Holy frak. Well they said we’d know the truth and we definitely got a lot of truth in tonight’s two-hour (plus) series finale of Battlestar Galactica. Whether you loved how it ended or hated it, it’s over. The final chapter in the story was both an ending to the show as well as a series of moments between the characters we’ve grown to love over these last few years. And as if Sci Fi knew we might not be quite ready to really let the story go, they even served up a preview of the spinoff prequel Caprica and a promo for Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, which will show us the story of the destruction of the colonies from the Cylon’s perspective.
Let’s get to the show’s wrap-up though and then I’ll leave it to you to decide which parts you loved, which parts you hated and which parts left you scratching your head.
Throughout tonight’s finale we saw the conclusion of the Caprica flashbacks. Roslin has a cougar-fling with Sean, the former student who is all growed up and judging by his confused expression when Roslin semi-politely kicked him out of her bed when they were done, wasn’t just there to fulfill some life-long fantasy of frakking his teacher. Lee and Kara get drunk(er) after Zack passes out and end up kissing on the dining room table. Zack hears a glass break and announces that something has broken, snapping Kara and Lee back to reality. They exchange an awkward handshake and he leaves but we know this is just the beginning of what will be a relationship filled with many awkward handshakes, drunken kisses and so much more.
In the rest of Bill Adama’s flashbacks we see him getting hammered with Tigh at a strip club and then doing a lie detector test for his new desk job only to pass the job up when he gets sick of having his word questioned. No one questions Adama’s word on Galactica. She may be a broken down old ship but at least he doesn’t have to have weird clamps hooked up to his nipples when he’s working there. Was anyone else as relieved as I was that Adama turned down the lap dance Tigh purchased for him? It was bad enough seeing the old man puking all over himself. Oh sure, he’s human just like the rest of us but still… wow. Meanwhile, Tigh and Ellen are celebrating Tigh’s impending retirement. Ellen just wants to be with her man, do shots and stare at strippers. Tigh’s agreeable to that plan. Those crazy kids. We know Tigh’s retirement is going to be put on hold though.
Baltar and Caprica’s Caprica flashbacks conclude with Baltar agreeing to help Caprica out by giving her a glimpse at the security mainframe. Yeah, we all know how that turns out. Nice job, B. He makes a joke about the things we do for love but then laughs off the statement, not wanting Caprica to read too much into it. Seeing these flashbacks between Caprica and Gaius makes me even more interested to see this The Plan special. Caprica and the entire Six line have all been really great to watch. She seems to understand humanity better than some of the other Cylons and I believe this is what made her such a vital part of the attack on the colonies. When all of the other pieces were in place, it was her understanding of human nature that allowed the mission to wipe out mankind to be a success (mostly). I’m not exactly celebrating her motivations here but you have to give it to the girl, she pulled it off and it wasn’t just sexuality that did the trick but also compassion and the ability to understand Baltar’s true nature better than he did, himself.
Now, back to the present. The last raptors are leaving Galactica. Roslin has a tearful goodbye with Cottle, thanking him for everything he’s done for her over the years. Just when it seems Cottle’s about to break down and get all mushy, Roslin cuts him off, not wanting him to spoil his image. That’s right Cottle, just light a cigarette and go and grumble. Thanks, Roslin. Even that little onset of tears we saw on Cottle’s face was enough to get me sniffling. Roslin and a nurse go off to set up a triage.
Meanwhile, Baltar and some of his women, including Paula are set to board the last raptor off the ship. This is somewhat familiar. Remember the scene back during the miniseries when Helo and Boomer were about to fly the raptor off Caprica? It was kind of like what I imagine it was like when those last choppers were leaving Nam. Baltar was one of the lucky few who had a seat on board. Tonight, even though there isn’t anyone scrambling for a spot, he opts not to go and turns his leadership over to Paula.
