Battlestar Galactica
Maelstrom

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B- | 3 USERS: A+
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The Girl Kneeling By The River

(Tennyson: "Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals / From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure, / And bosom beating with a heart renewed. / Thy cheek begins to redden through the gloom, / Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine, / Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team / Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise, / And shake the darkness from their loosened manes, / And beat the twilight into flakes of a fire." It's from Tithonus, a poem he wrote about one of Aurora's lovers. Would you know I was fucking with you if I said "the other side of Thrace is also Thrace"? That's comedy, come on.)

Kara enters the Oracle's tent, and calls out; on an altar she sees a goddess, cast in gold: they've taken away her hands, and replaced them with wings. Kara Thrace has hands. Six years ago they gave her wings. Yolanda Brenna, who has an old-world face, appears, one eye obscured as she peeks around a wall. With one eye on Kara, she almost smiles: "The goddess Aurora. Take it, it's yours." (This was supposed to be Selloi again, but the schedule didn't work out.) "What the hell am I gonna do with this?" She'll know, when it's time. Brenna holds out her hands, asking Kara to sit. Kara kneels across an altar from the woman, a huge ceremonial bowl between them, filled with water. With the sound of dripping, with the lights playing across the water and onto their faces, you'd think we were in the presence of the Hybrid. Or on an MKULtra trip, or in the Temple of Five, or sitting with Boomer, listening to the water. Maybe last time, Kara was the interrogator and someone else was the prisoner. The players change, the story remains the same: it's not just Gaius's trial, and it never was. She takes the Oracle's hands.

"I, uh," she falters. "Uh...I can't sleep. I have these nightmares." Brenna doesn't look away, at least not in a way you could tell. "About the Cylon? The one who held you captive on New Caprica. Leoben." Starbuck swears he was just fucking with her; Brenna shakes her head. So gentle, even in her harshness. "He knows you better than you know yourself, Kara Thrace. He sees the truth about you. About your destiny." Starbuck pulls back; the Oracle's too strong, she can't get her hands free. There's a door about to slam. "Enough of that. The only destiny I have is as a world-class frak-up." Brenna almost smiles, again: "Who hurts everyone she cares about. That was your mother's gift to you, wasn't it? You were born to a woman who believed suffering was good for the soul, so you suffered." We've heard all these words before; we're hearing them again. Her voice and Leoben's begin to meld; how he was on the floor, talking, refusing to be quieted, when she was the interrogator. "Your life is a testament to pain. You want to believe it, because it means that you're bad luck. You're like a cancer that needs to be removed, because you hear her voice every day." Adama called her that once, too, and he loves her more than anyone; never more than when he said that. "And you want her to be right," says Leoben; back in the tent, Kara Thrace's eyes narrow. "Somebody told you what Leoben said to me?" A droplet runs down Brenna's cheek, like a tear. Like the rain. "Did you ever tell anyone about that? You learned the wrong lesson from your mother, Kara. You confused the messenger with the message." The Greek word for messenger is aggelos. We have a history of getting these messages confused. Six years ago, Kara ripped her wings from her mother's hands and ran, and ran, and ran, and she never looked back. "Your mother was trying to teach you something else," Brenna says, and Kara gets confused again: "You don't know crap about my mother." But Leoben does: "He sees the patterns, how it all fits together." The little girl Kore cries. Starbuck speaks harshly enough to shut her up, and Brenna too, but the Oracle doesn't blink, with her eyes. "He's coming for you. Soon." Somewhere a door slams, on a young girl's hands, breaking every finger, between the first and second knuckle. Kara's trial begins again. Kara tells her to fuck off and leaves; the water plays across Brenna's beautiful face, her eyes: "You can't stop him. And he will show you the way."

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Battlestar Galactica

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