Asta 2

Some Unexpected Thoughts About the BSG Finale

I spent most of yesterday working on a really long follow up post on the Battlestar Galactica finale. I put it aside last night and decided to take a fresh look at it today. Before I did that, I decided to do a little searching on Wikipedia because of some new thoughts I had.

Whether you loved the finale or loathed the finale or fall somewhere in between (that would be me), I think we can all agree the one scene between Lee and Kara made NO SENSE and Ron Moore is full of crap. As I clicked on various BSG related links on Wikipedia, I think I managed to figure out certain aspects of the finale. We know all along that the original series has influenced the reimagining, going beyond names and ships and robots. I haven't watched the original BSG in years, but one episode always stuck with me, 'War of the Gods, Part 2', and the Ship of Lights it introduced. Call me crazy, but I think that episode as well as a storyline from (GASP!) Galactica 1980 played a major role in the finale.

FYI, it looks like both of the Wikipedia entries I'm referencing may be taken down. I'm not sure why.

The key information from the Ship of Lights entry:

The ship is crewed by an apparently humanoid race who are never expressly referred to by name in the series, but who are called "Seraphs" in the scripts for the episodes in which they appear. The Seraphs appear to be noncorporeal sentients, and claim rather ambiguously to have once been more traditionally mortal, but evolved to their present state.

In the episode "War of the Gods", the crew of the ship indicate they are the natural enemies of Count Iblis. Because it is strongly implied that Count Iblis may be the original basis for stories of Satan, this could imply the Ship Of Lights is meant to represent angels. However, this is not stated directly. On the other hand, the episode indicates very strongly that the Ship Of Lights is meant to be "good" and Iblis is meant to be "evil".

In Galactica 1980's last episode "The Return of Starbuck" the character of Dr. Zee is revealed to have been born to Starbuck and an inhabitant of the Ship of Lights. While the series was cancelled before it could be shot, a script was written where it is revealed that Starbuck had in fact joined the Seraphs.

And more on the Seraphs and their possible ties to the new series:

The Seraphs were an alien race in the original Battlestar Galactica series from 1978/79 and its spinoff series, Galactica 1980. They were never expressly referred to by name in the series, and were called "Seraphs" in the scripts for the episodes in which they appear, as well as in the mid-90's Galactica comic book series. They may or may not be part of the current re-imagined series, though the appearance of the "Final Five" Cylons in several third-season episodes was a deliberate attempt to approximate their appearance.

The Seraphs were a noncorporeal race of sentients who first show up in the two-part episode "War of the Gods," when they take a largely unexplained interest in the well-being of the humans in the Rag-Tag Fleet. They show up again at the conclusion of the "Terra" story arc ("Greetings from Earth," "Baltar's Escape", and "Experiment in Terra") where their representative, "John" assists Captain Apollo on a mission which ultimately proves of little worth to the Galactica, but which saves the lives of all the humans on the planet Terra. They next showed up in the Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck" which explained the origins of the mysterious Doctor Zee (himself all or partially Seraph). They were also to figure heavily in the episode, "Wheel of Fire" which was in preproduction when the series was cancelled.

For all intents and purposes, the Seraphs are wingless angels, traveling about in a large spacecraft most commonly referred to as the Ship of Lights. They appear roughly humanoid in appearance (Though their faces are always veiled), but when Starbuck attempts to touch one, his hand goes through its body as though it were a hologram. It is later revealed in "Experiment in Terra" that they can take on a normal human form when called upon to do so, as the Seraph "John" appears perfectly unremarkable in that episode.

When asked about their origins, the Seraphs claimed to have been more traditional beings in their remote past, but that they evolved to their present state, "As you now are, we once were; as we now are you may yet become." This statement (which echoes some doctrines of Mormonism, from which the Colonials' Kobolist religion often draws inspiration) may mean the Seraph species evolved from Homo Sapiens in specific, or if they may simply be referring to corporeal life in general.

Commander Adama, who is quite knowledgeable in religious matters, quickly realizes that the Seraphs are the same angelic "Beings of Light" mentioned in "The Book of the Word," the dominant Colonial Scripture, and that these beings have - again for undisclosed reasons - played a part in human (or at least Colonial) society. As the series progressed, and the Cylons became a more distant threat to the survival of the Colonial Refugees, the Galactica and its fleet blundered into the midst of some kind of supernatural war between the forces of Good and the forces of Evil, which appears to have been using lesser beings (such as humans and Cylons) as pawns. The forces of Evil (presumably another group of Seraphs, though this is not explicitly made clear) were revealed to have meddled with the Cylons 1000 years earlier, and the voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader was based on a recording of an evil Seraph who had visited them a millennium earlier. In the Galactica 1980 series, the Seraphs were still apparently meddling in human history, as seen in the "Return of Starbuck" episode, and the script for the unfilmed episode "Wheel of Fire" seems to imply that the Seraphs are the same beings who appear as Angels in Judeo/Christian/Islamic scripture.

In the re-imagined series episode "The Ties That Bind", Starbuck paints what appears to be Ships of Light on the ceiling over her bunk.

(I thought Kara had painted the Ship of Lights, but she believed it was the Hub upon seeing it. She could have been wrong. ;)

Since 'Eye of Jupiter' and D'Anna's vision of the white robbed figures bathed in light, there has been discussion that the Final Five were inspired by the similarly mysterious figures introduced in 'War of the Gods'. But D'Anna's vision as well as the Opera House vision were not created by the Five. Ellen, in 'No Exit' is perplexed by what Cavil reveals D'Anna saw in the Temple. Ron has now explicitly stated a higher power is at work. That that power doesn't like the term god and given what was established in the original series, maybe It, in a past too distant to conceive, was once human and now chooses to involve itself in the affairs of humanity only when It deems necessary. I've seen discussion, even anger, that Ron would establish that 'god' would do nothing as billions to die. But if 'god' was once human, it would account for the desire to allow choice and free will to play itself out, and It only stepping in when It sees that humanity is about to become extinct.

