Battlestar Galactica
Maelstrom

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

"Galactica, Starbuck. Showtime. Bogey, my right-one. In the soup at 45. Committing." Hotdog radios that there's no such bogey, and they say pilot things like "press" and "wilco," and Adama takes her at her word, aborting the unrep (?) and getting everybody ready to jump. Dualla takes the flight school vocab section of the quiz a tad far when she issues the order to "cease all underway replenish ops." If this whole part of the episode weren't like that, hyperactive with the shoving of these words in all over the place like an episode of ER in the sky, I'd call her an asshole. Gaeta can see Starbuck and Hotdog on dradis, but not the Raider, and Tigh and Adama talk about how being able to hide from Cylons with the atom stuff happening also means that the Cylons can hide from them. Which you'd think would be self-evident, but Season Three is pretty much based on that principle, and I think the whole show. Starbuck tells the CAG about the Raider in some kind of obvious diner code that Tigh fully translates for us, like even he is irritated by the script at this point, and how it seems to be peeing its name in the snow suddenly: "One heavy Raider, no fighter escort." Which is still not on dradis; Tigh joins Adama in believing Starbuck versus the evidence of his own eyes. I mean, "eye." "Alert the Fleet to stand by for an emergency jump," says Adama, and down in the clouds, diving further toward the planet, Hotdog's blind: no visual on Starbuck, no visual on anything. Nothing but the rain.

As Starbuck drops down through the clouds, she sees a mighty storm, twisting around and around, never ending: the Eye of Jupiter, again. Her jaw drops; lightning plays across the storm below. It takes Lee's voice to wake her up, as usual: "Do you have visual?" She looks away from the Eye, and calls out the position to her CAG; she shoots and dives down toward the Raider, who shoots and scores. Alarms begin to sound, like a noise coming across the water, like a sonic boom for something that hasn't hit yet. "Took a hit. Still flying." She got her wings six years ago. Adama searches for the Raider; Gaeta notes Starbuck's velocity, her angle of approach, her descent: she's getting close to the planetary hard deck (sigh) and if she goes down too far, if she stays on course, the atmospheric density will keep her from reaching orbit again. The word is trajectory: if Boomer was always meant to die on the floor of Hera's nursery, if we did that to her, wasn't that just fate, opening like a flower? Isn't this the trajectory Kara's always been looking for: if she goes down too far, she'll be crushed, and Tigh grumbles that this will occur "like a cheap soda can," because apparently he drinks really expensive soda? Which is not a thing that I knew to exist?

Starbuck ignores Apollo as he screams, shooting down into the storm, into the Eye, and his voice climbs higher and higher. It's nothing he hasn't been saying to her since they met; nothing he doesn't scream every time they have a conversation: "Starbuck, you're getting too low. Break off and climb. I repeat, Starbuck, you're getting too low, break off and climb!" Out the Viper window as she drops into the Eye, there's a man, indistinct, in Elysium, in a white room, illuminated by lightning as it flashes and disappears again. "Starbuck, get out of there. Starbuck, come in. Can you read? Starbuck, you're getting too low. Break off and climb! Get up!" I mean to say that Lee Adama begs her to climb, and she willfully ignores him, drawn forward by music across the water. "Hotdog, do you have a visual on Starbuck? Starbuck, come in. Do you read? Starbuck, pull out! That is an order. Pull out!" (That's what she said!) Kara snaps out of it, and climbs briefly, dipping down once again as she sees the bogey, teasing her away, into the darkest parts of the storm, a will o' wisp, an angel. And still the breathing, and the rain, as she strives further, and pulls away.

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Battlestar Galactica

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