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


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Anonymous said...

i was pretty horribly disappointed by the way in which the very last scene seem to reduce it all to "DON'T BUILD ROBOTS." should have ended with adama at roslin's grave. that the planet had africa and asia was a clear enough connection to OUR earth to make the whole robots!!! sequence way over the top.

Anonymous said...

So say we all. I loved it.

It's the characters. It's always been the characters.

Newscoma said...

So say we all. It was fantastic.
The characters were amazing and I look forward to seeing Moore's next piece of art.

Unknown said...

You drank the kool-aid. You drank it so hard that you're drunk. Seriously. It was like someone phoned in the most of the plot in the final two hours. And the last 30 minutes was trying far too hard to milk emotion and cinematic scenes. So very amateur.

So much cliche. So many weak ties. So much trying to impress someone other than the viewers. Thanks for a wasted experience.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the moral was "don't build robots" - i think it was "respect life."

What a great show.

So say we all.

Anonymous said...

very disappointed. very. after all the investment in the story and these characters the only real answer we get is it was 'god' and there were angels directing the remanants of mankind and cylons to this new start. and we shouldn't do it again. trite. disappointing. and when finally fighting to find a new home they quietly decide to just go and hide in a corner.

SJ said...

A little too on the nose about the parallels to our society and whatnot...that last shot of all the current robots was annoying.

Still, what an episode. I was rather shocked to see the ad for "The Plan"

Unknown said...

It might be the characters, that it's always been about the characters. But any good storytelling needs a balance between story and characters and the finale (as well as the last half season) has forgotten how to tell a good story. I found the finale just more and more disappointing as it went on. Kara as an angel felt like a cheat, if only b/c neither the Baltar or Caprica angels (and I hate calling them that now) ever showed any self-awareness outside of the presence of the two characters they were visiting. Kara clearly existed independently and even questioned her own identity. I can see where Moore is coming from there, but in terms of the universe and story he created, it still feels like a cheat. As, for example, does Cavil killing himself. I'm thinking of The Shield right now and how expertly it integrated story and character so that it felt of a piece by the end, and how lumpy and uneven this felt.

Alan, you raise lots of great points about the finale, and I don't disagree. But they felt like points, not an actual integrated whole.

Anonymous said...

It was super dusty in my house during the last 40 minutes of the show. I loved it.

Jerimy Tate said...

I think that the message of repeating mistakes was clear enough, without having to go to present day and be like THIS IS US BE CAREFUL! just seems silly. The allusions were pretty blatant before. But this was way way too much.

SJ said...

So Kara Thrace was Jesus?

Anonymous said...

how about respect your audience and don't end the story by giving them a basketful of lame new age cliches.

Unknown said...

So say we all!

I absolutely loved it through and through.

I laughed, I teared up, I marvelled at the action, I laughed that the SFX crew still couldn't find a way to make the Centurions fit naturally into the scene (they were always the only weak spot in my estimation), but that was some fine art.

Thank you Alan for this amazing review and getting me hooked onto this show.

I'm going to miss it.

Anonymous said...

I loved ever second of it, odd angels and all. I have to say that it was one of the best endings to a great series I have seen on TV even though I would have liked it to end with Adama at his Love's grave.

The current day scene does not bug me though. ;)

Anonymous said...

The character beats were amazing. Some of the best television ever produced. I'm particularly struck by the Adama ended up as a Robinson Crusoe type character, similar to the one in Searider Falcoln. What a subtle, and utterly poetic way leave him and Roslin.

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.

Anonymous said...

I really liked it. The opera house sequence was wonderfully done. Maybe it's cause I'm religious, but God's plan always works for me.

I agree with Katie to some extent. Don't believe it was horrible, but would have loved to end with Adama and Roslin and the Passacaglia playing than with New York. I'll miss the show.

Steve Ely said...

Alan, I enjoyed it as much as you did, so I'm kind of surprised that you're also right that so many people didn't. Oh, well. I'm kind of sad for all the people who are disappointed, but I am fully satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alan. Your entries (and Mo's! Thanks, Mo!) have been crucial to my Saturday mornings for a while now...

I count myself in the camp of 'disappointed that Moore went with a divine answer, but willing to accept his position' camp.

I had intentionally avoided the miniseries, but accidentally seeing 30 seconds of '33' was enough to hook me to the end.

Jenny said...

The rumbles of dismay and disapproval in many quarters have indeed begun, as you say, but I think I'm in your "pro" camp, Alan.

I found the transition from the end of the final battle to the idyllic grasslands of Earth(2) to be too quick; I actually didn't get the fact that all of Cavil's forces had been destroyed until I read the stuff you've posted tonight.

The business about the Head Six and Baltar really being angels, along with Kara, will take a while to sink in. The deist implications of all this are kind of heavy.

The ending to the Laura/Bill and Saul/Ellen stories were pitch perfect, and worked exceptionally well with the flashback scenes throughout the three-parter (which I, for the record, liked).

As a big Agathon family fan, I was happy to see them together and well at the end, but I found that ending a little too happy.

I'm going to watch the thing again tomorrow and try get a better handle on all this.

Unknown said...

I didn't really mind the Coda, I just wish they had cut the dialogue and the robot montage. The view of the article, then cut to Six and Baltar maybe holding hands, and then pan out to the Times Square robot advertisements without dialogue. I loved our Watchtower though.

Anonymous said...

so say we all.... some love it, some hate it as can be expected.

for me? frakin' great. fix here or there, sure- but really, really good.

just great.... SO SAY WE ALL, ya'
bunch of geeks.... :-)

Anonymous said...

Adama at Roslin's grave should have been the ending. The scenes in present time felt preachy and broke the spell for me.

Unknown said...

I was immensely satisfied, so much so that it may be days before I start obsessing about the things I'm apparently not meant to fully understand. And for the first time all week I'm NOT annoyed about not having been at the screening. For me, at least, watching the way I usually do seems to work better...but it has been hard waiting.

-- Ellen

Doza said...

Not Jesus, more like Moses.

Unknown said...

Every time Saul screamed in the strip club, I just about died in laughter.

The first hour, with the assault on the Colony was some of the best in any scifi show. It ranked there up with some of dramatic episodes from Babylon 5. I was actually at the edge of my seat, something a tv show or movie rarely does. Bravo.

The last half hour was ok, but it was what I expected. I am in the crowd that didn't like the "It's god's plan" reasons, because it's a writers cop out. But I expected this and can accept the ending that was given to us.

One question though, the Colony might have fallen into the black hole, but there were at least 2 base ships that still exist.

Malcolm said...

Very disappointed. I'm a viewer who definitely prioritized the characters over the mythology and loved this final season, but boy did I feel like the ball was dropped.

I feel manipulated, even. Guilty that I just can not buy this finale as if I feel like I owe the show and the creators something.

My first, minor complaint, is that I had a lot of difficulty suspending my disbelief as to the fact that the fleet would be amenable to "roughing it" and being absorbed into the cultures of a primitive Earth.

But even as I tried to see past that, the last scene was awful.

It felt like Ron Moore was saying "FRAK YOU" to the intelligence of his viewers. It was so overt and heavy-handed in connecting dots that simply didn't need any lines.

I'm stunned at how clumsy, amateur, and cloying this ending was. Certainly not a bad episode- but it just doesn't do justice to the series that preceded it.

Jenny said...

@Beth: I think that change to the coda would have made it more tonally right, to me. But if Six and Baltar didn't speak then it wouldn't have been as clear that they're "angels" or whatever.

Jenny said...


My first, minor complaint, is that I had a lot of difficulty suspending my disbelief as to the fact that the fleet would be amenable to "roughing it" and being absorbed into the cultures of a primitive Earth.

I can buy that; these are people who have been confined to space ships for years at a time, and it's not like New Caprica was an ideal planetary experience. I can see people thinking, we're not going to be able to replenish our technology and creature comforts anyway, and the green grass and blue sky are better in the long run.

Anonymous said...

So Say We All

I thought it was fantastic throughout. Really the only issue I have is with the charred earth - I remembered RDM explicitly saying in a podcast or an interview that the charred earth was our earth, and there wasn't another earth out there. Since it wasn't within the series itself though, I can let that go and just enjoy the wonderful story we have been told over the past five years.

EMK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So say we all.

Anonymous said...

By the many of you wanted to see the polygraph results of Adama's answering the question of whether he was a Cylon. Foreshadowing Caprica?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of your great comments on the series, Alan. And this last was true to form: a very fitting review of the finale.

I am happy with it, even if I am a bit misty eyed over so much becoming mystified in the great ether. But the biggest plot hole I bumped over is less the spiritual than the idea that if humans and cylons abandoned technology, they also effectively abandon recorded history, thus making repetition more likely. Forget, and be doomed to repeat as is said again, and again, and again . . .

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. :)

Ah, well, alles gut that ends gut. It is Ron Moore's tale and I'm grateful for four years of listening to his telling!


SJ said...

That scene of Baltar crying over remembering his past (and I guess his father) was probably the most touching.

The most intense has to be Tyrol's expression and then him choking Tory.

Doza said...

Deus Ex Machina in the most literal sense.

I was disappointed.

Anonymous said...

as someone who wasn't impressed going into tonight's episode, this was a great finale. Some of the dialogue between Baltar and Cavil and Baltar and Six about religion seemed forced (would have been more effective to use visuals to tell the story) but that's nitpicking. The ending could have ended with just a question about the cycle repeating, rather than Six and Baltar hashing out probabilities.

In retrospect, the "first Earth" was a perfect red herring, because they weren't ready for real Earth. The cylons and humans had simply agreed to a truce, and as you said, there was still a lot of unresolved issues to come out. We needed this cleansing.

I read your interview about the Daniel character and that still seems iffy. I mean, the beginning of this series was sort of built on our curiosity as to who the "12 models" were. Every few episodes we'd learn a new identity and that would lead us to a bigger piece of the "puzzle". So, Alan, Moore just threw a 13th model in for 30 seconds of backstory? Seems out of place.

Anonymous said...

So say we all.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts:

I think the final scene was to be taken more in a "all of this has happened before..." sense than "robots = evil".

I liked how the image of the fleet flying into the sun closely mirrored the one from the miniseries (the one that is in the credits while "searching for a home" is on screen).

Finally, is Ron Moore's cameo supposed to imply that God (though he doesn't like to be called that) told him to write this show?

Liz said...

Loved it. Absolutely loved it. I think it all tied together perfectly. I really don't care about the concrete answers. I just cared about the characters and I was satisfied with every single resolution on that front. And I don't really understand the dissatisfaction with the God answer -- religion has been part of this series almost from the beginning. I'm not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, but it made sense to me because it fit the context of the show.

Oh well, I'm sorry to see some people were so unhappy with it. But at least I was happy and if I've learned anything from Baltar, it's that it's all about me. :)

Anonymous said...

I thought it was amazing. An excellent end to the series.

I am confused about the show Caprica though. It is pretty clear in BSG that the colonial cylons were never humanoid, yet all the previews seem to imply that human colonial scientists are indeed building humanoid cylons. I guess I'll see how it pans out in the show itself, which I'm still a little skeptical about as far as the necessity. We know how it all turns out. Prequels never live up to the quality of the original. Eh.

I think people complaining about the montage with robots at the end are interpreting wrong. It's not just a "don't build robots", it's just highlighting the fact that we don't know if the cycle of "all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again" has truly been broken, and that what happened to Kobol, the Colonies, and the original Earth might indeed happen yet again.

I also really enjoy the idea that somewhere out there is a civilization of Cylon centurions, but 150,000 years more advanced than the ones we know. I'd be incredibly intrigued to see what that civilization looks like right now.

Anonymous said...

I think it would have been more powerful if Tory DIDN'T make her speech about letting the past go and Tyrol just found out and reacted.

Oh, and Moore should have used Dylan's All Along the Watchtower rather than Hendrix's.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

To Galactica!
To the men and women of Galactica!
To the Admiral, who commands the men and women of Galactica!
And to their sweethearts, husbands, and wives!
To absent friends!

Anonymous said...

Oh, the one thing I want to add is that the one thing I'm disappointed about is that Daniel the 13th cylon had no real significance. It didn't effect my enjoyment of the series finale episode in any way, but as far as the season itself I just don't see the reason for throwing out the idea of a 13th cylon all of the sudden if it wasn't going anywhere. I think it would have been better off not being mentioned.

But like I said, it didn't make me enjoy the finale episode any less.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that I noticed now, but didn't during the episode...where the frak is D'anna? She was practically the leader of the rebel cylons, but she has had virtually no presence since the fleet left the real Earth. I think she should have been a part of the final assault on the cylon colony.

I guess it's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, it just would have been cool to see her character in the end game.

Malcolm said...

Back again.
From my perspective (a mixture of both my own disappointment and the difficulties of reading just your text), the good points that you (Alan) highlight seem very discrete to me. I definitely did love the character moments, the flashbacks, Adama/Roslin, Baltar/Six in the field...

But the narrative of the last hour was just weak and it really didn't do justice to the characters. Maybe in a couple of days I'll think back to the character moments in the finale, but right now all I can think about is how the story failed them. And that is important. I won't let my love for the characters cause me to give a pass to Ronald Moore here.

Also, I don't have an issue with the inclusion of a deity and a "plan" in the show... but it just came so heavy at the end that it just felt like (and I certainly recognize this isn't Ron Moore's intention) a deus ex machina.

Kara as an "angel" particularly bothered me because of her physical presence. I'm ok with "head" Baltar and "head" Six and how they interacted with their counterparts- that was great... but again, I feel like too much is being asked to just accept that this deity was also able to conjure up a living, breathing being and then do away with it. Ron Moore used a blunt and cheap instrument.

Unknown said...

As I have with the series all along, in spite of some little problems here and there I really enjoyed the finale. I was glad how it ended and absolutely loved what they did w/ Kara. And Alan as always thank you for great show recaps and analysis!

Anonymous said...

