After Hours

Battlestar Galactica season finale - Reactionary spoilers!


My good buddy John Hickman e-mail me the following question: "What'd you think of the Galactica season finale?

Mixed opinion....thought the year jump was a bit extreme given how time

passed before. Considering Adama Sr. and Roslyn felt as strongly

as they did about the future of the fleet, it's surprising he'd let the

Galactica get into the shape it's in. I'd've thought he'd put the crew

into rotations on the surface, not just letting everything fall apart.

Same thing for Lee. He was looking a little pudgy too. Thoughts?"

Here's my take. Warning, spoilers aplenty ahead.

Well, I thought the finale's One Year Later jump was brilliant way to give the show a real shot in

the arm, even if they fumbled the delivery. I thought they went out of

their way to make Lee look a great deal like his dad in the One Year

Later version. If you could level any criticism at the first two years

of BSG, it's that these people didn't look like haggard refugees. They

still had resort ships (notice they went out of their way to blow up

Cloud Nine) and nice suits and food and printing presses and ran like a

well-oiled machine. (I also think the Cylon baby was still looking pretty young

to have been born more than a year ago.)

The title of the Episode was "Lay Down Your Burdens" but it could have

been "Run Away From Your Problems." Roslyn gave up the presidency, out

of principle. The fleet gave up running. Apollo gave up on Starbuck.

Tigh finally gave up on being an ExO. Boomer gave up on being human.

The Cylons "gave up" on chasing humans. Adama gave up on the fight.

Everybody gave up doing the hard things--and a year down the line this

is where it got them. Ironically, giving up on New Caprica was the only

thing the saved the fleet, and giving up to the Cylons was the only

move President Baltar could make--both of which involved renouncing the

fool's dream of New Caprica.

All of next season (or at least half, I'd

bet) will be about the hard lesson of not taking shortcuts, of not

giving up on the fight. The fleet is going to pay a heavy price--expect

a conversation about Earth being the only hope, because losses on New

Caprica have made the fleet's gene pool too small to sustain humanity--but it

will be a leaner, stronger fleet in the end. (Yes, I think Pegasus is

screwed.)

With the One Year Later conceit, we finally see a refugee population,

free of the military spit-shine. The reality of the stituation finally

sets in. The fleet is finally rag-tag, rather than a juggernaut

protected by two kick-ass warships. No more comfy ships quarters, or

endless supplies of meds and clean clothes.

We also get to move a lot

of the pieces around the board, and use characters in a new way. Colonel.

Tigh is now the highest ranking military officer on New Caprica, and

will likely be a leader of the resistance. Gaeda, Chief Tyrol, Callie,

and Ellen Tigh finally get some

screen time. And we get a whole new spin on the Baltar/Roslyn dynamic.

We're outisde the comfortable West Wing-esque politics and are into

guerilla fighting now. (Remember that Ron Moore, one of the BSG

cocreators, did a very similar occupational arc as a showrunner on Deep

Space Nine, where Odo became a Founder collaborator, Jake became a war

correspondent, and Quark/Kira/Rom/Leeta had to collaborate as saboteurs

behind enemies lines.)

Interesting questions ahead: Where's Tom Zarek? Where is the imprisoned

version of Boomer? How do the Adamas field a fleet with all their best

personnel on New Caprica? Does Lee get back in the cockpit? Does Helo?

Does Cylon Boomer? Can Tigh be a real leader this time, now that he has

responsibility? Can Starbuck be effective outside a Viper cockpit?

(Note that the guy who came looking for "Cara Thrace" was the same

Cylon model that Starbuck tortured in the first season.) Is this the

version of Boomer that remembers loving Chief (who appears to have a

baby on the way with Callie--the woman who killed her) and admired

Adama? If so, how does she react to the new status quo? If this is the

same Number Six that died on Caprica, will she and Baltar admit to

being in each other's heads, and will Baltar admit that he slept with

another model 6--who killed herself? Does this Number Six rat out Baltar as

a Cylon collaborator, since she has no reason to keep it secret?

I agree that they didn't leave Year One in a place that makes you

easily accept the start of Year Two, but that can cut both ways.

Something must have happened to force things this way (something

between Starbuck and Apollo, maybe). Given how drastic the changes are, they

can drop in backstory at key moments to amp things up. As a writer, I

love the move. As a viewer, I'm just peeved I have to wait until

frakkin' July for some answers. God, it's the best show on TV!

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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