Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Starbuck & The Rest of Season 3 (Spoilers)

Yeah, I guess putting “spoilers” after that title doesn’t help much, does it?

I was moved to post on the topic based on Elliot’s comment on my original post on a possible end to the series. After all, if Elliot cares, then maybe other people do too?

So the quick recap:

On March 5th (yesterday), the Battlestar Galactica episode “Maelstrom” aired. At the very end, Starbuck dies.

There is a nice interview with Katee Sackhoff, the actress who plays (played?) Starbuck on TheSciFiWorld. Katee has been pretty pissy about Battlestar Galactica all season, and she has frequently commented about how she didn’t like the love triangle set up around her character this season.

Personally, I found the episode tiring. So many predictions and allusions to Starbuck’s life having meaning & purpose. The vague references to finding out what lies between life & death.

Right now, the only options are:

  1. Starbuck is dead. Finito. No mystery, just a girl in Viper who went suicidal.
  2. Starbuck escaped. Some lame last-minute rescue or eject, picked up by a Cylon before dying.
  3. Starbuck is a Cylon. She wakes up in Season 4, resurrected, as one of the final Five, and becomes the fleet’s worst enemy because she knows them inside and out.

#3 is not the worst twist in the world. That would be my guess, assuming the writers don’t have the guts to just have her be dead.

There are only three more episodes in the season. BuddyTV has some additional spoilers here. It sounds like the last two episodes focus on the trial of Baltar, where we will learn the identity of one of the last five Cylons, and where Baltar will eventually go free.

Do you have a guess as to the Cylon? Based on the penchant for this writing team to go after the unexpected, my prediction would be for President Roslyn to actually turn out to be a Cylon. True, she went through that bout of cancer. But, Adama can’t be a Cylon, since his history is public and pre-dates the humanoid Cylons. I also like feeding on the suspicion that Roslyn somehow escaped the destruction of New Caprica on purpose, rather than on accident.

Unlikely, maybe. But if it’s some other character, will we really care?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Update (3/20/2007):ย  Check out my new post on the Final Five Spoilers for the Season 3 Finale.

32 thoughts on “Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Starbuck & The Rest of Season 3 (Spoilers)

  1. Her hand reached for the eject thingy right before she blew up, but then she moved her hand away, I guess she just went with it and ate it (died)

    They could do it like the Battlestar 1980 episode “Return of Starbuck” where he gets stuck on a planet with a Cylon. Maybe.

    Nice blog, I am glad I stumbled upon it.

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  3. 1) If you’re going to put a spoiler warning in your title, you need to put it BEFORE the big, flashing “Darth Vader is Luke’s father” spoiler. I’m SO glad I didn’t see your blog until after I had seen the episode, or you would have gotten quite an earful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2) Starbuck is not dead. She had her hand hovering over the eject lever, she was very clearly taking her first step on an important visionquest, Apollo doesn’t hang her picture next to Kat’s, and like Randy says they do have a habit of echoing the earlier series. But most importantly, that just wasn’t written to feel like a death scene. If anything, it was more reminiscent of a phoenix or harrowing of hell story. The hero must descend into the underworld and go through trials in order to return with power. This is a beginning, not an ending.

    3) If Starbuck does end up as one of the Final Five (which I think is fairly likely), that would not make her the fleet’s enemy. Remember, the cylons don’t even know who the final five are, much less share an agenda with them. And going back to the old series echoes and how the final five were portrayed in Eye of Zeus*, it is much more likely that they will be equivalent to the Ships of Light people.

    4) If either Adama or Roslyn were cylons, the entire series would have been a huge waste of time since the leaders were working for the enemy. Unless, of course, they were one of the final five and are using their position to thwart the other cylons (that hadn’t occurred to me before). In that case, it would have to be Roslyn (vision girl), and whether or not I bought it would depend *heavily* on how well it was executed.

    5) Of course Baltar is going to be set free. With a charming, lowlife lawyer like Mark Sheppard (Badger from Firefly) on his side, how could he not? ๐Ÿ™‚

    * Yes, I know the title was actually Eye of Jupiter. But if you’re calling everyone else by their Greek names, the idea that you’d be calling Zeus by his Roman name is just stupid.

  4. See, I read that shot differently. I thought they were being really dramatic, and making a point that she could have ejected, but she chose not to. Some sort of allusion to the fact that she didn’t fear death now, that she was doing this willingly.

    We’ll see. If the answer is just that she ejected, I’ll be disappointed, but hardly surprised.


  5. I really enjoy reading everyone’s speculation on what may be presented to us all come season 4. It stinks that we have to wait until January 2008 to find out.
    But whatever happens, Ron Moore and David Eick assure everyone at the BSG website that there is no way to expect what may happen. I hate it that Kara Thrace is (apparently) out of the picture, but I do pretty much trust them when they say that an interesting turn of events lie ahead. Can’t wait to see it….

