Friday, March 20, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, "Daybreak, Part 2": There must be some kind of way out of here

Spoilers for the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" coming up just as soon as I make my weapons hot...
"Just so there'll be no misunderstandings later, Galactica's seen a lot of history, gone through a lot of battles. This will be her last. She will not fail us if we do not fail her. If we succeed in our mission, Galactica will bring us home. If we don't, it doesn’t matter anyway." -Bill Adama

"I see angels, angels in this very room. Now I may be mad, but that doesn't mean that I'm not right, because there's another force at work here. There always has been." -Gaius Baltar

"Earth is a dream. One we've been chasing for a long time. We've earned it. This is Earth." -Bill Adama

"What do you hear, Starbuck?" -Bill Adama
"Nothing but the rain." -Kara Thrace
"Grab your gun and bring in the cat." -Bill Adama

"Cultivation?" -Caprica Six
"Yes. You know, I know about farming." -Gaius Baltar
"I know you do." -Caprica Six

"I just know that I am done here. I've completed my journey, and it feels good." -Kara Thrace
And so the amazing four-year journey of "Battlestar Galactica" comes to an end, and I feel very, very good about it -- even as I suspect others may not.

"Daybreak," the two-hour conclusion (technically three hours, if you count last week's part one; Ron Moore has said he wanted to air all three together), was essentially two finales in one, and I hope you'll forgive me for doing more plot recap than usual, both because so much happened and because it's one of the final times I'll get to write about this show and want the experience to last as long as possible.

The first hour was rock-'em-sock-'em action on a level of technical brilliance that surpassed anything else the series had ever come close to. As Adama and the Galactica crew launched their final, desperate assault on the Cylon stronghold, The Colony, Gary Hutzel's F/X team outdid themselves yet again in depicting ships trying (and sometimes failing) to navigate through a swirling asteroid field, massive guns from both sides firing upon each other, and in a moment to make every fanboy and fangirl's heart swoon, robotic Cylon centurions getting into an epic fist-fighting brawl in The Colony's halls. (Anyone who couldn't resist the urge to yell, "Toaster fight! Toaster fight!" is more than forgiven.)

We got to witness the rescue of little Hera; the vengeance-fueled executions of wayward Cylons Boomer and Tory by, respectively, Athena and Tyrol; Saul Tigh, straddling the worlds of Cylon and human, briefly brokering a peace treaty between the two; Brother Cavil, hardcore as always, eating his own gun once it became clear peace was not in the offing; the accidental (or divinely inspired?) destruction of The Colony and all the evil Cylons within it; and Starbuck using the notes from her father's version of "All Along the Watchtower" to program the dying ship's computer for one last, blind jump to a planet called...

Earth. Yes, Earth. But not that Earth, the charred nuclear wasteland that the fleet discovered halfway through this final season. Our Earth, new and green and lush.

And as the survivors of the assault on The Colony, along with the remaining members of the rag-tag fleet, explored the very familiar, but very ancient grassy plains of Africa, circa 147,991 B.C. (or thereabouts), we entered the second phase of the finale, the long, slow, sweet goodbye to all the characters we had grown to care about over the previous 80-odd hours of television.

Lee convinced the rest of the fleet that it was better to abandon most of their modern technology and try to blend in with the primitive Earth natives. President Roslin finally succumbed to her cancer, but not before her lover and partner Bill Adama took her on one last aerial sightseeing tour of the home she had helped lead their people to. (Last seen, Adama the elder was living alone high on a mountain, planning to build the cabin he had hoped to share with Roslin.) After 2,000 years of bickering and dysfunction, Tigh and wife Ellen finally got a chance to simply be in each other's company, no distractions, no hostility. Athena and Helo bantered about teaching Hera to be a hunter-gatherer. Gaius Baltar, having finally committed a selfless act in helping save Hera, won the heart of Caprica Six and, after spending a lifetime trying on new identities in the name of self-preservation, made peace with the one he was born with, pointing Six towards a field ripe for cultivation and crying as he reminded her of his childhood on the farm.

And Kara Thrace, who seemingly returned from the dead at the start of this season? It appears, though Moore's script and Michael Rymer's direction deliberately left it ambiguous, that the Kara who came back was an "angel," sent by the same divine power that had been manipulating events by the start, along the same lines as head Six and head Baltar . Having fulfilled the prophecy to "bring humanity to its end" — albeit in a much nicer way than that phrasing suggested at the time — Kara said her goodbye to old friend and sometime-lover Lee and, while his back was turned... vanished into thin air, in the middle of a wide open field with nowhere to hide.

And after that long, lyrical farewell sequence — along the lines of the last 40 minutes of "The Return of the King," only less repetitive (and better-earned, given the length of the series as a whole) — we briefly jumped ahead to the present day, to find the angelic versions of Baltar and Six strolling through Times Square (at one point reading over the shoulder of Ron Moore himself) and pondering whether this version of humanity, on the verge of creating its own artificial intelligences, would repeat the endless cycle of human-machine violence that doomed Kobol, the 12 Colonies, and the other Earth. As the angelic Six expressed an optimistic take, the familiar Jimi Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower" came on the soundtrack over a montage of news footage of recent, real innovations in robotics that make the Cylons seem more science than science-fiction.

For a series that had always used familiar trappings of sci-fi like robots and spaceships to comment on our present-day circumstances — 9/11, the Iraq insurgency, constitutional law being bent in the name of security and/or religion — it was the perfect final sequence. No, that cute Japanese robot that does backflips isn't likely to instigate the genocide of humanity anytime soon, but in many ways the world of "Galactica" is closer than we want to admit.

From this seat, the finale expertly blended all the things that made the series so wonderful: action, great performances in service of well-rounded characters, contemporary politics placed in futuristic settings, and a healthy dose of spirituality.

It's that last, though, that I suspect may lead to some grumbling.

God, or the gods, or whatever you want to call the divine forces of the "Galactica" universe, has always played a role in the series, but that role was particularly dominant in the finale. Unanswered questions about the nature of characters like Kara or the spectral Baltar and Six? God's responsible. What was all that stuff about visions of an opera house that Six, Athena and President Roslin shared? God showed it to them. How did Kara know how to get the fleet to the new Earth? God told her. How is it possible for human beings to naturally evolve on a planet a million light years away from where all the colonial humans originated? Baltar suggests a divine hand. Etc.

Moore has always been less interested in technical details and logistical explanations than character beats and emotional moments. It's often a strength of the series; where one of the "Star Trek" spin-offs might have needed five minutes to explain how Tigh and company were going to give Cavil's people the secret of rebuilding resurrection, Moore's script glossed over it in a couple of sentences and raced ahead to the more satisfying moment where Tyrol found out that Tory had murdered Cally, and strangled her in revenge.

But here, at the end, after four years of waiting for answers on some of these questions (particularly the nature of Head Six, who's been causing trouble since the "Galactica" miniseries in 2003), I imagine some fans aren't going to simply accept "God did it" about Head Six, or about the existence of another planet that could be called Earth.

Me, I went with it. The answers are interesting on some level, but what I'll take out of "Galactica" is the emotional experience more than any plot mechanics. I'll remember Roslin and Tigh having a pointed debate about the use of suicide bombers when they were living under a Cylon occupation on the planet of New Caprica. I'll remember the horror on Cally's face as she realized she was married to a Cylon. I'll remember old men Adama and Tigh standing shoulder to shoulder as they prepared to hold off a coup on Galactica, Kara letting go of her status as top-dog pilot when she realized she didn't need it anymore, Lee giving a speech explaining how humanity had devolved from a government into a gang, or Roslin holding Baltar's life in her hands and choosing forgiveness over revenge.

And from this finale, I'll care more about Baltar coming to grips with his past (sins and all), or the glimpses of the lives our characters left behind when the Cylons nuked the colonies, or Adama tearfully placing his wedding ring on Roslin's finger moments after her death than I would have about getting a more concrete explanation of what happened to Starbuck after her ship exploded.

When Moore, Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and producer David Eick appeared on a panel discussion at the United Nations earlier this week, Moore said he hoped he entertained people and made them think. From first episode to last, Moore accomplished those missions with me — even if I have to do some extra thinking on the blanks he declined to fill in.

Still, before we go, I want to examine the extent to which he did fill in some of those blanks, and also take a deeper look at some of the aforementioned moments and other great ones from the finale.

Earth-2: In talking with Mo Ryan (who should have her own finale review and Ron Moore interview posted sometime later this evening) after we screened "Daybreak" on Monday night, she seemed most apprehensive about the idea of a second Earth, and that the one we saw in "Revelations" wasn't the one that we live on.

I thought it worked, though, and not just as a fake-out to mess with our heads at the end of the mid-season finale. We never saw any definitive geographic and architectural proof that "Revelations" Earth was our Earth, no matter how much some of us (and I put myself at the head of that line) wanted to believe that we were staring at the ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge. The idea that the 13th Tribe destroyed themselves as part of the cycle of Cylon/human violence (or, in this case, Cylon/Cylon violence) very much fits the show's mantra of "All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. The idea that our Earth would get its name -- as well as certain concepts of language and other bits of race memory that would take 150,000 years to resurface -- from these familiar-looking visitors from another star system feels right. It makes the similarity in dress and idiom between Colonial society and 21st century Earth society feel less like a cheat (so the show could more easily comment on current events) than a passing of the torch down through the generations.

