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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.