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
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!