My issue with episode 18, “Islanded in a Stream of Stars,” has nothing to do with the acting or the direction or even the fact that they really are going to abandon Galactica. My issue is that nothing happened—or, at the very least, not enough.
We’ve got some big frakkin’ questions that still need answers and with just two hours of airtime left, I get the feeling those answers will either be rushed in coming or not come at all.
It is true that we were given a glimpse of how bad things are, not just on Galactica, but within the Fleet. Obviously Lee, as interim President, is fighting a losing battle with the ships’ representatives. His message of pragmatism is never going to hold up against Baltar’s message of peace and hope.
And we did see a major shift in Starbuck—she’s finally accepted that whatever she is, she’s alive—or more accurately, the old Kara is dead—and she needs to get used to it. She’s willing to find answers, apparently no longer afraid of what they might be or what they might mean for her future with the fleet. We also saw that Lee doesn’t care what Kara is (thank the Gods and also, duh), but we did see that Kara’s willing to risk her vegetable of a husband to make sense of the pattern, the notes that have led them on every step of the journey to earth.
However, none of what we learned in tonight’s episode deserved a whole hour of its own. We already knew Galactica was in bad shape; we knew that Baltar’s message was in counterpoint to the government’s; we knew Hera was gone and (suspected) there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot that Adama, Helo or Athena could do to get her back. We knew that Kara Thrace was the harbinger of death and she would lead them all to their end (we’ve known that one the longest, considering we learned it in “Razor”). And we knew the president was dying and Adama was going to have a hard time with that.
Honestly, there were scenes that were beautiful and, as a fan, I loved. Kara and Lee at the memorial wall, Helo and Athena falling apart at the seams, Kara and Baltar in the bathroom, Kara holding a gun to Sam’s head. And it was shot beautifully; Edward James Olmos knows his cast and his set intimately and always manages to direct episodes that are at once visceral and poetic.
But as the clock winds down, I’m expecting more of RDM, Eick, Taylor, Thompson, Weddle and the team. Part of my discomfort could simply be disbelief that the show really is coming to an end. But more than likely, it’s a sinking feel of disappointment that at 11pm on March 20th, I’m going to not only mourn the loss of a terrific show, but the opportunity to truly “know the truth.”