Battlestar Galactica Series Finale Round Table: “Daybreak, Part 2″

Welcome to Tor.com’s round-table style discussion of the very last episode of Battlestar Galactica, the two-hour series finale “Daybreak, Part 2.” The participants this week are Pablo Defendini, Jordan Hamessley, Robert Bland, John Joseph Adams, Torie Atkinson, Rajan Khanna, and Theresa DeLucci. The conversation starts after the cut, and there are many spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the episode, please stay away from this post!

Pablo Defendini: Wow, am I dissappointed. It looks like they went ahead and did the one thing that I feared most: declared everything the work of god, and beat us over the head with a fucking deus ex machina. For a show that’s been all about being ballsy and hard-core darkness, I was very dissappointed to see an ending where pretty much everyone lives happily ever after (Roslin dying and everyone going native notwithstanding).

Jordan Hamessley: Let me start with this: I have lost a lot of respect for Ron Moore. From the point where he said the writers took a vote to pick the final five, to his giant misstep with the Daniel model (saying he has no connection to Starbuck and the fans blew it out of proportion) to appearing in his own finale. I’m done with him.

Robots are BAD. BSG warned us!

The first hour was awesome and as soon as they landed on Earth, it just went south. I’m pissed that Starbuck just disappeared. Even though they were total sluts back in the day, I wanted Kara and Lee to enjoy Earth together. Whatever, Lee has mountains to climb, right?

SO GLAD THAT TORY DIED. All the begging in the universe wasn’t going to save her.

I’ll buy the Head Six and Gaius being angels, but I don’t love it. I did enjoy Gaius and Caprica’s reactions to finding out about the voices in their heads.

I guess my biggest issue is that I never wanted BSG to end in OUR world. I always assumed there would a connection, but not one so heavy-handed and preachy.

This was an ending worthy of the SyFy network.

Starbuck as an angel felt like a total cop out.

Robert Bland: The last hour of BSG was the worst piece of crap I’ve seen in a long time. It was right up there with the last Matrix movie.

To put it mildly, I am greatly disappointed. The finale gave us answers, but they were the worst possible answers (from my POV) and it was all framed in the worst possible way: anticlimactic, didactic, silly—and cheap.

The show would have been better off if everybody had slipped into the frakkin’ singularity and died.

They couldn’t even kill off the ship in a satisfactory way. Cavil’s death was useless. Kara had always been dead (and, yes, was an angel), Hera is our Eve, the heads are angels, too—and I don’t give a flying fuck. Oh and did you know that Baltar can actually farm? Yeah, now THERE’S an answer I was looking for…

There was simply too much that I didn’t buy; stuff that was just too unbelievable to me: how everyone so easily disavows technology once they find earth. How they let the centurions go off and find their own destiny—and don’t get me started on how the fleet’s DNA is compatible with the natives of the planet—gimme a frakkin’ break. There were scenes that was so silly that it felt like the characters had become caricatures of themselves.

I’m not sure what was worse, the actual answers that they gave us or the story lines that they simply abandoned: like Daniel, for example. Model #7. Kara’s dad, no? Nah, they were just kidding…

I’m not amused.

And NOBODY died. Roslin died, sure, but c’mon, she should’ve died episodes ago. Everyone else survives or either pops out of existence. THAT scene killed me. Apollo and Kara: a romance never to be. Kara, were you just a dream . . . ?

I did feel Adama’s pain after Roslin died—but her actual death was anticlimactic and poorly done.

And don’t get me started about Earth 150,000 years into the future….that part was just too painful and silly. How many times can a show jump the shark in one goddamn episode?

I’m done. And this show is cooked.

John Joseph Adams: What a clusterfrak. I think maybe everything that was revealed in this episode was stupid. Let’s review.

Basically, the first hour of the finale was pretty good—it was almost completely devoid of any kind of answers, but it was chock-full of awesome space battles and action. The battle sequence when the Galactica jumps in to besiege the Cylon colony is insane and certainly one of the coolest space battles I’ve ever seen on screen.

Too bad they ruined it.

