Stargate: Universe

The first episode of the new Stargate series aired this past weekend. As a fan of SG1 and Atlantis, I was particularly interested to see how this new series would go. Of course, I knew from promotional material that it would ultimately be set on a very old Ancient ship which was tooling through space depositing stargates and that a band of refugee types would end up aboard it trying to survive. The premise itself is hardly original; the lost in space theme is very common.

The introductory episode is, unsurprisingly, somewhat heavy with exposition as it sets up just how the refugees ended up on the Ancient ship and as they deal with their initial crisis. Based on the first episode, I have to admit that the series has potential. However, it could very easily go wrong, turning into a clone of Star Trek: Voyager or something similar. It seems unlikely that this will be the case, though.

In this series, we see Ancient technology that looks ill used and old. The ship’s systems are failing. The ship has been damaged, possibly in a battle. There is no simple solution to survival like Atlantis surfacing; the refugees will need to repair damaged systems and maintain the ship just to survive. And, unlike in other series, it seems unlikely they will ever be able to return to Earth; after all, it took the power output of a planet’s core to open a wormhole to the ship. It is also unlikely they will hear anything from Earth since said planet was destroyed in the attack the refugees were escaping from.

To make the situation more interesting, the cast does not consist of a hand-picked, trained team of experts. Many of the refugees are people that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This provides potential for situations that would have made little sense on the other Stargate series.

All in all, if the producers are able to follow up on the setup with compelling stories, the series will at least meet the standards set by previous series. It may even be able to draw an audience different to the original Stargate series simply due to the differing premise. Here’s hoping the rest of the episodes live up to the potential of the first.

Torchwood: Children of Earth

I just finished watching the latest installment of Torchwood. As MM put it in her comments for episode 4, intense!

One thing Torchwood has never done is shy away from difficult issues. One can say that it deliberately takes on the most difficult problems. "Children of Earth" takes this to a new high. As MM put it in her comments on her torrent for episode four, "Intense!".

In previous seasons, Torchwood has touched on the idea that there is no absolute good or absolute evil. Is it better for a mother to know nothing of the fate of her son if knowing the fate would destroy her emotionally? Is it better to know what goes bump in the night or continue in blissful ignorance? But this latest entry trumps everything to date.

Would you sacrifice a dozen children who would not be missed to save the world from a fatal pandemic? Is it right to cover up such an action? Would you kill to keep that dark a secret? Now what if it is not a dozen children who would be missed, but rather ten percent of the children of the Earth? What if failure to provide the children would signal the total destruction of humanity? Is it evil to agree to demands in such a circumstance, or is it unavoidable if survival is to be ensured?

Indeed, "Children of Earth" deals with the classic no-win scenario. Torchwood is persecuted (to the point of murder) by the powers that be to cover up a dark secret from the past, yet Torchwood is the only hope for the future. Even when the remnants of Torchwood play all their cards, they are still stymied, both by the invader and the powers that be. Indeed, right up to the last ten minutes of the final episode, it looks like the invaders will win.

Then, at the absolute last moment, a solution presents itself. But there is a catch. Jack Harkness will have to sacrifice one child to save the entire planet. Will he do it? That one child is his grandson! Can he do it? Can he do it with the child’s mother (his daughter) watching in terror? Does that make him an evil man or a good man caught with no options? In the end, he chooses to sacrifice his grandson to save the children of the Earth, though the emotional price is clear to see on his face.

Then, after the world is saved, we see the Prime Minister of the UK in conference. He agreed to the ten percent sacrifice. He agreed with the coverup. He agreed with the murder of Torchwood. But all through the events, he is constantly arranging events to cover his own ass. He is arranging, where possible, to take no responsibility for anything. To blame his underlings, or the Americans, or any other handy scapegoat. He shows no remorse at the end.

Throughout, there is the person of John Frobisher. Frobisher is a civil servant. A bureaucrat. But he is dedicated to his job. He is the one who suggests the cover-up. He serves as the representative to the invaders. But he makes a side deal to further the cover-up. He is horrified at the demands of the invaders but sees no alternative. In the end, to save his children from the fate he knows is coming, he murders them, their mother, and then commits suicide.

There are many other characters, major and minor, who come alive on screen during this emotional rollercoaster. Some act out of rational fear. Some act out of greed. Others act out of a desire for self-preservation. Some are baffled while others understand the full import of their actions. Some are clearly evil while others are clearly not. Most simply are.

