Monday, March 26

Another insane 'Battlestar Galactica' season finale

Source: Chicago Tribune

The following post discusses Sunday's season finale of "Battlestar Galactica." DO NOT read this if you have not seen it yet. If you have, then by all means, join the discussion.

How cool was Sunday’s “Battlestar Galactica” finale?

Pretty cool. Actually, I thought it rocked.

So Tigh, Tory, Chief Tyrol and Anders are all Cylons. I don’t know about you, but that revelation blew my mind.

And as others have pointed out, all of them were leaders of the resistance on New Caprica. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Since lurking on the TelevisionWithoutPity.com “Battlestar” spoiler board a while back, I haven’t been able to get one commenter’s idea out of my head -- that maybe there are no humans. Maybe there are just different Cylon factions at war, and the Tigh-Tory-Tyrol-Anders contingent is just one faction within that war.

I think that's a pretty compelling idea: What if there are no humans, and this show’s been about the Cylons’ attempt to reclaim or develop the “humanity” of their human creators -- who are long dead?

Here’s another theory posted on this site earlier this week: Maybe the Cylons created the humans, not the other way around.

That’s even wilder, but as we know, “Battlestar” doesn’t shy away from the wild. I enjoy it when the show upends my expectations in such radical ways -- having earned the right to do so with solid storytelling first. And these last couple episodes of the season are about as solid as it gets on TV (and of course, some of Sunday's developments might have been set up well before this last bunch of episodes -- then again, knowing Ron Moore's affinity for shaking things up along the way, maybe not. Who cares. This finale worked for me).

All of these thoughts are pure speculation, keep in mind. I have not a scintilla of information about what is actually going on and what we’ll see next season. And that’s the way I want it -- now we can actually spend the long months until the show returns in January 2008 trying to figure out what the writers have up their sleeves for season four. Of course we’ll probably be wrong, and I have every hope that they’ll come up with something far better than what we can dream up.

So, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace – still alive? Reborn? A Cylon? Tanned, rested and ready to rule the galaxy as some kind of intergalactic goddess? Knows where Earth is? Ready to lead the fleet there? All of the above? Or is Lee Adama just having one completely tripped-out vision?

I’ve got no idea. My only concrete thought is that, if she's found a wormhole, she should stop by Quark’s bar on Deep Space Nine at some point. Saving the remaining human population (if that’s what the people aboard the fleet's vessels are) is thirsty work. Say hi to Morn for me, Kara!

Slightly more seriously, a large number of commenters on this site in recent weeks seem to think that Kara may now be (and always has been?) a Being of Light or a goddess or some other sort of celestial creature. Then again, she could have always been a Cylon and she may have downloaded after Lee lost sight of her in “Maelstrom.”

Or she could be none of the above. And in all truth, I tend to think Lee was not seeing a vision, and that the Starbuck we saw was real.

One quibble that doesn't have anything to do with the finale itself: I can’t say I was thrilled with the promotional tagline on Scifi.com for the final episode of the season. It said, “Who are the final five Cylons? Find out on the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ season finale.”

By my count, we met four Cylons in the finale. Not five. So are we to understand that Kara is a Cylon? My speculation is not really leaning in that direction. But it’s kind of a drag that the tagline could be read as leading us to think that she is the fifth Cylon, when she may be something else.

I tend to think Kara’s something other than just a garden-variety Cylon. But I could be wrong.

In any case, I’m wondering if fans are going to be mad about that tagline. We didn’t have a fifth person clearly identified as a Cylon, so unless I’m missing something, the tagline was wrong.

Another bit of speculation -- did anyone else notice how Laura Roslin became a little ill when the fleet arrived at their destination, just before the power went out? They didn't show that she heard the music, and she didn't quote any lines from Dylan's inimitable song, but I thought there were a few clues here and there that she might be the fifth Cylon. She was in that weird opera house scene with Six and Athena and Hera, for one thing. That's got to mean something, though it may not mean Roslin's a Cylon. (Critic Alan Sepinwall has some interesting analysis on Roslin and other finale matters here.)

One theory at Sepinwall's site: What if those four aren't Cylons, and there's a third party at work? Yikes. We're in deep waters here. But that's where "Battlestar" does its thing best.