Whether it is what Ron intended or not, for the sake of my own sanity, I'm choosing to believe, like Apollo in the original series, Kara was resurrected because she died before her time, and like Starbuck in the original series, Kara died and joined the Seraphs (Angels). What I'm still trying to reconcile is Kara's death with her destiny. Was Kara's death convenient for the higher power? It would know that the key people It needed to follow It's guidance would listen to and trust her. And her miraculous return might strengthen the argument that there is a greater force at play in the universe that should be listened to. (Did Baltar's redemeption begin after he tested the blood on her dog tags?)

Or was Kara an unexpected creation of a human and Cylon that could be used to It's advantage? I know Ron has stated that Daniel is not Drielide Thrace, but how else to explain Kara's destiny? The paintings of the mandala done since childhood. Her father teaching her 'All Along the Watchtower', a Cylon song. Leoben knowing her before meeting her. The Oracles prophecies and the Hybrid's warnings. Maybe Kara was chosen, convinced to fly into the storm by Not Leoben (likely a Seraph)and die because, as we so often heard, she was special.

And Kara being the first hybrid would not negate Hera's specialness because, well, Hera is alive and Kara is dead.

If I'm at all right, I do wish some of this had been specifically addressed in the finale. Then again, would Ron's ego permit him to admit that he borrowed heavily from the original series?
  • Current Mood: surprised surprised
Having read Ron's post-finale interviews and seen the shuddering narrative disaster that was the final season at work, I've come to the conclusion that he's largely full of crap; more than that, he's a victim of his own lack of planning, forethought and narrative structure.

I think the endings we saw on screen were left vague and discordant as a result of the same lack of planning that led to the entire history of the Final Five, human society and Cylon society in two episodes via Ellen and a brain damaged Anders. Leaving them open is the only way to avoid giving an answer - because no answer given would be free of loopholes and conflicts and problems.

That leaves me in an interesting position; I used to write fanfic with the intention of being as close to canon as I could plausibly manage, but canon is such a mess that I can't work with it or accept his explanations of it.

What you've said here makes far more sense than anything said in interviews, and fits what we saw on screen. I'm going to presume that Ron hasn't said what you've said because a) he was too busy working out how to fit in more scenes involving actors getting naked, b) he was convinced he was writing the greatest television show of the 21st century and c) he hoped that not explaining anything or giving conflicting explanations would make people work out their own answers and thereby avoid him having to actually come up with any consistent with what passed for canon's internal narrative.
"Having read Ron's post-finale interviews and seen the shuddering narrative disaster that was the final season at work, I've come to the conclusion that he's largely full of crap; more than that, he's a victim of his own lack of planning, forethought and narrative structure."

I'm of the "in between" camp regarding the finale.

I have no problem with the plot - the storyline of the finale. To me, its problems are in its presentation:

1. Overall bad pacing.
2. Too much time spent in flashbacks
3. Too much fighting and violence and death in the rescue of Hera
4. Too much abruptness in the our final look at the characters. (Especially Kara's departure.)
5. A too pat, tacked on feeling to the final present day scene.

Re: finale
I was fine with the pacing until they reached earth and, not only did it start to drag, it's where it started to go off the rails with the various storylines.

I have never spent a lot of time contemplating Kara's arc, but she's the character that is consuming my thoughts right now which tells me that Ron botched her ending and she didn't get the closure she deserved.
Re: finale
For me it was Cavill killing himself. He'd never do that, ever. I can't believe they convinced Dean to do that. He wasn't hitler in a bunker, he was all about survival. And because he'd never do that, the whole Tori-murder thing was a complete deus ex to move the story in the direction they wanted it to go.

Kara is just them trying to sell you five years of comic books. I actually read the Buffy ones until I figured out:

1. Joss is in fact a misogynist freakazoid
2. The comics will go on forever with no closure
3. The world of ten thousand slayers wasn't interesting so season 7 didn't end the way it should have necessarily
4. I didn't care about random time travel buffy and I'm not sure I like Buffy fans who are too interested in the Fray timeline

I'm sure people who get sucked into the BSG spinoffs will fair similarly.
Re: finale
They didn't convince Dean to do it, it was his idea. Tigh was supposed to kill Cavil and Dean told Ron it made more sense for Cavil to kill himself because he realized he had lost. And it makes sense to me that Cavil would prefer dying by his own hand than let the humans he loathed have the satisfaction of killing him.

I don't read comics and have very little interest in reading continuations unless it's fic.
I had forgotten all of that until reading this post. I wonder if he used it totally subconsciously and has no clue what he's done. Because it is really interesting the fit here.

Great post; I am not thrilled with the finale and what it says about the series, but posts like this give me something to chew on.
If Ron viewed the original series before he started writing this one for this one, which I think he would, then, if he didn't consciously mean to incorporate the material, it would seem subconsciously did. I know after reading the information on Wikipedia I began recalling a lot more moments from the original series.

I'm actually more satisfied with the finale now. I shouldn't have to fill in so many blanks myself, but I'm a happier fan if I can make sense of it all. :)
I had no deep thoughts about Kara's ending. I just thought it was dumb. I'm glad to see you put some thought into it, as you've always put thought into this show. And I'm a bad person, because I fast-forwarded over the Roslin/Adama scenes at the end.