13. Kobol’s Last Gleaming (part 2)
The opening episode of Battlestar Galactica‘s maiden season – 33 – remains, for me, the highlight of those that I’ve seen to date. The season finale, though, the second part of Kobol’s Last Gleaming, had me screaming at my television set. More than ever, I regret not getting to Battlestar Galactica sooner than I have done, because this is just outstanding television.
What’s really impressed me throughout the season is the underlying hopelessness of the situation, and the fact that the crew have had to convincingly improvise as they go along, surrounded by increasing paranoia as they do so. The finale, it’s fair to say, throws in plenty more food for thought.
On one hand, to be fair, there’s what you’d expect of a finale. We left things last time with a stranded Raptor on the surface of the newly-found planet Kobol. However, nobody could get to rescue it, nor check out the planet in any detail, given the massive Cylon forces around it, particularly the BaseStar.
Season finale’s inevitably need heroes at some point, and Battlestar got, ironically, a Cylon to do the critical work. Boomer’s character could have been a two-dimensional traitor-in-our-midst, but instead, it’s been used to explore the imperfections of the Cylons. Boomer’s emotions have moved more than her creators had expected, and after a failed suicide attempt on her part, she’s chosen by Adama to lead a mission to take out the BaseStar with a nuke.
This she ultimately does, but as you’d expect, it’s nowhere near that simple. When the attempt to launch the nuke from space fails, she lands on the BaseStar and manually releases it. However, when she hears her name being called, she goes off to investigate, and is greeted by an abundance of clones of her. If she had any doubt that she was a Cylon before, they’re clearly gone here, in a brilliantly executed sequence. She still heads back to her ship, detonates the bomb and takes out the Base Star. She’s still got the big shock of the episode to come, though.
On board Galactica, the relationship between hardened military man Adama and the more-religious-than-ever Roslin all but disappears, when the former discovers that the latter sent Starbuck off on a different mission. He asks for her resignation, she refuses, and then he sends a team off to arrest her. Even that doesn’t go well, though, as when Tigh, Apollo and their troops walk in, they find Roslin standing behind several armed men. What turns the situation, with ramifications that aren’t explored in this episode, is when Apollo turns the gun on Tigh, arguing that democracy is the main thing here. Roslin at this point surrenders, and Tigh has Apollo arrested.
And there’s more! There are two babies to consider; down on Caprica, Helo stops Starbuck shooting the version of Boomer down there, who we now discover is somehow pregnant with Helo’s child. Just how that’s going to pan out is unclear, but the three of them get to the end of the episode intact, so we have to wait until season two to find out. Number 6, meanwhile, has shown Baltar what looks like a vision of their baby, too. We never get to see for sure, but it appears they have a daughter in the offing (could it be Boomer’s child, I wonder?). That should nicely simplify things. Ahem.
Starbuck has picked up the Arrow Of Apollo, which she retains after a brutal fight with Number 6. Now she just has to find a way to get it back to Roslin, assuming Roslin gets out from behind bars.
But then we get to the big moment. The Galactica Boomer returns to the ship a hero, and very, very suddenly, takes out a gun and shoots Commander Adama twice. We see him slumped down, with Apollo in cuffs screaming at him, and Tigh desperately trying to hold the blood at bay. I’ve little doubt that Adama will survive, but if I’ve learned something from season one of Battlestar, nothing’s really quite that simple.
Roll on season two…