WARNING: MASSIVE, GINORMOUS, POTENTIALLY LIFE-THREATENING BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SPOILER ALERTS LIE AHEAD. IMMEDIATELY STOP
OK, with that out of the way: after nursing the incredibly slow Internet connection I have in my can for the last two weeks, I finally downloaded and watched the last four episodes of BSG, thus completing the journey I started many months and one house ago. I’d heard that the series finale brought a certain amount of closure without necessarily answering every little question the show raised. That was a fair assessment, in my opinion, and perhaps the feeling of mild disappointment I feel is more wistful at the great show ending rather annoyed by the questions that still have no answers. Initially I was concerned at where the fourth season would go after the mid-point, when the Galacticans and their Cylon buddies discovered “Earth”, only to find the object of their long search so badly ravaged by nuclear war that it was uninhabitable. We had a few surprises with the revelation of the 12th Cylon (and I found myself in mild agreement with certain National Review contributors in The Corner, who argued that the Final Five seemed chosen more or less at random), but things were just puttering along until the mutiny.
THAT was a great story arc; given the strains the human survivors had been under since the destruction of their homeworlds, a bloody uprising was inevitable at some point. I was a little disappointed that Gaeta chose the wrong side; I can see the loss of his leg at the hands of a Cylon who then became an ‘ally’ making him bitter, and let’s be honest, when he decided to serve in Baltar’s administration on New Caprica, we knew that he had a little of the weasel in him anyway. And we finally found out what Tom Zarek would do if he ever gained real political power; and it was exactly what we knew, and the Galacticans feared, would happen. In the aftermath of the mutiny, the mystery of Starbuck deepened, as did the significance of Hera and the Final Five, until things came to a head in the series finale. I had only a few wishes for the show’s end: I wanted one last space battle, I wanted to find out just what the frak Starbuck was, I needed to know why Hera was so damned important that everyone kept dreaming about her, and I wanted obvious loose ends (like Tory killing Cally and getting away with it) wrapped up.
For the most part, I was satisfied. I got my last space battle; and initially I felt it was too short, until my roommate complained that as I watched that episode he heard nothing but gunfire and explosions for 45 minutes straight. Space battle: check. Hera turned out to be our Eve, the first carrier of the genes we consider ‘human’ (which means we’re all part Cylon. Cool). I was hoping for a little explanation as to why she seemed able to predict future events, or heard the same weird music Starbuck did; the most I got was that it was part of ‘God’s plan’, though I suppose being the forebear of modern humanity fills a fairly large chunk of divine providence. Hera: check. Tory’s crime was finally revealed through the Cylon ‘mind meld’, and
So: I enjoyed the end of the show, and was sad that we had so short a time together. I do have a couple more things to look forward to: the TV movie “The Plan”, which looks at the attacks on the 12 Colonies from the Cylon point of view (directed by none other than Edward James himself, who promises that once you watch this special, you’ll need to go back and reevaluate the whole show); and the prequel “Caprica”, which takes us back a couple of generations to the creation of the first Cylons and the rise of the Adama family, among others. I honestly don’t have terribly high hopes for that show, but I’ll give it a try.
NOW: on to the questions which still have no answers. I’m looking for answers folks. You know who you are.
1) Starbuck. What the frak? So the producers decided to make her an ‘angel’, and she fulfilled her mysterious destiny that was written in strange songs and paintings. That, I have no problem with. But. BUT. She was also supposed to be the “harbinger of death”. She was to “lead them all to their end”. We heard that at least three times. So just what death did she harbing? Whom did she lead to their end? I don’t think it was humanity, because she led them to a new beginning on a new planet. Was it the Cylons? That was my theory as the whole harbinger line was repeated again and again. And the Cylons do, in fact, appear to take a lethal blow with the destruction of their Colony; but she only plays a supporting role in that. AND, if her destiny was to lead humanity to Earth, why did we spend so much time focusing on her dreams and premonitions about the CYLON Earth, not the ‘final’ Earth? She painted the supernova, was sling-shotted to the Cylon Earth by her ‘death’, believed she’d FOUND the real Earth, and started getting jacked up in the head every time the fleet jumped farther away from Cylon Earth. Her ghost Viper pointed back to the Cylon Earth. But when everyone gets there, Cylon Earth is a nuclear wasteland, and we had to start over with the whole All-Along-the-Watchtower-notes-lead-us-to-real-Earth story. Maybe finding Cylon Earth gave us clues to finding real Earth, and I need to watch those few episodes again to see what I missed; but I feel like much of her ‘destiny’ was a wild goose chase.
2) What happened on Kobol? Really? And how did the 13th tribe know what clues, and where, to leave to guide any of their brethren to Cylon Earth? At first, we thought Kobol was mythical, as were its gods; turns out it was real, and physical evidence of co-existence with these ‘gods’ was available (the arrow, the cavern of constellations you plug the arrow into, the opera house, etc). A cataclysm befell Kobol, and all the tribes were dispersed. What happened to the ‘gods’, and what were the gods? As for the 13th tribe, they left a multitude of clues regarding the course they took to reach Cylon Earth (beacons, temples, the arrow, etc). My question is: did they already know exactly where they were going and leave clues after each jump for others to follow, or did they retrace their course and drop the clues later? And since the Final Five magically recovered their memories, why could they not tell us more about Kobol?
3) The angels. At various points, we have a Six angel, a Baltar angel, and a Kara Thrace angel. And then the
4) The original note. At the end of the premiere, someone left a note in Adama’s cabin telling him that there were 12 different models of Cylon (remember)? Just curious as to who was kind enough to leave that for him.
OK, I think that’s enough for now. BSG, I will miss thee, and while I wasn’t always sure where you were going (or completely happy with where you arrived), I enjoyed the ride. You have forever dethroned Star Trek: The Next Generation as my favorite pure sci-fi series on TV, and I will not miss the former. TNG was the United Nations in space, and while it had many great moments, it’s pretty much what one might expect a galactic UN to be: non-judgmental, shallow and sticky-sweet in its morality (when it has any, since religion of any kind is absent), where much is discussed but little is binding. BSG is all too human; judgment abounds, morality is complex and frequently sour, and things are often binding with brutal finality. Yet even with all humanity’s flaws, the divine is present and acknowledged, as it has been through all human history; and, in the end, even the most corrupted, self-interested character can find redemption if he seeks it. You have raised the bar, BSG. You are gone, but not forgotten. So say we all.