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13 April 2007 @ 11:52 pm
Battlestar Galactica Essay: Kara/Lee/Destiny (Part II)  
As for Part One, spoilers for full three seasons.

Heroes, Heroines and their Anti-forms
I've had several interesting discussions about heroism recently, in the wake of which I read this post by saeva. She defines four distinct roles Hero, Heroine, Anti-Hero and Anti-Heroine. These are 'all narrative functions which characters inhabit to further the course of a plot or conflict within a plot.' She argues that each function exists outside of gender: 'While traditionally each of these functions has a gender to the characters which inhabit them, the definitions do not by necessity require them to have such.' That's going to be important to remember in the argument that I'm about to put! ;-)

What I want to suggest is that both Lee and Kara demonstrate positive and negative attributes: they have 'dark' and 'light' forms. And in doing so they fulfil the roles of Hero and Heroine, Anti-Hero and Anti-Heroine in a fluid fashion. I'm sure some critical analysts would argue that such fluidity in narrative function/roles is illusionary or impossible, but personally I think it's both possible and significant.

In her positive guise, Kara is or could be the Classic Hero. She demonstrates the classic heroic qualities of courage, independence, strength, loyalty, an unwillingness to go back on her word, honesty, extraordinary skill and luck. But Kara's journey is not purely that of Hero. In her dark arc, she is motivated not by heroic qualities but by 'anti-heroic' emotions such as fear, spite or jealousy. Anti-heroes are defined as doing the right thing not because it's right but for their own selfish reasons: Kara's 'heroic' actions are often motivated by a desire to seek approval (e.g. from Adama) or status (as shown in her bitter rivalry with Kat). But just as Kara is not 'purely' a Classic Hero, she isn't a full Anti-Hero either, though Kara fans and Kara haters can war this one out on their own.

In his positive guise, Lee is a Classic Heroine. Like Kara, he has demonstrated positive qualities such as strength, loyalty, honesty, skill and intelligence. What marks him as a Heroine rather than a Hero is his capacity for self-sacrifice and the fact that independence and freedom are not as important to him. As saeva describes: 'Independence or freedom of thought isn't valued in a heroine, ultimately, as she should be willing to defer to her eventual love match or at the least her mentor, though she may possess these qualities at first. (Though they will usually be described more negatively, such as stubbornness versus strength of spirit, or being contrary versus following one's own path.) And much more emphasis is put on sacrifice rather than mere risk. Ignoring the feminine pronoun, this definitely sounds like Lee to me! ;-) He has certainly expressed stubbornness and contrariness, but he's also defined by self-sacrifice: professionally (e.g. Pegasus) and emotionally (e.g. on the witness stand at the trial).

In his 'dark' guise, Lee is selfish, morally 'tainted' and cold rather than nurturing. The line from saeva's essay that most resonated with me as being appropriate to Lee-as-Anti-Heroine is: 'anti-heroines are characters who began as representations of goodness, who have been broken down by the moral or social majority, and who were rebuilt into something outside of the moral lines but still capable of good actions.' In my comment to her post, I suggested that in Lee's case it's the circumstances of the fleet's race for survival and the hypocrisy of its leaders that 'break' him. He believes steadfastly in democracy but is continually faced with having to bend rules and enter dark areas. At a personal level, he crosses moral lines as well, cheating on his wife.

Just as it can be argued that Kara is both Hero and Anti-Hero, I think it can be argued that Lee is at times Heroine, at times Anti-Heroine. But where things get really interesting (imo!) is in an increasing tendency in both of them to express both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine qualities. saeva makes a point of noting this tendency where Starbuck is concerned: 'What may be surprising to some is that as the character of Starbuck has developed she has become more of a heroine; she's begun to take on the qualities of heroinism, such as nurturing (with Kasey), purity (though this certainly isn't her strongest suit she's become more pure of spirit, if not body, as the show has progressed, as evidenced by her destiny), and willingness to sacrifice herself.' Being the Lee fangirl that I am, I naturally followed that train of thought to see if the equivalent was true of Lee. Lee has defined himself as his 'own man' in the trial plot arc, and in conflict with his father, he's shown a drive towards independence, so I'd say, yes, though perhaps there's not as much evidence as in Kara's case. But certainly in Season 3, we've seen a Lee who has more confidence and determination than ever before. It's also significant that he did not end up 'submitting' to his 'love match', Kara, no longer willing to leave himself open to being hurt by her.

This may all seem very convoluted and circular, but what I find fascinating is the sense of striving towards balance that is present in both characters. No character on Battlestar Galactica is a pure archetype. It's not that kind of show. But there are two potential directions of growth for Kara and Lee, that would drive the plot forward towards a positive rather than a completely bleak conclusion. The first is towards their roles as hero and heroine, and the second is to embrace their opposite or repressed side, masculine or feminine. And there are signs that they are doing just that, which is perhaps why I find myself so optimistic following the finale of Season 3.