Given how far in the past the colonials are, and that they abandoned most of their gear and technology when Anders piloted the rag-tag fleet into the sun, I can very easily see them falling to the technological and social level of the natives within a few generations. Basic survival is going to be such a priority for these people that I think they're going to quickly lose hold of the social niceties, until the idea of three-piece suits or fighter jets or a criminal justice system disappears into the collective unconsciousness, waiting to resurface when the technology catches back up.

As for why Kara, if she really was an angel, was sent back to first lead humanity to the wrong Earth, well, that ties into...

They have a plan: No, not the Cylon "they" (which I imagine we're going to hear more about in "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan," the Cavil-centric TV movie coming out later this year), but the divine "they."

I don't know that we're ever going to be able to connect all the heavenly dots, given how much of the series was admittedly made up as Moore and company went along. Moore argued to me in the interview we did after the screening that Head Six pushes Baltar into leading the cult so he can finally come to grips with the idea of a higher power, which in turn makes him able to convince Cavil to agree to a truce, but it still feels on some level like the writers needing something to do with James Callis between the trial and the finale. (Baltar had, after all, had previous periods where he briefly bought into Head Six's talk of the one true God, and even times early in the cult arc where he seemed to be believing his own hype, only for those scenes to be undercut by jokes later on.)

But parts of it very much make sense to me in retrospect, if you believe that God (or whatever the divine force prefers to be called, per Head Baltar), has been trying to get humanity and the Cylons to break the cycle of destruction.

Why have Kara lead the fleet to the charred Earth first? I think it's because humanity had to be brought so low -- to have all of its hope taken away so abruptly that a Dualla would blow her brains out or a Gaeta would lead a mutiny -- so that when the opportunity to attack The Colony came about, enough people would be resigned enough to go on that suicide mission, to confront Cavil and rid the universe of the more stubborn and vindictive Cylon faction once and for all.

If they don't find the charred Earth first, then Dualla doesn't kill herself, which means Gaeta probably doesn't launch the coup, which means Anders doesn't get shot in the head and turned into a Hybrid, which means Galactica can't find or reasonably fight Cavil's forces, which means Kara's not placed in a position where she has to jump the ship based on nothing but the notes to "All Along the Watchtower," which means they don't get to the good Earth.

(The shot of the Raptors flying down over those beautiful African fields beautifully paralleled the descent to the surface of the nuked Earth near the end of "Revelations," and was one of many moments in the finale where the screening room got quite dusty.)

Now, obviously Kara could have just taken them to the good Earth first, but Cavil would still be out there, and Lee might not have been able to persuade the other 38,000 surviving humans to give away their toys, and the rebel skinjobs might not have set the remaining toasters free, etc. Most of this has happened before, and here things happened so the old things might not happen again.

Back to Caprica: The "Lost"-style flashbacks to the pre-genocide lives of Baltar, Kara, Lee, Laura and Bill were fairly polarizing last week, though I feel like they're probably the element of the finale that suffered most from cleaving it into two pieces. "Daybreak Pt. 1" isn't a standalone episode in the way that even "Exodus, Pt. 1" is; it's a collection of incidents and character moments that just comes to a stop when the hour's up. Under those circumstances, I can see how the amount of time spent on these seemingly unrelated glimpses of the central characters on Caprica may have seemed frustrating. ("Why are we watching Lee chase a pigeon? When are we going to find out the deal with Kara's pristine Viper?")

But in the context of "Daybreak" as a whole dramatic entity, I thought they worked smashingly. Not only did they serve as a reminder of all that the characters (and the thousands of others they represented) had lost, but they tied in so well to the final fate of each one.

Laura overcomes the loss of her entire family and (after briefly trying to blunt the pain by dating an eager former student) finds the strength to help the world at large by joining Adar's presidential campaign, which in turn allows her to find the strength to help out after most of her larger human family was wiped out by the Cylons. And, having stuck around long enough to see her people to a safe outcome, and to get a few precious weeks being openly in love with Bill Adama, she can let go, content.

Kara confesses to Lee, right before the first of their many attempts to hurt the ones around them by sleeping with each other, that she fears death much less than being forgotten, and instead will be remembered (for a few generations, anyway) as the hero who singlehandedly delivered the last survivors of her civilization to their new home. In that strip club (and a big giant "Hah!" to that entire sequence), Ellen just wants to spend time with Saul; now they have all the years that their new circumstances will grant them.

Six witnesses Baltar fight with the father whose existence he'd like to deny, and when he tries to express his love for Six -- the first time in a long time Gaius Baltar has tried to place another person on equal footing with himself -- she gives a little laugh and he retreats back to his selfish, survivalist persona. It's only after he's gone through the events of the last four years -- much of it with a spectral version of the woman he loves operating as his life coach -- that Baltar is able to be selfless, to be someone the real Six would be proud to love, and to be able to look back on his farming roots as anything other than an embarrassing biographical detail. When he weeps in Africa, he's thinking about all the pain he's caused by looking out for Gaius Baltar first and foremost, and about the good things that finally happened when he saw the value of others for real, and not just as another long con. And I don't think that moment is half as powerful if we haven't been spending time the last two weeks being reminded of what he used to be.

Boomer and Tory, RIP (maybe): The deaths of Boomer and Tory were satisfying to different degrees. Both had done terrible things to others, and while you could excuse that to some extent due to their identity crises -- both found out as adults that they weren't remotely the people (or species) they believed themselves to be -- Boomer still sided with Cavil over the more peaceful Cylons, kidnapped Hera and screwed Helo right in front of Athena, and Tory still murdered Cally. There had to be some accounting for that, and if Tory's death was the more cathartic of the two, it's because she was cowardly to the end, trying to use "Hey, we're all Cylons" as some kind of blanket amnesty rather than face up to the ramifications of what she had done. Boomer, as she told Athena, made a choice to defy Cavil, even though she knew it would lead to her death, from either of the two sides she had repeatedly betrayed.

And the show obviously felt more for her than it did for Tory, as Boomer's death was accompanied by another flashback to her days as a nugget struggling to win the respect of old men Adama and Tigh. Tory just died, and her death was quickly upstaged by the CIC shootout, Cavil's suicide, and then the hand of the divine reaching out to make the dead hand of Racetrack launch her nukes.

Some other thoughts on the "Galactica" finale:

• I don't want to devote too much space to rehashing things Moore said in the press conference after the finale screening, or the interview we did after that, so click here to find out about that. But just a few highlights: Daniel was never intended to be Kara's father, and Moore and the other writers were shocked to see how many people were getting into that theory; he wishes he had been clearer in the editing that The Colony and all the evil Cylons were sucked into the singularity and destroyed; Edward James Olmos wanted a much bleaker ending than Moore did; and that the "cold island up in the highlands" Tyrol's talking about is Scotland. Go read it; I'll wait.

• Bear McCreary was on top of his game (just like everyone else on the finale), and the screening room again got dusty when Anders piloted the fleet into Earth's sun (looking very much like an eye) and the soundtrack briefly shifted into a version of the theme song to the original '70s "Galactica."

• For that matter, the idea of the characters winding up on our Earth centuries ago pays homage to the original series, which posited that its characters' ancestors had started out on Earth in the distant past and had done things like build the great pyramids of Egypt.

• I'm assuming all those Caprica City skyline shots were created for the "Caprica" spin-off, and if nothing else, they suggest the new series will look gorgeous.

• It may not get as much attention as flashier character farewells like Kara disappearing or Baltar crying -- especially since the character in question popped up again once we got to Earth -- but one of my favorites was Doc Cottle getting choked up while saying goodbye to Laura, and Laura telling him to "go light a cigarette and grumble" rather than ruin her image of him.

• It didn't last long, since most of the Galactica crew survived the assault on The Colony, but the idea of Hoshi and Romo Lampkin succeeding, respectively, Bill and Lee Adama as heads of the military and civilian arms of the fleet, was both hysterically funny and poignant. At this stage of the series, with so many top people dead (especially after the coup), who else was left?

• Can I talk again about the awesomeness of the toaster-on-toaster violence? I just loved the image of the rebel centurions with the red paint streaked across their chests to identify them as separate from Cavil's forces, as it's such a low-tech, punk contrast to their usual sleek appearances.

Here at the end of a very long series and a very long post, you don't need me to again repeat all the reasons "Battlestar Galactica" was such a landmark television achievement. You don't need me to tell you how it returned to the hallmarks of traditional science fiction by using the futuristic trappings to tell compelling stories about the way we live now. You don't need me to tell you about this rich cast of characters, played by a cast of actors who will criminally never get their proper due from the rest of the showbiz community because their peers are too snobbish to realize that an Edward James Olmos or a Mary McDonnell or a Michael Hogan might be capable of giving devastating performances in the middle of a show with this title. You don't need me to tell you about the epic action, the tear-jerking moments, the occasional snippets of comedy or all things that made this show so special. But I wanted to at least mention them before the end, before I cede the floor to you and ask...

