OK, I realize that the majority of our regular readership are probably not BSG watchers; however, since the reimagined series is based on the original late-1970s series created by Glen Larson, who used it as a vehicle for Mormon themes and theological musings, it’s likely that there are Mormons (beside me) who followed this much bleaker (and a gazillion times better) version. This post is ONLY for those who have seen the Series Finale; it not only contains spoilers but is incomprehensible if you haven’t followed the show or watched the finale. If this isn’t you, go rent the DVDs first, and we’ll see you in a few months. EXTREME SPOILER ALERT.
No finale can truly live up to the expectations of its fans. Finales can be maudlin (Cheers), sentimental (M*A*S*H), or downright hostile to the loyal fans (Seinfeld). Some finales wrap everything up in a neat bow (Bob Newhart Show), while others leave things enigmatic and open (Veronica Mars, although clearly not their fault–they got canceled).
The updated show, which just ended after 4 very full seasons this week, brought us a bleak picture of humanity, characters who discovered they were Cylons when they thought they were humans, and humans who didn’t know what they were. It had moments of brilliance, flashes of insight, and heart-breaking humanity at times. That brings us to the finale. IMO, the finale, while not a total disaster, had some serious flaws:
- Navel-gazing flashbacks that didn’t move the ball forward. There are flashbacks for several of the main characters. None of those flashbacks is useful at either new character development (it’s the finale anyway) or at moving the ball forward on the story. Little of importance is revealed. The flashbacks seem self-indulgent:
- Ellen & Tigh. They like to party, and they’re in love. We know that.
- Adama. He’s full of moxy, hates authority (except his own) and is capable of getting drunk enough that he can vomit on himself without trying to clean it up. Not big news.
- Roslin. Her close family was killed in an auto accident, and she slept with someone much younger than her which is why she decided to get back into politics. So what?
- Lee & Kara. They had yet another near-miss, although this one was certainly the most sordid of all and doesn’t reflect well on either of them. It seems a bit out of character for both, in retrospect: for Lee because he was so passive for the first few seasons (why he lost Kara to Anders), and for Kara because she was so in love with Zach that she barely knew Lee existed. Continuity, people!
- Unanswered questions. There are a lot of very big, very important questions left open:
- Who is Daniel? There’s one Cylon model missing who was boxed by a jealous Cavill, his brother Daniel. Presumably, we’ve seen one of the Daniel models before, wandering around among the humans (otherwise, what a wasted opportunity!) Many fans have suggested that Kara Thrace’s missing piano-playing father was Daniel (making Kara the first real half-human/half-Cylon; suck on that, Hera), but Ron Moore has denied that suggestion (hate fans much?) without offering any better one.
- What is Kara? At the end of the series, she’s been killed, come back to life somehow, cremated herself, and then announced cryptically that she’s done with her journey; then, mid-conversation with Lee, she just disappears. I’ll be honest, there are a lot of things they could have done with this. The scene is reminiscent of Greek mythology, how the immortal Gods and Goddesses appear among mortals and then are suddenly gone. But this again is just left hanging. Answers are not likely forthcoming as Katee Sackhoff has not signed on for the fall’s BSG movie The Plan (which is a flashback anyway). It just seems polite for someone to ‘fess up to who resurrected her, how, why, and what that makes her now.
- What are Head Six and Head Baltar? Regardless of all that, the hallucinations/angels known to fans as Head Six and Head Baltar are walking through a modern-day version of Times Square at the end musing on how humanity always seems to end up at the same place regardless of the location: Kobol, Caprica, the original Earth, and now the second Earth. But no one is there hallucinating them. What the heck are they? Is there some mythology that is meant to explain who or what they are? Hello?
- Gaping continuity problem OR wasted opportunity. This is my biggest issue with the series finale. The crew arrives at a pre-historic earth, roughly 150,000 years before an earth that is similar to our present day earth. The crew decides that they will populate this planet, splitting up to the various land masses, live quietly and teach language to the indigenous people (alien seeding theory, to those evolutionists out there). There are a few problems with that notion, one literary, one scientific:
- Scientific Issue: Humans didn’t develop written language until about 10,000 years ago, yet these guys were going to be teaching language to pre-historic humans 140,000 years before that? I don’t think so. That would have to move human evolution along much faster, too. The development of language is one of the most pivotal moments in human development.
- Literary Issue: The characters populating earth have names that are significant to our world history, yet they have been placed there at the wrong time to have been the basis for those cultural events:
- Galen is going to live alone in a cold island off the biggest land mass. Perhaps his name is intended to be the basis for the Gaelic language? Nope, sorry–you’re off by over 140,000 years.
- There are many characters with names associated with Greece through geography (Thrace = Thracia) or through mythology (Apollo, Athena, Hera, the names of the 12 colonies). But, that can’t be right. They’re off by about 142,000 years!
- Adama could be the basis for mythology about Adam, but again, unlikely given the lapse of 140,000 years between their landing date and written human history.
- There are many religious concepts associated with the show that could have been woven into earth’s mythology, but now can’t be due to the 140,000 year gap between their landing and recorded history. Some of the themes: resurrection, a Sun God, Icarus, the nature of angels, the will of God (or the gods), the nature of prophets, etc. So instead, we have to believe that earth developed all of those independently at a later point in earth’s development, despite the coincidence.
So, for those of you who are fans (and if you’re not, you were warned to skip this post), what did you think of the Series Finale? Better than you expected? A disappointment? Somewhere in between? Discuss.