First let me be clear: I really liked the last episode. I don't have any real critiques of it, & will defend it. I think it offered no betrayals of the audience & wisely chose to provide character closure, emotional closure, & thematic closure rather than plot closure. Screw the plot! Plot, ptew! Sorry, I'm jumping all over here, but that is how it has to be. First, I am glad the show ended this season. I think going another season would have been a mistake, a big mistake in fact. Once the show humanized the cylons, it HAD to end. I don't think there was a jumping the shark moment-- not at all. People say the trial jumped the shark, but I think the trial is a triumph; Lee convinces Galactica to uphold civilization & not descend any further into oligarchy? Baltar is in fact innocent of the charges, let me point out-- Gaeta treasonously perjured under oath regarding the death orders. The trial even said something to the effect "it isn't as if you had a gun to your head," when in fact he quite literally had a gun to his head. Okay, I'm veering off topic. So, I don't think making the cylons into characters was a mistake, but I think it is a hardcore turning point; once that happens, it is all declining action, all leading towards the end.
I suppose if I had one complaint to make, it would be the complain all science fiction shows seem to have; the inverse ninja law, sort of. Remember in the first few seasons, where skinjobs are performing feats of herculean strength & plugging themselves into computers & the like? Well, when they became characters, those faded. Remember when one boarding party of chromejobs frakked up the entire ship? Were immune to bullets? Were horrifying? Well, the finale sort of forgets that. We have Starbuck splattering them with submachine gun fire & them falling. Come on, really? Still, the Red Stripes-- the Centurians loyal to Galactica-- running around, being terrifying, executing old school cylons, flanking One as he boarded the ship; all that made up for it. I just wish, for once, a show would stick to its guns on how dangerous the monster is. Oh & the count of the fallen? Somehow Galactica only lost ten fighters in the suicide run?
On the topic of suicide-- the One shouting "Frak!" & eating his gun? Great. Man, the scene was a total clusterfrak! He'd been acting totally reasonably; Baltar's speech worked on him, & Tigh's brilliant chiming in with the offer of resurrection sealed it. I thought it was going to pan out! Then Tyrol lost it. People apparently think he did the right thing, killing Tory? Frankly, I hated Callie. She shot Boomer & lets be clear; it was criminal & racist. Remember how she was a huge racist? Such a huge racist that she was going to commit suicide & infanticide? Because she was too racist to live? Callie was the BSG equivilent of a Puritan Goodwife screaming to "burn the witches!" So Tory, even if she was acting under the worst possible impulses-- maybe she did it just to see if she could-- still saved Nicky. & Tory has been in your club for how many thousand years? Your secret Final Five club? Tory-- she was a non-character, sadly. I thought they were going to make her the cylon superiority voice, but in reality I think they would have needed another season to focus on her; one of Battlestar Galactica's problems was that it kept introducing new characters. Constantly!
Flashbacks-- Tigh is forever in my cool book for screaming at the top of his lungs after every shot. & the show did a pretty good job of rebuilding Ellen in the audience's eyes-- though personally, I'm way over her know-it-all act, but you know me, I'm a fan of the Ones. How hilarious is that scene where Adama barfs on himself? Yeah, that needed to make it into the final cut! I mean, I guess it shows how deep he'd sunk before the end of the world (The Fall-- I like that they call it The Fall). The flashbacks with Lee, Zack, & Starbuck were worth it if only for Lee to totally have his dad's number-- "no, he believes in himself, his uniform," &c. Yep, Lee, you are right; you have ethics, your dad does not. Lee-- a deeply flawed mess in orbit with the equally ruined Kara. I don't mind the pigeon chasing! Art school project maybe, but fine with me. Then of course the scenes with Six & Baltar on Caprica-- so great. Seriously, those people are great actors, & this episode really showcased it; James Callis plays post-Jesus Baltar's faith, pre-Fall Baltar's arrogance, Head-Baltar's detachment & Tricia Helfer dots the stage with various Sixes, & really I don't think I need to herald her range (Gina, Shelly, Natalie, Caprica). Oh, & while we're talking about multiple characters: Boomer's flashback actually lent legitimate emotional weight to her return of Hera? Great. & the seamless integration of the Opera House sequences? See-- the show provided closure for the things it promised it would.
The coda is what really seems to have people's goat. Let me address the big one first & foremost: the claim that the finale had a Neo-Luddite message. I deny any & all messages in Battlestar Galactica! When the crew of Galactica were torturing cylon prisoners for information, was that an endorsement of the use of torture? When the resistance on New Caprica were using suicide bombers against the occupying cylons, was that a message in support of terrorism? Nope, it was a discussion. A discussion which is fundamentally different then a message. Do I think talking about the role of technology, robotics, & post-humanism is a good idea? Why yes I do; I disagree with the settlers of Earth & side with the Centurions in the Basestar. Anyhow, that being said; making the people of Galactica ancient astronauts was a nice touch, & making Hera into Mitochondrial Eve provided a pretty concrete answer to why she was so important. I think it completed the cyclical theme of the show in a fantastic fashion. Coupled with the finishing sequence of the ASIMO et al. dancing to "All Along the Watchtower"? Great.
The real oomph of the episode is in the emotions of the coda. Okay, I don't care about Roselyn dying; sorry. Sic Semper Tyrannis. Helo isn't dead; done, that is all we need. Starbuck dissapears. Don't complain. I don't need my literature to explain everything. You can be cagey with me. People aren't still talking about The Prisoner & Twin Peaks because they were so unambiguous. & for those like Marie (edit: part II)--& myself, really-- who liked the Starbuck-as-hybrid hypothesis, there is still The Plan to come; I think the Daniel-as-daddy story arc might figure. Oh though, Baltar & Caprica! Man that scene where Baltar says "I know about farming, you know" & then breaks down crying? Somehow, that funny sequence where he talked with an
Now my favorite game is: pitch your Battlestar Galactica reimagining! It is 2029, what is your pitch for the next Galactica cycle? I think in mine, the ship Galactica is 500 miles long. I think it contains the last living humans, & that they live in semi-feudal conditions; swords, armor, horses, castles. That kind of thing. The temples have a dedicated clergy, who learn how to maintain & fly the Vipers as rituals, rites to the various gods: that is, In the temple of Athena, there is a starfighter named Athena. In the the temple of Apollo, there is a starfighter named Apollo. In the temple, different priest-pilots jocky to be the avatar of their god; come on, Lee Adama, you can be Apollo! Come on Sharon, you can be Athena! The cylons are an outside force, & oh, yeah, I'd have Iblis be a big deal. & I'd probably hint that the Ship of Light (Heaven) is the Basestar that the Centurions left with in "Daybreak."