I Don't Want Laura To Die
Author: Scott Nance Date: 10-29-2005
I'm filled with terrible apprehension when I think of "Battlestar Galactica" resuming new episodes in January: I really don't want Laura Roslin to die. But I'm not sure I want her to live, either.
By thrusting not only a woman, but a woman dying of breast cancer, into the presidency of the Twelve Colonies, Ron Moore created a powerful dramatic character, indeed. President Roslin has had to simultaneously deal with the mortality not only of the human race but her own.
Actress Mary McDonnell has given the character such vibrancy that she commands nearly every scene in which she appears. (Geena Davis, eat your heart out!)
Although she appeared in no way, shape, or form in the original 1970s series, Laura Roslin easily has become my favorite "Battlestar" character.
Through the series' first year, and the early part of the current season, the dramatic tension inherent in Laura's impending death was real, if also somewhat deferred. Her end would come someday soon--but not today.
Now that day has come. Ron Moore apparently has deferred Laura's fate no longer.
In the episode "Flight of the Phoenix," Dr. Cottle (Donnelly Rhodes) tells Laura she has no more than a month left, perhaps only a few weeks.
Single-mindedly focused only on delivering the fleet to Earth, Laura asks the doctor if she can continue to work.
Roslin taking her oath of office in the miniseries
Cottle put an exclaimation point on her condition when he says she can--if the cancer doesn't spread to her brain. That moment alone gave me a chill.
So Ron Moore and the rest have given themselves an impending choice: let Laura die, or find some miracle to save her.
Moore recently promised "a big Laura episode," would air soon after new episodes resume which will focus on her life on Caprica before the attack. He said that viewers will get to see a glimpse of what her life was like before she found out she got cancer and before the attack.
Will this be her farewell?
If series producers allow Laura to die, they will be losing one of their strongest characters, but will be staying true to the story arc they created and viewers invested themselves in emotionally.
Her loss would be felt keenly. With Laura gone, there will be more than a political vacuum on the show; the entire center of gravity would have to shift.
Her death would be a big adjustment for fans to make.
There is worry, too, however, if she were to live.
With fans so gripped by her literally life-and-death struggle, an easy out now would be a cheat and there would be a feeling of being let down.
The folks who make BSG are talented people, and I doubt that would happen, but the specter of death has been so much a fabric of Laura's character that even if the writers devise a satisfying way for her to live, will the lifting of the sword over her head lessen what makes her so compelling? Will she simply be reduced to a lady president with no greater dramatic strength? What then?
I'm certain Moore and the others have been wrestling with these questions for some time. It will be left to us viewers to see how well they have answered them.
With so much on the line for we fans of Laura Roslin, when "Battlestar" begins again with the new year, it will be a little like the proverbial car wreck: I'm not sure I want to look but probably unlikely to turn away.