Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Revisiting Battlestar Galactica's Ending

Brad argues Battlestar's "Daybreak:" The worst ending in the history of on-screen science fiction. It contains tons of spoilers so don't read it if you haven't seen all of BSG.

It's very long and it goes off repeatedly on several factual elements in the final episode. They're true and I had problems with some of them, but they weren't my real issues with the end of the series. I thought the pacing and plotline of the 4th season was much weaker than the rest of the series, which I think peaked with the beginning of the 3rd season.

Was it the worst ending of any Sci-Fi TV show? Brad really means most disappointing and perhaps that's true. For some reason I watched most of Andromeda and that just completely sucked in ways BSG couldn't hope to match. I still think TNG's finale All Good Things was a great final episode and with one exception, I thought B5 wrapped up things quite well.

I haven't changed my mind about The Sopranos ending, but I also don't think about it anymore. Brad wrote this 4 months after the BSG finale; time to get over it.


I hadn't heard of Mitochondrial Eve before and even if the show got the definition wrong, it gave one in the show which worked ok. I didn't care at all that cast landed at 150,000 years ago when it should have been 50,000 years ago for things to work out. So they got some of the science details wrong, those things don't bother me much, it wasn't a show about science.

I didn't buy the characters giving up all technology. I didn't love but was ok with Head Six and Head Baltar being angels, I thought doing so with Kara was cheap. Buy all accounts Head Six and Head Baltar knew what they were, Kara didn't, so why the difference and why would god solve the problem in that way? I thought the whole Opera House dream turned out to be pointless to just being a random scene of events. In no way was it important to resolving the situation that the characters had the knowledge of that dream. I hadn't pieced together all the issues Brad does with the All Along The Watchtower song as used but basically agree with them.


Richard said...

I think that the plot got ahead of the creators of BSG. These guys write a show and they don't know when it will end. It was almost killed by the writer's strike and then that ended and it survived and then they had to write some more. So I suspect that they didn't know how to end it when they had to end it, they attempted to sew up all of the loose ends and did a hack job of it. I think they got wrapped up in their own mystique, the fanboy adulation, and the absurdity of their own oracular pronouncements of where the show was going next and how it might end. They are probably crying all the way to the bank.

Starbuck was a cop out, angels was a cop out. Giving up technology is a cop out. Finding a new Earth is a cop out, but we saw that the music and the notes had to mean something and there it was.

I was always aggravated with the show because the characters seemed stupid or mentally ill. I chalk it up to post traumatic stress disorder for everyone, both fleeing humans, and cylons (and possibly the writers). If instead of emoting and acting generally crazy, the characters had compared notes of their various experiences, they might have figured things out sooner. They would have come to the realization that they were in the grip of an extremely powerful being or set of circumstances, natural or supernatural, and that might have made them change some of their decisions. It would make me paranoid. As Brad points out, once God and fate or destiny are involved it hardly matters what the characters do, there is no mystery, just chugging along to the final conclusion.

I wasn't so worried about the subtle mistake of mitochondrial eve vs. the last common ancestor and trying to fit BSG into our history. My biggest issue with the ending (which is still one of many) was the realization that if all of humanity was descended from Hera, then that meant that every other woman that settled on "Earth" didn't produce descendants to this day, and I just assumed that the first generation all died without having children, which has been pointed out is very depressing.

Howard said...

I mostly agree. I cut the writers less slack though for the 4th season. They knew they'd have the whole season to work with and changed the tone of the series considerably. The episodes shifted from shifting among many plots with heavy characterization, to almost single plotline episodes filled mostly with scenes of emoting.

I don't know why they started trusting Kara who obviously wasn't Kara. I don't know why Adama wasn't questioning the final five instead of painting his quarters. I was tired of watching Laura having dreams while slowly dying. I like the coup. I liked the episode long conversation between Cavil and Ellen in part because of the answers but also because of the strong acting.

The mutiny on Kara's ship should have been one episode not two. Instead that other ep should have been given to the humans and cylons coming together and getting to earth. And them working together for the first time should have gotten more time instead of the 5 standing around Ander's bed. And while I loved the music on the show, there were too many montages.

Anonymous said...

then that meant that every other woman that settled on "Earth" didn't produce descendants to this day

It doesn't mean that, but it's not obvious why. Check the Wiki page on Mt. Eve, but it's possible lots of the survivors (both men and women) had children. See also Y-Chromosomal Adam.