole world? That every secret grain of fury and guilt and terror you had was now exposed to millions of people? That a moment of fiction knew your own life better than you did?

This is why I want to do this, despite how absolutely brilliant and genius “Maelstrom” is. To analyze this episode, to pick it apart, is to pick apart what happened to me. My wound is not new or fresh, but this is too weird. It hits too close to home. And it makes me feel wrong. It’s not that I blame myself for what happened to me or anything! But it’s like…in order to talk about how Socrata’s actions affected Starbuck, I’d have to talk about myself far too much.

I guess this is a new thing for me, and even writing it, I feel strange, like I’m cheating myself out of the opportunity, but the truth is that I’d just rather not revisit this period in my life. I think that I was also comfortable doing this because we have something even more tragic to discuss.

As I said before, this episode put me into a fragile, vulnerable place. The shock I had felt during the scenes with Socrata started to wear off, and when Leoben allowed her to visit her mother again, to finally face her death, I thought that we were leading towards Starbuck’s chance to heal herself. I don’t actually know what Leoben is. He operates in a similar manner as Carolanne did to Admiral Adama; he is remarkably familiar when compared to Head Six and Head Baltar as well. So what is he? Whatever he is, I felt a sense of comfort when Starbuck saw her mother day, and then I could see how positively it affected her.

But as soon as Starbuck flashed back to her Viper, nothing went as I expected. First of all, Lee sees the Heavy Raider. I had assumed it was all in her mind. Was this whole thing orchestrated by the Cylons? Or was the first image of the Heavy Raider an actual hallucination?

Like most things in this show, I thought that Starbuck’s plunge was a way to build suspense. Would she allow herself to strike the hard deck? Would she pull up at the last minute? Well, she just found peace in her heart, so of course she’ll pull up! Right?

The white light flares; it’s the same white light from the opera house, isn’t? The same light from the end of season one, from Three’s vision inside the Temple of the Five? It looks too similar not to be. But why is she seeing this? Why is she telling Lee that she’ll see him on the other side? She’s not…she’s not…..

When her Viper exploded, when Lee screamed out in agony, I felt like the world had been swept out from underneath me. You can’t. You cannot do this, Battlestar Galactica. It’s Starbuck. She’s alive, right? She ejected, didn’t she? It’s all part of a plan, isn’t it?

I know it’s a weird time to gush about acting, but that first shot of the CIC after Lee confirms that there’s nothing left of Starbuck’s ship….I am thankful for this cast. That image will haunt me. It is so raw. It looks as if no one actually knew Starbuck was going to die. It’s as if they all found out in that exact moment.

I felt numb at this point, so completely devoid of any emotion that wasn’t shock. But I lost it when Admiral Adama completed his model ship, adding the last bit that Starbuck had given him earlier, and then cast it aside violently, sobbing worse than we’ve ever seen him. The floodgates were down because I knew there wasn’t anything clever behind this. There was no “To Be Continued….”

Kara Thrace is dead.

good fucking god.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Battlestar Galactica and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

104 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Battlestar Galactica’: S03E17 – Maelstrom

  1. ek_johnston says:

    I was so, so conflicted about this episode, but I loved that she heard the "rain" on the hatch.

  2. elusivebreath says:

    I refuse to believe she's dead. REFUSE. You would not believe the far-fetched theories that I was coming up with to explain how Starbuck is not going to be dead. PLEASE LET ONE OF THEM BE RIGHT. EVEN THE ONE WHERE SHE'S A CYLON (I pretty much think EVERYONE is a Cylon at this point).

    Brb, crying forever 🙁

    Edit: Oh, I forgot to add that I also did this when Dumbledore died and we see how that worked out :/

  3. Liz says:

    True story: Adama's smashing the ship was an ad lib. by Olmos. And it gave the prop crew a heart attack, because it was a 200 year old antique that THEY DIDN'T OWN.

    …luckily it was insured.

