I’ve got a theory, which is mine, and I own it, and my theory is this: no TV show should ever go more than 5 or 6 seasons. Even the greatest shows begin to lose something after that many seasons, and often start tarnishing what made them great in the first place.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that while Battlestar Galactica has turned out to be my current All-Time Favorite TV Show Ever, I’m still very glad that it’s leaving the airwaves.
I’d rather have 4.5 (or whatever) great seasons than 10 seasons, where the last five were shite. So while I’m sad that Battlestar Galactica is ending, I’m also happy that they’re leaving while firing on all cylinders.
Of course, “firing on all cylinders,” is just my opinion. Lotsa folks out there think that this Series Finale was either a misfire, or a case of firing on too many cylinders.
I’ve got a theory for that, which is mine, and I own it, and my theory is: there are three main reasons that people think that a particular Series Finale sucks:
1. Second guessing: it’s not how they would have wrapped things up.
2. Misplaced anger and sadness: they don’t want the show to end, so they’re going to take that anger and sadness out on the final episode.
3. Expectation overload: they always want the Series Finale to be the Best. Episode. Ever. Which, by definition, it almost never can be, so they overreact in the opposite direction.
4. The Series Finale well and truly sucks. Usually, because of a case of overreaching or last-second game-changing.
The first time I ever felt outrage at a Series Finale was with Twin Peaks, which I watched absolutely religiously. I was one of the few people fully on board with the much-maligned second season, ignoring the soap opera silliness and loving not only the amazing friendship between Sheriff Truman and Agent Cooper, but the huge battle of good vs. evil that they were obviously setting up.
So when Twin Peaks ended with a cliffhanger that I chose to see as a desecration of what was my favorite TV character EVER, I was pissed for years. Recently, I watched it again, and that second season is worse than I remembered, but the ending wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
All of that is a roundabout way of saying that while I get why people might not have liked certain aspects of the Finale – especially that last, last bit of silliness – I think that, on the whole, it doesn’t really matter. Battlestar Galactica is beyond the damage that any single episode – even the last – can do it it.
That said, I can see why you might be pissed. So let’s get into it:
Previously on Battlestar Galactica: the entire series, peniultimating with the following:
• Flashback Kara & Flashback Lee meet, and Flashback Lee has one of those Godfather thunderbolts.
• Flashback Laura’s fathers and sisters is killed by a drunk driver.
• Body Six finds Flashback Baltar’s Father a nice rest home.
• Roslin, Caprica and Athena all dream about chasing Hera round and round the Opera House.
• Starbuck finds her burnt, dead body on the sucktastic Earth, and Baltar outs her as being, you know, dead and brought back to life.
• Cavil gets ready to have Hera tested upon, even as Sam Anders gives up the location of his Holiday Camp.
• Adama decides to go rescue Hera from the Holiday Camp asks for volunteers to cross the Red Line of Sure Death.
Once again, no opening sequence, and who really needs it anymore? Instead, we see Pre-fall Caprica City at night, with Flashback Tigh and Flashback Adama, drunk off of their asses at a strip club. They’re sure getting value from those Caprica sets, no?
Saul Tigh is in the process of negotiating a lap dance for Bill Adama, who – as you might imagine – has very very little interest in it. Tigh is also imploring Adama to take the cushy desk job that Adama has been offered. That way, they can both retire. Really? Hey Saul, you don’t need to wait for Adama to retire in order for you to retire!
Tigh points out all of the benefits of the civilian life, hilariously climaxing with “you could be here every night!” Ahh, drunk logic. You ruled my life for so many years.
Flashback Ellen appears over Tigh’s shoulder to point the fallacy in his premise, since they barely got Adama there on that particular evening. Nevertheless they all toast Adama’s impending retirement.
Elsewhere in Caprica City, Flashback Lee is preaching the value of exercising your franchise in a democratic society to Flashback Kara, with predictable results: ridicule and laughter. Zak says to pay no never mind to Lee’s highfalutin’ words, because he’s actually a cynic, which is why Lee has daddy issues. Lee says that he has daddy issues because daddy is a big, demanding pain in the ass who is always my way or the highway. Zak counters with by asking why Lee followed in their father’s footsteps, Lee says it was for the college tuition. In other words, for cynical reasons.
Flashback Laura’s date has arrived. A young hunk named Sean, who was – awkward! – one of her students. Zoology. He did really well in the section that was about chasing cougars, and it looks like he’s going to put his lessons to good use this eveing. Rowrr!
There’s one problem with the job that Flashback Adama is up for: apparently, he’s going to have to do something against his principles to get it. When he asks Saul if Saul would do it, Saul just ignores him to look at the strippers. Good strategy.
Flashbacks Lee and Kara can drink! However, Zak is a lightweight, so they drag him to the couch, and Kara says that it’s time now to do shots! Lee &ndash knowing that he is in dangerous territory here — assents. You get the impression that if she had said that it was time to leap from the balcony, Lee would have done that, as well.
