Some Thoughts on the Battlestar Galactica Series Finale
Renae and I were in Japan when “Daybreak, Part II” — the final two hours of Battlestar Galactica — aired, but thank God for DVRs. Once we returned, still reeling from jet lag and a one-year-old who wouldn’t go to sleep until 4am, we hunkered down on the couch in our PJs to wrap up one of our favorite TV shows in recent memory.
We had deliberately avoided any spoilers, though it was inevitable that we’d hear some rumblings in the blogosphere about the finale, and to our dismay, most of them were negative. Seems a lot of folks really hated the finale. We, on the other hand, found it a fairly satisfying way to wrap up the Galactica’s long, hard journey.
But rather than bore you with some long, in-depth analysis — which has already been done a million other places, and besides, I’m like a month late with this as it is — here’s a list of what we liked and didn’t like about the finale.
Note: I’m going to try and avoid spoilers as much as possible in the odd chance that some of you haven’t seen the finale, but it has been a month, so I’m not going to be too careful. Consider yourself warned.
First, what we liked:
- While I certainly love my sci-fi cerebral and philosophical, I also like watching spaceships getting blowed up real good, and the first hour was full of great combat and action. And I enjoyed how the characters’ evolution was reflected in their roles in the climactic battle.
- The conclusion to Anders’ arc, which struck me as a very fitting end. And bonus points for the musical ode to the original series in Anders’ final scenes.
- Tory having to deal with the wages of her sins.
- Baltar coming full circle. His tearful breakdown at returning to, and being satisfied with, his roots was perhaps my favorite scene in the finale, and is certainly one of my favorite scenes in the entire series.
- The flash-forward at the very end, which in hindsight, didn’t bug me nearly as much as I thought it would, and which also provided some final and interesting commentary on human nature.
- The revelation of who Lee Adama appointed President of the Twelve Colonies made me chuckle, if only because I liked that particular character so much.
- Laura Roslin’s final words to Dr. Cottle was the finale’s finest bit of dialog.
And what we didn’t care for so much:
- For a series that delved so deeply into ambiguity, that reveled in the grit and grime so much, the ending did feel a little too neat and tidy. As odd as this sounds, I found myself wishing there’d been a little cloud to the silver lining that made up so much of the finale. It would’ve felt a little truer to the overall spirit of the series, I think.
- On a related note, I wish the finale had had more tragedy. But maybe that’s my melancholy side shining through — and I can’t really begrudge the creators wanting to give the characters some relief after all of the hell that they’d gone through.
- While I enjoyed the conclusions to several characters’ stories, there were other conclusions that left me going “Huh, that’s it?” The most obvious example would be Starbuck, whose conclusion was pretty shallow. At the risk of sounding hypocritical, this was a case where I didn’t want more ambiguity, but rather, something a little more concrete.
- I was also disappointed by Cavil’s final actions and his character’s conclusion. It seemed a little incongruous with what we’d learned of and heard from him in previous episodes, particularly his vehement hatred of humans, the “Final Five” Cylons, and God.
- As much as I enjoyed the series’ incorporation and exploration of religion, Baltar’s final speech about the nature of God was lame, lame, lame.
- I really wish that less time had been spent in flashbacks — a good deal of which felt superfluous, providing unnecessary revelations about the characters — and more time had been spent blowing up spaceships, weaving in a little more tragedy, and/or raising just a few more questions other than “What happened to Starbuck?”
- I’m also a little disappointed that my prediction that Adama would go out in a blaze of glory by taking the Galactica on a suicide run into the Cylon hordes didn’t come true.
Perhaps, in a few years, we’ll sit down and watch the entire series on DVD in one fell swoop. It’ll be interesting then to see if/how the finale really wraps things up. But until then, I’m perfectly content with saying that Battlestar Galactica went out on a decent note.