    • psycicflower says:

      I know it's good for BSG and the owners of the ship that it was insured and it was all an unfortunate accident but If I had ever worked on that ship, it being insured would mean nothing to me because the amount of work you put into conserving and working with those objects, they're like an extension of yourself and I would probably cry if anything happened to any of the collections I've been involved with.

      • clodia_risa says:

        That doesn’t help me much either. I just wince every time I see it. Same as when I see burning books in movies.

      • knut_knut says:

        Me too. I love that moment but I’m surprised they didn’t make some kind of announcement to the actors and crew members to be Very Careful with the ship. I would be DEVASTATED if I loaned out a priceless piece of art and it never came back.

      • breesquared says:

        Well, on the plus side, the person who spent all the time making it was dead by the time it was destroyed?

        • breesquared says:

          But on the other hand, that's why you don't mess with props. Even if it were a prop made 2 weeks ago, the prop master would probably be really pissed. Oh well. props masters have made more complicated things just to see them destroyed on purpose…

  4. Iamwinterborn says:


    First of all, Mark, the destruction of the ship gets even better when you watch the commentary.

    That was spontaneously adlibbed by Olmos. Oh, and the ship? Priceless antique on rental.

    And yeah, they kept Kara's death close to the chest. Not even telling other cast members as I recall. There was a lot of sobbing when they revealed that she died.

    *sobs some more*


    "Vg’f nyy cneg bs n cyna, vfa’g vg?"

    Lrf. Lrf vg vf Znex. Vg vf whfg gur Varssnoyr bar.

    • Crackers says:

      They had near-mutiny on the set when Katee Sackhoff told the others she was being written out. It's what, five years later? and I still feel a little bit of satisfaction deep down reading interviews from Ron Moore where he talks about getting angry calls from his cast at 7 a.m. because they were so protective of Katee and didn't want her to go. Bs pbhefr, vg jnf nyy n ovt snxrbhg naq gurl nyy unq gb xrrc vg rira pybfre gb gur purfg jura fur gbyq gurz fur jnfa'g ernyyl bss gur fubj, ohg gur tevrs jura gurl oryvrirq vg, gung jnf erny.

      I love how much this cast all loved each other.

    • Crackers says:

      Kara's death had been rumoured for weeks because Katee gave a few interviews indicating her dissatisfaction with how little she was getting to do in Season 3, but jung gurl qvq xrrc n gbgny frperg jnf ure erghea, bayl Rqjneq Wnzrf Byzbf xarj ng svefg orpnhfr V guvax ur fpnerq vg bhg bs Eba naq Qnivq – naq gura ur gbyq gur bguref.

      I think there were even confidentiality agreements signed at one point, or was that just Katee?

    • Noybusiness says:

      What's it like inside a Varssnoyr bar?

      *just to lighten the mood*

  5. randomisjen says:

    The actors in this cast are ugly criers, but the death of Starbuck called for it.

    And Mark… still not prepared.

    Is it a spoiler that gur ernfba gurl xvyyrq Fgneohpx jnf fb gung fur pbhyq fgne va gur vyy sngrq Ovbavp Jbzna frevrf?

  6. knut_knut says:

    …I don’t even know what to say. I knew something bad happened because of the comment Mark left last week when he watched this episode, but I wasn’t expecting THIS- the abuse and then that ending. I cried so hard I gave myself a migraine, and even now I’m getting a bit misty-eyed. If we weren’t so close to the end of season 3 I’d probably take a break from BSG for a while 🙁

  7. psycicflower says:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I actually could not rewatch this episode (seriously I made it as far as Starbuck giving Adama the ship figurehead and had to stop after that) so I have nothing constructive to say. How about a Starbuck gifspam in mourning instead?

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  8. NB2000 says:

    Oh gods this episode, rewatching it just now waiting for this post has me welling up.

    I am thankful for this cast

    Just, THIS for every single one of the actors on screen in this episode. Everyone is just amazing throughout the episode, particularly in the final scenes, but Katee Sackhoff just owns the entire episode.

