Saturday, June 06, 2009


(SPOILER ALERT - If you're a Battlestar Galactica Fan and haven't watched all of Season 4, don't read this. Really.)

I can't be the only person who has seen the final episodes of season 4 of BSG and checked under the couch for the missing plot. There's at least two episodes that should exist that seem to have gotten lost as far as I can tell. I went to the pilot of Caprica to see if they're there, but no - just more problems there (if the centurions are created by the combination of a grief-crazed father, a dodgy military contract and a punk genius happy-clapper accidentally dead daughter then how did the Cylons we know as the Final 5 know to spend those thousands of years travelling at sub-light speeds to travel to the 12 colonies and warn of the uprising she would create? See my dilemma? But I digress).

Ok. At least they didn't just fly into the sun (apart from Anders, sorry Anders, someone had to do it, and now that you're a weird-arse brain-in-a-bucket its gunna be you. There's no datastream for you to be zen with on New Earth). I liked the Kara Thrace music psychosis and culmination, I thought that tied a lot of incidental things together very very well. On the other hand, it is always hard to end a long and arduous journey, narratively speaking. We don't like settling for "they rode happily off into the sunset" which is how the wagon-train genre used to settle it. This is one of the difficulties of taking the Western genre into space. It all tracks well until you get to the sunset. Having said that, Serenity had a great sunset ending. Ends got tied, some emotional closure, an uncertain future. All good. So why the frack is the BSG ending so shite?

Firstly, because I think it tries to be cute about tying the story into our Earth (as opposed to Ancient Earth) and that feels kinda patronising. We're SF fans, you don't need to start putting big red YouAreHere arrows around the place (especially at the end. Idiots).

Secondly, because the 7 might have been denied resurrection technology, but the centurions had no mortality issues whatsoever. They're machines who can make more machines, and what happens at the end of the series? The machines who rebelled against the humans and launched the largest genocide program ever then got turned into the followers of the Seven Cylons, fought the big war for 4 years, participated in the civil war, and then... what?! Watched the last of the human-siding cylons ride off into the sunset with the humans leaving them in space with the sad-fuck Cavills and all those other numbers we don't really care about? And what? They made a cup of tea and took up tapestry? I'm not buying it, and I don't think you are either.

Thirdly, the idea that a space going population is going to walk away from their ships carrying *nothing* (look again at those lines of people, they aren't even wearing hats for frack's sake) and survive more than a week against mega-fauna? C'mon. Even I can't suspend that much disbelief.

Fourthly, we spend four years with this community, with the rousing "so say we all!" speeches of the Admiral, and then he goes and build a cairn on a clifftop to die alone with? No. I'm not saying that it might not really happen that way. People might well say "No i'm happy to give up all (ALL) of the comforts, medicines and technologies (including roofs) I've lived my whole life with and go off to compete with Cro Magnons to survive, and if we're all lucky our kids will interbreed with them and the centurions will forget that they hate our guts and that we've given up guns and we'll have a lovely time. But I simply do not believe that they would do that without at least one more speech on the ground from the old man, and a state funeral for you-know-who. (Point was possibly going to be about the raiders and other ships that landed them and the fossil record, but on reflection I think that the psychology is more important).

I'm weighing up how much of my annoyance is purely because the story has finished. I had a childish wish that it just wouldn't end and that these poor people, many of whom I have come to love, respect, and desire would remain trapped in a state of war, or fugitive guerrilla struggles for survival with their numbers slowly decreasing faster than they could ever grow, all just for my entertainment. I can't wish that on anybody. No, it had to end. In endings though, I am more selfish than I like. It doesn't have to be happy, and I'm not such a nihilist that I won't let it be happy. It is just that this ending seems like a nothing ending, and the epilogue feels like I've been watching a "Fall of the Roman Empire" lecture. Just not good enough from the crew who've taught us to expect more.

Grade: FF Fracking Fail - RESUBMIT.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL. I LOVED the last episode, I cried and was totally happy with the way they wrapped it up. Maybe because I am not a real sci-fi fan at all, I just dip in and out on the more appealing stuff. I thought they stretched the series out one season too far for their material - not bad, most series jump the shark and drag on for years after they lose their mojo. So I was satisfied to see it wrapped up in an interesting way. Poor J9 - the wrap-up must have been meant for the generic public like me and not serious sci-fi fans. On that level, I think it succeeded. Cheers, Cinderella