DRADIS goes dark: Battlestar Galactica finale

The two-hour series finale of Battlestar Galactica was going to be great. It was going to answer all our questions (but not too neatly). It was going to bring our survivors to a new home planet (but not Earth). It was going to give us a nice farewell to all our favorite characters (but not be too saccharin). So what the frak happened?

[SPOILER WARNING] Before we go any further, if you haven’t seen the episode you probably don’t care about this post anyway. However, for the sake of spoiler etiquette, I should warn you that I go into many details of the last episode (“Daybreak”) so if you haven’t seen it please stop reading now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this show, and even a bad episode of Battlestar Galactica is better than most episodes of most shows. I guess the greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment — and I got quite a few of those disappointments. But first the good stuff: the space battles looked awesome! I mean, it was a little bit crazy to keep track of, but so much was going on and when those nukes came flying towards the base star it was quite a sight. Some of the character farewells were really nice: I especially liked to the quiet ending between Adama and Roslin. The scenery where they landed on second Earth — I guess it’s supposed to be Tanzania — was beautiful, like something out of BBC’s Planet Earth series. Okay now onto the gripes:

The Cylons and The Prophecy

First, I admit that the whole Cylon backstory really confuses me. I read this excellent summary from Airlock Alpha that you should definitely check out, but it’s still a bit muddy. So forgive me if I raise questions which may have already been answered.

Why did Cavil shoot himself? Aren’t there plenty more Cavils still out there? What was going to happen that he needed to do that?

Speaking of other Cylons, what about them? Weren’t there other base stars? They didn’t get the ability of resurrection, so will they just die out eventually? Why don’t they go after Hera and the other colonials on second Earth?

What was the point of the vision of opera house? It really didn’t pay off. Sure it was interesting to watch the events occur just like the vision had predicted, but what was the outcome? So Six and Baltar took Hera and closed the door — who cares? In the end they all ended up on second Earth anyway. The vision had seemed so important up until now, and nothing came of it.

Speaking of Hera, what was the point of her? What was her big destiny? Was it to give Starbuck the song? Was it to be the progenitor of the new human race? She didn’t really save either race from extinction (even Roslin, who was saved by Hera’s blood, died before the end of the show!)

Speaking of Six and Baltar, what about imaginary-Baltar and imaginary-Six? What are they? Are they angels (the way they appeared in NYC for the epilogue it seemed to suggest something like that) or just delusions? It was never explained how they knew so much.

This one is probably a minor quibble, but why did Athena have to kill Boomer? Boomer had reformed (at least she had second thoughts) about what they were doing to Hera. Was it the sense of betrayal that one Eight felt from another? Was it revenge for the way Boomer had sex with Helo while poor Athena was tied up? Or was it just another one of these “justified” murders that seem so popular on this show?

What was the point of the Final Five? The only thing they had to contribute was the secret of resurrection, and they dropped the ball because of Tyrol killing Tory. Oops! In any case, it was Tyrol’s fault that the fleet was in that mess to begin with by helping Boomer escape with Hera. Double-oops! I confess now that I have always hated Saul Tigh. When he said to Tyrol that if it had been his own wife that Tory had killed he would have done the same thing, I was fuming. Hello! You killed Ellen yourself, you idiot!! The Final Five really suck! (I miss Tory.)

The Colonials and second Earth

Did you find the flashbacks to Caprica worthwhile? (We’re watching BSG, not Lost, for gods’ sake!) To me they just seemed like one long product-placement for alcohol — man, those Capricans sure do love their ambrosia! And the idea that the early indiscretion between Kara and Lee was supposed to somehow indicate that they were destined to be together was so much disrespect for the dead (We miss you, Dualla! You too, Anders! Zack not so much, but still…)

Speaking of Starbuck, what the frak? Why did she just vanish? Was she another angel, like imaginary-Six and imaginary-Baltar? But everyone interacted with her… she led a crazy mission to find Earth. That ending was beyond-unsatisfying. They really should have done what all the fans speculated, explained that Kara was the daughter of extinct Cylon Daniel. That would have been a much better explanation for her miraculously knowing the jump coordinates to second Earth.

Speaking of people going off on their own in the end, what are we supposed to think happens to Tyrol after the show? Can he really survive alone on an island without any supplies or tools? And what about Adama? He’s also all alone on a foreign continent. Tyrol may be young and resourceful, but Adama’s old! Why would everyone give up their technology to slum with the Flintstones. That’s just crazy. (The first strange disease they encounter will probably decimate them.)

Speaking of the cavemen, are we supposed to believe that the humans procreated with them? Come on. That’s like shacking up with chimpanzees! And what about the Cylons? Did they get down with the cavemen as well? According to the archaeological news at the end, Hera was discovered as the universal mother of the future human race, so she must have mated with the pre-humans (I shudder to think of it.)

But that’s just one of the things about this second Earth that doesn’t fly. Are we seriously supposed to buy that the colonials somehow conveyed that this planet was also to be named Earth? That somehow we picked up that idea from these original descendants of the colonies? What about how our human evolution led us to look and dress and build a world just like theirs. Bogus!

The metaphysics

Oh boy! In this episode there was way too much of the hokey metaphysics that has permeated the series. In the end, it all seemed like a confusing fog and jumble of concepts that didn’t make a lot of sense. More than the idea of resurrection, the whole Cylon mythology is about reincarnation. Why were the Final Five reincarnated in Colonial society? Supposedly everything happened on first Earth, then everything happened again in the Colonies, then everything’s supposed to happen again on second Earth? Why? What causes this cycle? Is everyone’s destiny to make the cycle happen or to break the cycle?

The cherry-on-top question is who is “God”? Is he a single Cylon god, or the multiple Colonial gods? Is it Ron Moore? (That’s more of a tongue-in-cheek answer because as angel Baltar and angel Six were at a NYC newsstand talking about how “God” doesn’t like that name, Moore himself was standing next to them in a cameo appearance. What’s that about?)

All I can say is that so much time was spent on stuff that ultimately didn’t amount to anything that it kind of cheapens the rest of the series. It’s like Moore’s pulled the rug out from under us. I think I will look back more fondly on this awesome show if I pretend that the last three hours did not happen. To echo the oft-quoted t.s. eliot: This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

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