Deus ex machina = God from the machine.

Even if it hadn't been hinted at the whole series, still appropriate, no?

Topcat said...

I loved it. I'm still crying. I'm so going to miss mom, dad and the twins and everyone else.

Starbuck and Roslin espicially are making me cry.

Unknown said...

Definitely have mixed feelings about this ending. The first hour was terrific. Great action sequences and tying in the opera house was good, a little bit of a stretch but still pretty good. I esp. liked the final five standing on the balcony. The death of Boomer and Tory were both satisfying. Even going to Earth 2 and the Human/Cylons being our ancestors I had thought about.

As for the God's hand. I think the show has been going there for quite some time and I can appreciate Moore and Eick's agnostic view of the Universe. I think the ending with the focus on the robots was too much though. I think another person said it best. Although I don't think that they are saying stop technology as Caprica 6 angel expressed optimism that our society won't destroy itself. But still focusing on the robots I think sent the wrong message.

So in the end, were there faults, definitely. But no series finale could have lived up to the expectations set-up. Overall this was was still the best frakking show on tv, ever.

Anonymous said...

The shot of Galactica and eventually the fleet popping into Earth orbit was spectacular.

* Did anyone else flash back to Light Ship John (Edward Mulhare) sending Apollo on a mission to Terra only to speak to an unseen angel at the end? It all happened before and it happened again!

* Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! I kept waiting for a colonial grunt to shout, "He knocked his block off!"

* Music was incredible. So incredible.

* SPFX were as good as and better than any movie I've seen. Glorious!

I'm so bummed it's frakkin over.

Anonymous said...

It has been abundantly clear since at least the first season that supernatural entities or "god" was influencing events. To me, this has been confirmed ever since it was shown for sure that Head Six wasn't due to a chip in Baltar's head. What other explanation would there be?

The only part I didn't totally dig in the finale was a pretty minor element, but the reveal of Hoshi being the new Admiral...I was just kind of like "...really?" I don't even remember him having more than a few lines before Daybreak part 1 and the webisodes. But hey, like a said, very minor point. I guess it was kind of funny, like Alan said.

All in all I thought the finale was brilliant. They pulled it off. What a great series.

Anonymous said...

So say we all.

Now, down to the brass tax: Wire, Sopranos, Deadwood and BSG. Rank them.

My vote:
The Wire (c'mon)

Do it, Alan, do it.

Unknown said...

Fraking brilliant. People complaining about deus ex machina apparently don't read much sci-fi. It's almost required.

Great farewell to the characters and a cool wrap up to the series.

Anonymous said...

In the end, I just feel underwhelmed by the series as a whole. This last ep didn't help at all. I guess I'm not a big enough fan but I know I'll NEVER be watching another ep of hti show again. I wanted to love it, tried to love it but it was just a burden to sit through it, hoping it wouldn't suck in the end. Not to compare it to anything, but great series like THE WIRE or LOST demand my attention and they reward it with such amazing moments of drama and grace. It'll be a while before I bother with anything like this again.

For me, science fiction just remains too schlocky for its own good to ever be artful. The rare exceptions: 2001 (still the greatest film ever made), BLADE RUNNER, CEOT3K seem to make us believe and htink in somthing more than this planet we're on. BSG never got close to greatness. Fw make it, so the letdow isn't such a big deal.

Kubrick was right. He shot for the moon to make the greatest piece of science fiction ever and he did it.

It's all been downhill since.

Good night, all.

Anonymous said...

See, I don't think is a case of Deus Ex Machina. Going to Chekhov's gun theory--if you introduce a gun in act one, you need to shoot it by act three--it's only Deus Ex Machina if you forget to introduce the gun in act one.

God and religion has always been a major theme of this show, and it's always been made clear that god was directing the path. Viewers, through eyes of atheists like Adama or Baltaer, simply chose not to believe it.

In fact, if it turned out god wasn't the driving force, it would have been like introducing a gun in act one, but then having the murderer use a knife in act three. They spent all this time establishing that god had brought about miracle after miracle in these people's lives. If god didn't play a part in the finale, THAT would have been the cheat.

Anonymous said...

The truth is this...ending a series is like ending a rips your heart out and leaves you wishing for what might have been. I tip my hat to BSG and will say that they have done a great service to human kind by capturing the essence of humanity far better than an philosopher/religionist/politician/etc. Bravo..

ps - the greatest gift BSG leaves us is our own imagination to wonder, what if....

Wendymoon said...

I have mixed emotions about the finale. As I let it sink in I am happier about some things that at first made me angry, but some others still don't make sense.

The opera house vision coming true was pretty cool.

As far as the endings for the different characters go... Helo surviving was a nice surprise. Baltar and Caprica together was great. Adama putting the ring on Roslin was touching. And reading the thoughts of him ending up alone like the Searider Falcon guy makes some sense (although I still think it was dumb for him to leave Lee like that).

Tyrol really got a bad deal. Lost Boomer twice. Lost a wife and son. Although he never really seemed to love Cally he avenged her death... by killing the woman he was supposed to have had a relationship with thousands of years ago? (Not that I was too attached to Tory, but anyway.)Life stinks for him.

Kara disappearing seemed cheap, and what was that line about the first day of the rest of your life? Lame. Also, while I'm not a Lee/Kara shipper I did think they would end up together. But with the flashback and pigeon scene and all I think the point is they always had something, but they were never meant to be.

As far as everyone being willing to ditch their tech - seems dumb. Everyone is splitting up, doesn't seem like they'll survive at all. Adama's alone, Tyrol's alone, Lee's alone, others scattered.(So maybe they don't survive... Hera being "Eve" would imply everyone came from her line, not the 30,000 some people that scattered.)

Did not like the Ron D. Moore cameo. Or the thing about the name of god. (I think Ron has a god-complex, frankly.) And the last bit with the modern robots seemed heavy-handed and overdone.

I was also waiting for one more good twist that never came. I had been spoiled about the last scene being Six in NY, and was hoping it would be untrue or have more to it.

Overall, good moments with the characters and some good resolution, bad last several minutes and some too easy cop-outs.

Anonymous said...

Four years of writing angry must have made writing 1 hour of happy difficult.

1st hour was great. 2nd hour was underwhelming.

So says I.

However there will always be the beauty of the first two and half seasons - bar none the best television had to offer during the run of those episodes.

Jenny Melzer said...

I loved it. Not a single complaint here. The entire series was all about the people, and I wanted to know what "happened" to them in the end. I was satisfied with how they ended it. Now what the frak am I gonna watch?

Finísima Persona said...

First of all, and echoing my praises after your recaps of "The Wire", you really made this series much more enjoyable than just watching by itself, Alan. The next round of shots at a Caprican titty bar are on me, big guy!

And second, and this being said as one of the biggest atheist to ever roam the earth, I had absolutely no problems with the "God's grand plan" nature in the finale (and most of the series). It's sometimes comforting to realize that you can care about people's lives and deaths without a crystal clear explanation of their roles within a seemingly chaotic structure.

I accepted from the get go the whole "All of this has happened before..." line of reasoning, and I'm not about to drop belief on it on the last episodes and let something like that ruin the entire ride for me. I'm satisfied, moved, grateful and a whole lot of other emotions at this particular time, so I'll just let them wash through...

So Say We All??

Frakkin' A!

John said...

It's been a long, strange trip with "Battlestar Galactica." It's a show I've enjoyed; but also one that's frustrated me. It's setting and cast of characters seemed too dark, even nihilistic. It threw a random sex scene into almost every episode. It's plot developments were sometimes random; and appeared to cater to the momentary whims of the show's writers.

Non-the-less, the cast was excellent (My main man Michael "Saul Tigh" Hogan will never get the credit he deserves); the writing often brilliant, and you have to respect a show that allows loose ends to go unresolved (just like life). Up until now, I've never been tempted to revisit old episodes. Until now I haven't be sold on the show... Until now.

The moments in this show, just one after another, were some of the series best. Galactica jumping right into the face of the Cylon colony; Caprica Six finally being proud of Baltar; Cavil walking determinedly through Galactica's defenses while the Centurions flanking him shoot everyone in sight; Baltar convincing Cavil to a truce; Galen strangling Tory when he discovers what she did to his wife, which sets off a terrible chain reaction that results in Cavil eating his own gun and the colony's self-destruction; Kara punching in the jump coordinates that reconcile to Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," Baltar crying when he finally accepts himself and his past; the angel Six and Baltar walking through OUR modern Time's Square.

The image that'll stick with me for the longest time, though, will be Bill Adama looking over the future home of his and Laura's cabin. A singularly exquisite moment, and the most perfectly sad end to the most satisfying romantic relationship on the series.

It wasn't a perfect show. The final montage of real-world robotics hit it's point home with all the subtly of a sledge-hammer; and the conceit of giving up technology to have a 'clean slate' was a sloppy way of justifying how the colonial fleet could exist on our planet without leaving a trace 150,000 years ago.

Still, give me moments like the ones I mentioned above, and I'd accept larger plot hiccups than that any day.

Anonymous said...

One thing you can take to the bank. when it comes time to kill people off on LOST who have it coming, there won't be all those happy endings. If you don't have the stones to kill off at least some of your beloved characters, than you never had the real stones to make the show great.

Of course, that only goes for shows that are life and death.

Malcolm said...

After thinking a bit more and reading all the other comments, my view of deus ex machina here has softened. As other people have pointed out, the ideas about a deity and its intervention is not out of nowhere but has been a part of the series... So perhaps that phrase isn't suitable here. But until sleep and time leads to clearer thoughts,I'll still say that the role that the divine plays in the finale was overt and mishandled. Awesome, awesome show; good finale; disappointing conclusion.

Chuchundra said...

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

I'd like to touch on something that hasn't been mentioned yet. The irony of Tyrol being so enraged by his wife's murder that he had to kill Tory. Right there. With his bare hands.

Yet Baltar sits and chats nicely with Caprica 6 who took an active role in the genocide of tens of billions of humans. In fact, the idea that the humans would in any way make common cause with the very people who murdered their wives, husbands, sons and daughters is just nonsense.

You can see that this idea dawned on Moore eventually as he refers to the "Fall" of Caprica. Caprica didn't fall. It was bombed out of existence in a sneak attack. It wasn't a fall, it was a massacre.

Anonymous said...

That final scene broke the fourth wall, in a way that the show has never done before, and it bothered me to no end.

Way to invalidate a finale that I loved 85% of the way?

Anonymous said...

My take on the finale was in line with the series over the past two seasons: It's a well-written, well-acted show with terrible, terrible oversight.

Individual scenes were quite moving, but the notion of the characters landing on the-Earth-we-know 150k yrs before now is terribly hackneyed. At least Douglas Adams made them all hairdressers and middle managers.

AndyW said...

67 comments and nobody's said it?

WALL-E did it better.

Same ending.

Anyhoo, I liked a lot of the emotions, but the logic of it was all pretty ad-hoc. It would have been cool if the final flash-forward would have been 8,000 years - i.e. as soon as the Galacticans arrived, Earth civilization began.

150,000 years - there was still some pretty serious evolving going on with the human race. Did Tyrol father the Neanderthals or what?

The coda-- eh, who knew angels could be total douchebags?

It all goes back to, a perfect ending to a long-running series is a pretty tall order. I liked this one about as well as I liked the "Buffy" finale, so that's not terrible. They gave us as much closure as they could under the circumstances. I'll accept it.

Unknown said...

"The one thing that I noticed now, but didn't during the episode...where the frak is D'anna? She was practically the leader of the rebel cylons, but she has had virtually no presence since the fleet left the real Earth. I think she should have been a part of the final assault on the cylon colony."
The only D'anna model left stayed on ruined Earth. Which is why we haven't seen her since then.

I may not have agreed with every choice made in the last three hours of the show, but when a group of such creative people have shared so much of that creativity in such an enjoyable way over the last few years, I feel like they deserve to be indulged.

Hyde said...

Still working through my feelings, but as of now, I'm ambivalent. Reading the review has helped, though. I enjoyed seeing Tory receive her justice, especially since killing Cally about 15 episodes back is the one and only interesting thing the character ever did.

I too find it hard to believe that the newcomers on "earth" wouldn't have made any effort whatsoever to preserve any vestige of their technology, or even the very basics of culture. Our ancestors were drawing on caves as soon as they were able, but these characters were willing to simply give that all up?

And not to get too geeky, but I believe the notion of mitochondrial Eve is a little more nuanced than this episode would have us believe. "Eve" is the oldest human being who had some of her genetic legacy survive to the present day--it's not exactly the same thing as the biblical Eve. Someone who knows this stuff better than me might want to expound on that.

Anyway, the show will be dearly missed. I look forward to Moore's future projects with great anticipation.

Tyro.k.y said...

Daybreak was a disappointing finale, not a poor one. It had great back story of major characters. It effectively dealt with some of the more compelling plot lines introduced such as the Opera House; this was fantastically done and creative to have the Galactica as the opera house. It, for the most part, revealed the end of the journey for our characters and a new beginning. It continued with two major "philosophies" of the show: the cycle of life and the role of God.

But, here is where I found it disappointing. Where throughout the series God(s) has always had a role it was balanced with some form of science perspective. Baltar's answer to all the major events shut down the chance of a scientific explanation. The very least they could have done was thrown in a twist that allowed open ended interpretation. While the series dealt with the glory of creation and then the horrible actions of man (the denial of a.i life), the finale simply stated, technology = bad and we can not cope with it. This was all nicely done with Lee's stupid argument about getting rid of the ships. I loved how Kara disappears and Lee is at peace. Come on, what crap is that? I loved how it became God, whatever happened to the Godssss?

So, my problem with the finale isn't that they had God(s) in it but that's all they gave us. They didn't give us any form of bone for science, no hint at an outside force. It felt like:

intelligence, science & technology = bad for humans

emotions, soul & religion = good for humans

I'm sorry but that's a load of crap. And, hence it was a dissapointing finale with nice bag of good parts and unfortunately bad parts.

