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Deus Ex Machina: The Divine, The Infernal, and The Mundane on the Series Finale of "Battlestar Galactica"

I went into the series finale of Battlestar Galactica with more than a little trepidation.

Would Ronald D. Moore and David Eick be able to wrap up all of the loose threads in this five-year-long tapestry of a narrative in roughly two hours? And, more importantly, would it be a satisfying swan song for the series itself, which has attracted millions of devoted followers who have theorized, discussed, and dissected every moment leading up to this ending?

I did expect Moore and Eick to deliberately leave some things open to interpretation and discussion with the series finale of Battlestar Galactica ("Daybreak, Part Two") but, while I enjoyed watching the final moments of this intelligent and provocative series, there were a few things that got under my skin.

So put on your Viper suit for the last time, unplug the toaster, prepare for some spoilers (if you haven't yet seen the series finale) and let's discuss the Battlestar Galactica series finale.

Most of all, I had feared that the series ender wouldn't tie up Kara Thrace's story neatly. After all, Katee Sackhoff herself has said publicly that she isn't sure she's happy with the way that Starbuck's journey ended. ("I don't know yet. I'm still wrestling with it. There's certain aspects of the character that had tremendous closure, and then there's certain aspects that are completely wide open. I'll leave it to the fans. I'll keep my opinion to myself right now.") And I have to agree with her: I wanted a more satisfying sense of closure for her character than to just disappear in a field after standing next to Lee. We're left with the notion that Kara was tied into something divine and ancient, that her purpose was fulfilled by bringing the survivors of the human race to the (new) Earth. And that having completed her mission, she vanished into the ether, which felt to me a little bit like a cop-out on the part of Ron Moore and the writers.

Was she a ghost, an angel, a messenger of God? I don't know and clearly it's meant to be left open for interpretation. (
Though she clearly had a physical form, unlike Head Six and Baltar, and was able to interact with the world around her.) But it seems an odd ending given the fact that Kara was connected somehow to the ancient Cylon race via her piano-player father and was able to get the fleet to Earth by using the notes of "All Along the Watchtower," which she was able to recall thanks to little Hera's drawing. Turning the notes into numerical values, she's able to jump Galactica to our Earth... and brings humanity to its end. Or rather the end of its journey. (How she was also the "harbinger of death" that the Cylon hybrid prophesied remains unclear and unseen.) In that respect, I see it's why Kara was brought back to "life," as it were, to be able to lead her people to the Promised Land.

Except that I thought that's what Laura Roslin, the dying leader, was meant to do. With her role usurped by Kara Thrace, Laura was left in this two-parter with very little to do other than help Ishay oversee the emergency triage center on Galactica during the final battle, chase after Hera after experiencing a vision of the fabled Opera House.. and then lose her.

How Kara was brought back to life is meant to be a mystery, a divine miracle enacted by an unseen heavenly presence that's pulling everyone's strings. It's also this godlike presence that recreates Kara's exploded Viper and places the secret path to the (old) Earth in its nav system so the Final Five can unlock it and return to their desolate planet.

Daniel, the fabled seventh Cylon model, was a "rabbit hole" that many of us fell down, according to Moore. He was just a piece of the Cylon backstory, a convenient analogue for Cain and Abel's story of fratricide, and wasn't connected to Kara Thrace whatsoever. In fact, Moore is quoted as saying that Daniel was an "unintentional rabbit hole" and that he "had no idea" that anyone would draw any conclusions between Kara, Dreilide, and Daniel. ("It's one of those things where you're inside the show and doing it, you don't realize that people are going to seize on this detail and it gets a life of its own," he told Alan Sepinwall.)

Which is funny as, while it's only a small piece of the overarching mythos of Battlestar Galactica, it could have perhaps drawn these threads together. Why couldn't Kara have been the offspring of Cylon Daniel and her human mother? Wouldn't it perhaps have gone a long way to explaining just why she is tapped into this shared consciousness, vis-a-vis "All Along the Watchtower" and her paintings of the Eye of Jupiter? Or is that just me reaching?