Shippiness
I've deliberately avoided mentioning their romantic relationship until now, partly because 'shipping' is so contentious within fandom. I ship Kara/Lee as anyone reading this probably already knows, so I in no way claim to be objective when it comes to considering them as a potential couple. Read the following with however big a pinch of salt you see fit! (This section's also more playful and lighter, I guess, in keeping with the whole 'shippy' feel.)

In Part 1 of my essay, I identified six different phases related to Kara and Lee's intertwined fates. I feel their romantic relationship mirrors these stages:
- Stage 1 is about establishment, and we saw an evident, but unacted-on, attraction between them.
- Stage 2 is about heightened connection, and we saw that in Lee's confession that he loved Kara as well as numerous intimate, flirty scenes between them
- Stage 3 certainly saw faltering with the almost-sex of Scar and them turning away towards others (Sam and Dee)
- At Stage 4, the emotional separation was just as formal as their physical separation--their respective marriages and estrangement following the one-night-stand on New Caprica.
- Stage 5 saw both emotional entanglement (following Unfinished Business) and stagnation, with them reaching a double-tiered stalemate, first when Lee refuses to cheat and Kara refuses to leave Sam, and then again when Kara offers to leave Sam but Lee won't risk getting hurt again. That seemed like a possible endpoint for pilotlove (to much despair), and it took 'Maelstrom' to renew my hope. Yup, it took death.
- For I think Stage 6 does promise renewal and reconnection romantically as well as at a structural/plot/destiny level.

Here's why. Firstly, all the previous stages have been mirrored in the intimate arena as well as on the external stage of drama. *points* Why wouldn't the ones to come be? Secondly, the reasons for the stagnation in Stage 5 have been stripped away. After 'Unfinished Business' many fans argued that what Lee and Kara really needed was time apart to deal with their own issues. I agreed but couldn't see how this would be accomplished. Kara's death provided the space that Lee needed to concentrate on himself. His marriage failed for its own reasons, not because of Kara. It's less clear yet that Kara's moved past her relationship issues, but in healing the scars of her abuse, it's possible that she'll be more open to and accepting of love, maybe even believe that she is worthy of love. I think another positive sign is that Lee is less emotionally needy now than ever before. He's weathered so much.

This connects with Lampkin's story that he told Six about being in love and enduring so much pain, struggling to 'get over' his wife. He finishes by saying "That was when I finally realized how much I loved her. If I needed all that strength, what was the point? I needed to be with her." It's obvious at the time that Lee draws a lot from this. He makes a point of asking Lampkin if the story is true. It may not be, Lampkin being the manipulator that he is. To a certain point the parallel for Lee is perfect--he had a connection with a beautiful, mesmerising but tortured woman, which 'fell apart' and which he felt the need to get over. I argued in my review of this episode that it made more sense to me that Lee was recognising in Romo's words the way he tried to get over Kara emotionally before her death, rather than purely the grieving process he was no going through. And while acknowledging how much he loves/loved Kara is an important step in grieving, it could also be an important step towards a post-death reunion. *beams* The parallel is perfect if Lee does end up realising that he should just be with Kara already!

Of course, I am for my own nefarious shippy purposes here ignoring the possibility that Kara may be a) a Cylon, b) a Deity, c) a ghost, d) some strange combination of those and/or other non-human forms.

Truth is, anything's possible. But I think there are strong signs that the show is arcing towards a positive emotional resolution for the pilots. We may see another 'dark' period before they get there. However, I don't think it will be as severe as the one we've seen come before. If Season 4 is the final season, I'd suggest it doesn't have time to be.

As always, I welcome you to share your own thoughts.
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(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee dreamybop_radar on April 13th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent qualifications--thank you! I agree with those. This helps flesh out part of what I was trying to get to, which is that I think there's a balancing of these forces within the characters themselves.

Kara and Adama have the more stereotypically “feminine” qualities of placing personal loyalty above abstract conceptions.
Oh, I like that insight a lot.

Some of Kara’s wildly independent actions happen solely because she experiences a personal betrayal; some of Lee’s apparent betrayals occur because he is willing to sacrifice a personal bond for the sake of something larger than that. And of course, they are totally different with each other – Kara, the loyal one, commits a horrendous personal betrayal of Lee; Lee, the man who believes in abstract principles, will sacrifice them in a heartbeat for Kara.
*nods* They're both paradoxical that way, and it makes me love them all the more. BSG's good at showing that who a character is with one person or in one arena, is not who they are with everyone and in all situations. With each other, Lee and Kara are very different, and as I tried to explore, also inclined to 'swap' attributes or reverse positions. I find that fascinating.
Nora Norwich: Addison skepticalnorwich36 on April 13th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
I really like your character analysis, though I hadn't read saeva's essay before, and I'm a little unconvinced by her arguments that narrative functions are separable from gender, so I guess that's something I have to mull over a little before I can really respond to this.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee boxing hugbop_radar on April 13th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
Hee! You are looking at me over the top of your (academic's?) glasses! *giggle*

Yup, fair enough. saeva's essay appealed to me, and I found it a freeing way of discussing the roles that characters take on, but I knew it would be contentious, so feel free to come back and debate.

