Battlestar Galactica Series Finale Review: SPOILER ALERT

Hawkgrrrl Asides, Culture, curiosity, death, Folklore, history, Mormon, mormon, movies, surviving, theology, thought 31 Comments

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.

http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Battlestar-Galactica-battlestar-galactica-64006_1920_1200.jpgNo 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.

Comments

comments

Comments 31

  1. Post
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    FireTag – sorry, man! Having said what I said, though, I think most of the flaws can be chalked up to the rushing to end at season four, the desire of the creators to leave things open-ended and organic artistically, a lack of expert consultation, and some ‘in your face’ attitude toward the fans/spoilers of the show when they’ve tried to participate in the direction of the show.

  2. Hawkgrrl:

    Sorry — I loved the finale, all the more so because it didn’t try to explain everything or wrap everything up.

    According to Ron Moore, the flashbacks were a late addition but were there in part to show the relatively small events that ended up having major consequences for the human race (Adama remains aboard the Galactica, instead of taking a desk job; Laura Roslin joins the mayor’s campaign for president, which is how she ends up being in his cabinet, and thus became President; Gaius and Caprica 6 get together, which leads to, well, the destruction of most of the human race; Kara and Lee start a relationship that is only consummated once, yet is a driving force through most of the four years on the run).

    Moore also points out that the information about Daniel was more or less a throwaway reference to explain a 13th Cylon ‘tribe’, and that he’s been quite surprised at all the heavy speculation that started on the ‘nets about Daniel. 🙂

    Moore explains that Head Six and Head Baltar are, in effect, agents of God, though Moore acknowledges that they fill both the roles that we traditionally ascribe separately to angels and to demons. As for Kara vanishing or what she was exactly, he says that he debated putting in explanations or something more explicit, but in the end, he felt such efforts took more away than they added. On the other hand, he said (about Kara’s vanishing), “I have more than accepted the fact that there will be people who will never quite get over it.”

    From the comments made by Moore and others involved in the show (including Olmos and McDonnell), nothing was “rushed” at the end of season four. They knew before the season started just where things would end, and pretty much how they would get there (including the two “Earths”) and the religious concepts were there all along; most of us just expected different answers. I daresay if you go back and watch the entire series, you’ll find that it is far more consistent than you think — and in many places makes a lot more sense than it did before.

    As always, your mileage may vary. ..bruce..

  3. Post
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    bfwebster – I enjoyed your write-up (hey, yours, too Geoff). I should also say that while my issues above are still issues to me, they are mainly issues of plotting. BSG had some of the best writing (dialogue), staging (the battle scenes were film-worthy throughout the series), acting (every single actor was superb throughout the entire series), and musical score of any series ever (I love how various music styles were all woven together, including All Along the Watchtower). And I realize Ron Moore has also said that they abandoned plot per se, picking up “It’s the characters, stupid,” as their mantra–which is why they had such great characters. I mostly wish that the timing of their landing had allowed them to be the source for human culture as we know it, primarily the Hellenistic period. That would have put them in the role of Prometheus to our Earth. I’m not one who minds the religious elements in the slightest, although I know many fans hated that.

  4. Actually, you’re wrong about the scientific issue. Having humans on earth begin to speak about 150,000 years ago is conservative by some estimates, though that’s a different point. What’s at issue, and what makes your observation incorrect is that you confuse written language with language as a cognitive phenomenon. Despite what we may consider the norm as members of a literate culture, throughout human history, most human languages were strictly oral, there was no written record.

    In terms of the literary issues you raise, though I can see you point (i’m a linguist my profession, and as much am quite familiar with how easily language can change in even a short period of time) one of the issues that BSG explores at length is syncronicity. Things happen when they do as if there was something orchestrating events. Ron Moore’s characters Head Six and Head Baltar are an instantiation of this structuring force, what ever you want to call it. Within this framework, it’s entirely feasible that given concepts should persist through the millenia.

  5. Apologies for the typos! I went too fast. The sentence in parenthesis should have read “(i’m a linguist By profession, and as Such am quite familiar with how easily language can change in even a short period of time).

