Friday 20 March 2009 was the Sci-Fi Channel broadcast of the 2-hour finale to Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately, I had to head out to the Grand Rapids airport to pick up Mrs. Dr. Phil. So set the VCR+ code number and let 'er rip. One thing and another, and I started watching today at around 1am.
Before The Cut
No spoilers yet. I already knew that a LOT of people were bitching that they thought the BSG Finale sucked. That it betrayed the four years they'd invested in the show. That it wasn't the cast's fault.
But... how could it not be a disappointment? No, I'm serious here. Think of how BSG -- old and new -- begins. Peace is at hand and suddenly the Cylons sucker punch the human race. A small ragtag group of refugees head out to find Earth -- and keep having to fight the Cylons. Life sucks. Humanity dwindles. Okay, that's the GOOD news of the premise of the show. Finding Earth doomed the original BSG. Luckily the new show sucker punched us again -- Earth was ruined -- and again -- some of the humans on the crew are actually Cylons, but they didn't know it.
What could possibly work? Finding a new Earth and everyone living happily ever would be a letdown. Getting wiped in the last assault on the Cylon colony would be tragic, though if ALL the warring factions died, that's be a little better. Taking out the whole of humanity would be too easy and would suck.
No, really -- there's no GOOD solution. Only ones which would make some people mad. Remember Babylon 5? We didn't even know we were being taken on a five year arc ride back then. But the wind down of the war was never going to satisfy. And it had some problems, as I recall. Hell, ending The West Wing was a bittersweet letdown -- how could it not be? Still, we certainly enjoyed getting there. Of course in BSG's case, you could make some choices to make it worse. And apparently that was the path taken. douglascohen was so irate, he not only had a good inventory of the finale's failings, he also wrote:
Let me start by saying this post and its comments thread are for those who wish to express their rage or disgust with last night's series finale. The mildest reaction I'm looking for is bewilderment. If you liked last night's episode, with all due respect take it elsewhere. Really. I"m not interested in engaging in intelligent discussion or debate about the virtues of this episode. Sorry, but it's true. If you insist on posting anyway to defend this finale, I will delete your post. If you think I won't delete you because we're friends and hence you are an exception, let me assure you that you're wrong. I will delete you as well. No offense is intended if I delete your post, but you have been warned.
I am royally pissed.
The Battlestar Galactica Finale (Still Before The Cut)
Just viewing the finale was trouble. The VCR+ code number was for two hours. But after two hours, the tape stopped and the show wasn't over. Dammit! Not sure what happened, but... Gah! Fortunately, I'd waited over a week to watch this, so when I strolled over at 3am to Hulu, I actually found it. And watched the last twenty minutes.
For those of you following along, the first hour of the finale involved the Galactica going off on what had to be its last battle -- the old girl has been falling apart all season -- and jumping right next to the Cylon colony which is hiding in the debris field surrounding a black hole. Multiple bloggers have bitched loudly about Chechov's gun -- you can't have a black hole lying around in Act I and not use it later. Instead, we kept getting flashbacks to before the war. Things we probably should've seen long ago, if they'd been smart, as in Babylon 5 smart.
There's a surprise moment when Baltar and Caprica Six realize that they can both see each other's virtual partner -- the ones they've had in their heads all these years. "You can see them, too?" they say to each other. Somehow it reminded me of the scene in George Lucas in Love: "Mom?"
Wait, are those old-style old BSG Cylon Centurion warriors? With the big helmets and the heavy long guns? Watching new-style Centurions work with the human assault team with hand signals -- a nice touch. But the "new" excuse for "owing Adama one"? Totally unnecessary.
Willing Suspension Of Disbelief... Nah...
The second hour of the finale. This is where the derailment started.
I can buy finding the new Earth. I can buy letting the Centurions have their freedom. But come on folks, the colonists haven't agreed on one bloody thing the entire series. Do you really think they're going to go caveman all of a sudden? I understand the need to break the cycle of war between the Cylons and the humans, but geesh, that's not going to happen for a long time. I kept thinking of the Motie "museums" in The Mote In God's Eye, designed to cut down the time it takes to rebuld the civilization.
And angels. Oh crap. All along the head man of BSG has kept saying that BSG "isn't science fiction". He was wrong. I don't care if he said it "was about the characters." I have a news flash for you -- SF can be about the characters. Yes, it can. Sorry, you needed a better explanation. Lots of people came up with suggestions. You. Got. Lazy.
And did these people not hear the raucous laughter of derision that greeted George Lucas' stupid invented subplot of the "midichlorians"? And they want us to buy that Hera is Mitochondrial Eve? Sorry. No. Fucking. Way. And even if she was, how the hell would any archaeologist KNOW this 150,000 years later? Puh-lease!
Still, there was amongst all the missed opportunities and jaw dropping moments of stupidity a lot of other scenes. Edward James Olmos and Mary McDowell -- classy to the end. Epic Fail? No, probably not.
So there you have it. I guess given that I still feel it had to end poorly, I'm not so disappointed with the finale -- I shall remember the series, not the ending. Star Wars VI and III had letdown endings, too. BSG is over. Sort of. There's a new series, Caprica, coming out.
And we'll probably still get sucked into it.