Battlestar Galactica Finale Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated April 1st, 2009 at 7:10 am,

bsg centurion 1001 Battlestar Galactica Finale Review

The short non-spoiler take: Holy crap! My take on the Battlestar Galactica series finale was that it was 99% incredibly satisfying and delivered beyond what I was hoping for. In the end, it seems destiny will be what it will be, much like fighting gravity.

The finale was heart pounding. I did not need coffee to stay up for this one. The advertising for this final episode spouted endlessly that we will know the truth. Indeed. The ending was satisfying, sad, fulfilling and the truth of it all confused me.

Sure, there were a few loopholes or discontinuities but I chose to focus on where they were going, not what they were missing or glazing over. They had to get somewhere without being so verbose that it distracted from the end game.

DVR / DVD SPOILERS LAY AHEAD BEYOND THIS POINT – Come back after you’ve bought or watched it and add your thoughts then!










bsg finale caprica gaius p Battlestar Galactica Finale Review

I sat down and committed my household to Battlestar Galactica (BSG) all night long. I started focusing on it during the replay of the special from Monday evening when Ronald D. Moore quipped about the phrase on how it “all happened before and it will all happen again” came about from a scene he saw in Peter Pan where they said that.

I don’t remember anyone in BSG thinking happy thoughts, or flying… except out of airlocks!

A Nagging Theme Or Two

The one theme that has been present since the very first episode was No 6 in Baltar’s head telling him “Trust in God’s plan for you.” This was presented to us time and time again throughout the 4 (or was it 6?) seasons!

The other nagging theme that always lurked below the surface of my tortured mind was a point made midway through the series, and that was the ability that Cylons had to project themselves into fantasy worlds that they build in their heads.

Why? Because of the visions that some of the humans had throughout the show. Baltar with his hot No. 6, in his head. Lucky Bastard. But there were the shared visions between Baltar, Caprica, Hera, Athena and Laura had of the opera house. That always had me suspicious, period.

And Starbuck? She didn’t have visions. But her artistic tendencies to draw symbols from mankind’s destiny and being called the harbinger of death kind of makes you wonder about her. Then coming back from death but not being a Cylon? WTH was that? But more on all this later. Or will there be? Maybe I’ll just stop typing… and call it God’s plan.

The Finale Delivers In Bucket Loads

Watching scenes of our favored characters in Caprica city, “Before the Fall” really drove home their lives as they were developing before it all happened. The back story was great to see. Pondering the label, “Before the Fall“: I have to look back and wonder, was that past tense, or future tense, since this all going to happen again?

Watching the preparations on the Galactica to head off to get Hera back hit home with some good emotional anchors:

  • Adama turning over command of the fleet,
  • Anders tank being hooked up into the CiC.*
  • Lee Adama making Romo Lampkin President, in his absence.
  • Or the surreal scene of a squad of Centurions in the flight deck, preparing for battle.

*Tigh telling Adama it wasn’t too late to shove all the Cylons in the CiC out the airlock and Adama saying it would take too much time. – was frakking hilarious and poignant to me. The Cylon TIgh, looking to jettison Cylons, staying true to the humanity, the commander and the ship he grew to love.

Action Stations

When the Galactica jumped in on top of this freaky new looking Cylon ship that reminded me a bit of the Shadow ships from Babylon 5, the ensuing firefight left me wondering if the Galactica would survive.

Then the Galactica ramming into the hull of Cavil’s ship, making their own airlock with the ship and ground teams dispersing into the Cylon ship, looking for Hera. Now that’s how you make an entrance!

Watching new and old style Centurions in battle was surreal. Even if the CGI seemed a little bit funny with the old Centurions. Did you notice that?

A Momentary Truce

The humans get Hera, but Cavil snags her back. Finally, Gaius, for all his chitter chatter, finally hits his stride and serves his purpose in this entire mythos as he talks Cavil into a truce.

bsg finale caprica and balter Battlestar Galactica Finale Review

It’s here that Gaius says that he tells Cavil that he sees angels (The In-the-head Caprica and Gaius) and that there are other forces at work via puzzles deciphered in prophecy, by dreams given to a chosen few.