  6. My biggest complaint about the new series is that Glen Larson didn’t do more to fight against Moore.
    Moore cannot comprehend the fact that what he has done is rip out the MYTHICAL out of the show. This is why the old show captured the imagination of so many back in the day. I just watched the new show sometimes because I wanted a show that was finally finished and not cut off. This, however, was much worse than the Galactica 1980 fiasco. I can truly say now that I’m happy that Galactica has finally finished. But only because I hope for a new “re-imagining” 20-40 years from now when I’m an old man that goes back to the real story. I lay at the feet of Bryan Singer, the responsibility that Moore ever got his hands on Galactica. If singer would have taken Galactica more seriously, then Moore would have never gotten his grubby little Sodomic hands on the show. Moore has no concept of the power of myth, and didn’t capture the heart of what made Galactica what it was in the first place.

    Now I fear because of the new re-imagining, that nobody will ever take a series or movie based on the OLD story seriously, because now everybody thinks that this new zombie is the true heir of the old show.

  7. Post
    Author

    monica – you raise a good point, but let me clarify. The stranded BSG cast had written language, not just oral. I realize that oral language is much older. Why would they teach them oral language only? They intended to mate with these pre-historic humans. Even Jane taught Tarzan how to read. It seems far-fetched that they would allow all written language to be lost within a generation or two when they brought it with them. They were not only not operating under any prime directive, but deliberately infiltrating the society.

    Are we to believe that the oral traditions that pre-date written history by 140K years are going to sufficiently carry on specific names like Thrace, Apollo, Hera, and Athena? It just seems too far back in time for that to be likely. But then, there’s the theory that it’s all inevitable (all this has happened before, all this will happen again) that somehow makes it plausible for ice cream sundaes to evolve at the same rate regardless of the historical circumstances of a planet of people. I don’t doubt that they were going for this last approach, but I think it would have been much stronger had they landed 15,000 years ago (infiltrating early Egyptian and Hellenistic societies) rather than 150,000 years ago.

  8. What *precisely* is meant by the term “written history”?

    Do you intend the meaning of “written history” as the period
    beginning with the Early Bronze Age of the 4th millennium BC?

    Or do you subtly imply something…different?

    I merely ask. Nothing more.

  9. Post
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    Lady J – I’m willing to cut them some slack within 10-20K years, especially since the modern day earth that is shown appears to be slightly futuristic to today. I am open to suggestions of written history emerging in this fictional timeline that are even older than 4th millenium BC, especially because we have cultural markers that are relevant to this that pre-date that (the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece dates to 7th century B.C.). My only point is that 150,000 years ago is too far in the past for those cultural markers to have been handed down through solely oral means and had cultural significance to our earth, and that it makes no sense for the castaways not to share written language with the indigenous people. In fact, there many mythological earth stories about the Gods bringing language and bringing writing and the arts. A stronger story would have been one in which these castaways are those Gods, but the timeline renders that option disbelievable.

  10. I followed all 4 seasons. I admit that my interest was piqued by the philosophical issues that BSG raised: artificial intelligence and whether AI that mimicked human emotions would really be human; what are humans essentially; what are the basic rights that exceed any given social order; what are the rights of near-humans; what does mortality mean if we just get to come back; does life have meaning when it is merely endlessly repeated or time is cyclical; what is free will and what does it mean if our roles in the universe are somehow fated by the endless cycles of time.

    I loved that the finale was all about breaking the cycle of violence and destruction to the planet and each other. New Caprica and the original earth had both been nuked. Apparently the only way to escape that fate is to eschew technology and the bomb. Yet here we are again facing the same technology. What will we do this time? The past is not fate and perhaps this time we can learn from our mistakes in the past.

    I loved that in the end the distance between the gods and humans is non-existent and they have always been us. Kara Thrace is simply an angel among humans who was mysterious but never realizes as such. Was she an angel only after her crash and death on original earth? Was she a sort of resurrected angel like in Mormon thought? I think the purpose of the flashback was to indicate that she was always an angel among us — notwithstanding her drinking and sexual infidelity.

    I loved that the characters came to a completion of the meaning of their lives and their roles in breaking the cycle and establishing a new order.

    I loved the notion that even tho we have recreated New Caprica, we can yet escape New Caprica’s fate — the message of the Book of Mormon essentially. (So throw me in jail for the allusion)

    I loved that, in the end, it was all about a new start.

    I guess I could hate all of the meaningless interludes to flashbacks that really were extraneous to the plot. However, there was a sense of growth of characters and their purpose even if they all get they ultimate dream.

    I suppose the notion that an advanced civilization was handed to a very primitive hominid culture is supposed to be some kind of explanation of the sudden explosion of language and advanced human culture on the earth (and it was a vast explosion. Neanderthals were in fact genetically distinct but compatible with present day homo sapiens. They didn’t survive. If the show was supposed to be scientifically accurate then it fails at many levels.