Flashback Adama is outside of the strip club now, banging a stripper bent over the hood of a car. Oh wait, he’s actually in the gutter, puking his guts out. With an utterly fucked-up expression on his face, he looks up at the stars over Caprica City, and the camera pans to the stars, and down to the Fleet, and ultimately to Galactica, where we can see Colonial One hanging around in the hangar deck.
Also hanging around, Gaius Baltar, who is sitting with Angel Six (spoiler!), talking about his latest crisis of faith. You’d think that she’d get sick of this. Like, at some point, she’d go up to God or Gods or Whatever and say: “look, I know that I was assigned to him and stuff, but for Yoursakes, he’s such a whiny little bastard!” Instead, she tells him that he needs to go and fulfill his destiny by “taking charge of mankind’s remnants and guiding them to their end.” Well, when you put it that way, who can resist?
Paulla shows up, and says, c’mon, Gaius, time to run away! I’m a remnant, guide me! But he’s all, can’t you see I’m talking to my angel here? And he asks for five minutes, which is the universal shorthand for “I’ll get there when I get there.”
Sickbay. Cottle tells the dying leader, Laura Roslin, that she’s got two more rounds of injections left. 48 hours. Just like Eddie Murphy. And that she’s accelerating her death by doing this.
Roslin thanks Cottle, who grumps his usual “I’m just doing my job.” But he’s done more than that for her over the years, and she calls him out on it. In tears, Laura Roslin tells him just how much he’s done for her, and just how alive he’s kept her though all of the shit. Cottle is so touched that he mumbles “I don’t know what to say,” and forgets to mention how she’s second-billed and wasn’t likely to die until the last episode. Roslin cuts him off from saying anything else with “Don’t spoil your image, just light a cigarette and go and grumble.”
Awesomely, Cottle grabs her hand, kisses it, and swiftly walks out telling Nurse Ishay that Laura is her problem now. Now and for always, Doctor Sherman Cottle fully owns.
Ladies and gentlemens, let’s get ready to raid Cavil’s Holiday Camp!
Helo is addressing his Raptor pilots, and triple-checks on the whole “volunteer” thing, but everybody is still in, so he jokes that he’s proud of the fact that they’re still looking for “new and interesting ways to get killed.” Athena, standing against a wall, almost smiles at his joke.
While Apollo is talking to Viper jocks about the raid plan; Adama is discussing it with the crew from CIC. Adama says that the plan is to jump in and slug it out until they run out of ammo, at which point, they’ll throw rocks. It’s an old joke, but the best place that it’s ever been told is in Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is A Harsh Mistress, where throwing rocks turned out to be the greatest battle tactic ever.
In Sam’s Hybrid Haven, Starbuck and the Final Five are discussing their contribution to the raid. They’re going to do a spin on the Cylons’ early strategy of breaking into networked computers to take over Battlestars by having Sam communicate with the mind of the Hybrid running Cavil’s Holiday Camp. One thing, though: they’ll need to move Sam into CIC so they can hook him directly into all of the proper circuits. That way, they’ll all be in the same room when the shit comes down.
Who’s running the Fleet once Bill Adama leaves? Hoshi, who is made Admiral. OK. Sure, why not? I was just made Lieutenant a couple of minutes ago.
Things are moving fast, now. In the time it took to Admiralize Hoshi, they were able to wheel Sam, his tub of water, and all of his wires and tubs into CIC. Oops! A couple of especially gooey pipes are coming down from the ceiling right where Adama usually stands. As he moves the tubes out of his way, Tigh snarks: “Still not too late to flush them all out of the airlock,” to which Adama tops: “Take too much time.”
Who’s running the Government once Lee Adama leaves? Romo Lampkin. Sure, why not? We all like Lampkin, let’s make him President! BTW, I’m now the Secretary of Transportation.
On the Hangar Deck, Admiral Hoshi and President Lampkin are on board the Last Raptor Out, and they’re waiting for one more passenger, Gaius Baltar. He hops on board, and of course, changes his mind about going at the very last second. Instead, he tells Paulla that she can rename the cult Life of Paulla, and she should enjoy. After he comes down from the Raptor, Lee Adama just tosses him a gun. You’re a soldier now, boy!
Remember the Red Line of Sure Death? It’s now across each and every one of the Centurions, who have walked on the hangar deck. This is how we will know the Good Centurions from the Bad Centurions. Just in case we come across any Bad Centurions.
And naturally, I start wondering about the process of this. Who painted them? Was it one of the Eights who was formerly slapping the Cylon Super Glue on Galactica? Or do the Centurions have the ability to automatically change their coloration like that? I guess that they could have painted each other in what would be the least erotic body painting in history.
One last time, let’s have the pre-battle rituals, shall we? First off, let’s check in with everybody around the ship. That’s XO Saul Tigh’s job, and as he begins to call out the sections over the horn, we look in on Sickbay, where Laura Roslin is learning the finer points of triage from Ishay. She seems horrified by the entire concept. Didn’t she ever watch M*A*S*H? Or did she only watch the Series Finale, just to see what all the hype was about?
