What The Frak Happened To Kara Thrace?

March 29, 2009 at 9:10 pm 6 comments

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.


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ginge  |  April 2, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I have put off watching the final episode until today, damn it was good. But it left me wondering what had happened to Kara, in fact I found your article because of it. I didn’t know Ron Moore had said Kara is whatever you want her to be, it seems a bit week to me and I feel some how cheated. But having just watched the final episode I think I’m just mourning over the fact its over. I suppose I would have liked it if she herself suddenly had the answer after her tasks were complete, and that she could have said a proper goodbye to Lee and a few others before disappearing. It’s something along the lines of Gandalf’s return on The Two Towers, knowing what to do but not why. Maybe if she had returned 150,000 years later with the Baltar and Six as you hint at also, a person in the crowd who looks at Baltar and Six as if to say “Do I know you two?”.

    Frak it!


    • 2. Nathan  |  April 2, 2009 at 9:36 am

      I don’t think you’re the only one who feels cheated, which is what compelled me to try to come up with an answer.

      One thing I guess I could’ve mentioned, but didn’t, was the idea of fate and destiny intertwined with her life. The paintings she made, for example, led her to her eventual death and subsequent resurrection, which in turn led everyone to “home”.

      I really think I’m in the minority on this one, especially on actually enjoying and not disapproving of the finale. But I guess given the fact that BSG was such an amazingly good series for the entirety of its run, the finale was going to piss off a lot of people regardless of what happened.

  • 3. spamtrap  |  August 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    So far all the Kara Thrace theories I’ve read neglect to mention the time span between her death and resurrection.

    Recall that she thought she’d been gone about six hours but she had actually been gone about a month. Had her resurrection been the work of a “god” it would not have taken one month to reproduce her Viper and herself.

    Therefore I think she was a Cylon or hybrid. Since the resurrection procedure does not work for Vipers, the one month lag before her return was the result of some group of Cylons having to reconstruct a replica of her Viper.

    When her Viper was ready, her memory of the one month wait was erased (or she was kept in suspended animation during the one month Viper building).

  • 4. Bryan  |  October 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I was, overall, a bit disappointed in the final episode. I didn’t like that Kara Thrace just vanished and no explanation was given as to her (second) existence, but I kind of assumed the things that your article talks about. She was, in her new form, a messenger from a higher power. It took a profound experience (her own death and “rebirth”) to open her up to her destiny. These things I was willing to accept as a sort of choose your own adventure style ending, where you get to make up the story for yourself.

    The thing that bothers me about the ending of the show is that through the course of the show, the theme of “this has all happened before, and this will all happen again” was what they wound up fighting against. And yet, when they had the chance to put an end to the cycle of destruction, they chose, instead, to disappear in to the population of (new) Earth, taking with them all of their knowledge and wisdom that would prevent it from happening again, which in my mind pretty much nullified everything that they had struggled and suffered through. They didn’t save the human race. They didn’t stop the cycle. Nothing they did changed anything. They merely postponed their own deaths, and perhaps even hastened the next cycle by introducing language and any other technologies/tools to ancient humans.

    Or maybe I’m just reading too much in to it and I should enjoy it for what it was. They survived to live out the rest of their lives with the Cylons in peace.

  • 5. Matthew Hurrell  |  October 7, 2009 at 4:25 am

    In my opinion Kara’s an angel. Gaius and Six can see the two of themselves but no one else can. And in the very last episode, the the two invisible characters turn out to be angels. So here’s the thing… Kara is an angel. We saw her dead remains on Earth, she even said she saw earth… Whos to say she just died and God sent her back as an angel to lead the remaining survivors to the habbitable planet (which Adama names Earth). Once her ”destiny” was accomplished, she was taken back by God… She just dissapears. Remember Shelly Godfrey? She appeared to pick on Gaius, I’m guessing the Six that only Gaius can see sent Shelly to Galactica to teach Gaius a lesson… about God. But Shelly just vanishes at the end of tthe episode, maybe Gaius’ invisible Six (who turns out to be an angel) sent Shelly down with a purpose and took her back when that purpose was accomplished. Everyone could see Shelly but then she vanished… Everyone could see Kara (after her ”death”) but then she just dissapeared… Resemblence???

  • 6. Matthew Hurrell  |  October 7, 2009 at 4:34 am

    (Forgot to mention this…) I cant remember wether BSG explains the old Earth and its nuking fully buuutttt… All this ”All has happened before” stuff, maybe that was in the history before the BSG we’re watching today. Maybe ”all will happen again” stuff is what the new Earth BSG is on now will be. Get it? I mean, the Earth Adama and all that are on now might get nuked in a million years or something by the machines you see at the end of the very last episode and the remaining humans search for another ”Earth”, etc.. So the story goes on and repeats again and again even though the Angel Six says it won’t.


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