The 'Battlestar Galactica' finale was not what I was hoping. But BSG as a whole? Everything a show ought to be.
What I was actually hoping for, I got, I do feel the show failed to deliver on some points. Or didn’t deliver enough. But it still remains my One True Show.
Lee and Kara
While I don’t ship the two, I still find I have issues with how their relationship played out. Mo Ryan, in her column, had this to say about that final flashback between Lee and Kara:
I suppose I had a little trouble with the Lee-Starbuck flashback. You could see that Lee fell in love with her almost from the moment he saw her. But she certainly seemed to be in love with Zak. It’s no secret that Starbuck could be a self-destructive party girl, but all it took for her to put the moves on her boyfriend’s brother was a few drinks and one philosophical late-night conversation? I don't know. I thought Starbuck was capable of more loyalty than that. Still, she and Lee didn't actually do anything major, and there’s every chance she let Zak pass his basic flight course not just because she wanted to stay with him but because she felt guilty about her attraction to his brother.
Her comments made me look at the scene from another perspective. I don’t agree that what almost happened with Lee contributed to Kara passing Zak in his basic flight course. I just can’t connect the two in my mind. But, it could help explain her hesitancy to become involved with Lee long after Zak’s death. They went two years without speaking. It had to be more than guilt for her culpability in Zak’s death. After all, she saw Adama every day. If Kara had a strong attraction to Lee while having a strong desire to stay loyal to Zak’s memory, keeping a distance would be the best way to go. Once the world they knew was gone, with so few people left, even fewer that had surviving friends and family, an involvement with Lee could seem less problematic. And Kara’s idea of loyalty was often unique. She wouldn’t divorce Sam, but was OK with carrying on an affair with Lee, something that proved hurtful for all parties involved. But that choice by her also proves troublesome. Had Zak lived, would she have eventually left him? Would she have had an affair with his brother?
While I can deal with the attraction, even affection between the two upon meeting, the big issue for me is that everything we saw and knew of Kara and Zak up until that final flashback, including the flashbacks in Part 1, showed Kara loved Zak. This was an important relationship to her. She was happy. Yet, I’m supposed to believe that Kara had too much to drink and almost fraked Lee on the dining room table while Zak was six feet away?
To me it’s a sign of a problem that exists throughout the finale; Ron didn’t know when to stop. Instead of taking the small, subtle moments that have been peppered throughout the series, building upon them to their logical culmination, he decided to tack on a bunch of stuff we really didn’t need to see and failed to deliver on some key arcs.
Back to Lee and Kara, I’m not sure what the point was of their now tragic love affair. Are we to believe that it was merely a matter bad timing fraking them over? Or had Kara met Lee first, would they have married and had vastly different lives with neither surviving the attacks nor playing a role in humankind’s survival? You know, I could actually accept that if we had some explicit information saying that that, too, was part of Don’t Call Me God’s plan. After all, Kara seems to have had a destiny since she was child.
I actually covered some of my difficulties with Kara’s arc and her destiny in my last post, but there are a couple other things I want to touch on.
I haven’t read Katee’s recent remarks about the finale. I know, in recent months, while the rest of the cast seemed quite pleased with the finale, she has alluded to having problems with it. I do recall one comment she made about being disappointed because, unlike all the other characters, Kara didn’t get closure. I understand what she was talking about now.
Even the non-shipper in me was left to wonder why, after Lee and Kara were made such an important part of the series that the audience wasn’t left with the chance that these two people might some day be together. I’m not sure it would have been possible. I do believe Kara had found some peace at the end. She had accomplished her goal of finding earth and seeing her family settled. She was not the “harbinger of death” as she feared. And given Kara’s own faith, Laura’s previous glimpses of the afterlife, Sam’s, “See you on the other side”, and proof of some sort of higher power, it seems all of these people will someday be reunited in death. But I feel as if Kara was still carrying a lot of baggage, unlike Lee. Galactica had been her rock and was gone. Sam’s tragic end seemed to break something in her. If she was a Seraph, and I don’t know what else she could be, her mission accomplished, she likely couldn’t remain on earth. But with Kara’s disappearing act, we are left with far too many questions to try and answer ourselves.
I don’t have a lot to add about Lee, I’m pretty satisfied with how his arc ended. I’ve seen comments about him living alone and the Televisionary took it a step further, stating he was deeply saddened that the people of the colonies, after all they had been through, went their separate ways. I assumed that the Helo, Sharon, Baltar, Caprica, Lee, and others remained relatively close together forming a new settlement. Maybe they aren’t huddled in a tent together, but they’ll need support in their new lives.
In my post for ‘Daybreak Part 1’, I mentioned I thought there was a visual clue as to Lee’s fate, but perhaps I was being overly optimistic. As people chose to stay with the fleet or go on the mission, The Core Four were pictured together. Laura, Kara, and Adama stood side by side by side, while Lee stood behind them. I felt it might be a hint that the three in front die and Lee, alone, survives.
I was pleased Lee wasn’t overly emotional when Adama left. From his discussion with Zak, it’s clear he always saw exactly the man his father was, but perhaps hoped Adama, and their relationship, would change. At the end, he realized nothing would change. Letting go of his father was something Lee needed; it was that last piece of baggage he was carrying.
