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Saturday, March 21, 2009

SPOILERS

(BSG spoilers, of course.)

Oh, come on. You have go to be frakking kidding me.

The Grand List of Science Fiction Cliches, Section III, #14b

And this list of TV Cliches.

I was actually afraid they'd go there. But I thought, no, they won't go there. They wouldn't do that. They couldn't do that...

UPDATE: If you've got a take on the BSG finale, feel free to take it to the comments...

UPDATE: Someone else points out that all the "answers" we got amounted to, "Oh, it's God!"

UPDATE: And here are some non-answers from Ron Moore ("Daniel was an empty rabbit hole" -- WTF?), followed by yards and yards of comments by pissed off fans.

UPDATE: For bonus points: how would YOU have wrapped it up?

Labels:

61 Comments:

I have a feeling I know what show you are talking about. The fanbase is REALLY divided on this one.

Myself...I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a brilliant end to a brilliant show. I like how she turned out to be the Mitochondrial Eve. Was it a cop out? Maybe. Could RDM have come up with something better? I highly doubt it. You try ending a series in 3 hours with that much left hanging. It's a bitch, I bet. I applaud him for what he was able to pull off.

Plus I loved his cameo.

By Blogger Nicholas, at 2:21 AM  

Umm...in the future would you mind stipulating which show you're spoiling? This post just popped up in my reader, I naturally read it (love your blog) and after a couple of minutes I realized what show you're probably talking about - the one I just started watching.

By Blogger Sara Ann, at 3:03 AM  

Seriously. My loathing cannot be textually rendered.

By Blogger kimshum, at 3:24 AM  

Sorry, Sara Ann. I thought the timing would make it clear. And the "frakking."

I'll clarify.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:13 AM  

MORE SPOILERS

I was really disappointed in the BSG finale. Moore and his writers have worked hard to create a credible society surviving extraordinary circumstances. Sure, they cheat a bit around the edges. But by and large we've got to see some compelling things going on in that society.

In no way did Moore & Co. earn the notion that 30,000 people would willingly and unanimously cast off all their technology and revert to a hunter-gatherer state. Why, because that might somehow "break the cycle of abuse"? Good luck with that. They'd be starving to death inside a few weeks.

Clearly, even if you took away every last one of their toys, they would start planting things and domesticating animals and building sailboats. And they would continue to use math. And writing.

(Let's not even get into the ridiculous idea that BSG's humans and Our Earth's humans are "genetically compatible" through convergent evolution guided by a higher power. A much more plausible conclusion, incidentally, would be that a higher power had scooped up some early homo sapiens, given them technology, and sent them off into space to become the Twelve Colonies.)

(And just because I'm a fan of actual science: the Sahara Desert did not exist 150,000 years ago. The top of Africa was alternately savannah and forest until about 8000 years ago. There are some lovely rock paintings of wild animals in the Sahara.)

(And a more plausible time to drop the BSG humans would be at the invention of agriculture, say about 9000 years ago.)

So why this ridiculous notion? So you can tie BSG into our own history? What does that get you? Some kind of resonance with our own fascination with technology? You already have that because we, the audience, are watching a story about a society nearly destroyed by a war with its robots.

(Or for that matter -- what if they'd landed on Our Earth only to find out that it's 2115, and we've managed to kill ourselves off, too?)

I would rather have spent time finding out who sent the replacement Kara Thrace and replacement Viper back to BSG after the first one died on Earth. I would rather not have discovered that she is some kind of unselfaware, corporeal angel, especially since Head Six and Head Baltar are apparently also angels, but incorporeal ones.

I would have liked to have known whether Daniel was Kara Thrace's father, as seemed to be suggested by her conversation with her Head Father at the piano. And I would have liked that to have meant something.

I would have liked to have had some kind of resolution that proceeded from what went before, instead of trying to shoehorn the ending into a card-carrying science fiction cliche. How DO you start a new society after you've been through genocidal robot war? What lessons DO you learn? Because let's face it, you can't put technology back into the box; and even if you do, it will come back out again. What moral/spiritual lessons DOES their society need to take away so that they don't find themselves in a war again, with robots or with themselves?

(And what happened to all the other Cylon Base Stars? Even if we believe that the Colony was utterly destroyed by the nukes in one Raptor, which is a laugh, considering the Battlestar has survived nuclear hits, aren't there other Base Stars out there?)

I think Moore & Co. copped out, and I was really disappointed. Up till this point, Ron Moore's instincts have guided him well. But in this case something seems to have gone horribly wrong. Instead of really taking the time to figure out a satisfying ending, they went with a sort of pointless battle scene to rescue a child whose ultimate importance is never really earned. And that left them no time to pay off their more meaningful story lines.

Oh well... I'm hearing a lot of good news about my pay cable show, which may come back to life. And I can promise you that I know exactly how that one's gonna end...

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:47 AM  

I agree and disagree on some of the stuff.

For starters, RDM admitted the downfall of the Cylon colony wasn't entirely clear in the episode.
Basically the nukes were going to "push" the colony into the black hole and annihilate them.
Speaking of, this whole black hole plotline seemed to having been completely forgotten.

The Adam & Eve scenario was a disappointing but I'm not sure it is what really matters. They just put them on "our" Earth to have some sort of poetic ending and somewhat pointless morale at the end of the show.

As for the Daniel stuff, RDM also added it was an empty "rabbit hole".
I have stopped thinking about the mythology for the past two seasons since for me it was pretty obvious ever since the Final Five revelation they didn't know what the hell was going on. They completely scrapped the first two seasons and re-invented something contradictory with everything prior.

Long story short, for the past three years I've basically hated the direction BSG was heading towards, and its ridiculous mythology, so I wasn't at all surprised by all the "God is sending Angels" plotline and frankly excuse to everything that is going on.

In continuation to this, and not to be spammy or anything, I actually just posted about my love-hate relationship with BSG throughout the years on my blog. ;)

By Blogger Lex, at 2:05 PM  

I'm right there with you on this one. Battlestar Galactica has been one of the greatest shows on television. It has been challenging, smart and engaged me as much as any show ever has.

And the series finale left me very disappointed. What I didn't see coming was that the show would celebrate the metaphorical burning of the library as they turned their back on reason and knowledge to embrace ignorance and superstition... why did they have to turn it from a (relatively) hard science fiction show into a fantasy?