    One of the things I particularly enjoy is that we get scenes showing most if not all of her major relationships, such as more BFFness with Helo (side note, Hera's having nightmares is a major D: moment for me, poor girl). While it does feel a tiny bit expositional the scene between Sam and Kara, the fact that she's clearly told him a lot about what happened to her as a child, is a short but perfect summary of their relationship. The later scene with Lee and Kara discussing where they want to go on Memorial Hallway is another one. I could go on listing them all off but that would be slightly boring. So I'll just end with: Hug pile? Y/Y?

    <img src=""/&gt;

  9. Albion19 says:

    Oh Mark, I'm sorry it's affected you so *hugs*

    You've started calling him Leoben! \o/ Speaking of PAINT SEX. I don't care, it was hot.

    I think the Leoben was Head!Leoben, imo.

    • chikzdigmohawkz says:

      The PAINT SEX was hot, but the whole time I was just thinking, 'Okay, well that's not how you paint – and clearly you've never done this before, because it is ridiculously annoying and hard to get paint out of clothes and your hair…LOOK, THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO HAVE HOT SEXY TIMES WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT PAINT GETTING INTO PLACES WHERE IT DOES NOT BELONG, OKAY?'

      • Albion19 says:

        lol there's always a part of me that thinks: "That can't be real paint can it? that can't be safe!" D:

      • leighzzz31 says:

        oh man, this was me, throughout that scene. "yeah, ok, you look like you're into this and ok, it's hot, but dear god that paint is going to be hard as hell to get out of your hair, Starbuck!"

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      PAINT SEX WAS REALLY HOT but the thought of cleaning it up made me shudder.

      • Crackers says:

        Paint!Sex gave me squicks, despite its hotness.

        And then more squicks when Katee Sackhoff said it was written like a rape scene, albeit one where Starbuck was participating in it.

      • Noybusiness says:

        That's why the best paint sex is in your head.

  10. toneDef77 says:

    Have you ever read something, or watched something, and felt like it just opened your entire life up to the whole world?

    The movie "Elizabethtown"…like it's scary how auto-biographical most of it is to me.

  11. cait0716 says:

    I'm so glad they included Starbuck and Adama's special dialogue. It's the first thing they say to each other in the series. Fitting that it should be the last

    Starbuck, what do you hear?
    Nothing but the rain
    Grab you're gun and bring in the cat
    Boom, boom, boom

    It makes me happy that Starbuck was able to talk to Sam about the abuse she suffered. It didn't seem like something she talked about much, or admitted to many people. I wonder if Lee even knew. But Sam did.

  12. BSGfan1 says:

    Oh Mark. I'm sorry that this episode hit you so personally. I know what that's like, not this particular show but how things come out of left field that sometimes you aren't expecting whilst watching or reading something that is meaningful.

    I will say this episode confirmed for me that this show was groundbreaking in it's fearlessness. And it's ability to make makes us FEEL so much about people that aren't real and don't exist. I rewound the scene of Kara Thrace ship blowing up more times than I can count trying to prove that she ejected or didn't.

    My heart broke into a million pieces for Lee. He scream was so sad, disbelieving and ultimately resigned.

    And Mark you are still so very unprepared 🙂

    • Crackers says:

      Seriously, that scene under the wing causes me heartache from just the memory of it.

      And as for that last flight of theirs which had her almost home free…..I know a lot of us don't like Lee, but you'd have to be made of stone to doubt the heartbreak of these people at losing Kara.

  13. Karen says:

    Something little that I loved from this episode is the conversation that Kara had with Sam. We barely got to see any of them actually being in a relationship due to the time skip, but that little scene where Kara opens up to Sam about a painful memory from her childhood did a lot to fill in the blanks for me. I thought that it demonstrated that there was a closeness and trust between them that perhaps we, as an audience, hadn't seen before, but idk. It just showed me a real kind of intimacy between them in spite of all their relationship problems.

    • Noybusiness says:

      It occurs to me that Sam is the only person we've seen her discussing her childhood with. We don't even know if Lee knows about it.

