In our latest episode of Battlestar Galacticast, co-hosts Marc Bernardin and Tricia Helfer (Number Six) are joined by President Laura Roslin herself, Mary McDonnell, to discuss the Battlestar Galactica series finale, “Daybreak: Part 3.”
As you can hear below, the trio spends almost 90 minutes discussing the end of the seminal Sci Fi Channel (now SYFY) series, including anecdotes from when McDonnell and Helfer shot it, as well as what it was like to rewatch the finale over a decade since it first aired in 2009. And like any discussion of the BSG finale, it also includes a conversation about what ended up happening with Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff).
Before we go there, here’s your warning: There be spoilers ahead, for both the show AND the podcast! If you want to (re)watch the episode ahead of time or play it simultaneously with the podcast as commentary, you can check out the finale as well as all of the other episodes of Battlestar Galactica on Peacock, and you can find the podcast episode here:
For those who need a refresher, Starbuck turns out to be an angel (maybe?) and promptly disappears after she jumps Galactica to what we come to realize is our Earth roughly 150,000 years before our present day.
“Starbuck was the thing that people didn’t quite understand,” Bernardin says when Helfer asks what he recalled being the sticking point for many viewers when the finale aired. “It requires a leap of faith, literally…fans, I think, look to grind down and have their answers. They want to know — do these things connect? Do they make sense?”
Many fans thought that Starbuck disappearing into the ether didn't make sense, and they weren't shy in sharing those feelings. McConnell also shares her thoughts about Starbuck’s disappearance and why some fans might have balked at it: “It wasn’t asking [fans] to take a leap of faith, it was demonstrating faith. She was an angel and now she’s done. You can’t break that down. It was faith; it is faith; to see it is faith. And a demonstration of faith is very frightening to people on a pure level, that that can happen with no explanation…it’s so challenging.”
Bernardin admits to being one of those fans who found Starbuck disappearing so difficult. “It’s science fiction, so science is right there, it’s the first of those two words. And so you don’t expect faith to be in your science fiction, even though from the jump this was a show that told you faith is going to be part of your science fiction…you as a viewer had to have your relationship with faith evolve as the show did, and some weren’t able to,” he says.
Time changes things, however; people change, and the world we live in is certainly different than it was a decade ago. Bernardin admits he has changed as well, and so have his feelings about Starbuck’s final scene. “Time has softened me a bit,” he says. “My resistances are down and it hits me in the emotional place it was designed to.”
All four seasons of Battlestar Galactica are now streaming on Peacock.