Paula’s not the only one receiving a torch. Adama makes Hoshi the new Admiral of the fleet and Lee hands over the presidential responsibilities to Romo Lampkin. Once everyone not going to the colony is off the ship, they jump to the coordinates and are immediately fired upon by the Cylons. It all happens so fast that I can’t imagine how this can possibly stretch out over the course of the finale. We have Anders hooked up to the tub, which is hooked up to the CIC so that he can override the hybrids in the colony and shut down their communications. There’s Lee, Kara, a bunch of centurions, Helo and Athena boarding the colony to search for Hera. Roslin is in triage using what little life she has left in her to help the wounded. Hot Dog and some other people are cruising around in vipers to fire on the swarm of raiders that are unleashed once the hybrids are shut off. The final five are in the CIC along with Adama and finally, Caprica and Baltar are teamed up semi-randomly to chill out and wait for Galactica to be boarded… which is inevitable.
It’s kind of surreal seeing centurions fighting side by side with the humans as Lee, Kara, Helo, Athena and the rest of their team tear through the colony in search of Hera. Simon’s running tests on Hera while Boomer watches. They know the colony’s been boarded and is under attack but Simon is confident that they have the numbers to handle the situation. What he doesn’t anticipate is Boomer’s change of heart. She snaps Simon’s neck, grabs Hera and runs off to find Athena and Helo.
Helo’s about to attack Boomer but Athena stops her. Boomer hands Hera back to them and tells them that she owed Adama one. I assume that this is her apology for shooting him but after Athena fills Boomer’s stomach with bullets (that’s what you get for stealing her kid and frakking her husband), we get a flashback of Boomer back on Galactica. She’s washed out and begging Adama for another chance. He and Tigh are relaxing over a few drinks and Adama decides to give her another shot, telling her she needs to stop letting her personal life get in the way. We all know that doesn’t happen (ever) but Boomer’s final choice to do the right thing does almost redeem her for at least some of her recent misdeeds.
Back on Galactica, hell has broken loose. People are dying in the triage, the CIC is on fire, Anders is about to short out and the ship’s been boarded by bad centurions as well as an unknown supply of Dorals, Simons and Cavils. Prior to this, Baltar and Caprica share an intimate moment when Caprica tells Baltar she’s proud of him for not leaving on the last raptor and that she always wanted to be proud of him. It was the one thing that was always missing. They share a kiss but now it’s time to shoot centurions. For some reason they seem a lot easier to kill than they did back in the earlier seasons. Maybe it's because the bad Cylons are the older versions.
The people on the colony mission get Hera back on Galactica and are running for cover as there’s shooting going on down every corridor. A Doral shoots Helo from behind. He falls and when Athena goes to help him so he won’t bleed out, Hera runs off. Back at the triage, Roslin sense Hera’s in trouble and this is where we revisit the opera house dream. Roslin’s running for Hera, as is Athena and though they’re running through the ship, we get glimpses of the opera house, showing that what’s happening is an almost exact reenactment of the shared dream. Roslin gets Hera but she runs off again and of course, it’s Baltar and Caprica who find her. They recognize that what’s happening is linked to the dream and they take Hera into the opera house, which on Galactica, is the CIC.
They get her into the CIC where it’s complete mayhem, though the good guys seem to have Cavil, Doral, Simon and the other bad Cylons at gunpoint. The ship shakes and Cavil uses the distraction to grab Hera and put a gun to her head. He claims he’ll kill her if they don’t let him off the ship. No one seems willing to call his bluff but Baltar steps up and begins to speak. It seems rather fitting that of all of the people to try to appeal to the most cynical character in this show, its Baltar, the born-again whatever. He talks about the other force at work. The thing that’s been involved in every miraculous and inexplicable event that’s taken place during all of this. Puzzles deciphered in prophesy, dreams given to a chosen few, loved ones coming back from the dead, etc. Call it God or gods or a divine force, it doesn’t matter. It’s here. It exists and the destiny of the humans and the destiny of the Cylons are “entwined in its force.” You have to give the man credit, he has a way with words.
