Back before New Caprica and Season Three, when Pegasus was still flying, Apollo had a CAG named Kendra Shaw. Admiral Cain's favorite, a first-hand witness to the excesses of the Pegasus, and pretty much the Cain-flavored version of Starbuck, Shaw was: present for the attack on the Colonies, for Cain's summary execution of her friend and XO, directly responsible for the massacre on the Scylla, and implicated in the consequences for her discovery that Cain's lover, Gina, is a Cylon operative. By the time she catches up to the main timeline and becomes Apollo's XO, she's also a heroin addict and serious malcontent. You can't really blame her. I started asking for hard drugs about twenty minutes in.
Apollo sends Shaw and Starbuck out to an old Cylon base, which has captured a team of civilian scientists. Turns out Admiral Adama has just forgotten to mention in the last three years that during the first Cylon War, he was privy to the beginning of the experiments that would result later in the creation of the Hybrids that run the Cylon Basestars, and saw the human misery that went into it up close. Despite Lee's best efforts to get Kara killed, Shaw's crazy tactics and propensity for shooting folks in the head means she's the last man left behind. Then things get weird and totally awesome. Shaw learns that Starbuck's actual destiny is to be: the harbinger of the Apocalypse. If Kara Thrace leads humanity to Earth, it will spell the end of humanity. Then, Shaw kills both herself and God.
Only slightly worse and harder to think about than the preceding paragraphs are two facts: Season Four won't start until April, and it might never ever conclude, depending on the writers' strike. So have fun with this one, if you can!
"You're born, you live and you die. There are no do-overs. No second chances to make things right if you frak them up the first time. Not in this life, anyway." That's Kendra Shaw talking, running a blade along her skin, lightly. Her arm, and her hand. The knife was a gift. A knife means one thing only, like a gun: to kill, to cut. To remake by destroying. Take all the damages you can do, all the million ways to hurt and cut and kill, action against the enemy, or yourself, and resolve them down to a single principle: the edge of a blade. Take a plane in three or four or more dimensions, all the pain and trouble and fear, and resolve it down to a single line in two dimensions: that's the line of the razor. Danger at its most basic. Without danger, there's no need for anger, and without anger, it's danger that wins. The knife was a gift.
Razor is a hallucination, an unwanted memory: only fair that we begin in post-traumatic stress, in muddled images, sights and sounds, tracing the history of Pegasus from the end of the world and onward, through the war after the end of the world. Pegasus arrived from nowhere, like the answer to a prayer. Admiral Helena Cain arrived, welcoming us back to humanity -- offering our Fleet the chance to rejoin itself, under her flag. Gaius Baltar arrived in Gina's cell, promising to save her, and put a gun into her hand, and she gave Cain the death she craved from Starbuck. And everyone on Pegasus died eventually, didn't they? Strung out across the Fleet in one way or another, because they thought they'd never get back. They thought they could not regain humanity, because they were too ashamed of what they'd become. The blood and screams in those walls never did get washed clean. Gina died when her purpose was gone: take away the plan and Six falls apart. The bomb was a gift. Fisk died at the hands of thugs just like himself. Garner died because he couldn't remember the difference between humans and machines, and left Lee a watch that was both at once. It was a gift. And because she loved, and was loved, Cain died at the hands of the only person that could ever love her. It was a gift.