Or is it enough to have had her return from the dead as a Christ figure, bring the humans to their salvation on Earth, and then return to the heavens once she's fulfilled her destiny?

Likewise, I felt that the use of the Opera House visions here didn't quite match up to what had been built up so successfully over the course of the last three seasons or so. The shared visions of the Opera House seemed so climactic and crucial to the plot. After all, these were haunting glimpses into an otherworldly place of power and were shared by Six, Roslin, Baltar, Athena, and Hera... as they chased after Hera, the salvation of both the human and Cylon races, and Six and Baltar brought her into the presence of the mythic Final Five.

But in the end, it all went down amid a firefight aboard Galactica as Laura and Athena chased after Hera (and poor Helo nearly died after rescuing his daughter) and Six and Baltar literally stumbled on to Hera... and then simply brought her into CIC. Was that really all that this was about? Walking the little girl into CIC? The clues that we had been teased with up until now pointed to a more momentous and significant moment. Why was it important that it was Six and Baltar who shielded Hera and moved her into place? And why was it so crucial that Hera be brought to that place, under the gaze of the Final Five, where she was once again placed in jeopardy by the arrival of Cavil, who held a gun to her in a rather cliched fashion? (Regarding Cavil enacting some sort of standoff by threatening to shoot Hera, did anyone really believe for a second that he would go through with it, seeing as she was vital to his people's survival?)

To me, the resolution of the Opera House vision was one element of the series finale that truly let me down. Does it get our characters all in place for one final showdown between the alliance and the evil Cavil? Yep. Does it enable Baltar to speak about the divine puppet master pulling their strings and how this being, whatever it is, isn't good or evil? You betcha. But it lacked that epic, mythical quality that this plot thread seemed to be building towards. It seemed to be about the notion of sacrifice and of redemption. In fact, what bothers me most was that it seemed to be about something entirely different the entire time we've been tracking this storyline.

Ultimately, Hera is the salvation of both the human and Cylon races and we learn via a flash-forward 150,000 years to the future (our present day) that Hera is in fact Mitochondrial Eve, the matrilineal ancestor of the human race. Her bones, discovered in the Cradle of Life in Africa, are incorrectly identified as the start of the human race, though she's actually the result of reproduction between an off-world human and a Cylon. (I did find it semi-amusing that it's Ron Moore himself who's reading the magazine article about the discovery of the bones while the angelic Six and Baltar look over his shoulder.)

So was it essential that Hera be protected and fulfill her own destiny? Definitely. We're told that, without her, we wouldn't be here today as the human race at that time were a handful of pre-linguistic tribal people with spears. It's because of Hera that we exist at all and because of the sacrifice of the Cylon rebels and the Colonial survivors that Earth's population evolves to what it is today. Rather than destroy, they opt to create. They find Eden on Earth and recreate Paradise. Hera herself grows up to be the matrilineal ancestor for us all... which means that each of us shares a piece of her original mitochondrial DNA. We truly are human and Cylon, gifted with the "best of us" that Lee wanted to share.

Of course, things in life are cyclical. Patterns repeat themselves. "This has happened before and will happen again." In the present day, the massive advances in technology are making things possible in a way they haven't been before. Man is once again looking to create artificial life, to steal the fire away from the gods, and embue their mechanical creations with thought and purpose. The scenes in present-day Times Square point towards humanity's drive to recreate the Cylon race: to enslave a population of artificially created beings to their own ends. Will the pattern repeat itself? Will this robotic race rise up to annihilate their creators? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. As the angelic Six says, even complex equations of probability point towards patterns changing.

The humans and Cylons DO form a lasting alliance, especially after the playing field is leveled with the destruction of resurrection technology. (And, make no mistake, it can't be recreated now that Tyrol enacts his vengeance for Callie's death upon Tory, who rather fittingly finally gets some Biblical justice rained down upon her.) The humans and Cylons make a new home on Earth together; their new relationship isn't based on old grudges but mutual survival. And they do both survive through Hera.