I was on edge waiting for that other shoe to drop from Cavil’s side, and boy, did it. Tyrol interrupts a data stream when he discovers that Tory was who killed Cally and in his rage, Tyrol kills Tory, which ends the cease-fire everyone had. So much for peace.

Destiny Takes Its Path

Chaos ensued and Adama yells at Starbuck to jump them out of there but she has no coordinates. Instead she inputs the numbers that she’s associated with the song that Hera drew out and gave her.

Plop. Kara’s coordinates put them right on top of the moon, our moon, with our Earth in sight. I actually never expected to see this. Despite being teased us at times when we could see constellations in the background we recognize, like Orion, but I just thought they were messing with my mind. (It’s not that hard sometimes!)

After scoping out the planet and its spear carrying human species, they decide to stay and blend in. But how they do it confused me. Or more in-line with the show, took a leap of faith to follow their actions.

What’s left of humanity shuns technology and blends with the natives… our ancestors.

Adama makes the decision to have Anders drive the ships of the fleet and all its technology into the Sun, and live out their years with the natives, without their technology. Technology has been their curse. They’re done with it. No one seems to argue.

William Adama tells Laura that he calls this Earth because Earth is a dream they’ve been chasing for a long time.

Tough And Touching Moments

Starbuck saying goodbye to Anders in his tank, who pulls through his Cylon induced fog to tell her that he’ll see her on the other side. Eh?

Watching William Adama being the last person to leave the Galactica in his old Viper, looking over the fleet one last time.

Watching William Adama bid farewell to Lee and flies off into the distance with Laura in the Raptor with him, who dies in-flight. Bill builds a little home and talks to her grave, updating her on what’s up.

Not a surprise, Tyrol has had it with people and goes off to his own island.

Gaius and Caprica together with no trauma going on in the background finally. For possibly for the first time, Gaius can have a grieving moment for his father. They then head off to do what Gaius knows… farming.

My “What the Frak” Moment

Lee and Kara are talking about what they’re going to do, now that everyone is off doing what they’re gonna do. Kara says that she is leaving. She’s done here and has completed her journey and just vanishes in mid conversation. That’s it.

Backtrack: Remember when Baltar announced to the assembled crowd that his study of Kara’s blood proved that Kara was 100% human? If you paid attention, Gaius said that the blood on the pendant that came from the corpse is 100% human. I got caught up with everything the first time and missed that. I thought he was proving Kara was human, but I noticed this the 2nd time through, he proved the dead pilot back on the burnt out Earth was human.

The Future Happens Anyway

150,000 years into the future, we see downtown New York. We learn that humanity has discovered the mitochondrial Eve, the woman to whom all of humanity can be traced to. Hera. We also see humanity starting to build bipedal robots and what not… here we go again!

The Big Reveal

Looking over Ronald D. Moore’s shoulder in his cameo appearance in one of the final scenes, stands the in-their-heads versions of Gaius and Caprica. WTF? They make note of the fact that Eve was discovered in Tanzania and how Eve was found alongside her Human and Cylon parents.

Caprica said something about how even though it happened before, that mathematically speaking, there’s a chance it won’t happen again. Then they mention god, and Gaius reminds her that he doesn’t like being called that. Eh? The Matrix?

I got confused here. Is society pretty much Cylon at this point? Are these two really angels, or Cylons? Has this just been a big master plan, a tale from god that we’ve watched all along? Are we being being set up for a sequel in case they decide to go with that?

My Take

The finale was a big payoff.

I really enjoyed just about every single second of it. There was tons of satisfying action. That final jump by the Galactica was way awesome! As it popped out of FTL flight near Earth, it flexed, wobbled and rippled – pieces and parts being flung off in the aftermath. I thought it was going to end right there.

Yet once everyone is on the planet, everyone seemed agreeable to give up technology for spears. I get it… yet really, would you? NO! I want my microwave and cell phone and laptop damnit. Hmm… that would mean building the internet all over again.

It was a very fairy tale ending in this rag tag fleet of humans just seeming to go along with this decision, so I had a little bit of a problem with this. Yet, like I said at the front of this article, suspending disbelief to allow for the story to be moved along.

