Kill Your Darlings
“It’s always easier to kill someone else’s darlings than it is to kill your own.” — Stephen King, On Writing
Salon’s Heather Havrilesky is freaking out over Starbuck’s “death” on Battlestar Galactica in the I Like to Watch column:
So why kill off one of the only brazen, swaggering female characters on TV? Why? Why Starbuck? Why now? Someone please explain to me why Starbuck needs to kick the bucket at this point. Sure, there’s all this talk of her destiny from Leoben, the abusive daddy of the Cylon species. But is Starbuck really the appropriate character to transform into a mystical figure in colonial mythology?
The fact that she’s reacting so strongly to this plot turn, not to mention all the other fans who are losing it, is the perfect reason for the writers to have turned the story this way.
Did anyone believe for a second that Meredith Grey was actually going to kick the bucket on Grey’s Anatomy? No, she’s the freaking main character, for goodness sake. The three-part episode was just an opportunity for all of the other characters to emote. Next season I think they should really and truly kill off an intern to keep the audience on its toes.
I guess there were fans who thought Buffy was really dead after her swan dive, but even though that show had an ensemble cast, bottom line it was about Buffy. If the series had just been titled Vampire Slayer, then they could have brought in a new character, but it wasn’t. Kind of ruined the suspense for me.
It is a fine line to walk, though, between keeping your audience guessing and just plain old pissing them off. They could in fact kill off Starbuck and have an intact cast, but I think it’s too early in the arc of the show to do that. Plus, it would drive a lot of fans away.
So, I repeat. Starbuck is not dead. She’s going to return flying a ship left behind by the Lost Tribe. That’s her “special destiny,” the whole raison d’etre for her profound piloting ability. It could be the purpose of the beacon in the first place since it didn’t seem to point to anything else in particular. Did I miss something, or was everyone still wondering which way did they go, George? What clue to a possible heading to take did the beacon give them?
Do you think Sam will still be mourning Kara when she returns, or do you think he will have moved on? Do you think Apollo and Dee will still be together? In the meantime, we get to see all the characters grieve and we’ll see them rejoice (maybe) when she returns. It’s that pendulum swing of emotion that creates drama.
So just keep freaking out. It’s telling the writers they’ve done a good job.