The series has been a journey for both races as they are finally forced to put aside their enmity and become one, unified nation of survivors. Which is a hopeful message about solidarity and equanimity, the choice of compassion over destruction. We're meant to be left with a feeling of hope, that these people settled into a quiet life of agriculture and lived out their days in peace in some very uninteresting times. (Unlike that ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times.")

Yet why did I feel deeply saddened by the ending then, one in which the people of the Colonies, bound together through genocide, war, and the fight for survival, all seemingly went their own separate ways? It didn't feel hopeful to me at all that these people, after being through so much together, would opt not to stay together but to disperse throughout an empty planet. What is it in their nature that would push them towards solitude now, after everything they've fought for?

When Lee realizes that Adama is leaving with Roslin, he knows that he'll never see his father again. But why? I had believed that Adama was going to kill himself once Roslin died. After giving her one last glimpse at life, at the innocence and diversity of the wildlife on the African plains, Laura Roslin finally dies. It's a fitting death for the former president of the Colonies and I'm glad that we do see her finally succumb to cancer on screen. It's an important death, given that she fought so hard for so long to keep her people together and find them a new home. (Even though, as mentioned above, it's really Starbuck who does so in the end.)

But I thought that Adama's decision to live out a life of solitude after her death, away from even his son Lee, wasn't how I pictured the Old Man going out: alone, having lost his true love, building a cabin for one on a lonely bluff high above the valley. It would have been one thing if we had seen other survivors down in the valley and had the feeling that Adama was somewhat removed from his fellow mankind but still watching over them in his own way, but it was saddening to me that he would just walk out on Lee forever. Poof, like Kara, he's gone.

And I thought it was rather strange that we never got to see any final scene between Adama and Saul Tigh. Throughout Battlestar Galactica, it's Adama and Tigh's relationship that comprises one of the backbones of the series. We've seen them drink together, fight together, and cry together. Yet after arriving on Earth, we never seen anything pass between them. To me, it was a missed opportunity to tie up their relationship in a satisfying way. We've seen them go through thick and thin together; why should now be any different?

(Meanwhile, Tyrol heads out for Scotland, telling Ellen and Tigh that he can't be around anyone, human or Cylon.)

As for Tigh and Ellen, they finally get the life that had been eluding them all along: the chance to see out their days together, reunited once more. And this is it for them: there's no resurrection, no rebirth. They have one life to live, together, and they intend to make it count. So too for the little family that manages to make it through the series more or less unscathed (at least mortally, anyway): Helo, Athena, and Hera. A literal post-nuclear family comprised of two races, pointing towards the future. (Even Boomer gets a chance to redeem herself and pay back the Old Man... before she's gunned down by Athena.)

Sam leads the ships into the cleansing fire of the sun, finally able to fulfill his own destiny: the chance to be a part of something that approaches perfection. To embrace the heat of the sun and its consuming fire. The sun destroys but it also creates and ultimately Sam becomes part of this neverending process too.

Baltar and Six get the opportunity to change their fates, to strive to build rather than tear down. The most emotional moment for me in the finale (besides for Laura's death) was Baltar tearfully admitting to Six that he knows how to farm. That Gaius would finally admit where he came from was truly touching and that Six told him that she knows. These two, responsible for the mass genocide of the human race, really do come full circle here. They know each other inside and out and they get the chance to grow their own Eden together, on equal footing.