What in blue blazes was Kara Thrace? A ghost that EVERYONE saw? Another angel? An ascended being from Stargate. (She’s in a lot of trouble if that’s the case)

Was Kara something that everyone wanted, or needed to see? It’s been said that Moore said she can be whatever we wanted her to be. That feels like a cop out. Why, after delivering so many answers, do we get this grey answer to one of the biggest developments in the mythos? I’d like to have had Kara explained. Plain and simple. Especially since everyone saw and interacted with her. Especially since she had a life she lived which fed to this point in time.

As far as we can tell, even she didn’t know until that very last moment. Come on, Moore. I would have liked you do give more than this to us.


So if we go back to literally day one of this whole thing, angels have been guiding Gaius and later, Caprica on their paths? Has this really been their story all along? Have the humans been nothing but pawns in this entire series?

If so, the sufferance of humanity seems cheapened by this new wrinkle. Well, at least it didn’t end on a Holodeck, but it sure felt close to that.

I’m not unhappy

The entire series broached a whole new kind of entertainment. The kind that deals with our fears and hopes and realities of what is and what could be. It dealt with how we do have control of our destiny. But we can only control our destinies just so far until they intertwine with others. Then the group destiny that we become a part of, no matter what else we do is what dictates our end game. That’s what I took away from the series.

Now we have to watch this whole series all over again, and watch it from the angels point of view as they guide our hapless characters along their sordid way.

The Sad

But for now, there will be no more new episodes. Sure, we’ll have a few movies that take place during the series time frame. Sure, we’ll have the prequel, Caprica. But the end of the show has been laid before us. Battlestar Galactica, the journey, has found its goal.

It’s time to say farewell to the journeys of William Adama, Laura Roslin, Kara Thrace, Lee Adama, Gaius Baltar, Saul Tigh, Doc Cottle, Helo Agathon, Galen Tyrol, Ellen Tigh, Felix Gaeta, Sharon Valerii, Caprica Six, Tom Zarek, Romo Lampkin, Cavil, Sam Anders and the coolest, new Centurions.

My Question To You

For you, what character really made the show. What event really hit home in the series that resonated with you?

Update: 3/29/09:  I’ve added some perspectives on some of Moore’s approach to the Battlestar Galactica series in a new article we’ve published.

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  1. FORRESTER: Dang, I like that NEW interpretation at the cameo of Ronald D. Moore…

    I didn’t even pause once to ponder his appearance in that fashion. I just figured he was doing it to do it. Like how Stan Lee or Stephen King pop up in spots in their flicks.

    Nice thoughts! Great logic on the different angles.

  2. I’ve already pointed out how much (and why) I disliked the ending. I really wasn’t much into Season 3 or 4; 1 & 2 were amazing, but it definitely started to fizzle after that.

    To me, a much better ending (that doesn’t involve imaginary, invisible, wish-granting men in the sky) would have been for humanity to be essentially wiped out by the Cylons, leaving oh, say, a dozen survivors who the Old-Earth Cylons managed to rescue. Faced with extinction due to a diminished gene pool, the humanoid Cylons create a cloning facility (i.e. early resurrection technology) to help the human race survive. Those 12 survivors clone themselves over and over to avoid extinction.

    Meanwhile, back on the 12 colonies, the long-term radiation exposure modifies the DNA of the Cylons left behind and, eventually, they gain the ability to reproduce and enough genetic mutation occurs that they are able to reintroduce diversity into the gene-pool. Eventually, there are millions of distinct individuals who rebuild the 12 colonies.

    … then a few hundred years later, the clones of the last remaining 12 humans comes back, and the cycle repeats; we, the humans, become the cylons, and vice versa.

  3. The first half of the finale was AWESOME! Couldn’t be better. But the last hour, I have mixed emotions about it. There was a lot that wasn’t explained about Starbuck, and how the song related to all that happened.. For example, the same song that “turned on” the final five is the coordinates to our Earth. Did the cylons from the 13th tribe know about our earth? Did the final five know about it? I don’t get it… I’m even ok about Starbuck being a ghost or an angel, but which earth did she find the first time? Could she know about all this because somehow she’s related to the final five

  4. The more I think about it, the more I feel ripped off. Ironically, the Cylons “have a plan,” but they didn’t reveal it to Moore (or us).

    Gaping holes, unfulfilled or contradictory prophecies, potentially major plot threads dangled in front of us, never to be referred to again. Arbitrary/key characters flitting in and out of view. And, can I say it’s one of the WHITEST damn shows I’ve seen in quite a while.