I was watching this episode with a group of friends—including fellow roundtablers Rob and Jordan—and man, there were so many times during the episode that either I or someone else in the group let out an audible expression of disgust or disappointment or disbelief at the stupidity of what just happened.

The finale was completely ruined for me once they get to Earth and it’s our Earth 150,000 years ago. I could hardly bear to watch after that. THAT IS SO FRAKKING STUPID. (I kind of don’t even want to use “frak” anymore.) I was beside myself at that point, and could hardly restrain myself from ranting during the entire commercial break following that reveal.

But here’s the thing: They ruined it even more after that—again and again and again. Starbuck’s an angel? STUPID. Baltar and Six both see angels? STUPID. The stuff they didn’t explain was all God’s plan? STUPID. Everyone—EVERYONE—from a super-advanced technological civilization decides to just give up everything and start over from scratch and live as farmers? STUPID. Hera is Mitochondrial Eve? STUPID. Angel Six and Angel Baltar in Times Square? OMFG SO STUPID. The last few shots of the series—A FUCKING MONTAGE???—focusing on real-life robots because OMG robots will be our new masters if we’re not careful. OMG SO FRAKKING STUPID.

Ron Moore is dead to me.

Torie Atkinson: All I can say is: wow. I’m with you all on this one—I found the first hour to be entertaining and enjoyable, and the last hour to be utter garbage. I, too, watched with a large group of people who continually groaned or shouted angrily at the television.

What I liked: I liked that we finally got to see what the Opera House was, and I really loved the moment of reconciliation between Caprica Six and Baltar. Her backhanded compliment that she’s always wanted something to be proud of about him was both sweet and painfully true, and their moment realizing they both see the Head characters was great.

I should’ve seen the God Solution coming from a mile (or four seasons) away, but I think up until the end I was really holding out hope that individuals would redeem humanity/cylonity, not the grace of god. What a shocking disappointment. All the mystical bullshit came true in the most pedantic, insulting, and moralistic ending imaginable. I really can’t express how disappointed I am in that. It felt like such a cop-out in every possible way—in the end, the Plan was God and God was the Plan. Give me a break.

I think I could’ve even forgiven that trite, tasteless ending if they hadn’t taken it so far as to make Starbuck an angel. I literally howled at the television. Apparently Ron Moore has said that she’s not a hylon, she never was a hylon, and that the Daniel bit was just a red herring he never imagined anyone would try to, you know, fit into the mythology he created. I mean, that’s just CRAZY, right? Turns out that she died way back in Season 3, and what we see is either some kind of resurrected Zombie Starbuck or, worse, some bizarre mass delusion on the part of the whole fleet.

And finally: the ultra-moralistic, irrational choice to shoot all of their technology into the sun. Can I just say, what the FRAK? The build-up after four years is that Technology Is Evil. All of those philosophical dilemmas about whether a cylon is human, about the fact that evil is a moral choice on behalf of an individual and cannot be attributed to a race or group, and whether the future of everyone will depend on our reconciliation and reunion, gets thrown by the wayside in favor of the most obnoxious ending imaginable: a moral tale about the evils of technological advancement. Are you kidding me? THAT’s the answer we get? That the cylons should’ve never existed? That it was evil and wrong and we should never do it, and maybe, on this earth, in this iteration of the Endless Cycle of Weak Writing, we’ll get it RIGHT and NOT create sentient robots? THAT’s where we went wrong?

I hope they saved some antibiotics from that ship that flew into the sun. You know, and maybe a manual on irrigation and animal husbandry.

What a joke. Did it bother anyone else that the only major characters who died were already dying (Roslin) or were “evil” and had it coming to them (Boomer & Tory)? I hope they don’t do Battlestar 2010…

Rajan Khanna: I don’t know if there’s that much more to say, though since it’s the last one of these, I’ll say it anyway.

I agree mostly with what everyone else has said. For the first 3/4 of the episode, I was at the edge of my seat. I felt bad for ever doubting Ron Moore, for thinking that the ending woudn’t work.

Then they landed on Earth.