There were parts of the finale that should have been touching emotionally but that were turned to treacle by the distaste I had for the wilful discarding of generations of hard won knowledge to pursue the short, painful life of savages.

They had the stars and they gave them up for high infant mortality, 30 year life spans and using slaves instead of machines?

Before the year was out at least 90% of them would be dead of disease, predation, fighting with the indigenous humans and starvation. Judging from the “150,000 Years Later” denouement the BSG creatives lay it out emphatically that every line but Hera's died out – both the aliens and the indigenous humans. Ignoring the poor genetic science and the resulting requirement of several generations of incestuous breeding... the only reasonable path for this to have taken is that they introduced a pandemic that killed off almost every human on the planet.

Yeah, that discarding of knowledge and technology was a really good idea wasn't it. They didn't need the Cylons to decimate the human race now did they, ignorance was enough.

Speaking of the tin cans, this also makes no sense with the Cylons still out there. Every other episode in the series drives home that they will hunt humanity as long as they exist - so it would be an act of genetic suicide do discard everything and just hope that this time, unlike every other time, the Cylons won't find them - or that the emancipated Cylons that knew exactly where Earth II was wouldn't ever decide to come back.

The series rates a 9 while the finale gets no more than a disappointing 4.

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 2:06 PM  

Maybe Fonzie could have waterskied over a shark instead?

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 5:33 PM  

I think in the end the reaction to this show is going to prove even more interesting than the reaction to the Sopranos finale.

The moment it ended (for me, at 5 in the AM -- and spoilshddher alert -- a little drunk was I) all I could think is...

"the athiests are going to go batshit insane."

All the way along this show has played with the notion of belief and religion and science and the difficulties and dangers of the two. And about a season ago I just got a very strong feeling that however they ended it, they were not going to come down on the side that some of the fans demanded: that the religious iconography and cant somehow gets explained away by good old science.

Because we currently live in a world where what is bad in religion is holding us back, the notion of a religious component to the ending of the show was always going to be anathema to a lot of people.

But wow, even I'm surprised by how far Moore went down that road.

For my part, I had no problems with. No major ones anyway. BSG was always a character based show for me, and there were so many lovely character codas that it left me feeling fully satisfied. When Kara just disappeared on Lee I thought, "perfect."

But then again, as the folk song goes, "Nobody knows for certain, so if it's all the same to me, I choose to let the mystery be."

And so it did.

Great ending. I'm glad as hell Moore got to end it his way, Alex. I'm not entirely sure I'd have preferred your ending.

And as for the cliches? Well, it's TV chickens.

All this has happened before and all this will happen again.

Time to bring the cat in.

(WTF, HOW COULD THEY HAVE NOT EXPLAINED 'THE CAT?')

By Blogger DMc, at 6:27 PM  

Oh, and Galen Tyrol winds up in Scotland?

C'mon!

Magic.

By Blogger DMc, at 6:29 PM  

@DMc: I'm all for God in a show. I've spent the past year and a half developing a show about God and God's instruments. And I even pray to Her from time to time.

I just don't like it when a series seems to be promising that there will be Answers and then the Answers are all, "God did it."

But seriously. You were okay with the 30,000 people agreeing that they'd forget writing and the number 0 and medicine and the concept of democracy, because their grandparents invented evil robots? That didn't seem at all forced to you? You felt that was earned?

It was a science fiction show, not a fable, up until that point.

And frankly, Kara was more mysterious before she blinked out of existence. At that point, she stopped being a mystery and became an Instrument of a Higher Power.

The question isn't whether I could have ended the show better, which is kind of a cheap shot. I didn't want MY ending. I wanted Ron Moore to come up with an ending worthy of the past six years of great television he's been giving us. And I don't think this was it.

(But then you always disagree with me when I criticize a show, don't you?)

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 7:47 PM  

Or let me put it to you this way: if you were Ron Moore's second in command, you wouldn't have said, "and they're Adam and Eve? Seriously? You're going there?"

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 7:49 PM  

Because the show has so expertly and diligently pursued the question of "what would it take to keep 50,000 people alive -- militarily, politically, and spiritually" -- it was sad to see everything handwaved away with "let's leave it all behind."

But the final battle and the final character notes were elegant and moving. Roslin's death was sweet and sad. I would have preferred Starbuck to walk away from Lee instead of vanish in a savannah, but I loved finding her knowing she was at the end of her journey.

And the Adam and Eve plot? It was a grace note to decorate the final chord, which was the eternal return. Because our Earth, with our troublingly portentous AIBOs and our strangely familiar magazine readers, is no more than one iteration in an eternal repetition, I found it less precious than saying that this was the secret history of evolution.

The decision of how to blend into an existing planet could have been an entire season of BSG. But it was time to go, you know?

By Blogger Wrongshore, at 8:15 PM  

It's not that I always disagree with you, Alex. I just sometimes don't share the...confidence...you seem to display that your interpretation or reaction is purer or more craft-based, I guess.

I found the ending very satisfying. I'm not bothered by the decision to forsake technology. You have people today who make that choice all the time - and they don't have the benefit of living through two genocides, and five years packed like rats in a fetid metal box, terrified for their lives, losing every bit of dignity they had left.

And you can't have been surprised by the ending or have thought it was out of line -- I mean, the DNA of the show is the old show. And in the INTRO for that old show, they had the voiceover suggesting that people from the starts built the pyramids.

In the end, the knock on a sci fi show, even one like BSG, is that why do I care -- it's about people in space, it's not grounded in reality. People can't make the bridge to how the metaphor speaks to us.

Well, this journey having come to its end now, the final reveal is that it was always about us. That these people were us, our ancestors, the ones who passed down some of our most important beliefs and concepts. Oh, and Cylons too.

You thought that was a cliche, and I found that fulfilling.

And I'm not bothered by the nitpicker stuff because I am well aware that my grandparents had skills -- skills like farming, working the land, fixing an engine, etc -- that I don't possess. I'm regularly finding out dribs and drabs about my family history that I didn't know before.

Knowledge ebbs and flows; humanity goes through dark ages and ages of reason.

All this has happened before...does it have to happen again?