One of the most beautifully crafted moments in the finale was Gaius standing aboard that Raptor, deciding whether he would stay and perhaps die fighting Cavil or if he would once again run. Baltar's been running for as long as we've known him, and even before: he obliterated his past as a farmer's son, erased his accent, and transformed himself into an intellectual. He's gone through more transformations than anyone else on the series: scientist, savior, president, pariah, prophet. And in that moment, standing on the brink of possible destruction, he chooses the path of sacrifice, placing himself in the path of the divine. That he does so with his own free will is the important part. Shaky, unsure, and absolutely terrified, he makes his decision... and comes face to face with Six, placed right next to him in the final firefight. Coincidence? Hardly. Once again, it's a sign of the divine. That these two, united in their complicity for the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, would end up side by side in the Final Battle is meant to be proof of their connection with the celestial mysteries and in their redemption.

Which leads us then to the revelation that Head Baltar and Six, pushing their fleshy counterparts to do both good and evil, are in fact in the employ of the unseen presence... or are in fact a part of said divinity itself. As Baltar says, they're not good or evil, they just are. They poke and prod, they pull strings, they conduct experiments to see just what will happen. And it's fitting that God's messengers should be these two: the creators and destroyers themselves. They are part of a pattern that never ends, of birth, death, and rebirth. The wheels keep on turning and they are once again watching and waiting.

That they would still be around 150,000 years later, still shadowing the human race, is fitting. Them, walking through Times Square while the ancient/modern "All Along the Watchtower" played was a nice coda to everything that had passed. Once again, they appear to be keeping a watch over the next "experiment," waiting to see whether things will once again play out: whether humanity will choose the path of destruction or enlightenment. And, they, like Hera, are a part of us all, whispering in the dark recesses of our collective consciousness.

Ultimately, I felt that Battlestar Galactica offered an ending that did answer some of the series' looming questions (though not always satisfyingly) and left some others painfully ambiguous. While some of the revelations pointed a little too much towards divine (or angelic) intervention, I did appreciate the full circle nature of the series' overarching plot and the fact that, for a series as dark as this, some of the character got their happy endings, standing in the cool, sunny plains at the birth of civilization.

What did you think of the series finale? Were you satisfied with the disappearance of Kara and the reveal about the Opera House? Are you glad that the crew of Galactica didn't all perish in a fiery end in the fantastic final showdown with the Cylon Colony or did you think that the ending was uncharacteristically sunny? Discuss.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm still processing everything . . . but my initial reaction -- It really worked until the "150,000 years later" bit. I just felt we were being hit over the head with the idea of the possibility of repetition. (I mean, really, you had to show us the robots?? You didn't think we'd get it? You had to make sure we got THE MESSAGE?) The last bit just fell flat for me. Making the literal connection to our time took it from the mythic to the mundane.

However, that aside, I thought many the rest of the finale worked. While I know that Baltar needed to stay on Galatica, part of me didn't want him to. I wanted to see Baltar and Romo go head to head. I loved, loved the idea of Romo as president. Also loved the chief's need for some alone time. And the music from the original series as Sanders heads toward the sun. "See you on the other side."

@ Jace: While I can appreciate your quibbles, my ambivalence is still directed toward the last bit.

But all in all, I think they did a fantastic job with the finale.
Anonymous said…
@Jace Completely agree with you re: Kara. I thought that was a total cop out on RDM's part. They couldn't figure out what to do with her so they left it as vague as possible? WTF? So everything that had happened with her had no basis in anything other than the "miracle" category? How did her Viper get rebuilt? How did she lead the Demetrius? Doesn't make any sense if she wasn't "really" there at all.

Didn't like bait and switch with 2 Earths. So they faked us out with the original Earth? Yawn. Why show us a planet and then not have that be the same planet? That's not creative, it's lazy storytelling.

@tempest I hated the stuff with the robots on Earth. WE GET IT. We're heading down the same frakked up road again with AI. We didn't need to see 10,000 robots to get this point and I felt like this was RDM hammering us over the head with the subtlety of dropping an anvil on us. HATED that RDM himself was reading the magazine about Eve/Hera. It felt completely self indulgent to me & took me out of the story. Bad move.
Anonymous said…
I agree with Tempest and Chris - HATED the ending in NY. Seeing RDM totally took me out of the moment. I had already figured out that they would be our ancestors. And yes we might repeat the mistakes of the past. Does RDM think we are stupid? This was a finale for the fans who have faithfully watched the entire series, not for some casual viewer. So why the need to hit us over the head with a hammer?

