Battlestar Galactica season 2 episode 15 review: Scar

The momentum has slowed somewhat with Battlestar Galactica, as Starbuck goes head to head with Scar...

2.15 Scar

Scar is the second consecutive episode for me that’s seen Battlestar Galactica in a bit of a holding pattern. But whereas the last episode, Black Market, focussed on Apollo, this time we’re getting to see more of the emotional deterioration of Starbuck.

And she’s not having a good time. She’s drinking, she’s staying up late, and she’s not endearing herself to one of the pilots under her command, Kat. This at first leads to verbal jousting over who is the pilot with the most kills, but gradually intensifies as the episode goes on. For we’ve got Cylons back in the show once more.

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More specifically, we’ve got a Cylon called Scar, who the fleet regard as the best of the Cylon fighters to date. Scar is a tactical foe who strikes when you least expect, and has taken down several Galactica pilots already. Kat believes she’s the one who’s going to take him down, as does Starbuck, but because of the mission that Galactica is currently undertaking – mining ore basically in the middle of an asteroid field – it means that DRADIS is useless. This time it comes down to pilot savvy, and not being caught with your proverbial pants down. In short, this is one of the toughest missions for the Vipers yet.

And Starbuck, bluntly, isn’t on top form. She’s still having recollections of her time back on Caprica, and her promise to go back and save Anders, but she’s denied permission to go back and rescue him. Furthermore, we discover she missed a mission in which a pilot was killed, and then she makes a booze-filled lurch for Apollo. The mental state he’s in, they’re clearly a match made in heaven.

Things intensify between Kat and Starbuck when the former has a go at the latter in the middle of a briefing, and it’s eventually Apollo walking in that resolves this, by ordering the pair to go out together to try and catch Scar. Scar, we then discover, can re-download just like any other Cylon, and has thus learned from every other time he’s been killed. Hence, he’s a tough old bird. Still, on the upside, the destruction of the Resurrection Ship means that if Scar is beaten, he’s gone for good. It’s a bit winner takes all.

There’s a bit of playing around with the chronology in the episode to help heighten the tension, although I didn’t care too much for it personally, but the mission itself ends up with Starbuck – who seems, like Apollo, to care little for her life – in a game of swerve with Scar (this is after Kat was caught out by Scar). After some fun sequences over the surface of one of the asteroids, Starbuck eventually sets up the kill for Kat, who takes the jug for best pilot from Starbuck.

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It ends with a lovely scene, though, as Starbuck quietly walks across the bar to congratulate Kat. But then – following on from an earlier chat with Apollo where he confessed that he couldn’t remember all the names of the fallen – Starbuck raises her glass and reels off the name of each one of them. It’s really well done. And did I hear the music from The Deer Hunter at the end of the episode, too?

Again, not one of the best episodes to date, I thought, but an improvement on Black Market, and further, deeper confirmation of just how much emotional trouble both Apollo and Starbuck are in. The next episode? That’s ominously entitled Sacrifice. And that surely means that someone’s about to buy it…