I’ve seen comments that Adama’s choice to fly off with Laura didn’t make sense. Why not stay and see what happens with his son? Or Kara since he wasn’t aware that she would soon be leaving as well. I thought his choice was completely in character. To the end, he lived in the bubble he created for himself. What had m mattered most to Adama was Galactica and she was gone. Laura, who propped him up else when no one else would, was gone. There was no war left to fight, no people to save. As far as he saw it, the life that gave him joy, if you can call it that, was over. I guess people took his talk of building a cabin literally. I thought he was creating one last fantasy for himself before he ended his life.
The Higher Power That May or May Not Be God
I have issues with how we got to the end, but not so much with the ending. I’ll agree with Ron on one point, the concept of a higher power being involved in all of this has been there since the beginning. God, gods, devotion, faith - all of it has been a constant theme and been mentioned in nearly every episode.
Does a higher power guiding them negate free will? I don’t believe so. Head Six tried to push Baltar in the right direction, but he didn’t always listen. And ‘God’ seems to step in only when humanity – and the Cylons – really frak things up. Why not intervene before a race nearly destroys itself? Part of being human and Cylon is making choices. We’re supposed to make mistakes, it’s how we learn and how we, hopefully, become better. And even when God does step in, we still need to make choices. Baltar chose to finally listen and truly embrace faith. He and Caprica chose to walk into the Opera House they feared. Kara stopped fighting her past and chose to open herself up to the memories of her father. Humans chose to trust the Sixs, Eights, and Twos. In ‘No Exit’, Sam mentioned people who had visited them that no one else could see or hear. Only Five of the original Cylon race survived. They listened to the ‘angels’ and saved themselves, but apparently chose not to do more to stop the war on earth.
God, faith, whatever you prefer to call it can guide us, but as Lee has stated in the past, we make our own choices.
A Fresh Start
I rewatched (several times) the scene between Lee and Adama discussing starting over. While Adama makes the comment about staring over with nothing but the clothes on their backs and some provisions, Lee talks about starting over without all the technology and weapons. So, I have to believe the Cylons and Colonials took some supplies with them - tools, blankets, the basic necessities.
As for Ron unintentionally endorsing Colonialism, as I’ve seen many bring up, it didn’t occur to me, but seeing the discussion certainly made me think about it. Ultimately, I have to disagree.
The telling moment for me was that only days after beginning settlement on the new planet, the first big discussion involved the construction of a city. Presumably, the ships would land and be stripped for materials to construct building. And, hey, maybe they could use the Centurions as labor to help build them? That worked well for them before. Or maybe the primitive indigenous people could be used as labor?
Maybe it was because it was Lee, the idealist, making the argument for leaving all the technology behind and giving the indigenous people the best part of themselves that I didn’t see his comments as ‘taming the savages’. He was witnessing how quickly humanity was settling into it’s old patterns, reverting to the old cycle, and the possibility of not just the Cylon race being enslaved again, but the same fate befalling those already there. It would eventually happen anyway, but Lee was trying to stop it. Perhaps leaving the technology behind was dumb, but it also leveled the playing field. It’s much harder to dominate people when you don’t have the weapons to do it. Lee feared their brains would, again, outrace their hearts.
Some Odds and Ends
The humans of our earth are the products of hybridity – decedents of humans and Cylons and, at some point, the humans already here. Personally, I would have preferred the Colonials and Cylons to settle in an era when civilizations were already on the rise, when having our own Apollo, Athena, Pythia, etc could more directly be tied to them. Yeah, I admit it, I would have liked Apollo to the basis for a revered god. ;)
Or perhaps a different approach could have been taken. After all, people were left behind on New Caprica and the Twelve Colonies. Who is to say that 150,000 years later there are, once again, billions of people on the Colonies. The fleet could have found a habitable planet and named it earth, but not have it be our earth. Then again, I like that we are all connected.
I wish the coda at the end was truncated. Ron has stated that, for two years, he’s had the image of Six in the red dress walking through the streets of New York. Why not just cut to the New York skyline and Head Six and Head Baltar walking down the street arm and arm passing the newsstands, passing some TVs with images immediately recognizable? It would have been enough.
Mo Ryan has her post episode interview with Ron Moore plus a transcript from the March 16th finale screening.
Mo shared some news about extended cuts on the DVD release:
Three episodes from Season 4.5 will have longer cuts on DVD (and Moore doesn't know when the DVD will be coming out, by the way):
• The DVD version of "A Disquiet Follows My Soul" will be about 10 minutes longer.
• The DVD version of "Islanded in a Stream of Stars" will be about 15-20 minutes longer.
• The DVD version of "Daybreak," the series finale, will be about 15-20 minutes longer.
Hmm, wasn’t the mess that is ‘Deadlock’ supposed to have an extended edition as well? And did anyone else catch in ‘The Last Frakking Special’ a glimpse of a scene that was cut between Kara and Adama that I really wanted to see in the episode? It better be included in the additional footage.
TV Guide also conducts a Q&A with Ron.
SciFi has posted a whole lot of David Eick video blogs dealing with the finale. I haven’t watched them all, but the one I’m linking to is my favorite thus far.
I didn’t get very emotional during the finale, but I watched the ‘So This Is Earth’ clip and got teary. There is a moment (and, again, I really hope this makes it into the extended cut) between Lee and Adama at the end of their walk and Lee looks at him and says, “Look at this place!” He grabs his father’s face, he’s smiling and happy, and takes in a deep breath of air. Lee Adama is joyful. It’s not as if I didn’t see Lee was happy on earth, with a new life on a beautiful planet ahead of him, but this moment really conveyed to me the joy he was feeling. In four years, we’ve never seen the Lee Adama we are seeing now.
And I hope all of this makes sense. My eyes are getting blurry at this point. :p