I also didn't like Adama leaving Apollo like that. Didn't make much sense. And Starbuck? Haven't wrapped my head around that one yet.

Having said all that, the first hour rocked. Loved the cylon vs. cylon stuff, good action and fast moving. I amdit to get getting misty eyed when the fleet headed for the sun to the original series theme (which I had watched when it was on so long ago). I loved the way they killed off Rosalin - just the way it should have happened. There was way more good than bad in this episode. I'm happy with it. When I get the dvd I just won't watch the final 3 minutes of the last episode :)

I will miss this show - but more importantly miss the characters. The actors are to be congratulated for creating characters that will long be remembered.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mazza said…
I'm going to miss BSG and these characters. I know they'll be back in the fall with "The Plan" but it's not the same and "Caprica" won't be the same either. I wasn't crazy with all of the religious stuff in this ep and thought they layed it on a little heavy-handed at times. Didn't like that Adama abandoned Lee like that which seemed way out of char for him. The Hera/Eve thing was cool but obvious that we were their descendants. Did cry when Laura died but I expected that too. Pretty good ending to an amazing show. Wanted more tho.
JackiWhitford said…
I liked the Kara Thrace ending. I have had people come into my life, lead me in the right direction and fade from my life right after I learn what I need to know. Now whether these people were angels or other human beings part of my divine plan of life I don't care. They gave me what I needed to find peace and/or inspiration and I moved forward in my life's journey.

I wish the finale had ended with Adama on the hilltop (much like the sequence in the movie Out of Africa), and left the current day Earth out of it.

While I enjoyed Head Baltar and Head Six in psuedo NYC, I found the robot sequence, Ron Moore and the contemporary Jimi Hendrix All Along the Watchtower jar me out of BSG proper and into my own reality.

And in my reality, Toronto looks nothing like NYC.

Other than that one nit, I loved the finale. It ranked right up there with Lord of the Rings Return of the King and Farscape The PeaceKeeper Wars.
Unknown said…
Mine isn't a popular opinion. No series I've started out enjoying so much has disappointed me so much as BSG. It started going off the rails with the third season, and the finale was a complete train wreck.

I liked how we saw some of the characters meet "back in the day," and I enjoyed the half a space battle, but that was about it.

Boring: stop the fight and make up.

Disgusting: close-up on Bill Adama puking on himself. Dignified.

Contrived: oh look, another Earth.

Finally, what they did to most of the characters is inexcusable.

Laura dies. Okay, we expected that. Could she have stayed in the nice meadow watching the animals? Did she have to be crammed into a cockpit? Was her last request that Bill Adama spend the rest of his life alone and bitter? Wow.

Kara Thrace vanishes. Not a hybrid Cylon/human or whatever, she's a crazier idea--some prophet/angel/demon.

Lee Adama is alone. He's going to "climb a mountain." Whoopie.

Galen goes off alone.

It was cute to see how Boomer pays back Adama, but only by reversing what she already did, so there wasn't really a point to her taking Hera in the first place. I've got whiplash.

Sam's idea of perfection is burning up in the sun. Huh? It would've been more interesting to see him go with the Centurions and help guide them.

I'm glad Tigh and Ellen are together. It's sweet that he forgave her decades of whoring around.

Helo and Athena get to raise Hera. That's nice. I also liked seeing her skeleton at the end. Touching.

But Baltar and Caprica 6--the ones who destroyed the human race--they get to be together and happy. Cute. While we've seen Caprica's development clearly, I don't think we saw nearly enough of Baltar's. He was still deeply selfish until this ep. (Although, yes, I agree it was a development to see Baltar talk farming.)

Oh, and by the way, Chip 6 and Chip Baltar were actually demons. Whuh?