So say we all?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at asepinwall@starledger.com

276 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I Loved It! Yes, there are a few nitpicks and lingering questions but this is a work of fiction, a work of art, it should make us think.

I was braced for a mutual destruction and bleak ending. This ending was somewhat uplifting and very thoughtful. The opera house scenes were so satisfying.

They've been playing with religious themes from the start with resurrection for instance and with philosophical themes re: the nature of humans. The ending was true to those themes.

So say we all.

Anonymous said...

Gee people are patronizing when it comes to "detractors" or "naysayers." For me its not the inclusion and usage of god in this episode that made me not like the finale, but just how clumsy the story felt. Rushed, incongruent with previous episodes (re: the puzzling decision to split up humanity over the continents), cliched, and assumed a rather low intelligence of its viewers. I think this season was perhaps the series best, but the finale just feels so incredibly awkward when placed with the rest of the show.

kandyd said...

The last shot of the show should have been the two angels standing over John Connor in TSCC.

Michael said...

Here's an interesting timeline/map of the BSG universe, up through 2/28/09. It's actually easy to follow.

Anonymous said...

so say we all :(

Anonymous said...

I agree that Adama shouldn't have vomited on himself. He should've vomited on Tigh.

This whole show has been about a bunch of robots who, in their own twisted way, believe in God. I'm not sure why it's a cop-out to reveal that they were kind of right.

Anonymous said...

While I understand that a lot of people feel the last hour was a bit luddite and technology-bashing, I totally buy that people whose entire homeworlds were destroyed as a result of technology gone too far... and people who've been cooped up on tin cans for years now (with a break on a desolate planet or two along the way, New Caprica, the algae planet, etc.)... would definitely embrace a return-to-nature lifestyle for the rest of their days.

George Lucas has said in interviews that Star Wars was meant to be a warning about technology, but viewers don't have to take the lessons that creators give, they can take what they want out of it. R2-D2 is a lot of people's fave character, hell! So... just because you wouldn't have personally been happy with the rejecting-technology+cities+etc. ending that Lee Adama gets everyone behind... doesn't mean you have to hate the finale, IMO.

...

"The social commentary felt far too forced and detracted from the experience for me. This show isn't about the dangers of robots and artificial technology. It's about the perils of our own inner nature, and what humans can do to one another as a result. At the same time,each of us, both "good" and "bad" have the capacity for redemption. The cylons were always a red herring to help us realize this point, and I'm sort of let down Moore reduced them to a warning about technology."

But I didn't take the robots in NYC at the end as a warning about A.I. I took it more as a warning that humans need to be more humane this time around, and not alienate their robotic creations like happens in so much fiction (BSG, Bubblegum Crisis... erm... and kinda Matrix, Terminator, etc....).

IOW, that to break the human/human, human/cylon, cylon/cylon violence cycles that were shown during BSG's 4 seasons, and referenced in the Kobol and oldEarth pasts of BSG as well... our Earth's cylon/human hybrid inhabitants need to be mindful not to create us vs. them divides when we do create our own machine race, and get along with them. It's a warning to US that we have to be better humans/cylons, not a warning that the robots in the final minutes of the finale are going to be evil right away or anything.

"Speaking of which, if Ron Moore was going to do a cameo I would prefer it had been as the babbler in the goo in Razor. :)"

Ha! I don't think the hybrids are allowed to have facial hair. At least, I don't remember any. It'd be like Olympic swimmers having excess hair... not very good when mixed with the goo, as you call it. And I doubt RDM'd wanna shave off all that great hair for a Razor cameo like that, but... heh.

One last thing, also:

the Daniel/13th cyclon/#7 thing doesn't have to make sense in the context of BSG's ending, and it's okay if he has nothing to do with Starbuck. I'll wager that either he'll be mentioned/explained/featured in the Plan movie or in Caprica. He was kinda the boxed model pre-#3's boxing, after all. His time is long since passed before the events of BSG.

Anonymous said...

BSG, in the end, was a much more optimistic show than The Wire. The events in BSG show that the cycle of violence can be broken, but it takes blood, toil, tears and sweat. The Wire shows us that the institutions governing us are simply interested in perpetuating themselves, and not interested in breaking the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Alan, I forget to say a huge THANK YOU for all your insightful (and timely) comments and hard work putting this blog out week after week.

So damn impressive and so appreciated.

Now, any chance you can convince Mr. Moore to put out the three-hour finale with all the missing scenes out in theaters when the DVD is launched? I'd love to see his full vision uninterrupted up on the big screen.

Anonymous said...

For me this was the best tv show ever to grace our screens. As someone said before, one of the reasons that this was such a great experience was because the actors obviously put their hearts and soul into playing their characters and will probably never be recognised for giving such powerful perfomances.

Having watched the finale I was initially happy about the way things turned out. But 24hrs later and having had time to reflect there are things that are now starting to niggle at me.

Most notiably is the fact that after being together for such a long time, everyone just decides to go their own way. I could accept the 'let's get rid of the technology,' thinking but then for all the main characters just to go off seperately on their merry way just didn't seem right.

On another note. What about the the 12 colonies? Surely even after the holcaust there were survivors. From earlier episodes we could see that on Caprica, it hadn't been totally devastated. Of the 40 odd thousand that arrived at earth surely there would be many more hiding in different places on the other colonies. And would there not still be a Cylon presence on the 12 colonies that would need taking care of.

I agree that I'm probably already missing the show and was looking for another 10 series where Adama and the rest of the crew make plans to retake the 12 colonies and wipe out the Cylon threat for good.

Anyway thanks to the actors and the creators for such a beautiful creation. Guess it's time to go back and start with the series 1 dvd's.

This has happened before and will happen again. So say we all.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo what many have said in that I liked a lot of it, but found some of it a bit unsatisfying.

The battle sequences were tense and heart-pounding. Considering it was a series finale, I genuinely had concerns about each character's fate, unlike I would in a regular episode.

One of my favorite sequences was seeing how the church visions played out.

As you mentioned, Alan, Ron Moore has said they made a lot of stuff up as they went along, but I'd like to think that when they created the dream scenes however many episodes it was that they had in mind how the finale would reveal what those visions actually meant.

On a side note, I've always been a fan of Tigh, and the way Hogan portrays him. If they ever remake Jaws, I think Hogan -- using a Tigh-esque voice, with a scruffy beard, and maybe even with an eye-patch, would make one helluva Quint lol.

Karen said...

Well, *I* liked it, anyway. Parts were heavy-handed (Lee's speech about man's brains outpacing his soul was a bit heavy-handed, and it would have been better to have shown that as a survivor-wide decision than make it look like Lee made the decision for everyone). Certain lines were awkward (I expected Kara's "This is the first day of the rest of your life" to be a laugh line, not a serious one. Damn). And the notion that Chip Six is an angel truly calls into question the nature of God, because she poured some serious poison into Baltar's head over the years. I also agree with @MichaelCowgill that I did NOT need to see Adama vomit on himself. The prevalence of vomiting in recent film and television saddens me.

But mostly I really liked it.

Tyrol's face, as he gradually realizes that Tory killed Cally, was spectacular. The amazement, confusion, rage gradually building--that just blew me away. It may have been one of the most impressive visuals of the finale. And Baltar's speech to Cavil was phenomenal.

I liked the Opera House resolution VERY much. Especially the way it showed that Laura's fears about seeing Boomer, Baltar, and Six with Hera in her vision turned out to be unfounded, as they were rescuing her.

I did kind of like 2nd Kara being an angel--but then I found myself wondering why an angel would herself have had to hallucinate a pianist in order to understand Hera's drawing and the meaning of the Watchtower song. Wouldn't an angel have known the plan?

When Bill said his farewells to Lee and Kara, I really thought it was because he was going to crash the ship when Laura died. I'm not entirely sure I understand his motivation in leaving his living son behind in order to sit alone by a grave until he died. I mean, I know he loved Laura but he has a SON.

I'm not one who tends to go on and on about special effects...BUT: damn. The image of the Colony guns lighting up Galactica? That was just so beautifully done I was in awe.

Although I don't think it was presented correctly, I do think that the colonists' decision to junk the tech and live off the land made sense. I agree with @Pandyora on this--they were just so happy to be on solid ground after all those years in space, and especially after the disappointment of New Caprica. And how much more could their tech really get them? Would they rather eat algae food than what they'd grown themselves? Would their ships have helped them plow? How much medicine was really left, anyway? And @Josh posits that they were choosing to live without written language or housing: not sure what he's basing that on. I mean, they were already planning to teach the natives language when they'd only been on the planet a few minutes. And Adama was building a cabin. So...I think they were giving up on stuff that they didn't really need, or that would be a crutch, or that might tempt them to take to the air again. They were saying: this is it. We're done. We're home. And I can really understand the level of weariness that took them to that decision.