Was John Frobisher an evil man for doing what he did? Or was he trapped by events that occured when he was a child? Unlike the Prime Minister, he does not mention that he could hardly be responsible for the events that were covered up. He merely does his job. He does not attempt to deflect responsibility. Indeed, his longtime assistant goes to great pains to convince a prisoner that John was a good man.

Was not the Prime Minister also trapped by events he could hardly be responsible for? Yet he is clearly intended as a villain, perhaps the true villain, of this story. His lack of remorse and consistent attempts to deflect responsibility show through. His character is the polar opposite of Frobisher’s. Frobisher’s assistant goes to great lengths to trap him, to make his true character show through. He is an evil man.

Both Frobisher and the Prime Minister agree that the demands of the invader must be met, the former with horror, the latter merely looking for someone else to be responsbile. The same action but at a different internal cost.

Harkness’s choice is both easier and harder. On the one hand, there is no choice if the sacrifice of one will save all. On the other hand, it is his own descendent he must sacrifice. For the Prime Minister, and Frobisher until near the end, the price is abstract, someone else’s children. Harkness makes the very hard choice and pays a crippling price for it. But he pays it where Frobisher bows out. Is it evil for Jack to make that sacrifice? Is he stronger than Frobisher for having done it? Braver? Colder?

"Children of Earth" examines these dilemmas and many more less weighty ones on many levels over the course of five hours. Like an onion, every layer examined reveals layers beneath. All the key players and many of the minor ones have layers which show upon close scrutiny, as do their choices.

All told, this latest entry in the Torchwood saga feels real, and its effect is all the more chilling for that.

So Long, BSG

I just finished watching the Battlestar Galactica series finale. It was worth the wait.

Battlestar Galactica (BSG) is finished. It has been a long road from the miniseries that started it all way back in December of 2003 to the final episode which aired today. Today, however, BSG was able to do something few series ever do. It provided a true ending.

I have to admit that when I watched the miniseries in 2003, I was skeptical. I mean, they made Starbuck female! But, I was also hopeful. The show had a grittiness and realism that was lacking in the original 1978 series that inspired it. There was an air of desperation and devastation throughout the entire miniseries which was only an afterthought in the original series.

When BSG was picked up for a series, I was thrilled. I wanted to see what they could do with the story. Would they mindlessly parrot the original plot lines or create something new? It became apparent very quickly that something new was the choice of the producers. Yet it was clear through that first season that they had kept the fans of the original in mind.

The discovery of Kobol at the end of the first season marked the end of even the remote adherence to the original 1978 series’ plot. From there, BSG struck out on its own. From the occupation of New Caprica at the end of the second to the revelation of four of the final five Cylons and Starbuck’s death and later return at the end of the third season to the discovery of a ruined and uninhabitable Earth in the middle of the fourth season to the ultimate ending, it has been a rollercoaster ride.

During that time, we have come to feel for the characters as we watched them react to the ever bleaker reality facing them. We saw as some broke under the strain while others grew stronger. We saw the strong ones grow weak and find strength again. We saw characters of dubious mettle ultimately come through in the end. In short, it was a story about the people.

Even so, there were mysteries. Why did the original Cylon war end? What was up with Baltar’s hallucination? What was with the opera house hallucination on Kobol? What about the shared dream of the same opera house? Why was Hera so significant? Why the mystery about the Final Five? Why was Starbuck so tied up in prophecy, even in the first season? How did she resurrect at the beginning of the final season? Six had a Baltar just like Baltar had a Six? Indeed, there were enough mysteries to keep everyone guessing.

Then, the final three hours of the show manage to pull the story together in an ending. Each surviving main character receives a personal ending. Yet not everything is explained in a nice package. Starbuck’s return is not explained. The Cylon centurions are sent out into the universe on their own.

I think, however, the best part of the ending is that it makes at least some attempt to make sense. Sure, the survivors end up settling on our Earth 150,000 years in the past. But there were already humans on the planet. This, at least, does not fly in the face of established evolution.

All told, the ending deserves to be called brilliant. There were no cheap tricks used to suddenly tie everything up in a neat bow, even if some are going to think so. The story at hand was finished; the survivors found a home. The primary characters each found some personal ending. Yet the survivors’ stories continue. In fact, it’s as close to "and they all lived happily ever after" as this story could possibly come.

