Farewell Battlestar Galactica, it’s been a great ride.
Few shows get to go out on their own terms, and fewer still manage to do it well. Tonight Battlestar Galactica went out guns blazing and it was well worth the wait. This episode had everything: shocking plot twists and long-expected revelations, murder and sacrifice, touching moments and the most epic battle of the entire series—heck, I even almost started to like Gaius, almost. You better believe spoilers follow.
First, a few complaints: I wasn’t a fan of the flashbacks; I thought some of the dialogue was flat and/or melodramatic (especially Gaius’ speeches), and the climax in the CIC—when Cavil agrees to a truce and then all hell breaks loose—just felt off to me. Worst of all was the present-day epilogue; it was extremely heavy-handed and totally unnecessary. There’s also the tiny wrinkle that the Cylons are still out there—not just the Centurions who took the rebel Basestar but all the rest of Cavil’s forces. Recall that in the first part of “Daybreak” the reconnaissance team reported that several Basestars had jumped to and from the Colony, yet none of them have been accounted for. Even if we grant that they have no idea where the new Earth is and, without Hera or the Final Five, the skin jobs on board will eventually die off, that still leaves an army of “toasters” that could find earth at any time. Perhaps all this will happen again.
Despite all that, however, the episode by far made up its faults with an explosive plot and a satisfying ending chock full of intriguing revelations. Earlier today I linked to i09’s 12 Burning Questions, and guessed that it’d take a heck of a finale to answer even half of them. I wasn’t far off either; by my count, they more or less resolved five of the twelve: What are the “head” people? What is Starbuck? Where do Gaius’ loyalties lie? Is/are there a God or gods controlling everyone’s fate? and What’s with The Music?, and a sixth will get a whole movie to itself: What was the Cylon’s “plan”? But that still leaves a whole host of unanswered questions: What happened on Kobol and the original Earth? How did the skin jobs gain control of the Centurions? Who are the Lords of Kobol and what is their relationship to the Cylon God? What happened to the 13th Cylon (Daniel)? and for that matter, where did the original Cylons come from in the first place?
Yet the most interesting questions were not even mentioned in i09’s list, though we were all asking them after the mid-season finale: Was the nuked planet found in “Revelations” Earth? The answer turns out to be Yes and No. Yes it was the Earth the fleet has been searching for, but No, it was not our Earth. But that only raises a whole list of other questions: If that was not our Earth, then what the heck happened to Kara in the Maelstrom? She said she saw Earth lush and green—and so, apparently, she saw our Earth, the same one shown at the end of Crossroads, Part 2—but then how, and when, did her wrecked Viper end up on the other Earth? Did the same God or gods that took her to our Earth then take her to the original also, or was the Maelstrom actually a wormhole that took her destroyed Viper straight to the first Earth, while her soul (is that what it was?) was transported to the new Earth, then back to the Nebula a few months later?
For that matter, was she transported to the new Earth and truly resurrected in a shiny new Viper, or were both she and the new Viper, from the beginning, only real in the same way Head Six and Head Gaius were real—except that Kara could be seen by everyone, while the latter could only be seen by Gaius and Six? And if Kara (after her death, if not before) was an angel, was her new Viper real? If Sam hadn’t driven the whole fleet into the sun, would the Viper have disappeared when she did?
In the end, however, since Galatica confirmed the early speculations that the Earth they would eventually find would be our own past, that means the show doesn’t just have a mythology, it is a myth—an archetypal tale of our origins. So it may be dangerous to press its “facts” too firmly, for its importance lies rather in the deeper metaphysical questions it raises and attempts to answer. But it’s getting late, so I’ll leave those for tomorrow, if I can ever fall asleep after that stunning finale…