I also agree with queenofthorns's astute qualifications above, and I'm certainly not arguing for fixed roles or purely masculine or feminine qualities for either of them... I guess this was just a useful way 'in' to the character analysis for me.
Nora Norwich: Addison skepticalnorwich36 on April 14th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)
Addison and I have the same glasses, though that, alas, is as far as the resemblance goes.

And I'm not looking at you so much as at saeva. I thought your character analysis was interesting whether or not you parse the hero/heroine/antihero/antiheroine thing the way she does. I do agree that in many ways Lee and Kara reverse the typical gender characterizations; it's more the blanket statement about narrative functions that I had issues with.

But I think you're right that both Kara and Lee need to find a balance; that's part of what you brilliantly spelled out in part one of this.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee dreamybop_radar on April 14th, 2007 05:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, I used saeva's ideas as a useful analysis tool, but I'm not a hard and fast 'believer' in what she argues about narrative function. I also think Part One is the stronger part of this essay, but I did want to try taking it further to the character and relationship side of things. I'm less satisfied with this half and there's still stuff I'm mulling over but if it gets people thinking, then that's good. The striving towards balance is the common element I wanted to trace--I guess I'm saying I think it's seen at multiple levels in their narratives, not just at a plot level.
hazy: BSG: K/L - Home by mehazyshade on April 13th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
*flails*
Both this and you are awesome! *much OT3 love*

Seeing the stages of their journey laid out so clearly here really confirms to me that what we see next should reconnect our heroes in a profound way. YOu're right to point out that when Kara and Lee are balanced and 'together' in their personal relationship, the fleet benefits. There's a wider implication to their relationship even before we get to visions and prophecies. I know I have shipper-tinted glasses on, but still..

In conclusion, Pilots must be together! ;)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara glowybop_radar on April 13th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hee! Well, I have those same tinted glasses, of course...

As for balance, queenofthorns makes some qualifications above that I really should have included. And I think that the balance is something they're both striving for internally as well as with each other. But I'm really glad you drew that from my essay--I do think there are wider implications to their relationship, yes.
latteaddict: Hungry Pilotslatteaddict on April 14th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Heroes, Heroines and their Anti-forms

I can't add anything to this subheading. Maybe it's because it's the wee hours of the morning and my brain stopped working a few hours ago :) It is a very interesting cross analysis full of parallels. Though as you wound to the end and pointed out that Lee and Kara were heading to the more traditional roles of Hero and Heroine instead of the gender reverse they started at, I thought that might be potentially bad as it slots RDM's cutting edge drama and gender equal world into a more traditional, common place viewing of a tv show. But then again, maybe not.

Truth is, anything's possible. But I think there are strong signs that the show is arcing towards a positive emotional resolution for the pilots.

It's true. All the pieces have been perfectly lined up. Dee left Lee and because it had nothing to do with Kara (on the surface) Lee doesn't have to feel the guilt he was feeling in most of season 3. And even if we don't know what Kara's exact feelings are now towards Sam, the audience has been given an overload of obstacles to think Sam will soon be history (I say this despite my enjoyment of the Kara/Sam relationship). Sam is now a Cylon and is possibly involved with two other women. If Kara is still human and returns to her previous status in the Fleet, Sam will end up being a nugget under her instruction...That's Zak all over again. So I think Kara/Sam will be over fairly fast.

But...because it does seem so obvious that the path is clear for pilots to resume their relationship, I can't but help feel that Ron will ignore it all and just jump around in the status of the relationships like he did last season. It was like no character or episodic continuations were necessary, each new relationship phase was played for shock value and the audience just had to keep up. I would site the numerous examples but I'm ready to fall asleep :)

I hope you are right. And at least we have the long hiatus with nothing much to worry about in regards to Dee and Sam, considering the show left them apart and separated while it put Lee and Kara together again, side by side and in a unique position from the rest of the Fleet.

