Scar (Battlestar Galactica) - Characterization


Moore notes that, despite Starbuck's reputation as a superior fighter pilot, "Scar" demonstrates a number of her character flaws and poor choices. He cites her obsessive competition with Kat, her drinking, and her ill conceived attempt to sleep with Apollo. Writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson based Starbuck's portrayal in "Scar" in part on their fathers, whom Weddle described as "war veterans who were very conflicted and self-destructive". Jacob Clifton of Television Without Pity sees the episode in part as a deconstruction of the myth of Starbuck as a perfect pilot, a myth embraced by the characters, particularly Kat, and the audience alike. Kieran Tranter echoes this analysis, noting that her competence as a pilot was unquestioned in the series before "Scar".

Thompson contrasts Starbuck's attitude toward the new pilots with Kat's. Where Starbuck has become jaded by seeing so many rookies killed in battle, Kat reaches out to them with advice and genuine concern. Moore contrasts Apollo's calm in "Scar" with Starbuck and Kat's mutual animosity and suggests that this amounts to a reversal of gender roles. Clifton also notes that the episode plays a "Flip the Genders game." Moore observes that Starbuck opens up to Helo in "Scar" more than she opens up to Apollo; the series established previously that she and Helo are old friends. Clifton contends that Helo, as a pilot of Raptors rather than Vipers, does not fully understand Starbuck's loss, but he makes up for it by being instinctively supportive.

Clifton sees Starbuck's anguish over leaving Anders as a manifestation of a recurring tension in the series between the impulses to "'Stay and fight' or 'Run and rebuild'" when fighting would mean certain death. Anders represents what Starbuck could have had if the Cylons had not destroyed the Twelve Colonies. His absence also allows Starbuck to project away her feelings instead of confronting them. Clifton notes further that Starbuck's status as an adult survivor of child abuse complicates her feelings on these issues.

Clifton reflects on what Scar represents to Starbuck and Kat. Overall, he writes, "the real truth is not that nailing Scar is a competition for them; the real truth is that Scar has become each other, and everything that takes things away from them." For both of them, this goes beyond fear of the Cylons in general. For Starbuck, Scar embodies her anxiety over the mysterious operation the Cylons performed on her on Caprica and the abuse in her past; Clifton notes both these experiences left literal scars on Starbuck. For Kat, Scar embodies her fear of not being as good as Starbuck and her fear of letting the fleet down, which in the past caused her to turn to abuse stimulants.

Kat and some other pilots try to remember the name of a fallen comrade's girlfriend who died in the attack on the Colonies, but Starbuck considers it pointless. Clifton suggests Kat identifies with the dead woman more than Starbuck because Kat was a civilian until she signed up as a pilot during the series. He also notes a similarity between the names that are guessed (Kathy, Katherine, Kassie, Karen), Kat's call sign, and Starbuck's first name, Kara.

Read more about this topic:  Scar (Battlestar Galactica)

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