Deconstructing Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series – Chapter Sixteen: Take the Celestra

Aboard the Battlestar Galactica, a ceremony is taking place for a legendary commander named Kronos. A former commander of the Battlestar Rikon, he led his troops to victory despite tremendous odds. While the ceremony is proceeding, Starbuck sees a woman that makes him double-take; this woman is someone that he knew from before the massacre. Even though he tries his best to talk to her once again, she is terse and confrontational. When Cassiopeia interrupts their conversation, Aurora breaks it off and Starbuck goes after her.

Starbuck and Apollo decide to go to the Celestra and have an electronics check performed on their Vipers. As they approach, a mutiny commences, led by Damon and Aurora. Commander Kronos, with the help of Starbuck and Apollo, quells the disorder, and moves to transport the prisoners aboard the Galactica – with the intention of filing mutiny charges as well. However, Chaka, the first officer of the Celestra, decides to implement his own plan: Send the shuttle off somewhere else, make them burn their fuel to maroon them in space, and leave to join the fleet as the new Captain.

As the shuttle continues on its journey, Starbuck and Aurora continue to talk, and Damon tells them that they have been treated as slaves aboard the Celestra. Further discussion leads to finding out that the slavery was commanded by Chaka, who kept the details of what he did from Commander Kronos.

When Starbuck and Apollo both realized that the coordinates they were given had taken them out to deep space, they found themselves with a situation; the Celestra was no longer where it was originally, and the ship had turned off all equipment that would illuminate its position on the scanners. A truce was brokered between the prisoners and the Warriors to perform modifications to the scanners which would allow them to track the Celestra despite the lack of beacons.

Aurora, Starbuck, and Damon make their feelings known for each other, as Starbuck and Aurora realize that they no longer love each other, but still feel something special. Starbuck tells Damon that he needs to hold on to her and not let Aurora’s memories of Starbuck drive him away.

When the shuttle reaches the Celestra, they find that the weapons locker in shuttle bay had been emptied. The warriors close on the bridge and grab the weapons cache. As the assault begins, the navigation panel had been hit and the Celestra began flying out of control. Commander Kronos manages to steady the ship, and Apollo and Starbuck capture Chaka and his men. The battle, however, did not end without a price to be paid; Commander Kronos had died from his wounds in the firefight.

A mourning ceremony takes place onboard the Galactica, and Starbuck and Cassiopeia reconcile.

Review and Thoughts:

I’ve never been a big fan of Starbuck-centered episodes, mostly because Starbuck’s character rarely makes any headway in terms of maturity. Part of my issue with Starbuck’s character is that when you strip away the womanizer, the machismo, and the brooding loner, there is not much to Starbuck that gets explored. The only time any variation of this theme is not explored is with “Lost Planet of the Gods” and “The Man With Nine Lives,” where we see that Starbuck is actually a little more level-headed and prone to emotional bonding than he lets on. Otherwise, Starbuck, the character, is shown to be more interested in doing “manly” things, like hanging out, drinking, smoking cigars, chasing women, playing “Pyramids” (Colonial Poker), etc.

Starbuck is shocked at the retcon happening before his eyes.

Starbuck is shocked at the retcon happening before his eyes.

These are character traits that are better suited as background items that help to round out a character’s personality. Over the test of time, they rarely work as primary character traits, because you can write yourself into a wall – and back yourself into a corner because of it. Starbuck’s character hit the wall several times this season, and the writers had to make leaps of logic in order to justify Starbuck’s behavior.

Yet Another Ex-Girlfriend for Starbuck:

Starbuck's Ex-Girlfriend Aurora.  There are Japanese Anime Harem Protagonists that would be jealous of Starbuck's status.

Starbuck's Ex-Girlfriend Aurora. There are Japanese Anime Harem Protagonists that would be jealous of Starbuck's status.

Not satisfied with giving him Athena, Cassiopeia (and the Cain rivalry), Miri (from “The Young Lords”), Siress Bellaby (“The Magnificent Warriors”), flirting with Sheba (“The Living Legend”), and the woman from Terra, he also has Aurora. At some point, this plotline and plot twist becomes old news. Then it becomes a dead horse. Then it becomes a crutch.

