So now it’s over. I just watched the final episode of Battlestar Galactica (“Daybreak, part 2”).
I’ll avoid spoilers here, because most people in Finland have yet to see even most of season 4, let alone the series finale. I will say this: it’s a fitting ending, and it doesn’t compromise. It’s also a happy ending, but since this is BSG that also means it’s far, far from a saccharine one. It’s hopeful, if only because most of the series was so totally dark and desperate. “Bittersweet” might be the dominant emotion.
Like most of the series, it’s slightly uneven. The writers try to wrap up everything… or, well, everything that they want to wrap up. Most of it works, though there are small stumbles here and there. I’m still unsure if the final scene was worth including, I would personally have ended things a bit earlier. Still, it does underline one of the major themes, so… dunno. I’m pretty sure this will be a pretty controversial series end; I liked it quite a bit (though it was far from perfect), but I’m quite sure some people will hate it – for various reasons. The religious themes actually didn’t bother me much, even though I’m quite strictly an atheist myself; they were there from the very beginning of this show, and I think they were handled pretty well here. We’re never given 100% solid explanations for various things, we only have various character viewpoints. And that works. The difference between a “god” and a “highly advanced being” is, after all, tenuous if you take it to the extreme.
I liked the resolution of Starbuck’s storyline, though I’m certain some people will hate it. That final scene with her was well done… no flashy effects or other distractions.
In hindsight, it’s obvious that the writers made a lot of stuff up as they went along, as they freely admit in interviews. It’s actually surprising how well the whole thing holds together, despite that. Sure, there are nitpicks to be made, and not everything makes sense. But it feels like a coherent (if messy) story, and that’s what matters in the end.
If there is any justice in the world, this one will be remembered as one of the great scifi TV epics, like Babylon 5. Both shows had their share of stumbles along the way, and both transcended those stumbles by just being so damn good as a whole. I’m still amazed that Ron Moore managed to take something as cheesy and vapid as the original BSG, and turn it into a smart, ultra-dark and desperate story of humanity’s survival and eventual redemption (of sorts). That’s one hell of a hat trick to pull off.