Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, not the frakkin' end!

"What seems human, is human."
- Cordwainer Smith (Dr. Paul Myron Linebarger)

Battlestar Galactica concluded in a two-and-a-quarter hour special last night, and it wasn't bad at all.

I actually feared they might have painted themselves into a corner they couldn't get out of, and might have to use the stock ending of incompetent writers, "And they all got run over by a truck."

They found Earth - our Earth, not the radioactive ruin they ended last season on. And it was the distant past.

This was the ending I suspected they'd use. There were after all, only three possibilities: find Earth in our past, present or future. Last season appeared to settle on the future, but then they announced another 10 episodes, and I did notice that they didn't show the continental outlines of the globe on that "Earth"...

Their decision not to rebuild a civilization right away, but scatter across the globe and ultimately mix with and mentor the primitive humans they found here was a bit of a surprise. One might have expected them to build cities with the limited technology they could sustain (38,000 survivors don't have enough collective skills between them to run a civilization as advanced as ours) and become the gods of antiquity: Hera, Athena, etc.

Not everybody got a happy ending, not everybody survived, but thank Gods Helo, Athena and their little girl Hera came out OK! I don't think I could have stood a tragic outcome for them. There's only so much a man can take after all.

(Have I got something personal invested in the welfare of this mixed-marriage family? Maybe.)

Laura Roslin got a peaceful death with the man who loved her at her side, after performing heroicly in Galactica's last battle. Adama didn't crash the aircraft he was flying her around to see their beautiful new home, as I expected. Instead he landed at a nice spot, built a cairn for his woman, and planned to build the cabin they wanted to spend their last years in beside it.

Boomer redeemed herself before her twin/clone Athena blew her away. One can't help suspect Athena might have forgiven her for kidnapping her child (she did bring her back after all) if Boomer hadn't frakked her husband while she was tied up in the closet...

Chief, perennial screwup, managed to destroy the chance for a Cylon-Human bargain at the end - which may not have been a bad thing. The choice was made for a human race that continues and evolves by natural reproduction and the turnover of generations, rather than eternal ressurection of a few standard types.

He wound up with neither of the women he'd loved. He killed the Cylon reincarnation of his ancient fiancee on "Earth" when he realized she'd killed his wife Callie.

Chief (whose name "Galen" is Celtic) went off to be a hermit in the mountains on a cold island off the northern continent.

My wife said, "The immortal Highlander!"

If Boomer had lived, would he have forgiven her? Could he have?

That's one of those good questions that have no final answers.

Surprisingly, Saul and Ellen got to live happily ever after. She was unfaithful quite a lot, and he did poison her, but I guess love conquers all.

I was unclear about the Six who miscarried with Saul's child. Was that Caprica Six?

More surprisingly, Baltar and Caprica Six seem to have redeemed themselves. Surprising because they were after all, between them responsible for the 12 colonies coming out on the losing side of the war that killed most of the human race.

The Galactica got the honorable send off she deserved.

Not all the loose ends were tied up, and that's how it should be. Only trivial questions have final answers.

How'd Kara Thrace come back?

God, evidently. She and Lee Adama didn't get together after all. She went poof, gone. Maybe joined Sam on the "other side."

God it seems, can send a risen savior back in a fighter-spacecraft.

Who was the Six that haunted Baltar?

Apparantly some kind of angel or higher power. And at the very end, it turned out Baltar had an angelic doppelganger as well.

And then it ended now, and in 21st century New York. Baltar-angel and Six-angel debating whether mankind will screw it up again, like on Kobol, "Earth," and Caprica, or not.

"And don't call him God, you know he doesn't like that silly name..."

The specific screwup is developing artificial intelligence and then treating it badly enough to make it turn on mankind. I think we can treat that as a dramatic device. The reality could be that, or any number of other possible screwups.

(Have you read the controversy about the Large Hadron Collider? There is a school of thought that holds the earth could be destroyed by a lab accident. As in a lab accident within the next year.)

There are holes you could drive trucks through of course. This is drama, not history.

Are they just turning a bunch of city folks who've spent the last 5-7 years in artificial environments loose in the wilderness with no survival skills? How about a little reliance on the tech they've got left while they teach their kids flint knapping and such.

If they've scattered all over the world already, how did Hera become mitochondrial Eve to the whole human race?

If a bunch settle in Tanzania, how come it was the white and Asian people?

Baltar is going back to his roots as a farmer. But this is 150,000 years ago, and agriculture was invented only about 10,000 years ago.

Maybe it didn't work.

But there's room to keep exploring.

Caprica, a prequel-series just might be OK. Knowing how it ends is usually the kiss of death for drama, but the brief teaser we saw looks promising.

And, there is going to be a two-hour made for TV movie about the final war - from the Cylon point of view.

That took balls!

Earlier in the series it was made plain there were scattered survivors in parts of the 12 colonies. Places in the mountains and areas not radioactive. In time the radiation will subside and without the bad cylons hunting them, the survivors can spread across the ruined worlds again.

Do we have kin out there still?

And who's this God guy?

God, as in God, or could this hint at a modification of Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

The corollary would seem to be: Any sufficiently advanced intelligence is indistinguishable from (a) god.

Well whoever He is, thank Him for this thought-provoking and entertaining series. Only He knows how seldom the industry manages to put the two together successfully!


  • At 7:57 AM, Blogger Ted said…

    I never took you for a BSG-watcher or fan.
    I liked the original, but fell in love with the new series, save for its over-feminization, but then you can't have everything.
    Can't wait to see it on Hulu!

  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…





    I'm dealing with a bit of an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach over the end of BSG. I don't know as I'll be able to watch reruns though.

    But on the strength of the genius of this show, I'm going to give Caprica a chance.

  • At 12:16 AM, Blogger Gerard said…

    I saw this ending coming too, but I was secretly hoping they would settle on some now submerged island in the Atlantic...called Atlantis.

  • At 4:08 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Years ago I read a fantasy story set in the distant past, about peace negotiations between humans and centaurs.

    After agreeing they can't live together in peace, the centaurs wring a territorial concession from the humans by threatening guerilla war on their crops and herds.

    The human negotiator concedes wearily, "All right. You can HAVE Atlantis!"


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