  14. clodia_risa says:

    I’d been looking forward to seeing this review because it is a transformative moment on the show. However, I didn’t think at all about the possibility that it could be horribly triggering and traumatic for you. I’m sorry.

    [holds a drink up to Starbuck] May she find peace on the other side.

  15. @lula34 says:

    This was the episode that was almost my complete undoing and the one that made me shake my fist at the sky, exclaiming, "WHY IS THIS CAST NOT RECEIVING ALL OF THE AWARDS?"

    Mark, thanks for this review. Virtual hugs across the intrawebs, please.

    • BSGfan1 says:

      OMG. Seriously about the awards. I was always so outraged at how overlooked this show always was at awards time. Frakkin' disgraceful.

    • Crackers says:

      I'm with you on the awards overlooking, it was criminal. Though it did get the frakking UNITED NATIONS to acknowledge its amazingness, the cast are underrated and they were (no matter what harebrained scheme the writers were cooking in a given season) never, ever anything short of brilliant.

  16. @LizatLAX says:

    oh Mark, that's so awful. 🙁 🙁 all the hugs.

    And this episode is so sad. Every time I see the beginning now, I just silently beg Kara to go with Sam, that she needs it, and most of all, KARA DON'T GOOOOOO….

    I could've sworn RDM corrected the rumor that it was a museum piece, and that it was really a replica.

    This episode was thoroughly spoiled for me the first time (and this during the first airing, so I'm amazed by people who aren't spoiled by it coming later!), and it was still awful to see it actually unfold. 🙁

  17. Geolojazz says:


  18. Crackers says:

    I can't even begin on the utter and complete ruin and devastation this episode made of my heart. And this despite being utterly spoiled for the ending.

    Oh, Kara. *sigh* Never, NEVER have I rooted so hard for a fictional character to make it through whatever awful ordeals they are being put through, and Maelstrom was just torture to watch on that level because I'd heard rumours and believed them and true to form, Battlestar Galactica just ripped my heart right out, only worse this time.

  19. monkeybutter says:

    I'm sorry, Mark. And I admire you for putting so much of yourself into your reviews even though it hurts.

    I watched this before bed last night, and I woke up feeling puffy-eyed and exhausted from crying. I've got a lump in my throat just reading this review. And I at least had a warning that this episode was going to be rough.

    I don't really know what to say about Kara Thrace. I'm still digesting what happened. I was reminded of Colonel Christina Eliopolis and her mother from World War Z, even though their antagonism was less explicit. Is Leoben like her Mets Fan (he's not really Leoben, but who is he), helping Starbuck get through the nasty shit? Confronting her with her mother's specter? But Starbuck's plane exploded, she's gone, and no one's looking for her, so it's not really the same, is it? 🙁

    • That is a beautiful parallel; it was one of my favorite parts of that book. How often do we have mother-daughter relationships explored in sci-fi? Instead of more daddy issues…

      BSG spoiler: Bar bs gur ernfbaf V ybir "Enmbe" fb irel, irel zhpu!

      • monkeybutter says:

        Mine, too. I'm not going to bother getting my hopes up that it'll be in the film, though. 🙁

        Tempting me with spoilers, how cruel!

  20. "Maelstrom" destroyed me. I totally get where you're coming from with this review, Mark. All I can really say is two things:

    1. It was my life, too.
    2. I've had to stop only two episodes of BSG to cry and cry and cry. The first time was after the assault on Sharon in "Pegasus." The second was after Starbuck spoke to her mother and let her go.

  21. @NazKey says:


    I'm right there with you Mark. This show digs deep, deep, deep and brings out memories you didn't even know you had. *hugs tight*

  22. chikzdigmohawkz says:

    This show, just…this show. I hadn't watched BSG from the beginning, mostly because we haven't had cable at my parents' house since I was around eight. And then when I got to university, where I did have cable in the dorms, I just…never really thought about it. I knew it existed, and that it was awesome and that I'd probably love it, but I just never had the time.