That's a pretty nifty lesson to be left with, I think.

but then again, I also didn't care that we never found out what happened to the Russian who ran off into the woods at the end of the Sopranos "Pine Barrens" ep, either.

Different strokes, baby.

By Blogger DMc, at 8:32 PM  

How I would have done things differently:

Galactica's damage would not have so severe so soon in the fourth season. Once the abandon ship order is given, it's not credible that Galactica could enter a battle again much less survive.

Boomer's escape would raise the possibility of an all-out attack by Cavil. Rescuing Hera alone is not enough to merit the final battle. Adama's trying to pre-empt Cavil and rescue Hera seems more reasonable.

Yes, Kara is Daniel's daughter.

Galactica would not have survived the final battle.

There aren't humans already living on Earth. That was dumb in many ways. The worst one being it smacks of Western colonial prejudices to see a bunch of technologically-advanced white people moving into Africa, especially since there wasn't a prominent role for an African American on the show.

The decision to give up space flight comes up as follows: Lee makes his pitch. Baltar says his people never want to see the inside of a space liner again. Adama says the rest of fleet will be breaking down soon just like Galactica did. (I saw the decision on the show as their giving up space travel, not much else.)

Don't dispatch the 30,000 people across the entire globe. And what's with Adama and Gaelen's decisions to die in solitude?

That's how I would have tweaked the latter half of the final season. I also imagined an interesting coda involving: the Cylon base's falling into the black hole, Sam becomes Galactica's hybrid and gets the Cylon goo to work, Sam jumps away just before hitting the event horizon of the black hole, he heals the ship and he and Galactica becomes a free-floating space entity.

I agree with Alex that RDM's writing staff really let him down. They should have called bullshit on many points.

By Blogger David, at 8:51 PM  

See? And I think what they did is more interesting than every single one of your "what I would have dones?"

And sorry, which of your points do you want to go with -- are they playing with predjucice by saying they landed in Africa, or should they not have spread the 30 000 around the globe. One is the answer to the other. You can't object to both. Well, you can, but it just makes you Admiral Gainsay.

RDM's writing staff let him down?

What an incredibly arrogant thing to say.

Ah, the internets.

By Blogger DMc, at 12:14 AM  

Yeah, I'm with DMc on this one. The only thing I most definitely would have done differently is to have killed someone off in the battle at the Colony. Lee, Tigh, or...I know: Athena.

I would have left Helo bleeding out then have Cavil shoot Athena in CiC out of disgust with her whole line. We'd now assume Hera is an orphan, making the reveal that Helo was alive and raising her alone more poignant.

Otherwise, I can see arguments for landing on Earth 10-20,000 years ago and spreading agriculture and writing as opposed to being our genetic ancestors, but either one works for me.

The divine was wedded to BSG's DNA from the beginning; I'm content that it carried through to the end. In the end, a mercurial God saw wickedness and decadence amongst his children. He found his Noah in a disgraced, tired old warrior and guided him and his family to safe shores where they could try again.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 1:50 AM  

@ DMc:

Your reflexive need to defend a failed piece of writing is amusing. Your calling anyone arrogant is clearly projection.

By Blogger David, at 8:13 AM  

"RDM's writing staff let him down?

What an incredibly arrogant thing to say."

Um, why?

Criticizing works by good writers is how you come to understand what you yourself are trying to achieve. You don't learn much by criticizing works by bad writers, as you don't learn much about marksmanship by shooting fish in a barrel.

No one gets a free ride, even if they have done wonderful things in the past.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:21 AM  

I've finally posted my full thoughts on the finale for those looking for the take of someone mostly content with the choices RDM made. There might be a wee tiny bit of vitriol aimed at some who think God was snuck in without warning at the last moment.

You can read it here.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 11:58 AM  

Presumption -- "the writers let him down in the room" presupposes knowledge of what went on in that room. You don't know that, Alex. At best you can extrapolate based on your own experiences working on other shows, similar or not. And people who haven't been in rooms can't even do that.

I have zero problem with people disagreeing with the artistic product. Art should be polarizing, and the hallmark of this series has always been how it forces you to reframe, rethink, and reexamine your own feelings about the issues it explores. Sometimes that means you're going to hate something, and that's great.

But going the three or four steps beyond that and assuming "the writers let someone down" brings with them a host of ridiculous assumptions:

1) that the ending was empirically and provably terrible. (A subjective judgement call.)

2) that anyone in the room's reaction to the "end ideas" would have to be negative. (there's simply no basis to suggest that.)

3) to assume that, in fact, the writing team was not intimately involved in crafting that ending. (you weren't there, how could you know?)

4) the moral judgement involved.

In other words, that's about four high-handed leaps there. It's beyond the pale, because at once you are casting judgement not only on execution, but judgment, intent, and motivations.

That's a bullshit, closeminded, and utterly arrogant point of view.

And anybody who'd think that way, frankly, wouldn't be welcome within a five hundred mile radius of any writing room I was running.

I don't give a shit if Johnny Sidelines thinks I'm arrogant. "My reflexive need to defend a failed piece of writing," of course, besides being a whole delicious shit sandwich of opinion stated as fact -- is not the point.

I cannot understand Alex, how on a daily basis you can work so hard to guide and offer help to people on craft issues, and then put up with armchair quarterbacking impugning not just the artistic output -- but the MOTIVES and PROCESS of those working on the show.

It's beneath this excellent blog. And I repeat the charge: It's pretty much the very height of arrogance.

By Blogger DMc, at 1:06 PM  

@DMc: What I asked was, if you were in the room, or alone in a bar with Ron Moore as he sketched out his proposed ending, whether you would not have questioned the science fictional aspects of the ending. (The drama was lovely. I'm discussing the SF.)

"1) that the ending was empirically and provably terrible. (A subjective judgement call.)"

No, I said it was terrible for me. And I link to dozens of fans who also felt let down. And I was asking if you felt satisfied as a science fiction fan by the notion that 30,000 people would even be capable of giving up the last 150,000 years of technology, such that they left no trace in our prehistory.

A question you continue to duck, by the way.

Either you find the SF plausible or you don't. I think it was not plausible.

You may feel the dramatic aspects of the ending were so great that the implausibility doesn't bother you. But my point then would be: was it not possible to arrive at an ending that had both great drama and great SF?

"2) that anyone in the room's reaction to the "end ideas" would have to be negative. (there's simply no basis to suggest that.)"

