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Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ And ‘Islanded In A Stream Of Stars’


This is the 37th in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘No Exit’ And ‘Deadlock’” here.

Spoilers ahead.

With only a few episodes left, the mystery surrounding Starbuck is explored through her conversations with a piano player in a bar. Such is the commitment to character in this series.

Music is integral to “Someone to Watch Over Me,” seemingly named after George and Ira Gershwin’s jazz standard. That song is unheard here; the piano player’s composition is based on “Exploration,” a piece featured in the 1970s incarnation of Galactica.

These two installments also delve into Boomer’s character. She seems cruelly manipulative at first, but “Islanded in a Stream of Stars” reveals her as sincere and conflicted. The episode title is aptly taken from a line in the book The Outermost House, referring to “pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time.”

‘Someone to Watch Over Me’

With Anders still comatose, Starbuck grinds through her daily routine, briefing pilots on their mission to find a habitable planet.

Tyrol informs Roslin, Apollo, and Adama the Cylon resin will extend Galactica’s life by only a few more jumps. A Six named Sonja (a member of the new Quorum) requests Boomer be tried for backing Cavil in the Cylon civil war. Tyrol realizes Boomer will be executed, causing him to reflect on their complicated relationship.

Starbuck drowns her sorrows at Joe’s, kibitzing with the piano player (Roark Critchlow, credited as Slick) as he works on a composition. She reveals her father was a pianist who left her family when she was a child. A recording of his is the only personal item Starbuck keeps when Helo recovers the things distributed when the crew thought her dead. In Helo’s quarters, Hera gives Starbuck a drawing of stars.

Tyrol visits Boomer. When they touch through the cell grid, she mentally projects him into the dream house she imagined for them, including a young daughter. Tyrol unsuccessfully appeals to Ellen to assist Boomer.

Starbuck confides to Slick she has felt directionless since finding Earth. Slick reveals he left his family when his wife demanded he quit his musical career. Starbuck berates him for the choice. Slick convinces Starbuck to attempt playing one of the songs her father taught her.

Tyrol fakes a power outage, knocks an Eight unconscious, and swaps her with Boomer in the holding cell. Boomer subdues Athena in the group bathroom. Athena, bound and gagged in a bathroom stall, semi-consciously witnesses Helo mistakenly having sex with Boomer.

As Slick struggles with his composition, Starbuck examines Hera’s drawing and realizes the stars can be configured as notes on sheet music. The result is the song her father taught her: “All Along the Watchtower.” When Tigh, Ellen, and Tory ask Starbuck how she knows the song, she is shaken from a reverie to realize Slick was a figment of her imagination all along.

Tyrol helps Boomer load a crate onto a Raptor. They kiss in the dream house before he leaves the scene.

During a briefing, a bloodied Athena staggers into the pilots’ room, revealing Boomer’s escape and asking whether Helo retrieved Hera from daycare. The CIC attempts to stall Boomer on the runway. Adama threatens to shoot Boomer down. Boomer reveals she abducted Hera, who was in the crate.

Adama orders the flight pods retracted. Boomer narrowly escapes. She immediately executes a FTL jump; the turbulence damages Galactica’s hull.

Tigh and Ellen puzzle over Hera knowing “All Along the Watchtower.” Tyrol learns Boomer abducted Hera. He projects himself into the dream house, finding no one there.

‘Islanded in a Stream of Stars’

Humans and Cylons work to repair Galactica’s hull. A major breach kills 61, including 26 Cylons.

Ellen tells human leadership Boomer likely was taking Hera to Cavil at “The Colony,” where Cylons lived during their armistice with humanity. Ellen and Starbuck argue Hera must be saved, because she knows the song and also may hold the key to Cylon procreation.

Adama is fed up with destiny and prophecies, but sends a Raptor to scout Ellen’s coordinates for The Colony. A Six later reports that The Colony has moved.

Athena, Caprica Six, and Roslin again have visions of Hera in the Opera House.

Apollo faces a Quorum hostile to the news Galactica has few jumps left before Adama must transfer his command to the Basestar. However, the Quorum cynically warms to the idea of cannibalizing Galactica for parts.

Baltar, who is broadcasting about visions of angels, tries reconciling with Caprica Six but fails. In the bathroom, Baltar finds Starbuck occupying the stall left doorless by Athena’s escape. Starbuck reveals she found her corpse on Earth, handing the bloody dog tags to Baltar for testing.

Starbuck visits Anders, who has been connected to a Hybrid tank on Galactica in hopes of rebooting his brain. She puts a pistol to his head to end his life. Anders suddenly blocks the gun and begins speaking like a Hybrid. Galactica’s power also becomes unstable, as Anders has connected to the ship in a neural fashion through the Cylon resin. When the crew realizes Anders could jump the ship, Tigh orders Anders disconnected.

In the sickbay, Adama and Roslin share a “medicinal” cigarette and recall the evening they shared on New Caprica. Roslin muses about the concept of “home,” confessing she never felt at home until the past few months. Nevertheless, she encourages Adama to abandon ship.

On the escaped Raptor, Hera cries for her mother. Boomer prepares to forcibly sedate Hera but cannot bring herself to do it. She calms Hera by bringing her into the dream house and discussing its origins. When they arrive at The Colony, Cavil takes possession of Hera. Boomer sheds tears when Hera cries out for her.

At the joint funeral for those who died repairing Galactica, Baltar announces his tests reveal Starbuck is the proof of life after death. Starbuck slaps Baltar before Adama has him removed. Afterward, Apollo is unconditionally accepting of Starbuck, who pins her own photo to the memorial wall.

Adama, observing futile efforts to patch Galactica, informs Tigh they will be abandoning ship. The two toast Galactica over drinks in Adama’s quarters.