Nothing But the Rain: The William Adama and Kara Thrace Story

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?

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4 thoughts on “Nothing But the Rain: The William Adama and Kara Thrace Story

  1. I love reading what you have to say about BSG because you talk about it with such love and enthusiasm.

    As for my own personal favorite non-central relationships, I think it all starts with the wealth of great relationships on Parks and Rec. Leslie’s relationships with Ben, Ann, and even Ron get plenty of deserved love, but I am very emotionally attached to her relationship with April (maybe it’s because I’m a Leslie and my sister is an April). I love watching Leslie’s passion inspire April, and I love watching April defend Leslie and inspire her in her own ways when Leslie is feeling down (I’m especially thinking of that great letter April wrote in this past season’s premiere). Another Parks and Rec supporting relationship I can never get enough of is Jerry and Ben’s new friendship. I love that Jerry finally found someone who would stick up for him, and I love even more that it’s Ben.

    I also really love the relationships between male and female friends/coworkers that remain purely platonic because we don’t ever seen enough of those. Zoe and Mal’s loyalty, Jessica and Harvey’s banter, Sydney and Dixon’s complexity, and Beckett’s different but equally supportive relationships with both Esposito and Ryan all make (or made) their shows something special without ever becoming focal points.

    Finally, another show with plenty of great relationships (both central and peripheral) is Once Upon a Time, and I love what the show had with Red and Snow’s friendship. It wasn’t always the focus, but it was always a constant in Snow’s life. And I can’t mention non-central relationships from this season of the show without mentioning the evolving dynamic between Charming and Hook. It was a relationship I never guessed would come to mean as much to the show and the characters as it did, and I hope to see even more of it next season.

    1. All of your choices are great because we have such similar tastes in relationship dynamics but two of them in particular made me really excited to talk about.

      First of all, I love that you mentioned Sydney and Dixon. They didn’t have the easiest of friendships, with all the spying and lying that was required, but it was lasting and it was loyal. These two were so important to each other and in a show filled with great relationships, this one really stood out to me.

      Second, RED AND SNOW! I am really hoping that Meghan is back as a regular next season because I miss them together in both the flashbacks and present day. I want to see her interact with Snow’s new baby and watch them have each other’s backs in the Enchanted Forest again. It was a truly great friendship and now that Charming and Hook are bffs, Snow needs hers back 😉

  2. Does it count if I was a fan of the original series? 😉 This just makes me want to finally sit down and watch this much beloved reboot. I loved the original series with best friends with Starbuck and Apollo and Lorne Greene’s Commander Adama. But I digress…

    Non-central relationships. I like a bunch of Katie’s, but truth be told I am always drawn to mentors/mentee relationships. Perhaps it is because I have had so many strong ones in my life. I am going to stick with current shows because if I go down that rabbit hole I may be here all day.

    Castle has the most bountiful crop of relationships that make the show soar. My personal favorites have been Beckett and Captain Montgomery, Rick and Martha, Ryan and Esposito. And that’s just off the top of my head. In my opinion no show on television does this better. The reason Castle works as a show is because it has invested in characters who we as viewers care about not just in how they relate to the leads, but in their own right. Beckett and her father, Rick and 3XK, Lanie and Esposito. The list is infinite.

    The Good Wife is another show that has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to relationships outside of the core. My absolute favorite is Eli Gold and Alicia Florrick. These are two people who began as a means to an end with one another. What we’ve watched evolve over five seasons was a mutual respect and protection of one another. No moment better defined this than the moment that Eli is the one who delivers the phone to Alicia regarding Will’s death. How far this duo has come from the man who erased Will’s voice mail declaring his intentions. It’s an unexpected support system that garners respect and makes for fantastic television.

    Suits is another show that does a terrific job of uncommon alliances. Rachel and Luis, Donna and Rachel, Mike and Donna. This show creates loyalty in interesting places and for interesting reasons. We love them because they are vulnerable to people who have nothing to gain from it. It makes the characters who often are underhanded people we want to root for because we see them through the eyes of these other characters.

    1. You have so many great choices here. You’re right, Castle does have one of the strongest sets of relationships on TV and they have managed to develop so many of them. The relationships Beckett has with Ryan and Esposito are different than Castle’s relationships with them and they are different than the one Ryan and Esposito have with each other. They all obviously care about each other but that’s expressed in so many different ways, like actual friendships in a group work and I love seeing that.

      Eli and Alicia’s friendship is one of my favorite relationships on The Good Wife. They complexity of each character individually combined with their relationship history and the way it has evolved makes for some truly compelling television when they are together.

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