The entire finale overwhelmed me with over-bearing and awkward religious symbolism. Bleah.

Will we ever really allow computers to enslave us? No. SkyNet will never be that powerful. We're still comparing strings by hand, wrestling with compiler switches, and see random crashes in Windows. It's a fun idea, but boring when applied to reality.

Ultimately, I agree with Jace that the Big Ending--humanity dividing and spreading out over the planet--doesn't ring true at all.

Like I said, I know my opinion isn't popular, but there we are. I'm glad it's over. I'll probably take a look at Caprica because it seems more like an actual story, but at the first hint of spirituality, I'm reaching for the Delete button.
Anonymous said…
I had very mixed feelings about the finale. I really enjoyed the battle sequence but things started to unravel for me with the "opera house/CIC" scenes. I also felt that this was a let down and couldn't quite understand why Six and Baltar had to be the ones to walk Hera into CIC and why that would be significant.

I realize that she was weak and dying but Roslin really had nothing to do in the finale. She tried to protect Hera but Hera ran off with Six and Baltar. And then, as you said, it was Kara who led them to earth and not Roslin. So, ultimately, what was her role in all of this? And why did she have visions? And I completely agree that she would not want Bill Adama to live out the rest of his life in solitude. It really made me sad that everyone went their separate ways after all they've been through.

I still think the series is brilliant but wish that the ending would have lived up to the excellence that we've come to expect from the show.
Anonymous said…
I pretty much had all of the same concerns, Jace. As much as religion played into the series' dialogue over the past four seasons, I never expected the sci fi series to actually be delegated by a spiritual entity. As a Christian, I don't have a problem with religious storylines, I just didn't actually expect so much of this show's storylines to be tied up by religion. I can't decide if it's brilliant or an easy way to tie up loose ends.

I was surprised by how unimportant the Opera House scene turned out to be as well. I was terrified that Sharon and Helo were about to die and Laura would be unable to prevent Caprica 6 and Gauis from taking and raising the child. What happened to all of the talk that this was "their child"?

But I will say that I don't think Cavil would have ceased without Tigh promising recreation and then Baltar preaching to him. Although, for a man that was so bent on surviving, I was surprised by how quickly he committed suicide.

Lastly, I didn't expect Kara to be a miracle, but they kept saying that she was. Was the song just a message from God? How did her father learn it? I will say, however, that I thought their backstory in this episode was touching and a perfect end to their relationship. They were two people inextricably connected and in love but they were never destined to get it right. That being said, I expected one last passionate kiss before she left.

I also was disappointed that Adama left Lee for a dying Roslin. He really loved Roslin more than Lee that he would never come back? After all this time of Lee being so angry about Adama abandoning and not loving him, he leaves him? And I wasn't angry about Bill not having a scene with Tigh until now. Thanks, Jace... ;)

As for Kara leading the people instead of Laura...Perhaps Laura's only job was to make sure Kara was at the right moments at the right time. She instructed her to get the arrow. Kara kidnapped her and she didn't shoot Kara when she had the chance. Or perhaps she did and the bullet went through her because she was dead...

Anyway, if this wasn't it, then maybe Laura wasn't the dying leader to lead them to Earth at all. Kara ultimately was dying. Earth led her to her death. And when she returned, it was with a time stamp. Perhaps the true dying leader was Kara herself.

I actually liked the "Earth" copout. We are a cocky and arrogant people, just like our ancestors apparently. Who other than us would decide to name a planet whatever the frak we want?

If the finale taught us anything, it wasn't that the Cylons had a plan. It was "God." I'm excited to go back and rewatch the show from the beginning now because it seems evident that He made sure to place people and things at certain times--all of these little moments all added up to the Cylon/Human fleet to peacefully find "Earth." And everything that seemed epic or important--like 6/Gauis protecting Hera was just one small part of the overall plan. Everyone was linked:

6 had to save Gauis on Caprica. Gauis, in turn, had to be a self-involved coward to make it to safety. Helo had to switch Gauis seats in order to stay on Caprica and conceive Hera. 6 and Gauis were instruments in Hera's birth from the beginning, and God had to have something to do with that. There has to be all of these little moments spread throughout the series and I'm excited to see them with newly opened eyes.