To those of you who have not seen the show, I highly recommend watching it. Even with what I have revealed here, I have spoiled nothing about the story. The story is not about the destination but the journey. And it was one hell of a ride. My hat’s off to you, Messrs Eick and Moore.

Stargate Atlantis has ended

The 100th and final episode of Stargate Atlantis has aired. These are my thoughts on it (including spoilers).

I watched the final episode of Stargate Atlantis (SGA) today. As finalés go, it is fantastic. I discuss high and low points below so if you are concerned about spoilers, do not read further.

The interactions between Sheppard and Todd are excellent. These scenes serve as a break from the otherwise frantic pace of the story but also serve to remind viewers of some events that have gone before. For instance, Todd having several zero point modules, while seeming to be a deus ex machina, does make sense given the fact that he had stolen a number from the replicator planet before it was destroyed. It also makes sense he would have held them in reserve, both by his character and for tactical reasons.

Ronon’s death scene is brilliantly played. It serves to show the danger of combat and that main characters are not exempt from death. His subsequent resurrection by the wraith, while seeming somewhat contrived, also has a sound tactical reason, and although one does wonder why the wraith do not have some sort of life-signs detection, it is not a technology that has been prevalent on wraith ships so its lack is not a glaring omission.

The means of destroying the wraith ship makes a great deal of sense, even if it has been done to death. They do receive points for having a plan that would have worked without the arrival of Atlantis as the last possible microsecond, even if all the main characters would have died. Thus, the fact that several plot contrivances bring the team together and later allow their lives to be saved can be swallowed since these contrivances themselves were not required to save Earth.

Wormhole drive, on the other hand, is one technology of the week too many. Zelenka saying that McKay has been working on it for years does not excuse its introduction, either, although the statement about its dangers does explain why it has not been used previously. I should point out that it is not the existence of such a technology that bothers me since it does fit within the Stargate universe nicely. It is merely the convenient timing of its revelation and the reason its revelation is required that make it an iffy contribution. All that aside, it does not cause any particular strain on the narrative and does, in fact, serve to heighten tension.

The mention of Hammond’s death was a nice touch as there is no doubt that had Don S. Davis would have happily reprised his role for this episode had he not died last summer. That Hammond died in the same manner as Davis and had a ship named after him was a very nice touch and no doubt Davis would be touched by the gesture.

Finally, the scene with all the primary cast members standing at the rail on Atlantis with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge was a great end. In fact, I think that scene ranks among the absolute best finalé moments ever.

No doubt there are people who didn’t like the fact that the episode felt cluttered just like any other episode. Some won’t like the fact that the wraith are still out there. Some won’t like the tech babble. Some won’t like the clichéd moments. But, you know, when it comes right down to it, the episode felt like a Stargate story. And had absolutely all the loose ends been tied up, those same people complaining about that would be complaining that things were tied up in too nice a package. Also, were this reality, just because a group of people decided to stop observing another group of people, it does not mean that other group of people is no longer there. Their trials and tribulations continue.

There is a SGA movie scheduled for release some time in 2009 which will, no doubt, be exciting. And, there is a new Stargate series scheduled to air this summer which should be interesting as well. No doubt both of these will eventually be able to pick up loose ends from SGA (and SG1 before it) to make an even bigger overall mess.

So now I leave you with one question. Just what, exactly, is this super top secret mission the Odyssey is on?

Legend of the Seeker

I watched the opener for Legend of the Seeker today. I have mixed feelings about it.

I watched the opener for Legend of the Seeker today. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it seems to be pretty well constructed as series go. On the other hand, it is only very loosely based on the series of books by Goodkind. Oh, it’s recognizable but that’s about as far as it goes.

The basic setup is about the same as in Wizard’s First Rule but there are notable differences. Kahlan brings the book of counted shadows with her instead of it already being in Richard’s possession. They added some mystical component to the Seeker’s power such that Richard could read the book by concentrating on it even though it was in a language he did not know. Also, the relationship between Zedd and Richard is quite different with Richard apparently perceiving Zedd as a crazy old man. Still, Zedd does act like a crazy old man in the books.

They staged the situation with the mob of villagers differently and they did not have the great scene from the book where Zedd defuses the situation without using magic at all. In fact, there were a number of such things changed.

All in all, though, it is a decent attempt at adapting the story. The book could not have been followed exactly as much of it cannot translate effectively to the screen. And, because it is a television series, there are some things that have to change just for the sake of pacing. While the story can take many chapters to really get moving in an epic fantasy, that simply cannot happen in a television series.