It's been a great run. Alan, thank you for helping me see even more in these episodes than I already had.

bakija said...

Maura wrote:
>>Except that Ron Moore was the show runner, so Daniel and Kara's father are whoever Moore decides they are.>>

Well, yes. That is true. And yet, even if it was something that was out of his control, Moore should have just sucked it up and said "Huh. Yeah, ok, Daniel is Kara's father..." even if it wasn't his original intention. Which, having watched the show, still seems just ridiculous, even *with* Moore completely denying that it was his intention.

At a certain point, a work of art leaves the hands of its creator, and what it means becomes what the viewer reads into it.

In a narrative sense, there was almost zero reason to introduce the idea of Daniel except for making him be Kara's father. Yes, there is the numerical incongruity that came from the writers deciding that Boomer was "Number 8" *way* before they had begun to consider the larger context of the Cylons, so yeah, ok, they needed an extra number in there to explain that. Which is where the need to make Daniel came from.

But ok--once you have that, you say "Huh. If we are making him, what can Daniel be? Well, we make him an artist (like Kara's father has been already established to be) and we make him mysteriously vanish (like Kara's father has already established to have done) and then we can make him Kara's father which explains why Kara has the same visions as Cylon Tyrol (which was established way before she died) and make her special in a mysterious way which explains why Leoben was obsessed with her and explains why she can know the vital and cryptic Cylon music." Which seems to be what at least some of the writers of the show realized and went with. Maybe Moore was home sick that day?

Yes, there is author intent. But at a certain point, author intent needs to tack a back seat to what makes sense as the story pans out and what the viewer takes from it. Even if it runs contrary to the author's original intent.

Unknown said...

First off, I really enjoyed this series finale. It was epic, ambitious, sometimes frustrating, but it was intense and kept me guessing, as BSG does at its best. Ron Moore has guts.

It was a bit hard to get into the storyline when they found Earth. The pace slowed, and we're presented with several big decisions without a lot of discussion by the characters. But thinking about it, I think the decision to "go agrarian" is one that makes sense in the context of the overall series - from the depiction of Caprica (high tech, decadent), to their failed attempts to recreated colonial civilization (New Caprica, the Fleet's Quorum), to the reality of annihilation on the Earth of the 13th colony. By the time they found this fresh, verdant, new planet, I think they had stopped clinging to the hope that they could or would want to recreate colonial life. It's not a hopeless decision. But it is a very cynical one, and it's apt that Lee voices it. As Zak noted, Lee is an idealist, a romantic, but at core a cynic. And this decision to basically turn their back on Caprica and all that is good and bad about that civilization, is a bracing combination of cynicism about their culture and hope for the human race.

I know many have objected to the "spiritualism" that some perceive injected into the finale by attributing Kara's resurrection (can't call it anything else) and the Head six/Baltar characters as agents of a larger force that some call "God". I didn't mind it, and I like it better than if Ron Moore had pulled out "Lords of Kobol" that were all half-cylon, resurrecting puppeteers living on the Ship of Lights. The series has always incorporated religion - or rather, the basic questions that drive religious debate. Unsurprisingly, they are a lot of the same questions addressed in science fiction - who made us? Is there free will? Is there such a thing as destiny? The vague, agnostic answer given in the finale makes sense in the context of the BSG universe, moreso when I don't inject my preconceptions about religion or science fiction into it.

I think the least satisfying section is the very end bit with the real life robots. The cylons were always more than robots - they represent an acme of human hubris, and not just regarding technology. They embodied human arrogance, aggression, intellegence and the worst possible outcomes. It may have been more effective to have a montage of wars, human suffering, followed by a robot bit. Or just present this perspective more quickly, subtly. It's been the point of the whole series - that humans are complex, flawed and imperfect, and this was reflected in the cylons.

Also, regarding Hera fate and her being the mitochondrial Eve. Even though the colonials are spreading out over the planet, their genetic material will not be evenly distributed. That's always the case in terms of evolution. Certain lines will literally die out, other will be selected for and flourish. The show implies that Hera's line will flourish and over time, come to be incorporated into most of modern homo sapiens. Also, to those who think that this storyline is not consistent with evolutionary science, it has been demonstrated that evolution is not a linear progression, but that there have been times when change was accelerated such that there were "leaps" in evolution. The concept presented in BSG would not be discordant (although other aspects would not hold up so well scientifically)

Anyway, I thought the finale was a fitting end. I'll miss this series. Thanks Alan, for your recaps and discussion. I'll miss them too.

R.A. Porter said...

If anyone isn't completely burnt out on reviews, analysis, commentary, and examinations of the choices Ron Moore made, my review is finally posted.

I'm less than polite about a certain group of people who disliked the finale, so be forewarned.

Anonymous said...

so say we all. It was a love letter to Earth

Anonymous said...

Mixed feelings about the multiple-ending finale; it's not so much the hand of God, or the human/technology debate, but that both messages were clumsily delivered, after years of mysterious subtleties and respecting the audience's intelligence. It's not necessary to have physical manifestations of spirituality, ie. Kara. Seeing her at peace with herself should have been enough.

As a sequel, if any, would like to know what happens to Anders' 'see you on the other side' and Kara.

(and yes, I love this work, but after listening to some of the commentary, RM is a bit full of himself sometimes)

Anonymous said...

Overall I thought it was great and I will sorely miss this series. BUT, my main complaint is there was no final scene between Tigh and Adama. To me that was probably my favorite relationship in the entire series and I would have liked to see one final scene between the two men on Earth.

Anonymous said...

Kara = Obi-Wan Kenobi

Thought the show was awesome and i'm not too fussed with the God explanation. It's scifi after all.

It's ended far too soon!!! Farewell BSG

Anonymous said...

Just finished watching (spouse our of country and didn't watch until we could do it together). The one part about Hera being "Eve" that I felt fit is that mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother. So Hera's was Athena's and therefore Cylon. Thus, we all carry in is both the cylon and the human. I thought that fit in perfectly with the idea of her uniting the two races.

Anonymous said...

So say we all. What a beautiful, satisfying ending to a masterful work of fiction.

Anonymous said...

Anyone happen to know where they filmed all the "earth" scenes? I'm watching the episode again now and they're just...beautiful.

Unknown said...

I wonder if anyone will actually get around to reading Comment #222 . . ..

It wasn't incredible - although certain moments were sublime. And the sublime character moments were enough for me. I think the show is not fundamentally about redemption, but change - and the characters most definitely went through those, and in so many ways I think they earned their well-deserved rest . . . even if I think they're foolish to do so without penicillin.

A lot of people hate the Deus ex Machina of the story. I don't love it, but what I find acceptable about it is that we don't really know if this special being is "God" (that is divine), or is something else. Could it be whatever created "humans", just as they created Cylons who together birthed us? Could it be some being from the far future, whatever comes after a final breaking of the cycle, that is casting back into the past in order to ensure its own birth? I don't need an answer to this because I wouldn't understand this being regardless - it is either God, or it uses science that is sufficiently complex as to be indistinguishable from divinity. And why should he explain himself to those who would not understand him?

Perhaps I am apologizing for the show, giving excuses for why it should work based on whatever narrative scraps I can lace together on my own. But I think the weave that I'm describing is available in the show I watched, and that's enough for me.

At least, it will be once I've seen The Plan. I still want to see why the other Cylon went along with Cavall, even if just to see it.

Anonymous said...

Putting the plotholes aside, a couple things bothered me about the production quality of the finale.
First, it was not at all obvious that the cylon colony was destroyed, and I did not know this had happened until I read the comments here. So I spent the whole 2nd half of the episode wondering if the evil clyons would show up at the defenseless 'new Earth'.
Second, I thought the CGI for the toaster cylons was so bad, that it ruined for me what should have great fight sequences.
On a positive note, I had no problem with the ending scene. I do not know what Ron Moore looks like just like 99% of the viewers don't know what he looks like, so who cares if he was in that scene. Plus the scene was needed becasue it explained why Hera was important.

Anonymous said...

Loved the show, was disappointed by the ending. An earlier post claimed Deus ex Machina is "almost required" in science fiction...so wrong. GOOD science fiction is about ideas, realized with sympathetic characters. The introduction of god to solve problems or answer questions means the writers just abdicated. If god can do whatever it wants, why write the story? If god can only do certain kinds of miracles, who decides the rules? I guess I shouldn't be surprised given the history, but it's such a cheap way out.

Chief Procrastinator said...

I wanted something more for the end of the battlestar than just flying off into the sunset. Somehow, I think the show needed to see the ship really just destroyed to believe it.

Rob Reti said...

Overall. Loved it. Watched it twice, and am now watching the original Miniseries again and seeing all kinds of things that make much more sense now it is all over... 6/Baltar interactions, Roslin leading the applause at Adama's dedication speech, etc.

I feel sorry for the folks pissed off about the ending. Suspension of disbelief, a little internal papering over the holes is a requirement in all sci-fi, Trek, B5, Farscape, X files, etc. Just because it doesn't work for you, don't think that it matters to anyone else. Your opinion is worth no more than the electrons spent in sending them to us.