However, the “timing” of Aurora is strange. They talk of the two of them having a serious relationship up to the Cylon Armageddon; and Starbuck says that he tried looking for Aurora when they got back to Caprica after the attack. Since he could not find her, and since he’s been on constant duty since then, he presumed her dead. Since the Massacre, he’s been in a budding relationship with Cassiopeia.

My question is simple: When did he have time for Athena?

The New Toy is Now in the Box:

Sheba quickly became relegated to merely backup duty, just like Boomer. Calamity Jane, we hardly knew you.

Missing Persons Bureau Update:

Athena and Boxey, nowhere to be found.

Commander Kronos – Good Idea, Bad Execution:

16 chapters in, and there was ANOTHER Battlestar Commander in the fleet?

16 chapters in, and there was ANOTHER Battlestar Commander in the fleet?

Commander Kronos was once Adama’s superior officer from decades back. Now, he is Adama’s subordinate who commands the Celestra, an electronics repair ship for the fleet. With the commendation given by Adama, Kronos is given command of a small squadron of support ships.

However, given a someone of Kronos’ stature, logic would dictate that a man of his experience would at least be a senior military and/or tactical advisor aboard the Galactica, or at the very least providing Adama with a supportive military voice for the Council of 12. It would have also given another voice within the senior military structure regarding Commander Cain’s return.

Even as a retired Commander (which he is not), I would think that someone as experienced and decorated (and highly regarded as Adama says he is) would still have been courted by Adama as a semi-official military advisor. Simply giving him a command of a small Colonial support ship just seems off, especially for a former Battlestar commander and “war hero.”

Q/C:

There is a black male with no lines among the first group of mutineers who throws a backfist against one of the guards. There is another black male who gets a few lines when he finds himself under fire against the mutineers. There is one more black male who has the unfortunate role of being some random guy that Starbuck gets to throw a punch at – although why Starbuck didn’t simply take his own service blaster and point it at the man and have him ushered out…like they did the white guy beforehand…is beyond me (don’t tell me…I already know why).

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery:

Commander Kronos' body is launched into space with full military honors.  Some egotistical Vulcan would attempt to imitate the circumstances three years later.

Commander Kronos' body is launched into space with full military honors. Some egotistical Vulcan would attempt to imitate the circumstances three years later.

In a manner fit for a revered soldier and hero, Commander Kronos is launched into space in what is supposed to be a space coffin, which would allow his essence to dance across space.  This is, of course, after he saves his ship from a mutiny and near disaster.

Some Vulcan getting jettisoned with full military honors.  However, he would land on Mr. Rourke's Fantasy Planet, so he doesn't stay dead.

Some Vulcan getting jettisoned with full military honors. However, he would land on Mr. Rourke's Fantasy Planet, so he doesn't stay dead.

Captain Spock of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would meet a similar fate, under somewhat similar circumstances.  And, just as Take the Celestra did three years earlier, the sacrifice would be made with full honors.

Final Analysis:

[Just Surrender]2.0 out of 10 points. Tigh AND Boomer were just background material. But that has been happening for the entirety of the series, so this is nothing new. And, it is a Starbuck-centered episode – with another ex-girlfriend – so I found myself waiting for this one to end. Aurora should have been a friend of Starbuck’s from the orphanage, but went their separate ways before he joined the Academy. A hint of a possible relationship would be there, but their friendliness would put Damon on edge. Any character conflict would, at this point, have been character-driven, not plot-contrived.

Again, the setup and structure of this episode was not the problem. The execution was not very good. I think part of the reason why Kronos was scheduled to “die” was because there would have been more than a few people wondering, like I have, why Kronos isn’t on board the Galactica as first officer. It is rather sad that someone of Kronos’ stature had to be left on the shelf until this episode, at which point they trot him out…and kill him.

This entry was posted in Battlestar Galactica (TOS) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Say What You Mean - And Mean What You Say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s