I do wonder if they are going to dispatch Darken Rahl in the first season. If memory serves, Darken was defated at the end of Wizard’s First Rule in the space of a single year. I also wonder if they are planning to bring the whole old world and Jagang story line into the mix. They will no doubt expand the story significantly to fill out a regular season.

I suspect most of the changes made were for reasons of pacing or the ability to frame the story sensibly. So far, the differences I have seen do not substantially alter the overall story as many of them can be dealt with relatively simply. For example, the fact the Kahlan brought the book with her instead of Richard already having it means he cannot have it memorized. But, the apparent mystical power that allowed him to read it may also mean that he can summon up what it says now that he has touched it.

My final verdict is this. If I had never read the books, I would not have been comparing it and I would have enjoyed it without question. Having read the books spoils it somewhat as there is no way to avoid the temptation to compare. Even so, I did enjoy it. In fact, my recommendation to anyone who has read the books and liked them would be to have fun noticing the similarities and the differences and have some fun speculating about why the changes were made.

Doctor Who Reconstructions

I got hooked on Doctor Who years ago. Since then I’ve seen every episode that still exists and reconstructions of various quality for others. It is disappointing that so many episodes from the early years of the program have been lost.

Most reconstructions are of very low quality, being VHS dubs of VHS dubs. Even the very good quality reconstructions are of dubious watchability, consisting as the do of various bits of surviving footage mixed with stills combined with scrolling descriptions of action that is not apparent from the dialogue. (Fortunately, the sound tracks for all episodes do still exist.) Some sound tracks have been adapted for radio broadcast. While these are easier to watch/listen to than some of the reconstructions, they are not ideal.

I recently acquired a copy of a serial called "The Invasion" featuring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. The first and fourth episodes of this serial are among the ones that are lost. However, they have recreated those episodes using animation and the original sound tracks. Having watched the first of the animated episodes, I can honestly say that I hope more of the missing episodes are recreated in this manner.

Because I am used to seeing Doctor Who as live action, the animation felt a bit odd. However, it was definitely easier watching than telesnap reconstructions. In fairness, the animation was well done. The cost that would have been involved in making it look more realistic would not have been worth it. To be brutally honest, the animation is smoother than much of the extant footage. And they did keep the animation black and white to match the rest of the serial.

All in all, I’d say that in the absence of the original episodes, animated reconstructions of equal or better calliber are probably the best solution.


I had the opportunity to see Cats live this evening. My seat was, perhaps, a bit too close to the stage (one row back in the orchestra pit which means about five feet from the stage) and the seat was a bit hard but, all complaints aside, it was well worth it. No doubt some of your are saying something like, "Well, duh!". I had no doubts going in that it was going to be worth it. Live theatre is not really my thing but I do appreciate it when it is done well. And this was well done.

When I do go to a live theatre performance, what I really like about it is that I can look at things in the background or off to the side. I don’t have to put up with what a director decided to show me on the limited window provided by a camera lens. Having the full breadth and depth of the action available is nice. People who know me well know that I often am not watching the foreground action in movies and television shows but rather I’m watching the background. That is something the stage allows the viewer to do effectively. It’s never out of focus or out of frame. For anyone like me out there, Cats has something for us.

I think the biggest reason live theatre is not my thing is cost. I can watch a movie on the big screen for a fraction of the cost of a good seat for a play. I also do not have to plan well in advance to get said good seat. Most of the time, I can just turn up at the cinema and watch a movie. Perhaps that makes the live production that much better when I see one, though, because it is a novelty.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening.

Doctor Who

I watched the season finale of Doctor Who this weekend. Spoilers abound so be wary.

There seems to be a great deal of criticism about the season finale of Doctor Who. Much of it, however, seems to be based on a prejudgement because of the writer of the episode. That is, the reviewers looked for every possible thing that was wrong with it just to back up their preconceived dislike. In episodes which where written by others, the same reviewers overlook or handwave past exactly the same type of inconsistencies or what they perceive to be lame storytelling.

As a followup to last week’s episode, this episode is quite good. The earth is doomed, Martha is out on her own, Jack is captive, the Doctor is aged and captive. THe bleakness of the world is well done. They get points for not showing the intervening year while Martha travels the world. They also get points for the four part toxin gun thing being a hoax.