My take on some of the issues raised, for what it's worth (nothing)...
Kara - not an angel like 6/Baltar, more like a prophet - pawn of a higher power - unaware of their real purpose, but in charge of their actions until purpose served.
God - capricious character playing games with lesser beings, looking for a different outcome than previous games. Everyone has free will, IT just leaves little easter eggs for everyone which we may or may not use
Cavil suicide - intensely logical being realized that he gambled and lost and had no way out - NONE!
Ludditism on Earth2 - not the point? I take it as the Galacticans gave up on recovering their civilization. They were finally free and safe but it no longer mattered. Exhausted and broken, they were done. They couldn't really do anything with the natives except maybe breed. Even with a level of effort they didn't have in them, in a "hostile" world with most of their tech broken or soon to be unrepairable with Galactica trashed, they were done, if not today, then in a couple of generations. Let the preverbals have their day? After all, if this season proved anything, the colonial civilization was no longer functional.
Coda message - not anti-robot/tech, more like a tongue in cheek "it could happen again if we don't watch out" and capricious angels are still amongst us ;-)
RDM cameo - just a fun sign-off, get over it?
Hera - mcguffin for Galacticans, part of ITS plan for Earth 2? More directly, she is a symbol for cylon/human unity and exists to take Cavil's eye off the "destroy all humans" ball (so they can destroy him!)

That's all for now... to the haters, lighten up, no-one killed your cat/daggit.
So say we all... ?

Anonymous said...

Just because it doesn't work for you, don't think that it matters to anyone else. Your opinion is worth no more than the electrons spent in sending them to us.

Forgive us for expressing our opinions. Very sorry, sir.

Anonymous said...

So say we all!

Fantastic series! I actually wept, watching the final scenes.

I'm extremly curious about Kara though. "What was she?" and "Was she at all?". But this is of course not for us to know. Divine intervention or the force of our universe. It doesn't matter really. We are only humans and not at all made to understand everything that goes on.

As for us breaking the cycle of destruction; We have so far only prolonged it. It is true indeed. "All of this has happened before, and will happen again."

Anonymous said...

On the whole, I loved the finale. Those HD shots of our Earth, Laura/Adama, Helo/Athena/Hera and Baltar/Six, Starbuck leading the human race to its end and the space porn of the rescue mission were wonderful. The characters had endings true to themselves, and the flashbacks to Caprica showed just how much these people lost.At this point, we've forgotten how far they've fallen and how much they needed a fresh start.

I think the problem with this finale is that it could have used another hour to transition between the first part (boom goes the dynamite, er, Colony) and the second part (can we license the entire Planet Earth series?) The decision to fly all of the ships into the Sun and go native was a fait accompli and didn't feel earned.

Adama's decision to sacrifice Galactica to rescue Hera felt earned. The ship was falling apart, Earth was a burnt out cinder, and there was little left to hope. But they could send the old girl off in style.

Once they got here, though. it didn't feel like the farewells were earned in the same way. The people of the fleet would give up their creature comforts and go native? They'd just destroy all of the ships? I don't think it was unrealistic for the Colonists and Cylons to get to that place after the double genocide, but it didn't click. Maybe Lee had more of a rousing, convincing speech? Maybe in an earlier draft, Galactica tore itself slowly apart after the jump? Maybe more dialogue between Lee and Romo was cut? (I understand the logic of flying the ships into the Sun, since no one on Earth has ever discovered pieces of a 150,000 year old Colonial One, but the process of convincing the Colonists to go native is the kind of thing that BSG would otherwise spend a whole episode on. Here, it didn't even get a full act.)

I'm sure the Tigh/Adama farewell was filmed but cut for time and will be on the DVD cut. But still, not even acknowledging their epic bromance?

The Daniel as Kara's father was never really a logical idea, because the timeline just doesn't work out. And Kara's destiny had nothing to do with her being a human/Cylon hybird, but with her consistently searching for her purpose.

That was Simon running the polygraph in Adama's interview for his cushy private sector job, right?

As far as the coda, it was jarring and ballsy. But the "150,000 years later" chyron and the image of Head Six and Head Baltar walking through Times Square with Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" playing is too striking and powerful to ignore. Even if it doesn't fit or is too on the nose, how could they avoid filming that?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was almost perfect. Maybe because I subscribe to Ron Moore's theory that, "Its about the characters stupid". As awesome as the action was in the first hour, the emotional closure I got from the 2nd hour was just as important.

My one quibble, was I thought Cavil eating his gun was out of character. He's so desperate for Resurrection; he'll do anything. And he just quickly eats his gun? I don't know. That was odd to me. Maybe the movie will shed more light on his decision.

Anonymous said...

So disappointed, it can't get much worse than this. What a way to finish the wanabe best show ever. Frak and frak.

Anonymous said...

To everyone perturbed about Daniel the 13th Cylon not showing up in the finale, don't forget we still have "The Plan" to look forward to. Daniel will more than likely make an appearance there, who knows, he could yet turn out to be Starbuck's father.

I also think people misinterpret the final robot scene, it's not a grim warning about technology. Heck it's robots dancing to Jimmy Hendrix, it's more of a fun twist to end off a series about killer robots with a cheap laugh. I loved it personally.

Anonymous said...

Is alan a transexual, everyone wants to know ....

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling pretty disappointed and unsatisfied by the finale. The action/directing/editing in the fight heavy first half was sloppy, despite some cool imagery. Overall, it wasn't nearly as exciting as the two part mutiny episode a few episodes back.

The flashbacks were a stretch and didn't ring true to the characters as they are now, after 4 plus years on the run. You're telling me they actually haven't changed that much from where they started before the fall of humanity? We didn't need them to make it "all about the characters." The Roslin stuff was especially pointless, IMO.

I didn't buy that Adama and Lee would go their separate ways, after both had lost Roslin and Starbuck, all they had left was each other.

I did love that they got to "earth" at the dawn of civilization. I also loved that Tyrol screwed up the Cylon/Human peace by killing Tory - so very human of him. Both good aces in the whole. I also loved that Kara plugged in the coordinates from the song into the computer to take them to "earth."

However, the "opera house vision" sequence... Yes, it works. Yes, when I was watching it I was caught up in it, but then after the scene was over I was like, really, that's it? How many times did they show that vision over and over to us to have it turn out to just be that? Moore and company should not have shown us that vision so many times, over and over, almost every episode it seems, if they weren't going to go somewhere more "twisty" with it.

Finally, the "God" stuff. The whole God vs. Gods dilemma was never really resolved. Shame. And for a show where everything is never what it seems and humans can be not human, I never really trusted the writers, so I was unsatisfied that there wasn't more to the whole God stuff at the end and Kara Thrace's return after dying. I wanted more of an answer and closure after her quest to find out what she is. She seemed to know, yet we didn't. After following her for the last year on that quest. FAIL!

And RDM being in the last scene... epic fail. Very distracting RDM.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of my precious living time. BSG was the only show I watched...now, it may be the last show I ever watch. I am sorely disappointed in the writers. I feel like they just threw the end together. They obviously did not have a plan from the beginning and just wrote this as they went along. I regret investing all the time in this show, for THAT. I am going to watch the movie nor am I going to watch any spinoffs.

MN said...

A few things

1) Mitochondria Eve was discovered a while back so the announcement had to have been sometime during the very early 2000s at the latest.

2) I would have rather died than give up the technology no matter what for the very simple reason that had it not been for modern technology I probably would have died in childhood of some sicknesses I got. I would like to see at least a token nod to people who refuse and who are willing to take one of the ships and just LEAVE to take their chances. Or hell, to even join the toasters. Maybe it was a time issue but that made that section rather dissatisfying.

The Starbuck thing was also dissatisfying but less so when you think about it. I am assuming she became the angel only upon her return i.e. the real Kara fell into the timewarp and crashed on original Earth back then but was sent back as a divine assistant.

3) The big change in human behavior comes at about 165,000 years ago so either it's an alternate universe or the BSG crew didn't really do much and just got absorbed. Consequently their existence is meaningless.

Look I'm not going to nitpick it do death but it's more fun when it ties in to real history better than this did.

Harlan said...

The problem for me with the religious aspect of the show's ending is not that there was such, but that it ignored all of the really fascinating back-and-forth about monotheism and polytheism from the first half of the series. As far as I can tell, the Cylons were right about the nature of the divine?! What's the fun in that!?

Unknown said...

Having it be God doing it is a cheat...and it also destroys the entire concept of FAITH by confirming the existence of the entity; transforming it from a journey of enlightenment to one of being a servile. If you know God exists it is no longer faith, but obedience to a master.

As to the rest of the ending... in someways I liked it, nice tie in to the old show etc. etc. but on the whole I wanted it to end differently because to me the most interesting part of the story would be what comes AFTER making contact.

There is a whole lot of story along that arc that can't be told with this ending.

Jon Bassinger-Flores said...

