Battlestar Galactica: Islanded in a Stream of Stars

This week, the Great Ship Galactica falls apart. So do a lot of people.

If you haven’t seen the show, or the most recent episode, and you care about that sort of thing, don’t click to the next page. There be spoilers, and lots of them; you’ve been warned.

Last week, I said that I really didn’t want any more answers, I just wanted more questions, but I didn’t want to wait another week for another episode. “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” somehow managed to split the difference between those conflicting emotions; I didn’t get any answers, but I also didn’t get any new questions, just the old ones floating around my brain.

I can forgive that; we’re at the penultimate episode of a show that changed my life in three months, so it’s probably appropriate that this episode is all about death.

As has been shown ad nauseum, the ship herself, Bill Adama’s number one woman, is dying; the crew has tried medicines, old and new, but there is no saving her this time. She can’t transform herself, her people need to transform.

Of course, Adama is taking that the hardest, but he comes around when he finally sees that her death, while painful, doesn’t have to be the end; once again, Gaius Baltar gives him the key he needs to accept the truth, even if Baltar still manages to be a total dick while spewing a message of hope. From Galactica’s parts, others ships in the fleet can heal themselves; from her bones, life springs forward.

In other death news, after last week’s revelations, Starbuck asks Baltar to help her figure out who she is, and the answer is one she’s always known; Kara Thrace died in that “maelstrom” and her body was burnt on the shores of a ruined garden. This new woman, Starbuck the White is as good of phrase as any, has her memories and her body, but she’s something new and has finally accepted that. It’s not the full answer, I’m sure that’s going to come, but for now it’s enough to ease her doubt.

 Comatose Anders is another discovering his new self; the Cylons have essentially made him a Hybrid, and he hooks himself into Galactica’s systems. Like the Hybrid’s before him, he has ominous warnings for Starbuck, but no answers that we can figure out just yet. I imagine this means, like Starbuck, the Anders we knew is gone, but he lives anyway. Who knows what will happen to him when Galactica is gone for good.

Also on her own journey of self-discovery is Boomer; once again, she’s found herself in charge of the kidnapped offspring of her other self and once again, the child refuses to bond with her. This time though, Boomer pulls Hera into her and Chief’s dream house and gets a glimpse of what that fantasy would be like in real life. She can pretend (and well, act like) she doesn’t have a soul, she can betray everyone who once cared about her, but she can’t shut her heart off to the life she still wants. Of course, this is Boomer, so who knows what, if anything, will become of her change of soul. Will she be a Gollum, whose betrayal helped the good guys in the end, or a Vader, whose return the light killed him and saved everyone else? I think she’s a dead woman walking, but I’ve been wrong before.

But you know who’s not dead? President Roslin. No denying it, after a convincing Galactica Watercooler podcast about “Someone to Watch Over Me,” I was worried. Yes, she’s the second name in the main credits, but this is the type of show that would kill the second name in the opening credits. I don’t hold much hope that she’ll survive the show, but for now, she’s got her love reading to her while she’s recuperating, she’s still got the Opera House visions to contemplate and she’s still pushing Adama to do what needs doing. In other words, she’s still there.

Whew, what a show. It was quieter and slower than I expected, but a nice character piece nonetheless. One complaint though; where’s Chief in all this death???

I found out after I watched the episode that 1) that Chief is in the brig for his role in Boomer’s escape, and 2) that we’ll see that scene in an extended version when the DVDs come out. I know that the episode is only 43 minutes long and there’s only so much time, and while I’d rather wait for his storyline to be properly addressed, I hate waiting. I suspect there’s going to be some massive forgiveness happening next week, and maybe he’ll be a part of that. Or maybe Helo and Athena will solve that problem themselves. Who knows?

That’s basically the general mood of the episode; it’s the last step before the final story and all sorts of balls hang in the air. “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” was an hour of death, about leaving behind the broken pieces and moving forward. I’m hopeful that “Daybreak” will be about life and its continued existence. I’m still expecting (and trying to prepare for) a bloodbath, but I want hope at the end, even if it’s only a sliver.

As I felt beginning with “Deadlock,” I like where this is going. Three hours left.