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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Maelstrom

Battlestar Galactica


TV episode

Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle

Directed by Michael Nankin

Original air date: March 4, 2007


Stalked by dreams, visions, and prophecies, Starbuck teeters on the edge of a nervous breakdown.


Read the summary of the episode at the Battlestar Wiki site


Didja Know?


The opening titles show the fleet population at 41,400, the same as the previous episode, "Dirty Hands".


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode



Leoben Conoy (in Starbuck's dreams/visions only)

Hot Dog


Hera (mentioned only)

Yolanda Brenn

Socrata Thrace (in Starbuck's memories only, deceased)

Sam Anders

Admiral Adama


Lt. Gaeta

Colonel Tigh


Chief Tyrol

Specialist Figurski



Dr. Cottle (mentioned only)

Kat (mentioned only, deceased)

Duck (mentioned only, deceased)

Nora (mentioned only, deceased)

President Roslin


Didja Notice?


Starbuck's apartment seen in her memories/visions is the one introduced (chronologically) in "Buck the Stars" in the Caprican city of Delphi. It was first seen in the TV series in "Valley of Darkness".


During the flashback at 2:07 on the Blu-ray, besides her eponymous "maelstrom" painting, we see a few more of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace's paintings leaning against the wall of her apartment on Caprica. The painting in the middle looks to be of an animal with a star-shaped head...a star buck??!
Starbuck's paintings A star buck
Starbuck's paintings A star buck


At 2:50 on the Blu-ray, a Bances cigar box is seen in Kara's apartment. Bances is a real world brand of Cuban cigars.


Helo recommends to Starbuck she might want to see a certain psychiatrist on the Inchon Velle. This is the first and only mention of this ship in the series.


When Starbuck visits the oracle Yolanda Brenn in Dogsville, she is attracted to and picks up a figurine of the Kobollian goddess of dawn, Aurora. Later in the episode, she gives it to Admiral Adama. When Starbuck dies, he puts the figurine on the prow of the model sailing ship he's building as he struggles against his grief.


As Brenn gives her reading to Starbuck at 7:16 on the Blu-ray, a tear track is visible on her face. What is it about Starbuck or her destiny that brings the prophetess to tear up?


Starbuck tells Anders that her mother was stationed on a world called Medra during the first Cylon War.


Colonel Tigh remarks, "That planet's synchrotron radiation has been kicking the crap out of every DRADIS in the fleet since we got here." Synchrotron radiation is a real world effect in which electromagnetic radiation is emitted from charged particles that are subjected to radial acceleration.


As Starbuck fires at the Cylon Heavy Raider she thinks she sees in the gas giant's maelstrom at 14:10 on the Blu-ray, her rounds' orange tracers give the appearance of orange laser bolts as seen from the Vipers of the original BSG70.


At 18:45 on the Blu-ray, Starbuck tells Apollo she wants her photo pinned right next to Kat's when she dies. Apollo tells her he wants to be next to Duck and Nora. Later in the episode, Apollo does pin Starbuck's photo next to Kat's. Kat died in "The Passage". Duck died as a suicide bomber for the resistance against the Cylons on New Caprica in "Occupation". Nora was killed in a raid by Cylon Centurions on New Caprica in "The Resistance".


During Starbuck's flashback to life with her mother at 22:45 on the Blu-ray, one of the cigarettes in her mother's ashtray appears to be Marlboro brand!

Marlboro cigarette


Starbuck's vision at 27:34 on the Blu-ray implies that she did not have an actual bed in her old apartment in Delphi; she simply slept on top of a pad on the floor of the living room.


Starbuck's mother, Socrata Thrace, earned a Colonial Medal of Honor during her time in the Colonial Marines. Notice that the medal looks rather similar to Starbuck's mandala image.

Colonial Medal of Valor


    The medical form seen in Socrata Thrace's hands at 30:10 on the Blu-ray shows that Kara and her mother lived on Red Rose Blvd., Caprica City. It also shows the Colonial Veterans' Medical Assistance Program address as Government Square, 1023 Twin Building, Caprica City.

    The fact that Socrata's medical report comes from the oncology department implies she has cancer.


A bottle of Virgon Brew beer is seen in Socrata's apartment at 34:23 on the Blu-ray.


The childhood photo of Kara at 35:40 on the Blu-ray appears to show that she wore braces on her teeth as a child.

young Kara


One of Kara's school essays kept by Socrata is about Kara's grandmother, titled "The Person Who Most Influenced My Life", it reading that her grandmother always made her feel special.


At the end of the episode, Admiral Adama places the Aurora goddess figure on the prow of his model sailing ship, then partially destroys the model in his grief and anger over Starbuck's death. He has been very gradually working on the model since the start of the series. It is also seen in the background of his quarters in later episodes, visibly damaged.


Notes from the audio commentary by Ron Moore on the Blu-ray release


Moore remarks that the model sailing ship Adama was building since the start of the series was an expensive rental prop. The damage done to it by Adama in this episode was real and was an unscripted action by Edward James Olmos in the moment.


Memorable Dialog

most shrinks are more frakked up than their patients.mp3
which means no.mp3
your mother frakked up your head.mp3
plenty to be angry about.mp3
you must have caught hell for that.mp3
the best Viper driver I've got.mp3
I didn't say that.mp3
hot shot problem pilot.mp3
all of this has happened before.mp3
you look so much younger.mp3
every frakkin' miserable day.mp3
something's about to happen.mp3
you're my daughter.mp3
the space between life and death.mp3
I'm not afraid anymore.mp3
just let me go.mp3

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