Friday, March 20, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Series Finale

* WARNING: If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading *

Ok, so I've had almost four hours to digest my first viewing of the series finale of "Battlestar Galactica." This was something I, like most fans, was both eager to see -but also wished wished wasn't happening because it meant the end of a great show!

However, the more time that passes after watching it the more pissed off I'm becoming. They touted this as the episode where we'd finally know the truth. Silly me, I expected ANSWERS. The writers didn't deliver. At least not the sorts of answers I'm willing to accept as a science-fiction fan.

The biggest one for me? What the Hell was Kara Thrace? Nothing about her story makes sense after she died chasing the alleged Raider in the nebula. Lee Adama saw her Viper destroyed. Then she mysteriously re-appears far, far away from where she "died" in perfect health with a spiffy new Viper. The questions are raised:

Is Kara a Cylon? Everyone says "No" because it's too obvious an explanation. Some cite her examination by the doctor specifically looking for evidence she was a Cylon, but we all know only Baltar's "Cylon Detector" seemed to be able to make that distinction - and it seems it didn't get much use after Baltar stopped running those tests.

Did she go through a space-time warp? That would make sense for how she got to/from Earth and why only several hours have passed for her. But we don't get anything to back that up.

Where did she get the "brand new" Viper? Again, if she were a resurrected Cylon that might be explained if the Cylons had a Colonial Viper stowed in a crate somewhere. But, again, we're given nothing to back that up.

Is the body on Earth hers? They did definitively answer that as "Yes" because the blood on the dog-tags matched her DNA. But if she CRASHED on Earth, even if she went through a space-time warp, how did she show up alive again? Initially I thought maybe there was Cylon resurrection tech somewhere on the planet, and maybe humans and Cylons were so similar it could actually resurrect a human? But that still wouldn't explain the spiffy new Viper.

Why did Kara know the "Watchtower" song? The song was linked to the Final Five and Hera. If Kara knew the song, that would bolster the argument that she's a Cylon.

Where did Kara go at the end? She just disappears! What a frackin' RIP OFF. At first I thought, "Wait! Was she an apparition like Baltar's Six?" But that didn't make sense because too many people interacted with her and she was clearly a physical being. But POP! She's gone, just like Baltar and Six's "angels." So, Kara was supposed to be an angel? That's a stupid answer, but it's the only one I seem to be hearing now. Talk about a major plot-point disappointment. It just seemed like lazy, cop-out writing. Like the writers killed her off and brought her back without really thinking it through and wrote themselves into a corner - oh gee, how to get out of this one? A Miracle! Boo, hiss, boo!

I'd have been happier if it had turned out she WAS a Cylon, which would have worked actually because everyone assumed it was TOO obvious and ruled it out only for that reason. Or if her dead-beat Dad had been a Cylon so Kara was really the FIRST Human-Cylon Hybrid (which might explain her connection with Hera). But you'd still need to insert a Cylon resurrection and a crated Viper to make it make sense. Maybe they'll give us a better answer in "The Plan" movie? I doubt it, but here's hoping. And we certainly won't find out anything new about Kara Thrace in "Caprica."

Ok, enough about that thorn in my side. On to other annoyances, like Earth 2.0. Really? We're actually doing the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" ending? Yeah, it was so bloody obvious I made a joke about "declaring leaves currency" when they were watching the indigenous tribe. If Admiral Adama's remark about the distance wasn't a figure of speech that too doesn't make any sense - 1 million light years?!? That puts the Colonies outside the Milky Way Galaxy (which is estimated at 100,000 lightyears), but not far enough to be in the next nearest galaxy (Andromeda is about 2.5 million lightyears away). Um, and there's nothing in between but empty space. So where, exactly, were these colonies supposed to have been? Also, they made quite a big deal in the series about great distances requiring multiple FTL jumps, so how could a wounded Galactica have made such a phenomenal leap at all? Speaking of FTL jumps, remember when Boomer jumped too close to Galactica and caused a hull breach? So why does a Raptor jumping from the hangar deck NOT cause damage? Also, why didn't the Galactica jumping out (while still crashed into the Cylon Colony) NOT cause space warping damage to that as well? I guess they were hoping nobody would notice. Which is stupid because sci-fi fans notice EVERY DETAIL. We pay good money to go to conventions and sit in hotel conference rooms and ARGUE about those details for FUN.

At first I wasn't sure what to think about Cavil eating his own gun. I initially thought he was too egotistical to do that, but on further reflection I guess Hitler killed himself too, rather than be taken prisoner. It was certainly a sudden and inglorious end - which I suppose was the point.

This arrival on Earth 2.0 all apparently happened 150,000 years ago. That puts it in the right time frame for a mitochondrial DNA common ancestor (as they claim Hera was at the end of the series), but I've already seen message boards ablaze with posts questioning "Mitochondrial Eve" being a child of Eurasian appearance, rather than African. That's a can of worms I don't even want to get into, especially since even the experts can't really agree on what defines "race" in the fossil record of early humans.

Instead, I'd rather question Lee Adama's notion that they not build cities, and dump all the technology they brought with them - and everyone in the fleet (EVERYONE) just agrees with him! A group of people who have been bickering, arguing, double-dealing, and back-stabbing just suddenly agrees they all want to scuttle the fleet and go native? PU-LEASE! That would never happen. Even if you wanted a "clean slate" why destroy the ships? Maybe just park them on a nearby planet (like Mars) and figure by the time they build up a civilization with technology that can GET to them, they deserve the damned things? Nope, into the sun they go!

Then they drop people all over the planet. I can only assume some or all of those camps (except maybe the ones in Africa) fail. Why? They specifically pointed to putting people in Australia. Australia didn't have humans in it 150,000 years ago, they arrived less than 50,000 years ago! Conclusion? The Colonials die out long before Human-Cylon-Indigenous people move into Australia to stay. Either that, or the writers couldn't be bothered to do a quick Wikipedia search. I'm going to let the "locals don't have language" bit slide since nobody is sure when language developed (estimates are between 50,000 and 2 million years ago).

For a show that seemed to pride itself on the "intelligence" of their audience, this finale felt like an insult to mine. "God did it." "They were angels." I'm sorry, but the I feel that the "science" part of "science-fiction" demands a better explanation than a mystical miracle even when a central theme of the series is faith/religion. As motives? Fine. As explanations? Lazy.

This could have been my all-time favorite science fiction series if only it hadn't ended like this! I frankly didn't care if they EVER found Earth or a new home. I just wanted answers. They should have:
  • revealed Kara to be a Cylon
  • that Baltar DID have a chip in his head or was just crazy,
  • that the Final Five DID program religion into the Cylons,
  • that the Earth that was nuked was OUR Earth
  • that there really was no longer any major difference between Humans and Cylons
  • that the story takes place in the far, far future rather than a "long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away"

They should have ended the series with the big battle by the black hole and left us to just wonder about the fleet. Whatever fate I might have imagined for them would have been a more satisfying end than the last act they showed.

No comments: