Apollo and Starbuck are joined at the hip. Seriously. A future episode will have someone (Tigh, I think) say that if you wanted to find either one, just look for one because the other would be with him. Now, mind you, it’s been years since I’ve seen these episodes so I have no clue as to exact wording, and those I’ve taped, well, I’m too lazy to go write quotes down verbatim. J But you’ll get the essence, I promise!
So I’ll start with “War Of The Gods”, a two-parter. The Fleet encounters a mysterious stranger, Count Iblis (played by Patrick MacNee), and Apollo is unrelentingly suspicious of him. Starbuck teases him about it but gradually agrees with him, the last straw being when Iblis calmly threatens Apollo’s life when the three of them are alone. Apollo holds an angry Starbuck back, sure that Iblis, whose ‘miracles’ have endeared him with the people of the Fleet, has shown his true colors.
This episode introduces the game of Triad, played by two-man teams, and the uniforms are deliciously skimpy! Think short panties as short as Dick’s Robin costume, and crossed strips of cloth covering the upper half of the chest while keeping the midriff bare. Lovely design! J Naturally, Apollo and Starbuck are one two-man team.
Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba had discovered Iblis on a planet with evidence of a huge starship crash and he was the only survivor. Adama and Apollo think that their answers are there, and Apollo goes on a secret mission but not before Starbuck persuades him to allow him to go along, not taking ‘No’ for an answer.
It’s a pattern: the strict disciplinarian Apollo nearly always caves in to the charming Starbuck despite being his superior officer. I like to think that Starbuck knows he can get away with more than the average warrior but doesn’t embarrass Apollo in front of the other warriors.
Anyway, down on the planet the boys and Sheba (who has been previously enthralled by Iblis) confront the Count, who had promised Adama that he would pay for his interference with “a life more precious than your own” (his son Apollo). He makes good on that threat, striking down Apollo.
This is where it gets really good: Starbuck screams, “No! Apollo!” and frantically feels for a pulse, but there is none. He goes ballistic, screaming and firing his laser at Iblis, whose ‘devilish’ qualities are revealed and is unharmed. When the mysterious lights appear again that have spooked Iblis before, Starbuck’s voice is laced with tears as he demands to know if the Count had the right to break some sort of rules and take Apollo’s life against his will. Iblis vanishes and Sheba says, “Look, Starbuck. Everything is as it was before he appeared.”
Starbuck drops to his knees beside Apollo’s body and says while quietly crying, “No, not…everything. Apollo’s…dead. Let’s bring him home.”
In the shuttle on the way back to the Galactica, Starbuck says he’d gladly give his life to bring Apollo back.
The lights appear again (several pilots have vanished earlier when they appear) and he and Sheba lose consciousness, awakening on the Ship of Lights and wearing white versions of their uniforms. When Apollo’s body is revealed on a dais, Starbuck angrily launches into a tirade, “Can’t you just leave him alone? He’s of no possible use to you!”
It gets more interesting. Apollo is ‘resurrected’ and when Starbuck sees this, the tears flow again. His voice, laced with tears since he woke up, is a mixture of joy and tears now. “I don’t know who you are, but whatever you want from me, you can have.”
The only disappointment I had with this story was when Apollo and Sheba come off the dais and to Starbuck, Apollo and Starbuck do the warrior handclasp but geez louise, the man just returned from the dead! How ‘bout a hug? J
Otherwise we got to see Apollo dying, Starbuck crying and offering his life in exchange, and losing his head with grief and rage.
Yeah, no slash here. J
Next episode is “The Man With Nine Lives”. The story opens with the boys going to the rec ship, The Rising Star, and Starbuck has a new gambling system he wants to try and he’s persuaded Apollo to back him with his money in addition to his own. When they arrive Apollo wants to watch some dancers but Starbuck eagerly leads him by the arm into the gaming chancery. What’s interesting is how Apollo is allowing Starbuck to dictate their recreation here, even risking his money! And when Chameleon, a gambler of old, advises Starbuck to be careful when he makes a bet and is proven right (Starbuck took back some money before making his final bet) Apollo said in effect that he was grateful so that he wouldn’t have to go home early and listen to Starbuck try and explain why his system had failed, and it struck me as how married these two seem, as the loss of that shared money would have cut short Apollo’s furlon (furlough) and they would have had to leave together like an old married couple. J Throughout this episode Apollo is constantly concerned about Starbuck, who thinks Chameleon might be his long-lost father.
Oh, and before my final example, let’s not forget that Starbuck risked floating in space forever to grab onto Apollo, who had lost his handhold outside the Galactica in “Fire In Space” as they set explosive charges on the hull to try and extinguish the fire.
Now, the third episode: “Murder On The Rising Star”. It opens with another Triad game, and old enemies Starbuck and Ortega fighting after one too many cheap shots by Ortega. The interesting part of the scene? Apollo trying to restrain Starbuck and they wind up writhing on the floor literally half-naked in those skimpy Triad uniforms! *fans self*
Starbuck is accused of Ortega’s murder later and Apollo immediately volunteers to be his protector (lawyer) and is shown throughout most of the episode frantically running around preparing his case, tracking down an escaped Starbuck and talking him into giving himself up, and believing in his innocence.
He comes up with a plan to expose a man named Charbydis, who was Baltar’s subordinate and who sabotaged vital equipment that allowed the Cylons to attack Caprica during the Great Destruction. Apollo believes that Charbydis killed Ortega (who knew the false identity the man was living under now) and sets it up so that the man (whom he knows is one of three men) will sneak aboard the shuttle and prepare to kill him and Baltar, whom Apollo takes from the prison barge, the only other person in the Fleet who knows Charybdis’ true identity. Apollo keeps Alpha Channel open and Boomer, sitting in for him at the tribunal, manages to get the court to listen to Charbydis’ confession over the commlink while he threatens to kill Apollo. There’s a scuffle and when Apollo comes back on-line, safe and sound, Starbuck thanks him with a lot of deep, soulfelt gratitude. The tag scene shows Apollo and Starbuck, once again in their skimpy Triad uniforms, receiving the cheers and applause of their fans and then giving each other clasps on the shoulders as they smile happily at each other.
Okay, so there’s no slash here, right? None when Starbuck expresses naked jealousy of Apollo’s future wife (who conveniently dies off soon after the wedding) in an early episode, including being upset when Serina usurps his place as Apollo’s wingman, or is included in the Adama family dinners, or is always doing something to help Boxey, Apollo’s adopted son (he makes sure the kid is safe during a mission when he stowed aboard a planetside shuttle or brings a fire-blackened Muffit, Boxey’s mechanical daggit, to be fixed after the fire in “Fire In Space”) shows the most emotion of the entire series when he loses Apollo to death…nah, nothing slashy at all between these two! J