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    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Battlestar Galactica: Over

    No spoilers I promise. The end of Battlestar Galactica was dramatic, action packed and full of beautiful, emotional, brilliantly acted scenes. For that, and for many of the splendid individual moments it has brought us over the years I am truly grateful.
    Having said that, the big problem is that, for all of the advertising promises that claimed “You will know the truth” and leading us through a mysterious, prim rose labyrinth for the past five years, the explanation for everything we’ve seen is . . . um . . .god or demons, or magic, or something.
    In other words they don’t tell you. Ever.
    There are also glaring, unrecyclable inconsistencies with what has gone before. I promised no spoilers here, but if anyone is looking to have a rambling three hour conversation about it, feel free to bring it up, at your own risk.
    The first time I ever learned Ron Moore’s name was after watching the ST:TNG episode “The Defector” which impressed me so much, that I looked up who had written it. My friends told me this would happen, but I insisted that my man ‘Ron’ would not let me down. I was a big fan. I had a lot of faith in this guy but, sorry, I feel let down.


    Dawn said...

    I want to have that conversation! I do. Pick me!!!! I think me and Montes (Steve) are the only people who were disappointed. I mean I've been irritated last night, in my dreams, and all day today. Arrrgh!

    Dawn said...

    Me! Me!!! OOOh! Pick me! I want to have that conversation. I think me and Montes were the only ones disappointed at last night's frak party. What a let down. I loved it all until the last 15 minutes or so. Arrrgh!

    Peter said...

    Only 3 hours? We wuz rob! I am making one purchase to remember this show by, a WTF "What the Frak was that!" tee shirt in honor of this two hour cluster...Frak.

    c-collins said...

    God and Angels it the answer to everything! Frak You Ron Moore!

    Brigid Fitch said...

    "In other words they don’t tell you. Ever."

    That's right--they don't. I was incredibly happy to finally watch a show that didn't have everything spelled out for me. As I mentioned on FB, "god" is the word the characters are using. And when we're dealing with a show that has been all about religion & prophecies from day one, it only makes sense for the characters to view it that way.

    Look at 2001: A Space Odyssey. Just how did Bowman become the Star Child? Who made the Monoliths? Was it "God"? A highly-advanced being? 40 years later and we still don't know those answers. Does it ruin the story because we don't know? Of course not--leaving everything open to interpretation is one of the things that has kept that story at the top of science fiction for decades.

    Anonymous said...

    Okay, I'll bite...

    I really enjoyed the BSG finale, and don't have any problems with it. I keep hearing that people feel disappointed or even cheated and betrayed by the ending, but I wonder what everyone was expecting. I was not surprised that a show with prominent religious elements in its story had a religious overtone to its ending.

    Did everyone miss, Caprica Six talking about "god's plan?" Or the visions that the characters (even the non-Cylon ones) shared? Or the fact that the characters were guided by religious prophecy to New Caprica? I could go on, but the point is, it was there all along, and I seriously question why viewers that were disappointed by a religious ending hadn't dropped out sooner.

    And divine intervention or no, at least the war was able to be fought to its conclusion, and we the viewers were able to enjoy it, unlike the DS9 finale, where "god" pulled the rug out from under us just when the real action was about to begin...

    In BSG, it was still the characters that drove the story, decided their fate, and saw it through to the end. God just planted the seeds they would need to achieve their goals. To me, that doesn't devalue the actions of the characters or the overall plot. And, unlike too many other stories, everything got resolved. A little too neatly, perhaps, but I prefer decisive conclusions. (The Matrix: Revolutions, anyone? religion AND no real ending.)

    As for Kara, There was always something odd about her, and we were GOING to discover that she wasn't quite what she appeared. In a show which had already established the existence of deities and angels/ghosts, having a character that dies and mysteriously reappears turn out to be an angel doesn't bother me. It's actually kind of an obvious choice. If she had turned out to be yet another Cylon, would that have been better?

    Hey, it turns out they were ALL Cylons! Everyone dies, and they all wake up on a resurrection ship and live happily ever after! :)

    Frank J. Hernandez said...