Essentially, the story goes that Martha travelled the world arranging for the remains of humanity to pass on as much psychic energy as they could on to the Doctor who had, in the mean time, hacked the Master’s psychic network. The Doctor then used the psychic energy to reverse the aging process inflicted by the Master and then proceeded to defeat him. Sure, Jack’s presence felt a bit grafted on, but it seems he did do something useful. He distracted the Master by attempting escape at least once.

Now on to a few points. The ultra-aged Doctor. I suppose it’s possible that timelord physiology would reduce in order to keep functioning in cases where regeneration is not possible. We know that timelord physiology can handle a great many things. Witness the Master back in the original series before he managed to regenerate. Besides, if regeneration is possible, why not the small creature?

The psychic energy thing is also a sticking point for a lot of people. Why? Energy is energy and can be transformed into other forms. The Master had already set up a network that could route such energy and the Doctor had a year to figure out how to tap into that network. Why is a psychic energy rejuvenation so unbelievable in the face of regeneration in the first place?

The apparent revelation about Jack being the Face of Bo was a bit of a head turner. Contrary to what folks are complaining about, it did not feel tacked on. A connection that the discussions I have read have not made is between the ultra-aged Doctor and the Face of Bo. Perhaps it is the same effect? We also don’t know how long Jack wanders space (and time; after all, if humans had temporal technology in his time, he will obviously have to travel through that time again and will be able to travel into the past). Indeed, there are all manner of possibilities with Jack including that the Face of Bo connection is merely coincidence. If you squint at it right, it could be that Jack ends up going back in time and becoming the first time lord. Or causing the time lords to evolve. Certainly, Jack is responsible for the Torchwood references through the ages just as Rose is responsible for any bad wolf references through the ages.

This story also fits in with the Lonely God story line. The Doctor takes what essentially amounts to prayers and uses them to regain his strength and defeat the Master. Also, his obvious grief at the apparent death of the Master is particularly poignant. Whether he truly is the last time lord or not, he believes he is and that is what matters from a loneliness perspective.

The scene with the Master’s ring being picked up is a classic ending for an episode with the Master. We are led to believe he is still alive. Perhaps he is truly gone and the one picking up the ring is someone else, someone not even time lord. It could, for all we know, be a setup for the next season of Torchwood. Time will tell.

All in all, I found the episode quite enjoyable. Then again, I’ve found the revival of Doctor Who quite enjoyable. I think many reviewers simply forget that the original series had just as many goofy or “lame” stories. It’s Doctor Who. I don’t expect scientific realism or prefect timelines or what have you. I expect entertainment. And, pan it as they might, the reviewers continue watching. That’s got to say something on its own.

Bridge to Terabithia

I watched Bridge to Terabithia today. These are my comments on it. If you are worried about spoilers, do not read it.

I watched Bridge to Terabithia today. I haven’t read the novel so I cannot comment about how close it follows the original story. However, I can say that it was a very engaging story and very well made. I can’t say that I liked the actual path the story took near the end but that can be said about a great many stories ever created. It is a story about personal growth and inner strength but also about seeing past the surface to the substance beneath.

First, let me say that the trailers did not do the movie justice and, in fact, were somewhat misleading about the nature of the story. Still, even with the misdirection, the movie was well worth watching.

The story opens with the male lead, Jess, going to school amid indications that his family is struggling financially. He gets picked on and generally has a bad time of it. Meanwhile, the female lead, Leslie, is introduced to Jess’s class as a new student in the area who, it is shortly revealed, is Jess’s neighbour and whose life has been somewhat difficult and continues to be in the new school. Leslie beats Jess (and the rest of the boys in his class) in a running race which sets up the friendship after a brief stretch of, well, tetchiness.

Perhaps as a form of escapism, Leslie introduces Jess to the idea of creating Terabithia, an imaginary kingdom which they rule and in which they are able to surmount all obstacles. This spills into real life as they deal with bullies and other problems. This is where the movie really shines as the female bully Janice is revealed to be a much more human person than initially thought and her character develops through the movie as well. Indeed, all the characters from “Monster Mouth” to Jess’s father to Jess and Leslie themselves develop and grow through the story.

I kept expecting Terabithia to turn out to be a real place and that someone other than Jess and Leslie would visit. All the clues that such was the case were there but in all cases could just as easily be explained as dramatizations of Jess and Leslie’s imaginings. Even after the terrible tragedy that takes Leslie’s life, I still expected Terabithia to be real and that Leslie would turn out to have been merely visiting Earth in search of the rightful king or some such.