Very cool analysis!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara owns manfleshbop_radar on April 15th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
Though as you wound to the end and pointed out that Lee and Kara were heading to the more traditional roles of Hero and Heroine instead of the gender reverse they started at, I thought that might be potentially bad as it slots RDM's cutting edge drama and gender equal world into a more traditional, common place viewing of a tv show.
Yeah, I'd find that a reductive outcome as well, ultimately, and while I think it's one possible direction, I don't think it necessarily will be, especially with RDM's determination to shake things up and confound expectations. I don't think I expressed it that well, but what I was trying to explore in this half was that there is fluidity between the roles that the pilots take on--and while I think Hero and Heroine do fit them at times, there seems to be a cyclical ebb and flow between their 'light' forms and their 'dark' ones, and both display aspects that are traditionally 'masculine' or 'feminine'. So I actually think RDM's been very successful that way. And while the end of Season 3 definitely did see a return to 'light', I'd be surprised if it stayed that way for long on this show. ;)

I can't but help feel that Ron will ignore it all and just jump around in the status of the relationships like he did last season.
Oh, I know! And I think he'll be hurling obstacles in their way just as fast as ever. But I'm definitely revelling in this happy hiatus place, with, as you say, Dee and Sam sidelined and Lee and Kara together. I also think that if RDM really completely abandonned the pilots and never showed any connection between them again that he'd be a fool, because whether consciously or not he's set up huge audience expectations and the plot itself requires some kind of resolution between them at some stage. (My cynical part is still wondering how long he'll separate them for this season, so it could be confined to the goddam finale.)

shadowplays are figments of their own imaginationsciaan on April 16th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
I didn't actually read this essay, because BSG is on my list of "I don't watch WIPs, but I may well watch it once it's finished, so I try to avoid spoilers" TV, but the whole line about Lee/Kara/Destiny is making me think of the lyrics from Catatonia's song My Selfish Gene, and I have no idea if you like Catatonia/know that song, or not.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee dreamybop_radar on April 16th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes... good move. I'd recommend avoiding spoilers for BSG coz it's worth watching some time.

Strangely enough I just vidded Kara and Lee to Catatonia's 'Road rage'! (Vid only has spoilers for mini and season 1 if you are at all interested.) I don't know 'The Selfish Gene though, but I'm totally going to investigate it now...
shadowplays are figments of their own imaginationsciaan on April 17th, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
*smacks forehead* Yeah yeah, I did see the post with that vid! Heh. I should watch it, I have seen part of S1 already.

My Selfish Gene is kinda the opposite attitude/feeling of what you mean, I think, but it does have the line "you, me, and destiny."
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee collapsedbop_radar on April 17th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, no pressure--I only mentioned it because it was freakishly coincidental that you mentioned 'Catatonia'.

And yes, it is the opposite, but I'm not at all above taking the piss out of my beloved OTP/show, so I had a fun time imagining a vid to that track. Thank you! ;-)
jude_judith82: Starbuck and Apollojude_judith82 on April 17th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I don't really have anything to add I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful essay. I really do hope Lee is connected to Starbuck's destiny like you stated. I'm both a Lee fangirl and a Kara/Lee shippe **grin**. Oh and before I forget I really thought I was the only one who hoped their reunion was delayed because I didn't want Starbuck to see Fat Lee. Any who very enjoyable. Thanks!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee boxing hugbop_radar on April 17th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! :-) I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

(And yes, I was hugely squirmy and embarrassed for Lee when Kara came back on board Galactica--I don't care how fast and miraculous his transformation back to fitness was--it couldn't come soon enough for me. Poor Lee, poor Lee and his fondness for noodles... *giggle*)
Dionusia: captain's handdionusia on April 17th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Hey, I’m back! Ready to dig in for this super long comment I’ve been writing for the last two days? I hope so!

First off, I’d just like to say that I appreciate how you have a nuanced approach to the concepts of hero/antihero and heroine/antiheroine, and you draw out the ‘complementary forces’ that the two exhibit very well. In addition, I also agree heartily with queenofthorns’s observations. Kara is so driven by personal loyalty – and to Kara and Adama I would add Tigh to that list as well, which is why the actions of all three in “Torn” were so fascinating and painful to watch. And even though she commits the ultimate act of disloyalty to Lee out of sheer terror, you could still glimpse that even during the rift, she didn’t stop caring for him or his welfare – I’m thinking of that moment in Unfinished Business when she urges him to get back up on his feet during the bout with Helo. Lee is definitely more principle-bound, but it also makes me think of the one time he does not place a larger idea/principle above a personal bond: when he agrees to help Kara assassinate Cain. He would never have agreed to help with that for any other reason than to try to help and protect her. The decision haunted him, unquestionably, but he gets upset that Kara even thinks there’s a chance that he might not back her up.

Also, it’s only when Kara’s gone that he makes choices in regards to Baltar’s trial which truly sacrifice every personal bond he has left. I think that’s significant. Yet the strength of his bond with her gives me great hope that he will overcome any doubts or suspicions that her miraculous return must inevitably arouse.

