Just watched it again, and enjoyed it even more than the first time.
I think Dennis places too much import on the Sixth Sense 'cliche' with Starbuck's father.
I suspected that the piano player was: a) Starbuck's father, and b) 'not really there' within moments. It didn't alter my enjoyment of the episode in the slightest. In fact, it made it more interesting than if she had just been speaking to some random nobody. It was a personal look into the relationship of father and daughter, and it was very touching at times. It seemed as if even Starbuck suspected at times what was really going on.
RDM expects his audience to be savvy. I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I suspect that he knew we would guess early on that something was up with the piano player.
I've watched the episode with friends who figured it out right away, and with friends who didn't. Both camps enjoyed it immensely. It works both ways.
I wonder if the 'aged to present day' version of the father will soon appear, played by Dirk Benedict.