You're putting words in my mouth. I asked if you, DMc, would have had a negative reaction to the SF. You're free to say, "Nope, I loved it."

I wouldn't dare speculate what Jane Espenson thinks, and I wouldn't ask or expect her to reveal it, either.

"3) to assume that, in fact, the writing team was not intimately involved in crafting that ending. (you weren't there, how could you know?)"

Where on either Earth did you get that assumption? Obviously they were.

"4) the moral judgement involved."

What moral judgement? I was distracted from the drama by the card-carrying cliche SF trope (it's on a list, for God's sake) and the implausible science fictionalizing required to shoehorn the series finale into it. That's a personal reaction. Not a moral judgment at all.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:41 PM  

Looking back on all the comments, I'm still not seeing where I, or anyone else, actually claimed that "the writers let Ron Moore down." That's a straw man.

Just to clarify: assume that all criticisms are directed at the captain of the ship, at least until someone goes on record as saying, "I warned him about that iceberg!"

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:52 PM  

Yeah, now that I think about it, neither Alex Epstein or I need any more ammo for people running round the net callin either of us arrogant...

I should walk back my fire to Alex here, cause it seems like I'm directing it to him and I'm not. I get exactly why he didn't like it...I just don't agree.

It seems reading back that I'm reacting mostly to something that somebody "agreed with what Alex said" when he didn't say that. Exactly.

So I take a mulligan and say, hey, ok, you didn't say that. But to answer your question one -- I don't think I would have said "really?" to RDM. I liked it. I probably would have said "coooool."

And the question you're saying I ducked I dealt with yonks ago when I wrote:

And I'm not bothered by the nitpicker stuff because I am well aware that my grandparents had skills -- skills like farming, working the land, fixing an engine, etc -- that I don't possess. I'm regularly finding out dribs and drabs about my family history that I didn't know before.

Knowledge ebbs and flows; humanity goes through dark ages and ages of reason.


In fact, the precise reason for going back so far (150 000 rather than 30 000) is so that the impact of the colonials could be poetically explained as haphazard and vague.

The point is for four years we watched a story about the wretched deprivations of a society who were the last of them.

And in the end, the conclusion is that they were the best of us...and yet, we stand on the precipice of having to choose to repeat their mistakes or not. Do our souls have the time to catch up to our technology or our will? I don't know. I guess we'll see.

I think that's a lovely way to end it. I'm completely satisfied.

Would I change something? Um. I don't know. Maybe -- but not because I thought it was broken.

Emotionally, the finale hit me exactly where it needed to.

But then again, I was raised Catholic, and Mo Ryan's got a whole theory about Adama Lee and Kara being the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost there at the end. I fully accept that maybe the reason why I like this is because it fits with tropes that have rattled around my head for years.

I don't know.

Point is, I definitely liked it enough that I can say, had i been lucky enough to be in that room, I would have been an enthusiastic supporter of the direction. So any suggestion that the writers "let him down" is just silly. He told the story he wanted to tell. And there are plenty of people out there who dug it just fine.

By Blogger DMc, at 2:29 PM  

@ DMc:

"I have zero problem with people disagreeing with the artistic product." Yes, your prior posts make that clear.

"That's a bullshit, closeminded, and utterly arrogant point of view." Yes, you're an exemplar of the kind of open-mindedness and humility one should have.

"'My reflexive need to defend a failed piece of writing,' of course, besides being a whole delicious shit sandwich" Yes, you're not defensive at all.


@ Alex:

In my first post I stated that I thought the writers let RDM down. Essentially, I thought they should have pointed out some of the glaring problems with the script, which is a point you made in your fourth comment. Though, frankly, I don't see what difference it makes.

By Blogger David, at 2:33 PM  

The ending wasn't perfect but it did tie up many (but not all) loose ends.

Tyrol going to some island? Makes sense. This is a guy who fixes machines. In a society that has just given up all its technology (if judging by the shot of the exodus of civilians with nothing more than their clothes and what they could physically carry on their backs) then Tyrol doesn't have much of a role in this new world. Plus he's been betrayed or lost just about anyone he ever cared for so it makes sense he'd seclude himself on an island to die. I look at it as a form of Tyrol suicide that was specific to his character and what he had gone through.

Adam and Eve? Ok, so its hokey, but maybe the Writer's Room did call RDM on that and maybe he said "frak you - it's my show and we're going that route". Ultimately, it's his call so until we hear the podcast of what went down and how it went down in the room, we can't judge the other writers for calling Moore on this or not calling him on it because we have no idea what happened.

I agree that giving up the technology would most likely mean near death for those on Earth. I understand the thematic statement RDM and co are trying to make, but when you take it to its logical conclusions, it makes for little practical sense. I could just see six months into the future and the doctor is losing his mind because they sent the sick bay and all that it offered for medical treatment into the sun because "the people" wanted to make a statement and start over. All well and good, until smallpox and plague wipe everyone out.

Letting the Cylons go was an empty gesture and probably a foolish one. It felt off the cuff and almost made me worried that someone wanted to keep the potential for a follow-up MOW.

I didn't mind the in-our-face robot stuff at the end. It was comical in a odd sort of way.

But with all that... I'll miss the show. There isn't a lot on TV that would make me write anything on a Sunday afternoon, yet here I am nitpicking a TV show's ending and I have to remind myself... it's just a TV show. But a great one.

By Blogger Will, at 2:36 PM  

There you go Alex. You're not full of shit. David is full of shit. :)

And the band plays on.

By Blogger DMc, at 2:37 PM  

Like most good blogs, Alex's offers a good opportunity to exchange ideas. It's always unfortunate when someone stoops to petty hostilities, but those actions speak for themselves.

By Blogger David, at 2:53 PM  

Physician heal thyself, David. If you go back and track the thread, you will see that any and all of my criticisms were fully about "the material" and the "the ideas" and acknowledged complete understanding of the subjective nature of why people could think or feel differently about it.

The objection point was where you chose to misrepresent what Alex said as "I agree with Alex that RDM's writing staff really let him down. They should have called bullshit on many points.

At that point you stopped talking about ideas and content and started in on our old internet fave, the ad hominem attack.

When you attack the character of people and suggest that their behavior was suspect, you are stepping over the lines of criticism into something darker.

