I was quite a fan of Battlestar Galactica when it was running, but stopped watching early in Season 3 because I was on my way to DC every other week to see Bitter and couldn’t keep up. This weekend, I finally finished out the series. Now I see why the ending was controversial. I did not really hate the ending, because frankly, after Lost, it didn’t seem that bad. There were far fewer loose ends at the end of BSG than there were at the end of Lost.
I should issue a spoiler warning right here. If you don’t want to know, don’t keep reading.
The ending was pretty classic Deus ex Machina. The entire thing was wrapped up too quickly, and the ending created a number of plot issues. For one, the names of the Greek gods, and the names of constellations, being the same as we have today. No language or culture survived from 150,000 years ago. The creators of BSG have suggested that information was transmitted through a “collective unconscious,” or more Deus ex Machina, in other words. This seems weak as a way to connect the colonials to ourselves.
The colonials said they would pass on the best of themselves, but we know for a fact nothing survives from 150,000 years ago. Everything was lost; their art, their culture, technology and language. Hera we know died as a young woman, after having enough female offspring to become mother to all mankind, which suggests that she and the other colonials probably lived a short, brutal existence as primitives. It’s hard to see how this is a happy ending.
What the hell was Kara Thrace? We know the Hybrids said she was the harbinger of death, and would lead the human race to its end. I can sort of live with this plot resolution, since it can be taken to mean she was a harbinger of death to the Cylons, and did, in fact, lead the human race to its end, in a manner of speaking. But she was supposedly some kind of Angel sent by God? More Deus ex Machina.
Now let’s talk about the whole giving up technology thing. What’s shocking is that everyone agreed with it. Lee said “Yeah, let’s just forget this whole technology thing and fling the fleet into the sun,” and everyone just goes along? This was a fleet that argued about everything. It would seem to me if you landed in Middle Pleistocene Tanzania, complete with large saber tooth predatory cats, man eating wild pigs, and giant hyaenas, you’d think at least someone might pipe up “Have you lost your frakkin mind, Lee?” when he suggests living as primitives. As much as the thought of facing a large cat armed only with a Beretta Storm doesn’t thrill me, it sure as hell beats chucking a spear at it. At the very least, after weeks of eating algae, I’d be up for shooting a few grass eating herbivores before we buried the guns. Now I accept it’s quite possible that the colonials thought the planet was all gazelles, flamingos and rainbow farting unicorns, and then only after they destroyed the guns did they find the man eating wild boars, and giant hyenas. “Thanks a lot Lee, frakker!”
The show’s producers have suggested that the reason for abandoning the technology is because the natives would worship them as gods, and the whole cycle would start anew. I think that’s a chance I’m going to be willing to take if my alternative is wiping my ass with leaves. “This is my boomstick! Now chop down that tree so I can make some frakkin toilet paper.” I mean seriously, what do you think that natives are going to do when you show up in their village and inform them that, in the name of your god(s), you need to interbreed with their women?
There’s no way the ending really works as a happy one if you think about it. Not even really for us. What is our connection to them? Greek gods, names of constellations, and a propensity to make a race of killer robots? Sounds great to me.