I hate to say it, but I’m starting to come around to liking this episode. The friends I watching it with can attend to my bitter disappointment, along with my high level of stone-age after it was all over. I was hoping for more. I wanted God to actually step in and for Starbuck and her shiny Viper to to oh, I dunno, be explained. I wanted a bit more grandeur at the end of this soap opera I’ve come to love. I want someone to step up and say “Yeah, the reason a super nova was caused was this, and the explanation for The♫Watchtower♫ is this.” Perhaps we shouldn’t delve too deeply for the answers to these questions. Perhaps there lies the way of mitachlorians... Bah! Fuckdamnit! What the hell was this? Phah!
Then I watched it again, to make some notes for this article. The second time ’round I knew what to expect. Some things made a little bit more sense (I had been soothing a crying 3 month old when the fleet decided to become nomadic farmers. I came back into the room and was all like So... why are they flying the Galactica into the Sun?). The finale had a supersized helping of action, but story-wise they went out relatively quietly instead of a boombastic flourish. There weren’t any surprise twist endings; more like things just clicked into place. Character’s fates followed mostly logical courses based on where they had been going; after all this craziness our extended bsg family will just keep on keepin’ on. The supernatural elements like the mysterious Starbuck or the Head/Angels are left clearly mysterious and supernatural but without any further explanation given.
Perhaps it’s better left at that. HeadSix has claimed from her very first appearance that she was an Angel. We’ve seen HeadSix literally lift Gaius into the air from an external point of view and the show simply leaves it at: Yeah, they’re real Angels. They work for God, although he doesn’t like to be called that. They do really exist in this world and have exerted a force over our protagonists and antagonists. But like real life, the master string puller will not be making an on-screen appearance (unless you count Ron Moore’s brief turn as an extra, reading a magazine about Hera as the Mitochondrial Eve)
In the end some of the religious ramblings, like the one about a dying leader not making it to the promised land, well, that prophesy turned out not to be true, didn’t it? It was never a promise. Starbuck’s father was probably Daniel, but I can accept that we don’t need to explain everything about her, do we? She’s very clearly a mystical reborn character too. We’re watching a show where this shit just happens; it’s a weird bloody show and we’ve been watching it so did we hope it would turn into every other show by explaining away everything at the very last minute? Well, I did, yes. At least just a little bit more. But I guess that’s not the show I was watching.
I’m definitely okay with the final five minutes; the reveal that we are descended from Hera. We’ve collectively spent a lot of time the last four seasons pointing at the characters and saying That’s us. Seeing bits of ourselves as flawed and fraked up and isn’t this show fantastic because of how it puts us foibles-and-all up on the screen. It’s interesting that in its final moment the show briefly turned its gaze to our actual society and briefly asked the question
Is this your fate? How closely does our humanity have to follow in their foot-steps and mistakes? Are we predetermined to be a motley group of petty individuals, or can we rise to something greater? It didn’t need to end with them being the origin of our species. It could have been Plant Crouton for all the difference it would’ve made to the characters. But by linking their world to ours, it allows the question to be more directly asked: Are we going to frak ourselves up just like they did? What the hell, it fits. And I’m starting to like it all.
At the end of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and others, along with the rejected dregs of the Golgafrinchan civilization crash land on Earth in the far distant past. Arthur realizes that these phone sanitizers (2nd degree) and the like will overtake our monkey ancestors. The Golgafrinchan rejects are destined to be the forebearers of our modern world. (It’s around here the bbc TV series ends)
The bsg finale bears more than a passing resemblance to the second Hitchhiker’s book. I’m certain Ronald D. Moore owes Douglas Adams a post-humous beer.
In Adams’ version planet Earth was in fact a giant organic super-computer intelligently designed millions of years ago by pan-dimensional mice to calculate the great question of the universe (Answer: Forty Two). The evolutionary upset effectively ruins any value Earth supposedly had.
(Thanks to Chuck from Galactic[a]? Water Cooler for mentioning this book every other podcast. It never would have occurred to me otherwise)
And there was a lot of it. I’m certain that the DVD will provide an expanded version. Hopefully including more of the assault on the Cylon Colony — it was breathtaking. Full bonus awards to the Kick-Ass Space Battles and Foot Battles and Everything Battles Dept of bsg. We had Cylons engaging in fisticuffs with other Cylons; Swarms of scary raiders, ominously darkening the nebulous Colony; The Galactica taking the most brutal beating of it’s quickly ending life; The ship rams the fraking colony wall to make way for a gosh dang assault force! OMG:;laksj!! Hey, just a side question but why are the Cylons and using marine hand signals? It looks super-butch but those Centurion are a Foley artist’s wet dream, clinking and clanking like they do; not exactly quiet. Athena shoots Boomer in the stomach; We finally get to see Tory get what was coming to her at the hands of Tyrol (the setup for how Tyrol finally learned it was brilliantly constructed. Direct and to the point. Frak that, the whole episode was brilliantly constructed — click, click, click, go the story pieces); The Opera House visions turn out to be premonitions of a chase the four of them are destined to have, as they follow a fleeing Hera who seems to be divinely protected from harm by the Cylons.