I could have handled Earth, really. I didn’t treat that with the vitriol that others have. But Starbuck was the bullet that truly killed my enjoyment. I watched it with friends, too, and afterward I kept saying I wish they had just treated that idea with more respect for the audience. They could have left the idea that she was an angel ambiguous, dealt with her in a way that could have a mundane explanation or not, but instead she blinks out. And Lee just shrugs his shoulders and goes to find his backpack.

I agree there could have been more deaths (though I’m glad that Helo didn’t die). I actually liked Head Six and Head Baltar up until the end.

But what I’m continually left with, is this idea, from a show I’ve respected for a long time for its realistic take on modern day issues and events, that it’s all because of God. He/she exists and likes to tinker with starships and send angels into people’s heads. For me, no explanation would have been better than that one.

RK: I’m still not sure how something that was giving me such warm and fuzzy feelings turned so abruptly at the end. It’s like I was holding that second baby for V, thinking it’s all cute and starting to pick out names for it, and then it shoots out that freaky forked lizard tongue at me and I run away in disgust.

I kinda want to add my own scene to the finale where after Lee turns and Starbuck’s not there we then cut to a lion running off across the savannah with Starbuck in its mouth. That would work much better for me.

Theresa DeLucci: Yes, not much for me to say here, either. However, I think I’m the only one of the group who watched this alone. I’m wondering if that helped me not completely hate this finale. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love it either, but I’m not filled with rage. Or maybe I’m just in denial and the horrible nature of this ending hasn’t hit me yet.

I wasn’t crazy about the “Before the Fall” flashbacks. It just seemed like retconning the characters to create extra, unnecessary import to the paths they walked. I actually preferred not being shown exactly what the characters were doing before the Cylon attack. Especially Tigh being the most annoying stripclub patron ever.

The beginning 3/4ths in the present was, as everyone said, great action. Feel like it’s been ages since we’ve seen a single Cylon raider. Loved the pandemonium of the sick bay, the shots of Galactica getting completely destroyed. Centurions. Hera running through the ship, then Caprica and Baltar reenacting the opera house vision. Loved that that bitch Tory finally got hers in the end. That was probably the most satisfying conclusion I got out of this episode. Then the episode kind of went to shit.

Why did Cavil shoot himself so abruptly? I only watched this episode once. Did I miss something?

Then…Earth. Yeah, what a letdown. Giving up all technology with not one single person protesting? All of the ships they let onto New Caprica and used as housing getting flown into the Sun? (I did enjoy Kara’s goodbye to Sam though.) I didn’t get quite the tearjerker moment I was hoping for when Roslin died. Normally Olmos and McDonnell are so good at selling me on this stuff. But I did get a little lump in my throat when he carried her to the Raptor and their theme music swelled up. But then—Adama never wants to see his son again? After all that, he’ll just leave Lee? For real? And then Kara is a ghost? Or an angel? Or a mass hallucination? I’m with Rajan—I will just imagine some lion came along and abducted her. Because the alternatives are crappy.

And everything is God’s plan? Yes, that was my big worry. We’d get answers, but they would be lame. A wizard did it! That’s all we get from Moore. I’ve always liked the more realistic, gritty side of BSG, not so much the mystical stuff. Especially since it’s so damn murky. Angels everywhere? That’s it? I liked Head-Six when I thought she was a manifestation of Baltar’s guilt over his part in the genocide and quite possibly some secret Cylon plot. But to be told unambiguously, the Head characters are angels? Weak!

And then the Times Square, 150,000 years later? One stupid summary after another. It was Earth all along. Hera as Eve. Oh no! Robots are everywhere and we’re going to repeat the story again? So cheesy. I would’ve been happier to just end on Adama alone on his hill. But, guys, come on, I thought Ron Moore’s cameo was okay. It’s his show, it was his last chance to be on it. Let him have it.

What I look for in a series finale is some emotional closure. Sure we saw what happened to the characters, but it felt like nothing was left to ponder about their personal journeys. And I’m with Pablo. If there’s anything I want from a series finale, it’s a reprise of the show’s tone. And a mostly happy ending with everything neatly explained away was not what I thought of when I thought of BSG. And I guess that’s what disappointed me the most.

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