So say we all! I'm still in awe of the entire saga. What I told my husband before watching the final episode was that if it was terrible, like other series finales have been, I wouldn't be upset since we'd been given such a gift already with the whole rest of the series.

Happily, we were greatly satisfied.

Anonymous said...

it's pretty obvious. anyone that is anti religion is going to hate this and bad mouth the show.

those people just cant accept anything that has to do with god and faith.

genius finale. genius show.

R.A. Porter said...

@Anonymous 6:47pm - That's a false impression. I'm an atheist and would never willingly give up technology and science, yet I thought the ending perfect. The fault line is not between believers and non.

Anonymous said...

God can be in Sci-fi, but they spent a lot of time on this show going in direction B when you thought they were going in direction A. Lots of misleads, and you couldn't trust the writers, so when it just turned out to be God was behind this and leave it vague when we were all clamoring for answers... it felt like it fizzled out.
They could have it better and I would have been okay with it. Starbuck just vanishing though, that was horrible.

Anonymous said...

I was gripped by and respected the finale, except for the wholesale decision to abandon technology. There is some ambiguity in the consequences of that decision - we can choose to see it as an idealistic mistake, which may be consistent with Lee's history. By giving up tech, they condemned themselves to hardship and to the search to overcome it - which tends to lead to tech as quickly as possible. By abandoning the capacity to keep records and share findings, they essentially doomed themselves to repeat the mistakes that led to the Cylon wars. They gave up their history and the lessons learned from it.

As a 21st century culture, we take many things for granted, like ready access to steel and even harder metals. Baltar will be farming with fire-hardened sticks, since he cannot smelt. Further, he knows this. Lee will have no way to communicate his findings from his explorations. The colonists will be illiterate within a couple of generations.

Finally, as a woman who was fertile before the pill and who has family records which amply demonstrate high mortality among pre-20th century women and children, I can't help but wonder if the male producers of the show really considered whether the female colonists would have agreed with this decision. Abandoning tech includes abandoning medical care, sterile child birth, pain relief in childbirth, and contraception. It condemsn the majority of women to early and painful deaths, along with most of their offspring. Maybe some wise women and men will remember to wash their hands (with what disinfectant?)when assisting others in childbirth, but how long before that, too, is forgotten?

We are so far removed from our rural, agrarian, pre-tech past that our popular media present us with images and choices that fail to acknowledge the problems of the so-called golden ages.

That said, what a ride!

don1138 said...

RE: The closing scene. I haven't read through all the comments, but I get the impression that few got the point of the ending.

The major theme of the show is "what is it that makes one human?" As we see from Baltar's epiphany on new Earth, it is compassion (in Baltar's case, his first selfless act) -- recognizing the humanity of others.

Right after Six and Baltar ask whether our society will break the cycle of violence, and just before the cute robot montage, we see -- huddled on the ground outside of a very expensive gadget store in the middle of the wealthiest city in the wealthiest country on planet Earth -- homeless human beings begging for alms, and looking more bereft, beaten down and de-humanized than the Galactica refugees ever did.

Cavil never got over himself enough to understand the point of it all. Baltar, in the end, did. So, are you a Cavil, or a Baltar?

Anonymous said...

I too didn't buy the whole "back to basics" thing. After all, all that culture and history lost forever. With that in mind, why didn't they at least leave something behind to be discovered later? Or barring that, how about this for a last shot:

Back in space, close to the sun. Out of the glare, a tiny shape emerges. As the object gets closer, we see that it is Colonial One, adrift, having been in close orbit of the sun all these thousands of years. The camera closes in and now we're inside the ship. It's pitch black at first, but as the ship rotates, the sun's light comes flooding in through the windows to reveal Laura's desk. And on the desk, sits her diary. Fade to credits.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really care for it as a whole - though I wasn't a fan of most of the episodes leading up to this one. It's not that I have a problem with any or the answers (or lack thereof) to any of the mythology, just that I think most of it was clumsy and not compelling.

Part of the problem I suspect for BSG (as with Lost) is that the writer's are much better as raising questions than answering them. Moreover, very few of the characters have changed or grown considerably over the course of the series - for me, this has led to nearly all of the big emotional scenes have coming off as repetitive and poorly executed. Luckily, the cast of BSG remains excellent, and they are certainly strong enough to deliver great moments, but the series never lived up to the promise of the first few seasons.

I don't think it helps that The Shield just finished this past year, and unquestionably finished its run with its strongest season. Meanwhile, by the time I got around to watching the Battlestar finale, I was pretty much only watching the show because it would seem absolutely ridiculous to watch every episode but the last one.

There was a time when I considered these two shows on par (along with Lost), but because both Battlestar (definately) and Lost (probably) have gone out on a whimper, it makes the bang The Shield went out on more impressive.

Those of you who have compared Battlestar to the Wire never understood the greatness of the wire - battlestar at its best might (on its absolute best day) deserve to be mentioned as the worst the wire had to offer.

Patty said...

The Emperor's New Clothes. I LOVED Battlestar, but I can't swallow that ending hook line and stinker. Yeah, it tied up all the loose ends--and resorted to Baltar style didacticism and just plain dumb stuff, like Kara disappearing. Uh uh. That was a huge disappointment.

bakija said...

>>it's pretty obvious. anyone that is anti religion is going to hate this and bad mouth the show.>>

Uh, no. I'm incredibly athiest, and consequently, pretty anti-religion as a concept. I thought the end was great, mystical beings and all. 'Cause, ya know, it was fiction...

Anonymous said...

I think the abandoning of all technology is hard to swallow. The whole point of the rag tag fleet's actions throughout have been the survival of humanity, which isn't just "let's make sure human beings exist somewhere" but the survival of these humans - AND the preservation their way of life.

Giving up everything they know to rough it, Adama leaving his son, Tigh to never see Adama again, none of that makes any sense.

Won't they miss music, liquor, etc? Won't they be sorry when a dingo eats their baby, or a savage rapes their wife? Come on.

I do like the hope of a new series someday springing from this one - those toasters they "set free" 150,000 years later vs. these humans 150,000 years later.

I did like Hera's conclusion - she was the key, as her DNA is the basis (survival of the fittest) for human life. We couldn't have done it without her, so saving her and delivering her to earth was the important part of god's plan.

Anonymous said...

I absolutley thought it was a fitting end to a great ride. I don't concern myself with those who were disappointed, afterall every great series finale is over scrutinized. The ending was true to the whole series and I loved every minute each season. Thank you Battlestar! So say we all...

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still checking this thread, there's an hilarious article at Washington Post/PC World, 10 Business Lessons from BSG, though you have to sit through a ten second advert first.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still checking this thread, there's an hilarious article at Washington Post/PC World, 10 Business Lessons from BSG, though you have to sit through a ten second advert first.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

"And would there not still be a Cylon presence on the 12 colonies that would need taking care of."

I guess you don't remember, but when Cavil was revealed to be a Cylon by showing up both planetside AND on Galactica at the same time, he said the Cylons were withdrawing from the colonies. And of course, we have his statement in the finale saying he's true to his word and all. 'course, back then when we first met him, we hadn't seen all the stuff in between, what with the rigged tie-breaker on the vote to lobotomise the centurions and the Hera stuff and the Cylon Civil War and all, but...

just saying, if you believe him, the colonies should be cylon free. Just the last copy of #3 sitting around on oldEarth (13th colony).

"church visions"

Did you mean the Opera House or was there something else...?

"Laura's fears about seeing Boomer, Baltar, and Six with Hera in her vision"

I'm pretty sure Athena was having the same vision back along with Laura, many many eps ago, not just the projection in the finale... so it was never Boomer in the vision (though she certainly may have thought so the first time).

"I wonder if anyone will actually get around to reading Comment #222 . . .."

But of course!

Anonymous said...

"Huh. If we are making him, what can Daniel be? Well, we make him an artist (like Kara's father has been already established to be) and we make him mysteriously vanish (like Kara's father has already established to have done) and then we can make him Kara's father which explains why Kara has the same visions as Cylon Tyrol (which was established way before she died) and make her special in a mysterious way which explains why Leoben was obsessed with her and explains why she can know the vital and cryptic Cylon music."

And... in doing so, make Hera the 2nd successful human/cylon hybrid, thereby undoing everything that went into the Helo/Athena plotline since they were stranded together and making love on nuclear-scarred Caprica way back in season ONE? I don't think so.

"I think the least satisfying section is the very end bit with the real life robots. The cylons were always more than robots"

Of course they were. But right now on Earth, we have no cylons. We have robots, though. Eventually, our robots could have A.I. and appear human enough to pass for human both mentally and physically, though, right? And therein lies the point of showing primitive robots and making the audience go "what if?"...

"BUT, my main complaint is there was no final scene between Tigh and Adama."

Patience. The DVD won't take years to arrive, and I'm sure it'll have more Tigh/Adama scenes in the finale for us.

"the ending scene... was needed becasue it explained why Hera was important."