Anonymous said...

Leaving behind technology? Ok, I get that they were fighting intelligent toasters and living inside giant toasters, etc... so "hey lets get away from it all for a while" does kinda make sense... but leaving it all behind literally? No. The entire series was fantastic right up until that last 30 min on 'New Earth' when they frakked over all of the fans with that farce of an ending. Ending with the ships still in orbit and the construction of a new ship in orbit named Galactica... now that would have been an ending!

MPH said...

Can someone please explain to me why Hera is so important now? Humans don't need her to survive or propagate the species. They can mate with themselves or with the inhabitants on new Earth.

What the hell was the point of all of this again?

God I love this show but what a horrible, infuriating ending.

PS And what was Adama's big new one-hour job anyway? Ugh.

MPH said...

And really - Kara is an "angel" too, and yet she needs another angel to teach her the way to Earth.

And her father isn't Daniel, yet also knows the music and notes to Watchtower just like Hera?

Infuriating! I don't expect the entire series to be planned out from the outset but at least have the last season make sense! What a disappointing way to end a great show.

Anonymous said...

I also did not care for the "spiritual" answer to a god pulling the strings. That god is a mean son of a gun, what's the point of that? So Dualla should have had more faith then she would have made it to the real earth, earth.2, not just to earth.1? Having a mean god is not satisfying to me. Having Kara and her mystery viper be ghostly or whatever, is lousy. The writers painted themselves into too many corners, were too clever by half in trying to tie up their loose ends, only the miraculous casting of EJO and MM bailed them out! And the main message of "get back to nature" and abandon technology is laughable.

Oh, was the Opera House a projection by Hera? I did like that payoff, even though I wasn't sure whose projection it was.

I give the entire series 4 out of 5 stars, and this finale 2 stars.

Anonymous said...

You're right Alan. As someone who didn't like the flashbacks last week. I found them better this week and in the larger context it worked.

I enjoyed the finale. I always assumed we would find we were descended by a mix of Humans and Cylons so that was satisfying. If I had two complaints, it was 1. the vagueness as to the nature of Starbuck and 2. while I did not mind seeing Head Six and Baltar in our present, the line, "You know He doesn't like to be called that!" annoyed me to no end. Literally 30 second before the ending and they have to open a huge can of worms that asks many more questions than it answers. Sigh.

But I can forgive all that. Seeing Old School vs. New School Cylons duking it out was worth the price of admission! My only wish was when they were calling out the Galactica roll call, I so wanted one of the centurions to answer.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's all folks. "Battlestar Galactica" was a landmark show in television history, defying all the odds and expectations and taking the genre to new heights. I will miss this show greatly.

BSG is at an end, and the TV world will be poorer for it.

Anonymous said...

I mostly loved it, although I'm confused about the exact timeline of the two Kara's, and about Hera's overall importance to the story (which seems nullified by the events once on earth).

The end was a bit on-the-nose for me, especially for a series that challenged you to look beneath the surface to such great reward.

That being said, i was very satisfied by the rest of the episode, and the last five minutes didn't invalidate four years of investment for me (really, that's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction I think).

Kensington said...

I feel almost ungrateful to be saying this, but the opera house resolution, as well as the resolution of Kara's nature, were really quite unsatisfying.

I really wanted to be caught up in all this, but by the end, I was feeling somewhat impatient, and as the finale wound down, I started to feel that my assessment of the entire series might have to be downgraded.

And yet!

And yet!

There were so many haunting images and moments, including the final five juxtaposed with their opera house version, as moving as it was hackneyed.

I just don't know. I just don't know.

Also, I need to say it: Mary McDonnell was smoking hot in her Caprica flashbacks tonight.

Unknown said...

I had mixed feelings about the finale. Despite it being 3 hours, it feels like they could've used another hour or so to explain some things.

That said, the first thing I want to go to is the "theme" of the series. For me, it was never about technology, but about people. About the actions people take and the consequences of people's actions. For me, the show was also about identity. The crew had to fight to work together, to figure out why they were doing what they were doing, and you could see that in the end. Furthermore, the cylons and humans had to figure out how to co-exist, as their differences were less than they thought.

In the end, Hera was less than some mythic figure, but rather, a testimony to two civilizations coming to an understanding. Certainly, humans could've isolated the cylons and reproduced on their own, but it risked the cycle happening again.

The faith stuff (I prefer using the word faith than "God"), well, that was expected. It's always been there. What I was disappointed with was twofold -

a) Some uncertainty on explanations.

b) This feeling that they had so much more.

That said, I remind myself that Ron Moore, if I remember correctly, initially wanted 5 years but was forced to make it 4.

Take a step back and value the show for it was. In terms of storytelling, in terms of a willingness to do stories that others wouldn't, BSG was one of the best. So the ending didn't end the way you wanted? This was Ron Moore's vision. Remember, while I liked the Shield ending, a lot of people were down on it as well, and a lot of people were down on Lost for a year or so (and much as I love Lost, let's face it, it's got it's core sci fi audience and a bit more, but not that much more). The storytelling was fabulous here, but what made the show stand out were the rich characters that it created. They made "robots" into these complex characters, granted, characters that evolved throughout the series. Granted, this was partly due to the Final 5.

There's so much more that I think could be told, in varying degrees. Heck ... I think there's stories that they could still tell "on Earth". Was it a perfect show? But it was damned good and one of the best of it's generation, right up there with The Shield, Lost, and others. Take a step back and view the ending within the spectrum of the show. It works enough for me.

Anonymous said...

>In fact, the idea that the humans >would in any way make common cause >with the very people who murdered >their wives, husbands, sons and >daughters is just nonsense.

Within 10 years of World War II, Germany and Japan were US allies.
As soon as the war ended, German V2 rocket scientists were helping the US develop its space program ... and on a path to becoming citizens.

Anonymous said...

For someone who cries at the drop of a hat, I was surprisingly dry-eyed. Maybe the repeat viewing will change that.

I, for one, absolutely loved the flashbacks from Part I and from tonight. In every instance, I felt they were spot on and said so much about these beloved characters just as we were preparing to say goodbye to them. It worked for me bigtime.

The present day coda in Times Square was a little too on the nose for me, but I appreciate the message. The shots of Earth were beautiful and a perfect follow-up to all the magnificent space porn we were treated to over the course of the series.

Bear's music was, once again, a highlight for me: I want a S4 Soundtrack tomorrow, please.

Finally, thank you to all the crew, producers and actors for all their hard work and incredible talent. What a pleasure it's been to have this show around to entertain me and make me think along the way.

Nicole said...

I enjoyed the finale, although it helped getting a heads up prior to the finale that RDM not all questions would be answered. I did enjoy the first hour better than the second, but some of those moments were needed in the second hour, especially the Roslin/Adam parts, which were heartbreaking. I even felt a bit sorry for Lee when Kara disappeared on him, which I hadn't managed to do much prior to then.

The flash forward to the "present" worked with regard to the mitochondrial Eve, although I didn't think RDM was going to be so obvious with the connection with us. I also don't mind the spiritual aspect to it, because in real life, there aren't pat answers or explanations for everything, and sometimes things have to be taken on faith, and not necessarily something in a religious nature.

I could see how the second half annoyed some people, the coda especially, but for me, the BSG story ended with the last shot of Bill Adama, and the rest was a bit of meta fun.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in the God/angels explanation for EVERYTHING, but I suppose it was next to impossible to resolve all those story threads in a way that would have been both coherent and satisfying, so maybe the finale was bound to be somewhat disappointing. Still, that last scene was way too heavy-handed. BSG has always been complex and intellectually challenging, and a more subtle or ambiguous ending would have suited it much better.

I agree with Alan that the emotional experience of BSG has been far more important than plot mechanics, and that's why I love the series even though I always thought some story elements were silly (going back to the Arrow of Apollo and the Tomb of Athena). There were definitely some moving scenes in this finale. But it didn't make emotional sense to me that the characters would all go their separate ways at the end. They were a family on Galactica. Why would they be loner survivalists on Earth?

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster.... for thee last episode.

I enjoyed the first hour, but what bugged me about the second, drawn-out, Return-of-the-King-esque, there's-really-still-40-minutes-left-in-this hour was...

The fact that this show, which for four seasons, was all about how people deal with each other in the context of culture and technology, ended with a message of "Return to Eden." As far as I can recall, that didn't factor into the show's mythology AT ALL until the last 45 minutes of the series. Sure, they had spent four years looking for Earth, but at no point did it ever come up that they would abandon all their culture and technology once they found Earth!

Considering how BSG drew the viewer in with its realism and bleakness, it seems like a total cop-out that they would have ended up "going native" (for lack of a better term) at the end of the series. For all the harshness the survivors dealt with living in the fleet, it wouldn't have compared at all to suddenly having to shit in the woods and avoid getting eaten by sabre-tooth tigers. You want bleakness? Life in this new paradise would have been more like Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."

Also: was anyone else bothered by the splitting up of the fleet onto the five continents? Who decided that? Was there not any debate about who would go where? After fleeing across the galaxy for four years, surviving multiple battles, New Caprica, the mutiny, etc, don't you think they would want to stay together rather than be scattered across this huge new planet??

Lastly, having the Colonials be the genetic seeds for modern humans (or human/Cylon descendants, yawn) seems vaguely insulting. Seriously, the theory of evolution is pretty amazing as-is: we came out of Africa 40,000 years ago and spread across the globe incredibly fast, thanks to our own invented culture and technology. If we need a divine/alien explanation for it, I'd rather go with the Monolith in 2001.

I don't need to say any more about how the Starbuck/Head Baltar & Six "angels" were just as much of a cop-out.

Anonymous said...

Gods and angels don't bother me. What bothers me was the unilateral decision by Lee to let caprican humanity die in childbirth, disease and ignorance. History isn't fun. It's cruel.

Anonymous said...


First, everything other than the big picture storytelling was absolutely, unequivocally, frakking amazing. The acting, visual effects, music, action, writing, images (the balcony in the CIC, the Colony, the plains of "New" Earth) various scenes and moments, character fates, just stunning, and a reminder of all the people who have worked on the show and the skill, talent, and dedication they've brought. I'm grateful to all of them for they have created.

I am, however, extremely ambivalent about some of the big ideas presented in the finale. As an aside, almost all the endings to the main characters' stories made sense and were very emotionally affecting. Great characters are the most important element to a successful story. But just like it's possible to get too focused on plot or action, you can get too narrowly focused on character, if you ignore the situations they are in. We care about the BSG characters because of who they are and because they are the sole survivors of humanity (which is why introducing the flashbacks to their lives on Caprica was a perfect choice for the finale and not any earlier). All that is just my prelude to saying I loved most of the individual character conclusions, but to be a great finale, I think the larger storytelling/mythology/fate of the human/Cylon peoples is just as important.

And that's where I don't know what to think. The single biggest problem, to me, is the decision to go native, which just kind of happened. First, it was treated as a fait accompli when this series has always been about the fact that these momentous decisions are never clean or simple - they involve messy politics, values, choices, etc. So the only explanation is everyone wants a fresh start?

That leads into the second problem, which is that I don't think it was the right decision. Do the survivors really want their descendants to be materially worse off than they were? This isn't about not having a middle class lifestlye, this is about not having things like medicine, industry, culture, etc. I was surprised to see the Rousseau-ian idea of the noble savage embraced so openly, when frankly I think it's a very shallow idea, philosophically.

I guess what the show was going for was the only way to break the cycle was to truly break everything off and start over. Maybe things like medicine, culture, etc, aren't worth it if they come packed with hatred, evil, genocide, etc. But isn't there some kind of middle way where humanity can consciously avoid the mistakes of the past? Base your religion on that universal respect for all life, human or machine. Record everything that happened, in the most comprehensive and vivid way possible, to show future generations what to do and what not to do (and record a monument to Kara Thrace, the biggest badass in the universe). I just don't see it as a binary choice.

I understand that New Caprica was failing (when the Cylons showed up) not because it was an awful planet but because of the immense baggage of humanity's past continuing the weigh upon them. But I think the point of the time since then was that humans (and Cylons) had been to move on and find a measure of catharsis. And there should be another way to do it than to revert to not having a civilization.

Sorry to write an essay there, but it does seem to be the biggest question to me. The God stuff is the other big question, and I won't get into it except to note that as much as divine powers were needed to save humans and Cylons, their role was fairly small in the big picture. The humans and Cylons still had to go through everything they did to reach the point of peace. The most important angel of all, Kara, was totally unaware of her true nature/mission/destiny and had to go through agonizing process of doing it, step by step, not knowing what was next.

Finally, there's the question of tying it all to us and making the humans/Cylons our ancestors. On the one hand, I wonder if avoiding that would have led to a different decision on the going native question (and I think a direct tie to our Earth is less important than a satisfying answer about the fate of the survivors). On the other, it was chilling to think about a lot of BSG's ideas transported directly to our context. It was a very powerful scene in the context of our times...but in 50 years, will people watching feel that way?

Anonymous said...

Wow, what are the odds another poster would make my main point two minutes before me and write it more effectively, and another would provide a witty one sentence version one minute prior? ...divine intervention perhaps? Thank you Clark Institute and Anonymous!

R.A. Porter said...

So say we all!

Reading over my comment below, I realize it's a bit...heavy. I apologize ahead of time, but the finale moved me and this is what I took away from it.

I couldn't disagree more with those who think the coda too on the nose; this isn't Ron Moore's anti-technology screed. The key shot for me is a fleeting one.

As our angels finish their conversation, the camera sweeps to some homeless people, invisible to everyone going about their business and Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" begins diagetically from a radio in one of their carts. The camera pans, and right before coming to the television showing the "Advances in Robotics" story, it slides past an old Ferrari F1 (I think it's a Tipo 500, but could be mistaken.)