My response was to state that I thought that your ideas were inferior to the execution RDM & co offered. Note, the ideas. My response to your characterization of the staff's conduct was to label it an "incredibly arrogant thing to say."

Again, focused entirely on the statement. I don't know you from a hole in the ground. I can't predict whether a creamsicle wouldn't melt in your mouth or whether you breathe fire and shit crystal meth.

But now let's look at your very next response:


Your reflexive need to defend a failed piece of writing is amusing. Your calling anyone arrogant is clearly projection.


Zero content. 100 percent ad hominem attack. And so it goes.

Part of the gift of being an effective writer is being able to disagree about ideas in the strongest possible terms while still respecting the process and the people who make them. You do that by focusing on the content, not the character of the person suggesting it. I have plenty of times in a room where I cop to muddy-thinking or a bad idea and reverse myself. Everybody does. The moment you move beyond idea, and make leaps about the character of the person saying it, you lose. You lose the right to have your ideas be fully considered. You become unpleasant to be around.

I've been called arrogant in my life. I'm certainly a passionate advocate for my ideas. But I'm also pretty generous with the ideas of others. Which is why I've been more or less pretty consistently working in rooms for the last few years.

It's unfortunate that you chose to go the ad hominem route, but there it is. You did say one thing I agree with wholeheartedly:

It's always unfortunate when someone stoops to petty hostilities, but those actions speak for themselves.


Yes they do. And I would contend that focusing specious and speculative aspersions on the actions of a writing team you had no access to, and then taking the argument away from the realm of ideas to the nature of your opponent's character is the very definition of the thing you seem to be decrying. You could repent and be nice about it. I shant hold my breath, but nonetheless, I'll light a candle and hope you see your way to a more effective style of argumentation in the future.

BTW, the "full of shit" thing was a joke. Hence the little smiley.

There is one nugget here though for anybody looking for craft lessons and scratching their head at this inexplicable flamewar: keep it about the ideas. if you resort to ad hominem attack, you'll get the bum's rush very, very, very quickly.

By Blogger DMc, at 3:54 PM  

Dennis, I also find it unfortunate when a conflict of ideas turns into an ad hominem slinging of the muck. You are a fine writer, Blood ties was good and Charlie Jade was great. I'd like to think that we would probably get along fine in the writers room, maybe balance each other off.

But we would have argued over this one. I would like to think civilly and over a cold beer but we would have argued.

I think that RDM chose to tip the scales all to the side of emotion over reason and while that may have worked for many people it came across as contra to the gritty and grounded seasons that had gone before. It seems to be very out of step with the show to this point and I expected the room to have found a more balanced finale that didn't have half the viewers shaking their head and asking the television "Really... not one person in thirty thousand stood up and said they really didn't want to finish the job that the Cylons started?"

Actually what I said to the TV was more pithily vulgar than that.

Some of us can shove reason to the side and give full rein to emotion. It seems that side won the day in the writing room as well as in the fictional world of Galactica.

Some of those 30,000 would have stood back and said "No frakking way am I going to let you turn me into a naked savage watching everyone I care about die of disease and malnutrition" I know I would have.

Why would Adama turn his back on his son? Maybe Lee wasn't going to die the first time he tries to take down a woolly rhinoceros. Maybe he will find someone to start a family with... and maybe she doesn't die in childbirth the first five or six times. Wouldn't Adama want to watch the half of his grandchildren that survive grow up?

It is like they all went crazy at the same time and in the same way.

I am not a fan of the "God did it" answer to every question and lose thread. It isn't because I'm an atheist but because it strikes me as an answer that the series wasn't leading toward. Sure there was theological aspects to the show from the beginning and I do not begrudge that. What I do begrudge is that just pushes the question on to "And why the frak did god do that?" which makes it a non-answer, an avoidance of an answer.

While that is also one of my core problems with religion overall, I can still suspend that and enjoy a show like Supernatural that is grounded completely in the world of God. But Battlestar Galactica never struck me as that kind of a show and so I was greatly disappointed by the finale- even more so after having had more time to think about it.

This finale is going to make it harder for me to get into Caprika since we now know it is all just God (or whatever it prefers to be called) jacking people around for a reason only it knows and that we can't nyeh nyeh nyeh.

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 5:52 PM  

See Clint, that's an interesting and arguable point.

There's nothing to say that those very discussions didn't take place. For all we know, when the cut on the DVD comes out (which supposedly will be 15 mins longer) you may well have seen that scene.

Did the non-inclusion of that scene (in a sequence where the endings were already piling up) hurt the drama? Maybe. It clearly did for you and some other people.

On the other hand, for me, having been in a room where you gotta cut four minutes...was the inclusion of that scene worth another cut to the asskicking action? Or the grace note of Baltar saying "I know farming?" Is that enough to cut the coda?

See, to me, the inclusion of that scene would feel to me a whole lot like Lee's "we're a gang" speech from the end of season 3. Clearly, it would have to be put in Lee's mouth. Did we miss too much for not having it in there?

I didn't. That, finally, in the end is a case of "don't care why the decision was made" as much as "the decision was made." And again, we can argue all we want about what people would or wouldn't have done. But neither of has a control group of 38 000 humans who were nuked, cattle trained through the stars, occupied on a shithole planet, jostled around, and deprived for five traumatic years.

And the survival question to me? Not as neat as one tantalizing comment from Laura -- more wildlife than the 12 colonies put together. Maybe the wilds of Earth2 were abundant in a way that really messed em up.

To my mind, I'm so, so, so, so less concerned about that than I am moved by the old warrior who sees his life over and his desire to rest, and the sun who's no longer lost and feels like his life's beginning.

I'm glad we didn't lose one second of that for another fraught argument. 4 years of fraught arguments made for a great series. I got the closure I wanted. I'm sorry you didn't.

By Blogger DMc, at 8:06 PM  

In his initial reply to me, DMc called me "Admiral Gainsay" and "incredibly arrogant." He followed up by calling me "Johnny Sidelines" and "full of shit."

Yet in his last response to me, he objected to ad hominem attacks. If he considers ad hominem to be my using his words to point out his hypocrisies and disingenuousness, then so be it.

Regarding my comments about the writers, when one's work is for the public, one should expect criticism from the public.

