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Recap / Battlestar Galactica 2003 S 03 E 17 Maelstrom

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Season 3, Episode 17:

Maelstrom

The fleet has arrived at a gas giant to restock its fuel supplies after the attempted strike. In her bunk, Kara is having a dream where she is trying to paint over a drawing of a mandala in her old apartment on Caprica. She is surprised by a copy of Leoben walking up behind her, and they begin to make love. She wakes up with a start and is confused by her vision.

Afterwards, she meets with Helo and relates her dream, and he suggests that she go to a psychologist. When she refuses, he takes her to see an oracle in Dogsville, who gives her a figurine of the goddess Aurora and relates Leoben's prophecy, which he told her while he was being interrogated by her just after the fall of the Colonies.

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The oracle finishes by telling Kara that her mother, Socrata Thrace, wanted to tell her something, and that Leoben is the answer. Kara leaves the tent angrily in response.

Later, Kara and Anders are laying in bed together. He asks her to take some time off and go to another ship with him for a getaway, but she is fixated on the oracle's reading and thoughts of her mother. She relates to him that her mother abused her as a child and shows off several injuries.

On a refueling run later, Kara and Hot Dog are patrolling the area when she sees a Heavy Raider. Despite Galactica not being able to see it on DRADIS because of the gas emissions, she attempts to follow it into a gas storm, but relents after Lee calls her back and sees a vision of her mother in her apartment. She returns to Galactica, and her gun camera footage shows no signs of the Heavy Raider or the storm she saw.

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Afterwards, Bill asks Lee if Kara is still capable of active duty. He tells his father that she's fine, and goes to see her later in the memorial walkway. They have a discussion of what would happen if the other died, and he gives encouragement to stay focused. Afterwards, she meets Bill and Roslin in the hall and gives him the Aurora figurine to use on his model ship.

Kara goes to inspect her Viper again, but has another vision of her mother and breaks down. Lee sees her and gives her more encouragement when she says she's not fit to fly, and says he'll fly with her during the next patrol.

Lee and Kara head out for the next refueling run. Kara sees another Heavy Raider and engages, but Galactica has the same problem picking it up on DRADIS. Kara thinks it may be a trick, but continues flying towards the gas storm. She then has a vision where she is in her apartment with Leoben, who greets her and tells her about her experiences with her mother. Kara remembers finding out that Socrata had cancer, and leaving her home after the latter refused her attempt to sympathize.

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Leoben and Kara both discuss how Socrata died five weeks after Kara left home, and how she was afraid of seeing her mother die. Leoben tells her that Socrata kept a scrapbook of Kara's visions, including the mandala drawing, and knew that her daughter was destined for something greater. He tells her that her mother wanted her to know that death is not to be feared, and that he is a guide to help her see what is between life and death.

Kara snaps out of her vision as her craft begins to near the storm's point of no return, and tells Lee that she'll see him on the other side. When he yells at her to come back, she tells him to let her go, and her Viper explodes in a flash of light.

A shocked and horrified Lee reports the news to the CIC. When Bill orders search teams to look for her, Lee tells him it's no use and that she's dead. The command crew all break down upon learning her fate.

Afterwards, Bill attempts to continue working on his ship to clear his thoughts, but becomes angered and distraught over Kara's death, and trashes the model in response.

Tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: Kara's romp with Leoben at her apartment in the teaser.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Prometheus is seen traveling beside Galactica during the first fleet scene.
    • Bill once again references their "What do you hear?/Nothing but the rain" catchphrase when they pass each other in the hall.
    • Lee mentions Duck and Nora's deaths while speaking with Kara at the memorial wall.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kara gives Bill the final piece he needs to complete his model ship, but he trashes it in grief just after learning of her death.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Edward James Olmos actually destroyed the model ship his character had been building throughout the series, which was originally loaned from a museum.
  • Foreshadowing: The episode sets up additional characterization and prophecies for Kara, despite her seemingly dying in this episode.
  • Gallows Humor: Kara and Lee discuss which of them will die first, and jokingly tell each other that if either of them are left alive, they'll put the other's photo up in the memorial hallway.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bill gets a momentary one as a result of Kara's death.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Lee says a variant of this to his father when the latter tries to send out search teams to look for Kara's Viper.
  • Infinite Supplies: Discussed. The fleet is restocking its tylium fuel supplies at a gas giant, which motivates the plot of the episode.
  • Killed Off for Real: Starbuck really does die in this episode—her future appearances and subsequent Back from the Dead arc is that of a manifested being/apparition whose sole goal is to lead the Colonials to Earth.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The seer in Dogsville was originally intended to be Dodonna Selloi (from "Precipice"), but had her name changed after the actress who played her (Amanda Plummer) wasn't available to reprise her role. As a result, she has a similar function in the plot (revealing a prophecy to one of the major characters).
  • Unwanted Assistance: Kara orders Lee not to follow her when he tries to pursue her and the Heavy Raider into the storm.
  • Wham Episode: Kara dies.

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