The juxtaposition of our invisible humans, with one of the pinnacles of mid-20th century design and engineering - a far more organic and craftsman type of engineering - and finally with our possible inorganic future, struck me strongly. The point I see here isn't "technology bad" or "robots bad", rather that in our headlong rush forward, we pay little attention to those left behind. And further that we're abandoning the art and humanity of our earlier technology for something far more sterile. In the words of Lee Adama:

If there's one thing that we should have learned, it's that, you know, our brains have always outraced our hearts. Our science charges ahead. Our souls lag behind.

And lest we forget Dylan, in his live performances of Watchtower he repeats the first verse after the ominous ending, indicating a cycle of destruction and ending on these lines:

Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

We reach for the stars and often stand on the backs of our brothers and sisters to get there. We explore and build and study the mysteries of the universe without first studying the mysteries in our own hearts.

Finally, Moore makes it clear that we *are* all brothers and sisters; Hera is our mother and the Colonists and Cylons our aunts and uncles. We must learn from their mistakes and come together as a family.

Anonymous said...

This show would have been much better if there had been a season less... a lot of pointless blabla cut out and a bit more action in space here and there (like during the first two seasons)

That said i liked the finale a lot and it is good that it finaly found an ending (i bet they could have added a cupple of seasons with an ease, based on the popularety)

And everyone exept for Baltar (well angle baltar, and agele caprica but still :-D) is dead... wich i realy was hoping for becaus a lot of the major characters were just pissing me of lately. ;-)

Wendymoon said...

Anonymous tahl said...

"That final scene broke the fourth wall, in a way that the show has never done before, and it bothered me to no end."

I agree completely with the above. I think I could even have handled the robot montage at the end without the very blatant RDM cameo. Totally broke the mood.

But overall the finale is par for the whole show: moments of greatness along with some missteps.

LoquaciousMuse said...

So say we all. Amazing.

JakesAlterEgo said...

I'm kind of shocking that people are disliking this last episode for the very things that have been prevalent in the show throughout the entire run, yet praising it for the action. Apart from the belief that the coda broke the fourth wall in an uncomfortable way (which I agree but haven't quite decided if I care) most objections seem to proceed like this:

"I didn't like all that god stuff, but I loved those fights!" Then why had you been watching the show for 4 seasons?

This show isn't about what happens when a scientific society falls to its creation; it is a show about a scientific society in which the supernatural also exists falls. How can you object to the fact that Kara is an angel when we've seen her dead body? How can you object to the Opera House visions when prophecy guided the way of the fleet? People seemed to ignore fundamental aspects of the show in order to say they were a fan, it seems.

Anonymous said...

As soon as Simon was all "I think you overestimate their chances" I knew he was a goner. Just like Tarkin.

Anonymous said...

So say we all.

Goodbye, Kara
Goodbye, Laura
Goodbye, Bill
Goodbye, everyone. Part of me has been loving these last episodes precisely because of their focus on quiet moments with the characters I've come to love over these 4 seasons.

However it ended, I can deal. Mostly I teared up as we said goodbye to everyone, because I will miss them. Sometimes it was a little wierd, like with the robot problem 150K in the future when I always thought the allegory was more US vs the Middle East than US vs actual robots but whatever.

Moore and Eick (and Bear and all the actors, etc) created a world I loved to spend time in and happily would never have left, even though much of the time that world was horrid. I think many are perhaps feeling the dissonance of a happy ending to this unhappy story.

I'll give you "what the hell was Starbuck" but otherwise, no complaints, other than dammit I want more.

Craig Ranapia said...

Hum... there are parts of this I'll always treasure, others that have me laughing (and not in a good way), and a good chunk that could go either way.

Mission accomplished, I think.

Anonymous said...

Who do I kill at Sci-Fi for running it 10 minutes past the scheduled time I recorded? I am not kidding about wanting them dead.

JakesAlterEgo said...

Yeah! How dare Sci-Fi give us more material and then advertise it as being longer.

Anonymous said...

When they were going through the systems, go thing before they jumped to the colony and that centurion was in the glass case labeled, was that from the museum?

Craig Ranapia said...

Pale Writer:
I believe its what's known as being damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned whatever the hell you do. :)

xyz said...

As someone who has been disappointed in the series since the end of New Caprica arc in S3, I was thoroughly satisfied by the finale. We call nitpick if we wanted to about Starbuck, head characters etc. but this was an excellent finale

Unknown said...

Who do I kill at Sci-Fi for running it 10 minutes past the scheduled time I recorded?

Try to leap up to 2006 and get a DVR that automatically records the entire ep.

Unknown said...

Loved it. Didn't want it to end. Here's my heartfelt farewell review (real men cry):

Anonymous said...

Yeah! How dare Sci-Fi give us more material and then advertise it as being longer.

Yeah! Where was this advertised? More importantly, what good does it do me now?

Try to leap up to 2006 and get a DVR that automatically records the entire ep.

Try to leap into a large body of water.

Anonymous said...

I even thought that last pan as the fleet flew into the sun, had the same look of the old series as the ships all seemed to be in an identical formation of the 70's show. Speaking of, it would have been fun if somehowe Baltar had created the 'original' series in the 70's, and used creative licensing for Starbuck to be a man.

As a huge fan of the old series, I have nothing but good things to say about this one, watching it all the way through. For a while I wish they just named it something else, but now I couldn't imagine it anything else.

Loved the toaster fight with the old and new centurions. I only wish Lucifier had made an appearance or the double dog dare was a double dagit dare.

Maybe the ship of lights from the old series was involved all along. That's what I'll still think being such a fan of the old series.

Anonymous said...

"I imagine some fans aren't going to simply accept "God did it"

In Star Trek, if the Enterprise needed to be in danger, the writers would make up "danger particles" on the spot. If the Enterprise needed to be saved, they would make up "rescue particles" on the spot. In BSG, if Baltar needed to endanger humanity, an angel would tell him to. If he need to save humanity, an angel would tell him to. Moore's God operates on the same principle as Star Trek's technobabble, which is kind of hilarious when you consider the time Moore has spent deriding Star Trek for its technobabble. But apparently it's all okay if you call it "spirituality".

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to agree with the other commenters who noted that "deus ex machina" has traditionally, and for good reason, been a criticism, rather than an acceptable tool in the plot toolbox.

That said, the first 45 minutes or so rocked.

Byron Hauck said...

I liked it just fine.

Anonymous said...

The coda felt like an alternate ending you'd only see on the DVD release. It was THAT bad.

In my head BSG ended on that beautiful shot of Bill sitting next to Laura's grave planning out the building of her cabin.

Mrglass said...

God did it. I couldn't be more disappointed with the revelations in this episode, especially about Kara. Most of all because it makes the actual 'Revelations' almost pointless in retrospect. They let us think for four years that everything seemingly miraculous happening maybe had a rational explanation, then this?

That said, the fact that the finale was ridiculous doesn't ruin this great series. The storyline was written on the fly and even 3 hours probably couldn't tie all the pieces together, but overall Ron Moore and his crew still produced one of the finest TV shows ever.

Anonymous said...

Overall, I'm ecstatic, and the more I think about it the more I lose what little doubts I have.

The few things that remain for me is that the absolutely stunning shot of Adama on the mountainside, with the grave, and the music going, really felt to me like the perfect ending shot, although I don't have any inherent problems with the tag following. Moore says in the interviews that he had that scene (or at least the image) with Head Six hanging out in Times Square for a couple of years, but doesn't ending the show on that kind of note run directly counter to his mantra of "it's about the characters"? Since that ending scene really didn't have anything to do with the characters.

Lastly, like others I was somewhat unsettled by the fairly abrupt "technology sucks!" stance from Lee and pretty quickly the whole fleet. While it's certainly a conceivable reaction, it feels sort of like that's the message of the show since it works so well apparently, which is then contradicted in the ending scene which is more like "the choice is up to us" type thing to me. I would've been more comfortable with the fleet "roughing it" if everything had broken down and it was a necessity rather than a choice.

That said, when I think of all the Roslin/Adama scenes (heartbreaking, amazing), or the surprise reveal of a still-alive Helo (I was so happy) or the absolutely brilliantly done reveal of the others finding out Tory killed Cally (incredibly intense, good choice to also see Ellen and Tigh slowly figure it out as Tyrol does), most of my complaints just wash away. And though the enigmatic Starbuck ending left me a little cold at the time, the more I think about it the less I'm annoyed. I guess Anders' "see you on the other side" remark was to be pretty quickly fulfilled.

And finally, yes, pretty hysterical that the tag-team for the dream team father and son Adama duo is Romo Lampkin and Hoshi, but then that's what you get when all the major characters go on the mission.

I just thought of this but we never found out exactly how Adama got the coordinates from Anders eh?

That's pretty annoying, I wish they had shown that so hopefully it'll be in the extended cut.

Alan Sepinwall said...

For those who didn't like Ron Moore's cameo, Moore actually agrees with you. From Mo Ryan's interview:

You know what? I just thought it was a lark, I thought, “I’m going to be that guy at the newsstand reading a magazine.” It was like this little weird cameo. Every time I watch it now, I start flinching, and feeling like I shouldn’t have done that, because it really distracts me when I watch it. And I feel like it’s going to distract people. It’s like, [expletive], I didn’t mean it to be so prominent. I just thought it would be a fun little deal, and it’s sort of a bigger presence on camera than I thought.

Kevin Kim said...

Excellent, thoughtful post. As a student of religion, I disagree about the significance of the similarities in culture, language, and overall civilization across time and space, but otherwise think your assessment of the finale was very perceptive and spot-on.


Anonymous said...

Still a bit weepy - not sure whether I'm 100% satisfied, but I'm going to have to watch the whole thing (from miniseries to end) to really bed my feelings down.

All in all, thanks to Ron Moore, all who played, and Alan for such wonderful weekly analysis.

Anonymous said...

Am I right to believe that Kara does not lead anyone to the real earth? She just uses Watchtower to guess what the coordinates for the rendezvous point is because she doesn't have the already agreed upon coordinates when Adama tells her to jump the ship. Had she not done this, the rest of the fleet would have certainly ended up at the real earth and Galactica might have too if they had the coordinates somewhere on the ship (and just not within reach of Kara when she jumps it). Kind of makes the notes nothing more than a redundant safety mechanism, no?

Dewb said...

It goes without saying that the raid on the Colony was top-to-bottom awesome. And I'm fine with the angels, the CIC as the opera house, etc. Given the fact that the writers didn't have the ending mapped out in advance, I think they did a pretty stellar job tying everything together.

Once the fleet landed on Earth, though...

Before I sat down to watch the finale, I had been thinking about the huge gap between Star Trek: TNG and BSG.

Now I loved ST:TNG when it was on, but it now seems a little ridiculous to me. The Enterprise-E operated in a fantasy universe where technology had made most tradeoffs irrelevant. The galaxy was a big playpen for macho derring-do and high-minded sociological theories like the Prime Directive.

Sure, every once in a while a war would break out, and you'd have a two-parter, but week in week out there was no rogue bad actor or force of nature that the crew couldn't deal with somehow. Not to say that every resolution was happy -- sometimes things went sour, but most of the time the damage was confined to a pre-warp civilization, so what does it really matter? Just something for Captain Picard to ponder grimly at his desk before the credits rolled.

Back on topic: the process of the fleet going native on Earth II felt a little too TNG to me. Maybe it was the sentimental string soundtrack.

It's the right ending for the show, I don't doubt, but I felt like it wasn't handled with the skepticism the show has traditionally shown for easy answers. I find it pretty hard to believe that at least SOME people wouldn't be against throwing all their technology into the sun. I'm willing to buy it, but the stakes are too high to settle that decision with a nod offscreen.

I also expected to see a little more on Baltar and Caprica dealing with their role in the genocide. I know we've already been there, but I don't believe that it isn't still very present in their minds. Especially after we just saw Tyrol strangle Tory over one single death.

I loved the coda, though; it cracked me up. Overall a splendid three hours -- and six years -- of television.

Pandyora said...

I do not think the message of the finale was "god did it all." There was still a lot of human agency throughout the series - characters made choices, and these choices had consequences.

The God of the Battlestar universe strikes me as seriously old testament - more a god of wrath and judgement than mercy and love, just ask Zarek, Cally, Gaeta or Cain. God set the stage for the humans, but did not alone determine whether they would succeed or fail.

Other random thoughts:

- I interpreted the fleet's decision not to rebuild their old society as motivated by a much more complex calculation than simply "technology=bad."

I think it was partly exhaustion, partly a desire for solace. But also to rebuild in the old ways would mean colonizing earth's pre-historic peoples. It would mean restarting the cycle of dominance / subordination.

- I am not sure if I buy RDM's arguments that Daniel was never meant to be important. I have a suspicion we will see more of Daniel in "The Plan" or perhaps in the "Caprica" prequel.

- @Brian Try to leap up to 2006 and get a DVR that automatically records the entire ep.

Stop! Wait! What if our DVRs rise up against us! Frakkin' Tivo-toasters!

Anonymous said...

A terrific show and a terrific ending. No good story teller would ever fill in every detail. That is why Hera's mitochondria blessed us all with imaginations!

By the way 150,000 years ago man was prey. I don't think Bill Adama made it through the night. But that was the traditional end for the "Old Man" in primitive societies. Leave the tribe to become some predators meal.

BTW, I loved the cameo for this reason: having Moore read Nat Geographic or Discover or whatever mag he is reading about Mitochondrial Eve gives the viewer a wonderful glimpse of the creative process. The writer sees an interesting story and uses that story to develop his own very interesting and thought-provoking end to his program.

Finally thanks Alan. Love your work at the Star-Ledger and here. Thank you and Matt for taking me through Sopranos, and you for this and Mad Men. Gonna save some money and cancel my Direct TV, so I guess the only show I'll be following is KINGS...hope it's worth it.

Nicole said...