That seemed like a possible endpoint for pilotlove (to much despair), and it took 'Maelstrom' to renew my hope. Yup, it took death.

That’s really eerie, because it was the same with me. I was never more crazy about the two of them together, or more certain that they would reunite again, than I was after Maelstrom. Death gave me hope! And I just felt so certain she’d be back. Most of the emotional wreck I was in afterwards was largely tied into concern for Lee more than worry over Kara: I just kept thinking of how awful it must have felt to watch her seemingly commit suicide after doing all you could to try to support her and keep her safe. An entirely new level of loss, with absolutely nothing to mitigate it.

Firstly, all the previous stages have been mirrored in the intimate arena as well as on the external stage of drama. *points* Why wouldn't the ones to come be?

Nicely put. Chalk another point up for the hope column! It made me remember the “Story So Far” DVD/clip summary of the first two seasons TPTB put out before season three, too; they included practically every Lee/Kara reunion there had ever been, disproportionate to the length of the entire summary. (I mean, they even omitted the return of the Pegasus entirely, but they put in the L/K hug from “The Captain’s Hand”!) That really fits in with the idea that L/K does represent the emotional core of the show, as you said others had framed it. Structurally, their separations and reunions affect (and parallel) the major plot arcs of the entire series, and the “relationship stuff” between the two of them is not throwaway or incidental. Never has been! Thanks for a great reminder of this fact. So, in conclusion, wonderful job on both essays! You make me proud to be a believer in L/K.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee boxing hugbop_radar on April 18th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
*twirls you* Of course, I'm ready! :-) I'm delighted!

you could still glimpse that even during the rift, she didn’t stop caring for him or his welfare – I’m thinking of that moment in Unfinished Business when she urges him to get back up on his feet during the bout with Helo.
Oh, I love that moment so much. Even though she's kind of already in adversary mode towards him, determined to take him on in a bout herself, that just slips out of her like she can't control it. And Helo is her friend.

He would never have agreed to help with that for any other reason than to try to help and protect her. The decision haunted him, unquestionably, but he gets upset that Kara even thinks there’s a chance that he might not back her up.
True, so true. I rewatched a little of Resurrection Ship Part II last night but it made me cry because I was in a woobie mood. However, I did watch their scene and it speaks volumes. Lee's very good at shouldering guilt burdens and while I don't think he'd do this for anyone else, he will for her without hesitation and the pain in his final words to her... *sniffles*

it’s only when Kara’s gone that he makes choices in regards to Baltar’s trial which truly sacrifice every personal bond he has left.
Yes... though I don't know what I have to say about that, other than it's hard to imagine that plot if Kara had been around.

I was never more crazy about the two of them together, or more certain that they would reunite again, than I was after Maelstrom.
Right! I was emotionally wrecked, that's for sure--I watched 'Maelstrom' in the middle of the night (like 3am), alone, in darkness, and I had no idea what was coming so it got to me badly, but almost entirely on Lee's behalf--it was just such a horrible thing for him to go through, I couldn't bear it, even if she DID come back (and all the signs were there she would).

An entirely new level of loss, with absolutely nothing to mitigate it.
*nods* And he's already carrying the feeling that he has, in the past, let Kara down--when he 'died' himself, when he advocated leaving the New Capricans behind. I don't think he thinks about it consciously, but it must hurt at some level that he's not 'been there' for the one person he'd give his life for in a heartbeat.

they even omitted the return of the Pegasus entirely, but they put in the L/K hug from “The Captain’s Hand”!
Ohh, interesting! And that's exactly what I was trying to get at--that the relationship stuff, for all that people eyeroll about it, has never been incidental.

I don't know what place Kara and Lee will reach in Season 4, and I'm not even sure I have a clear idea in mind of what I would like to see... I'm pretty much along for the ride no matter what. But last night I was thinking how much I'd love them just to be able to hold each other and rest. They've been running for so long...
Dualbunny: Kara/Lee - arrowdualbunny on April 27th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
I don't have new shiny thoughts to add to these posts, but they were a blast to read. :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Roslin Kara yaybop_radar on April 27th, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks for leaving a comment anyway! *hugs*
Blue: SG1 - Slow Motion Daylightblue_meridian on October 14th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Please note on your calendar: Winky read, processed, and is commenting on a meta post. Thank you. Now!

Based on what I've extrapolated of the characters thus far, I wouldn't question your statements of Kara as the 'hero/anti-hero' and Lee as the 'heroine/anti-heroine'. It is the nature of balance, of dark and light, that continues to draw me to their characters.

I am further intrigued by your discussion in Part 1 regarding the various stages, particularly in light of a producer's (?) comment that Galactica was always meant to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that season 4 would therefore be the final season. This excited me because it implies a deliberate story telling - it's all going somewhere.