  6. The first, most important mantra for TV productions is: You don’t slaughter one of your leading characters. Full stop. At least you don’t without delivering a sufficient substitute, usually even beforehanded. (As an example see ST:VOY and the change from Kes to Seven Of Nine.)

    Furthermore you don’t waste someone whom you’ve just created quite a few loose ends for. I mean – let’s face the second most important mantra (or is this #1?): The entire TV business is about money – each minute of broadcasting costs. Why implement all that blabbering about the “Eye of Jupiter” and Kara painting it? All that would have been easily dispensible if she’d had to go anyway. The “Final Five” innuendos match the scheme as well.

    OK, OK, it’s the end of the season – but listen to the third most important mantra for TV productions: As long as we haven’t seen the dead body, there’s a chance to see her again alive and kicking – one or another way.
    … And BTW, even a dead body wouldn’t be too much of a proof if they decide to let her return as a resurrected Cylon, would it?

    … Remember: Even Bobby Ewing got back … ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Nice post, kind of puts down in writing everything that has been going through my mind about the show since the episode aired. I’m also really intrigued by people pointing out that the final five Cylons might, in fact, be working against all the rest of the Cylons. That never really occurred to me, it’s an interesting thought.
    From a storytelling standpoint I’m hoping for “Starbuck is dead and that’s that.” Because, frankly, main characters dying in any kind of serial and never coming back is not something you see very often. Then again, that would leave a whole shitload of threads hanging.
    From a “Starbuck kicks ass and I love watching Katee Sackhoff” perspective, I want Starbuck to come back any way I can get her: Cylon, prisoner of the Cylons, castaway, clone, “it was all just dream none of that ever happened.” I don’t care how I just want her back.
    I tend to agree with her view on the love triangle stuff this season. It was pretty ridiculous.


    You heard it here first — Col. Tigh, Tori (President’s Aid / Press Secretary), and Starbuck’s Husband are 3 of the final 5 cylons.

    The remaining 2 are still a mystery…

  9. Possible Spoiler, huh? Speaking of Tori, after just seeing Sunday’s episode I was somewhat confused by the Tori/Roslin dynamic. So Roslin says she has cancer again. How do you get cancer after being “cured” by that injection she got. But besides that, she’s acting rather strange. And so is Tori. Will they expand that?

    Ok, let’s see. Baltar. (and speaking of baltar, and his trial. I’m happy to see there’s someone else who knows who Badger is, Ray.

    Will he take the stand during the trial, mention how he had a gun pointed to his head. How if he hadn’t signed, he’d have been murdered and there would have been someone else to sign in his place? I don’t really know if these people will care, but I’d like to see the reaction. These people at the trial remind me of the people from the 21st century courtroom in TNG’s Encounter at Farpoint episodes. Am I right?

    Ok. Now for Caprica Six. I think it’s fairly strange that both she and Baltar have eachother in their heads. I really hope they resolve that story line sooner than later. And though The mental progection of Baltar is “younger” than the same of Six, I think they tend to have opposite effects on the other’s behavior.

    the projection of six usually somehow always made a suggestion, or gave an order, that made it so that Baltar would survive something He otherwise wouldn’t have.

    The projected Baltar is already getting Six in trouble with Ty.

    anyway. that’s all.

  10. As far as the final five go, I don’t know if any of you remember…i believe it was either late season 1 or early season 2, but when i saw it i freaked. Does anyone remember during that story arc when the fleet was sepereated between Roslin and Adama, right before adama decides to go after the fleet. He’s talking to Dualla in his office, and there’s something she says (my memory’s terrible, so i can’t tell you what it was she said. But it was something the cylons had been saying for awhile. He looked at her funny, and so did I. anyway, it was strange. She has no true corroborated history, and despite her cover story of being a Saggitaron, she’s still a part of the military, and saggitarons are pacifists. I don’t know. her story has
    an odor to it. Am i wrong?

    Past the final five predictions, there’s Gaius’ trial, and the Gaius/Caprica Six mental projections.

    Ok, one, the people in the courtroom during this trial remind me of the people from TNG Encounter at Farpoint episodes. it’s ridiculous. And will Baltar take the stand? He had a gun to his head the whole damn time.

    Then again, for those who remember, he was a Bush of a president before the cylons arrived. While everyone on New Caprica lived in squalor, he was in his ship with a different woman every night. So, no doubt he could be blamed for the conditions before hand.

    And despite the practicallity of the move, I’m suprised that hasn’t been any significant back-lash over the fact that as soon as trouble showed up, the Galactica and the Pegasus were gone.

    Tori and Roslin. What’s going on there? Roslin’s taking Kammala. Ok we kind of knew that when she woke up dreaming of Hera, Six, and Sharon. Does she really have cancer? Though I typiccaly love the character, I’d have to say no. They could have given us a miniture “walking out of Cottle’s office” scene or something solid as proof.

