30 Days of TV – Day 26

Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale

SPOILERS! (Yeah, freaking duh.) Don’t read this post if you’re some kind of basement-dwelling subhuman who hasn’t finished the series. (So, Hi Matt!)

 

 

We return again today to Battlestar Galactica. On the DVD, the last three episodes are crammed together to make one big ur-episode for the finale, and since that’s how I first viewed it, that’s what I consider the finale to be. It felt a lot like the mini-series, in length and production quality, going with the show’s cyclical theme.

The final season (well, final two seasons, if you go by the DVD releases) had a lot of changeups going on. The Cylons are in rebellion, Starbuck has returned from the dead, Roslin is dying of cancer again, and the Final Five have been revealed. A lot of this was actually really interesting: Roslin returns to being the doomed prophet, and Starbuck is an open-ended can of conversation. The Final Five felt gloriously overhyped—buildup, buildup, buildup, aaaannnd… they don’t do jack until the final episode—and was, I think, the show’s first big stumble. Not quite jumping the shark, but between the Final Five, the episode “Revelations” with the return to Earth, the ongoing saga of Hera and the dream sequences, and the big buildup of the competing Cylon/human mythology we get from following the rebel Cylons more closely… there’s a lot of strange metaphysical stuff going on. Even moreso when Anders takes a blow to the head, and is a shoe-in for the open hybrid position. On Galactica. Weird as hell, but oh, so awesome.

A lot of this was pre-meditated; the writers knew some of this would be coming from the earliest days. And I’m glad they avoided the greatest shark-jumping option, and didn’t shoe-in a spin-off of “Galactica: 2010” or something. Having the old Earth a wasteland made for a great couple of episodes, and a great plot mechanic. But with all these plotlines and developments in the air, they needed to coalesce via writer fiat into something not just believable but rewarding.

So, the finale. The first big section was the mondo action set-piece, the rescue of Hera, with some balls-out, continual action sequences, with a cast of thousands and thousands of Cylons. (The good ones wear bandannas on their arms.)  It’s the final leg of Baltar’s development, and Six’s to some extent. It has a very pissed off Athena and Helo going in to rescue their child, with everyone else of note helping out the best they can. Galactica is heavily damaged, a lot of people die, and in the end, the good guys win, yay, and jump away.

Now what? Well, they stumble upon a planet inhabited by pre-civilization primitive humans, everyone decides to abandon the fleet and live in peaceful coexistence on a primitive level. The Cylons stay with them, of course, except for the toasters, who take the basestar and jump off to go re-enact Star Trek. Roslin dies, Starbuck disappears, and Samuel T. Anders jumps the fleet into the sun. They then disperse to settle the planet, presumably never to see each other again, and then Baltar and Six (the versions the physical ones see in their minds) walk down Times Square as All Along the Watchtower plays. Cut to footage of the Honda robot.

I told you not to read this if you haven’t finished the frakking show.

I don’t hate or despise the ending as much as a lot of very vocal people did right after it aired—I can’t find any immediately, so you get this link—but yeah, that was a damn weird ending. To be honest, I can’t come up with a better alternative—not after some of the developments of seasons 3 and 4, namely the Final Five, Starbuck, and Anders’ blow to the head. In some ways, the show was moving in this direction; having Roslin die was bittersweet, but more poignant than the alternative, and I really like how Starbuck remains unexplained.

In other ways, it felt like the writers had written the show into a corner. Wasn’t there anyone, in a fleet of some ~25,000 people, who didn’t want to abandon their technology and start afresh with their reformed enemies as primitives? Having Anders (Samuel T.) jump into the sun was sad indeed; this is the fleet so many people fought and died for, and it’s thrown away. Yeah, Galactica itself is broken, and it forms a catalyst as a “yeah, we’re done here” message, but the knee-jerk is, well, if Galactica is all burnt up, we won’t have any more of this awesome show.

So, while I don’t fault the writers for anything, the finale had this very clear WTF? feel. Some of it was predictable; some worked nicely; a few holes popped up, which the critics noted. (And slammed, I might add.) Most of the finale came out of left field. I’m still torn on whether it was completely satisfying, but I’m not sure I can answer the complex question of “how should Galactica end?” myself; at least the writers did the best they could. At the very least, it was entertaining, and much of it had been foreshadowed since day one.

Spoiler/Preview/Recap:
Day 01 – A show that should have never been canceled – Jericho
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching – Fringe
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this TV-season) – Game of Thrones
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever – Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Day 05 – A show you hate – various micro-rants
Day 06 – Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – The Oath/Blood on the Scales
Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – Black Market
Day 08 – A show everyone should watch – Better Off Ted
Day 09 – Best scene/episode ever – Out of Gas
Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving – NCIS
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you – Heroes
Day 12 – A TV show you’ve watched more than 4 times – Robotech
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show – Talespin
Day 14 – Favorite male character – The Doctor
Day 15 – Favorite female character – Laura Roslin
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show – Top Gear
Day 17 – Favorite mini series – Band of Brothers
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence – Rescue Me
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast – Firefly
Day 20 – Favorite kiss – Adama and Roslin, Galactica, The Oath
Day 21 – Favorite relationship – William Adama and Laura Roslin
Day 22 – Best pilot episode – Battlestar Galactica
Day 23 – Most annoying character – a whole helluva lot
Day 24 – Best quote – Ray Person, Generation Kill
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new) – Sons of Anarchy
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale – Battlestar Galactica
Day 27 – Favorite series finale
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death


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