    However, did you notice that all of the characters were speaking modern English? That language didn’t exist until about the 16th century. So if you’re willing to suspend disbelief about English being spoken by Neanderthals, then I guess we can just accept that this is a sci fi series that requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief.

    What was the deal about Hera’s daughter and why was she the hope for both the humans and the cylons? It turns out that resurrection arising from cooperation and unity of will is really the last hope of the cylons . . . a hope they failed to realize because one of them deserved to be killed without any justice or retribution for the killer. What was with that?

    In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera was queen of the gods and the wife of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. Hera was goddess of marriage. Since Hera’s husband was Zeus, king not only of gods, but of philanderers, Hera spent a lot of time in Greek mythology angry with Zeus. Hera is the mother of Hercules who is both divine and human. Is that the link?

  11. Aboz:

    um…I’m going to take a chance and say you are among a small, small minority of people pinging for the ‘greatness’ of the original show. I think the reason people remember it is because they experienced it when they were kids. Now, however, it’s horrifically dated and simplistic. If you want something that operates on the level of the old Battlestar Galactica I suggest watching, oh, ANYTHING else on the Sci Fi channel. There’s enough cardboard acting, one dimensional characters, and three-minute-plots-stretched-to-an-hour to satisfy anyone pining for the days of ol’.

    My favorite ridiculous memory of the old show is when kamikaze cylons started a huge fire on the ship and Adama was knocked unconscious. The whole episode the crew struggled to extinguish the blaze until Adama woke from his injuries and managed to say “Let space put the fire out.” Then they opened the airlocks. Really, that was the masterstroke no one else could think of? “Thank Gods, the wise Captain realized that fire needs oxygen! Brilliant!”

    The new Battlestar has themes discussed in college classrooms and UN panels. The old Galactica was barely able to carry a comic book.

  12. Post
    Author

    Blake – great points. Some of the other themes I loved throughout the series: the rights of individuals vs. our obligation to an endangered society, the obligation of creators for their creations (this was addressed in many different ways, not just humans for Cylons or God (or the gods) toward their children, but poignantly juxtaposed when Cavill confronts Ellen toward the end of the series), themes of flaws defining one’s humanity, and ultimately redemption. Suck on that, Lorne Greene!

  13. Um, MarkFradl . . . .

    You say:

    “um…I’m going to take a chance and say you are among a small, small minority of people pinging for the ‘greatness’ of the original show. I think the reason people remember it is because they experienced it when they were kids. Now, however, it’s horrifically dated and simplistic. If you want something that operates on the level of the old Battlestar Galactica I suggest watching, oh, ANYTHING else on the Sci Fi channel.”

    Actually Mr. MarkFradl, there is anything but a small, small minority out there of us who favor the old story. What Moore did was unforgivable. We were the ones that brought the show back for Desanto and Singer to REPRODUCE IT, and then they failed us! You Moore-ites are the ones that are the newcomers to the phenomenon, that did nothing but USURP IT! And then Moore threw Richard Hatch a bone, and now Hatch has apostatized from the true glory of the original. It turns out that Hatch only wanted to be part of it, and that was his price. He lost his vision. He was our hero figure for some time. Now we have nothing, and its all you people’s fault. Larson, according to the new report from last month, has the movie rights, and he will yet bring back the show to the big screen in all its glory. It’s Moore who cant usurp it on the big screen! Larson is going to save the original vision, and it shoudl have been him all along! You don’t understand the core of the mythology and you pick on the goofy things. That’s like picking on Luke Skywalker’s whiny-ness and missing the big picture of the mythology of star wars.

  14. Aboz – the one nod that I think the series finale gave to the original mythology is to the opening line of the original show: “There are those who believe that life here started out there . . .”

    As for the usurpation, let Glen Larson put whatever he comes up with on the big screen, and we’ll see (if he could ever get funding which is doubtful). It’s impossible to imagine a family-friendly cheese-fest (albeit with more neatly tied up mythology) playing to today’s audience. The original series lacks the subtlety and complexity that the new series had. It’s not even a fair comparison really. Just try to find a show that pre-dates 1980 that has that much subtlety and complexity. It’s not easy. Remember, the original was made in the era of Fantasy Island and the Love Boat. There’s your benchmark.

  15. I’m obviously not as avid a fan as many here, but I thought the finale, while rushed a bit answered just enough and left enough unanswered. Not all questions should be answered.

