Kara Thrace


Kara Thrace

BSG Character


caption = Katee Sackhoff as Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
bgcolor = #fc0
fgcolor = #000
name = Kara Thrace
race = Human
gender = Female
callsign = Starbuck
rank = Lieutenant (BSG Miniseries - Episode 2.10)
Captain (Episode 2.11 - Current)
colony = Caprica
affiliation = Colonial Fleet
portrayed = Katee Sackhoff
first = Miniseries
last =

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, played by Katee Sackhoff, is a fictional character in the television series "Battlestar Galactica", a reimagining of the classic series of the same name.

Character history

Background

Kara had intended to be a professional Pyramid ball player until her knee gave out. She eventually joined the military, where she found more acceptance than she had felt at home as an abused child. [Family problems had previously been alluded to but physical abuse is confirmed in "The Farm" when the Cylon Simon points out the fact that every one of her fingers on both hands are broken in exactly the same place. Simon says that she might not want to have children because of that, due to fears of passing the abuse on to her children. There is a strong reaction from Kara, but there has been no further clarification on this topic in her past within that episode. Later, in "Maelstrom", it is revealed that her mother once punished her by putting her hand on a doorframe and slamming the door shut.] Although Kara's mother had served in the Marines, as a Sergeant Major, in the First Cylon War, Kara was the first person in the family to become an officer. Kara's mother was not content with her daughter's military record, however, claiming she was not disciplined enough, and that she was wasting her natural talent for flying.

During her first assignment, Private Thrace was repeatedly insubordinate to her superior officer, Sergeant Mike Gibbons. Later she was assigned to the air wing on the Battlestar Triton, and received disciplinary actions from the Battlestar's commander, Commander James Jonasson.

As a Flight Instructor at the Colonial Flight School, she met and became romantically involved with one of her students, Zak Adama. Although Zak told her that he did not want any special treatment from her, Kara passed him even though he failed Basic Flight — she could not bring herself to crush his dreams.

Her leniency cost Zak his life when he was killed in his first Viper mission. After his death, Starbuck met his father, Commander Adama. He realized that Starbuck and Zak had been engaged and brought her under his command as a Lieutenant. Zak's death, however, created a wedge between Commander Adama and his other son, Lee "Apollo" Adama, who blamed his father for Zak's death. After the funeral, Lee broke off all contact with his father and Starbuck.

Starbuck has a natural talent for flying and is considered "Galactica"'s best pilot, although she is also known for being an avid card player and drinker. Commander Adama loves Kara despite her flaws and considers her something of a surrogate daughter. However, Starbuck and Colonel Tigh share a mutual sense of loathing.

After the attack

In a card game prior to "Galactica"'s decommissioning ceremony, Starbuck responds to Colonel Tigh's mocking of her call sign and her stint in the brig as a cadet by alluding to Tigh's troubled relationship with his wife. Infuriated, he flips the table over, and she punches him in the face. He sends her to the brig, promising that her career is over. However, Commander Adama tells Tigh that he is probably overreacting: while he agrees to leave Kara in the brig until after the ceremony, Adama says there is no need to ruin Kara's career over the incident. Following the Cylons' attack on the Twelve Colonies, Starbuck is released to join the battle.

Starbuck keeps her secret about Zak buried inside until after the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies. Soon after, when Starbuck fears she and the rest of humanity might be wiped out by the Cylons, she confesses her mistake to Lee. He is devastated and would later confront her about it when she is chosen to train new Viper pilots aboard "Galactica" after several pilots are killed in a freak accident. Starbuck, blinded by guilt, washes all the pilots out for relatively minor flaws. She then admits her secret to Commander Adama who is furious and heartbroken; he orders her to reinstate the trainees.

On the next training mission, Starbuck and the trainees are ambushed by a small group of Raiders. Starbuck engages the Raiders on her own to cover the trainees' escape. With her Viper heavily damaged, she plummets toward the surface of a nearby desert moon, and is forced to eject and take her chances on the surface.