By Blogger David, at 9:36 PM  

No, David. What I actually said was:

And sorry, which of your points do you want to go with -- are they playing with predjucice by saying they landed in Africa, or should they not have spread the 30 000 around the globe. One is the answer to the other. You can't object to both. Well, you can, but it just makes you Admiral Gainsay.


See, that's talking about the inconsistency of your two arguments, that they in fact contradict each other. Admiral Gainsay is perhaps a little colorful, but there's a reason why you would choose to quote out of context here. In context, it's perfectly clear that I'm referring to your argument, not your ever loving, sweetness and light self.


RDM's writing staff let him down?

What an incredibly arrogant thing to say.


For the third time now, I said that what you said was arrogant. You know David, words are precise things. They're dangerous when not deployed effectively. You could have come back and admitted that you didn't have any prescient window into the BSG writers room -- but you didn't. You came back guns blazing, full on ad hominem.

The fact that you don't see a difference does not erase the difference.

But of course, you do see a difference, don't you, or you wouldn't have had to quote both things out of context to try and rescue your point.

Retire from the field, mate. Your credibility on this is simply and finally nil.

By Blogger DMc, at 10:21 PM  

@DMc, the lovely moment of Baltar saying "I know farming" would have been a whole lot more lovely if Baltar wouldn't have been prohibited from doing any farming because it would mess with our known timeline.

My problem with the Adam and Eve trope is it requires so much forcing. Instead of making a serious effort to respect what we've already seen of the 12 Colonies' society, the writers just step in and declare that they are going to give up everything they know, including agriculture.

Why not just have them appear in the Heroic Age?

Why not just have the fleet fail to recontact the Battlestar, since they have no good way of knowing where it jumped? Then you can have all the lovely drama moments without having to get rid of 30,000 people. And they're still out there, which is neat.

My problem with the God Explanation is it's not an explanation. If I'm going to buy that this is all God's will, I want to know, as Clint points out, why God put everybody through all this. (And my people are fond of demanding explanations from God.) Why did God want the BSG humans to come to Our Earth if they were just going to be swallowed up by history? If it's Hera's DNA he's after, why go to all that trouble? Nah, I don't buy it.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:02 PM  

I understand what all your objections are, Alex. I just don't share them.

If I'm going to buy that this is all God's will, I want to know, as Clint points out, why God put everybody through all this. (And my people are fond of demanding explanations from God.) Why did God want the BSG humans to come to Our Earth if they were just going to be swallowed up by history? If it's Hera's DNA he's after, why go to all that trouble? Nah, I don't buy it.


Demanding answers of God, and expecting to get them.

Why that IS Science Fiction. :)

By Blogger DMc, at 11:30 PM  

I'm a little late to this discussion, as I just finished watching the show.

More and more, the show reminded me of The X-Files. Both shows had so many mysteries surrounding it that they started to get piled onto one another. With X-Files, Chris Carter gave the audience so many questions to ask, but never actually had the answers to those questions. That was why the show eventually went off the tracks. You can only pile on so many mysteries before they stop making any sense.

I feel that's what happened with Battlestar Galactica. It started out that the Cylons had a plan. It was ominous, but never really materialized, did it? That should have been our first clue something was wrong. Ron Moore kept hinting that the Cylons had a plan, but even he never knew what that plan was. I'm guessing he hoped he would just figure that out later, but when it became obvious they couldn't have a plan, he abandoned that.

You can't simply build up mysteries like who Kira really is, why she knows what she knows etc. and never know what the answers are. Watching the finale, I just got the feeling that no one knew any of the answers to begin with. That's fine for most shows, but when a show is build on prophesies, a make-it-up-as-you-go approach doesn't really work very well.

The whole series reminds me of having a great idea for a feature screenplay. You've got the first act plotted out in your head before you start writing, and a vague idea of where you want to go. Instead of outlining it all, you jump right in and start writing, only to discover on page 60 that you never really had a story to begin with but just a cool idea that you can't figure out how to pay off. Unfortunately, by the time we reached page 60 of Battlestar Galactica, we were well into the actual series, instead of a screenplay no one will ever read.

And one last comment/question. If the Final Five created the `skin job' cylons, and the Final Five were thousands of years old, then the Final FIve weren't actually cylons, because humans created the original cylons. And what, exactly, did the original cylons have to do with the skin jobs, anyway, since they were not seemingly related at all?

Nicholas, while I might not have done a better job trying to wrap up all those loose ends in a couple of hours, my problem was that they had an entire season to wrap up all the loose ends. It's not as if this finale was sprung on them. They were planning on it for an entire season.

By Blogger Tim W., at 3:49 AM  

Also, am I the only one who noticed the numerous Star Wars references in the finale? Anyone?

By Blogger Tim W., at 4:04 AM  

Actually, the more I think about it, the less of a problem I have with the finale. The cycle of Humans beget Cylons, beget armageddon, has been repeating for eons. God, for whatever reasons, is fed up of it. When he sees it happening on Earth 1, he sends his angels to avert the catastrophe, but they're ineffective. When he sees it happening on the colonies, he decides to get interventionist. By the time he's finished frakking with everyone, they're more than a million light years from home, on a fleet of ships held together by gaffa tape and pessimism. Having found a habitable planet, they have no option but to settle there.

nb - the fleet didn't miraculously find the Galactica - a Raptor was sent to the fleet co-ordinates to lead them to Earth.

The 30,000 survivors of the 50,000,000,000 strong twelve colonies don't have the knowledge or skills to rebuild and maintain an industrial society. They tried it on New Caprica, and were clearly failing there, despite having more resources. They were never going to be able to do it on Earth. As refugees, with little real option than to start over, they were doomed to go native. This was all part of God's plan. However, the species would survive and have a second chance - through Hera. God wins, barring free-will ruining things again.

Why 150,000 years ago, instead of an later time when the colonists could have introduced agriculture? 150,000 years co-incides to the original migration of homo-sapiens from Africa. It's also long enough for any and all archeology to have been destroyed and for the colonists to have been subsumed into the collective unconscious. In the end, despite individual attempts at (presumably) farming, mining, weaving etc, their population simply wasn't large enough to exist, in the long term, on more than a subsistence level. Over the generations they would have regressed - not consciously, but simply as a result of their low numbers and inability to transmit information. This was inevitable, whether they threw their ships into the sun or not.