    One thing that did rankle me was Baltar’s announcement a couple of episodes back that Kara was an angel. And, guess what, he’s right! Or at least in the ballpark. It seems that whole reveal could have, and should have, been handled a bit more delicately.

    I read somewhere, can’t remember where, that one of the writers said that the series is, at its heart, Kara’s story and looking back, I tend to agree. There are a ton of other aspects and I always found the show to be well-written and intellectually challenging. And the one message that I took away from the finale is that it would really suck to be an angel; to exist in this sphere above humanity and below a deity. To not belong fully to either realm, have to guess one’s true mission, and, in the end, only hope to be remembered. I thought that message came through loud and clear.

    The Baltar/Caprica Six storyline also came to what I consider a meaningful conclusion. I am still trying to decipher the Yin/Yang between these two, because it obviously isn’t as clean-cut as it is in Eastern philosophy and it tends to tumble around a bit. Maybe I’ll figure out something as I mull it over a bit more.

    The rest unfolded pretty much the way I thought it would. Humans basically win. “Bad” Cylons (Who were really weren’t that bad, but just doing what any species–human or machine–would do to ensure its continued existence.) lose. Roslin dies. Ellen and Sol re-united. Helo and Athena are basically Adam and Eve with Hera (appropriately named) is the mother of the human race. Big time gaps, of course. I agree with those above who quibble about the timeline and how it really doesn’t make sense, but paraphrasing another poster “It’s just television.”

    As for the original vs. the re-imagined product, I was never a fan of the original. In fact, I didn’t start watching the re-imagined series until the second season because I simply thought the original was a live-action cartoon show more in the vein of the Tom Baker “Dr. Who” years than a serious, thought-provoking series and I feared the re-imagined vehicle would resemble the original. I was happy to find out I was wrong and through the magic of DVD was able to catch up on the show’s plot, theme, and mythology.

    I don’t say this as an attack on those who preferred the original to the Moore project. Different tastes are what makes the world go around.

    Whether one prefers the old or the new, I think all can admit they both were quality shows with remarkably different tones due to the changes in our society and recent history.

  16. Ah! Something just struck me, so I looked it up. Our earth 150K years ago was in the depths of an ice age, with sea level a couple of hundred meters lower, and most of the continents joined. That was not the coast of our Africa shown when Galactica arrived.

    So perhaps we can imagine there have been a few more million cycles around the Kobol, Earth, Caprica, Planets x, y, and z curcuits before we get to our earth’s shot at doing better. We can even include one where Boxy and Muffit are the future of mankind to make everyone happy.

  17. I love BSG and the series finale. By having the crew of the Galactica fleet (human and cylon) arrive on Earth 150 thousand years ago, they arrive just at around the time anatomically modern humans were about to leave Africa (the Out of Africa theory) and colonize the rest of the planet. On the question of writing, the first task the Galactica crew had was to teach the native humans how to speak, and this might have taken 130, 140 thousand years to achieve. Without any of the technology, and only a ‘clean slate’, they would effectively have to start from scratch. Hunting, gathering, farming, learning once again how to make ink and paper…everything that surrounds us today and which we take for granted. By having the galactica crew arrive 150 thousand years ago, it also allows us to infer that all human civilizations, mythologies, and technologies are traceable back to them. It offers an explanation of how the Egyptians and the Myans created pyramids despite being separated by an ocean, and never apparently having encountered one another. The Ancient Myans created gigantic, miles long, drawings of various deities on the ground, which could only be viewed properly if one were flying up in the sky. While you might question why it took 150 thousand years for humans to reinvent the ancient technology of their own past, this isn’t necessarily the case. The ancient Vedic literature of India, the Mahabharata, the Bagvad Gita, etc written in the Sanskrit language, around 5000 BC, describe ancient epic wars fought in the air and space by people in what sound like space ships. These ships are described as “Two storied celestial chariots with many windows” “They roar like off into the sky until they appear like comets.” These ships were “powered by winged lighting…it was a ship that soared into the air, flying to both the solar and stellar regions.” (http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Vimanas.htm). From what I remember of my undergrad studies, which included a religious studies unit on Hinduism and Budhism, these ancient people or beings, destroyed themselves when their war became nuclear, obliterating their technology once again…yep, here it is: Gurkha, flying in his swift and powerful Vimana, hurled against the three cities of the Vrishnis and Andhakas a single projectile charged with all the power of the universe. An incandescent column of smoke and fire, as brilliant as ten thousand suns, rose in all its splendor. It was the unknown weapon, the iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced to ashes the entire race of Vrishnis and Andhakas.
    Anyway, I loved the BSG finale, even if I don’t quite understand the very last bit of dialogue. Baltar says ‘you know it doesn’t like to be called that (God). [gestures a sense of realization] ‘Silly silly me’. Technically it would make sense if Head Six said ‘you know it doesn’t like to be called that’ and Head Baltar replies as if he had momentarily forgotten ‘Silly silly me’,except of course Head Six always refers to it as God, when she was talking to Baltar. Is it possible that the Head characters contain the ascended consciousnesses of Caprica Six and Baltar, thereby explaining why they choose to still appear as Six and Baltar, and interact with one another, arm in arm, just as Six and Baltar did? As to ‘what’ they are, to me they are the Lords of Kobol, an alien intelligence, billions of years older and more advanced, who exist in multiple dimensions, with the ability to interact with the physical world when they choose (hence Six turning up and accusing Baltar of betraying humanity, when he falls out with Head Six). If you’ve ever watched Red Dwarf, their physical form is a bit like Rimmer’s holographic body which begins as soft light, but is reconfigured by an alien called Legion, to become ‘hard light’, allowing him to interact with the physical world. They are helping these intelligent species called humans and cylons navigate the various pit falls that arise from technology advancement.

