Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Starbuck’s Relationships and Cylon Motives
Welcome to the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica Weekly, our recurring Q&A with Mark Verheiden, co-executive producer of the hit Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. Each week, we’ll interview Verheiden about the events of the week’s episode, what those events might mean for both the season and the series, and hopefully unearth some clues about what to expect as the final season of Battlestar Galactic nears its conclusion.
Along with posing our own questions to Verheiden, we’re also taking questions from fans — so be sure to send your questions to me, your official BSG Weekly interviewer, after each episode airs at chris [at] comicmix [dot] com. New episodes of Battlestar Galactica can be seen every Friday at 10 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel. You can view previous interviews via the links at the end of this article.
This week, Verheiden answers questions about the third episode of Season Four, "The Ties That Bind," which aired April 18, 2008. Note: These questions contain spoilers so read at your own risk.
COMICMIX: (from reader Susan): It makes sense that you want to break Kara and Sam up to make way for Kara and Lee to get together in the final season, but what’s with her brutal treatment of him in this episode? In seasons two and three, it seemed like she truly cared about him in spite of her deeper feelings for Lee, now her behavior seems truly unsympathetic. Why is this continuing, while Lee/Dee got to end cleanly?
MARK VERHEIDEN: Kara has never been the most stable of characters. She’s been through and continues to go through some extremely difficult, frustrating experiences. Not the least of which involves disappearing for two months, being almost shot by the President, and now struggling to command a ship looking for…well, something she can’t quite put her finger on.
It’s sort of a truism that you hurt the ones you love, and maybe Anders caught the brunt because he was the only one who stood there long enough so she COULD go off on him. But please remember this is Battlestar Galactica, where emotional entanglements can change on a dime…
CMix (from reader Molly): Are Kara’s words to Sam, like when she tells him "she’s not the girl he married" meant to be taken at face value? I always thought that what she said in "Rapture" was true, that she loved and hated both Sam and Lee. And I liked that ambiguity as it made Kara more sympathetic.
MV: I think the line more or less speaks for itself. You can take it literally, as in there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since they got hitched on New Caprica, or draw whatever inference you’d like.
CMix (from reader Johanna): Kara and Sam’s sex scene seemed to have definite parallels with her dream of Leoben at the beginning of "Maelstrom." Intentional? And also, does Kara remember her epiphany and her resolved mommy issues from the end of said episode, ’cause it seems like she doesn’t!
MV: Regarding the parallels with "Maelstrom." I asked writer Michael Taylor if it was intentional and he says "no." Regarding Kara, she remembers everything from "Maelstrom" up to the explosion. So yes, she remembers her vision about her Mom.
CMix: Was Tory’s decision to kill Cally based more on her desire to keep the Cylon/Human baby for the Cylons or because she was jealous and overwhelmed with new emotions and just wanted Tyrol for herself? It seems like combination of both. Would that be a fair assessment?
MV: I would add there was a fear Cally might out the four newly-minted Cylons to Adama, Roslin and the fleet. But yes, we certainly saw another side of Ms. Foster. Poor Cally…
CMix: Its interesting that Gaeta went along on Starbuck’s quest considering he was pretty clear he thought she was a Cylon in a previous episode. Did he volunteer or was he ordered to go?
MV: Gaeta is the resident expert in star charts and the like, so he’s a natural addition to a search mission. As to whether he volunteered or was ordered, I don’t think we really discussed it that much. But Gaeta certainly wants to find Earth as much as anyone.
CMix: Helo has always stood by Starbuck no matter what she’s done. He’s even on her mission to find Earth. How would you characterize their relationship? They seem more like brother and sister than anything else?
MV: I think that’s as good a description as any.
CMix: Are you happy that the word "Frak" was invented as it certainly comes in handy, especially in this episode? Do you ever find yourself using it in daily life?
MV: Frakkin’ right I do!
CMix: What was your favorite part of this episode?
MV: The Roslin/Adama scene is especially powerful. We don’t see Adama wrought up like that very often, and Laura’s reaction to his observation at the end is riveting…