What The Frak Happened To Kara Thrace?
NOTE: There are manySPOILERS about the events leading up to and including the series finale to Battlestar Galactica. Continue reading at your own peril.
There has been wide debate since the series finale of Battlestar Galactica about the fate of Kara Thrace, aka Starbuck. As those who saw the events leading up to the finale know, she blew up chasing a Cylon Raider into a nebula, then magically returned, saying she had been to Earth. Once she finally guided the fleet to Earth, she found her charred remains, along with her half-destroyed Viper. Then, at the end of the series finale, she simply disappeared. Ceased to exist. Many people are upset and even enraged that an explanation was not given for what the frak she was. Was she truly an angel? Was she something else? Ronald D. Moore commented on this in an interview after the airing of the series finale. He said,
“Kara, I think, is whatever you want her to be. It’s easy to put that label on her: Angel, or Messenger of God, or whatever. Kara Thrace died and was resurrected and came back and took the people to their final end. That was her role, her destiny on the show… We debated back and forth in the writers’ room for a while on giving it more definition, and saying, definitively, “This is what she is,” and we decided that the more you try to outline it and give voice to it and put a name on it, the less interesting it became. We just decided this was the most interesting way to go out, with her disappearing without trying to name what she was.”
I can see where the frustration lies with the fans of what she was. She is “whatever you want her to be”. Not very helpful, Ron. But I don’t necessarily think that it’s really such a bad thing to not name what she is, and to not specify and define exactly what she was in the end. Battlestar Galactica, from the very beginning, infused itself with religion, and whatever one can say about religion, whether one believes in or agrees with it (generally or concerning a specified one), one has to admit that there is a certain mystery to the “mythology” of them, so to speak. Take Christianity (classic, I know), and take specifically Jesus, for example. According to the Bible, Jesus cured a blind man, walked on water, and (among many other miracles), rose from the dead and was resurrected. Now, whether one believes in such things, we are not, in terms of Battlestar Galactica, talking about the real world. We must, then, use the logic within the universe of BSG.
Throughout the series, many characters are guided by unknown forces to their destinations. Laura Roslin makes irrational decision after irrational decision in order to get to Earth. Gaius Baltar sees someone no one else can, in the form of Caprica Six, and Caprica Six sees the same in the form of Baltar (I’ll elaborate on this in a few moments). Starbuck is consistently urged and pushed in certain directions, to make certain actions, as a result of feelings and intuition. And Bill Adama listens to the pleas of Roslin and Starbuck on many an occasion, despite the seeming irrationality of doing so. After all, one could argue that many times it put the fleet in danger.
Yet all of those irrational decisions eventually lead them all to their final destination: Earth (Two?). Battlestar Galactica is not shy about there being something greater at work than what’s on the surface. The very last scene, in modern New York City with Head Baltar and Head Six leads one to the conclusion that, even though they gave both good and bad advice throughout the series, they were pushing Baltar and Caprica Six toward a final destination. They both had a goal to accomplish, and needed a “helping hand” to lead them there. Given the fact that they refer to some “God” at the end, as if they know “it” personally makes it clear that they were employed to do a service for “it”.
Which leads me to Kara. I don’t think that she’s further off from what Head Baltar and Head Six are. Although I think that on the “chain”, if one exists, she is below them. I think she, too, was employed by this “God” to accomplish a task. But she couldn’t accomplish it in a mortal, physical body. In the same way that say, Laura Roslin was driven to follow the path to Earth, even against the judgment of many others, Kara was driven to fly into that nebula, find Earth, and then return as an “angel” to guide the people to their final destination. Kara, though, as I said, is not like Head Baltar and Head Six. After dying, she was no longer in her own physical body. She was no longer herself, on a spiritual, or on an astral level. She was not consciously or knowingly “employed” by “God” in the same way. But she had a purpose to fulfill, and in the end, she fulfilled it. In that sense, the only thing to do was simply to disappear, and return to her complete “spiritual” or “astral” state.
Perhaps this explanation will satisfy some of those out there who yearn for more answers to the questions left up in the air at the end of Battlestar Galactica. It’s just a theory, of course, but the more I ponder it, and ruminate on it, the more it makes sense to me. Does it make sense to anyone else? Please comment, give feedback, etc. Got your own theory? I’d love to hear it.