  18. I have no problem with the idea that they introduced language 150k years ago and written language reappears 10k years ago. 150k years is a very long time. Civilizations could have arisen and fallen and had all traces of them eliminated several times over. There have been ice ages. A bigger problem with that would be explaining how Neanderthals remained identifiable for 140k of those years, before losing out to Homo Sapiens.

    What I do have a problem with is introducing significant populations of humans on all the habitable continents, and then making little Maya the mother of all living. Having made such a big deal about Maya being a human/cylon hybrid, and unique and all, It doesn’t wash with the her being the mother of all living, making our human race actually a hybrid human/cylon race, and, yet, humans in this world are the same as humans in their world. And I’m a little confused how the racially diverse humans, without racially segregating at their dispersion, could have led to the ethnically identifiable groups we have in the historical period. But, again, 150k years is a long time, so that can be passed off.

    Beyond that, I have a problem with the notion, assumed in Lee’s decision to not build cities, that all human problems are caused by technology. It’s just a little trite, especially since his stated objection was that our scientific reach exceeded our spiritual grasp, but nothing, apparently, was done to change that. It was a non-character driven solution to a plot problem, and I don’t think it works.

    14 — Hera was not Heracles mother. She wasn’t anybody’s mother (except Hephaestus, if you want to count that). Zeus was everybody’s father. Heracles was named after Hera to try to keep her from trying to kill him (it didn’t work). The cutesy Disney representation of that relationship was as wrong as every other cutesy representation they made of every other relationship they made from one found in an original story.

  19. Blain – I took the notion that she was the earliest common ancestor found not to mean that she was literally the mother of all living, but that she was just the earliest one that wasn’t another species, so they are saying that we are all part Cylon. Those on the first earth were also Cylon DNA, but they looked just like us and didn’t know they were Cylon. How would we know whether we were Cylon or not? We don’t know what Cylons are.

    I agree that the “technology always leads to the downfall of mankind” is a bit trite in sci-fi (Anyone remember the hippie episode of ST: TOS with Spock jamming out on the bicycle wheel: “Stepping into Eden, yeah, brother . . .”?) Two thoughts on that: 1) Head Six seems to think that it won’t happen this time (Head Baltar calls her an unlikely optimist), so they are saying it’s not inevitable, and 2) is it technology or slavery that inevitably leads to man’s downfall, our inability to take resonsibility when we create sentient life? Maybe it’s more of a diatribe against man’s self-absorption and lack of empathy.

  20. After watching the season finale, I do have some issues with Kara Thrace, Head Six, and Head Baltar. I have difficulty grasping the spirituality angle. Ok so Kara Thrace returns as a ghost that everyone sees? Seems a bit out of place. And the agents of God are visually represented by Baltar and Six? Why, exactly?

    Another concern I have are the assumptions by earlier posts that seem to be drawn from the statements in the show. When Lee said he we could teach the inhabitants language, it does not mean they ever did. When Baltar said they could breed with the inhabitants, it does not mean they did. A lot of the conclusions are based on speculations; not necessarily on what the series finale clearly stated. Also, the discovery of Eve does not necessarily illustrate that Eve was the mother of humanity. I interpreted the discovery of Eve as another error made by humanity when it comes to certainty about our past.