    But I was watching SciFi, and they started advertising for the movie airing between Seasons 3 & 4 (Enmbe). And I figured, well, it wasn't tech week or anything, so I could just drag my projects down to the common room and watch it. Which I did. And promptly fell in love with the show. And then went back to my room and watched the entire three preceding seasons over the course of the next three or four days (not at all by less than legal means, of course).

    So it was around 3am one night that I got to this particular episode. I'd watched so much of the show in such a short period of time, at this point, that at the same time, I was both intensely emotionally invested in the characters, and yet disconnected at the same time. At a certain point, once you've been in a heightened state of emotion for awhile, you still feel but intellectually you're sort of divorced from the cause of that emotion. (At least, that's been my experience.)

    Anyways, I'm sitting there watching the episode, crying a bit partway through because, for me, Socrata Thrace = my father. And then Starbuck's chasing the heavy raider, and I'm thinking 'oh, she'll be fine, she's been through worse – remember that time when she crashed into Lee so that she could save him in the miniseries? yeah, this is nothing, she'll get through this, she's Starbuck.'

    Except…she didn't. Her Viper exploded and I sat there, in shock, crying even harder than I had been. (Luckily, my roommate was…I don't remember where she was, I just remember she wasn't there. Which is good, because I'm fairly certain she would have fallen off her chair laughing at me.)

    I couldn't even move. Starbuck's dead. She's really dead. She's not a Cylon, and we're not going to see her waking up covered in goo. She's not Boomer or Caprica-Six. She's human. Starbuck's gone and she's not coming back, just like Crashdown and Duck and Jammer and Billy and Ellen and Kat aren't coming back. She's gone and the only time we're ever going to see her again is in that picture on the wall. I couldn't even process it, I just sat there and cried.

  23. Ryan Lohner says:

    Katee Sackhoff gave an interview shortly afterwards where she was clearly pissed about being killed off this way, and stated in no uncertain terms that she was indeed done with the show, since so many fans were questioning it. It was pretty painful to see.

    After reading a certain chapter of the Eclipse ebook, I figured this would be a personal one for you, and was kind of dreading reading it. And it was indeed a bit hard to get through, but I'm glad you were able to give us as much as you have, and you survived those horrible years to become the awesome person you are.

  24. leighzzz31 says:

    All the hugs, Mark, all the hugs.
    I don't feel much like talking about this episode but I will say I cried when Adama started crying. Gut-punching feeling all around.

  25. Ryan Lohner says:

    Of all the CIC reactions, Tigh's hit me the hardest. Seeing him staring at the screen in slack-jawed horror as I recalled how much he and Starbuck hated each other at the start of the show really highlighted how far the character development had come.

  26. Crackers says:

    And oh my goodness, Katee Sackhoff just outdid herself here. There's something about watching Kara's progression from confusion and possible delusion to just calm acceptance of her own doom that kills me every time, especially with the way she plays the smaller moments in the midst of her floundering – her handing the Aurora figurine over to Bill, the scene under the wing with Lee, just those moments when she seems to be buoyed for a little while by their belief in her, and then finally the confrontation with Socrata – I have no words. This cast is ALL flawless, even if I am enraged at how they handled Kara and will forever be.

    True fact: when Katee told the rest of the cast she was leaving the show, that her character was getting killed off, Ron Moore and David Eick apparently got angry calls from the set at 7 or 8 in the morning because her castmates were so mad she was being written out. That ship Bill smashes after Kara's death? Total ad-lib from Edward James Olmos.

  27. Crackers says:

    <img src="; />

    This isn't even close to how I felt after I'd watched this episode for the first time, but it'll have to do. And all this after she'd looked so upbeat and jokey tormenting her new nugget at the end of Dirty Hands and cheeking Lee in the ready room before that.


    Am I the only one who was seriously squicked and torn about the paint!sex at the beginning? I remember BADLY wanting a shower and simultaneously being intrigued (more reason for squick came from a later interview where Katee Sackhoff said it was basically written like a rape scene and that she herself found it hard to shoot and needed a shower afterwards, but that ultimately it emerges as a violent sexual experience in which Starbuck is participating). I mean, on one hand I'm glad it didn't happen in show reality, but what a thing to have happen inside your own head.

