Battlestar Galactica is over (until its resurrection as Caprica)

Spoilers abound in this look back at a remarkable slice of TV sci-fi...

Farewell to old friends...

Battlestar Galactica has come to an end and before you read on please be warned that there is spoiler after spoiler after spoiler in this article, so if you haven’t seen the final episode, please come back and read this article once you have. You have been warned (repeatedly)..

The show has been building up to this point since its beginning and unlike other shows it never lost its way. What made this show so unique amongst today’s sci-fi are its flawed but ultimately heroic personalities. It was a program about people rather than gadgets and effects. It was a very dark show which tackled some topical issues and it helped break the mould of genre TV forever; suddenly non-sci-fi fans were watching a sci-fi show.

It’s sad that the show came to an end, but it’s commendable that it was not stretched out another two or three seasons because of its ratings – thankfully, it was finished at the right time in a blaze of glory with its story complete and perfectly packaged.

There’s no flawless character and each one has evolved from the person they started out as. Name any character of BSG‘s cast and you can see the transformation from Series 1 to the final episode. Everyone has an interesting story. Perhaps that’s why so much of the final episodes were flashbacks to their lives pre-Galactica.

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I’m usually very critical of flashback sequences which can sometimes appear to be a lazy way to squeeze important information into the story at a late stage, but this time the flashbacks gave the audience the opportunity to see characters before years on the run on an outdated military spaceship took its toll.

A chance to see a happy Starbuck, a drunk and directionless Lee Adama, Sam the jock, a feisty but recently bereaved Roslin, Tigh, Ellen and Adama having a drink (oh yeah, that’s same as ever!) and perhaps most surprising of all, Baltar trying to care for his sick father but completely out of his depth.

All the actors seem to relish playing different sides to their characters but for me the standout performances in the finale were Mary McDonnell (Roslin), James Callis (Baltar) and Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck). A cynical viewer may wonder if so much focus on Caprica midway though the episodes is a clever way to wet the audiences appetite for the new show Caprica.

Caprica will focus on Joseph Adama and a world before the Cylons waged war while The Plan movie will be from the Cylons perspective.

The writing of the show has been incredible although, if I am going to be critical, I do wonder how well the finale flowed. We had three distinct sections: the save Hera story,  the flashbacks to Caprica and the new Earth story. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the ending was great but it did seem a little disjointed at times.

PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN THE FINAL EPISODE!

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First off, let’s look at the lead up to the Hera storyline. Grace Parks got a chance to show many facets to Sharon and Athena. Evil Sharon injures Athena, and kidnaps Hera. As the ship slowly disintegrates Adama decides they should launch a rescue and attack Cavil’s Cylon baseship. He gives everyone the option to either fight or flight. Even Roslin, riddled with cancer, manages to make the effort to cross the line to fight and collapses in Starbuck’s arms.

Meanwhile, on the baseship, Sharon suddenly develops a conscience and cries tears hearing Hera suffer. She finally saves her just as the BSG crew come – perhaps her new found conscience was another attempt at self preservation?

Athena kills Sharon and the crew return to the Galactica followed by Cavil and his Cylons. Baltar and 6 steal the show when Baltar and 6 defend against the Cylons and 6 tells him she’s proud of him. Even more surprisingly, 6 and Baltar can both see Angel versions of each other. They find Hera and guide her back to the command centre to the waiting final 5. The 5 agree to give Cavil resurrection and just as they open their minds to each other, Tyrol discovers that Cally was killed by Tory and kills her.

The lead up to the battle to save Hera was brilliantly executed with the huge obligatory end of series/end of show big space battle between Galactica and the Cavil’s Cylon baseship. Starbuck realises the song her father taught her to play is actually coordinates to new Earth. I understood the show to this point, but this is where my confusion starts; who is Starbuck2? Is she a resurrected human, angel or a Cylon? Was her father a human, Cylon or God? Why can she hear the same song as the Cylons? Can the resurrection machines work with humans too and, if so, who brought her back? How did her father know the co-ordinates to New Earth? Is Starbuck2, Angel 6 and Angel Baltar angels?

After the jump, Galactica is barely in one piece so the mechanical Cylons leave on their baseship and the remaining Cylons and humans colonise Earth. Anders pilots the fleet of ships into the sun while the humans start life on their new Earth without the technology they are accustomed to.

It’s at this moment you realise that the Battlestar itself was such a key character too and it is sad to see it burn up. When the humans look at the planet, they decide it is rich in wildlife and the human beings on the Earth are primitive but evolving.

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The crew go their own ways as Tyrol decides he’s had enough of humans and Cylons and wants to be on his own. Bill Adama shows a dying Laura Roslin where he’s going to build their log cabin. Lee Adama decides he wants to go exploring and during this conversation with Starbuck she tells him she’s tired and her journey is complete and she disappears. 6 and Baltar are going to be farmers and Tigh and Ellen go with another group elsewhere. Athena, Helo and Hera are a happy family unit, Hera is our very own Mitochondrial Eve.

In the final scene it cuts to the present and Angel 6 and Angel Baltar are walking down a street on Earth and questioning whether or not it’s all going to happen again and will we ever learn.

The final show was a good resolution to a classic show, but it didn’t give you all the answers packaged up in a tidy little bow. It left so many questions unanswered, but wasn’t that one of the reasons we liked Galactica so much? It made us think, it made the audience wait for each instalment as we were slowly offered a breadcrumb trail of hints and clues.

The show created its own mythology offering opposing views of God and faith. Cylons following one God while humans worshipped many and even Baltar developed his own new religion.

Throughout its run it covered a host of topics including politics, corruption, crime, terrorism and many other very relevant issues. Yes, it was dark but it was very entertaining too. The ending was happy and at the same time sad too. The audience were not short changed and the ending was fitting for the show. Battlestar Galactica in its current form is gone but will never be forgotten. So Say We All!