    To those who are combing footage as with The Sixth Sense to see if Kara “was really there,” don’t bother. She was definitely corporeal as opposed to the Imaginary Six & Baltar. This sucks, I have been cheated. There were no rules. Even “earth” was not “the real earth.” I’d rather recommend Farscape, B5, or hell, even Kyle XY for worthwhile sci fi lore.

  5. That’s midtown Manhattan, not downtown, in the helicopter shot, but the street scenes were clearly filmed somewhere else (probably Vancouver or Toronto).

    I thought the episode was mostly crap. After a season full of irritatingly slow episodes, the series suddenly becomes an action series for the first hour of the finale? And why is Hera so important to humans? I’m serious. Humans can reproduce with no problems. What does she matter to them?

    that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What a horrible, horrible disappointment. This series really went off the rails in Season Three.

  6. I think that anti-Season 3 mentality is fair. A lot of people try to forget how slow, annoying and distracting New Caprica was. It was something introduced in the last 10 minutes of the Season 2 finale and changed everything for what felt like, absolutely no reason….I mean come on, in 2 minutes they jumped forward from this is a stupid idea that got through on b******* to ‘Hey there’s the cylons.’

    I think people forget that because even though the episodes weren’t that great AT ALL, but at least the ideas were/ There was the one about the suicide bombings that had everyone saying wow Galactica is about the real world. Then there was the murder of Ellen Tigh, that made people say damn I can’t exactly remember why I hated her anymore.

    But then there were REALLY annoying parts of Season 3, like every time you had the cylons bickering over what to do with the humans. That arc of D’eanna: the most annoying cylon there ever was sucked. That plotline of Kat: the most annoying viper pilot there ever was sucked even more.

    But then the haters of Season 3, find it easy to forget the episode when they hunted down collaborators back on Galactica or the gorgeous Boxing episode.

    Season 3 had a lot of small ideas that came into their own with great writing. Those were episodes that didn’t really move the bigger plot, but managed to telle everyone a story worth hearing: like episode 16 about unsafe work conditions.

    Also there was the death of Starbuck which came out as half a great episode with really strong acting and half what the f are you guys doing? Of course we didn’t know nearly every Starbuck episode after that would be like this, and this was actually the best out of all of them.

    And really. How did you forget the Trial of Gaius Baltar, where Baltar does the last great things his character will do for an entire year until the finale.

    All in All. I think Season 3 was pretty great. It wasn’t incredible like Season 1 & 2, but still it was great.

    And I guess, it did start a downward trend for the show, that I think would’ve picked up if they had a season 5 and held off their truce with the Cylons a bit. (Or at least fought with the anti-truce Cylons just ONCE before the end of the show.

  7. The show “jumped the shark” when it decided to randomly pick 5 characters to be the “final 5″. No show has REEKED of making it up on the fly more than this. First couple seasons were great… the rest was cliche sci-fi garbage. Massively disappointing. The “angels” explanation was a copout. They abandoned everything that made it popular and turned it into a bunch of mystic nonsense.

  8. all these angry pessimists are starting to turn me. I’m thinkin that Battlestars 1st two seasons built enough epic good will and awe that anything that just reminded them of that early social politic genius. But that’s every show. For some reason though, in the end this decided it didn’t need a main character

  9. @Paterick – Meh, I don’t really care if you like it or not. It’s not really that different than the ending we got… all humans end up being at least partially Cylon and the cycle is likely to repeat again.

    The difference is that my ending wold account for WHY the cycle would repeat again without relying on silly mysticism and a cop-out solution using angels, which is REALLY a complete betrayal of everything the series stood for because it meant that nothing humanity did affected, in any way, the eventual outcome. Had “god” not intervened, humanity would have been wiped out, and the second something that, according to myth and superstition, has that kind of power is on your side, how can you possibly lose?

  10. @Paterick – Oh, and exactly what “hope and struggle” have the fans been through over the past four years?!?!? your comment makes no sense.

  11. @Ian…wow. Can you even hear yourself?

