We finished watching the final episode of Battlestar Galactica a few days ago, and…
(cut for spoilers)
And, well, I’m not too sure where to start. There were some things I liked a lot–BSG’s willingness to take risks is perhaps less pronounced than in the previous seasons, but it was still nice to see them gear up for drastic changes, like the whole Gaeta and Zarek rebellion. And the whole Kara Thrace subplot was pretty neat (if a little too easily solved, but more on that later). For someone who hated Gaius like the plague in season 1, I actualy liked his change of heart, even though I don’t buy the way he founds his church (he shifts from self-serving to seemingly sincere way too fast, and the writers might have realised some of this because they later attempted to make him seem secretly self-serving in a way that didn’t quite work). But it was still a good idea to contrast him with Laura Roslin and the way that her usual forcefulness turned into fanaticism, and then into complete detachment.
I’m glad, though also a bit disappointed, that most of my favourite characters survived (the “disappointed” is because mostly everyone survived, except for those you knew weren’t going to anyway, such as Laura Roslin).
On the other hand, there were some other things I liked a lot less. As many of you know, I have nothing against religion being an integral part of the plot, or the existence of God forming part of an SF universe. But if you do this, please please take steps to ensure that “God moves in mysterious ways” does not become “the writers ran out of ideas and took the lazy way out”. The ending just plain leaves too many things unexplained (like who left the original message denouncing the twelve Cylon models in Adama’s room?), and enough plot-holes to drive a truck through. To cite just a few:
Why does Cavil suddenly see Hera as the survival of the Cylon race? (the only way I can see this work is if he somehow convinces himself that a Cylon/Hera mating is bound to be fertile, something which is by no means evident, and which should be totaly abhorrent to Cavil given his hostility towards human flesh, but he sure doesn’t act like a man betrayed in his deepest convictions when he has her).
What was the point of the opera house dream? Yeah, sure, it got Hera into the CIC just in time for Cavil to take her hostage, but somehow, I can’t see where this was key to their eventually finding Earth (well, ok. I can see it, it’s just that getting there required so much manipulation of everyone involved that you’re left wondering why God wouldn’t have the intelligence to go for simpler plans).
Why did all the original messages point to the fake Earth? I can sort of see why they’d have to detour through there to pick up “vital” plot info, but if you put God into the equation, again, I’m not too sure why you wouldn’t want your humans and Cylons to go straight to point B without passing start and getting the 20,000$. Seriously. Why go through all that convoluted journey centred on one goal, and then throw it aside in less than one season for another, convenient Earth? (which even has continents that look like our Africa). The most likely explanation for this is that the writers had an extra half-season they weren’t sure what to do with.
Seriously. God in an SF series is not a shortcut for lazy writing. “Ineffable” and “completely inconsistent” are SO not the same thing.
And I’m not even talking of the way people are left by the sidelines in a rushed fashion: Tyrol blithely abandons Cally’s son when it becomes clear it’s no longer his (way to go, Dad), Tigh dumps Caprica Six like so much refuse when she miscarries (you’d think she’d be needing emotional support at this point, but when we both see them again, Tigh is with Ellen, and they both appear completely unaffected by what’s happened to them). Or Gaius suddenly wanting to be with Caprica Six again, after ignoring her for a whole season.
And, you know, it’s not good being a woman in BSC’s world, unless you’re a Cylon. Let’s see… Laura Roslin dies. Dee commits suicide. Kara Thrace turns out to have been dead for a while. Cally is killed. I think the only one who does survive is Racetrack (not quite sure if she does, actually), who is definitely a minor role. The only female survivors are Ellen Tigh, Athena, the Sixes, and the Eights. All Cylons. I’m pretty sure there’s a message here, and I’m not sure I want to dig any deeper into this.
Oh, and those last few minutes of the series? Cute, but way already overdone in SF. I’d been dreading they’d do something like that for a while (ever since they landed on a continent that looked like the spit image of Africa, even from the air), and I was very disappointed they actually chose to have that ending. It might have been clever decades ago; now it just makes you groan.