Instead, Leslie’s death is a catalyst for great understanding of characters like Monster Mouth and Janice. Indeed, Janice actually stands up for Jess when he is picked on. It allows the kinder side of Jess’s father to show through finally. Jess, too, comes to a realization about his talent and personality which leads to him revealing Terabithia to May Belle, his younger sister, whose imagination allows Terabithia to truly shine.

There are many elements beyond the basic story and theme that are to be commended as well. The old rope that is mentioned as being unreliable when Leslie and Jess begin to create Terabithia does, indeed, turn out to be dangerous when it breaks and causes Leslie’s death. Janice and her gang charging tolls to use the little girls’ room turns out to be important as Janice’s character evolves. Jess’s sketchbook which May Belle has been looking at (as mentioned at the beginning) turns out to allow her to share the vision with Jess in the end when he introduces her to it. There was a great deal of attention paid to the continuity details and it shows in the fact that there was nothing which jarred me out of the story as I watched.

Interestingly enough, the way the ending was framed, there are a number of possible things which could happen. Terebithia could, in fact, be real (one of Jess’s teachers said he had a talent which could create whole new worlds) and Leslie could be alive there. Or Terabithia could be real and Leslie is really dead. Or Terabithia could be truly imaginary. In the first two cases, there is great potential for sequels either as serials or as movies. There are a great many possibilities stemming from either of these cases. In the last case, there is much less possibility for sequels. Of course, the ending could simply be an ending as well, in which case it stands tall on its own. I think that would probably be the best situation given the caliber of sequels lately and even a well done one might reduce the story somewhat.

Again, I cannot comment on the novel or the movie’s faithfulness to the novel. However if the novel is half as well done as the movie, it, too, should be an excellent read. I don’t think I should read it for some time, however, as my view of it will be clouded by the movie, especially if there are any significant divergences.

All in all, I rate Bridge to Terabithia as an excellent film for the entire family.

BSG Twist

I just finished watching this week’s episode of "Battlestar Galactica" and I have to admit that while I wasn’t surprised by the ending, I was somewhat shocked by it. Do NOT read this entry if you haven’t seen "Maelstrom" yet.

I just finished watching this week’s episode of “Battlestar Galactica” and I have to admit that while I wasn’t surprised by the ending, I was somewhat shocked by it. The episode is called “Maelstrom” and focuses almost entirely on Starbuck. All the angst and madness since New Caprica (and even before) comes to a head as Starbuck is led toward her destiny. We still have no idea what that destiny really is but we know she is now squarely on the path to it.

The fleet is hiding around a planet that messes up sensors. Starbuck sees a cylon ship and takes off after it but nobody else sees it. She is nearly killed as she dives down the maelstrom at the centre of a massive storm but she snaps out of a trance state and reverses her dive before reaching the point of no return. She is plagued by memories and visions where her visions appear to her in the surrounding environment, somewhat like Six appears to Baltar or Baltar to Caprica Six. Eventually, Starbuck sees the cylon again and follows it down the maelstrom again, this time with Apollo following.

During the second dive, Starbuck has a vision in which she comes to terms with her mother’s death (by cancer) and her life to that point with the help of an apparently internal version of Leoben. We have a hint that her destiny lies between life and death. When she comes to, her conversation with Apollo indicates she has come to terms with life and death. We see her dive to the point of no return with Apollo in pursuit. There was something odd about the final scenes, however, as we see an odd light with Starbuck and we see the cylon ship from Apollo’s vantage point, just as Starbuck’s viper explodes.

It’s pretty clear that Starbuck died. Or at least it is supposed to look that way. The scene just played out a bit odd to me and I think there is something much more significant to it than the death of a primary cast member. There are hints elsewhere that seem to back this up (Dianna’s vision in the temple, for one). I am also reminded of the original incarnation of the series in which Starbuck’s fate was somewhat interesting as well. If I recall correctly, in the original (Galactica 1980), Starbuck essentially ascends (to borrow a term from Stargate) while saving a child who would later go on to save the fleet. I wonder if this episode wasn’t, at the very least, an homage to the original.

Dead or not, however, I fully expect we will see more from Starbuck, either in the season finale or next year. The producers are playing their cards tight to their vests so it’s impossible to say, really. And, with the unpredictability over the past several years, I have to admit that absolutely anything is possible.

Here’s to the producers of Battlestar Galactica for a powerful series that manages to avoid being totally predictable.