Starbuck is declared "missing in action", and Commander Adama orders a search and rescue operation which strains the "Galactica"'s crew and combat resources. On the surface, Starbuck struggles with a broken knee and near asphyxiation as her oxygen runs out. She discovers a downed Raider and is able to pilot it back to the fleet.

Depressed by her injuries, she initially needs incentive to work on rehabilitation and is soon rubbing people the wrong way again. Even after she is able to move around without a cane, the injury sidelines her from flight for many episodes; when given tactical charge of a mission in one episode, she can not fly the critical role because her knee still can't handle the G-force.

Despite her often crude exterior, Starbuck has a deep-seated faith in the gods. As a result, President Laura Roslin asks her to carry out a dangerous mission: return to Caprica and retrieve the Arrow of Apollo, a religious artifact that supposedly points the way to Earth. She takes the Cylon Raider she had captured, leading Commander Adama to declare that Roslin had suborned mutiny; he sends a detachment of Marines to terminate her presidency.

During her time on Caprica, Starbuck encounters Number Six (who beats her soundly); meets up with Karl Agathon and the Sharon Valerii copy pregnant with his child; and meets a fellow pyramid player named Samuel Anders. He leads a resistance group that had been waging guerrilla war against the Cylons. At one point Starbuck is injured in battle, captured, and wakes up in a Cylon "farm" as part of their experiments to create human/Cylon hybrids. Without her knowledge, apparently one of her ovaries is surgically removed before she escapes, a fact discovered only much later. Starbuck escapes, and plans to return to the fleet; she promises to return to rescue the Caprican resistance group and Anders, with whom she develops a romantic relationship.

Soon after returning from the planet Kobol, the Battlestar "Pegasus", commanded by Admiral Cain, is discovered. Admiral Cain promotes Starbuck to Captain and CAG (Commander, Air Group) of the "Pegasus".

After the fleet leadership denies her request to return to rescue the Caprican resistance fighters, Starbuck is depressed and guilt-stricken: she has broken her word, failed her duty, and assumes the man she is "hung up on" is either dead, or will be soon. As Pegasus CAG, she also feels responsible for the pilots who have died on her watch, or died because she has not yet killed the Cylon's "top gun", "Scar". She recklessly maneuvers to take out Scar, but at the last moment pulls away, setting up the kill for Louanne "Kat" Katraine and giving up her own status as "Top Gun". Although this marks the beginning of a new resolve and the end of her self-destructive depressive behaviours, tensions between her and Apollo flare up again after she shoots him in a friendly fire incident during a hostage stand-off.

After Lee Adama's promotion to Commander of the Battlestar "Pegasus", Starbuck transfers back to the "Galactica" and assumes the role of its CAG.

New Caprica

The complications of Starbuck and Lee's relationship was furthered when a drunken night on the newly found planet named New Caprica ended with Starbuck and Lee having a one-night stand where they both expressed their love for one another. But when Lee wakes up alone the next morning, he soon discovered that Kara had proposed to and married Anders. Lee soon marries Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla while Starbuck moves planetside with Anders.

At some point during her time on New Caprica, she and Tigh were able to put their differences behind them, even greeting each other fondly following Tigh's demobilization and arrival at the colony. Her relationship with Lee, however, worsened to the point that he had little interest in speaking to her, or in helping her.

After the Cylon invasion of New Caprica, she is imprisoned inside a house, where a Leoben model tries to convince her that they are destined to be lovers. For four months Starbuck denies his advances, killing him several times despite knowing he would be back. Then she is presented with a young girl named Kacey that Leoben claims is their daughter, created with the ovary that was removed when she was in the egg farm. Initially she refuses to believe it and wants nothing to do with the girl, but when Kacey is badly injured in a fall down a staircase, she calls on Leoben for help and seems to grow more attached to both of them.

In the episode "Exodus" Part 2, it is revealed that Kacey is not Starbuck's child; the Cylons had abducted her. Kacey and her real mother are reunited on the "Galactica"'s flight deck after the flight from New Caprica. Starbuck is left there alone on the flight deck, stunned and in disbelief.