Hera was also important because saving the mission to save her from Cavil was the reason they jumped to our Earth... and the reason Starbuck knew the coordinates to enter... and because she served as a bridge between the humans and cylons. Would the rebel cylons have stuck around as long as they did with so many humans in the fleet hating them? Enough to stage a mutiny? Of course not. At one point, they had voted to leave, but Laura convinced them to wait and have faith that Adama would take command back from the mutineers, if you don't recall. Hera was instrumental in all of that.

So even if she wasn't an ancestor to most or all of humanity, she was damned important for the above 3 reasons.

"Coda message - not anti-robot/tech, more like a tongue in cheek "it could happen again if we don't watch out""

Exactly.

T. E. Williams said...

I'll take everything but the last 2 minutes. Six and Baltar in Times Square was the cheeziest, stupidest scene of the ENTIRE series.

I will, in the future, hit STOP when Adama is sitting on his hill, telling Laura that the sunlight reminds him of her.

bakija said...

Someone wrote:
>>And... in doing so, make Hera the 2nd successful human/cylon hybrid, thereby undoing everything that went into the Helo/Athena plotline since they were stranded together and making love on nuclear-scarred Caprica way back in season ONE? I don't think so.>>

And yet the writers did everything I mentioned in regards to Daniel:

-Made him an artist, just like Kara's dad.
-Made him mysteriously disappear, just like Kara's dad.
-Imply that he was Kara's father by having the episode all about Kara's father teaching her the Cylon music right after revealing that he existed as above.
-Leave him hanging nicely as an explanation as to why Kara had visions pre mysterious death and why Leoben was obsessed with her.

Yeah, it would have meant that Hera was less special than was set up (which could have been a plot point); and the timing doesn't work perfectly (but you are really gonna nitpick minimal inconsistiencies in BSG? Your work will never end...). But it otherwise works perfectly with *what the writers wrote into their own show*.

If they didn't intend for people to think that Daniel was Kara's father? Then they should have not have had him be an artist who mysteriously disapeared whose name started with a "D" introduced in an episode right before they had another episode all about Kara learning the cylon music from her artist father who mysteriously disapeared. And then explained why she had the same visions as (cylon) Tyrol in some other way. But they didn't. And as they were, ya know, writing the show? They certainly could have.

R.A. Porter said...

@Peter D Bakija - Kara's father didn't mysteriously disappear. He abandoned his wife and daughter to go on living his life and pursuing his music.

That's not only not mysterious, it's not uncommon.

Are you suggesting Cavil failed so miserably at killing off all the Daniels that one could become a successful and moderately famous pianist and composer without him realizing it? I suppose that's possible, but seems quite unlikely.

bakija said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bakija said...

RA Porter wrote:
>>Kara's father didn't mysteriously disappear. He abandoned his wife and daughter to go on living his life and pursuing his music.>>

He goes away when she is a kid. He could have gone away for mundane reasons. Or he could have vanished due to being boxed or whatever, and Kara was told something otherwise. That is how stories work.

>>are you suggesting Cavil failed so miserably at killing off all the Daniels that one could become a successful and moderately famous pianist and composer without him realizing it? I suppose that's possible, but seems quite unlikely.>>

No, I'm suggesting that if the writers honestly didn't see that folks would think that the whole point of introducing Daniel was that he was Kara's father, they clearly didn't do a good job of dissuading them.

Again, they could have easily written the show such that there was no ambiguity at all--made Daniel a woman. Or made Daniel not an artist who disappeared. And not had the episode right after they introduce Daniel be one where Kara remembers learning the cylon music from her artist, disappearing father who, ya know, knows the cylon music. Any number of things could have not lead to the conclusion that Daniel was Kara's father. But apparently, the writers chose not to do any of those things.

R.A. Porter said...

@Peter D Bakija - I understand what you're saying, but even one of your suggestions - making Daniel a woman - would not have made the ambiguity you and many others see go away. After "No Exit", plenty of people were theorizing that Kara herself might be Daniel due to some change that had happened to the genetic material when John/Cavil tried to corrupt it.*

Having Daniel be a woman instead of a man would only have strengthened that belief in many.

I think it's a combination of pareidolia and a complex, twisty show where people expect every story, every line, to tie into some larger mystery that is the problem. Daniel wasn't created as part of some larger mystery; rather, he was created to give John/Cavil his mark of Cain.

*I'll leave it as an exercise for someone else to wonder about the psyches of people who hear "corrupted DNA" and think "woman".

Anonymous said...

Absolutely awful! I can live with the ambiguous God resolution, but the idea that the survivors would dump all their technology is LAUGHABLE. With no medicine, no weapons, spoiled by modern living, no basic survivorship skills (some academic knowledge is NOT enough), and especially no familiarity with the ecology of this new Earth - most of them would be dead in days, or suffering horribly from disease and starvation, or at the worst, extremely uncomfortable and crying for their modern comforts that they burned up in the sun. These people struggled so hard for so long and now they purposefully decrease their odds of living based on some last-minute idealogy?? It's absolutely ridiculous and naive and I'm furious at the BG writers for insulting our intelligence. Also, you talk about the catharsis of killing off Boomer and Tory. How about justice for all the blood on Baltar's hands? Even if he made a mistake on Caprica AND New Caprica and don't hold him accountable, he knew exactly what we has doing when he gave that nuke to the Six and killed untold number of people. Of course, the cylons themselves killed even more people. Basically, BG seems to tell us that one murder deserves justice, IF we have a personal connection to the victims, but if x thousands of STRANGERS are killed, we have to forgive the crimininals and break the cycle. Absolute frakkin BS.

Anonymous said...

In response to Jonathan, I am not upset with the concept of god, I am upset with the ending of the show, because I feel it fails from a literary perspective.

I disagree with Alan, I think the ending was wrong, based on what had preceded it in the BSG story up to that point. It was not consistent with the story as it had developed to that point.

A few points:
1) The whole of season 4 was directed towards an acceptance by the leadership of the alliance - and union - of human and cylon. The human-cylon alliance - represented in its most extreme form by Hera, the actual, organic union of man and machine - was presented as the key to redemption, to the ending of the continual cycle of violence. The key here is the redemption comes from the reconciliation of man and machine, of humans and their technological creations - not from throwing the baby out with the bathwater (e.g. the humans dumping all their technology for an idyllic eden like existence on earth).

2) The defeat of Gaeta's and Zarek's mutiny, as well as the defeat of Cavil, both represent the rejection of the isolation of man from machine.

3)If the show wanted to reject the man-machine redemption theme (which is consistent with the "dump all our technology" ending), based on the union of the two, there's no place in it for having Hera, the ultimate symbol of this, live and become Mitochondrial Eve, the mother of present humanity. They should have had her killed off. That would be a very dark ending, but a consistent one if that's the message RDM wanted to convey. Instead we get what seems to be a cheap compromised feel-good ending.

4)Structurally speaking, from the perspective of "is this a great story", as in the way Shakespeare is great drama, all sorts of problems arise out of the inconsistent thematic ending - in which Hera represents the earth mother of us all - but what she symbolized - redemption through the union of man and machine - is rejected, or made inconsequential.

5) The major problem is the completely anti-scientific ending, in which modern humans are wrongly presented as the descendants of human aliens, cylons, and primitive humans. This is required if Hera is to be Mitochondrial Eve (the mother of US) for modern humans. Because all of the BSG technology must be dumped when they get to Earth in order to maintain this plot-point, which as I've explained, is also a thematic break from everything the show had been building up to.

6) One can say, "well it's OK, because it's just a story", but it is not OK, because it does not follow from what the story was leading up to to that point. It's why the ending feels hocus-pocus and false to many who are disappointed; it makes our connection to the characters on the show, well, also hocus-pocus. The whole power of BSG was that those characters, the ones we watched for years - were us. And the story was so well conceived, excluding the ending, that we really felt they were us. But they were not us in the past - and RDM insisted they were us in the past - forcing bad science and thematic inconsistencies into the show just to get that stupid punch-line at the end (Hera is the mother of present humanity).

7) Another inconsistency that has been pointed out occurs at the end of season 1, where the characters see the image of the Earth constellations in the Tomb of Athena on Kobol. How did they get there? RDM didn't get his own story, because the simplest explanation of this is that the humans brought them to Kobol from Earth - our Earth, in our future - to Kobol. So the simplest explanation - and also the best - for that - was that the humans on BSG are the descendants of us, of modern humans, not that we are their descendants. They know "All along the Watchtower", because Bob Dylan's poetry survived millenia, and humans transmitted it to cylon, and so on.

8) This is the ending that the story really calls for - that the Colonials are our descendants, that it is we who are following a Faustian path with our technology that will lead to an exodus from Earth just for survival, and more cycles of war and violence, and yet, if we can redeem it by figuring out a way to integrate our creations with ourselves -symbolized by Hera - integrate what we create with our spiritual side, the side that seeks meaning beyond that which we can understand - we still have a chance for redemption. But we are not there yet - which is why Hera represents the mother of future humanity - "Mitochondrial Eve" some thousands year into the future.

bakija said...