In other words, the separation, the growth, was necessary to bring them back around to each other in the end. I am shipping them - hard and fast - but I find the metaphysical connections fascinating regardless. It was my first instinct and I don't see anything changing it that Starbuck is Apollo's arrow. Of course, I use their call signs deliberately.

(I would love to read some meta (!!) on the name choices, any handy links??)

I would speculate, in regards to season 4, that Lee will doubt Kara's motives just as the fans are at the moment: Is she a Cylon? (With attendant anger.) Is she a ghost? (He saw her blow up! Does he doubt his casual atheism or his own eyes?) Is she... something other? (It's Starbuck! He would consider that a momentary madness.) Or, maybe, just maybe, is there something they're meant to do? (And despite the madness of it, so much better than the other options. But does he dare hope??)

It's possible that season 4 will be Lee learning to have a faith in Kara that he's never had in the gods - and it's a hard, hard thing because it's such an unfamiliar concept to him.
meretrixlaisserais on June 12th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
hi there! so i stumbled upon this amongst your meta, and as i'd mentioned, this is pretty much what i was looking for. thank you for writing it! if i had to declare a 'ship, i'd definitely go with kara/lee, and i think that the show is driving toward that, as well. resolved happily ever after or not, i definitely read them as a canonical pairing.

i'm still stuggling with the idea that kara is subject to a destiny. of all the things i love about the show, the idea of destiny at all is one that gives me trouble. (that and the explicit religious stuff.)

that aside, though, i thought your essay on the characteristics of lee and kara was brilliant. their characteristics, and how they each, in their own way, subvert the expected norms, are a large part of what kept me watching. i'd agree very much with the notion that they embody classical hero/heroine roles. kara in particular seems to be walking the lone path of the hero -- she's not a leader, so much, as a path discoverer, and i think it's fascinating that in all of the arcs of the show, she's never the one called upon to lead others, but she's always counted upon for missions that are risky and best performed alone.

which is where the whole destiny thing starts to get problematic for me. i know that most classic heroic narratives at least let the reader in, if not the hero him/herself, on some notion of predestination, but it feels...convenient, i guess, to rely on something being foretold. in some ways i feel that fulfilling destiny takes the heroics out of incredibly brave actions. if we know that kara was supposed to have survived x,y and z adventures, then there is hardly any tension in her doing so.

i'm intrigued by the clarification you mentioned, from the podcast, that she's been resurrected. if that is so, then that brings up a whole host of other questions, which i'll save for another time. this comment is supposed to be about lee and kara, and their arcs. *g* suffice it to say: i think you nailed them dead on, and i've been watching their development, especially in relation to Adama and Roslin, whom i felt mirrored these archetypes as well. BSG is brilliant for bringing in all of these complicated, subverted expectations, and i'm hoping that the end of the final season doesn't disappoint. Kara's been on a hero's quest, and i'm seriously rooting for her to complete it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee not a herobop_radar on June 13th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
Thank you--I'm so glad you enjoyed this! It's funny for me to revisit it now because I'm in such an annoyed place with the show and the ship right now, but it's a timely reminder that in the bigger scheme of things, yes, I still love the ship.

i'm still stuggling with the idea that kara is subject to a destiny. of all the things i love about the show, the idea of destiny at all is one that gives me trouble. (that and the explicit religious stuff.)
Ohh, you sound like queenofthorns there. ;) I thought I was on board with the destiny plot until season 4 kicked in and it didn't go where I wanted it to go.

. kara in particular seems to be walking the lone path of the hero -- she's not a leader, so much, as a path discoverer, and i think it's fascinating that in all of the arcs of the show, she's never the one called upon to lead others, but she's always counted upon for missions that are risky and best performed alone.
*nods* The rare times when she IS put in a leadership position are usually quite disastrous. She makes no secret of the fact that she wouldn't enjoy being in Lee's position, and while I think she's grown enough to be used to being CAG, she still definitely doesn't fit the mould of a leader. She's the risk taker, the beacon... I like your description of her as a 'path discoverer'.

in some ways i feel that fulfilling destiny takes the heroics out of incredibly brave actions. if we know that kara was supposed to have survived x,y and z adventures, then there is hardly any tension in her doing so.
I always felt that BSG was going to leave it a lot more open to interpretation than that, and that's partly why I enjoyed them playing with the destiny idea. If they really do end up definitively pushing the idea that all this was destined, I *do* think it detracts from the heroics in retrospect. However, if they leave it so that some of the characters think it could have been destined, but others (non-believers maybe?) think it was chance, then I'm far more comfortable with it. I like the destiny plot from an internal psychology perspective: Kara's religious beliefs mean it's a Very Big Deal to her.

i'm intrigued by the clarification you mentioned, from the podcast, that she's been resurrected. if that is so, then that brings up a whole host of other questions
It does. Ron did come out and say that she had been resurrected, but it was also made clear at the end of season 3 that they weren't completely sure how Kara was going to come back. For instance, one draft of Crossroads had her return but be visible only to Lee! So while I do think he meant that at the time, he may yet change his mind.

especially in relation to Adama and Roslin, whom i felt mirrored these archetypes as well.
Oh THAT's interesting. Particularly now that A/R is the main ship in focus. I would love to hear more about how you feel they mirror these archetypes, as I've probably not paid their relationship due attention.