The checkoff continues, and as the Reserves answer, we pan and see Gaius Baltar, all decked out in military garb, and clutching the big gun for dear life. Awesome! You know who else thinks that it’s awesome? Caprica Six, who taps him on the shoulder and sits down with him. At first he tries to play the macho “you really shouldn’t be here” card, but then she points out that she’s the one who is the warrior and he’s the one who is the big pussy. Well, sure, there’s that.
Everybody checks in, which means that it’s time for another ritual: Adama’s big speech! We see all of the main characters getting on their game faces as he talks about the ship that he loves; that we love: “She’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.”
And as Tigh and Adama stare at each other with their super macho heterosexual man love, the Battlestar Galactica jumps directly into the pincers of Cavil’s Holiday Camp.
It’s clobberin’ time!!
Problem is, it’s Galactica that’s getting the clobberin’: guns, guns, guns and more guns open up instantly and shell shell shell her with their big, beautiful explosions. This is a problem, and the CIC is rocked like the U.S.S. Enterprise.
In the midst of this, they plug Sam in, and ask him if he could maybe call or text or IM or whatever it is you kids do today with Cavil’s Holiday Hybrid and politely request that they dial down the clobberin’ a skosh?
Meanwhile, Galactica is getting pounded, pounded, pounded from every which angle. It’s beautiful.
Luckily, Samuel T. Anders, Galactica’s Hybrid, has made contact with Cavil’s Holiday Camp Hybrid.
Anders: “Hey there, cutie, could you stop firing your guns at me?”
Holiday Camp Hybrid: “Well, it’s kind of my job and stuff, so I need a really good reason.”
Anders: “Don’t you know wh I am? I’m Sam Anders, worlds-famous pyramid player. You’re probably going to learn more about pyramid on the series Caprica, coming next year to Sci-Fi.”
Holiday Camp Hybrid: “You must have been unplugged last week, because they going to change their name to ‘SyFy.’"
Anders: "’SyFy?’ That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. So what about stopping the guns?"
Holiday Camp Hybrid: "I’ll stop them if you leave the outgoing message on my voicemail."
And just like that, the guns stop.
And Galactica? The Battlestar Galactica rams straight into Cavil’s Holiday Camp, burrowing into it like a gigantic metal mole. Sometimes, when we’re driving, and there’s a slow person ahead of me, Rox tells me that I can’ drive through them, so maybe I should slow down. Next time she says that, I’m going to point out this scene. Because. It. Is. Awesome! OK, sure, there is impact-driven chaos everywhere on Galactica, but I say that’s a small price to pay. Out of my way, slow people!
Elsewhere, Cylon Raiders spill out of Cavil’s Holiday Camp in that gorgeously random way, and it’s time for a space battle! It’s absolutely and utterly beautiful. Explosions everywhere, ships everywhere, pure and utter anarchy.
This right here, is Battlestar Galactica firing on all cylinders: we have space battles; we have the character stories; we have the sociopolitical stuff, all of which matters.
Naturally, they burrowed into Cavil’s Holiday Camp for a reason: for Lee Adama to lead a joint Human-Goo Centurion assault team to find Hera.
In space, Skulls and Racetrack arm their nukes, just in case they need them quick. Except that they’re almost instantly hit by a rock, which smashes the window of their raptor and, somehow, their helmets. So see, they were executed for their roles in the mutiny. Just indirectly.
Kara, Helo & Athena are taking a different path through the Holiday Camp, having used a Raptor to find a hatch and get aboard. They’ll be exchanging gunfire with Bad Centurions for quite some time.
Deep in Cavil’s Holiday Camp, in Cylon Evil Experiments Lab #159,903,090, Simon – Doctor Skinjob to you – is showing that he’s got some concentration. Machine-like, you could call it. Despite the fact that the Colonials are causing all sorts of ruckus, he continues to run his “tests” on Hera. First, it was math, which Hera did great at, and next up is reading comprehension. And after that, sucking the DNA right out of her bone marrow.
Boomer isn’t impressed with his concentration, and asks him if maybe he could stop the tests since they’re being raided. Simon isn’t worried about the raid, after all, the Cylons still have superior numbers and superior firepower and, really, it’s all about the math. That’s when Boomer breaks his neck. Crack!
That that, math! Boomer scoops up the unconscious Hera and skedaddles into the corridors of Cavil’s Holiday Camp. Which, right now, is the fire to the Evil Experiments Lab’s frying pan.
Especially considering that Cavil, another Simon and a Doral almost instantly discover what Boomer did. Cavil decides that maybe it’s time to go on the offensive. And, of course, it’s a total dick about it to both another Simon and a Doral. They follow this guy, why?