Now we find ourselves at the same point the Colonies were (minus the spacefaring) about a century before the first Cylon war; standing on the brink. The question is: are we going to end up on a distant planet, reduced to a fraction of our numbers, traumatised and debased, doomed to regress to the stone age, or are we going to break the cycle?

By Blogger Lee, at 5:45 AM  

Personally I liked the finale. The only quibble I had and one I would ask Ron Moore is why the need for the Boomer flashback to explain her giving back Hera. It reminded me of bad Angel flashbacks. Seemed unnecessary. But that's a merely a quibble.

And sure it's fine to criticize Ron Moore. Just like it's okay for me not to give a shit what 'fans' of BSG think. It's all fair game.

By Blogger Mef, at 9:10 AM  

Since Starbuck did know the co-ordinates they jumped to and they had the co-ordinates back to the edge of the black hole, it would have been no problem for them to send a Raptor two jumps back to the fleet... but the impression I got from the show was that the Raptor that nuked the Cylon colony out of a stable orbit was the one that somehow found them again. That didn't make sense at the time but I may have misinterpreted the voice over at the end.

I can't see how 30,000 people,with all the knowledge of a civilization wrapped up in the computers of dozens of FTL starships, wouldn't have a better than average chance of building on that knowledge rather than losing it. Without competing civilizations of a similar level of knowledge, they should be able to establish a society that draws in practically the entire human race at that time. The children of the humans already there would be as amenable to an education as any of their own and so as fast as they could build the facilities they could turn out educated young adults in whatever field they needed. In twenty years their direct descendants could have doubled their population and educating the indigenous humans could have increased that by a factor of ten.

I just have to think that if you have learnt any lesson about a cycle of violence, the best course of action probably isn't to immediately destroy any knowledge of the lesson learnt and drive your species back to near extinction and a dark age in the hope that through ignorance we do a better job next time around.

I think that Moore chose 150,000 years ago to coincide with what might be our first genetic bottleneck around the 140,000 to 150,000 BCE time frame. It gives them the opportunity to make Hera something special as the “mitocondrial Eve”. There seems to have been a similar choke point about 60,000 years ago that has its “Y chromosome Adam” that they could have used if they had went with a male child. Speaking of which, they didn't make it entirely clear to me that it was Hera... couldn't it just as easily be a child of Baltar and Caprica 6? Moore seemed to have went with the odd convention that the electrochemical brain activity colloquially referred to as “love” was what allowed for a viable pairing of human and cylon. Since there were more than a few of the skinjobs on the planet, it is only our pattern seeking minds that jump to the conclusion that it was Hera that was found. I'm pretty sure that was Moore's intention, just saying that it wasn't an evidence backed conclusion to jump to.

I'm pretty sure that they would have had to have gone out of their way to destroy any high tech. The final Raptor and Viper would have had to been autopiloted into the sun or ditched into the ocean. I would hope that they didn't come to the rational conclusion that they were going to plunge their species into 150,000 years of plague, slavery, human sacrifices, genocide, near extinction, crusades and hundreds of millions of painful drawn out deaths through ignorance... and thought they would go camping for a few generations and rediscover medicine, architecture, engineering and industry in a couple hundred years when their “souls were ready for it”.

I wouldn't presume to fill Ron Moore's shoes but the ending I would have tried to steer him toward? That final jump that Starbuck took left them irrevocably cut off from the rest of the fleet with a crippled Galactica in an unstable decaying orbit around earth. The Raptors and Vipers had all been destroyed in the battle leaving them with only “life rafts” that were not jump capable (hey, maybe they never establish this but what ship doesn't have life rafts?). They watch as the battlestar plunges into the ocean, lost to them and taking the knowledge with it. Kara Thrace 2.0 is freed from her tormenting mission and allowed to be with Lee. Bill builds that cabin on the lake and bounces his grandchildren on his knee- healed emotionally and not alone. Baltar and Caprica 6 had a really nice moment with his “I know farming” and that should stand as is. I'd want to drop the mirocondrial Eve to forstall the pandemic genocide of the indigenous humans.

Moore would then have turned to me and said “no”.

He wanted the fleet brought back together. He wanted the wilful casting aside of the technology as a philosophically symbolic moment. He wanted the finale for the crew to be emblematic of their characters. He wanted to give great importance to Hera to justify the trials and tribulations, prophesy and emotional weight that the character had built up. He wanted Galen Tyrol to go to Scotland and found that great land of engineers (evidently he didn't stay alone eh). Did he intend Saul to influence the mythology of Odin the one eyed god and Ellen to become his wife Frigg - "She will tell no fortunes, yet well she knows the fates of men."? He seemed to be leading toward their influence on our mythology to be great while their influence on our knowledge to be zero. He made his choices and they worked for him.

If from this you conclude that I over think the fiction I consume... you should see the stuff I write myself.

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 10:47 AM  

Yeah. Um. I just liked that the robots and the humans kissed and made up.

I find the sociology of the complaints interesting though. People who insist all that stuff wasn't 'earned.' Sci Fi fans who hate and cannot accept a choice to turn your back on technology (despite the fact that our history is filled with people doing that all the time. Why did the pilgrims choose the wilds of the New World when life in Amsterdam or Southhampton would have doubtless been better; right...they decided something else was more important.)

The rationalists and atheists hate the fact that so much in the finale was hung on God.

No wonder we fight so much.

By Blogger DMc, at 11:15 AM  

@DMc, I don't think the split works that way. I'm an atheist and technology wonk and I thought the finale was great. I've never objected to religious overtones in fiction. Those stories last for a reason.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 11:19 AM  

"Why did the Pilgrims..."

The Pilgrims never made any decision to cast off technology. They just wanted to go somewhere that they could persecute instead of being persecuted. They stayed in economic contact with London and bought as much from there as they could afford.

In fact they clung to their technology in spite of the Indians' technology often being more appropriate locally (canoes vs. rowboats, planting corn'n'beans instead of wheat).

I think you would be hard pressed to find a single instance of a human society willingly turning its back on a technology.

30,000 would be more than enough to preserve the essentials of Western Civ: math, writing, agriculture, domestication of animals, sailing, organized combat, smelting, missile weapons, the arch, the wheel, the scientific method, voting, etc. If I could get the nonfatal attention of one hunter-gatherer tribe for about 10 years, I bet I could advance them to at least 3000 BC.