Back with the fleet

After her situation on New Caprica and the truth about Kacey, she becomes distraught and destructive toward herself and the rest of the crew, almost killing herself in a Viper training exercise. After being removed from flight status by Major Adama, she takes up residence in the pilot's mess along with Colonel Tigh, drinking and lowering the morale of "Galactica"'s pilots by attempting to draw divisions between New Capricans and those who stayed with the fleet. Admiral Adama gives her an ultimatum; either straighten up and act like an officer, or 'get the hell off his ship' and find another ship to live on. Starbuck changes her attitude after Admiral Adama literally knocks her on her rear after she thumbs her nose at him.

Starbuck's relationship with Lee Adama takes another dramatic turn after she challenges him to a brutal and emotional sparring contest aboard "Galactica". Their intense feelings for each other soon lead to an affair that draws resentment from their respective spouses. However, when Lee asks Starbuck to divorce Sam, she refuses due to her strong religious beliefs on the sacrament of marriage. Lee argues that she is breaking her vows just by being with him, but Starbuck states that she's merely bending the rules. Lee then decides that he can no longer cheat while still married to Dualla. Later, Lee and Anders begin to voice their dislike for each other just as Starbuck's Raptor is shot down by the Cylons and she is reported missing. Anders vows to find her, but their position is outnumbered; Lee orders Anders at gunpoint to stay put and help defend their outnumbered position. Anders remains defiant.

Starbuck suffers severe hand burns in the crash and is rescued by Dualla. After they escape the doomed algae planet, Starbuck makes one final effort to have a relationship with Lee, this time offering to leave Anders if he will leave Dualla. Lee chooses to try and make his own marriage work instead.

Kara's experiences with Leoben, as well as her troubled childhood, eventually come back to haunt her. She has nightmares involving both Leoben and the mandala that is supposedly connected to her "destiny". She asks an oracle about her dreams and is told that Leoben understands her better than she understands herself, and that he will show her her "destiny".

During a patrol over a gas giant where the fleet is refueling, she sees a Cylon Raider and pursues it into a storm system which resembles her mandala. She is forced to abandon pursuit when her Viper is at risk of implosion from the pressure. Although she felt several impacts during her pursuit, Chief Tyrol finds no damage to her Viper and gun camera footage showed no evidence of any Raider, leading many to believe that Kara had been hallucinating.

Adama is concerned that Kara might have burned out, but he leaves the decision to ground her up to Apollo as CAG. Apollo decides to give her another chance, and offers to fly as her wingman on her next patrol. During the patrol, Starbuck sees another Raider and again pursues. Her Viper is hit by debris and she is knocked out. She experiences a conversation with an avatar with the appearance of Leoben set in her apartment on Caprica. The avatar forces Kara to confront her past, the abuse she received from her mother and the guilt she feels for leaving her mother to die alone. The avatar comments that Kara has been running from her past just as she has been running away from death for her entire life, and implies that eventually she will have to confront her fears and her "destiny". Moments before regaining consciousness in her Viper, Kara realizes that the person she is speaking to is not the Cylon Leoben Conoy, and states, "You're not Leoben." The avatar grins and says, "Never said I was." She awakens in her Viper cockpit as Apollo is calling for her to break off and ascend, or the atmospheric pressure will kill her. Around this time Lee witnesses the same raider Kara has been chasing. Starbuck keeps flying into the storm, and tells Lee to leave her. She is encompassed by a white light and a certain calmness. Apollo witnesses her Viper exploding, with no sign that she survived.

In the cliffhanger Season 3 finale, "Crossroads, Part II", Starbuck reappears in a Viper and is discovered by Apollo, appearing to be alive and well, but the reason for her sudden resurrection has yet to be revealed. She tells Apollo not to "freak out" that it is really her and that she has been to Earth, and will show them the way.