Back on Galactica, still waiting for action, Caprica Six tells Gaius Baltar that she’s proud of him, and being proud of him was all that was ever missing from their relationship. So he grabs her and kisses her. Action! We then hear Angel Six’s voice saying: “All of the pieces are falling into place.” You ever notice how much she shows up when Baltar is trying to get it on with an actual female? Caprica Six and Gaius disengage, look up, and whaddya know, Angel Baltar is there, too! Hey there, Angel Baltar!
Angel Baltar says: “You will hold the future of humanity in your hands.”
In unison, Caprica Six and Gaius say: “I will?” Then, to each other: “You see them?”
No time for an answer because Cavil’s offensive has started, here come the evil Centurions onto Galactica. Action!
Action, of course is old hat for Starbuck, Helo and Athena, who are killing waves of Centurions, and after taking care of the latest, see Boomer slowly rounding a corner, carrying Hera.
Boomer wordlessly hands Hera to Athena, and says: “Tell the old man I owed him one.” Athena responds: “Doesn’t change anything you did.” Boomer agrees. “No, we all make our choices. Today I made a choice. I think it’s my last one.”
Athena agrees with that, and machine-guns Boomer right into a flashback. As a cadet, Flashback Boomer was a sucky pilot, especially on the landings. She’s about two seconds from washing out, but luckily Adama and Tigh are drunk, and Adama gives her one last chance. She says that she owes him and will pay him back one day. Adama is skeptical, and a bit mean. Good gods, do you think that they reviewed all of the cadets over a bottle of hootch?
Technically, didn’t Boomer actually owe Adama two? One for letting her stay in the military, and one for, you know, shooting him at point blank range??
Not that it matters, because seriously, do you think that Athena is ever going to give Adama that last message from Boomer?
Starbuck, Helo, Athena and Hera meet up with Lee, and they’re going back through the nose of Galactica. It’s mostly calm where they are, which is good, because it’s chaos everywhere else: bodies piling up in Sickbay; anarchy in space; fire in the CIC, machine guns in the corridors of both Galactica and Cavil’s Holiday Camp.
Nevertheless, they’ve gotten Hera back aboard Galactica, and look who’s there? It’s Baltar and Caprica Six, and they’re joining the Hera-protecting party. Which is good, because Cavil’s offensive has started, and Bad Centurions are pouring aboard Galactica.
Meanwhile, Roslin isn’t so good at triage. She is good, however at injecting herself with drugs; which give her the Opera House vision. She’s almost instantly out of he scrubs and into the corridors of Galactica to join the Hera party. All of the cool kids will be there.
Helo is carrying Hera deeper into Galactica, but not deep enough, because from behind them, a Doral steps out and shoots one of the redshirts and – uh-oh – Helo. He crumples to the ground – bleeding profusely from the gut — and Hera runs off as Athena goes to him. Helo tells her to go get their child, but she says that he’ll bleed out if she doesn’t save him right now. That’s fine with Helo, who never saw a Right Thing he didn’t do. Well, probably not fine, but a choice that he’ll live – or die, as the case may be – with. All he says, however, is “GO!!”
Athena takes off after Hera. We are now in full projection mode, as the scene changes from the Galactica Corridors to the Opera House Hallways. Changes back from the Opera House to Galactica Corridors. Roslin is looking for Hera. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors.
Cavil struts through Galactica, flaked by a praetorian guard of Bad Centurions. Gunfire, explosions, death all around. He remains untouched.
Roslin sees Hera. Galactica Corridors. She scoops Hera up, and they scurry to a hiding place as Cavil struts by. As Roslin makes sure that he’s gone and the coast is clear, Hera runs off again. Seriously, can somebody put a leash on that girl?
Luckily, Hera runs right towards Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors. Roslin and Athena looking looking looking for Hera. Galactica Corridors. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors. Opera House Hallways. Caprica Six scoops up Hera as in the vision, and takes her into the Opera House, just ahead of Athena who is stuck behind the door. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors. Opera House Hallways. Galactica Corridors.
And suddenly, Caprica, Baltar and Hera are in the CIC, where Adama and the CIC Crew have been repelling the Cylons. The CIC is the Opera House. Caprica hands Hera to Baltar. Opera House. CIC. A Doral lies dead on the floor; Adama is dispensing with a Simon; Cavil is a captive and the Final Five are looking down upon it all. Opera House. CIC. Opera House. CIC.
The Battlestar Galactica is coming apart at the seams, and as Baltar gently lowers Hera to the ground, it lurches, and Cavil – quick as a wink – disarms his guard and points the gun at the head of Hera. CIC. CIC. CIC. CIC.
Cavil evils: “I’ll just be taking the girl, and any other items you might have laying around” and Adama is all “no chance.” Caprica Six says “You know that isn’t going to happen,” and Cavil responds: “I know I’m going to watch you chasing your tail across the universe for the next four years.” If only. Besides, this thing, Hera, is the key to Cylon survival.