    Maybe it’s menopause, but what’s with her attitude. Yes Tori’s acting a bit weird too, but the way Roslin reacted what uncharactaristic, and uncalled for.

    I know i’m jumping around like a madman.

    Has anyone noticed how the projected Six always ends up saving Baltar’s ass in some unexpected way, but so far as we’ve seen, the projected Baltar’s only gotten Caprica in trouble?

    Anyway, i think I’m done?

    if not, you’d better believe I’ll be back.

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  12. The one other thing people are over looking that would be a tie in to the original series is the ship of lights. Apollo in the original series died (or so we thought) but was brought back by this ship. Just before Starbuck’s ship blew up she was surrounded by a bright white light…


    Elliot – this is awesome! Plus #4 we now know as well … If I’d have to make an educated guess, I’d had to choose between Balthar and Starbuck.

    … Oh Lord, please let it be January 2008 soon!

  14. So I’m now thinking both Baltar and Starbuck are related to the Final 5 …

    Here’s how it works out —

    The Final 5 are not actually Cylon models but are distinct genetic lines of humans with extraordinary abilities. In the olden times, humans with these genes were, of course, the religious prophets and thus members of the council of 5 as per the religious texts.

    When the 13th colony left (as I hear, over religious grounds) likely many of these generically-gifted individuals went along — but, of course, some of their descendents were left behind (perhaps even on purpose). Over generations, the special abilities of these descendents were quickly forgotten — aside from a distant echo in dreams and subconsious sensations (and perhaps some tales passed from generation to generation).

    The 4 “cylons” as revealed in the season finale are likely descendents of 4 of these genetic lines — brought together by the activation of their special abilities (shared consciousness, etc.) as they approach beacons left by similarly gifted individuals from the 13th colony.

    Other humans may have a less extensive collection of these special “genes” (diluted through the generations). Baltar may have some (how else do you explain his “shared consciousness” with six?). Roslin may have some (and can activate her limited prophetic abilities through kamala).

    Starbuck is probably a descendent of the 5th line. That explains why she can exist on a “spiritual plane” after her death and communicate to Apollo (yes, StarBuck is dead folks — she is a vision in Apollo’s head .. :))

    It’s also likely that the Cylons share a relationship to the 5 generic lines. One of the descendents of the 5 prophets may have had a hand in putting the Cylons on their current evolutionary path and creating the humanoid Cylons as enemies of the 12 colonies (perhaps in a misduided and subconsciously-driven attempt to achieve a triumph of monotheisism that could not be achieved in the remaining 12 colonies and was the cause of the 13th separation).

    Of course, being “descended” from one of the 5 prophets led to the adoption of monotheism by the Cylons and the reverence for the 5 as per the monotheistic religion practiced by the 13th colony and their prophets.

    I’m sure the “final 5” humans can control the Cylons once their true identity is revealed (in fact, that would be a great way to resolve the cliffhanger battle scene).

    What’s more, this now sets us up for the arrival on Earth nicely. When the 13th colony arrived on earth, they likely faced the same polytheism vs monotheism battle as they faced in the original colonies (possibly due to some remaining rebellious elements or other internal conflicts). Monotheism won, of course, giving us the Earth society of today but echoes of polytheism still remain in our history. The gifts of the Five were likely diluted over the generations (as they were on the original 12 colonies) but the monotheistic prophets of our history (Moses, etc.) were likely descendents.

    When the fleet arrives on Earth they will learn all this … and with their command of the Cylons (via the Final 5) the options are wide open as to what happens after the arrival …

    P.S. Their could be one more wrinkle here where the Cylon God is actually a specific prophet descendent that set them on the current evolutionary path. Its possible this individual also represents a 6th genetic line (i.e. the God line). This may be a cleaner explanation for Baltar … who may be a distant descendent of the 6th line (i.e. and thus, a God per numerous recent references …) rather then a diluted descendent of the 5.

    This also explains why there were 6 bright lights in the Opera house sequence witnessed by Roslin/Athena/Hera and Six. (BTW, the whole connection between Roslin, the 5 prophets, and the Cylons as described above is of course the reason why they could share that sequence in the first place — the abilities of the 5 allow them to share consciousness with the Cylons. )

    OK. Enough of that… ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Wow, Elliot. You may need your own Battlestar Galactica blog… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Very interesting. I’m not sure that the BG authors are that deep, but it will be interesting to see it tie together.

    I’ve been thinking about the introduction more… it says very clearly that “And [the Cylons] have a plan…”

    So it’s still unclear to me whether the Final Five are part of the Cylon plan, or whether they are “beyond” it.


