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Review: Battlestar Galactica finale

It’s over.

For four years of my life (which, oddly enough, took six years), I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica weekly. This redesigned joy from my childhood became an engaging, exciting, and dramatic story in my adulthood. As with any other TV show, there are excellent episodes and episodes that fell flat. A series finale, and the lead-in stories, must meet the highest standard, in my opinion – especially in an “arc” show (i.e., one that tells a cohesive story from beginning to end, rather than “episodic,” in which the characters are all but reset at the end of each episode). There’s a lot to bring together. A lot of questions that must be answered.

Did BSG bring the goods?

There are SPOILERS below. Turn back now if you haven’t seen it. Seriously. I’m gonna touch on just about everything.

But first, a note to the Sci-Fi Channel. I think I said it best when I exploded on Facebook:

You think maybe a mention at the end of the previous episode that “hey, guess what… next week’s long awaited series finale is going to be running a bit long, so if for some reason you can’t make it home in time to see it, you might want to set your recorder to run, oh, about 15 minutes extra so you DON’T MISS THE END OF THE ENTIRE FLIPPIN’ SERIES THAT YOU SAT ON THE COUCH AND FAITHFULLY WATCHED FOR FOUR STINKING YEARS” might have been warranted?!?!?!?

I don’t know… just seems courteous to me. But I’m funny like that I guess.

About an hour and a half later I downloaded the show on bit-torrent and forced my wife out of bed to watch the last 10 minutes at about 1am (she’s a very nice woman who has refrained from killing me for years). The gap ruined the flow of the ending for me, but at least I saw it.

Okay, on to the show…

The battle stuff was just plain cool. There’s no denying that. When they said point-blank range, they weren’t kidding. The ship took a full-on beating. Loved it. Nice tactic with the Raptors jumping around as well. To nitpick, however, a couple of times I had a hard time figuring out which turrets I was looking at and whether the fact that they were firing was good or bad. CG team and director needed to work together better there. Also, while I loved the old style centurians showing up for the beating, I’m not sure why they were there, story-wise. Why would obsolete models be guarding the main colony?

During the battle, Boomer turns the tide by rescuing Hera, thus moving towards redemption. I’m split on this. Seemed like convenient writing to me, but at the same time it provided a nice end for the character, especially with the flashback to her talk with Adama. I liked that she took responsibility and knew it would cost her her life. I also liked that Athena was the one to finish it. Still, it was a rather convenient hinge for the whole rescue.

Speaking of people dying: I thought it was great that Tory knew it was likely she was toast but went ahead anyway. And Tyrol was nice about it, given the circumstances. No blood. No speeches. Just efficient action. I also liked Tigh’s comment that he would have done the same thing.

Interesting that after Anders’ end, the Final 5 are the Final 3.

Angels. I actually thought that was a pretty good resolution to the Baltar/Six problem. There was enough setup that it made sense. Heck, it was flat out stated at one point in the third season. So I’m okay with that.

But then there’s Kara. Was she also an angel? She seems to be significantly different. There’s really no resolution with her, beyond that she knew the music and that turned out to be Earth’s coordinates. How is she dead on the original Earth? How did she come back after imploding? How was she having visions? How does she just disappear? Obviously there was “God’s” intervention in these things, but it’s never really stated. Here’s what Ron Moore said to TV Guide:

TVGuide.com: What exactly is Kara at the end of the series? An angel?
Moore: I think Kara remains an ambiguous figure. Kara lived a mortal life, died and was resurrected to get them to their final destiny. Clearly she was a key player in the events that led to [the fleet's] finding a home. And, I don’t know if there’s any more to it beyond that. I think you could call her an angel, you could call her a demon, the second coming or the first coming, I guess, chronologically speaking. You can say that she had a certain messiah-like quality, in the classic resurrection story. There’s a lot of different ways you can look at it, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized there was more in the ambiguity and mystery of it than there was in trying to give it more definition in the end.

TVGuide.com: So she is completely different than the hallucination/visions of Baltar and Six?
Moore: Yes, Kara was physically among us. Everybody saw her. She was tactile, she flew a viper, she was around. She was with us. And yet, there was a body that died on the original Earth, and Baltar did the DNA analysis and it was her body, so she was literally brought back from the dead by something — by some higher power or other power, and she came back to serve a function.

So in other words, they wrote themselves into a corner and couldn’t figure out how to explain what they set up. That last answer is exactly the problem. It’s all setup and no resolution. I could even live with the larger ambiguity, I suppose, if they would just say how there’s a 2000 year old crashed Starbuck on an old Earth, and why that’s at all relevant. And maybe how is Kara the “Harbinger of Doom” as foretold by the hybrids?

Moving on…

Loved the theme from the original BSG making a showing as Anders drives all the ships into the sun. Very nice. That was always one of my favorite themes.

The shared dream between Athena, Roslyn, Hera, Baltar, and Six… so the only explanation there is that it’s a vision from God? Hmmm… okay, I guess that fits the story.

Admiral Adama and Roslyn: I liked the way that played out, for the most part. I liked that Roslyn didn’t receive some miracle cure or overly happy ending. They did that right. There are two things I don’t understand, though.

1. Why did Adama leave everyone else, never to return, and why did everyone accept that as inevitable? That seemed out of left field to me.

2. What happened to his Raptor?

The ending with Baltar and Six in Times Square: a little heavy handed there at the end, but okay.

Overall… this is a mammoth story to try to pull together in a satisfying way for a finale episode with resolutions for so many characters and requisite action. I think they did a good job. I think they would have done a much better job if they knew where they were going from the start instead of making the series up as they went along – they probably would have fixed the Kara-sized holes, for example – but it was a good finale, overall.

Not sure if I’ll sign up for “Caprica,” but there’s a real good chance I’ll watch “The Plan.” If nothing else, I enjoy Dean Stockwell’s acting.

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4 comments to Review: Battlestar Galactica finale

  • G.O.D.

    As per your confusion with the older cylons begin present on the colony… if you remember, when the final 5 finally arrived at the colonies – the colonies were already at war with the ‘old’ cylons, and probably losing. The Final 5 brokered an agreement with the ‘old’ cylons to give them resurrection and human-looking cylons if they ended the war. The ‘old’ cylons ended the war and retreated to a colony that Ellen Ty states to create the new cylons, which was evidently destroyed at some point (that was also mentioned in the one episode). Now at that time, I’m pretty sure that there were a number of ‘old’ cylons around to build and create whatever facility they needed. And I’m guessing that the old cylons will work for centuries. That is why there were ‘old’ cylons on the colony – they were left over – no reason to destroy something that isn’t broken. I’m suspecting over this time they determined that they could improve on the Centurian model and came up with the model that is primarily shown in the show. My question is – “If the old cylons were good enough, why or who suggested on an upgraded model?”

    I did think it was cool that the old model Centurians showed up!! I just wished that one of them would’ve talked! ….By Your Command…

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    AH! Excellent reasoning, old dude. Thanks.

    Yeah, they needed someone to say “By your command”. That would have been a great sarcastic line for Cavell to one of the Final 5. I can totally see Dean Stockwell delivering that one.

    Reply to this comment

  • Jon

    I skipped over all of the spoilers, but I’m sure it’s an excellent post.

    Me, I’m still finishing up Season 3 and trying to decide whether it’s wrong that I find Admiral Cain kind of hot.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    I envy you that it will take you less than six years to watch this show (unless you decide to impose upon yourself 18 month hiatuses… hiatii… hiates… nevermind).

    To answer your question, it depends on which episode you’re watching. If it’s near the end of her run… yeah, it kinda is wrong, but maybe understandable.

    Reply to this comment

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