Although I was able to catch the entire episode, I do think Sci-Fi was incredibly annoying to make it run 11 minutes over instead of just removing a few commercials to have it run within the hours it was supposed to run. In fact, it should have been all three hours together as opposed to splitting Daybreak, which I think did affect the overall impact of the finale. The only reason to split the finale or to make it run over time was greed, and is another example pf Skiffy trying to milk its only quality show in its last moments.

Craig Ranapia said...

Although I was able to catch the entire episode, I do think Sci-Fi was incredibly annoying to make it run 11 minutes over instead of just removing a few commercials to have it run within the hours it was supposed to run.

OK, and would your opinion change if you'd signed a legally binding contract (and cut a fairly substantial cheque) for the advertising they'd "just" removed?

That's not "greed" Nicole, that's not telling the people who help pay the bills to go frak themselves, while you're setting yourself up for a big fat lawsuit.

And could I also point out that the network could have told RDM to STFU and deliver an episode to the contractual length? Hell, they could have split it three ways and Moore couldn't have done a damn thing about it.

K J Gillenwater said...

"I too find it hard to believe that the newcomers on "earth" wouldn't have made any effort whatsoever to preserve any vestige of their technology, or even the very basics of culture."

Actually, this was not the case. I'm sure you could postulate that the Capricans brought farming, building techniques (like the pyramids), and other 'advanced' knowledge with them and taught it to the natives. Also, how long would a limited amount of advanced supplies last them? Eventually the medicine runs out. There's hardly any means to produce things anymore. Also, if you plan on mixing with the natives, wouldn't this new technology perhaps frighten them? And instead of blending in with this race of people, you may end up having to battle them and eventually kill them...which returns to the idea of the Capricans being tired of fighting.

"Can someone please explain to me why Hera is so important now?"

I thought the "mitochrondrial Eve" at the end *was* Hera. Which means all the other Capricans and the leftover cylons were not truly our ancestors. Just what I took away from it.

"And her father isn't Daniel, yet also knows the music and notes to Watchtower just like Hera?"

Once again, all we are seeing is modern day 'angel' Kara 'remembering' this piano piece and claiming 'her father' taught it to her. If she was not the 'real' Kara, then this 'memory' is all a godly construct. She is drawing on perhaps a connection with God who is giving her the info she needs in order to lead people to Earth.

"In my head BSG ended on that beautiful shot of Bill sitting next to Laura's grave planning out the building of her cabin."

Me, too. I'd rather Ron Moore left us to look ahead to what the world has become and draw our own conclusions, rather than end on a note of what a mess the world has become since caveman days.

I was completely satisfied with the ending (except for those last 2 minutes). I think combining God with sci fi was genius, actually. I haven't really seen that approach taken before. Usually God is taken out of the mix.

Also, I'm pretty happy that I guessed that the first Earth was not the real earth. But even so, I burst into tears when Galactica passed over the moon and came across our Earth. It was so beautiful.

Tommykey said...

By the way 150,000 years ago man was prey. I don't think Bill Adama made it through the night. But that was the traditional end for the "Old Man" in primitive societies. Leave the tribe to become some predators meal.

Yeah, I was half expecting a native to come up from behind and spear him. Before that, though, when he realized Roslin had died, I had a bad feeling that his raptor was going to crash into a mountainside because he was too distracted.

I still have mixed feelings about the coda on Earth. Adama just up and leaves in the raptor without even saying goodby to Tigh. I guess on one level, Adama felt he had spent his whole life in service and that he just wanted to spend the rest of his days not having to deal with it anymore.

Personally, I thought it would have ended the show on a darkly humorous note if it had cut to the characters about 10 years later building a rudimentary civilization in Earth and then the Cylon centurions that had been "freed" decided to come back and wipe out humanity after all.

One other thing, in the scenes showing Caprica City in both Daybreak Parts 1 and 2, the music seemed almost a steal from the first Alien movie, while the night time shot of Caprica City reminded me of the opening of Blade Runner.

Anonymous said...

I loved it, and it made me let go of some of my past criticisms of this season. They've told us for awhile now that Kara was an angel or the hand of god, mentioned that the final 5 saw angels no one else could see before their earth was destroyed, and the series has been dialoging about god all along, so I don't see how anyone can be disappointed with the "god" explanations. I thought they handled it very well, especially given the religious basis for the original series and how they have incorporated religious ideas throughout the series.

I thought the ending with the head angels in present day earth was a flippant and jarring. If this is our earth, then by that point in times square the offspring of the ragtag fleet and natural humans have been at war with eachother for thousands of years, enslaving eachother, etc. All that is OK as long as they don't build robots?

I liked the idea that the basic message from "god" in the show is really "don't play god by trying to create artificial life" - only god can create life, and if you try it will go wrong (frankenstein), but this ending cheapened that.

Hitler killed himself when he knew his cause was lost, so Cavil's suicide is OK with me, but at the time he didn't know the colony was getting nuked and doomed, so I think he would have tried to run or kept fighting. It would have been more satisfying if one of our beloved characters had killed him.

Really those are small criticisms. Overall, a terrific finale and a great series.

Anonymous said...

For me, the ending (and I am wiping my memory banks of the present day coda, which was astonishingly awful, and pretending it never happen so I don't consider that the ending) made 100% sense emotionally for these characters. Did their actions at the end feel true and right? I say yes. Turning away from the hell they had known for the last few years and deciding not to impose their will on this new land, that made emotional sense to me. So I'm very happy with that ending.

Angels, head people, whatever, I care so much less about the details of all that than I thought I would. I'm not particularly excited about the God/angel explanation but it's sufficently vague so that I don't find it off-putting.

The present day's hard for me to understand how that made it to air. To call it mis-guided and clumsy and cloying and heavey-handed would be to over-praise it by a magnitude of twelve zillion. Coda: FAIL x infinity in an endless loop. That said, I can overlook it because the FAIL to AWESOME ratio for BSG is higher than 99% of what passes for entertainment. No show hits the mark 100% of the time. Is it unfortunate that the worst mistake they ever made was the last thing we ever saw...yeah. But it doesn't negatee the rest of the episode which was a solid B+. Almost every series chokes hard when it comes to delivering a satisfying finale so I'm happy that BSG was able to go out on a mostly very very high note.

Did I mention how awful the coda was?

Malcolm said...

Kind of makes the notes nothing more than a redundant safety mechanism, no?

From my understanding, Kara inputted the coordinates to "Earth". Then they sent a raptor back to the rendezvous point to go and bring the rest of the fleet along.

I wanted to comment here to "second" what "Clark Institute" wrote several comments above. He/she really hit the nail on the head as to what bothered me the most (or equal to angel Kara) about the finale.

justjoan123 said...

I so loved it all (so say we all) but wanted to ask whether anyone else felt a little homage to "Dancing With Wolves" in the scenes of the survivors glimpsing the Native Earthians on the savannah of their new home through their binoculars? I felt the presence of very early Mary McDonnell in that scene, and it felt good.

yoav said...

If it was all about the characters, why have a plot with so many questions and mystery?

And, if we are into characters that much, then The Wire, The Sopranos and other shows are much better in that.

You do not use god as an answer in SciFi because people who like SciFi do not believe that god exists.

There was something great about this show, because it tried to be so deep and build the characters, i agree, but there were so many episodes that just screamed "This people do not know how to create drama", and the complete lack of humor was also very annoying.

I think that as much as SciFi goes, Farscape was so much better because it had good humor and it tied-in everything much better.

I was looking forward to the finale, to see whether they could do it well and save the show, but the opposite happened. The creators are just not good enough, and the show got much more respect than it deserved.

I would add that the only thing that kind-of felt good at the very end is when angel Balter said something about "God" and angle six said "You know he doesn't like this name". This left us with some hope that the higher being is a real creature and not the annoying concept of god that we all know.

Anonymous said...

I think Ron Moore's appearance in that final scene is very much in keeping with the idea that the Galacticites' culture passed down through the generations to us today... eventually all their "memes" (for lack of a better word) were picked up on and synthesized by this guy we see on the street, who went on to create a television show chronicling their story.

If only BSG had connected to the Tommy Westphall universe...

Anonymous said...

showing adama saying goodbye to tigh may have been cut, given that the dvd version will be 15-20 minutes longer than what we saw on broadcast. keep in mind that the few goodbyes were powerful - and the characters were wiped out emotionlly and physically. i remember when tigh was revealed to be a cylon, ron moore said it was only important to show adama's reaction, otherwise you'd end up with a full episode of repetitive five minute reactions (whoa! you're a what?!?) that really did nothing more than one scene was able to convey.

i think it's quite limiting to storytelling to say "because it's genre X, you cannot use plot element Y". Just because it's scifi and a deity? Once you establish rules like that for yourself, you are obviously outing yourself as someone unable to be open to new ideas.

Nicole said...

The Space network in Canada was able to air the entire episode in the two hour time slot, which confirms that there no contract "requiring" a certain amount of commercials. Sci Fi chose to go overtime because they wanted to milk this show to the very end. I would have thought that they would have wanted to build some goodwill to keep an audience as they are losing their flagship show.

If an audience never complains about this, the networks/cable stations will continue to do this. Not everyone has a Tivo, and this isn't exactly a great time for everyone to purchase non essential electronic toys. My initial post was to sympathize with those who missed the last 11 minutes, because it was not advertised as going over time until just a few days before, and not everyone has time to constantly check the internet for actual running times of television programs.

Now back to actual discussion of the show.

karigee said...

@JustJoan: Yes! I got "Dances with Wolves" immediately from that scene -- it was a nice touch. And then the "Out of Africa" flight that Adama takes her on... I couldn't have asked for a better send-off for these two characters I've loved so much. Perfectly satisfied.

Anonymous said...

I had mixed feelings about the final hour, until I watched it a second time and realized how much better the whole finale flows without stupid commercials (I still use my VCR with commercial advance). The music of the original series was well placed in the shot of the "rag tag" fleet heading into the sun (set). My quibble with the ending, besides Moore's moment of self-indulgence, was the robots. Remember those old science fiction B-movies that would end in a question mark? I thought that when I saw the robots ---

"The End???"

That was really cheesy and a smudge on an excellent series. Maybe, the DVD will omit the scene make it an alternative ending.

Pandyora said...

@yba: You do not use god as an answer in SciFi because people who like SciFi do not believe that god exists.

Not only is this generalization unfair and insulting, it is also inaccurate. Themes of religion and faith appear in the classic works of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, as well as the contemporary writings of Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin and Philip K. Dick.

Which makes sense. If science fiction is a genre that explores what it means to be human, one of the essential and enduring characteristics of humanity is faith - a belief of something outside oneself, whether defined as god or not. I took this to be the entire point of Baltar's impassioned speech in the CIC.

erin said...

Well, frak me--that was amazing. I simply loved it. I'm surprised at the commenters who WOULDN'T think there would be a big spiritual, mystic part to the ending...there's a been a consistent theme throughout the story. I thought it made stuck to Moore's arc.

I did find myself saying WTF? when Romo became prez, but I got over it. As for Kara being an angel...I guess she did seem a little Jesus-like. Not sure if that's how I would've gone with her character, but no biggie. Not everyone can have a happy ending (her and Lee). I'm not sure what the whole Daniel bit was about if there was no tie to Kara, but the grand scheme of it, didn't matter.

The action was fantastic, the emotion was on point, and the storylines were wrapped up. And Gaius redeemed himself! I was just so satisfied by the entire thing again. Seriously, I cannot wait to re-watch this over the summer, knowing what I know. I thought it was just wonderful. Lots of tears!

Anonymous said...

I loved it... am watching it again right now. First off, the music. The music was frakking fantastic through the whole episode.

re: the Coda... it reminded me of a Doctor Who episode (Blink) where they also broke the fourth wall (and left me terrified for weeks of stone statues). And at first I thought the RDM was trying to scare us again with the robots ("Don't let robots take over!") But now I'm more convinced that it was merely supposed to show us how it can all happen again. And if it is in god's plan to happen again, there's nothing we can do about it.

As for god driving the whole thing, I have no problem with that. Religion has been at the center of the show since the beginning. In end end, there were going to be too many things that couldn't be satisfactorily explained and so I was OK that they decided to use god as the driving force since the beginning of the show.

Two last thoughts: I frakking loved the "truth" of the opera house. That was so hair-raisingly good!
And I was surprisingly at peace with Kara being an angel for all of humanity. I really hoped that we would have a solid explanation for what her story was, but this worked for me in the grand scheme.

Josh said...

I think @Norgard absolutely nailed it when (s)he compared the deus ex machina explanation to the technobabble that often shows up in sci-fi. I didn't like the finale at all for two reasons. The less important reason is that I thought the colonists' decision to abandon technology was stupid and (when you think about it) sends an incredibly nihilistic message. It's stupid because modern medicine, written language, and houses are not just "creature comforts;" they make people's lives appreciably better. It's nihilistic because by giving up their technology and spreading out across the world, the Colonials are essentially deciding to commit civilizational suicide. Yes, their genetic material will live on by breeding with the primitive humans, but their culture will die off, and their community and history will quickly be forgotten. The idea that this represents a chance for moral growth only presumes that their entire civilization and history were not worth preserving, and i can't think of a much more negative depiction of human life and accomplishment.

The more important reason I didn't like the finale was the gigantic deus ex machina explanation that it centered on. It's one thing if the idea of spirituality and God is used as a way to provide a coherent explanation or a consistent theme. In the finale, God was a meaningless concept and God's role could be reduced to "creating funny coincidences" or "papering over plot holes." To make some sort of religious statement implies a God that has some identifiable characteristic. The BSG God doesn't fail by not being entirely good or evil; it fails by being entirely arbitrary. A good example of this is Starbuck's resurrection: the idea is that God sent her back to do something, but what exactly? there's no coherent explanation for why once she returned, the fleet had to wander around before reaching Earth, discovering it was radioactive, setting off again, losing Hera etc. The problem here isn't that the things God wants the fleet to do are unpleasant or seem wrong, it's that the show gives us not even a peek into God's purpose. In BSG, God doesn't act based on any identified reason or motive, so to explain something by reference to God is completely circular and meaningless. That's why the God explanation at the heart of the finale was so unsatisfying to me: since the idea of God has no content in BSG except for "something that does things," explaining the story by referencing God is circular and silly.