Kara returns in Season 4 believing she had only absent for six hours, but her husband Sam informs her that she was really gone for two months. The crew is wary of her return except for Lee, who greets her with an enthusiastic and long hug, and is so grateful for her return that he is willing to overlook the possibility that she is a Cylon and that he may be willing to accept her even as a Cylon. This becomes evident in Lee's questioning his father whether if it had been his son, Lee's brother, who returned, would it have made a difference whether he was Cylon or human. She experiences frustration upon her return to Galactica as no one believes it is really her, and because of President Roslin's refusal to be guided by what she believes is a Cylon trick. The crew continue on the course Roslin had previously decided upon, and move further away from the area Kara believes is Earth's true location. She attempts to encourage Adama to follow her suggestions but when he refuses she fears that his being romantically linked to Roslin has unjustly influenced him. Feeling hopeless and fearing that as they make more jumps further away she will lose the "feeling" of Earth's location, she becomes desperate and holds President Roslin at gunpoint.

During her standoff with the President, she tries to reason and appeal to the President's emotions. She hands the gun to Roslin and insists she shoot her if she really believes she is a Cylon which Roslin responds to by saying "they made you perfect, didn't they?" and then shoots at her, but misses and hits a framed portrait of herself and Adama.

She is thrown into the brig and has a hostile confrontation with Adama, who angrily says, "You are so stupid you couldn't wait. You just lost your best ally. Now who is going to save you?" She responds, "Well, it certainly isn't you," and says she will fight to show them Earth's location until her death. She also accuses him of playing "wet nurse" to the president to which he responds by throwing her to the floor and leaving her crying.

Later after attempting to have a conversation with Roslin, which turns into a psychological sparring argument, he rethinks his decision and allows Kara to secretly look for earth on a barge called the Demetrius with Helo. Overjoyed, she hugs him.

Aboard the Demetrius - Looking for Earth

After taking command of the "Demetrius" to find a way to Earth, Thrace finds herself at odds with the crew when her orders cause them to doubt her command ability. With only two days remaining until the ship must return to the Fleet, her command is further compromised by her refusal to explain her actions and her decision to bring the Cylon Leoban aboard after having found him in a damaged Cylon Heavy raider. Eventually, she finds herself torn between following Leoben's advice to forge an alliance with the fragmented Cylons, or distrusting him because of what the risk entails. The tension with the crew leads to a mutiny, after which Kara acknowledges her errors and instead takes a small crew with her in a Raptor to visit the base ship. There, she meets with the base star's hybrid and is told, "You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end." This echoes the warning given by the first hybrid to Kendra Shaw at the conclusion of .

Critical response

Slate magazine named the character as one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.cite web
url=http://www.slate.com/id/2174389/nav/navoa/#TheWireHBO
title=Oh, How We've Missed You!
accessdate=2007-09-23
last=Lapidos|first=Juliet
authorlink= |coauthors=
date=21 |year=2007 |month=September
publisher="Slate magazine"
]

Gag reel

In a brief interview featured in an online gag reel for the third season, Sackhoff claims that Starbuck dies during the season, and that Starbuck is actually a Cylon. However, this may not entirely be accurate, as she also states in the same interview that Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco) is human, although he was later revealed as a Cylon. Furthermore, the bonus materials for Razor state that only four of the final five Cylon models have been revealed, leaving Starbuck's status unrevealed.

In a later interview, Sackhoff admitted that she was joking in the interview where she stated that Starbuck would die and is a Cylon. She was not aware of the plotline of her character's death at the time and was simply trying to be as outrageous as she could imagine.

The clip shown in the gag reel of Starbuck's death is from the film "", which also starred Sackhoff.

References

Specific references:

General references:
* [http://www.cortandfatboy.com/index.php?id=489 Katee Sackhoff – post-"Maelstrom" radio interview] from cortandfatboy.com
* [http://media.scifi.com/battlestar/downloads/podcast/mp3/317/bsg_ep317_FULL.mp3 Official "Maelstrom" podcast] from the Sci Fi website

External links

* at the Battlestar Wiki


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