I love the little touches, like the FriendCylons painting themselves red and the meticulous ordering of operations; they really added to the believability of that assault. The planning stages are thankfully glossed over in a brief montage showing the pilots, the Cylons and Adama planning the operation. We’re left to just experience the results in a visceral thrill. I also really dug Roslin’s goodbye to Doc Cottle, we got to see a brief glimmer of the man behind that gruff exterior. When she told Cottle to go smoke a cigarette, I just died laughing. And Tigh and Adama in a Strip Club!! ROLFCOPTERZ! (I can’t imagine that on Star Trek) Tigh screaming out YEAAHH!!!
Oh, and Baltar’s speech to Cavil! When Baltar said a hasty goodbye to Paula, it felt like the writers were just casually tossing a non-functioning plot-thread. But when Baltar later gave a speech to Cavil, one that ultimately halted hostilities between Cylons and Humans/Cylons I realized that Baltar from one season ago would not have spoken this calmly or convincingly about God and his angelic visions. He wouldn’t be so passionately honest about the the possibility and necessity of their shared future. God, through the Angle HeadSix, has turned Baltar into an excellent motivational speaker. It’s only a brief hiatus, of course, because then things get all fracked up due to a stray asteroid. Ending with Cavil shooting his damn self in the head! There’s such a machine-like precision to his action, and his realization as to how completely and utterly fraked he is.
I like that the finale brought Baltar and CapricaSix back together (Gotta give Tisha Helfter something to do now that they’ve totally forgotten and ignored whatever happened to Tigh’s ex-pregnant Six … or did she die when I wasn’t paying attention?). I’ve always thought of Baltar and Caprica them as the series’ star-crossed lovers. If only their respective houses could align they would have a future together. It took 6 years (since the 2003 mini-series) and they have made the characters work for this finally, they live happily ever after.
I enjoyed Baltar’s later exchange with Adama, when he indignantly defends his interest in mating with the indigenous population of . There’s an almost camaraderie between Baltar and the rest of them (Hoshi is the substitute Admiral?). They’ve come to accept Baltar and I just can’t picture that happening earlier in the series. Baltar has changed, and he had to in order to be with CapricaSix. Baltar may have destroyed the Colonies but it was out of his love for the woman he’s now standing with. When he tears up saying “I know about farming”, who else in the entire universe would understand why that was but Caprica.
Did I mention there was a lot of stuff that happened?
At one point, a Simon tells Boomer, while examining a captive Hera In the end, it’s all about mathematics. In response Boomer snaps his neck which makes me think (a) the show is resolutely saying “No, it is about humanity and divinity and so much more than mathematics.” and (b) it’s a joke, because when Kara dials the jump for , Kara is in fact using a mathematical interpretation of the song to decide where they’ll end up.
Oh, yes, mustn't forget Kara! That chick is dirty, double-dog daring Lee to frak her on the kitchen table while his drunken brother slept on the couch. I don’t know where she disappeared to but I believe I’ve come around to liking her departure scene. So peaceful and serene as she — bloop! — disappeared out of the narrative, right in front of our eyes. When Hybrid-Anders, in a rare lucid moment, whispers I’ll see you on the other side you know that he will. Because, on this batfrak crazy show that we all decided to watch, the other side exists. I’ll be left forever wondering what Starbuck is. At least until twenty years from now when they remake it as some new interweb-holo-projection vid. I’ll be telling my indifferent children They never should’ve changed Adama into a woman, it just isn’t the same and they’ll be rolling their eyes and disbelieving I watched some cheesy 2000s show without any 3D or surround-o-smell. Well, until then, at least, I’ll be left pondering what the hell this show all meant. Some poor guy made a top 12 list of questions that had to be answered in the finale, and a total of one question was (possibly) answered. And that type of thought-provocation was, after all, the reason I tuned in. To sit there and marvel at what Galactica has done this week. To have my brain stimulated in ways I didn’t know were biologically nor ergonomically possible. To watch an incredible number of characters an incredible number of other characters. To turn off the television and still be thinking about it all the next day.
Damn, I think I’m almost starting to like this finale.
Thanks Galactica cast & crew. Thanks for one hell of a ride.
Since I started these writings, I’ve ended almost every commentary with a list of questions. Except that doesn’t seem appropriate today, because no one’s going to make more episodes to answering them. Maybe I’ll do just one; the most poignant question the finale asked: Does all of this have to happen again?