Cavil entertains the thought just enough to ask how Baltar knows how God is on his side. Baltar says God’s not on any one side. He’s a force of nature, beyond good and evil. Good and evil were created by man. It’s time to break the cycle. Sure, it’s preachy but this really is summing up the story in a nutshell. Technology has played such a pivotal part in this series but there is still room for spirituality. Not all of the answers are going to be chalked up to science and coincidence. We’ve always known there has been something bigger at work here. Something that ties it all together and it appears Baltar sees that. All of his self-indulgent preaching, arrogance and worship-me attitude was actually leading towards something. Maybe he had to make the ultimate sacrifice in staying aboard the ship and taking that leap of faith when he knew the odds of survival weren't great in order to fully understand the grander scope of things. What is clear is that when Baltar gives his speech to Cavil, he truly believes what he’s saying. He gets it and even Cavil takes a minute to consider what he’s saying, though we know it’d take a lot more than a good speech to change that guy’s mind.
Tigh steps in to tell Cavil they’ll give him and the other Cylons resurrection if they agree to end the war. Hey, this sounds familiar! All of this has happened before… etc. etc. The final five agree to wash their hands in Anders’ bath-water and connect their minds to download the resurrection instructions onto the Cylon’s server or whatever. Cavil gives Hera over in return. Before the final five do their thing, we learn that when they connect minds they’ll have access to each others’ thoughts. Tory’s the most nervous about this and speaks up reminds the others that they’re all Cylons and all capable of making mistakes. Tigh’s all “Yeah, yeah,yeah, you’re forgiven for all your dark secrets… let’s do this.”
They begin the download and we see flashes of things from their past, none of which are all that exciting until we get to Tory. We see her grabbing Nicky and airlocking Callie. I’m surprised Tyrol’s teeth didn’t shatter from the way he was clenching his jaw as they all witnessed the scene play out in their minds. He freaks out when he sees Callie airlocked and breaks the connection, pulling his hands from the tub and wrapping them around Tory’s neck. He strangles her to death. The download is incomplete and the deal is off, let the mayhem continue.
Shooting breaks out again in the CIC and the few Cylons in there (Simon, Doral and Cavil) are completely outnumbered. Doral and Simon get shot and Cavil decides to take his destiny into his own hands, blurting out one final “Frak!” before sucking on the end of his gun and pulling the trigger. Outside the Raptor with the nukes is floating around, its inhabitants dead. The raptor bumps into some debris and the pilot's hand falls on the button, releasing the nukes straight at the colony, destroying it. What was that "driving force" you were talking about, Baltar? Adama tells Starbuck to jump the ship. She doesn’t have the rendezvous coordinates so instead, she uses the numbers from the “Watchtower” notes Hera gave her as the jump point. The ship jumps away and we see them cruising just passed the moon. The view changes and we see earth.
This isn’t the destroyed earth they found last time. This earth is practically virginal, barely touched by man. They send a raptor to find the rest of the fleet and land on the lush planet to do some exploring. They visit what we know to be Africa and find a tribe of humans that walk upright but don’t appear to have any language and carry spears. We’re treated to an amusing moment when Baltar announces that these humans are fit for breeding and Adama teases him about his one-track-mind.
While the pace is far less destructive, the conclusions begin to unfold character by character as we see the surviving humans and Cylons wandering around the vast plains and fields. The plan for the future of the human and Cylon races is fairly simple. Dump the ships. Forget about trying to set up cities. Start with a blank slate and see where the future takes them. After getting all of the people onto the planet, they set up Anders to lead the ships into the sun. Kara goes in to say goodbye to him. She’s tearful and drops her tags into his tub, kissing him and leaving. He mutters a quiet, smiling, “See you on the other side.” After everyone’s off, Galactica and the rest of the fleet of uninhabited ships make their course directly towards the sun.