    “There’s no real difference, between the ending we got (everyone settling spread out across the world, learning from the mistake they made on New Caprica) and your ending ([Slaughter] everyone, forty thousand people, and leave maybe 10 or 15 of them alive, because 12 is a religious number and that was just a cute idea you had once).

    Oh, and if that isn’t enough how about those 12 who are still alive decide to sacrifice any humanity they have left (after they wouldn’t even let the cylons upgrade their ships) and clone themselves ad nauseum. Because not much else gets a society going more than having about 6 different people to choose to make kids with on account of incest within half a generation is a great frist step for a new world.

    I think the ideas they were trying to get across are that humanity has always been outpaced by technology, and what makes life real is the soul among other facets of humanity (death, free will, family). The show could’ve been called BSG: Redemption of the Cylon, because it’s always been about what makes them different from us, and how they slowly got all the things that made us human.

    Every time the cylons became more human, humanity got closer to finding New Earth, until finally the most impossible happens (the biggest holdout against humanity, Cavil, fully gives in to his pride and free will when he decides better to kill himself with no return possible than to give them the satisfaction).

    Oh and by hope and struggle, I’m talking about the very FIRST episode of frakkin series when Roslin decided it was important to know how many people were left [the hope] after all those people ‘died’ on that civilian ship [the struggle] and everything else that happened to their population. That celestial guidance to New Earth mixed with the war for survival on their part.

    I’m sorry if you didn’t catch on that Battlestar Galactica was about hope and struggle.

    And besides, we didn’t even think we were getting a finale when the strike kept throwing rumors that the show was dead in the water as well as all the news circa season one that said, yea Galactica is the best scifi in years, but barely anyone is watching…yea. Hope and struggle.

  12. Well said Patrick.
    hope and struggle.
    I like it.

  13. WOW! I didn’t know there were soo many people on this site that hated religion. News flash! The show (original concept) was created by a man that was an LDS (Latter-Day Saint (Mormon)). Kobol is an anagram of Kolob, the star system they believe the Kingdom of God is.

    As for the finale, I liked it but thought more explanation was needed, especially for Kara. The battle was epic, in my opinion, and the song being the key to earth’s location was obvious to me. Like some have said, the show was mostly boring but the finale had lots of action. I’ve seen a lot worse endings (*cough* Enterprise *cough*) and like some have said, this finale must have had an impact because of all the discussion.

  14. JOHN: Don’t go there. this is an entertainment site and we aren’t about attacking others likes and dislikes.

    Not cool.

  15. Paterick… you amaze me; you consistently miss my points at every possible turn, and a good part of it is because you AREN’T READING WHAT I’M WRITING.

    CHILL… it’s a god-damn TV show with two excellent seasons, two mediocre seasons and a piss-poor finale. It’s nothing more.

    Now let’s see where you went so hideously wrong in interpreting my last message:

    Firstly, thank you Captain Obvious! The show has been about hope and struggle and I’m amazed you’re such an apologist for the crap Moore shoveled at us that you can’t see that the ending I proposed does nothing to diminish that.

    The destruction of humanity in my ending, leaving only twelve survivors (which, btw, is a completely arbitrary number that fits well with the mythos of BSG where 12 is a number that crops up regularly… 12 colonies, 12 models, 12 notes, etc. nothing more… nothing cute and certainly nothing religious about it. Assume I said 17 if it makes you happy.

    Secondly, if humanity were reduced to such a small number, cloning would be pretty much the only hope of the species surviving. Natural reproduction would lead to inbreeding, so it would have to be prevented, perhaps through sterility (much like the humanoid Cylons when we first encountered them). Given the choice between complete extinction and survival through cloning, I can absolutely guarantee you that humanity would choose cloning every time. Historically, humanity has ALWAYS chosen quantity of life over quality of life, and faced with extinction we’d make the same choice we always do.

    As for the hope and struggle part… you honestly think that being forced to survive in space using cloning to keep your species alive WOULDN’T be a struggle? Looking at it from the Cylon point of view, do you think rebuilding the 12 colonies would be EASY following the level of destruction they suffered?!?!?! There’s plenty of room for struggle and for hope in both scenarios.

