Previously on Battlestar Galactica, Kara (this is a Kara/Starbuck episode, so I’m just going to use Kara and Starbuck interchangeably, and we all know that’s the same person, right? We’re good?)”¦ Anyway, previously, we go all the way back to when Kara’s interrogating Leoben, and he tells her that she has a special destiny. We then have Simon telling Kara that her X-rays show signs of heavy abuse in childhood, which she does not take kindly to. And then Sam tells Kara that there’s something to the idea that Kara has a destiny. And she’s been doodling the mandala, which also happens to be the Eye of Jupiter, her whole life. Over and over again, Kara has a destiny and its already been written. Got it? Aight.
Kara is what, dreaming? She’s back in her old apartment, covering her mandala drawing in white paint, and then she’s making out with Leoben, paint everywhere, and then they’re fraking. The mandala burns through the paint she tried to cover it with. Yup, Kara’s in her bunk.
She runs into Helo in the bathroom and tells him about her dream – apparently she has it every night. Helo suggests Kara go see a shrink, which Kara doesn’t take kindly to. He then suggests she go see an oracle, who apparently interprets dreams. In the mirror, Kara sees a reflection of a little girl, who I’m betting is Young Kara.
Kara goes to see the oracle (Kara is surprisingly religious, remember?).
She picks up a statuette of Aurora, which the oracle says she should hold on to. Kara sits and tells the oracle about her nightmares. The oracle already know she’s dreaming about Leoben, and says that Leoben knows Kara better than Kara knows herself. Okay, to be hones,t I love this scene a lot and am fighting transcribing the entire thing. The oracle quotes Leoben, talking about Kara’s mother – how she trained Kara to hurt anyone she cared about, how she has to be a frak-up. The oracle says that her mother was in fact trying to teach her a different lesson – these scenes are interspersed with flashbacks to Kara’s past with her abusive mother, including getting her hands slammed in the door – something Simon mentioned specifically. Poor behbeh Kara.
Sam’s leaving a booty call at Kara’s – she should take leave and come with him; she needs a break. He then says the oracle was right, that Kara’s mother messed her up way before Leoben showed up. Kara starts talking about her mother, saying that she was a warrior and that she taught Kara that fear gets you killed. Sam brings up a specific instance of abuse, and Kara relates how she “got back” at her mother for busting her head open – her mother, it seems, was a soldier, and due to a specific deployment, had a phobia of bugs. Kara bought a bunch of plastic bugs and put them in her mother’s shoes. Her mother responded by slamming her hand in the door – Kara says it was still worth it.
Outside the ship, Racetrack, Starbuck, and Hot Dog are running patrols when Starbuck sees a Cylon heavy raider. The Dradis system is frakked due to radiation from a nearby planet, so even though it doesn’t show up on the Dradis, it could still be there. Hot Dog doesn’t see the raider, but Starbuck goes after it – into a giant storm that strongly resembles the mandala. Starbuck gets dangerously close to the planet’s surface in pursuit of the raider and ignore’s Lee’s orders to pull up. (Adama and Tigh are watching and listening to all of this on the bridge, for the record.) Starbuck finally pulls up and escapes the planet’s gravity. Back on the flight deck, Tyrol can’t find any sign of damage to Starbuck’s ship, though she says it felt like she hit a brick wall. Later, everyone watches the gun film from Starbuck’s raptor, and there’s no trace of the Cylon ship. There’s also no record of it on her ship’s radar. Racetrack suggests that the Cylon raider never was there in the first place. Kara insists it was there.
Adamas Jr. and Sr. are discussing Starbuck – whether she should be grounded or not. Cottle says she’s okay, but an emotional basket case – but they all are these days. Lee says she’s the best pilot they’ve got, Adama says she’s burnt out. Lee also thinks that Kara’s job is the only thing keeping her going these days.
Lee and Kara chat in front of the memorial wal, and promise each other that if one of them dies, the other will make sure that their photos go where they want them to be – Starbuck wants to be next to Kat; Lee next to Duck. Lee’s incredibly supportive of Kara here, talking about how she’s still crazy and still the best, as she’s always been. Kara looks down at some dripping candle wax, and there’s the mandala again. Adama Sr and Roslin, walking around Galatica, run into Kara. In the continuing “Iconic Quotes of BSG,” we get the following:
Adama: Starbuck, what do you hear?