    The problem is not merely that the show uses religion as a magic bullet to try and fix everything; I’ll come back to that in a moment. Nor is the problem that they try to maintain a certain mystery. The real problem with what happens is that the story makes no sense within its own world. As I said on Facebook there are too many irreconcilable contradictions. The planet they end up cannot be our Earth and yet clearly it is. Despite the fact what we know that they used the constellations to line up the first Earth and they were our Constellations. (As an aside, and not to get too deep into this, but a difference of 100,000 years in time or one light year in space and the constellations would not match up.) This is only one example and there are literally dozens.
    As I said before, when you take in a story, (A play, a movie, a book, whatever) you suspend your disbelief along certain lines for the sake of entertainment. You expect the writer or producer of the story to play within those rules and for the story to be consistent in and of itself. That did not happen here. What happened here is that the producers got caught up in the episodes and the moments and lost track of the overall story arc and the rules they themselves set up in telling the story.
    Then there’s the other really big problem, even if the modern humans were to agree to abandon their technology and go live in the wild with the indigenous people, with in a year all the indigenous people would be dead and within five years so would most of the modern humans.
    Having said all that, I do notice something though, something strange about the people who liked and disliked it. It does seem to be a clear break along the religious line between the religious and agnostic folks on one side and the hardcore atheist among us on the other. Maybe there is something to that after all.

    Patrick said...

    (Long post...)

    The problem isn't ambiguity or a lack of resolution. The problem is that the resolution was crap. The virtual Six is my biggest problem here. It is true that from almost the beginning she claimed to be working as part of her God's plan. She was also a psychopath who goaded Baltar into demagoguery and aiding and abetting mass murder, and it was obvious that her claims were not to be believed, as her character was played at that time in the series. She caused the nuke to fall into the hands of a crazy woman who killed hundreds with it, she led Baltar to run for office and then lay down for the Cylons and go along with their then just glibly dismiss these unequivocally evil actions as part of "God's mysterious plan that we can't possibly understand" is just completely lazy writing. It wasn't that they'd planned this all along and faked us out from the beginning, they just made a decision about her character that completely ignores the first two seasons of the show. I mean if they wanted ambiguity, introduce some other possible conclusions and let us guess. Don't give us "the one true Cylon God" as our ONLY possible solution to all the disparate story elements and then say "well, it's up the viewer to decide."

    And Starbuck was almost as bad. Okay, so she's resurrected. Except apparently she knew the Cylon Music from childhood, and Hera was around to write it down for her. And she still needed a vision or angel or whatever to give her a nudge. (Angels seeing other angels...right.) So...God (sorry, "some higher power that we can only conceive of as a form of God," a.k.a. GOD, obviously) sucked her Viper into the space vortex, crashed her on Earth Mark I (lovely fjords), resurrected her (complete with a brand-new Viper straight from the hangar of the Battlestar Afterlifea), and sent her back months later (I guess to help stretch out the season?) so she could lead everyone to a dead Earth. And then later she'd be around to out of nowhere jump to the real Earth. What? And there are all sorts of ridiculous apologists for this nonsense. "Well they had to wait until they'd united the humans and Cylons." They already did that, before they even went to Earth 1. "Well Earth 1 was a cautionary tale, they had to show them how bad nuclear war was to get them to stop." Yes, it wasn't as if they'd already seen twelve planets nuked, right? In the mythos as established, Starbuck's death and resurrection was not necessary. She had the knowledge she needed to go to Earth, nothing about the experience made her better prepared to make the leap in logic, she already knew the damn song! And the angels reminded her anyway! And it wasn't as if her resurrection had some sort of spiritual significance, nobody believed she'd really died until the last three episodes, and then the writers did nothing with that, it was just a way for Baltar to be a dick that week. So, in other meant nothing. It was just a cliffhanger for the purposes of pushing the story along, with no logical reason for it.

    There was lots of other stupidity in the finale, most notably the "let's go camping...for the rest of our lives" decision to abandon everything and go back to the trees, but I'll stop there, if anyone's still reading this.

    Anonymous said...

    add my vote to the disenchanted. two points:

    1) i can suspend disbelief for the sake of a story - you all know how much i love narnia - but goddamn it, there had better be internal consistency.

    2) ok, the religious overtones were there all along; but this is, after all, SCIENCE fiction - i wanted (forgive me) revelations that made rational sense. there's a world of difference between 2001's open-endedness and BSG's cop-out.

    pete (the cranky bass-playing perverted one)

    Anonymous said...

    Patrick wrote:

    > In the mythos as established...

    it's an egregious violation of canon! 8-D