Battlestar Galactica

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 3 USERS: A
The Stockdale Paradox

Kara is black against a darkening blue sky, a shadow on a wall, carrying a tarp for a winding sheet, to wrap the body of a girl. She lifts it against the faltering horizon, fluttering; she bears huge timbers across the landscape to build a pyre. When it is done, she places the body on top. That burned and burning girl. She sits at the fireside, and breathes it in like morning light, like a fresh breeze. The only possible response to that girl she hated once so much, whose destiny led her to the place between life and death; the only possible response to her own beloved, holy, wise strong self: a fire. A funeral.

Down the corridor they come, after their date, giddy and excited, remembering their love, their time together; drunk on ambrosia and shared history. Anastasia begs him to tell her again, and he demurs only a bit before she demands it: "I want to remember every word." This is therapy, but it's also what she wants. What she wants for him and for herself intersect here, for the last time and probably the first, and she's heard it now enough times to know parts of it by heart, laughing, on fire with his rhetoric, with the revolution in him she's finally set alight. It's a song about the next thing, after the unthinkable thing. It's a song about being brave and strong and alive enough to find out what happens next. Where do you go when you can't get out? Turn into something else. If you can bear it. If you can do the impossible at the end of line, and step across the enjambment to the next line, step through the door the angel beckons towards, you turn into something else. This is the man she's made of him:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a choice. We can either view this as a catastrophe or an opportunity. I, Lee Adama, ex-acting President, former Commander of the obliterated Battlestar Pegasus -- Apollo to my friends -- I choose the latter. We're no longer enslaved by the ramblings of Pythia. No longer pecking at the breadcrumbs of the Thirteenth Tribe. We are now free to go where we want to go, and be who we want to be."

You could almost believe it for a moment; the way it goes around and around: Glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of our true selves, the pain of that revelation bringing true clarity; amidst confusion, he finds her again and again: the way forward, once impenetrable, yet inevitable. All of us in shadow, clawing for the light, hungry for the redemption that only ever comes in the howl of terrible suffering. And now they join again, in the Promised Land, gathered on the wings of an angel: Not an end, but a beginning.

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Battlestar Galactica




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