Battlestar Galactica: The Mystery of Starbuck
The previews for the Battlestar Galactica promised that everything would be revealed. Apparently “everything” didn’t include anything about Kara Thrace.
One of the biggest mysteries going into the finale was about Starbuck. At the end of season 3, she died and miraculously returned, having been to Earth. Then she found her Viper and her own body dead on Earth, prompting the famous question “What am I?” Then we learned that as a child, her absentee father taught her to play “All Along the Watchtower” on the piano. After the finale, we still don’t know any more about these mysteries than we did before.
Whether you liked the ending of Battlestar Galactica or not, it’s undeniable that Starbuck’s conclusion left a lot of questions unanswered. As if not answering any of those questions wasn’t bad enough, the finale added one more level of mystery when Starbuck seemingly vanished into thin air while talking to Lee in her final scene.
The popular theory among fans to explain all of this is that Starbuck was an angel. Finding a factual basis for this theory within the context of the show is nearly impossible, though the sudden disappearance, her dead body, and the prominence of God and religion in the finale would certainly lend some credibility to this idea.
My problem with the angel theory is that, neat as it is, it doesn’t explain anything. Let’s assume that Starbuck is an angel, or that she became one after crashed and died on the fake Earth. That would mean that she was an angel for all of season 4, and that in the world of Battlestar Galactica, angels are corporeal and don’t know they’re angels.
This doesn’t quite fit with the angels we know of on Battlestar Galactica, namely Head Six and Head Baltar. The series finale did reveal that they were angels helping to guide Baltar and Caprica Six to their destinies. For the most part, these angels only revealed themselves to one person, though in the finale they both appeared to both Baltar and Caprica Six.
However, those angels were not representations of dead people, nor were they corporeal, nor were they unaware of their angel status. If Starbuck really is an angel as some fans seem to believe, what kind of angel is she?
I didn’t necessarily want two hours of exposition explaining exactly what was happening, but I expected a little more. The angel theory is nice, but it was no basis on what we actually saw. Nothing that was shown in the finale explicitly or implicitly said that Starbuck was an angel, nor did it provide an reasons for her dead body being on Earth.
Yet worse than angel debate is the mystery of “All Along the Watchtower.” The song that her father taught her to play held within it the jump coordinates for Earth. The angel theory has no bearing on this mystery. Starbuck’s father knew how to play a Cylon song and that has nothing to do with her dying on the fake Earth or disappearing on the real Earth.
Like many others, I theorized that Starbuck’s father was Daniel, the missing Number Seven Cylon. This would explain his sudden disappearance in her life and why he would be able to play a Cylon song. However, as neat as this theory is and as nicely as it wraps up all the loose ends surrounding that mystery, I have no idea if it’s true.
Regardless of whether a theory seems appropriate, if it has no fundamental basis in the series, then it’s nothing more than an idle theory. The angel theory is identical to this. Even if it explained everything (which it doesn’t), there is something very disappointing about the lack of certainty.
Hopefully Ronald D. Moore will explain himself orThe Plan TV movie will have answers. However, if you look at Battlestar Galactica as a self-contained series, the fate of Starbuck is one giant loose end on an otherwise impressive tapestry.
Read More Battlestar Galactica Coverage:
Series in Review>>
50 Memorable BSG Characters>>
25 Best BSG Episodes>>
15 Biggest “What the Frak?!” Moments>>
“Daybreak, Part II” Photos>>
All BSG Season 4 Recaps>>
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel)
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