  28. shoroko says:

    I'm sorry that this episode touched you so personally – I've been affected or hurt through media experiences, but I can't imagine this experience and won't pretend otherwise. But thank you for sharing this post with us. *hugs*

    Sbe gubfr jub xabj – V jnfa'g n uhtr sna bs Fgneohpx'f birenyy raqvat va gur fubj, ohg V'yy nqzvg fbzr bs gur hfr bs natryvp flzobyvfz va guvf rcvfbqr fgehpx zr guvf gvzr nebhaq, fhpu nf Nheben orvat n jvatrq svther, naq n srj fubgf bs ure fgnaqvat va fhpu n jnl fb gung gur yvtug fbeg bs vyyhzvangrq ure unve yvxr n unyb. V qba'g xabj, V whfg gubhtug vg jnf vagrerfgvat.

  29. Noybusiness says:

    "I once got grounded for getting an A- in a class."

    All I can think is… this is not funny.

    On the episode: the writer confirmed that Lee did not see the Heavy Raider, despite that shot where its visible to the audience through his window.

    • blahdahdee says:

      I'm a teacher. If I ever have a student getting abused for his/her grades, I'd be willing to do whatever they needed to make their parents happy. 🙁

  30. Kate says:

    I think it's a big testament to the skill of this show's writers that instead of going from the beginning of season 1: "see, this is Lee, he comes from a family that abandoned him, don't you feel bad and justify all the stupid stuff he does later for that?" and "See, this is Kara, she comes from an abusive home, don't you feel bad for her and justify all the stupid stuff she does later" they instead gave us "see, these are Kara and Lee, they do lots of stupid stuff and we don't tell you why, because they are inherently adorable and you love them anyway despite that they are flawed, and when we decide to explain in the end of season three what's behind their behaviour and where it all comes from, you will feel that it fits perfectly with everything they've been doing this far".

    • Crackers says:

      Word. I sometimes feel like they dropped the ball a little with episodes like Black Market and The Woman King, not to mention other not-making-sense elements of this and later seasons, but overall, it just works so well.

      Rkprcg sbe Xnen tbvat cbbs, juvpu jnf whfg fghcvq naq na njshy guvat gb qb gb ure punenpgre, but I will always love her and Lee and Laura and Bill and everyone.

  31. breesquared says:

    I kinda? know how you feel in relation to this episode, Mark. (Ahem, SA-triggers:) My university's theatre program is producing a play that involves several rape scenes, and while I've worked on shows featuring sexual assault before without breaking a sweat, the very particular way that the characters in this play acted and spoke just hit way too close to home for me and I had to retract my stage managing application after getting access to the script. I'll be fine watching it but I couldn't, as you said, get very deep into working on it since it was so close to my life. (Which is weird cos it's a totally nonrealist play involving imaginary-country-dictators but then again, this is a sci-fi show in space and it still hits real.)

  32. threerings says:

    First of all, hugs for Mark. We'll eventually get around to the episode of TV that hits too close to home for me in the fifth season of Buffy.

    Second, for me BSG is the Kara Thrace Show and I just can't help but be upset and disappointed with her death. Although the episode is good and meaningful and interesting and makes total sense for her character, this just cuts her story off way too early, in my opinion. I'm still not over it.

  33. ChronicReader91 says:

    It’s been days since I saw this, and I still can’t fully accept it. She can’t be dead. Not really. Only mostly dead, you know? She must be a cylon, right? She’s one of the Final Five? Or she ejected and we just didn’t see it. Or she wasn’t really in the viper, her long lost twin was. Or it wasn’t really destroyed at all, just transported through a wormhole into another galaxy. Or… I can go on. I can get very creative you have no idea how committed I am to this denial.

    Only today I decided I had to push forward and watch the next episode. I was okay until the opening credits started rolling and Katee Sackhoff’s name wasn’t there. Everything else was the same, except for that, and that the survivor count was down by one.