Kara's been on a hero's quest, and i'm seriously rooting for her to complete it.
Yes... I think Kara's quest could potentially pull this season 'good' for me again if we get payoff about it. At the moment, we're in this grey area where there have been some very dark reveals about it but no shining light at the end of the tunnel yet. So yes, I guess I'm rooting for her to complete it too! Without that, the journey will feel incomplete for me. Right now if I compare Lee's 'destiny' journey to Kara's, Lee's the more successful and that feels... wrong somehow. I love Lee (I'm sure that's obvious!) but Kara is the hero. I don't feel comfortable when she's in the shadows.

Thank you for the comment--it cheered me!
meretrixlaisserais on June 13th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
if they leave it so that some of the characters think it could have been destined, but others (non-believers maybe?) think it was chance, then I'm far more comfortable with it. Oh, that's very interesting! I like that idea a lot. If there were some way that this ambiguity could be telegraphed to the viewer, then I would be very happy. Watching the latest season, though, makes me wonder if the destiny issue is even on the writers' radar.

It's true, though, that watching Kara deal with her intuitions and them being borne out has been fascinating. particularly in light of the fact that visions and prophecy and intuition- all of that is typically in the realm of the feminine, and Kara's entire M.O. has distinctly been marked by the lack of the feminine (or at least, the more classic hallmarks). For instance: when they jumped away from the nebula, and she threw a tantrum in the brig, it felt very feminine in the way she did it. Tears, screaming, lying on the floor instead of fighting or punching or pacing. Those are just superficial indicators, i realize, but still. it kind of scared me. the way she was upset signaled that she was Serious about it all, you know?

Oh THAT's interesting. Particularly now that A/R is the main ship in focus. I would love to hear more about how you feel they mirror these archetypes Well, I've long noticed that Roslin and Adama, as a pair, also fulfill the hero/heroine anti-hero/anti-heroine roles in a similar, but slightly different way from Apollo and Starbuck, with the twist of their added parental roles. So, i've seen now in one or two places that people call Roslin "mommy" and Adama "daddy." I'd switch those names. Roslin is very much the fleet's daddy, and Adama is definitely a mother figure.

Roslin is the one who makes the tough, swift decisions that end up saving them all. Because of her cancer, she gets increasingly tired and increasingly impatient with the "system," preferring, when she can get her way, to step around it and rule almost autocratically, like a father rules his children. she is totally willing to shoot starbuck, even when starbuck's given her the gun. she takes away athena's baby, because she can't risk the potential future challenge. it's not that she values abstract notions like rules over people, so much as she sees that her own way is the only possible way for things to be successfully accomplished.

Adama is the forgiving one. He's the one who values connection over rules, and when one of his children is in danger (like tyrol and helo on pegasus) he'll go to any length to make sure they're safe. when one of his children breaks a rule, he makes sure that the punishment is met, but he's also ready to forgive when the punishment's over. He also tends to follow Roslin's lead on the majority of decisions, even when that sometimes (lately) means doing the wrong thing. Finally, we get to see so much more of Adama's pain at his various estrangements. We see him struggle to connect with Lee and Starbuck, and we see the way he deals with his feelings both for Lee's mother and for Roslin. His pain is by far the most palpable, of the two of them.

Does that make sense? So I guess I see parallels because Roslin and Adama are both "heroic," but maybe they're not heroes in the classic sense. Certainly their actions could be viewed that way, but i'm not sure if their personas are necessarily "the hero" in the most stable, classic sense.

Right now if I compare Lee's 'destiny' journey to Kara's, Lee's the more successful and that feels... wrong somehow. Yeah, no, I hear you on that. For as awesome as Lee is, he's still not quite the center of the show, is he? But I have faith. I'm sure that in tonight's ep, and the second half of the season, Kara's journey will again take precedence. If anything, the lack of Kara's screentime in the most recent few episodes leads me to believe that they're saving her up for the really big stuff, you know?

Thank you for the comment--it cheered me! Yay! I'm so glad that i could help restore at least a little bit of fannish glee for you! your essay certainly made me happy.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Pilots: co-pathetic foreverbop_radar on June 15th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
h, that's very interesting! I like that idea a lot. If there were some way that this ambiguity could be telegraphed to the viewer, then I would be very happy. Watching the latest season, though, makes me wonder if the destiny issue is even on the writers' radar.
I think it might be... but I didn't think it was until Revelations. I'm still less sure than I was that they will handle it properly but right now I'm in a comfortable place with it.

