Massive spoilers ahead!
Anyone who watched Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica knows the episode contained a shocking surprise involving a longtime character. The rest of you: Don't read ahead until you've watched the episode.
In last night's episode, Anastasia "Dee" Dualla (Kandyse McClure) put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger, splattering blood all over and sending everyone aboard the Galactica—and probably many Battlestar Galactica fans—into an even deeper funk.
Dualla's death, which occurred in the episode "Sometimes a Great Notion," is the latest in a long line of shocking and memorable events on the series, which just kicked off the second half of its fourth and final season. And it's likely a harbinger of more such things to come as the award-winning show barrels toward its conclusion.
SCI FI Wire recently spoke with McClure about her Battlestar experience, which dates back to the miniseries, and shooting that pivotal scene. Following are edited excerpts from the exclusive interview.
How hard was it for you to play the scene in which Dee commits suicide?
McClure: For me, personally, it was sort of bittersweet. At the time I was just very focused on what I wanted to put into that particular episode, and I wanted to give her a really strong farewell and bring her to a fitting close. In my own preparation, and in my own space, I remember not really speaking to anyone. It was sad, but very full, I guess. I was sad to be leaving, certainly, but I came to an understanding why they chose this particular ending for Dualla. And I felt very full emotionally about it.
How and when did you know what was in store for Dee?
McClure: Ummmm, how do I be politically correct about this? They didn't quite ... I got a first inkling when there were contract renegotiations, and there were only 13 [episodes] on the table. So I got kind of a clue then, because I was sure there'd be more than 13 episodes in the last season. And even then it was a bit vague. [Later,] I read the script in the hair and makeup trailer, and then very soon afterward I got a call from [executive producer] Ron Moore. He said lovely things. "This is the final season, and we're bringing a lot of storylines to their close," and this was part of a bigger plan they had for where the storyline was going. They said they'd enjoyed my work and it had nothing to do with that.
What was your reaction when you actually got the script and it said something along the lines of "Dualla puts gun to temple and pulls trigger"?
McClure: I was floored. I think I was just as floored reading it as I'm sure people [were] seeing it. It's such a personal and violent and shocking way to go, not only for her, but for the implications for the people around her. Suicide is a difficult topic at the best of times. People see it as being an ultimate act of selfishness on one end, but certainly from the research that I did and the people that I spoke to, there are so many different reasons that people get to that point. But I think for Dee it was just the ultimate act of surrender and the final act of control over her own life. She really wanted to find some kind of peace.
As far as you know, will we learn any more about why she took her own life? In other words, will someone read out loud a will or a suicide note she left behind?
McClure: So far as I know, no. So far as I know, that was it. She couldn't see any way of ever finding any happiness for herself. That's no good. Her husband [Jamie Bamber] is still in love with someone else. He's turned his back on one of the things that joined them together, being in the military and that sense of duty towards the military and his father [Adm. Adama, played by Edward James Olmos] in particular. But I think that was it. It's her final peace. It's a very human reaction to a situation like that. Of course, I imagine that Dualla was not the only one on the ship, and certainly not the first one during the course of the whole saga, to choose that way out. I considered it kind of a strange honor to hold that archetype, to say, "Yeah, this is a very human thing. This is what human beings may choose to do."
How disappointed were you to not make it to the very end of the show?
McClure: That was kind of the most heartbreaking part, that I wouldn't be there until the very end. It makes me sad, still, that I wouldn't be there for the final episodes, that I wouldn't get to complete the journey with everyone that I'd started it with. I ended up missing the wrap party as well, which was kind of the last nail in the coffin for me. But it was a really great ride, and I'm still in contact with all these people. We're still very much connected, and I believe we will be for years to come. So that's certainly a long-lasting blessing of being on the show. But it was hard that she wouldn't be there to say goodbye, and that I wouldn't be there to say goodbye.