Starbuck’s Glorified Body

In the final season of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, a cool thing happened that I’ve never seen commented upon elsewhere.

Kara Thrace, aka Starbuck, seemingly dies in episode seventeen of season three, “Maelstrom”. Quoting from the Wikipedia page:

Starbuck passes out as her fighter begins a wild spin. The cockpit alarms change to the alarm of a clock and the scene changes to Starbuck lying in bed in her apartment on Caprica. She turns the off the clock and immediately finds Leoben sitting by her side.

Starbuck believes she is being tricked again and that this is all a dream or some Cylon mind-game. Leoben assures her that he is there to give her a chance at something she avoided in her past. … Leoben tells her that death is not hard to embrace, and that is the message her mother was trying to tell her all along. Starbuck finally sees Leoben as something else, perhaps not a Cylon, but her spiritual guardian. Leoben says he never claimed he was actually Leoben.

In reality, Starbuck finally awakens to the shouts of Apollo begging her to come back. She moves her hand near the ejection seat lever on her Viper before telling him that she is no longer afraid and will “see him on the other side”. Apollo demands that she pull up, but she whispers, “just let me go… they’re waiting for me”. Apollo then sees an explosion as Starbuck’s Viper breaks apart and disintegrates.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, she shows up as if nothing had happened in the second episode of season four, “He That Believeth In Me”. Again, quoting the Wikipedia page:

Starbuck returns with a seemingly brand new (Mk II) Viper. She doesn’t recall being killed and believes that she was only gone for six hours.

The key is her “seemingly brand new Viper”. Chief Tyrol remarks that there isn’t a mark on it, that it is completely unblemished. Starbuck, is becomes clear, has died and now returned from the afterlife in her glorified body. (As has her Viper.)

The Catholic Encyclopedia, in listing the “Characteristics of the risen body”, says:

Again, the resurrection, like the creation, is to be numbered amongst the principal works of God; hence, as at the creation all things are perfect from the hand of God, so at the resurrection all things must be perfectly restored by the same omnipotent hand. But there is a difference between the earthly and the risen body; for the risen bodies of both saints and sinners shall be invested with immortality. This admirable restoration of nature is the result of the glorious triumph of Christ over death as described in several texts of Sacred Scripture: Isaiah 25:8; Osee, xiii, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Apocalypse 2:4.

When the dead are resurrected they are done so in their glorified bodies, restored not only perfectly to their bodies but restored to perfect bodies unblemished by the fall of man. Just like Starbuck’s Viper — a perfect, unblemished ship. Starbuck, too, is changed; most obviously, she now has the gift of vision.

It was deliciously delightful for me to watch the final season, recognizing the entire time that Starbuck had returned in her glorified body, like Moses and Elijah descending to speak with Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9).

In the final episode of the show my suspicions up to that point were confirmed. As she had claimed in the very beginning, “Head Six” was revealed to be an angel, along with “Head Baltar” and (presumably) the Leoben from HTBiM, guiding the destiny of the humans. Her mission complete, Starbuck says goodbye to Lee Adama and then just disappears.

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