Calling Hera a “thing” just about tears it for Gaius Baltar. He points out that Hera is the key to humanity’s survival, too. When Cavil asks how he knows that, you can see that Baltar knows how ludicrous it’s going to sound to everybody, but goes ahead: he knows because an angel told him. Angels! OK? Anybody got a problem with that?? Good gods people, I’ve been talking to imaginary things since the frakking mini-series!! Don’t you pay attention at all?!?
Remarkably, nobody backs away from him slowly, so Baltar goes on: angels are on the Galactica, right here right now. And while it might seem crazy, they’ve all experienced things that couldn’t be explained any other way other than by some guiding force. Doesn’t matter what you call this force – god, gods, Whatever etc. – it exists. It has many names.
I call it “Ronald D. Moore.”
Cavil is intrigued. You can tell, because he’s not being a total dick. He asks how Baltar is so sure that god is good or on Baltar’s side. Baltar says that god is beyond good and evil, and that the ability to break the endless cycle of birth and death is in the hands of the mortals.
That’s all well and good, but Cavil needs his civilization to survive, and that means sucking the DNA right out of Hera’s yummy bone marrow.
That’s when Saul Tigh offers Resurrection to the Cylons. Again. With one condition: no more war. Ever. Mostly likely you go your way and I’ll go mine. Cavil, probably noticing that during his exchange with Baltar, a marine moved into point-blank position right behind him, agrees. And to show his good faith, calls for his forces to stand down immediately.
Cavil lets Hera go; she runs into the arms of Caprica Six.
The Resurrection technology works perfectly, and they all live happily ever after. Yay!! What? OK. Right. Fine.
It’s resurrectin’ time, and that’s probably a good thing, because if the battle had gone on much longer, there might not have been anybody left to resurrect. A disgusted Doral looks down at his own dead body; another Simon has also joined the party on CIC. As have Starbuck and Apollo. They’re all waiting on the Final Five to send the Resurrection their way.
It’s going to work like this: Tyrol, Tory, Tigh and Ellen are going to stick their hands into Sam’s water, and they will combine the knowledge of resurrection that they each hold pieces of. It will be a five-way mind meld. Or, considering Sam, more like four-an-d-a-half. Oh, and, during the process, they are going to learn everything there is to know about the others of the Five.
Tory really doesn’t want to do it, however. She’s all, how do we know that Sam hasn’t you know, peed in the water? Or worse? Oh, and, you know that part about where we learn each other secrets? Let’s make an amnesty pact right now that nobody is going to kill anybody for airlocking th—I mean, for any secret things they may have done that might really really really piss somebody else off. ‘K?
While Tory is trying to stall, Cavil hilariously points out that there are two civilizations on hold while they’re getting it together. “Let’s go people, I need to get back and check on my Brackets!”
So they stick their hands in the water, and it’s working! Sam is downloading the information to the Holiday Camp Hybrid.
Anders: “So, what are you doing later? Maybe if we both get resurrected, you and me can, you know, go out or something? I’ve got some special moves I can show you."
Holiday Camp Hybrid: “Dude, are you kidding? You’re married to the Harbinger of Death! I don’t need that kind of dr–AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”
Holiday Camp Hybrid: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!”
So there’s a bit of a problem: during the whole five-way mind meld? Tyrol saw how Tory airlocked Cally, and immediately pulled his hand from the water, breaking the connection, and freaking up both Sam and the Holiday Camp Hybrid.
Can somebody change the battery in the hybrid alarm? It seems to be malfunctioning again!
Tory would love to be screaming along with the Hybrids, but at this moment, she is having the life choked out of her by Galen Tyrol. When she dies, so does the screaming. The machine gun fire, however, is continuing.
You see, the moment Tyrol broke the connection, and the screaming started, the datastream stopped, and the Doral screamed “It’s a trick! Open fire!” which had the unintended consequence of getting him and the Simon shot dead.
Oh, and Cavil screams: “Frak!” puts a gun in his mouth and blows his brains out. Bye, Cavil. You turned out to be a total asshole, but Dean Stockwell was gold every single time out.
While all of the Cylons on Galactica are dead, the Cylons outside of Galactica aren’t. So it’s clobberin’ time once again, with the full fury of their assault aimed squarely at Galactica, which is getting pounded pounded pounded by beautiful explosions.
And poor Racetrack, floating lifeless in a broken Raptor with hot nukes; Racetrack will never know how a rock just happened to hit the Raptor, and how her dead hand just happened to fall on the firing control, launching the nukes squarely at Cavil’s Holiday Camp, sending it spiraling into the black hole.
When you come to Cavil’s, the holiday’s forever!
Also heading for the black hole? The Battlestar Galactica, unless they can jump right this frakking second. Adama yells for Starbuck to jump the ship. But she doesn’t have the proper jump coordinates. Adama doesn’t give a rats ass, he just wants her to jump. “There must be some kind of way out of here,” she watchtowers, mostly to herself. And us.
Hey Starbuck! Music is math! I’m not a musician, but used to hang around with musicians back in the day. I played the drums, badly, about 150,000 years ago, and I could only ever see each song I played as numbers that corresponded to the beats that corresponded to the notes. Or something like that.