  16. Hi Brian,

    I have already been flamed about this – it’s a part of etiquette around spoilers that I was unfamiliar with when it comes to blogs and RSS feeds.

    That being said, the genie is out of the bottle now, and I’ve just decided to leave this one as is. Besides, an awful lot of people are searching Google for “Death of Starbuck”, so I’m not sure how to balance the fact that having this title is the best way to help those users find my blog post.

    Take care.

  17. Placing text such as “Death of Starbuck” prominently in your article or in meta keywords should keep your article visible to people who might want to read such articles (especially if you still have a thoughtful, but spoiler-free title that mentions Starbuck), although I am not sure if there is any way that blogs can add meta keywords. I do not see any on the write page and the FAQ system at did not return any results for either “meta” or “keyword”. If it is truly not already there, hopefully, Matt and his team will add keyword support in the future.

  18. Hi Brian,

    It’s true, content in the article and meta keywords are indexed, but not as impactful for natural search algorithms as title text. In any case, I don’t plan to put any more spoilers in the title.

    Part of this blog has been a learning experience for me as to the triumphs & pitfalls of blogging. As a result, I’m going to leave this one as is, as a memory of one of my mistakes when blogging about spoilers.

    Thanks again.

  19. I find it interesting that no one has seen what I see as very obvious.

    Ronald Moore is a huge Asimov fan. He’s stated so many times. No he’s retelling a story about Robots who became sentient. A lost planet, whose name is Earth. A master “PLAN”. This sounding familiar to anyone?

    I would imagine that the final five – are the keepers, or at the very least, PART of the master plan, put into play by the puppet-master; the fifth cylon. The person that took the form of Leobon (Q:> You’re not Leoben are you? A:> I never said I was) figures in heavily to this. Be him the first Cylon, or the Cylon god himself. This master cylon / puppet-master is pulling all the strings. They’ve been maneouvering everything.

    The antagonism that the 7 cylons display towards the human fleet is only part of the plan. It’s not part of the final goal. Much like the Asimov / Sheldon “Plan” what the players ‘think’ is the goal, isn’t actually the goal. It only moves the plan forward.

  20. I was thinking that the original Cylon plan is to find Monotheistic Earth, but they lack the ability to trigger the markers and artifacts laid out by the 13th colony along the way.

    So they need the 12 colonies to help, but certainly asking nicely wouldn’t have the desired effect. So they genocide the 12 colonies, sending them on a predictable quest to find Earth.

    The Cyclons tag along, never far behind, as it was their plan to get human help on finding Earth from the beginning.

    Well, that’s my guess.


    The four are known. What about the final fifth one?

    I believe that the “opera dream” sequence shows Baltar and Six leading Hera away, while Roslyn and Sharon look on. The final five are also five glowing apparitions in this dream, so it’s unlikely to be Roslyn or Baltar. That pretty much leaves Starbuck.


    The Cyclons have warned that Starbuck must not be followed, that she brings the apocolypse. And we know the series wants to end “with a bang”. I’m guessing that whatever lies in wait for us on the “Earth finale” will kill the humanoid Cyclons (maybe that virus again), the Earthers, and the Colonials. All that will remain standing will be the “tin can” variety of toaster.


    One more question I can’t seem to even guess at. If the final 5 are unknown to the Cyclons, then who created them? Perhaps the “tin can” toasters did, and then were ordered to forget? I’ve heard rumors that the “tin cans” have their sentience artificially supressed by the humanoid Cyclons, but that they’ll be rebelling in episode 4, with a few entire Cyclon humanoid lines wiped out. Kind of the same way the toasters rebelled against their human masters in the colonies, half a century ago. If it’s true, that will add an interesting twist to the story. Toasters on the loose!

    More guesses from silly old me.


  21. There is a big gap in between the last post and my post, but could one of you reply? This is my first post and I was wondering if mabey Starbuck is an ascended being like the original Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica. It would explain how she’s back ( She must have to die to realise what she is ) the whole non-existent Cylon Raider has been a test, and she is connected to that Mandala thing. Plus everybody is telling her that she has a special destiny.

    But then again that would mean that she has nothing to do with the Cylons, so to speak.
    In the episode ” The Farm” when the Cylon Sharon (Boomer) helps Starbuck and the resistance fighters to escape, afterward Boomer tells Starbuck ” The Cylons know about you…… you’re special “. I mean what was that about.
    Not to mention all that riff with Leoben.
    And, in the episode ” Maelstrom ” Starbuck is having a bad dream, she wakes up at the exact same time as the half-human, half-cylon baby Hera, who was also having a bad dream…….Connection?

    But then , a bit off topic here, when the Tigh, The Chief, Torri and Anders find out that they are Cylons, President Roslin is looking odd and confused. That could mean something.

    I don’t care what Starbuck is, I’m just super glad she’s back.

    x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-Starbuck Rules-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

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