Kara: Nothing but the rain.
Adama: Then grab your gun and bring in the cat.
Kara gives Adama the Aurora icon she got from the oracle, as a figurehead for his model ship. It’s one of those sweet father-daughtery moments.
Kara’s checking some things on her viper, and again, sees her younger self. She flashes back to who is presumably her mother, with screaming and the finger-breaking, and then all the images of the mandala, from ones she drew as a little girl to the storm. Lee goes over to Kara, and she says she’s not going back out – she doesn’t trust herself. Lee says to trust him, and he’ll fly her wing. He’ll do whatever it takes. Kara responds by asking how things are with Dee, and he says they’re the best they’ve ever been. Kara’s genuinely happy for him. They’ve come full circle, she says – Lee as CAG, and Kara as a problem pilot – the same point they started at in the beginning of the series. Kara says that’s all they’ll ever be.
Starbuck and Lee go out for a patrol, and again, Starbuck sees a Cylon raider – Lee doesn’t see it, it’s not on Dradis, but on Starbuck’s word, Adama puts the fleet on Condition One. Lee follows Starbuck, but he doesn’t see the raider, and repeatedly yells for her to report, respond, anything. Starbuck’s locked on following the raider and takes a hit – it breaks the glass on her Viper and knocks her out as Lee yells. The alarms beeping in her Viper become an alarm clock, in her old apartment, and Leoben’s there. He says they have a big day ahead of them. He says its about her destiny, she says she writes her own destiny. Leoben says she’s afraid of the unknown, of death, that all of her hijinks have been an act. She’s been afraid, ever since “that day.”
Leoben takes Kara to her own past – a younger Kara goes to visit her mother six years ago. She’s just become the first person in the family to become an officer, and she’s the best natural pilot they’ve ever seen. Her mother, instead of being proud of her, insults her for not coming in first in her class and berates her. Kara’s mother tells her she has a gift, she’s special. Kara snaps – it’s none of her mother’s business, she can’t make up for her mother’s shortcomings, etc. Kara then sees a letter from an oncologist, and it seems her mother has late-stage cancer. Kara reaches out to take her mother’s hand, which she jerks away. She doesn’t want pity, mocks her for tearing up. Kara says she’s going to walk away and never come back. She runs for blocks. We go back to Leoben and Kara, and Leoben informs us that Kara’s mother waited five weeks for Kara to come back, and died alone. However, she’s waiting still, so now Kara goes to see her dying mother to say goodbye. All of Kara’s school papers and drawings are laid out on the bed – her mother had been looking through them. She says she kept everything, and Kara sees the mandala drawing. Kara tells her mother that something’s about to happen, that she’s not sure if she can do what she’s been preparing her for. Kara’s mother says that of course she can do it – she’s her daughter. And then there is crying all around, and Kara’s mother passes. Leoben says there’s nothing terrible about death, and now Kara is free to become what she really is. Kara turns and says that he’s not Leoben – he says he never said he was, but he sure as hell looks like him. He’s here to help her discover what comes between life and death.
And we’re back in the cockpit, with Lee’s desperate yells and alarms going off. Kara says she’s not afraid anymore. They’re 90 seconds from hitting the planet’s surface, and Lee’s trying to talk her back up to climb again. Lee’s got visual on Kara, but she says that she’ll see him on the other side. Lee yells for her to come back, Kara says to let her go, they’re waiting for her. And she closes her eyes and her ship explodes – Lee’s got visual, remember? Lee screams, pulls up out of the dive at the last possible second. Adama demands information on Kara, Lee informs the helm that Kara went in. Adama says they’ll send in search and rescue. Lee replies through tears that her ship’s in pieces, there was no parachute – she’s gone. We lost her.
We then go to the Aurora statue that Starbuck gave Adama. He installs it as the figurehead on his model ship, cries, and then smashes the ship to pieces, sobbing.
Thanks to Monchichi for the screencaps!