Without the God explanation, the logic of the finale falls apart. Hera's not intrinsically meaningful by herself - she's just a Macguffin to get all the characters in one place. The truce with the bad Cylons didn't matter; it was just a plot point to let them be killed off and allow humanity to be safe. The whole thing just seems completely arbitrary and forced.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I finally got to see the last 10 minutes. So, Ron Moore's ultimate message: Human civilization leads to homelessness, robots, and worst of all, MSNBC. Shoulda let Cavil finish the job.

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

^Regarding Josh's comment above

I agree with your view on the decision to assimilate into those primitive societies.

It felt like a betrayal of the struggle for survival that took place over the entirety of the series. Not to mention how un-BSG like it felt to just have it so all 38,000 or so humans agree to the plan. Sure, I understand that there are time constraints.. but don't start what you can't finish.

R.A. Porter said...

@Josh, that petulant, mercurial God is right in line with the God of the Old Testament - someone who also did things for no clear rhyme or reason, who wiped out the cities on the plains and turned his "one good man's" wife to salt for daring to look upon it. That God commanded Abraham to kill his miraculous child and then said, "nah! I'm just yankin' your chain dude!"

The Old Testament God also varies in his powers and abilities. Sure, he's often omnipotent and omniscient. Usually he isn't. He destroys and rebuilds repeatedly, watching the Israelites make the same mistakes over and over. But he keeps trying. I suspect the OT God believes if you "let a complex system repeat itself long enough, something surprising might occur."

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Fantastic, but a few things jsut don't add up.
1) what was the purpose of Hera, her role dimishes when they reach earth.
2) there are still >2 base ships out there within one jump of the new earth, remember that after kara jumped bsg, the ship was in no state to jump again. So where are they?
3) leave your technology behind, really, i wouldn't do it, its an insurance policy. I mean it makes it dramatic but is stupid and short sighted. I like another posters wanna be ending of they ship is in orbit an they are building a new bsg. seems iconic that it would live forever. just me , i'll miss the show

Anonymous said...

As one of the Anonymi suggested earlier, Ron Moore inserting himself into his finale only moments before the lines "God... you know he doesn't like to be called that" is nearly enough to make me throw my BSG dvd collection out the window.

And I don't care how many times the man claims confusion at why viewers thought Kara's father was Daniel-- of course we did...THEY WROTE IT INTO THE FRAKKING SHOW!! There was no doubt. It wasn't a theory. It was as plain as the suggestion that the Cylons have a plan. You know...the plan that's mentioned before every frakking episode? You know...the one that's never been explained at all and that Ron Moore's jokingly suggested doesn't exist and is now going to be A FRAKKING MINISERIES IN ITSELF?!?!?!?!?!

Ron Moore is an asshole. BSG was brilliant in spite of his assholery. But he's an asshole.

John C. Baker said...

@Nicole: You wrote: "The Space network in Canada was able to air the entire episode in the two hour time slot, which confirms that there no contract "requiring" a certain amount of commercials." -- Different country, different contract, so not relevant. Sci Fi sold the ads for the finale, probably months ago. Having worked in the media, you sell the space, then work around it. Sci Fi could've told Moore and Co., "Sorry, you've got 90 minutes of story for the finale, because we've sold 30 minutes worth of commercials." Instead they said, "Well, we've sold 30 minutes of commercials, but we'll let you add 10 minutes at the end." Which is what I prefer. The only thing they probably could've cut were the Sci Fi house ads. Maybe the "Caprica," "The Plan" and Stargate ads added up to 10 minutes, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

@ Tommy: I too heard musical pieces from Alien in the finale. Every time those musical hits floated into a scene, I almost expected to see Ripley, running through the corridors of The Colony being pursued by a malfunctioning Ash!

JakesAlterEgo said...


You say that they're committing cultural genocide, but that was entirely the point. Their culture contains religious bickering, intolerance, and not to mention two near-complete genocides. They left all behind because now, their future is unknown to them. They can completely shape themselves in the image of what they want to be. "We will give them the best of ourselves," Lee said. You don't give up written language. You teach it to others. That doesn't mean you give a caveman a machine gun to jump start the industrial age.

People seem to be ignoring Baltar's speech to Cavil, as well. God is not the Judeo-Christian-Muslim "God". The BSG God is a force of nature. He doesn't like to be called that because that's not what he is. He/She/It/They is ambivalent. It tips the scales this way and that but that isn't a plan, it is what it is.

I just really can't get over how much people seem to be ignoring what the show is about in these final few episodes. I have no idea how you all stuck around for so long if things like flashbacks to illuminate characters bother you. "I know a bit about farming" falls so flat if we don't watch Baltar and his dad. Without seeing Baltar say he loves Caprica for the first time in the final flashback and seeing her facial reaction, her bracing him and letting him cry on his shoulder isn't anywhere near as compelling.

Anonymous said...

You do not use god as an answer in SciFi because people who like SciFi do not believe that god exists.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, as with most internet debates, its hard for people who disagree with and criticize the decisions made in the finale to NOT be branded as ignorant or false fans.

This discussion has been more civil than most- say on i09 or aintitcool or galacticasitrep. Let's keep it up

JakesAlterEgo said...

I don't mean to brand anyone as false fans with my comments; I just literally have no idea how someone could have been a fan of the show for so long without accepting the themes and rules that have been set for so long.

Anonymous said...

Re: which Earth was which: Actually, it's pretty clear from the end of Season Three and the end of the first half of Season Four that the Earth they're talking about has an Eastern seaboard down to coast of Florida and that when they finally got there, Adama's team probably landed south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Unless we're arguing that in fact the Earth seen at the end of Season Three is not the same Earth that they landed on in Season Four, but actually points to ours? Loved it, but still seems like kind of a cheap fakeout... Guess I'll be making some screengrabs this weekend!

Anonymous said...

The greatest flaw with the episode is the decision to make the capricans and cylons (via Hera) our ancestors. That one choice meant that they couldn't build a city, couldn't bring down the ships, couldn't do anything but commit civilizational and real suicide. It's a classic case of trying to wrap up the story too nicely.

No, they didn't teach about building the pyramids (as one poster mentioned) because they arrived about 147,500 years too early. And no, they couldn't have established much in the way of agriculture because they were about 145,000 years too early for that.

Obviously this is a TV show and a certain amount of handwaving is necessary to make the plot move forward. But this just was heavy handed and lunk-headed.

Wrapping up the ending in a bow for the audience cheapened the series, as did the coda whose entire point was to emphasize the series' point that humanity is flawed and evil.

The Ron Moore cameo didn't bother me.

Anonymous said...

as to the importance of Hera. Hera's kidnapping leads to the rescue mission, which leads to the destruction of the colony which leads to Kara being put in position to jump Galactica which leads to All Along the Watchtower which leads what's left of cylon/human civilization to earth. Without the fleet thinking that Hera was so important, they would have just kept wandering around and maybe never discover earth.

I also like to think that Hera represented humans and cylons finally coming to terms with their own identities. Humans came to accept cylons, cylons came to accept humans, and then both were able to see that assimilating with primitive earthlings would lead to more harmony than segregating themselves from the natives.

I had a little bit of a hard time dealing with the fleet spreading out so much on new earth, but I think Tyrol's goodbye scene probably summed up what most of the fleet was thinking. We need a really fresh start and now we have an opportunity to do something drastically different. Maybe we'll fail on our own (get eaten by sabretooth tigers), but we've lived with the alternative up until now, and any kind of change will be a good thing.

JakesAlterEgo said...

I don't think the coda emphasizes that at all. It takes an optimistic view. All this has happened before, AND it hasn't happened again. The "yet" is left hanging of course, but we've already lasted 30x longer than the previous rebuilding efforts.

I say humanity is doing alright in the universal viewpoint. Small scale, of course we screw up, but everything looks ugly if you look close enough.

Anonymous said...

I loved the series and thought the ending tied together nicely. However, the centurions they sent away on the base ship, being immortal and all, would presumably be 150,000 years old now and have evolved way beyond us. there was still loads of (radioactive) tech around in the colonies, presumably they would just go back there and start building more cylons centurions. so the message at the end was kind of pointless... i dont think we need to worry about our own technology, those 150,000 year old cylons must have gone a bit mad by now and built a fair few things already too.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that there are not yet any Google hits for the phrase "eurotrash gaius" or "eurotrash baltar".

Count me as among those disappointed by the ending. I felt like I'd been beaten about the head with the obvious, a sin the creators and writers had avoided for the entire series up until those last awful few minutes.

Anonymous said...

Pale Writer -

But that rationale doesn't square with the rest of the series nor BSG's view of human nature. The point is that our collective destiny is based on our sense of fundamental compassion and respect for each other...nothing else. Technology, science, engineering, etc. are not automatically good, but they aren't automatically bad either. The problem with external progress is not progress itself, but that we don't often accompany progress with advances in how we treat each other. I agree with R.A. Porter's comments about the fundamentally progressive and egalitarian nature of BSG's philosophy.

But what goes against that is the idea that solving our problems means giving up civilization. First off, civilization is the first condition of being human. Before that, we were the most advanced animals on the planet, but we were still animals. And the very first humans were killing and slaughtering each other as well. Technology did not fundamentally change us - it only amplified our ability to destroy ourselves (it's also amplified the better aspects of our nature, and on the balance had many more benefits than costs over the course of history).

BSG has always been about who we are as people, what choices we make, how we treat ourselves, those closest to us, those who are different from us. The decision (and the way the decision was made also went against all of BSG's ideas about politics as well) in the second half of the finale went against the rest of the show. Lee is right that our souls need to catch up to our science. But the solution isn't the throw away the science, it's to make that effort to catch up to it. That's why it's the only thing I object in the finale, but it's extremely important.

The finale showed that humans and Cylons had broken the cycle in the short term, but the question was always, how long would that last? Ironically, by showing that their future is us, and we're unaware of it, they lead to the conclusion that ignorance can only lead to the cycle developing again. Maybe trying to keep their civilization and remembering what had happened wouldn't have changed that...but why give up on it in the first place?

Anonymous said...

One thing no one seems to have commented on: didn't it seem odd for Lee to want to be an explorer? Where did that come from? Even in the early flashbacks he was shown to believe in the system (kinda) wanting Starbuck to be involved in politics, etc.

He also was the one who wanted to get rid of the tech, and managed to get everyone (!) to do it without a fight. But he won't stick around to help lead things? Let Romo do that?

Just seemed really out of nowhere for him to go off alone. (Too much of that, with Adama and Tyrol doing the same.) How can you explore -- you have no tools, no ships, no nothing, you will be barely scraping by to get food for the day and find a safe place to sleep at night.

Very unrealistic and untrue to character.

Michael Cowgill said...

I loved it. My only complaint -- I didn't need to see Adama vomit on himself.

The "God did it" criticism doesn't wash.

Pandyora said, "I do not think the message of the finale was "god did it all." There was still a lot of human agency throughout the series - characters made choices, and these choices had consequences.

The God of the Battlestar universe strikes me as seriously old testament - more a god of wrath and judgement than mercy and love, just ask Zarek, Cally, Gaeta or Cain. God set the stage for the humans, but did not alone determine whether they would succeed or fail."

Exactly. When Baltar is pleading/preaching to Cavil, he says quite plainly, "It's up to us." God has pushed people and events toward this outcome, but at any time, the characters had a choice.

Baltar could have ignored Head Six many, many, many times, could have ignored real Six on Caprica, but he made choices. Kara/Angel Kara could have simply made the jump, but she reached inside herself to find an answer. After doomed Earth, the humans and cylons could have gone their separate ways. Boomer clearly made choices, and those choices affected the events of this episode, etc.

Even the 150,000 years later coda has an air of "let's see what happens."

Hyde said...

Actually, this was not the case. I'm sure you could postulate that the Capricans brought farming, building techniques (like the pyramids), and other 'advanced' knowledge with them and taught it to the natives.

Not 150,000 years they weren't. That's the right time frame for Hera to have been "Eve," but that's a good 100,000 years ahead of what is typically thought of as the beginnings of modern man. Humans 150,000 years ago knew the use of fire and could build very primitive tools, and that's about it. They almost certainly didn't have language or even consciousness, and without language there can be no culture.

Of course, they could have gotten around this by having Galactica reach Earth 15,000 or so years ago, at a time when humans had evolved to the point where culture could have been transmitted, agriculture been taught, etc, but that would have meant giving up the Hera-as-Eve angle.

Would these characters, all of them, have made such a decision, given what technology had brought them to? It doesn't feel right to me (although I think the individual choice made by Tyrol, and perhaps even the one made by Bill Adama, were in keeping with who these characters were).

Bobcat said...

I very much enjoyed the finale.

First, I loved the hour-long fight between the protagonists and the antagonists. It was something we've all been waiting for a long time, and it paid off.

Second, I very much liked the religious explanations for things. There's so much to talk about here. But in no particular order:

(1) God as a force. Whenever people talk about God as a force, rather than a being that has personal characteristics like a will and intelligence, I tend to cringe. I find that it's a way to try to have your cake (i.e., a God that gives the existence of the universe a meaning) and eat it too (i.e., a God that is force, and therefore naturalistically plausible). In this case, though, describing God as a force actually made sense. On the one hand, God has personal traits--"he doesn't like to be called that"--but on the other, he acts like a force. How does a force act? Well, think of any force of nature, like gravity: it's constantly exerting itself to produce similar results in similar circumstances. In this case, God is constantly relating to intelligent lifeforms and producing the same results over and over again (this will happen before and it will happen again). Also, and to me interestingly, it combined Nietzschean ideas (namely, the eternal recurrence and the idea that good and evil are just terms we make up) with Kierkegaardian ones (namely, the idea that God calls us to do things and that there must be a leap of faith).

