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0903: Series Finale

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 9 years and 272 days ago. Viewed 2,427 times. #2
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The road is done

Spoiler Warning: Stop Reading! Last warning!

Well off the top I have to admit I didn't see the ending coming, even if I did call certain elements and Jenn called certain other elements. Overall I call it an acceptable, even satisfying end to the series.

The Lead-up

As at the end of season three, the end seemed more than a bit rushed. Everything is cooking along nicely, and then the writers go oh yeah, we only have two more episodes to wrap this up.

So we got narrative imperative serving up the location of the cylon colony, and more narrative imperative urging Adama to drop everything and go haring off across the universe after Hera.

The Battle of Hera

The actual battle was nicely executed for the most part. From a tactical view, the only quibble I have is that I don't understand why Galactica had to wait for the colony hybrids to shut down before ramming. Just hanging out there in the shooting lanes puts the strike team in the nose at prolonged risk. Much safer to stick the nose into the colony right away where it would be relatively safer, and could start their run before the opposition had the chance to move troops up.

(Update: on reflection, I get it. Galactica couldn't deploy her fighters or raptors with the incoming gun fire. So stop the guns, deploy the fighters and raptors, then board.)

Boomer's final choice was formulaic and was visible right from the episode where she had to navigate back to the colony, but was still executed (pardon) with whatever dignity was left available to her.

The Opera House Dream

OK, this was probably one of the weakest wrap-ups. The Opera House was a metaphor for Galactica's bridge, with the final five standing in the balcony overseeing everything. It didn't, really, amount to anything.

The only possible design of destiny from this shared vision would arguably be Roslyn's, where it led to her intervention on Hera's behalf just before she walked out into Cavil's hands.

But we were led to believe that this was going to be a very big deal, that the series would turn on it… and it didn't. It was shoe-horned in. Whatever the original intention of this was to be, it got lost along the way.

The Deal With The Cylons

(I did warn you about spoilers.)

The offered deal with the Cylons -- resurrection for Hera and a promise to leave humanity alone -- was strange, not only for the speed with which it was offered, but the speed with which it was accepted. It seems very unlikely that the situation can go from two groups at each other's throats to let's make a deal everyone can be happy with that quickly.

It also seems odd that the other four didn't think of "interfacing with the datastream in the water" sooner to get at what was in Ander's head.

Speaking of which… we didn't get to see what was in Galen's head, since he aborted the process and throttled Tory.

...But Not The End Of The Cylons!

I originally wrote this as "the end of the cylons", since everyone ends up dead and the colony is destroyed (or at least, we are meant to believe it is). But on reflection it isn't even close to the end of the cylons.

Consider: while Cavil probably had the majority of his forces present at the colony, he didn't have any base stars. And there are a lot of base stars unaccounted for. And that means there are probably a bunch of Ones, Fours, and Fives out there. Plus, you know, the Centurions who started fiddling around with biological engineering in the first place to come up with the hybrids.

Even assuming that the existing Ones, Fours, and Fives probably have a "human" lifespan, there is a lot of time for the Centurions to come up with something.

And then there's the base star with the red-stripe Centurions. So there's a whole lot of metal floating around out there with nothing but time.

Galen's Final Act

Galen's character has been decidedly uneven over the last half of this season. He had some good moments with his sense of self when Cally died and then having his son's parentage stolen from him. But after that, it's been hard to get a grip on him since he seems to be dragged around by that terrible narrative imperative again. He stops the mutineers from jumping Galactica and offers up Cylon technology to help heal her. He accepts the position of The Chief again, but out of nowhere votes to bail on the humans on a dime, then inadvertently helps Boomer smuggle Hera into Cavil's hands.

Then he goes along with Tigh's deal with Cavil, only to queer it by aborting the process before it completes. One might think that he would be able to wait until the deal was made before settling his wife's death. I know that his wife needed to be avenged, but this act of vengeance could have quite easily condemned everyone on Galactica, and in the long run the cylon colony, to death.

And finally, he totally abandons the child he thought was his son, going off to be by himself.

Galen's final act was very unsatisfying.

Galactica's final flight

Galactica did everything needed of her over the past four years, going through hell and always bringing her crew back. Adama's final launch from Galactica, his flyby, and Galactica's final flight into the sun were all supposed to be a tribute to her strength and heart, but somehow fell flat for me.

The Whole Swords Into Stoneage Thing

In a way, this is the only way that the series can end, especially if they are where they are. If the technology stays, there is always the question as to why it didn't get discovered. As it is, they never explain what is going to happen to the raptors and other assorted pieces of high tech that are left.

It seems more than a bit unlikely that the population would buy into this idea, even if any sort of modern society is clearly impossible. But overall people are not known for making rational decisions, always trying to put off difficulties to a later date.

Roslyn and Bill Adama

Both Roslyn and Adama got better than I thought. As the mother and father to the survivors, they have guided their "children" to a new land and set them free to succeed or fail on their own. Roslyn beat the prophecy which said she wouldn't live to see the promised land, if only by a few days. Adama's reward was that of a retired warrior who knows he has no place in the new world: a place to sit, commune with ghosts, and wait to die.

