Warning: This post contains spoilers for the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, ‘Daybreak’. If you don’t want to know what happens, then you should stop reading now.
With the airing of last night’s series finale, Battlestar Galactica has passed from the realm of “what is” into “what was”. Even though the show ran for only 4 short seasons, its run lasted almost 6 full years. Watching the end of BSG last night among my friends, I was reminded that as with the end of many great TV series, it’s not always about the destination, but rather the journey.
Overall Daybreak was a very satisfying end to the grand experiment that was Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. The finale was filled with much of the action that has been missing in recent weeks, a final confrontation with Brother Cavil, and answers to some important questions about Kara, Baltar and Six. The parts I enjoyed the most were the ones I knew were coming – the heart-pounding attack on the colony, learning the fate of Galactica itself and particularly the final moments between Bill Adama and Laura Roslin. I’ve really enjoyed the Laura/Bill subplot since the very beginning and their last flight together to find their “cabin on the hill” was moving and everything I had hoped it would be.
In contrast, Starbuck’s story line left me disappointed. From the series’ inception, Katee Sackhoff’s skillful turn as Starbuck made even the most stubborn old-school BSG fan a convert. Her performances as Kara Thrace proved to be a favorite of mine time and time again, until her fateful encounter with the Eye of Jupiter. Her “death” in Malestrom fundamentally changed Starbuck’s character and not in a good way. Call her what you will, angel, ghost or guardian, Kara Thrace died, was reborn and sent back to the Colonials a shell of her former self. It’s now clear that Moore’s intentions for the character were meandering at best, and deeply unsatisfying at worst. Starbuck started BSG with a bang but ended as only a whisper on the wind, and for that I’m sad.
On the good side, Tory finally got what was coming to her, Cavil ended up buying it even if he did take the coward’s way out (something very out of character for him), Sam was sacrificed at the altar of technology and the fleet finally found Earth. Not the ball of radiation soaked sand that Starbuck originally led them to, but the lush green Earth of eons past. With this discovery, humanity decides to make a clean break from the fleet that has sustained them since the genocide of the 12 colonies and fans out across the planet to start anew.
I honestly didn’t think coming into the finale the fleet would find a new home, but I’m glad I was wrong. These scenes on Earth were a welcome change from the dark, gray days on New Caprica or the nuked earth of Crossroads. How sad that even this crowning moment was scarred by the main characters deciding to take separate journeys from each other. It would be great to think of Bill, Lee, Galen, Baltar, Six, Sol and Ellen sitting around some campfire on a young Earth toasting marshmallows and finally getting a chance to relax, but that’s just a fantasy. Lee is left utterly alone. Tyrol decides to isolate himself and become the sole inhabitant of Ireland and Adama would rather spend his days grieving over the body of Laura than be with his surviving son. Bittersweet to the end.
Although I still believe the final season of Battlestar Galactica to be the weakest of the entire season (especially the run-up to the finale) in my heart, I can’t fault the series. On its worst days, BSG was head and shoulders above where 99% of other TV dramas reside. Those shows usually rack up undeserved awards and accolades for being nothing more than the cop or doctor show of the week. Battlestar Galactica gave viewers a fresh look at subjects like politics, terrorism, morality vs security and religion. I feel sorry for anyone who won’t take a chance on Galactica simply because they “don’t like sci-fi”. They will never know what they’re missing. Although I wasn’t blown away by the finale as some seem to have been, I did enjoy it. And although I didn’t find the final destination to be everything I had hoped for (probably a self-constructed impossibility), none-the-less I still had a hell of a fun time getting there. For that, I will always be grateful.