By Darren Franich
April 08, 2011 at 10:20 PM EDT
Carole Segal/SyFy
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There’s a great moment in a season 2 episode of Battlestar Galactica that sums up everything awesome about Katee Sackhoff. Kara Thrace — better known as “Starbuck” — has been recuperating from battle injuries in a mysterious hospital. She hasn’t left her bed in days. The only person she’s seen is Simon, an overly helpful doctor who keeps trying to convince her to donate her womb to the effort to repopulate humanity, since healthy ovaries are a rarity after the apocalypse. (All of humanity was recently nuked. You’ve heard of this show, right?) So Starbuck’s been going a little stir-crazy. And she’s suspicious — this Simon guy seriously won’t stop talking about her ovaries. Like, we get it, they aren’t irradiated! Yay for ovaries!

So Starbuck sneaks out one night, and overhears Simon talking about a naughty scheme. Twist: He wants to steal her healthy ovaries! Now, you know Starbuck is going to strike back, and you know Simon is a goner. But the next day, when Simon walks into Starbuck’s hospital room, she flashes him (and the camera) this incredible smile. She looks like a kid who just broke into a candy store after-hours, momentarily pausing before she begins to gorge. It’s not just that she’s play-acting the role of “dutiful patient.” She looks a little bit scared, but also quite overjoyed: “Oh, what fun it will be to take bloody vengeance on he who has wronged me!” Everything dark, weird, and wonderful about the Kara Thrace character is on display in that tiny Mona Lisa-worthy smile.

Since Battlestar Galactica, Sackhoff has popped up here and there. She was the best thing about the failed Bionic Woman reboot. She played the much-despised Dana on the final season of 24. She’s had a recurring role on the current season of CSI. The Battlestar goodwill will keep her employed as a geek icon for years — see her cameo on The Big Bang Theory or her occasional voice roles on Robot Chicken (Bitch Puddin’!) She’s starred in a couple of TV pilots that weren’t picked up by their networks. One vaguely imagines that there could be an awesome FX show with her name on it, maybe about a battle-scarred Iraq war vet who solves mysteries in Pittsburgh or something. (That’s just an elevator pitch. But Pittsburgh= So hot right now!)

Personally, I just hope she can find another role as tailor-made for her as Starbuck: We need more funny, cynical, broken-hearted, totally badass, totally hot women on television. Sending our best birthday wishes your way, Ms. Sackhoff.


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