Roslin’s time is up and she and Adama know it. They sit around watching a herd of antelope (or something) grazing and she has a hard time breathing. Adama asks her if she wants to get a closer look at the animals. He gets her onto a raptor and stops outside to say goodbye to Kara and Lee. It’s clear they’re not saying see you later to each other. Adama’s not coming back. Roslin dies aboard the raptor as Adama is talking to her about their cabin. He cries and slips his ring on her finger before landing at the spot where he will bury her and build their cabin.
Anders really will see Kara on the other side. After Adama and Roslin take off, Kara tells Lee that she has no future and that she’s done with what she had to do. She asks him what he’s going to do and he starts to prattle on about taking adventures. When he turns around, Kara’s gone. She disappeared into thin air, or she was never really there to begin with. Sure, she was real enough to lead the humans to earth as promised but her life as it was has been over since her ship blew up. Everything after that was all for sake of humanity. Lee’s all alone now, which is a little sad but I don’t think it would have been fitting for him and Kara to have some kind of happily-ever-after ending. They never had that kind of a relationship to begin with.
Speaking of all alone, Tyrol’s had enough of people and is set up to go live on some deserted island somewhere. Again, that’s kind of sad but who can blame him? His exes were always killing each other. He’s given up on people and he gives off the impression that the solitude will be the best thing for him and Tigh and Ellen wish him well. Both are understanding of what he did to Tory and Tigh even goes on to say he would’ve done the same thing of someone had killed his wife… besides himself, anyway.
The centurions are set free and they leave them with the baseship. There’s always the chance they might evolve and come back but the hope is that their freedom will be enough of a pay-off never to have to cross paths with them again. Helo, Athena and Hera really do get the happily-ever-after ending. Helo’s got a cane from his bullet wound but it looks like he’ll be fine and Athena is actually happy again and looking forward to teaching Hera how to hunt and build houses. Caprica and Baltar watch Hera run and wonder if she’ll be ok. They’re both visited by their angel-counterparts, who tell them they did what they were supposed to do and now their lives will be less eventful. So they get a happily-ever-after ending too.
Flash ahead 150,000 years to angel-Six and angel-Baltar observing what’s become of earth and mankind. We’re looking at the present day earth. They’re reading over the shoulder of a guy who I’m pretty sure is series creator Ron Moore (awesome.) at a National Geographic article about the bones of a woman known as mitochondrial Eve, the most recent common ancestor to all human life. She lived in Tanzenia. We of course know the bones are Hera’s.
The series ends with the two “angels” talking about the state of earth and technology and how it mirrors everything that’s happened before. They speculate over whether it happens again. It’s a little stagy for an ending but part of that could be due to how weird it is seeing these two wandering around our world. I do have to say, I was beyond amused by the final moment, when Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” began playing and shots of various robots ranging from toys robots to a more human-like robot are shown on TV screens.
I liked the finale. It got a little heavy on the conclusions towards the end (most of the last hour was all sum-up) but I think given the number of character arcs going on in this show, it was fitting that at the very least, we got a general idea of what’s ahead for everyone. Fewer people died than I would have expected. What I thought worked best with the conclusion was the whole science/faith aspect. It appears it’s always been a combination of both for this show. Technology, probability and basic human (or Cylon) nature is only going to explain so much. It’s exactly like Baltar said. Given all of the crazy stuff that’s happened on this show, it should have been expected that there were other forces at work.
I also appreciated this line: “Science charges ahead, our souls lag behind.” It seemed to me that the choice not only to stay on earth (which wasn’t so much a choice as it was the only option) but to abandon so much of the technology and modern way of life that they were all holding on to in favor of starting anew shows that they realize if there’s going to be any future for the remaining humans and Cylons, they really do need to find themselves again and not just try to recreate what they once had. It seemed like a fitting ending to me.
What did you think? Were you satisfied with the finale? Was there anything you wished played out differently?