Battlestar Galactica series finale reaction

Posted by matthew on Mar 27, 2009 in tv |

The fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica concluded last week with a 2 hour season finale. If you are a fan and you don’t like spoilers, please stop reading now. First of all, I am a huge fan of this show. It’s by far the best thing I’ve ever watched on TV. I love the premise, the acting, the writing, the direction, the cinematography and almost all of the twists and turns along the way.

But I absolutely hated the finale. The following is what I wrote the next day.

I failed to see the point of a lot of the flashbacks. They were filling in emotional backdrops like the Apollo/Starbuck love triangle that we already knew about and that they had depended on for ages. The entire Roslyn love trist sub plot was random and of no importance current events. It wasn’t incredibly interesting to find out what had happened to motivate her to get into politics in the first place, and in the end her motivation wasn’t demonstrated well anyway. What a waste of time.

Bringing in The One True God as the explanation for all that has happened that was mystical seems like a massive cop out to me. It’s the explanation for how Starbuck was resurrected. It’s the explanation for the projections of Six and Baltar being seen by each other (yet how come there were at least a couple of occasions when Cavil appeared too?). The “angel” idea is weak because the characters inside people’s heads were so clearly not angelic. They weren’t guiding them, they were manipulating them, for good as well as for evil. This is the biggest problem I have — if anything could be achieved by a One True God, what was important or significant about the particular things that did happen. It’s far more interesting if these things were (at least on some level) the result of an intelligence that is less than all knowing and all seeing.

Identity was the central theme of the series. Yet this final episode only treated it as a side issue. It wasn’t asking us to consider who we are, what it means to be human or cylon, or how that might change if we are human-cylon. It was taking a step back to focus on humans and technology as a tool. I felt they missed a fantastic opportunity to drive home the point of the cylon/human relationship. It was completely implausible to me that all the human and cylon survivors would happily shun high technology (including medical technologies) as a grand symbolic gesture that they were getting rid of past mistakes when they knew very well that societies would develop the same types of technologies over time (or just die out before they did). It was even more stupid that they then immediately set about creating an agrarian society among their prehistoric brethren (who somehow happen to have matching DNA) and therefore do exactly what they said they were not going to do. Besides, around that time there the total world population was supposedly about 2000 people in two tribes in Africa, yet they talked about people being in all continents (including I think Australia) which is sloppy and completely strange for such a tightly written show.

Many of the key characters didn’t do what they would have done in those circumstances. It was so ridiculous that Tori would stand right next to Tyrol when she knew he was about to see what she did to Cally. It was even more stupid that Tyrol wouldn’t be able to control himself for a couple of minutes before strangling her. He’s thrown the odd punch, but really, he knew the consequences could be massive. I didn’t buy that at all. Adama leaving his son & adopted daughter to build a house on his own away from everyone else also seemed completely dumb to me. He’d want to be with his son. And Lee would want to be with him. Most of all, what are we to think of Starbuck? She mystically disappears, and we’re left to assume she was basically a Christ like resurrection who just left at her whim in an instant. Yet for the past several episodes she’s been unable to figure out who or what she is. So in summary, she’s flesh and blood, just as flawed as ever, doesn’t know who she is, yet she’s been resurrected to guide them to New Earth and then knows how to disappear in a puff of smoke? No. I just don’t think it washes.

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