    • notemily says:

      Only mostly dead

      well, now i have the mental image of billy crystal and carol kane resurrecting starbuck with a big chocolate-coated pill. which would be awesome

  34. ChronicReader91 says:

    BTW, A day or two before watching this I happened to find this awesome Starbuck fan video. Now it seems like a fitting tribute. It runs through Season 2, so no spoilers.
    [youtube rLa2ZxU50Yc youtube]

  35. Jessica says:

    Yes. This wasn't my life, but I have had other works of fiction open me up like a high school dissection project and turn bright lights on the small, hidden things inside me for public display. So much so, that I've felt guilty and ashamed when I see another person reading or watching those pieces of fiction, sure that they know that that story is about me.

    I can't even listen to any of the music from this episode without starting to weep helplessly. Hell, I'm tearing up just thinking about it, and it's been years.

    • lyvanna says:

      Goodness Jessica, "I've felt guilty and ashamed when I see another person reading or watching those pieces of fiction, sure that they know that that story is about me" is just a wonderful articulation of how I feel in those moments as well.

      • Jessica says:

        It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's really kind of shocking and, I think, even more deeply uncomfortable because of that.

  36. akacj18 says:


  37. stefb says:

    My reaction to Starbuck's death:

    [youtube xP1-oquwoL8 youtube]

    • notemily says:

      ahahaha, through the first two and a half minutes of this I was like "THIS MONTAGE CONTAINS FAR TOO LITTLE WICKER MAN." Fortunately they saved the best for last.



      Also, I have no idea what movie this is from, but: I'M A VAMPIIIIIIRE

      • stefb says:

        I think it's called Vampire's Kiss, but yeah, every scene from the Wicker Man makes me crack up because of the pure ridiculousness of it. Bear suit. Why.

  38. earis says:

    *Long-time lurker, first-time commenter*

    IMHO, this is one of the most perfect episodes in all of television. Everything comes together here, like a circle closing. There are callbacks to the pilot and to the miniseries, both unstated and explicit. We get the emotional reality of Starbuck, the broken, young warrior whose fire has run out, and Kara Thrace, the abused little girl who just wants to connect with her mother. The episode plays with time and causality so skillfully.


  39. Brian Fowler says:

    Like I said, you have never been more unprepared than the amount you are not frakkin prepared for the stretch run of season 3.

  40. Oh Mark. All the hugs for you.

  41. Robin says:

    Man, this is a great episode made even better by the fact that we're so invested in these characters by this point that we just live and breath them. That scene between Lee and Kara on the flight deck is the highlight for me. So bittersweet, just like old times for them, but at the same time they're both such different people from where they began.

  42. Kara! No. She's . . . you can't just . . . no.

    I apparently can't be coherent about it. And now I'm at work crying over a fictional character. So I'd better just stop here.

  43. Erica says:

    I totally lost it during this episode. I started crying when Lee's voice was cracking over the radio and then totally just broke down when Adama smashed the ship. I have never been so distraught over something fictional. I've actually rarely been that distraught in my life.

    Just amazing, everything, but especially the acting.

  44. lyvanna says:

    This. Episode.

    I totally understand the feeling of sometimes this stuff being too much, like your life is being placed on screen. Though it is painful I tend to find these moments can also be a source of solace, hey I'm not alone, someone else out there has felt that too or had that happen to them as well. Though I'd understand if you're not feeling that right away. This episode makes me feel that way as well, strangely enough the scene that makes me most uncomfortable is when Starbuck is telling Sam about the plastic bugs, even though as an adult she knows what he mother did was wrong she still has that kid logic feeling of 'well I kinda deserved it because I put bugs in her shoes'.

    Future Mark Watches project discussion:

    Frnfbaf svir guebhtu frira bs OgIF tvir zr guvf srryvat engure serdhragyl – zbfgyl frnfba fvk, nyfb n frnfba bar rcvfbqr bs Natry.

