Caution - If you haven't seen Episode 317 of Battlestar Galactica, Maelstrom, this'll contain spoilers. Same goes for the episode Scar.
So one of the most hyped episodes of Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica was just released, entitled Maelstrom. While I've gotten out of the habit of reviewing every episode that I see, I have to do something for this one, as well as a number of other episodes.
Finally, a TV series has had the guts to kill off (or at least appear to kill off) one of the main stars and characters, Kara 'Starbuck' Trace. Tomorrow morning, there's probably going to be a flurry of newsites and journalists writing in about the episode, wondering if BSG has jumped the shark, gotten better, or something of that nature. Fans will most likely be divided over what happened in tonight's episode.
I have to say that this is where Galactica should be every episode. Strong, character-driven, heavy storyline seasons, much like the first season was, somewhat like how Season 2 and 3 have been. While I recognize that standalone episodes are good, throwaway ones aren't. This wasn't a throwaway episode, and it wasn't part of a major arc, although it'll have some huge ripples coming in the next episode, or there should be.
In this episode, Starbuck's hallucinating while on duty, and having flashbacks to her past. All the while, she's seeing Leoben (or not Leoben) saying that her destiny's catching up to her. While she's chasing a phantom heavy raider (looks like they're now called Turkeys), she goes below the hard-deck (Most likely the zone where the fighter'll implode due to pressure) and explodes, appearing to die. I'm not going to say that she's dead, because we haven't seen the body, and there've been rumours that Starbuck'll be back somehow. Personally, I can't see how she'll be back, because they've said that she's not a Cylon, and I haven't the faintest as to how she'll have survived.
This episode reminded me very much of Scar, one of the strongest episodes from last season, when Starbuck was having problems with leaving Anders behind, all the while having problems with an insane Cylon Raider, which was picking people off. Both episodes delved deeply into Starbuck's personality, showing her to be a loose cannon, angry young woman, who's got some major problems. This episode showed us why she had those problems, and did an excellent job doing so.
Why is it that Starbuck's episodes have proven to be the best out there? Can't Go Home Again, from Season 1, was another Kara-centric episode that was amazing, and it seems that non of the other characters out there have gotten the same treatment and detailed storytelling that Starbuck seems to have been enjoying. I guess time will tell.
Personally, this episode'll stand out for me, not only in this season, but for the entire series thus far. And, it did the extremely good job of making me forget a little about the previous couple episodes, and showing us again what this show can be. Plus, the CGI workup in this episode was off the hook. I want to see a big screen Battlestar Galactica movie, if they can do this stuff. That would totally rock my world.