I really thought that Galactica wouldn't return from the battle at the Colony, and both Roslyn and Adama would die with her. While perhaps Roslyn deserved better, I am undecided as to what Adama would think of the situation. On balance I think he approves; to die giving your life for someone (presumably, Lee and Hera and others) is a noble way to go, but it is a far more comforting thought to know that such a sacrifice was not necessary.

The Perfect Place/ The Perfect Planet For The End Of Kara Thrace

So what was Kara? A vessel of God? Compared to the other representatives of God floating around, she seemed to know surprisingly little about what she was supposed to be doing, and her voyage of discovery ultimately discovered only the key to humanity's salvation, but not her own; she never knew what she was or what she was supposed to do. Even the tortured hybrids knew more of the mind of God than she did. And at the end, what was her reward? God whisks her off to, presumably, be with Anders "on the other side".

In the end, this whole journey has been that of a hacked together plot device. Overall, this is another weak wrap-up.

Hand Wavy for the Tighs

The flashbacks make very clear that Helen was very much in love with Saul, and that he returned the feelings. This episode hand-waves aside the history that shows Saul's first loyalty was to Bill Adama, and Helen consequently stepping out on him.

But I guess in the long run everyone deserves the illusion of a happy ending, or at least a happy new beginning… except maybe:

What Now For Lee Adama?

Of all the characters, the one I really felt bad for was Lee Adama. Sure, he has a whole planet laid out for him to explore, but to what end? His wife is dead, his father is off waiting to die, and his best friend has just vanished. With all the hope and promise of new beginnings being shared up, it would have been nice to offer a little something for a character who has always tried to do the right thing, even when it meant standing up to the rest of the universe some times.

Hera as the mother of Humanity

Well at least the writers got one thing plausible: Hera's remains are described as that of a "young woman". Stoneage life was a short affair, and Hera would quite likely not have lived to a ripe old age.

But this is one thing that Jenn got right, even if not in the way I think she meant, when she said "I bet we are all cylons."

But Wait A Minute -- What Was The Plan?

You know, for the first two years every episode was preceded by the words: AND THEY HAVE A PLAN.

It seems to me that somewhere along the last four seasons, the Cylon's plan got co-opted by God, and it isn't particularly clear where. One can make weasel arguments that the plan that the teaser referred to was Cavil's need to rub the noses of the final five in his revenge -- his words, I gave you a ring-side seat to the apocalypse. In my view, this is a pretty flimsy plan to hang the series on, even if it was well executed.

And when you look at it, the angels even admit that God's plan is never done. In this case, God's plan was seemingly to reset his little chaotic system and hope that what had happened before would not happen again. Again, a little thin to hang a series on.

Battlestar Galactica: Overall Thoughts

A long, long time ago we started with a miniseries. Then a TV series. Then accolades declaring it "the best series on Television". Then things got weird in Season Three, and let's face it, went downhill from there.

Someone, I can't find the link now, was wondering if when it was all said and done if Battlestar Galactica would be mentionable in the same breath as Babylon Five.

While the series needs some time to percolate and settle a bit in our collective consciousness, I think the answer will end up being "no".

Galactica tried to be all those things that Babylon Five showed that audiences would actually turn up every week and watch for: a coherent story and plot arc that went hand in hand great evil and dark moments.

In the end, though, Galactica is let down by its ambition. The writers seemed to be more interested in kicking the characters than in moving the story forward. Arc moments seem to be either unpleasant by-products of nastiness, or a rushed-into bolted on contrived turn of events.

With Babylon Five, there were moments of darkness, but overall the series never lost hope. There was always a glimmer of hope shining in the future, something that was almost literally reflected in the eyes of the characters, both "good" and "evil". The plot hung together and drove the stories, and aside from the fourth/fifth season re-arrangement due to network meddling, progressed in a reasonable fashion. As a result, the whole thing has more of an epic feel to it, even if it is more "family friendly" in the way it goes about things.

Galactica seemed more interested in showing us that there was no hope, and really up until the second last episode I was thinking the message was there is to be no redemption for anyone.

There are two points to a journey. One is, yes, the journey itself. But equally important is the destination. And a writer has to bring the audience to the destination in such a way that they can say gosh, I didn't see that coming and but on reflection it is perfectly obvious. In this, Galactica failed.

Similarly, this lack of a shaping to the destination made me wonder at times if I seriously wanted to continue on. There were several points that led me to question the series. While the end of seasons two and three were critical turning points, I think it was perhaps Cally's murder that bothered me the most. If the writers were not going to give honest characters like Cally, and characters trying to do the right thing like Galen, a happy ending -- well, what was the point?

The endings for some characters, like Cally and Galen, are unsatisfying. There is no sense of justice or rightness to their conclusions.

And so, to conclude this conclusion, I'd have to say that Galactica is a flawed series, and I don't think that it will occupy the place in the modern sci-fi hierarchy that Babylon Five does.

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