I realize that I’m late to this party, this Battlestar BYOB, which in this case stands for ‘bring your own bat’ for the cross-web beat-down sessions regarding the series finale. Can one be both satisfied and disappointed with something at the same time? Because that’s where I sit, on the fence, still chewing it over.
Now, I love Battlestar. Loved, I suppose, past tense, as the series has come to it’s end. It was awkward to watch with a friend over, one who doesn’t watch the show, so I couldn’t really be free with all my responses knowing that if I started talking about it we would end up debating and then missing out on the last ever episode. And I didn’t want to miss anything.
Hour one? Awesome. Made of win.
Hour two? Fuck. That’s not cool.
The final battle was indeed epic, as it should be, and a few of the closing character arcs were spot on – Torie, Rosilin, Boomer, Adama, Galen and Baltar and Caprica realizing that they weren’t crazy, or just both crazy in the same way. Overall, I enjoyed great stretches of the finale, but as a writer, even a would-be writer, there was much about it that I didn’t find satisfying, that I found frustrating or simply weak.
I didn’t like the sudden inclusion of flashbacks to Caprica for Roslin, Adama, Tigh, Ellen, Lee and Kara in the last two episodes. That God ends up being the savior and the architect of man was annoying and, as many pointed out online, an anti-science deus ex machina. Weak, but clearly where the show had been going for years. That it ended up being Earth, our Earth, in our the past, was no surprise and had long been guessed. The only surprise is that they they pulled a fast one with the first, destroyed earth. But Kara being an angel, or something, too? Very disappointing. Lee is left orphaned in all possible ways.
But my major complaint? What I really didn’t like? That, based on Lee’s whim, they all decided to give up their technology, to split up and ‘go native’ on our Earth some 150,000 years ago. All they have left are the rag-tag pieces of what’s left of the fleet and their lives. They’ve watched half the Cylon population nuked out of orbit from the singularity. They’ve run on empty for months, and now they’ve found Earth and they can truly begin again. They can go forward with all the lessons they have learned, with the burden and the blessing of all they have overcome so they can make sure it never happens again.
Instead, they destroy their technology and scatter across the globe to fish and hunt game, and, since it is our Earth, let their mostly egalitarian society with their medical and technological advancements die only to be replaced by millenniums of hardship, starvation, oppression and war that only leads up to Head Baltar and Head Six tsk-tsking because it looks like we’ve managed to fuck it all up again, anyways.
I can be accused of 20/20 hindsight here – the last survivors of the colonies would have no idea what would happen in their future, our past. Fine. But how would it feel, in the immediate years following the landing on Earth, to watch your children die from treatable diseases, watch a broken limb become fatally infected when it could have been cured with antibiotics, watch a woman die in childbirth for want of a sterile tool, or any of the multitude of simple things that it took human beings so long to learn and knowing all the while that you sent it all to the sun. Not to start anew with a clean slate – nothing so noble as that – but to punish yourselves and your children’s children for generations to come.
How could such monumental ignorance ever herald a new beginning?