K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!
bop_radar

She's not his frakking angel

This post is about the finale of Battlestar Galactica. Don't click if you haven't seen it, and even if you have, don't click unless you want a rant.

So Jamie Bamber gave an interview at Jules Vernes about Lee's emotions in the finale. At first I was hesitant to watch this because I know his view of the finale is very glowing, and that I'd find it hard to swallow. Then I read that he referred to Lee having an epiphany about Kara being his 'angel' and I found that very hard to take. daybreak777 and antismiles wanted to know why.

I found I actually did have quite a bit to say on this subject, but first I thought I should really watch the interview myself. Which I did.

The thing I liked best about the interview was Jamie saying that Lee was selfish in thinking that Kara came back as 'his' angel. DUH. That was the only part where I felt like what he was describing was in character for Lee. The self-centredness, yeah, that bit I can buy... (though it shows a Lee who hasn't grown emotionally in four seasons). This other business about having a spiritual epiphany? o.O It is entirely possible that my atheist goggles are blinding me here but I know that I, and many other fans, found it hard to buy that Lee was 'at peace' at the end, that the disappearance of Kara was a moment he reflected on in a meditative way. Yes, I know that's what they showed us (overlaid with the Pigeon Sledgehammer) but I just found it ridiculous. I love Jamie, but a bigger load of bullshit, I have rarely heard.

But my real problem with this 'Kara is Lee's angel' line, is not what it means for Lee--I can see Lee making sense of her that way in time (though not in the immediate moment of departure, for frak's sake!)--but what it means for Kara.

I never wrote my list of issues with the finale, but way up that list was Kara disappearing. There are many reasons why this was an appallingly abrupt ending for Kara's character, but the hardest part for me to swallow was the implication that Kara had been an angel, working for 'destiny' for the whole of Season 4. I think it was indigo419 (forgive me if I got that wrong) who summed up the most implausible part of that equation: why, then, was Kara shown as having a very real and vivid internal life in Season 4? She carried on relationships, she appeared troubled by old issues (like her relationship with Adama), she experienced existential crises (finding her own body)... all of which makes little sense if she was just an angel. I realise many people have posted in far more detail about why this was so implausible--I'm just summarising here.

So on the one hand we have the implausibility. It's doubly implausible that Kara was Lee's angel. Even Jamie points out that she affected a lot of other people. The arc of Season 4 was about Kara bringing the whole of mankind to their 'end' (and what an ignoble end it was) so Lee was really just a speck on the dashboard of Kara's destiny. That was just Lee's ego wanking it how he wanted it.

But other than the implausability, why is being an angel a reductive end for Kara's character? Isn't the idea of being an angel romantic? Well, perhaps... to some people. But for me, and I know these things are personal, that's not what I fell for in Kara. I didn't fall for a one-dimensional icon, or a beacon of light, or a figurehead. I fell for a flawed, complex character who struggled with her own identity and in her relationships with other. From the very beginning there was always the danger that Kara be lost behind the persona of 'Starbuck'. In fandom too, Kara was often the subject of hagiographic treatment (she's a wronged saint, a martyr, can do no wrong...). I'd swing the other way and say, Kara was a cruel, dangerous self-absorbed lunatic. IMHO. But then Lee was one too. And I loved them that way.

I also loved them growing as individuals. Being an 'Angel' implies a fixed state, following an agenda bigger than yourself. That's last part is definitely something we saw Kara struggle with in season 4, but SHE FRAKKING HATED IT. She hated being Destiny's Pawn. Wouldn't you? And yet the finale wanted us to swallow an ending that saw her disappear when her 'mission' was complete. So Kara the person doesn't really matter, only her objective does? Gre-at. Unfortunately I signed up for the character journeys.

The other reason I hate the angel-ification of Kara is what it means in a ship sense. I believe there was ALWAYS a part of Lee that saw Kara as 'more' than just Kara, that attributed to her all sorts of powerful, barely articulated meaning. You can see it in his eyes when she returns with the Arrow of Apollo, or when she saves him in the mini-series. It's certainly part of his love for her, but is it the totality? Does Lee just worship Kara? Or does he see the real person? That was a very big issue for me in much of seasons 1 and 2, and even beyond. I had fairly heated arguments with supacat on this subject, since she felt that from Kara's point of view, she felt that Lee didn't really know or love the 'real', messy, flawed Kara. When Lee lashed out in anger at her, she saw that as his lack of acceptance of who she really was. I guess you could say the argument was that Lee was a 'fair weather' lover.

I never saw it that way. I believe the idolisation was only part of the make-up of Lee's love for Kara. It wasn't growth for Lee to feel like Kara was his 'lucky star' or his 'angel'. But I did see growth in the ship, I saw Lee struggle to deal with the real Kara over the years, and thereby show his commitment to her. It wasn't easy loving Kara Thrace, but he did love her, and he kept coming back to her. Even after they'd closed the door on a romantic relationship, in Maelstrom he desperately wanted to give her what she needed to overcome her fear. Or, to give another example, many fans liked the scene in which Lee said it 'didn't matter' after Gaius confirmed that Kara was dead. (Wow, that scene makes NO sense if Kara's an angel, does it?) Many commented on his acceptance of her even while she was struggling with her identity. Lee loved the totality of Kara, and Kara in all forms. He was even able to love her after death.

That's the only romantic spin I can put on Season 4, but it hardly comes as a surprise. Of course he loved her after death. But I think it's a lot easier to love a memory than a real, living, fighting, argumentative bitch of a woman. I guess I wanted to see him love the latter, and I'll never get over that.

Kara was always more than Lee's angel. Kara herself would laugh herself silly if she heard Lee call her that. Lee would probably hang his head and smile sheepishly because even HE knows it's a bit far-fetched. But then I guess being alone on a planet inhabited only by cavemen would send ANYone a bit loopy. *eyeroll*

Yeah, I know the whole of BSG fandom has probably talked the finale to death by now but I wasn't here and apparently I'm still ragey.
Tags: bsg_meta
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