Finally, I have to say that Bear McCreary, who does the show’s terrific music, did a great job of incorporating “All Along the Watchtower” into the final episode. This was a risky move that could have been really cheesy -- but it wasn’t, thanks to the skill of McCreary (and “Battlestar’s” editors, who did a great job of making that last set of scenes, when the four characters realize they're Cylons, compelling).

One quibble about the music -- I wouldn't have picked the vocalist that was chosen to sing the song in the closing moments. He reminded me of the guy who sang the "Star Trek: Enterprise" theme song, a theme I never really liked -- either version.

In any case, what does it mean that a song that is recognizable from our own, current Earth era was used in that episode? An episode in which the humans may have actually found a way to Earth? Very suggestive, no? I thought it was.

Here's what McCreary said, in part, on his blog regarding the use of "All Along the Watchtower":

"[T]he idea was not that Bob Dylan necessarily exists in the characters' universe, but that an artist on one of the colonies may have recorded a song with the exact same melody and lyrics. Perhaps this unknown performer and Dylan pulled inspiration from a common, ethereal source. Therefore, I was told to make no musical references to any 'Earthly' versions, Hendrix, Dylan or any others. The arrangement needed to sound like a pop song that belonged in the Galactica universe, not our own."

(McCreary adds that his version of "All Along the Watchtower" will come out in August, on the Season 3 soundtrack CD. One final digression, there's a recent Salon interview with Ron Moore.

All in all, I found the last two episodes of this season wonderfully compelling. I enjoyed Romo Lampkin quite a bit, and Lee’s scene in the courtroom, in which he excoriated the hypocrisy of putting Baltar on trial while allowing others in the fleet who’d done questionable things resume their lives – well, all I can say is, bravo, Jamie Bamber. That was excellent work and great writing.

The first time I watched the last two episodes of the season, I saw them both together, and seeing Baltar's trial all at once really amplified its impact. On Sunday, I watched the finale for a second time, and I enjoyed it again, even though I knew what would happen. I did notice some snippets "All Along the Watchtower's" lyrics in the first half of the finale script that I hadn't noticed before.

There may have been some uneven moments this season, but as Matt Roush said on his site Friday, “I can take an off episode here and there on any series as long as it ultimately delivers, and to me, 'Battlestar' does.” Amen.

So, was it a reason to get excited? Too much confusion? Can’t get no relief? Share your thoughts here.

UPDATE: There's another very good interview with Ron Moore here, in it he talks about the season finale and what it means for the fourth season. He also says Katee Sackhoff is signed for Season 4 and says that some Cylons are "fundamentally different." Hmmm. Anyway, read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette critic Rob Owen's entire interview with Moore

1 comment:

Trikein said...

First off, I would like to say something controversial: I wish the series would end with this latest finale. Not because I don't desperately want to see the next episode, but because I do. So many questions, so many intriguing ideas. Questions are what drives the fans on, gives life to a artificial universe. And while we all want to know the whys and whens, the answers of that we ask can never be as entertaining as the questions they fallow. But it won't stop here. And thats ok, I will enjoy what is to come immensely. With that said, some comments.

1. About the 5 cylons comment. They said “Who are the final five Cylons? Find out on the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ season finale.” They don't say how we are given that insight. I see it as more a invitation, not a guarantee.

2. Also, what if the final five are not standard models. I believe them to be unique. One soul each, never to be duplicated. Infinite bodies perhaps, but only one at a time. The tag line "all of this has happened before" maybe reinforces that. What if the final 5 were actually souls of human ancestors put in robotic bodies to survive the long voyage of pre-jump space travel. And what if those humans were actually the settlement of the last cycle of human-cylon war. See the loop? Man make robot,robot makes man,man makes more robots, robots make different robots, which give birth to robot/man hybrids, which kill each other before finally settling back on earth to become one species again and then exploding back into another cycle.

3. I see no reason to reject the possibility that Kara is a cylon. What if the final five don't download back to a rez ship, but to earth itself? That is how she made it back to earth. Doesn't explain the ship she was flying, and that make a valid counter-point, but not a fatal one.

4.But what if she isn't. Who is the 5th? Could it be the child? Could it be the president? When 3 see one of the final 5, she instantly recognizes them, and is almost embarrassed. I can't see her having that reaction towards the Chief, or any of the other 5 except Saul. So maybe she was actually seeing the one of the five which hasn't been called out directly by the show. I can understand that reaction towards the President though.