(2) Ludditism: some people really disliked the idea that humanity had given up all it had worked for and was essentially destroying its culture by getting rid of its technology. This brings up lots of points. First, imagine that you had been through what the humans and cylons had been through: you have some rather convincing evidence that all of this has happened before and will happen again--but you can, maybe, stop it if you give up something incredibly dear to you--your culture and your technology, both of which (not just the technology) provide creature comforts. And they did their best to give up both technology (Anders flying into the sun) and culture (the people spreading to the four winds).

The only thing that struck a false note to me is how easily Lee convinced everyone to give up technology. While I think an anti-technology undercurrent has always been with humanity (and rightfully so, given the nuclear bomb, to take just one example), a pro-technology one is there too. I would have liked to have seen someone articulate that point of view.

Anonymous said...

I have some dissatisfaction with the ending in which modern humans are presented as being descended from part cylons, part Earth humans, and part Kobol humans.

It's not just the fact of it being scientifically incorrect. It's that I want to feel that the people on this program are connected to me in a way that is meaningful. For me, that would be accomplished in a much more powerful way if the BSG story was rooted in the experience of our ancestors, instead of creating an alternate story of origins that I know is not true. The alternate origins undermines the authenticity of the FEELING of connection for me.

The mythology, the supernatural stuff, the prophecy of the opera house - I don't take issue with that; clearly this is a huge thematic element in the BSG story. Bible stories are full of this sort of stuff (Joseph's dreams, Jonah and the Whale, etc.), and yet, they are incredibly meaningful.

I would have been blown away to be left with a story that consistently informed us that what we are doing today could lead up to the events of BSG, and that our space-based descendants could actually come back to Earth and find our traces in their new lives. Instead, Moore inverted it -we are their descendants of an alternate universe fable that isn't true. And it just feels off.

If the BSG people were our descendants, it leaves open to the imagination that the story this could be more than just a fantasy, a dream.

Having said all this, the emotional voyage of the characters is familiar and powerful and meaningful. I don't criticize Moore on that, he's created something amazing. I just disagree with his alternate approach to human history that has us having non-Earth origins.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that people have no problem with ancient prophecies in sacred books predicting the future, but all of a sudden mentioning god is a problem?

If you buy into the mysticism of the show, the all knowing head figures and the visions, how can you complain that they pulled out the god card? It may not be the most elegant storytelling solution, but it's very much of a piece with the rest of the show.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"This show isn't about what happens when a scientific society falls to its creation; it is a show about a scientific society in which the supernatural also exists falls. How can you object to the fact that Kara is an angel when we've seen her dead body? How can you object to the Opera House visions when prophecy guided the way of the fleet? People seemed to ignore fundamental aspects of the show in order to say they were a fan, it seems."

This gets my vote for post of the year.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of viewers, who were certainly fans of the show, enjoyed the show DESPITE the supernatural/prophecy/religious stuff. I know for the first few seasons I would roll my eyes whenever Roslin would want to talk to the oracle or similar scenes. Bleh.

The idea of what would humans actually do if put in this horrible situation, how would they realistically act (as show in early episodes like 33) was a lot of the appeal for people.

These viewers understood the God stuff mumbo jumbo because it was part of the original show, and seemed to be to the writers' liking, but its not in any way what made the show great for a lot of viewers (much like the writers' love of the annoying Rolo.)

To get into an argument about who is a real fan and who is not is silly. People like things for different reasons. They can all still be fans of the work. And they can be disappointed when the finale of the show leans more towards the side they didn't care for.

I long ago accepted there would be a lot of the spiritual stuff and came to not mind it and think some of what it added to the mythology of the show was cool. And I certainly expected it to be all over the finale as there was an angel ship in the original series.

As for the finale itself, I liked it. Not what I expected, as all the action was in the first half, and that made the second more an epilogue of sorts but also gave that second half a very different pace and tone (kinda jarring and made you expect more action to come to break it up, which never happened.) And the very finale part (back in our time) was a little goofy. But overall thought it was really good.

Love the moment Chief lost it and choked Tory. And I liked Starbuck disappearing at the end (poor Apollo!) and other touches (like it not being the Earth they were looking for but them referring to it as Earth in the end anyway.)

It wasn't a perfect finale, but the whole series hasn't been quite as strong since they left New Caprica. But it was still quite good. I give it a B+

Anonymous said...

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

What does Adam's line mean? I don't know the expression.

bakija said...

I thought it was a fantastic ending. Yeah, not everything was totally explained, but that is fine. Much like Alan, I was always more interested in the characters than the nuts and bolts of the plot, but that being said, I thought what got explained got explained well enough.

The whole god/greater force/whatever worked fine. And fit in with the original show (with the storyline about the kind of supernatural super beings that show up near the end of the run), so it made total sense to use that in the long run. The coda, while a bit cheeky, was good for giving us proof concrete that the 6/Baltar beings were beings rather than visions, and makes the existence of post death Kara work. And in that last sequence with them, with 6 being all blonde and glowy and Baltar being all dark and sunglasses, they had a definite Vorlon/Shadow or Law/Chaos or Good/Evil or whatever thing going on (pick your favorite fictional dichotomy).

I think Moore is insane, however, if he doesn't see Daniel as Kara's father. There was no other reason to introduce the idea of Daniel. Kara's father taught her the vital song, which only was the song that was known by, ya know, cylons. Kara, before she was dead, had the same visions as Tyrol (the nova image) and was obsessed over by Leoben. She was *totally* Daniel's daughter (and as such, a hybrid). Even if Moore doesn't realize this. It seems as if the people who wrote "Someone to Watch Over Me" did realize this and wrote it in there.

"I think you overestimate their chances". Gold.

Anonymous said...

. . . "Grab your gun and bring in the cat." -Bill Adama

It's not a real military chant that I ever heard. I imagine it was written to sound like one, has the same cadence as one you would march or run to. It goes back to the miniseries. Since gun and cat are euphemisms for the male and female sex organs, respectively, that could be the joke of the punch line as a double entendre to advice to bring in your pets on a rainy day while securing your weapons.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

I'm conflicted. I cannot have enjoyed the finale more and yet, there were things in it that really annoyed me. I love and hated the finale all at once. I'm not completely satisfied, yet I feel satisfied too.

Like many others here, my biggest problem has got to be the end scene, of which I wished never happened. I really hated it. It would have been great for it to have ended with Adama or Hera, but no, they have to literally point everything out to us in that cliched cheesy matrixy end scene with a cute *wink wink!* bit, which really was out of sync with the usual style of the show. Also, I think the scenes of the current robot developments dates the series now; whereas without it, the series could have relevant for decades.

But, I also felt the emotional payoff (other than a few bits and pieces I didn't enjoy, like Cavil's end, of which I don't find satisfying to a character that has always been level headed and an exquisite planner, being so desperate and basically, stupid, or the Chief, once again making a decision based solely on his emotions, others be damned, even though the actual outcome was pretty satisfying, that Tory finally did get her comeuppance, but disappointing for the growth of the Chief) and loved every minute of it. I'm not ashamed to say that I had tears pretty much throughout most of the episode, and am very sad that this show has ended.

But, yeah. I suppose however I do feel, be it love or hate or both for the finale, it made an impact on me, for sure. And I'll definitely miss it. I still can't quite believe it's all over.

Anonymous said...

@Belinda said: or the Chief, once again making a decision based solely on his emotions, others be damned, even though the actual outcome was pretty satisfying, that Tory finally did get her comeuppance, but disappointing for the growth of the Chief)

Yeah, did anyone else have a wry chuckle when Tigh reassures the Chief, with Ellen next to him, "for what it's worth I'd have done the same thing," thinking, um, yeah, you poisoned your wife, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

Terrible .. Frak you Ron Moore.

Nekkel said...

So say we all! :-)

Wow, I'm just so surprised by all the negativity regarding the ending. For everyone who had issues with the "God" and "Angels" we watching the same series? That has been the theme since day one. As a matter of fact, I "hated" the mini series for the same reasons some of you "hated" the finale. And did "we" not actually listen to Baltar's speech? They still had "choice", like Boomer.

It was the (almost) perfect finale to that show. I couldn't wrap my mind around Cavil killing himself so quickly. Nor did I like RDM's face popping up on my screen.

I didn't see it meaning tech=bad. I saw it as a group of people/cylons who were tired of all the fighting, etc. That particular cycle had been going on for way too long. It was about starting with a clean slate and trying to break that damn cycle. That's not hard to believe, hell if I were in their situation I would probably do the same thing. I might have even stayed with D'anna. lol

It's interesting to me how some can "believe" in Cylons but can't "believe" in Angels. What else was Kara going to be? She wasn't a hybrid or a cylon. Would it have been easier if she turned out to be an alien? I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm just trying to understand why this was so hard for some people to believe. And though it doesn't matter, this is coming from someone who isn't a religious person at all (which is why the mini series irked my nerves lol).

Michael said...

My two cents, now that we're up to 169 comments already.

So it turns out it's all Cally's fault, in a way. If she hadn't seen the Final Five talk about being Cylons, then Tory wouldn't have killed Cally, and then Tyrol wouldn't have killed Tory before giving the Cylons the secret to Resurrection, meaning that everyone would have gone their separate ways.

Someone up there said that civilization is the key to humanity. They threw away their chance to collectively live in a city with technology and knowledge in order so that they could wear animal skins and use flint knives and try not to get eaten by the wildlife. They have nearly 40,000 people and all those ships. Why throw it all away? You could bring the ships down to the ground (the ones that could, anyway) or at least use the Raptors and Heavy Cruisers to bring down everything that can be carried. The medicine will run out but you can bring the technology to make more. You can scavenge spare parts, you have tools. You have communications, electricity, food production, sanitation, books, etc. Why give that all up, especially when everyone has grown up with the technology and they don't know anything else?

Count me in the group disappointed with the "God takes an active role" aspects. Prophecies, religion, scripture - sure, those are all staples of SF, but God hadn't shown His hand before the ending.

God sent the prophecies. God resurrected Kara and created a new Viper for her to lead the fleet to Earth as a prophet. God created the visions of Head Baltar and Head Six as angels visible only to the alternate live person. God put the "Watchtower" music in their heads. God needed the genocide of billions of people in the Colonies so that thousands could make it to Earth where they would forget their civilization, only to beget a new civilization.

I did not like the literal Deus ex Machina, Sam I Am.

R.A. Porter said...

@Michael I see nothing narratively unusual in a God who kills billions to start fresh.

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Anonymous said...

MR: "You're going to kill them all, aren't you!?"

RDM: I know.

MR: It's the ultimate sucker punch of "Battlestar Galactica" -- that it ends on a hopeful note.

RDM: Yeah, it's true. It's the final twist. The final twist is -- that it's all OK.

Funny, as a person who loves his Rousseau and the Noble Savage idea (and who fantasizes about that escape into wilderness and unknown), I think that Moore actually effectively killed off all the Colonials and Cylons.

150,000 years ago Earth was emerging from a major ice age and was still significantly cooler than today. In addition, men lived short, nasty and brutish lives. Finally there was a lot of mega fauna, and other more common fauna that would have loved to dine on a little defenseless line of human/cylons marching with Romo, et. al.

As Adama says to a dead Roslin, they are not accustomed to a world(s) with such abundant life. These are city slickers. Creatures of technology and other comforts.

Coming into this new world in a completely depleted fleet, they have no weapons, no food, no real tools to make shelter, few have clothing to deal with the wetter, colder climate of the day.

The early hominids they see have learned to make and use tools from their environment. Obviously our Colonial/Cylon friends have the sophistication to do the same. But the skills to use them are a different thing.

A few trained warriors like Helo and Athena might be able to make a go for it for a while, but the majority of those Colonials were eaten and digested within a week. Sadly, even Caprica 6 has faced hungry animals at night. Helps explain why farming didn't come to Earth for another 145,000 years!

Anonymous said...

Ron ruined the last 5 years of my life ... god, why ? :(

Anonymous said...

The role religion and spirituality played in the finale didn't bother me...

but the perplexing decision to have the humans join tribal societies makes it feel like all of struggles that took place in this series were for naught. It was a euthanization of the BSG-human civilization and quite frankly cheapens the journey that they took to get to this point.

JakesAlterEgo said...

I wonder how many of the problems coming from people with informed objections-- as opposed to the knee-jerk "GOD? FRAK GOD!" backlash people-- would have assuaged if the flash forward had said 10,000 years later.

Actually, I wonder at what point Ron Moore decided to do the coda. While I do like it to show that Head Six and Head Baltar are omnipresent agents of the unknown, I don't like the timeline it creates. Human ancestors 150,000 years ago aren't exactly the kind that I would have been eager to breed with. But 10,000 years ago, or even 15,000--something slightly pre-civilization--would have been a nice touch. If it was just to show that we are the descendants of the shape of things to come, that's fine, but the emotional impact is just as strong if we were the cultural descendants of them instead. As it stands, they failed. Civilization--the "best of them" as Lee said--won't take shape for 140,000 years.

Anonymous said...

How is Starbuck remembered as Apollo promises?

Anonymous said...

I think Moore is insane, however, if he doesn't see Daniel as Kara's father. There was no other reason to introduce the idea of Daniel. Kara's father taught her the vital song, which only was the song that was known by, ya know, cylons. Kara, before she was dead, had the same visions as Tyrol (the nova image) and was obsessed over by Leoben. She was *totally* Daniel's daughter (and as such, a hybrid). Even if Moore doesn't realize this. It seems as if the people who wrote "Someone to Watch Over Me" did realize this and wrote it in there.

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

Yeah, did anyone else have a wry chuckle when Tigh reassures the Chief, with Ellen next to him, "for what it's worth I'd have done the same thing," thinking, um, yeah, you poisoned your wife, didn't you?