R.A. Porter wrote:
>>I think it's a combination of pareidolia and a complex, twisty show where people expect every story, every line, to tie into some larger mystery that is the problem. Daniel wasn't created as part of some larger mystery; rather, he was created to give John/Cavil his mark of Cain.>>

If we take Moore at his word (which we have no reason not to), then you are clearly correct. But that doesn't change the fact that the writers then seriously fumbled in their "write the story in such a way that it says what you want it to and not what you don't want it to" task.

If their intention was that Daniel was nothing more than a mostly irrelevant side note (which again, is what we have been told), then it is like the writers were an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of keyboards, and the accidentally stumbled upon "Daniel is clearly supposed to be Kara's father" and then it fell into the script.

It isn't like it is reading into really subtle subtext, here. It is:

-Is Daniel an artist, just like Kara's dad? Check.

-Did Daniel disapear, just like Kara's dad? Check.

-Did Kara's dad know the mysterious cylon music, just like the other cylons? Check.

-Does Daniel being Kara's dad explain an awful lot of unexplained things about Kara? Check.

-Was Daniel introduced right before we get a whole episode involving major revelations about Kara's dad? Check.

-Did Daniel and Kara's dad have similar names? Check.

I'm not saying the writers are lying to us. I'm saying that if they *didn't* want the viewers to take that Daniel was Kara's father from the story, they did a really bad job of that.

Amy Sisson said...

The way you've written about the finale has made me emotionally experience it all over again. Thanks! It's not the direction I would have chosen, but in the end I am very, very happy with this series as a whole. Best show I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still checking this thread, there's an hilarious article at Washington Post/PC World, 10 Business Lessons from BSG, though you have to sit through a ten second advert first.
- anonymoose

electricia said...

We never saw any definitive geographic and architectural proof that "Revelations" Earth was our Earth, no matter how much some of us (and I put myself at the head of that line) wanted to believe that we were staring at the ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Well, I never thought it was the Brooklyn Bridge, but...

There was an entire story arc which culminated in the fact that Earth was situated in such a way that it could see its 12 brothers and sisters in the sky - the 12 constellations that the 12 colonies were named for. And those 12 colonies had pictures of our corresponding 12 constellations on their flags. Which means that Earth - the one they were searching for, the one the 13th Tribe went to - was situated in such a specific place in the universe that those constellations would appear a very specific way. That was a signpost to Earth, it directed them to other signposts to Earth, which led them, eventually to Earth. So to me, that's a pretty specific indication that the irradiated Earth that they found was our Earth, and retconning something as big as that bugs me. The whole reason Kara went back to get the Arrow from Caprica (when she found Helo, Anders, and the rest) was to open up the Temple, which showed them a map to Earth. OUR Earth, with its 12 constellations. BLAH.

Other than that, I feel the same way about this as a lot of the other disappointed folks out there. I was underwhelmed, and the determinist "God did it" explanation just didn't do it for me. Nor did Kara as an Angel, or the return to the primitive. Even after seeing the fruition of the flashbacks, I'd still rather know about Kara and her pristine viper than watch Lee chase a pigeon.

It's not like it ruined the show for me, I still had a great time on the ride until it ended.

Sorry for the late response, but it actually took me a week to read all of the responses before posting.

Magpie said...

I wrote this (at another forum) after watching Daybreak part 1 (online - a week behind everyone else)

"I haven't been overly ecstatic with this last half of season but I've been hanging in there. Daybreak part 1, really, really moved me even though others have been less moved. I cried through quite a few scenes. I don't always know where the show is going or why it's doing what it is but I seem to have so much faith I'm willing to - with an open heart and mind - just follow it where it takes me. This episode was all about mood for me and very little about plot.

It's a rare show that can completely pull off a final episode. It's almost as if the writers/producers don't know what the purpose is. Say goodbye? Tie up plot lines? Tell us how people are going to fare? Make a memorable epic episode? I won't be too disappointed if the final fails to produce. It's been a wonderful ride and one I've not taken with too many shows. But I'm hoping my reaction to this penultimate episode is a good sign that I won't be disappointed."

My thoughts after watching the finale? Well, like Boomer, they made a choice. They went with a certain approach (in the myriad available to them) in how to 'end it all'. It worked for me. I wasn't disappointed one bit. I found I didn't need it all tied up. I was surprised but then amused by the little coda at the end. It turned the whole mood around didn't it? And again, I saw it as a choice made by Moore to do so and I enjoyed it.

So, thanks guys... for everything.

Anonymous said...

A 5-star series with a zero-star epilog --- brilliant until it forgot to end with Hera looking up. The epilog trivialized 5 seasons of a really good series --- and did not, for me, tie up any of the many narrative loose ends (to be kind).

Anonymous said...

a question that goes a long, long way back:

so who left the "there are 12 models" note for Adama at the end of the pilot?

Anonymous said...

A couple of those "business lessons" strike a sour note, but on the whole it was a fun article.

"all sorts of problems arise out of the inconsistent thematic ending - in which Hera represents the earth mother of us all - but what she symbolized - redemption through the union of man and machine - is rejected, or made inconsequential."

I think you oversimplify to consider cylons "mere machines" akin to the ships and technology aboard the ships that is jettisoned into the sun at the end of the finale.

What Hera symbolized was redemption through the union of ALL SENTIENT PEOPLES. People, not humans. Key difference. Cylons aren't human. But they are PEOPLE.

The tech the remnants of colonial human society rejected to join the back-to-nature hippy commune with their cylon rebel fellows and primitive neoEarth natives... that tech is NOT sentient, self-aware, capable of feeling, etc. etc. How is rejecting that anything akin to what rejecting Hera/the cylon rebels would be? The friendly cylons are as different from the tech they left behind as human beings are from a stone lying on the soil of their new home.

"Did Kara's dad know the mysterious cylon music, just like the other cylons? Check."

You're right that the writers could have done a better job not making people think Daniel was Starbuck's father (or if female, was Starbuck), but... I wish you'd stop calling it cylon music. Just because the music was significant to the cylon final five and from the 2000-year-ago earth doesn't mean it was chiefy cylon music. After all, Starbuck's connection to it and all... I think it's meant to be more of a common cultural thread in both groups' past. A sort of cultural Hera uniting the sides.

Robin Pierson said...

It felt quite Biblical. God kicked man out of Eden, flooded the Earth, sent prophets and finally his only son. All to tell humanity how to live. Linking all the "new" starts humanity was given in BSG made "God" the obvious answer to all the mysterious plot elements.

So say I not said...

I'm not one of the 300,000 who ever enjoyed BSG. I tried, god knows. And it doesn't surprise me that after all the Deus ex machinas that BSG relied on so heavily to maintain its dramatic momentum that the finale should dispense with the machina and just rely on the Deus. The best I can say about it was that it was less pretentious than Dynasty.

Flint's Doorknob said...

If Battlestar was a movie, the ending would have been with Adama on the mountaintop with Laura's grave. The scene with Head Baltar and Head Six would have been after the credits. I know no other way to word it than that.I really loved the ending(s?).

ML said...

I was brought to tears when Adama placed his ring on Roslin's finger after she died.

Did anyone notice that we've seen this image before? I never noticed until I re-watched season 4.

In the episode "Hub" (season 4, episode 11) wherein Roslin has visions in the rogue baseship. After removing Baltar's bandages, she has a vision of herself passing away on her deathbed, with adama by her side. Right after passing away, he places his ring on her finger.

These were two of the most emotional moments of the series.

Mike M. said...

I decided after missing the 1st episode of season 4.5 on tv to cut myself off of all news of the show until it came out on dvd. It was tough not to watch it for a good 7 months but well worth it.

After just watching the last 2 parts of Daybreak this morning Thanksgiving Day 2009 I just gave myself the best Thanksgiving gift of all-time.

What a truly emotional journey this show has been personally. I would have never thought Gaius Baltar fraking Gaius Baltar would leave me weeping like a little baby (about Farming). It just touched me right to my core.

The only gripe I had about the finale was with the Adama's. I can definitely understand Gallen's decision to remove himself from humanity and cyclon to live the rest of his life in seclusion but not Admiral Adama. It did seem fitting for Adama to build Laura her cabin but what about his relationship with his son?! Just thats it ill see you later im going to live up on a hill and die? What about a farewell between Adama and Tigh?
Why is Lee Adama left the odd-man out? Fatherless & Loveless ? I didnt understand that at all and didnt like it. Especially Admiral Adama up on a hill.

Question left unanswered...

-Is Admiral Adama a cyclon/a god/a prophet? we will never know.. Personally I have a very strong feeling Adama is/was Daniel. Kara Thrace's father as well as Lee's

My personal opinion:
I always felt the show was going to end the way it did but with Lee Adama and Kara Thrace as the only 2 making it to Earth. With Bill Adama being god or the ultimate creator. Lee Adama being the proverbial "ADAM" with Starbuck being the proverbial "EVE" starting the human race.

OVERALL A BEAUTIFUL SHOW THAT WILL BE ETCHED IN MY MEMORY FOR A LONG-TIME BRAVO TO ALL INVOLVED

SO SAY WE ALL

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