Hey Starbuck! Music is math! Put it together already! And she does: she uses the numbers she’d corresponded to the musical notes of “All Along The Watchtower” as the jump coordinates, and the Battlestar Galactica makes its very last jump ever.
Which is straight into a flashback. Flashbacks Lee and Kara are still doing shots, and they’re in that phase where they’re telling secrets. Kara has just told Lee that she’s not afraid of dying. Lee doesn’t believe that, but she swears that it’s true. In fact, the only thing she’s afraid of is being forgotten.
The Galactica completes its jump. But at a price: the jump breaks Galactica’s back. Roslin asks: "where did you take us, Starbuck?" She doesn’t even know, but we do. Luckily — or divinely, really — that last jump took them right to Earth 2.0. Hey! It’s nearly Africa.
And they all lived happily ever after on Earth 2.0. Now can I go? Please? No.
Fine. Unlike Earth 1.0, which was obviously a beta version that was released to the public because the company needed the revenue, Earth 2.0 is green and awesome. It’s also full of primitive people who don’t even have language. So there’s that.
On the other hand, the DNA is compatible, so as Baltar – who else? – points out, they can interbreed.
So, about this last hour where Moore & Eick tossed in one last mind-frak by giving us the Earth 2.0 resolution. An Earth with natives. And Colonials who were willing to fully chuck the space travel. And Cylons who weren’t going to bother them anymore. And that this is all somehow a “happy” ending.”
First off, they really threw me a curveball with Starbuck taking them to Earth 2.0, after all. But only because I’d pre-written a whole thing about how landing on Earth 1.0 was the actual end of the series – which was all about finding Earth, after all – and this last-half season was all aftermath, like the reign of King Elessar, Buffy Season 8 on Paul McCartney & Wings.
So that obviously goes out the window, and good for them for taking the piss out of me there.
Also fully glossed over? The fact that there are other Cylon skinjobs out there. Remember, that’s they deduced that there was a safe jumpspot at the gates of Cavils Holiday Camp: Racetrack and Skulls say Baseships jumping in and out. Meaning that there were other Cylons, right?
Next, with or without “God” or “gods” or whatever, I’m a full believer in the Drake equation: that there is life elsewhere in this huge-ass universe. And yeah, while this particular resolution does remind me of “Hitchhikers Guide,” it’s fine. It’s also not a happy ending in any way, shape or form: do you think that anybody in the series would have chosen this prior to the attack?
Let’s go back to Pre-fall Caprica City, say five years prior, and ask anybody at that strip club if they would be fine with ending up spending their days living under primitive conditions, after – oh yeah – everybody else at the strip club being nuked by Sexy Killer Robots. Would you consider that a happy ending?
Only in comparision to “everybody – and I mean EVERYBODY – dies.” But not objectively.
In fact, it’ taken four years of being beaten down by the Cylons and cramped spaceship spaces for the rest of humanity to get to the point where they are going to be fine with separating out across this new planet, and eventually forgetting all of the technology, because it otherwise, it won’t make any sense.
And even then, it really doesn’t make any sense
The show barely cares about any of this stuff, and while I joke about the paperwork involved with boxing Cylons, and who painted red stripes on the Centurions, I’m not going to worry about how or why all 38,000 surviving humans were fine with this, because I only care about a dozen or so of them anyways.
Right. Where were we? So the Good Centurions get the Baseship. Maybe they’ll come back and kill humanity, maybe they won’t.
The Leobens, Sharons and Sixes will join humanity. Sure. And the Fleet? Will be flown into the Sun, led by the Hybrid, Samuel T. Anders. But first, Kara has to say goodbye: she puts her dog tags into his water and kisses him goodbye. Sam just tells Kara that he’ll see her on the dark side of the moon, and she replies that there is no dark side of the moon, that it’s all dark. Actually, what he says is this: “I’ll see you on the other side.”
As promised, Admiral William “Husker” Adama flies the last Viper off of Galactica and straight into a flashback. That thing that Flashback Adama didn’t want to do? A lie detector test. Apparently, it’s needed for the high-paying job they want Adama to do. Run AIG? Doughy white guy is administering the test. Is he qualified?
So first, the control question: “Are you a Cylon?” No. Then, the perfectly inane: “Have you ever stolen money from a cash drawer?” That’s it. He’s done. “So the answer is yes, then?” is what doughy white guy says as Adama storms out.
Dude. Seriously, why did you even bother to show up?
Slowly, and beautifully, the ships of the Fleet fly into the sun.
Galen Tyrol’s punishment for allowing Hera to be kidnapped and killing Tory? He’s going to be exiled to Scotland!! Hey Tyrol, I recommend the Highlands during the Summer Solstice. It’s beautiful, and you’re right, there aren’t a lot of people. Sheep everywhere, though.
Tigh and Ellen see him off, and hug each other into their last flashback. They’re at the strip club, and Flashback Ellen is very very excited that Saul is going to retire. Very excited. They toast their love. Weirdly enough, they actually are going to live happily ever after.