So, I appologize for the rambling, but thus is my feelings for the finale: a rambling mix of the happy, the content, and the not so satisfied.
Anonymous said…
The big weakness is in making the divine explicit. It's a cop out. It would have been more satisfying (but harder) to come up with an ending that did not require god's machinations.

Still the finale had emotional impact. The final half-hour still haunts me. I keep hearing the music played as the fleet of empty ships heads toward the sun.

From a logical perspective, there are problems. Abandon the fleet? I'm sorry, but life in Africa will not be easy. Survival is brutal. Did everyone agree with Lee? I would think that as fractitious as things have been amoung the peoples of the rag-tag fleet, there would have been much more disagreement.

I suppose one can view the finale as one views myths. Myths are not bound by reality but by internal logics and axioms all their own. Think of the bible or other religious texts. This is like a creation myth. Not the creation of the world or of civilization (which is at least 143,000 years off), but of modern humans.
Anonymous said…
Jace you are so eloquent and almost always say what I am thinking but am not talented enough to communicate well! I basically agree with every point you made.

Here are a quick few (of the thousand I have) thoughts:

Kara – yes, her abrupt departure and lack of explanation for what she was, why she was the “harbinger of death”, how her father tied into it etc...very unsatisfying.

Laura’s role in the medical bay was awkward and pointless - I though she’d have to put an X on someone’s head she knew or something.

The final CIC scene was one of the best parts of course – when I saw the cylons glowing I gasped and thought now, NOW is the big epic moment when we’ll understand what all the clues and prophecies mean and it will all tie together!! And it did...sort of...but for all the YEARS of build up it all happened so fast (my husband blinked and totally missed Cavil putting the gun in his mouth). And such violence and death and then Cavil said “give me the resurrection technology” and they were like “ummm...ok” Huh? It was just too easy...and again too quick! And yes, the opera house has been painted as this complicated, extremely critical event and I was sort of stunned, thinking “was that all??” and yes, why Six and Gaius, why Laura...not really understanding that at all.

Yes, even though they found earth II it was still vaguely depressing – everyone going off on their own.

I really thought Adama was going to fly the viper with him and dead Laura into the sun or into the mountain (like, there’s where our cabin will be...zoom, crash!) And why didn’t the scientists find his viper when they found Hera's bones??

Yes, loved how Gaius evolved and stayed on Galactica, and yes the farmer comment at the end almost made me cry.

I think I kind of feel like I practically studied for a final exam trying to make sure I understood every nuance, every complex thread of the story and had considered all possible explantions and then in the end the test was pretty simple and I am stuck with all this extra knowledge I didn’t need to know.

Hey, as they say the journey is better then the destination and Ron Moore took us on an awesome ride (well except for season 3 but no one is perfect). I feel bad nitpicking really and thank him for such an entertaining and gripping series, he did an amazing job and he looked very cute in his cameo too :)
Anonymous said…
Only two comments that I haven't seen so far (no need to recap what's already been posted, after all).

1) I have thought for a while that the "dying leader" was not Roslin, Adama or any other person. The dying leader was Galactica. If you think about it that way, a lot fits, and Roslin's lack of role in the ending makes more sense in the mythos.

2) Kara WAS the harbinger of death, for the entire cylon race. By finding the baseship, she led to the destruction of the resurrection ship(s) and ensured that cyclons would have 1 and only 1 life, then die. How is this not being the harbinger of death?

Otherwise, I also thought that the ending was very LOTR:Rotk, but I HATED the ending of that movie (all 4 of them), and thought that this one was about 4 endings too long too.
Anonymous said…
As the ending to a great but flawed series, the episode worked. For the potential that it might have had, the plot points that might have been realized, and the questions that might have been explored, it was pretty bad.

