"Mrs. Thrace I've seen your daughter's future and she's destined for something special, very special. However, it's very important that you raise her in preparation to accept and fulfill her purpose."
"Tell me, Oracle. What plan do the Gods have in store for my Kara? Is she going defend the Colonies and mankind from extinction? Will she lead her people in the hunt, striking down the enemies of Caprica? Tell me, will my daughter take up the mantle of Artemis?"
"Sadly, no. The Gods require you beat and abuse your daughter, to physically and emotionally dismantle her. She must become a broken and self destructive adult, someone who, despite all of her heart and talent, will think only of lashing out at the world around her. In humanity's greatest time of crisis, while they are being pursued by an implacable foe, she must be ready to commit suicide for no other purpose than to prove she is ready to accept death. This, this is your daughter's destiny."
This is why I don't trust oracles. The whole thing was just so pointless. I refuse to accept the rationalization that Starbuck's purpose on the show, and by extension Kara Thrace's lot in life, was to be an object lesson justifying suicide.
Suicide is the act of a coward. Weak and selfish people commit suicide.
The Kara Thrace I've known for the last three years had her problems, anyone who watched the show could see that. Those faults helped make her a great character and, at times, a brilliant extension of the original character concept. I'll admit that I loved the hard-drinking, hard-living pilot. The woman was willful and combative and all too happy to punch life square in the nose. Her flaws made her and make every other character on the show human.
Starbuck punched out Tigh. She drank and fought and defied authority. She frakked Baltar for the hell of it. She flew back to Caprica to steal the Arrow of Apollo and then she flew back to Caprica again to rescue her man. She shot or shot down countless toasters. Every time she leapt into her Viper's cockpit she did it with a reckless almost sexual abandon.
Was Starbuck's sole motivation for doing any of these things, for doing anything in life, a desire to be killed by them because she was too scared to kill herself?
Did Kara Thrace put Zak Adama behind the stick of a Viper because she hoped it would come back to kill her? And then did she frak over Lee on New Caprica because she hoped he'd kill her?
If the answer is "yes" then I wildly misread the character.
She walked out on an abusive parent and everything that's happened to her since then, from her time with the fleet to Cylons maybe stealing her ovaries to the mind games played on her by Leoben, it was all building up to Starbuck forgiving herself for hating her abusive mother so she could drive her Viper into a gas giant.
I seriously feel like Starbuck's story was stopped but it wasn't finished. Her issues with her mother may've been resolved but it boggles the mind to think that "Maelstrom" was the planned payoff for three years worth of character development.
Was the reason Starbuck was written off of the show really because the dream sequences/visions with Not!Leoben (maybe he is, maybe he isn't) resolved all the plot threads tied to Starbuck?
More importantly, will the remaining Battlestar Galactica stories be better off without the show's most engaging Viper pilot?
"All this has happened before and will happen again."
I have to imagine that we're going to see Kara Thrace again. Did Apollo really see the bogey Heavy Raider? It seemed like he did. And she did have her hand on the eject lever. Although, the podcast for this episode states that showing Kara inside the Heavy Raider after ejecting was nixed initially for budgetary reasons and then amended after the fact for story concerns.
Also, the podcasts point out that the scenes with dog fighting are incredibly expensive to shoot. It's one of the reasons why a good chunk of all the dogfights are reaction shots of the crew in CIC listening on the radio and reacting. The cost of the show was a major consideration in SciFi almost not greenlighting S4. Fewer Viper pilots equal cheaper episodes, which equals staying on the air.
And this brings up Kat's death only seven episodes ago. How's that conversation at the bar going to go?
"Hey, remember how Kat sacrificed herself to bring that ship through the solar flare and kept the people aboard from starving to death? Everyone, raise your glass and drink one for Kat!"
"Hey, remember how Starbuck committed suicide? Um... yeah."
10% of this season's episodes were about killing off Viper Pilots. Yes, Seelix did just get promoted but the show's also lost two thirds of its interesting Viper pilot characters (I can't count Stinger after appearances in only two episodes). This leaves Hotdog, Seelix and morose Apollo to carry the load for all the dog fighting or C.A.P. scenes in season 4. That's just... meh.
Instead of a drama about an aircraft carrier we're slowly getting a drama about a submarine. The "Maelstrom" podcast even alludes to the crew of the Galactica as "living in a metal tube."
I know the story isn't over. There's more to tell. Maybe once I've see the complete story I'll understand why Kara had to go to make the show better. Maybe I'll change my mind then.
I suppose my opinion boils down to this:
Starbuck deserved a better death than "I'm not afraid anymore."