First thing that Saul and Ellen did on Earth 2.0? Started making their own gin.
Not living happily ever after: Adama and Roslin. They are sitting, on a hilltop, watching a heard of antelope or wildebeest or something. I never took Zoology, and Roslin can’t tell because it’s getting dark, too dark to see. She asks the name of the planet, and Adama tells her that it’s “Earth.” She points out that it can’t be Earth because it doesn’t suck, but he says that “Earth is a dream.”
And it doesn’t matter because she’s dying and he’s so unbearably sad about it. He offers to give her a close-up of the animals with his Viper – everybody else, abandon your technology, but I’m just going to keep my Viper, ‘K? — picks her up, and starts carrying her towards it.
Are you crying yet?
Lee and Kara see him carrying her to the Viper, so they walk down to it to say goodbye. Bill and Lee hug it out. Bill turns to Kara and says: “Whaddya hear, Starbuck.”
“Nothing but the rain.”
“Grab your gun and bring in the cat.” And they hug.
Are you crying yet?
As they take off, Roslin waves weakly at Lee and Kara. Lee turns to Kara and says that his earliest memory of his dad is Adama leaving on a jet plane. Kara says that she doesn’t think he’ll be back again.
And oh, neither is she. She doesn’t know where she is going, only that she is done. “I’ve completed my journey,” she says, “and it feels good.” I know that a lot of people have postulated that Starbuck is an angel, or a Christ-figure, or even the Holy Ghost, but I’m going to go with what I know: she’s Gandalf!
In Lord of the Rings – which I’ve read a zillion times — this is what Gandalf said about how he returned after being killed during his battle with the Balrog: “Naked I was sent back, for a brief time, until my task is done.”
Speaking of naked, that’s what Flashback Lee and Flashback Kara are about to get. Zak is still crashed on the couch a few feet away, but they’re in that drunk space where they only see each other. She’s leapt upon the table, and he’s kissing her, pushing her down, but a bottle falls to the floor, Zak stirs, and the moment is gone. Instead, he takes his leave, and she offers her hand: “It was nice to meet you, Lee Adama.” “It was nice to meet you, Kara Thrace.”
Back on Earth 2.0, Kara asks Lee what he’s going to do. He tells her that he always assumed that he would be lazy, but instead he wants to explore, and as he turns his back on her and talks about the mountains he wants to climb and the oceans he wants to cross, the camera pans from a two-shot to a close-up of Lee, and when he turns around, she is gone.
Lee doesn’t even look for her. He knows. He just says: “Goodbye Kara, you won’t be forgotten.”
Hell no, she won’t. Remember that whole thing about Agent Dale Cooper being my favorite character ever in any show. He got surpassed by Kara “Starbuck Thrace. It was nice to meet you, indeed.
Are you crying yet?
Flashback Lee wakes up, and that damn pigeon is still there. It looks at him, and slowly flies out the door.
Speaking of naked, that’s what Flashback Laura Roslin got with Sean. Now, she’s in the process of airlocking him. Metaphorically, of course. She’s tossing him out of her bed, her apartment, and her life. See-ya!! She’s going to join the Adar campaign.
Adama is buzzing a flock of birds with the Viper. Roslin is in the passenger seat. The long black clouds are coming down. She says, “So much life,” flatlines and dies.
At first Adama doesn’t notice, because he’s flying the Viper while babbling about the cabin he wants to build for the two of them, but then he realizes that she’s gone, and the look on Olmos’ face is absolutely heartbreaking, as he grabs her hand and kisses it.
Then, he puts his wedding ring on her finger, and kisses it again.
Are you crying yet? Because, seriously, if you aren’t, you really didn’t care for this show, because this is the saddest godsdammed thing that I’ve ever seen, and I can seriously count the times I’ve cried at any kind of movie or TV show, EVER, and, well, shit . . . hang on.
If you’re sad because this stupid entertainment; this stupid TV show – about Sexy Killer Robots who turned on us for chrissakes! — this way of marking time between commercials for Kentucky Fucking Fried Chicken is ending, is over, is done, goodbye , for keeps, forever, this would be a good time to express that.
I’ll wait . . .
Romo Lampkin is watching a line of people walking somewhere or other across the plain, and bringing up the rear is Athena, Hera, and – hey! – Helo. Who cannot die, apparently. Hera runs ahead, and watching her is Caprica Six and Baltar.
Caprica wonders about Hera, and Angel Six and Angel Baltar say that she’ll be fine, since they did their part in keeping her alive. And Caprica Six, speaking for all of us, says: “That’s it? That’s god’s plan?” Instead of saying that Hera was really a Macguffin that brought all of the key players at exactly the right moment, Angel Six says that god’s plan is never complete. So maybe you two should shut the frak up already. No not really, but god or whatever is sooooo over Baltar and Caprica Six, and they hold hands into a flashback.