    Overall, I think BSG series finale offered solid closure to good sci-fi series.

  21. “When Baltar said they could breed with the inhabitants, it does not mean they did.” – one of the msot important thigns anyone has said here yet.

    The news article at the very end stating they had located Mitochondrial Eve is the most important thing from the episdoe for all of your historical problems. Mitochondrial Eve is said to have existed about 140 000 years ago(ish) which explains why the writers chose this. Since it is clearly implied Hera is Mitochindrial Eve, this suggests that the reast of the colonials did NOT breed with the native human inhabitants, and in fact, that the entire human species decends from Hera alone (Mitochondiral DNA is only passed down through the mother, unlike most other aspects of human biology)

    150,000 years was likely selected ebcause it best fit the theme of Hera being the future of the human race.

    Also, even if writing and language had been taught to the locals, history has periods where this has been lost, and often our only records of writing are from accidentally cooked clay tablets, or stone, and the colonials would have likely used paper (to fit their tradition) it would be possible to have had humans writing long before we have a record of any written language.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

  22. “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.”
    How do we know humans did not begin speaking until 10,000 years ago? You can teach people to talk without teaching them to write. I do that with my daughter. The Navajo language was going for hundreds of years before someone tried to put it on paper in the 1940’s. And people are still trying to to figure out if it is even being written correctly.
    You may ask why someone would teach someone to speak without teaching them to write. The crew decided to start from scratch! They also decided not to teach others or carry on their own technology.
    I think its crazy how we “think” things went down in the past and try to bolster it with “science.” Like on Jurrasic Park when they claim that the dinosours can’t see you if you stand still. What? How do you know that?! Arrrrr… I know, its just a movie.
    But really, language is just communication. What may sound like a grunt to you might actually mean hello. My biggest thing was how they assumed they were better and more advanced than the people living on “second earth.” When will we get past that.

    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:
    Names and stories can be passed along without writings backing them up. Why not? We must exercise a little common sense that throughout all the “different” ages of humanity, there is overlap. The whole world isn’t destroyed and re-populated and the ending and beginings of new eras. The eras interact, share, trade stories, songs, religions… Point being, it doesn’t have to be written to be passed down.

    I was disappointed in that I didn’t know what Kara was though.

    And with no one imagining them, I thought head six and head baltar were angels. I thought that was the point. Maybe I’m just a “ward crazy.” Peace!!!!

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  24. Great review of the problems, Hawkgrrrl. I agree with you that I didn’t need the flashbacks. It would have been different if they had some bearing on the final result, but they didn’t (except, I guess, that Baltar has farming experience) — as bfwebster points out, the whole goal was apparently showing how very particular events brought the people together on Galactica in the first place. Fine, but that could have been handled in previous episodes, since it doesn’t bring much to the finale.

    The rest of it I liked. As you pointed out the classic series said that “there are those that believe that life here, began out there…” Whereas it’s true that there are those who believe that (and even more of those who believe that humans aren’t part of the evolutionary process of life on earth), those beliefs are preposterous. For example, Larry Niven’s “Known Space” universe posits that all other earth life is unrelated to humanity, who are instead the alien offspring of a species known as the Pak. Whereas the Niven concept is just silly, I think that the BSG finale puts this idea together about as well as you can.

    I don’t think that the Galactica humans and cylons need to stimulate so much culture or technology, since they are all deliberately going to work on giving those things up — incredible though that decision may be. (I probably would have preferred to go off with the centurions on the base ship.)

    Meanwhile, I don’t think Kyra, and the head Baltar and Seven entities were left unexplained. They were angels. Messengers from the God(s) who are directly this cycle that has happened before and will happen again. What we don’t see are the Gods themselves, but given the experience of Star Trek V, that’s probably for the best.

  25. John Hamer – “What we don’t see are the Gods themselves, but given the experience of Star Trek V, that’s probably for the best.” LOL! I am with you there!

    I agree that the enigmatic Kara, head Baltar and Six are angels. Upon further reflection, it’s also possible that they had one other thing in common: all had experienced death and been resurrected (somehow) to become immortal (somehow). In the original mini-series (and in all the subsequent opening credits) we see Baltar crouching behind Six as a nuclear blast rips through his mountain retreat. Is it realistic that he survived that blast? Perhaps the seeds of his immortality/angelhood were sewn in that original mini-series.

  26. I like to watch Veronica Mars episodes as well Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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