For instance: when they jumped away from the nebula, and she threw a tantrum in the brig, it felt very feminine in the way she did it. Tears, screaming, lying on the floor instead of fighting or punching or pacing. Those are just superficial indicators, i realize, but still. it kind of scared me. the way she was upset signaled that she was Serious about it all, you know?
Yes it did and it was interesting to see the reaction from the Kara-pov fans as well. A lot of them were deeply deeply unsettled by it. They either found her out of character, asserted that she was 'changed', or were convinced something was deeply irrevocably wrong with her, or just blamed the writers... Personally I found it really compelling and interesting, but I find myself craving balance for her now... I want to see her return to that Hero role now more than ever!

I'd switch those names. Roslin is very much the fleet's daddy, and Adama is definitely a mother figure.
I LOVE IT! You've defined something that I've felt unsettled with for a long time. Yes! That definitely makes sense to me. And as with Lee and Kara, it's not a black and white situation: Roslin is capable of being the maternal one (with Billy, for instance, she really did show her grief), and Adama is capable of being the paternal figure. But this definitely does describe to a fuller degree the way their roles define them.

I've always thought Adama and Kara had a lot in common, that they were the 'hero' figures, and I still think they are to some degree. Lee and Laura are also connected in terms of their principles. But this way of exploring them makes the relationships much more complex, I think. Ohh, this gives me so much to think about!!

For as awesome as Lee is, he's still not quite the center of the show, is he?
No, he's not. He's Kara's wingman. ;) I'm actually feeling even more unsettled on this point (though not on much else) following the finale. Kara really didn't get to play hero in this. She wasn't even in CIC when they arrived at Earth even though she led them there! It feels a little like when Lee sacrificed the Pegasus and came back for them on NC and Adama got all the accolades and Lee just stood to one side with Dee... And now it turns out Earth wasn't worth reaching anyway. But on the other hand, this means there is still something left for Kara to do. I hope. To find a REAL new start. Lee has fulfilled his 'destiny' journey, I think, with this ep. But Kara's feels unfulfilled... I hope we get to see her pursuing it and Lee supporting that in the rest of the season.
meretrix: bsg - does this make me a shipper?laisserais on June 16th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
and it was interesting to see the reaction from the Kara-pov fans as well. A lot of them were deeply deeply unsettled by it. They either found her out of character, asserted that she was 'changed', or were convinced something was deeply irrevocably wrong with her, or just blamed the writers... Oh, it's interesting that people reacted to that scene, as well. I couldn't help thinking that, if Starbuck were actually a man, she wouldn't have reacted like that. But in the context (i.e., with Adama, who's a parental figure, and because all of this was linked to childhood trauma) it seemed to make sense. Also, the tantrum was so shocking that it brought attention to the situation, in a way that wouldn't have been possible if it were just another Starbuck issue, you know? I liked it, but it definitely alarmed me.

Plus, yeah, like you say: Kara has to dip before she can rise. She had to go through that before she could regain her Hero status, right?

And yeah, the connections and parallels between Adama and Kara, Lee and Roslyn are all really fascinatingly complex, aren't they? they're never static, and the roles overlap and complement each other so wonderfully. That's definitely a large part of why i love the show so much; no one is easily pinned to one kind of role in relation to the other characters.

I'm definitely enthusiastic, as of the mid-season finale, about the ultimate resolution. As we've both said before, it's going to have to come down to the personal, emotional connections, and i have confidence that the writers won't let us down.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee solacebop_radar on June 17th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC)
Also, the tantrum was so shocking that it brought attention to the situation, in a way that wouldn't have been possible if it were just another Starbuck issue, you know? I liked it, but it definitely alarmed me.
Same--on both counts. And yes, it really did signal that this was a Big Deal because unfortunately with Starbuck's history it could have been written off as 'just Starbuck being Starbuck' I think.

She had to go through that before she could regain her Hero status, right?
Yup, I'm just really really craving the rise! ;)

they're never static, and the roles overlap and complement each other so wonderfully. That's definitely a large part of why i love the show so much; no one is easily pinned to one kind of role in relation to the other characters.
*nods* It makes these characters seem so much more well rounded than if they were confined to one role. Even a very well drawn character who remains a particular archetype consistently would seem less realistic--in real life we find that some people and situations bring out certain aspects of ourselves and others bring out other aspects. And it changes over time.

it's going to have to come down to the personal, emotional connections, and i have confidence that the writers won't let us down.
The leap forward has given me some hope, yes. In a way, the fact that the physical journey is (all but) over is a promising sign because it means they'll focus on the emotional and personal ones (I hope!)