I originally wanted to write a column on Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck (the re-imagined one), focusing on her emotional turmoil throughout the series. However, in doing research for this column, I found two key things that made that hard to do. For starters, there is a serious divide between fans of the original BSG and the re-imagined series, and because of that, Starbuck is extremely different between the two series. Also, there are a lot of geeks out there that still have not finished the re-imagined series, for whatever reason.
So I decided to not focus on Starbuck per sé, but instead focus on the emotional turmoil that comes with what happened in the re-imagined series.
In the miniseries, viewers learn that the main antagonists, called Cylons, were created by humans of the Thirteen Colonies. The Cylons went to war with the humans, and eventually went into hiding. Forty years later, the Cylons nuked the colonies, wiping out all but about fifty thousand humans, now defended by the Battlestar Galactica. The plan is for the humans to find a legendary planet called Earth, all the while avoiding extinction by the Cylons.
To anyone who knows the series, I apologies for the crass breakdown, but the basic understanding needs to be put out there.
So, we now have fifty thousand people looking for a planet that may or may not exist, running from a creation that’s trying to kill their entire species.
Talk about stress.
In fact, the amount of stress that the situation puts on everyone still alive is massive. Furthermore, humans learn that there are twelve models of Cylons that look human, meaning that their best friend could be a walking toaster hellbent on killing them in their sleep.
The stress could lead to a whole host of mental illnesses. Insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders, and depression are among the more common physical manifestations of stress.
On top of that, the surviving humans are now living on spacecrafts, with no way to see the sun, feel natural air or run around and play in the grass. This isn’t Star Trek. There are no holodecks. Just cold reality.
That, my friends, can cause claustrophobia.
There are some recorded cases of claustrophobia causing massive heart attacks, stress, and general mental breakdowns. In a small fleet like the remaining human population, if the wrong person becomes claustrophobic, the entire fleet could become wiped out.
And then there is Dr. Gaius Baltar.
Now, if you have not watched an inch of the series and do not want have anything ruined, stop reading now. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. Okay, that everyone? Cool…
Baltar is a genius scientist that, unknowingly, gave the Cylon model dubbed Number Six (red dress above) the defense codes for Capricia, the human’s central planet.
After getting off Capricia and on the Battlestar Galactica, he begins to see Number Six, even though no one else sees her. He keeps up a sexual relationship with this Head-Six, and uses her as an internal voice of sorts.
Now, I’m not saying Baltar is seeing things. I personally think Head-Six is there, albeit I don’t know how. However, by a purely mental breakdown standpoint, I would say that Baltar is suffering from a whole host of psychological disorders brought about by his direct involvement in the extinction of the human species. He has manifested his stress into Head-Six, using her to relieve the guilt that comes from killing his entire species.
Honestly, I cannot touch on every mental disorder in BSG. There are tons. I mean, a lot. It’s a crap-shoot. But it’s also an amazing series. Check it out. I will try to tackle more BSG-related concepts later, but for now, know that I’m working hard to diagnose your favorite character and ruin your childhood.