Hee. That's the first thing I thought of. "Well, you kind of did, Saul."

Overall, I loved the finale. Lots of blowing stuff up in the first hour,and an emphasis on the characters in the second hour. The scene between Cottle and Roslin was so great. He was embarrassed and touched by what she said to him, which seems like Cottle through and through. I always felt he was the most compassionate and the most objective person on the ship. He didn't care who his patient was. For Cottle, it was always about first, doing no harm.

But the scene that really got me was Adama talking to Laura while he sat by her grave. I'm a big fan of "lost love" stories, so it just tore me up.

I think it should have been the final scene, but I have no complaints about the coda, in and of itself (or, for that matter, Moore's cameo. What's the big deal? It seems like it was a fun thing for him to do. It was fun for me to see it). Yes, it seemed tacked on,and I usually hate tacked on endings. But I was amused by it more than anything,and I love the idea that Angels 6 and Baltar are wandering around the earth even now.

The only question I have is why arriving on Earth gave Kara enough closure to disappear. Perhaps, with her being an angel,she didn't leave because she wanted to, but because she had to. Her mission - to lead her people to Earth - was over. Was she called back to - wherever. Heaven, I guess? But would Kara, of all people, go to Heaven without having to do some serious time in purgatory?

There was no way the finale was going to live up to my expectations. I knew that even as I was bouncing up and down on the couch when the episode started.

Whatever. I'm going to miss BSG. I wish it could go on forever.

H E Pennypacker said...

I loved it, especially the endings on earth, remember Star Trek Voyager - a sci fi series about one ship trying to make it's way home, that may have had the most disappointing ending of all time - they got to earth and then ROLL CREDITS...

Here at least I thought we got cathartic and satisfying endings for everyone - one of the best final episodes of a series ever made in my book.

IMO the most moving moment was Baltar crying over his father at the end.

And for the record I loved the ending, since the mini-series I had wondered whether the Earth that they would search for would be our Earth and in the end it became that - but not in a ham-fisted Galactica 1980 way! So Kudos all around!

Oh yes and the soundtrack kicked ass.

H E Pennypacker said...

Anonymous said...
How is Starbuck remembered as Apollo promises?
Perjaps through the omnipresent Starbucks coffee chain :)

Tyro.k.y said...

Whoever said this,

"This show isn't about what happens when a scientific society falls to its creation; it is a show about a scientific society in which the supernatural also exists falls. How can you object to the fact that Kara is an angel when we've seen her dead body? How can you object to the Opera House visions when prophecy guided the way of the fleet? People seemed to ignore fundamental aspects of the show in order to say they were a fan, it seems."

The show has never been about the existence of THE SUPERNATURAL. Just because huge sects of the people were religious doesn't mean the religion was real. The show always had options. Were the visions from the Gods or was it the Kala root? Was Baltar insane or was there a chip? Was it the will of each individual driven by some illogical belief (fueled by religious thought) or were they the mere tools of God?

Then they went and said it's in our verse. Such a huge mistake.

I'm sorry the more I think about it the more this finale was total shit and doesn't fit with the show.


Unknown said...

Loved it. Loved the ending too, Hera as Lucy and the scene 150,000 years in the future with the toy robots.

It was only after the show was over that I realized what Anders' telling Kara "See you on the other side" meant. That's the mark of good writing, that it's not simple and obvious right away.

The Bgt said...

I loved it till the last 1 min or so.
I think the whole "matrix" thingy with history repeating itself and the divine creatures-angels-whatever watching it was unnecessary and kinda cheap.

I would prefer it to end with Bill's last scene. I wouldn't care for an explanation for the head-angel-characters or who built Kara's ship.

Spending 4 seasons to explore humanity so at the end just to put all responsibility to an orchestrator God was a tad lame.
Or maybe bad delivered at the end.

In any case, Battlestar Galactica deserves a huge place on TV's hall of fame. Superb quality.
Tv that's worth being watched.
A big thank you to everyone involved.
I will so miss this show. Sigh..

Anonymous said...

If we're all descended from these people, and they helped sow the seeds of our culture, then how come our paper has corners?

John said...

Nearly 24 hours later and I'm still haunted by the finale. I wasn't expecting to be hit so hard by it.

Kris Howard said...

religion is science, science is religion is what I got. Six/Baltar
are both very representative of both over the course of the show. Human/Robot blah blah.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think the finale went on for an hour too long? Ron Moore, Get over yourself ... and Mrs. Ron is terrible .... Just TERRIBLE

Unknown said...

The few episodes leading up to this, with the exception of Starbuck's piano playing, were crawling on their knees in order not to "spoil all the fun." By the time we got to the devastating fourth-wall-crashing final shot of Daybreak Pt. 1, an overextended shot of Adam and Tigh sitting together in the Admiral's quarters, I felt that the writers had run out of time-stallers. I suspected going into the finale that there was not enough story left to fill the full two hours, despite the feeling of many of us over the past several months asking "How on earth can they resolve all this so quickly?" The pacing of the show has been its downfall, most noticeably in this finale. While I think the exploration of the theme was excellent -- albeit clumsily and with lack of foresight -- the exploration of the story was horrible, carried only on the strength of these stunning, over-talented actors.

I think R.A Porter, way back in this conversatoin, pointed out the simplest message this final episode conveyed:

In the words of Lee Adama:

If there's one thing that we should have learned, it's that, you know, our brains have always outraced our hearts. Our science charges ahead. Our souls lag behind.

This message I agree with; in our "civilized" societies our minds have always been at war with our hearts; and it could be said no simpler that in a very crucial, spiritual, and entirely human way civilization is added baggage -- gifts laced with poisions. And to understand and take respite from the endless ambition of "human progression" (if such a thing exists) is miraculous. To appropriate a line from last night's Dollhouse, for humanity:

Knowledge is their business, but it is not their purpose.

And while I agree that complex civilizations are not necessary to explore our purpose (which I would tentatively name love and spiritual understanding, for lack of willingness to elaborate in a blog comment) I can only wish, though, that such a message hadn't been dealt with in terms of the fallacy of Noble Savagery. Yet, I think this message, this one line of Lee Adama's, reminded of something didn't know I knew. In that way it might have changed my life. And in that way, Moore succeeded: he made me think, made me re-examine my own life and relationships here.

As for all the nonsense; about connecting BSG characters to our ancestors, about God's deus ex divine plan, about Moore's mood-obliterating cameo, about the slapdash writing and retrofiting of stories past; about all of these, I can only say that the show has proven itself not to be far from perfect. I suspect that over time we will see it, yes as a landmark television series, but also as a story whose pieces do not fill well together from start to finish. I don't think it will stand the test of time.

To explain one reason why I found this writing extremely awkward, I should compare to my favourite series, The Wire. One of the most trite and idiotic things about this finale were the flashbacks to pre-genocide material, which while may have had all sorts of thematic connection to what would happen later on WITHIN the finale, had little to do with the rest of the series. For example, in the series finale of The Wire, the cyclical ripples through time we saw referred back to Season 1, Episode 1, not Part 1 of the the series finale. We saw Sydnor mirroring McNulty in front of the judge; Michael mirroring Omar, etc. These were thematic, character-driven moments to show that "this has all happened before and will all happen again." Instead of such fore- (or even hind-) sight, BSG wrote what was convenient for the purposes at hand, a trait that marked most episodes since the New Caprica arc. About-face character developments, nearly identical revolt episodes, and plot devices/mythology that made little sense in the end game.

But the actors took what was written and made some of the most emotionally riveting series of scenes I have ever seen. Even LOST on a good day doesn't touch many of the small moments of this show. And for those memorable moments, I'm happy I stuck around. Battlestar was entertaining, devastating, at times inspiring, and full of thoughts. It will leave me thinking for a long time. But it is no masterpiece. I'm happy the tale ends here, and for better or worse, I'm happy I put so much time, energy, and love/hate into this.

JakesAlterEgo said...

The show has never been about the existence of THE SUPERNATURAL. Just because huge sects of the people were religious doesn't mean the religion was real. The show always had options. Were the visions from the Gods or was it the Kala root? Was Baltar insane or was there a chip? Was it the will of each individual driven by some illogical belief (fueled by religious thought) or were they the mere tools of God?

Head Six was proven to be more than insanity awhile ago when she directly interfered with Baltar's physical self. Also, the fact that Caprica was having similar visions of Head Baltar reinforced that. The visions of the Opera House were always supernatural visions in that they were shared between Laura, Caprica, and Athena. Only one of them was taking the hallucinogenic medicine. Drugs are strong, but not Philip K Dick strong.

And I didn't say the show was about the existence of the supernatural, I am saying that the supernatural existed in the world to the surprise of no one. Based on prophecy, the fleet found a planet were people stood on the surface of one planet and were transported in some way to the surface of another planet that acted as a sort of map. The show is about the characters in this world that has supernatural elements in it.

They introduced the gun in the first act and it went off in the fifth. Chekov would be proud.

Rick's Time On Earth said...

The final was a wonderfully surprising and refreshing ending to a terrific series. Not all questions were answered which is a great way to bring discussion and debate on things like "what was Starbuck and where did she go at the end?"
Well done Battlestar Galactica.

Tyro.k.y said...

I should've known it was Chekov and his stupid fucking gun.

Anonymous said...

@Hyde: "Not 150,000 years they weren't. That's the right time frame for Hera to have been 'Eve', but that's a good 100,000 years ahead of what is typically thought of as the beginnings of modern man."

It depends on what you mean by 'modern'. At that stage, humans were anatomically identical to us today. A baby born then but raised in today's world would be indistinguishable from anyone else in terms of appearance and mental capability.

"Humans 150,000 years ago knew the use of fire and could build very primitive tools, and that's about it. They almost certainly didn't have language or even consciousness, and without language there can be no culture."

They may or may not have had rudimentary language, the jury is still out on that one, as you say. But consciousness? Of course we had consciousness back then as indeed it's becoming increasingly clear that many other non-human species exhibit consciousness at various levels.

You are also wrong that without language there can be no culture. Just google "chimps culture".

I can't really comment on the ep itself, as I lost interest in the series after season two.

Anonymous said...

Just for reference, I believe the existence of Daniel was mostly to cover up a plot hole, in that the Sharons were named "number eight" early in the series but we had only been introduced to seven Cylon models (ignoring the Five, who aren't numbered) and none of them had number seven.

So the explanation is Daniel is number seven, and we never see him because Cavil killed his line off, but the numbering stayed intact.

It's pretty silly perhaps, but I guess it's one of the somewhat inevitable things that will happen when making up the series as you go but still trying to stay consistent.

Eldritch said...

Kara vs. the Harbinger of Death.

I feel like I missed something along the way. Part of the Hybrid's prophecy was that Kara was the Harbinger of Death. That seemed pretty scary. Did I miss whose death she Harbinged? Whose was that?

And for what it's worth, what was it about hybrids that gave them the power of prophecy. Anyone have a clue on that?

Unknown said...

"Harbinger of Death" -> could have referred to Kara destroying the resurrection hub and bringing Death to the Cylon race.

arrabbiata said...

On the odd chance that someone actually makes it down this far into the comments...

Watched it last night, still processing it 24 hours later, but on the whole I liked it. Series finales always come with mixed feelings- the more that fans love a show, the more they take it personally if the creator has a different idea of how to wrap it up. It's not the ending I might have written, but I watch a show like BSG to be exposed to someone else's ideas.

I don't have a problem with the role of God/angels (or this show's understanding of those ideas) in the resolution of the story, as it's always been part of the series, even if took until the series end to understand it all.

The decision of the colonists to abandon all their technology on Earth probably wasn't logical, but I can see why there might be a desire to get away from all the bad things that had come with it. Maybe they wouldn't be able to directly pass on to the natives anything more their DNA, but maybe that was enough. Assuming that the colonists had been through their own ancient evolutionary process and period of primitive existence (on their Earth), it would make sense that their interbred descendents would also eventually all figure it all out again at their own pace. What happened before would happen again, to borrow a phrase.

I have to disagree with those who feel that the Galactica crew could not survive their new world's conditions and predators. The very existence of the band of naked, spear-carrying, pre-verbal humans (themselves the result of millions of years of evolution in the same hostile environment) shows that it is quite possible to maintain life there with stone age level tools and minimal intelligence. Surely the new arrivals could use advanced intelligence and observation to make up for what they lack in experience. I would think that unfamiliar microbes for which they lacked natural immunities would be a far greater threat than sabre-toothed tigers.

My thanks to all those involved in the creation of this amazing work of television for providing some thought provoking entertainment, and to Alan and all those who contribute to this blog, without whom I probably wouldn't have understood half of what was going on.

Anonymous said...

After feeling apprehensive about its prospects last week, I loved the finale. I'm extremely sad to see the series go, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to a friend.

Instead of commenting more on the episode, I just wanted to thank you alan for all of your work and writing on the show over the past few years, I've always come straight to your site every Friday at 11pm and I'll sorely miss reading these reviews too.

Kensington said...

The Ron Moore cameo didn't distract me in the slightest because, quite frankly, I wasn't aware it was happening until I read about it afterward. I had no idea what Ron Moore looks like.

R.A. Porter said...

@Kensington, neither would the vast majority of people who watched.

Scott Henderson said...

I'm skipping the comments this time round Alan, simply too many reviews to read still plus I'm not so interested in reading the detractors and naysayers. I thought this was a wonderful and emotionally satisfying ending to a show and characters who had earned their goodbyes.

Mostly I wanted to say thanks for all your hard work posting your thoughts on BSG all this time. As with The Wire it was an essential companion to my experience of the show.

So say we all...

Anonymous said...

To the people who are upset with the ending- are you upset with the show, or with the concept of god? Why can't god be science fiction? In some ways, the concept of God is exactly that. You can't prove the existence of god- it either exists or it does not. However, the fact that the plot does not boil down into a determinist equation to explain everything, that, my friends, is very human.

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