The Battlestar Galactica Finale: Five gripes

Posted by Dan March 30th, 2009 at 12:03pm In Battlestar Galactica

battlestar_finaleIt’s a week later and I think everyone’s kind of built a bit of a consensus around the Battlestar finale. Most of the people I’ve talked to and things I’ve read indicate that people seem to think that the final episode was clearly imperfect, but did the job well enough.

To give the writers some credit, ending Battlestar is an impossible task. Between making the nerds happy (I include myself in this category — I’m the one, after all, with a TV blog) with explosions and space warfare and resolving the character/plot arcs, ending the series seems like a no-win proposition for such a long-running series. (By the way — prepare yourself.  This is exactly what’s going to happen when Lost ends.)

In the end, it was a mixed bag. As such, here’s a list of five things I disliked about the Battlestar finale. I’ll get to the five things I liked later this week (no promises, though. You know me.)

Five things I didn’t like

1.  The Epilogue – I like to think there were always three possibilities for Battlestar in regards to its orientation to our reality (the world of Barack Obama and Hannah Montana and Ellen DeGeneres): the show takes place in the distant past, the distant future or in the present day (the fourth possibility, I suppose, is that our reality doesn’t exist in there’s). And I think that the idea that these folks were our ancestors was always a possibility that floated in the back of my mind.

And that ended up being the case, which was very disappointing. Personally, I didn’t want the worlds to intersect — I’d much rather the Battlestar world stay self-contained and not try to make some grandoise statement by making them our ancestors.

Jane Espensen said that Ron Moore had the vision of Six walking through Times Square in his head from the very beginning. To that, I just have to say that sometimes it’s a good idea to change your mind and rethink you first instincts — because your first instincts aren’t always the best choices.  The last sequence with the dancing robots felt pushy.

Also, getting rid of modern technology – Really? Everyone’s willing to just give up medicine and weapons and transportation? For a show where nothing gets done easily, that was a rather drastic decision made by Lee “Butterfingers” Adama. None of his decisions have ever gone over that well (remember the Baltar trial?).

2. Starbuck disappears – I’m not sure which decision I disliked more, the decision to tie the story into modern day or the decision to just completely cop out on the whole Starbuck mystery. In storytelling in general, there are few things that irk me as much as intentional ambiguity — the whole “we’ll leave it up to the audience to decide” song and dance. What happened was this — they wrote themselves into a corner and they didn’t like any of the options enough — so they just didn’t pick.  I would rather have had an unsatisfactory resolution than none at all.

3. Not enough carnage – I was really expecting fewer people to make it to the end. Not to sound like some sort of bloodthirsty freak, but there seemed to be an endless supply of extras to kill but none of the major characters bit it (I don’t count Tori and Cavil — plus Roslin had to die). I just feel like they needed to up the stakes a bit by having fewer people make it to the end.

4. The Opera House scene – I like that they stuck with the Opera House scene, but in the end I don’t think it really added anything. I’m not sure what they were trying accomplish, besides some ominous foreshadowing (and I’m not sure they planned the finale that far in advance).

5. The fact that nothing really happened in the last hour – I think everyone in the room I watched in was waiting or some other shoe to drop.

1 Comment

  • 1. John Walker  |  March 30th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I was fully expecting some “it’s up to the audience to decide” BS to ruin the ending (even The Shield fell into that well of lazy writing), so was a bit confused when I was completely happy with the Starbuck resolution. It made sense for me that she was some sort of angel that disappeared when her work was done.

    Someone else pointed out to me the messianic comparison. She died, rose again, and then ascended once she had shown her people to the promised land. Which again makes for a satisfying ending to her arc.

    I didn’t mind the robots at the end, but I could have done without the sudden abandoning of acting or nuance from Six and Baltar, as they pantomimed and gurned down the street, following Moore’s hammy, awful cameo. A peculiarly vain act in what should probably have been a poignant ending.

    However, the thing that stands out for me as far more confusing than everyone’s willingness to go ultimate rural was the complete lack of a goodbye between Adama and Tigh. We’ve been following that bromance for four years, being told again and again and again how theirs is the relationship that cannot be severed, and then he buggers off at the end without so much as a wave. Did they just forget?


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