  45. notemily says:

    Mark. 🙁

    Have you ever read something, or watched something, and felt like it just opened your entire life up to the whole world? That every secret grain of fury and guilt and terror you had was now exposed to millions of people? That a moment of fiction knew your own life better than you did?

    This is… why I read fiction. Because if someone knows my life, then I'm not alone.

    Teal deer warning.

    I didn't grow up in an emotionally abusive household like yours or Starbuck's, Mark, but things were not great between me and my parents. First of all, my dad spanked me when I was young when he was angry, and then continued doing it even up until I was a pre-teen. I have shameful, awful memories of him chasing me around the house in a rage and me trying to lock myself in the bathroom but he got the door open and yanked my pants down anyway. And then afterwards I would be sobbing in my bedroom while my dad yelled "stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."

    Now, I don't condone physical punishment for kids in ANY case, but I know some people think spanking is "okay." Well, this was not okay. It was not a measured consequence. It was my dad losing his temper and taking it out on me. The fact that it was done in a socially acceptable way makes it even harder for me to come to terms with how awful it was, because I hear people all the time saying spanking is no big deal and it makes me feel like nobody will ever understand what I went through.

    It pretty much destroyed my trust in my parents, my ability to have any kind of real relationship with my dad, and my trust that they had my best interests in mind. So my entire childhood became one big power struggle, with my parents trying to tell me what to do and me resisting ANYTHING they said, even if it was something perfectly reasonable or something I would have done anyway. I didn't want to give them ANY control or power over me, and I resented the control they already had just by virtue of being my parents.

    It didn't help that I was a kid with undiagnosed adhd and anxiety disorder. I did okay in school, because I tested very well, but it was a Sisyphean battle every night to concentrate on my homework instead of the shiny internet or whatever book I was reading, and to concentrate in class as well. People always told me I was so smart and seemed baffled as to why I was unable to meet a deadline or keep from distracting myself in class. If only I would try harder, they told me, I could change. And I had regular fights with my parents about this, because they thought I just wasn't trying hard enough, too.

    And now years later, I am still fighting a daily battle in my head with the voices that say I'm lazy, I should just try harder, why am I sabotaging myself, why can't I just do what needs to be done, why can't I just follow orders, what's wrong with me. My anxiety was joined by depression several years ago, and it's not a mystery to me why that happened: I started to internalize the voices of people, mainly my parents, who constantly wanted me to be different, and if I would only change, then they would give me love and acceptance. And they started to drown out my own voice. I started to think they were right.

    Okay now that I'm starting to cry, I should probably stop writing this.

    My point is… every time I read or watch a piece of fiction that understands me, understands my life, it makes those negative voices just a little less loud. It tells me that someone believes me, that this isn't all in my head. And that's invaluable to me.

  46. notemily says:

    Anyway. Episode thoughts.

    – I like Helo's old-fashioned shaving brush.
    – Oh, so psychiatrists DO exist!
    – I don't know why, but I was expecting this Oracle to be Honeybunny again. I don't know if Honeybunny made it off New Caprica, though. I do like that the Oracle looks like an old-school statue. Her face, the way it's structured. Very Classical. (I think? How do art history)
    – Oh my god, the moment when Starbuck walks up the stairs and THE LIGHTS GO OUT. Chills.
    – In retrospect this episode has "STARBUCK IS GOING TO DIE" written all over it. The conversation with Lee about where her picture should go. The reintroduction of things we haven't seen since the beginning–the model ship, the "nothing but the rain" exchange. And the lights going out.
    – I just can't stop looking at Katee's beautiful face. Starbuck smiles a lot in this episode.
    – I like Leoben a lot better when he's in Kara's head than when he's imprisoning her in fake apartments. I'm just saying.
    – The thing about parents is if anyone else said this crap to you, you'd just be like "wait, what the fuck? why are you being an asshole?" But because they're your parents, the first influences you ever have, the first ones who tell you who you are, you can't ignore them. A part of you is genuinely hurt by what they're saying, no matter how needlessly callous they are. A part of you believes them. I love that you can see all this in Starbuck when she's talking to her mother.

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