    Again, on the topic of technology outpacing humanity… how does my ending NOT address this issue… that’s precisely what it’s all about! Moore’s ending completely eliminates this very point because it ends up saying that humanity, technology, struggle, hope are all completely IRRELEVANT because all problems can be fixed with the suitable application of a few periods of divine intervention… now THAT is a hopeless existence! Look at it another way… in the finale, had there NOT been some form of divine intervention, humanity WOULD have died out. As for the soul… there’s no such thing; it’s a silly fairy tale from a silly book of fairy tales. On the one hand you’re arguing a humanist point of view and on the other you’re arguing a spiritual point of view. They don’t go hand in hand.

    On your point about Cavil… you clearly haven’t read the follow-up interview with Ronald Moore where he said:

    “Cavil killing himself came from Dean Stockwell, to be honest. As scripted, in that climactic battle in CIC, Tigh was going to grab Cavil and fling him over the edge of the upper level, and he was going to fall to his death. Dean called me himself and said, ‘I just really think that in that moment, Cavil would realize the jig is up and it’s all hopeless and just put a gun in his mouth and shoot himself.’ And I just said, ‘Okay.’”

    … so your interpretation is absolutely incorrect, according to Moore. In the same interview, the REASON Cavil felt a sense of hopelessness is because Racetrack’s nukes DESTROYED the colony; this, of course, wasn’t clear because they completely SCREWED UP THE EDIT.

    As for my question to you about hope & struggle… you had said the _VIEWERS_ went through hope and struggle, which is clearly utter nonsense. What struggle did you go through because of the writer’s strike?

  16. Ian, while I agree with your assessments of what was wrong with the finale in your first comment, your condescending, anti-religious cracks are getting on my nerves.


  17. Vic – Then you can understand how the pro-religion comments are getting on mine. :)

  18. @Ian

    Point taken. However there were obvious religious overtones throughout the series. And you should know you are discussing this on one of the very few movie sites that overall have a Conservative bent to them.

    There are PLENTY of other movie sites out there where the majority of commenters/writers share your viewpoint. :-D

    So keep in mind what you might toss out there without a thought on another site where you’d get plenty of agreement might be considered a trollish comment here.

    Best regards,


  19. Vic – Funny you should make that comment. As matter of fact, I am a conservative, but in most parts of the world, outside America, conservative and religious do not necessarily go hand in hand.

  20. @Ian

    Interesting. Well just know that this is my site and I’m a Christian, so I don’t take kindly to comments calling the soul a fairy tale from a silly book of fairy tales or referring to God as an imaginary, wish-granting man in the sky. I find it offensive and no one has referred to athiests in an insulting manner.


  21. Meh… we’re talking about a TV show. I couldn’t care less about your religion.

    Since that was the basic flaw in the finale, it’s a valid point to express why I didn’t like it… because it was a silly way to end the show.

    Oh, and as for the “no one has referred to atheists in an insulting manner”… where were you with this comment:

    Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar said,
    March 22nd, 2009

    where he referred to atheists as “emo-punks”… interesting how you managed to miss that one.

  22. @Ian

    Whatever, once again the usual condescension, which I’m used to from folks like you. As to “missing” that comment, I did a page search on the word “athiest” and nothing came up. I read hundreds of comments a day on this site and go through hundreds more spam comments looking for valid ones that might be incorrectly flagged.

    What’s silly to you is obviously not silly to others, but you obviously don’t care what others think and have no problem insulting them since you’re so obviously superior to other folks.


  23. The reason nothing came up is because the word is spelled, “atheist”, not “athiest”

    My last comment wasn’t condescending; I simply pointed out that I’m talking about a TV show and you’re talking about religion… I couldn’t care less about the religion, but I do care about the discussion of the TV show.

    Your last comment, ending the way it did, was clearly condescending, though. Pity.

  24. What’s good for the goose, etc., etc.


  25. Folks, I’ve seen the religious over and under tones and have managed to successfully write about the show without needing to refer to the issue.

    It isn’t hard. Really.

  26. @Bruce
    Were you referring to me attacking someone’s likes and dislikes? I didn’t mean to attack, I was just pointing out that the original BSG was created by a religious man and had religious overtones. Since it did, one would expect the new BSG to have religious overtones. That’s all.

    I apologize if it sounded like I was attacking someone.

  27. No JOHN, I wasn’t looking in your direction. you’re fine. Thanks though for your thoughtfulness.