Spoilers for the episode lie within. Enter or be fracked.
Kara Thrace is so hot she should be regulated and taxed. Guh. Can we have another episode where she’s working out and undressing, you know, most of the time? Because as much as this episode bugged me (A LOT), I’m never gonna complain about my gorgeous kickass spacegirl being more nearly naked.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this episode bugged me so much. I should love it. It’s all about all the things I love about this show, people at the end of the world hanging on and using every coping mechanism they could get their hands on and it’s still NOT ENOUGH. It’s about learning how far you can be pushed, and the breaking point, even and especially if it’s farther away than you think it is, is always terrible. I’ve said before that I’ve been waiting for people to just fucking snap, so this fits, in a way.
And I think what bugs me about it is that, like last week’s episode, ordinarily in the life of the show this would be a story arc, not a standalone ep (think first season Tigh’s drunkenness). You’d see Starbuck, under the weight of not just Anders but Cain and assassinations and the wild hope of Earth and the burden of the CAG job slowly going crazy, all the while the fight to keep the fleet together and continue to integrate the Pegasus (who’s in charge of that now? do we even know?) would be going on, and there’d be other stories, and you know it’s bad when I miss squirrelly Baltar but I kind of did. Over the course of a couple of episodes, I’d have bought Starbuck crashing into everything that’s happened to her. Even if you must cram it into one week’s shot, intersperse a couple of flashbacks to Cain’s friendship and then violent death, so that it doesn’t seem like Starbuck’s just wigging out because she misses her boyfriend.
This isn’t a characterizaton problem, it’s a plot problem. Everything we saw totally jibes with what we know about Starbuck as a character. She was never all that balanced, she’s competitive, jealous, selfish, crazy, and the only thing that protects her from consequences is that she’s so unbelievably good at her job that you cut her some slack for the sake of your survival because she’ll make sure your dumb ass lives. But the CAG is the wrong job for her, completely, because that’s not the kind of person you want in charge. You want Apollo telling you the job and Starbuck getting it done. And Starbuck needs Apollo, you can see that all the way back in “33” when she’s ordering him to order her around. She’s always made shitty decisions and she’s counting on the people around her to rein her in and he’s not there to do it.
Even the almost-sex with Lee, I bought that, too. She’s about the impossible, the unattainable. She fracked Baltar and thought of Lee, now she’s fracking Lee and thinking of Anders. And the moment when Lee looks at her and asks if she’s okay, there’s just so much in his face, knowledge that she’s a mess, love, annoyance, it was a wonderful moment.
So what’s bugging me about this episode and the last one is not that we’re focusing on people more, it’s that I feel like we’re doing that in order to take a break from the plot (Cylon plan, earth, alien baby stem cell cures, who’s a Cylon and who’s not). They just seem … like you could yank them out of the season entirely and it would still be seamless. And I got spoiled damn rotten by the first three eps of this season and what we’re seeing is still better than 90 percent of the shit on TV, so I shouldn’t be complaining. Especially when there’s pretty Starbuck flipping her Viper around to look at.