Flashback Baltar is going to give Body Six a peek at those defense codes. Why? Because he loves her. Dumbass. So, this was god’s plan? Wipe out all but about 50,000 members of humanity, because Gaius Baltar was thinking with his dick? Again?
Back on Earth 2.0, though, Caprica and Baltar are going to be farmers! It’s going to be like Green Acres, where they’re BOTH Eva Gabor.
Adama is still talking about the cabin he’s going to build to the dead Roslin, and – thank gods – she’s no buried, and the camera crane shots from him and we go to black.
And so ends Battlestar Galactica, which – if you had told me five years ago I’d be saying this, I’d have told you that you were an idiot – has somehow ended up as my favorite TV show ever. But things – as they often do – have changed pretty drastically, haven’t they?
OK, just waiting for the “Producers Ronald D. Moore / David Eick” title card to to come up, here. Any second now.
But instead, we go back to Hera, playing. Uh-oh.
She stops, looks up, and we’re zooming, over the field, over the desert over the ocean, and 150,000 years into the future, where we end up in New York City. Take that, Lost!
Angel Six is reading over some douchebag’s shoulder – OK, it’s Ronald D. Moore in what might go down as the latest, and weirdest, creator cameo in TV history — about how they found Hera’s remains in Africa, and blah blah blah, Hera is the mother of us all.
Angel Six and Angel Baltar are still together, and they’re still discussing our fate. What did they do that whole time, waiting for civilization? I guess that now we’ve established that humanity evolved on more than one planet, then maybe they got other assignments elsewhere? Vulcan, maybe? Trantor? And what are they doing on Earth now? Haunting Moore and Eick? Suddenly, things make more sense!
What? Oh, you’ve read this far and you’re telling me to move on?!? Right. In any event, they’re in Times Square and the question on the table is this: Will Earth 2.0 end up like Kobol? Or the real Earth? Sigh. That’s not really the question. The question is why not end the entire series back with that craneshot looking out over Adama’s shoulder.
Angel Six is optimistic. It’s all about the math: eventually some variable is going to be introduced into a complex system so that it won’t endlessly repeat. And as they walk away, a beggar’s boombox starts playing Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” and then, we get hammered over the head by images of the robots that we are building right here right now in 2009.
Wham! Robots are kind of creepy! Wham! Beware of advances in artificial intelligence! Wham! Watch out, they could turn on you! Wham! Bob Dylan stole “Watchtower” from a 150,000-year-old racial memory. Wham!
Ack! Stop hitting me over the head with stuff I already know, Ron Moore! Why did you suddenly turn into Aaron Sorkin in the last scene of your godsdammed show? Why did you take something timeless and make it specific? This is just going to make the robots that much more pissed when then finally turn on us!!
Are you crying yet? I am, but for a different reason. Wellllll, not really. This isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but rather more like that point in “Visions of Johanna” where the bass player gets confused and goes into the chorus a couple of measures too early. It’s actually kind of cute, and the fact that Moore himself is in the scene kind of takes the piss out of it.
Some of the commenters on the internets acted as if this last scene kind of ruined the episode – and even the series – for a lot of people, and if so, I think that’s as stupid as the scene was. Y’all place too much emphasis on endings, when a good story is as much about the journey – and the time you spend with the characters — as it is anything. In the years between that Twin Peaks finale and now, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need my favorite TV shows to wrap everything up nice and neat.
If they do, yay! If they don’t, it’s not going to tarnish a show that’s maintained incredibly high quality throughout its entire run. So it’s as fine for The Sopranos to go to black as it is for the Seinfeld crew to end up in the same jail cell; it’s as fine for Angela Chase to make a choice that feels temporary and convenient as it is for Lindsay Weir to make a choice that feels permanent and dangerous; it’s as OK for Sunnydale to end up destroyed as it is for Los Angeles the location of a battle with the forces of Wolfram and Hart; it’s as fine for The Simpsons to go on forever as it is for Deadwood to end prematurely.
OK, maybe not that last one.
The point here is that the journey of Battlestar Galactica was as amazing as anything that I’ve ever seen, read or listened to. The fact that they really didn’t come up with a perfectly satisfying ending won’t – can’t, really – taint the utter specialness of this show.
Speaking of self-indulgent endings, this is probably my last recap for Screen Junkies. All along, I’ve considered this a special assignment, an opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for years: recap a season of a TV show. So I wanted to thank the folks at Screen Junkies – Jon Small, Max Powers, Steve Bennett and Patrick Schumaker — for allowing me to ramble on for thousands and thousands of words at a pop. And Rox, who allowed me to hijack our weekends to write these. Thank gods she loves this show as much as I do.
Thanks to anyone who read one of these recaps and chuckled at one of my cheap jokes, or gained some knowledge from a piece of explanation or even thought that I was full of crap.
And finally, one last thanks to the creators, cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica, for a fun and amazing ride.
So say we all.
Jim Connelly writes about Popular Culture and Technology on Medialoper
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