I love plots of TV shows and I love individual characters, but there is something special about the various relationships between characters depicted on a show. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s our connections with others that give our lives meaning and the same is true on TV shows. The relationships our characters find themselves in broaden our understandings of each character as we can see them in relation to others. Whether the relationship is a friendship, a romantic relationship, familial or even antagonistic, they provide meaning and direction to the lives of individual characters.
I don’t talk nearly enough about Battlestar Galactica (which will probably be corrected at some point, if not later this month) but it is a show full of compelling and occasionally heartbreaking relationships. I can tell you the exact moment in the 4th episode when I fell in love with the show and it all had to do with the relationship between Bill Adama and Kara “Starbuck” Thrace.
From their first interaction on the show, it was clear that their relationship was different than the one Adama shared with the rest of his crew. They have a greeting that is entirely their own that is used a few times throughout the series. We find out later that Kara is the daughter that Adama nearly had (twice). She was engaged to his son and played a role in his accidental death by passing him during a flight exam when he should have failed.
The scene where I fell in love with the show is admittedly a little unconventional. Kara had just confessed to Adama about her role in Zak’s death and Adama was furious with her. And it is still one of the most powerful moments on the show, especially when you take in consideration that it took place so early in the show’s run. It is an incredibly powerful scene because of all of the emotions involved and Katee Sackhoff and Edward James Olmos are truly incredible in it. Adama is displaying a terrifying level of anger and Kara’s heart is breaking because of it and the emotions are palpable and jump at you out of the screen. While it’s a difficult scene to watch, it gave the idea that this relationship had history. Kara saw Adama as her father and watching that slip away hurt. They made up, after Adama jeopardized the entire fleet to get Kara back safely, and from that point on, the relationship was stronger than ever because all of her secrets were out in the open. Though they were never related by marriage, they had a father-daughter relationship and they both knew it though it was rarely spoken of in that way.
Through all of the ups and downs of the show, this relationship endured. Adama knew Kara would do what he asked of her if necessary because she trusted him enough not to ask unless it was important. He fought for her when necessary, not just because she was the most competent pilot that the fleet had, but also because she was his daughter. When Kara died, the reaction that gave me the greatest emotional response belonged to Adama. This relationship was never a focus of the show but it was a nice constant. A reminder that after everything they had been through, Adama could still ask Kara what she heard and we all knew the answer would be “nothing but the rain”.
I have a couple different questions for you, feel free to answer whichever is most applicable to you (or both!). For Battlestar Galactica fans, what was your favorite relationship on the show, romantic or otherwise? For non-fans, what non-central relationship on any of your shows is your favorite?