The Patriot Resource - Battlestar Galactica


Episode Name: Maelstrom
Episode Number: 316
Written by: Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by: Michael Nankin
Original Air Date: 3/4/07 on SciFi Channel
Review Posted: 3/6/07

Our initial opinions of Episode 3.16:

First Viewing:
When the first viewing was over, we were disappointed. It turned out that almost the entire episode, especially Kara's visions/flashbacks, tracked with the spoilers that have been out for months, which meant Kara's death was not a surprise to us. However, we were looking forward answers concerning her long-hinted-at destiny and the significance of the mandala and got neither. From what we could gather, her destiny was to finally face death so she could explore "what hovers between life and death. This was quite a let down that the point seemed to be to quit fighting for survival and be willing to accept death..

The second mystery was whether Kara's death would be more of the MIA-type or a definitive (here's her body) death. Her Viper blowing up in front of Lee seemed to be pretty definitive. Also disappointing was that Kara seemed to die for nothing. She was chasing a phantom Raider. Contrast that with Kat, who died a hero. We kept waiting for the mandala storm to perhaps trigger something, but instead Kara goes in and simply dies.

On the positive side, there were some nice scenes that tied back to the miniseries. Kara passes Adama in the corridor and they start the conversation with the same dialogue used in their first scene together in the miniseries when she was jogging and he was rehearsing his speech. Later, in a quiet moment between Lee and Kara, she points out that they are back to like it first was with Lee as the CAG and Kara being a troubled pilot.

Second Viewing:
We were so perturbed by the first episode that we decided to immediately watch it again in an effort to maybe pick up some nuances that we'd missed the first time through.

When we watched a second time, the whole destiny bit got murkier. It actually seemed like Kara had to be willing to accept death in order to reach her destiny. Dying, or at least not fearing death wasn't the destiny, but rather a doorway. Her mother had faith in her. Even Anders and Helo seem to put some faith in her having some type of destiny.

Also, Leoben wasn't really Leoben. Kara finally realized that and he admitted as much. So the question is who he was? Was he just a manifestation of her subconscious? Or was he something else altogether? Ronald D. Moore has managed to work many of the storylines from the original 70's edition into his re-imagined version such as Kobol, Cain and the Pegasus. Perhaps, this kicks off a Ship of Lights-like storyline. In the older series, Apollo was told he had a destiny of some kind, so switching Starbuck into that storyline would work.

Lastly, the death wasn't quite as clear-cut as it first appeared. Yes, Lee saw her Viper explode and disintegrate, but we have no body. Lee even went so far as to tell Adama not to bother with the search and rescue, so we won't have a body or any other telemetry. It's a stretch since the planet had a strong gravitational pull, but Kara was shown reaching for the ejection lever and there is that mysterious Cylon Heavy Raider. Then there is the visibility issue where something could have happened that Lee was unable to see. The fleet is going to take Lee's word for it that Starbuck is dead and not do a follow-up investigation, so there is a little "wiggle" room on Kara really being dead.

The episode didn't answer too many (if any) questions, but it certainly starting moving the pieces around in the build-up for the end of the season.

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