First things first: SPOILER ALERT… This entry will be discussing the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, the double-length episode entitled “Daybreak, Part 2”. But before the day breaks, there is nothing but utter darkness and despair. Death and destruction. As ably illustrated by Tricia Helfer below:
[[image:galactica-finale03.jpg:When things get bad, Head Six goes nuts:center:0]]
DID I MENTION THE SPOILER ALERT?
It’s been dark for quite a while now. First there was that extinction of the Human race with only less than 40,000 survivors being pursued by genocidal robots thing. Then there is facing the reality of having to live out their entire lives in space boxed up in small ships with dwindling resources… if they don’t find Earth. Finally, just before the mid-season break they find Earth and it’s a radioactive wasteland. So, after the darkness, when does day break for the story?
Was it ultimately enjoyable?
[[image:galactica-finale02.jpg:Admiral Adama thinks the finale is a thumbs up:center:0]]
I tried to write a synopsis for the episode three times, but decided each description did not do the story any justice. So for a breakdown of the story – complete with musical score commentary – click here to read composer Bear McCreary’s blog entry of the episode.
Before the episode, I was somewhat apprehensive. Although there was plot movement in the episodes prior to the finale, it was travelling at a snail’s pace with a ton of mysteries yet to be resolved or revealed. They would have to write superbly to bring everything together one way or another that would be emotionally satisfying, if it ultimately did not explain everything. And it was emotionally satisfying. I was half-expecting a TPK because of the nature of the show, but in the end the characters do get a happy ending of sorts, because despite the initial realistic cinema verite style filmmaking they did, the realism was superceded by the mythological nature of the Battlestar Galactica story.
Points of interests:
- The score was truly outstanding. I have never experienced a full orchestral score that draws on more than a dozen themes and interweaves it with the storyimpeccably. When Tigh speaks, he is backed by his musical theme we first heard in the second season. The Apollo – Starbuck relationship theme finally has a proper closure. The One Year Later theme from “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2” is heard once more when the story element is reused and taken to an extreme level.[[image:galactica-finale04.jpg:Birds returning to nest:right:0]]
- The final revelation of the Kobol Opera House dream shared by Laura Roslin, Athena and Caprica Six for almost three seasons was beautifully organized and orchestrated.
- The space combat wasn’t all that spectacular despite having it at point blank range with a colossal Cylon colony within the asteroid-filled accretion disc of a black hole. I guess nothing can still top the Battle of New Caprica with the atmospheric jump, drop then kick everything in sight, and the Pegasus 2 for 1 killing stroke.
- Starbuck is the stuff from which Shelley Godfrey was made. When Shelley appeared in Season one’s “Six Degrees of Separation”, we assumed she was another Number Six model Cylon who either controlled Head Six or was privy to intel from her. Much later, a scan of Baltar’s brain revealed that there was no Cylon chip there that allowed him to see this invisible Head Six. Ultimately Head Six was revealed to be an “Angel of God” who could only be seen by chosen ones, and not a Cylon. Shelley Godfrey must have been a physical manifestation of this “Angel of God”, instead of a proper Cylon skinjob… as is the definitely dead Starbuck. She gets a good send off. Not one you expect, but one you have to accept with a tinge of melancholy considering the nature of Starbuck.
- Yet again, Chief Tyrol is required to perform when he’s in the worst possible place in the worst possible time. To end the war, he has to join with his Final Five brethren to upload the plans for Resurrection to Cavil’s faction of the Cylons. The data connection allows him to see what Tory did in “The Ties That Bind”. Even if it caused the shooting to start again in CIC and outside in space tearing down any chance of peace between Galactica and Cavil’s Cylon faction, I was cheering the fact that Tory was being choked to death.
- Cavil’s death was not satisfying at all. But I guess it fits with his regular modus operandi of being nothing but a spoilt brat who will ruin it for others if he doesn’t win. The hell you’ll have the pleasure of capturing me, or even killing me. [[image:galactica-finale05.jpg:One final jump:right:0]]
- The FTL jump coordinates 112365365321 is used by Starbuck to jump to that one last destination before the Galactica breaks its back and is unable to jump. To not use any minor keys, I transposed the notes so that 1 is E. So it’s E E F G C B G C B G E F. This forms the Final Five riff which is used in the score as well as the All Along The Watchtower music which activated the Final Five (minus one) in “Crossroads, Part 2”.
- Their final destination is the uncharted, unnamed planet filled with wildlife more than all the Colonies combined. It’s the planet we saw at the end of “Crossroads, Part 2” and not the radiation-scarred Earth they were found in “Revelations”. I knew something was up because we couldn’t see any visible shorelines at that Earth. This unknown planet, upon which they were deposited by unknown agents of destiny, the machinations of Head Six, Head Baltar and New Starbuck, is quickly given the name “Earth”. Our Earth.
- I can understand why the Colonials abandoned their ships to stay on Earth living a simple, agrarian life. They had been nearly hunted to extinction across the galaxy by machines. They lived in metal boxes. Machines process their food, water and air. Government was a joke. So was life in general. So, okay Angels from God dumped them on this planet which sounds like it’s something they’re supposed to do instead of going in half-cocked like New Caprica. Screw it. How they live and die in their new, shining planet will be in the opposite manner as how they lived and died in the fleet. This was cartharsis on a level we can only speculate and not really understand.
- I once postulated that the Cylon monotheistic “God” was a post-singularity entity which is running a simulation of the universe of the Cylon – Colonial Holocaust within its mind. Head Six, Head Baltar and Head Leoben are its agents within its system. I like it that they don’t disprove this theory of mine. And remember “God” doesn’t like being called by that name.
Every character had an appropriate ending. Heck Chief Tyrol founds Scotland of all things. We are happy for the Agathons and the Tighs. We are sad for Bill Adama and Sam Anders. I’m happy how it ended. Not with a Twilight Zonesque mindfrak. Not with the destruction of Humans. Not with the destruction of Cylons. But with cute real world robots dancing to the Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along The Watchtower.
[[image:galactica-finale01.jpg:Things get really bad in the end. Darkness. Despair. Loss. As shown in this image.:center:0]]
It wasn’t consistent, especially the last season or so. But I’ll miss Battlestar Galactica and the stories it had to tell.