As an act in tying up a series that was admittedly not pre-planned, it was a solid effort. I still enjoy the series, but reduced expectations led to less distaste for the finale than I might have had if I expected something impressive.

A Starfaring species wants to get back to Earth (sic) so much that it will go so far as to let their ships be flown into the sun? I disbelieve. Does Lee understand that you need food to hike? Ammunition against the predators?

Didn't the whole hidden colony look like a Shadow Spider ship?
Unknown said…
AmandaP: Kara was supposedly the harbinger of death for the human race--not the Cylons.

I like your thought about Galactica being the dying leader more than Roslin, but it's probably not "right." :-)

Ridolph: Heh. That's what it reminded me of! I loved Babylon 5 when I saw it. I recently started to watch it again, but it wasn't as good as I remembered, so I stopped.
Anonymous said…
I think it was assumed that Kara would be the harbinger of death for the humans but I always questioned that considering it was a warning from a hybrid. Why would a hybrid be concerned with Kara leading humans to their destruction? She lead the humans to the end... of their journey and was the harbinger of death for cylons. I can buy that.

I'm not sure how else RM could have wrapped up Kara's story. Leoben had always said that she had a pivotal role to play and her being a cylon descendant would break other aspects of the story. I'm okay with the more spiritual reasoning behind her return. I actually would have liked to see a wrap up between Leoben and Kara.

I too found it a bit depressing to see the the main characters go their own separate ways. I could understand other colonials wanting to part ways... it was a rag-tag fleet that was never happy with the way things were run. That was evident in Daylight Part 1 when all the ship captains were fighting over who gets what part of the Galactica. I just hate that Tyrol ended up essentially getting slugged in the head over and over (betrayal after betrayal) until he had to just leave everyone behind. I hate that Lee was left all alone.

Having said that, I don't think anything in the ending precludes the possibility that they will still see each other again. They just won't be living at the same "camp".
Anonymous said…
The several comments here and elsewhere provide strong evidence, at least to me, that use of active deities in a story set out to be about human conflict on multiple levels is a cheap plot trick and a disservice to the audience. There is good reason, demonstrated in this series, why such tricks annoy and turn off audiences. The series was very well written and acted and presented a wealth of important issues for HUMAN consideration. The series could have done very well without an opera house (unless explained as a holographic or some other form of anthropological statement from ancestors), without Starbuck's death (or return) and certainly without angels. Even if considered as a new creation myth about our own existence, the series did not need extra human and apparently intelligent forces pulling our strings. We can pull them quite well and make lots of horrible mistakes in our cultural, scientific and biologic wanderings. The wanderings are the most fruitful source for literature, and while gods may be involved in the story, their influences are best left out unless the story is to be about human resistance or interaction with such influences. I am reminded of Babylon 5's treatment of the Shadows and Vorlons as an example of how mortals may escape the influences of unhealthy deities. Also, just how clever is the deity who resorts to mass killing to make a point about learning to get along with others who may be different in some respect? The series was so well done and acted in so many respects, its use of cheap tricks in a couple of places, including the otherwise fine ending, is really annoying.
Maury Souza said…
This may be long over but here is my two cents.

1. Adama went off with the President because he was dying too. He had been popping pills for some time on the ship, Kara tells him he doesn't have much time. Maybe the Admiral was the dying leader.

2. My question is why did Cavil commit suicide? There was no coming back for him, so why would he just stick the gun in his mouth?
Maury Souza said…
BTW-- Your review of the finale is spot-on. I had the same frustrations.
qooza said…
I just watched the finale and am in full agreement with your take on it, especially with regards Kara and the Opera House vision. So many clues, so much build up of tension over so many episodes, and they couldn't figure out a way to fit it in the overall mythology other than "it's just spiritual"? I'm frustrated as heck over these red herrings.

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