(I'm not trying to convince anyone about BSG at this point, I'm just indulging in a hypothetical historical wank.)

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:52 AM  

Despite being a devout atheist, I've been a fan of BSG for years and have particularly enjoyed the religious themes that have been explored by S4. I loved the finale. I'm with you on all points, Dennis.

By Blogger Ryan, at 12:06 PM  

After a night to think about it, I've come to the conclusion that I didn't HATE the finale, but I certainly didn't think it was well done.

As for what I would have done differently, I probably would have done the whole final season a little differently, and started wrapping up some of the loose ends earlier and setting an ending up. As for just the final episode, I like Alex's idea of having them land on earth 9,000 years ago. It makes a little more sense bringing in the skills that they would pass on. If a very advanced people, numbering in the thousands, did land and intermingle with the natives, you'd have to expect SOME things would be passed on other than their DNA.

If Moore was really locked on to the Mitochondrial Eve theory, then perhaps they could have had Hera as the eventual only survivor after battle. Maybe have badly injured Baltar and Caprica save Hera and escape from a Galactica as it's destroyed, to land on earth. The last scene (before fast forwarding 150,000 years) would be Hera being taken in by the natives, thus her DNA would be introduced, but not any advanced knowledge. Adama and Roslyn would die on Galactica, which is a much more fitting end, I think. The rest of the fleet would never find earth. You wouldn't, then, necessarily have to explain things like who Kira really was etc. I'd stick her on a disabled viper (the one she flew back from the first earth on) jumping away just as it's entering the black hole. One could then surmize that she possibly goes through some sort of temporal wormhole and crashes on the first earth, thus explaining how she ended up finding her body. Of course, it's all left to the imagination. With the ending they had, they almost had to explain everything, which of course they couldn't, because they didn't know the answers themselves.

Does anyone else think that the shot of Ron Moore, at the end, was a recreation of how he came up with the ending?

By Blogger Tim W., at 5:02 PM  

Alex, as long as you're wanking...

Who's really left?

They're down to 38 000. Their strongest ship is toast. They have other ships, but they don't have manufacturing facilities. They don't have whatever fuels their ships -- tillium or whatever. And again -- they've been nuked, chased, veal penned and shat on constantly.

Focusing on technology is stupid. The point is making a major change of life. The lives of the pilgrims were easier in England. They chose deprivation because they sought something more. Something different. They were so tired of the way they lived that an unthinkable alternative seemed thinkable.

And as someone else pointed out -- they tried the rebuild civilization with technology route on New Caprica. It didn't seem to work out too well.

I weep a little that your soul is so closed to the poetry of that ending. I expect this from sci-fi geeks who are into it for the tech. I mean, come on...the part of the brain that loved the cylon on cylon toaster fight was not firing the good dopamine when everybody decided to go all hunter gatherer, to be sure.

But that desire to simplify -- to try another way. Well...where exactly do you think the Amish or the Mennonites came from?

And what about that guy Thoreau. I'm a guy who gets hives if I can't Twitter and check my email every ten minutes and get a Guinness AND a Wifi signal... but even I felt the pull of Walden.

You're arguing against poetry with logic. I'm not going to say you're wrong. I'm going to say you're using the wrong tools.

Oh, and I'm probably going to say this too, now, so long as we're wanking:

Alex, you ignorant slut...

By Blogger DMc, at 6:29 PM  

As long as we're wanking -- and who doesn't like a good wank -- Thoreau lived half an hour's walk from his sisters' house, where they made him lunch every day.

The "rebuild civilization" route was working fine on New Caprica until the Cylons appeared. At that point, the problem was that they hadn't built big-ass laser cannons. Not that their technology had failed them.

And after that experience it's implausible that they would risk abandoning their tech when there could be another Base Star out there.

I just think you could have had all the poetry with any number of less preposterous suppositions. They arrive at 4000BC and build Atlantis. They land on an Earthlike planet that has nothing to do with our timeline and try to rebuild hope. They come to our Earth thousands of years in the future, when we've frakked it up. Etc.

But hey, it's Ron's show. If I get a show, I may find myself opting for the poetry over the plausible SF, too. You never know till you're sitting in the big chair.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:41 PM  

I've also realized that if you go with my ending, you can go with Kira being the harbinger of death, or whatever it was. That was a storyline I thought they really cheated the audience with. They threw that out there to entice you and never followed up. If she leads everyone, except Hera, to their death, then she fulfills that prophesy. Of course, by leading everyone to their death, she ends up saving Hera, which allows her people to live on in her.

And DmC, while they did fail on New Caprica, I always chalked that up to the conditions there. They even said that it would be tough going before they decided to live there, which is one reason why Roslyn didn't want to stay there. The planet didn't have the climate or resources that earth did.

By Blogger Tim W., at 6:47 PM  

Watched it again last night. Liked it even better the 2nd time around. Understand the nitpicking here even less now.

I think, and I'm going to go out on a limb here...

I think y'all can suck on my daggit.

O SNAP.:)

By Blogger DMc, at 8:41 AM  

DMc,

All the unexplained storylines didn't annoy you at all? You didn't feel cheated by all the things they supposedly set up, but had no intention of paying off? I just felt there were way to many convenient things that ended up happening.

How Kira was used was such a cheat. For some reason, her father taught her how to play a piece of music that not only awakened the original cylons, it ended up being the coordinates to their eventual home. PLUS, she ended up being able to paint the star that would eventually lead them to earth. Oh, and the hybrids seemed to `prophesize' that she was the harbinger of death, but actually wasn't- that was just meant to tantalize the viewer, I guess. Plus, she `dies' only to be resurrected to be able to show the way to earth. Wow, is she the most convenient character in the history of television, or what? Too bad not one bit of it made any sense, whatsoever.

I also have to agree that it was just far too convenient that every single person decided to suddenly give up all technology. Being a hunter/gatherer is an extremely tough existence. Most of the survivors would have realized that farming would have made things easier, and started doing it. And if they were farming 150,000 years ago, why was that skill never passed on?

Lastly, did I miss the scene where Kira and Lee jump and down on Frodo's bed?

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:13 PM  

Would you like me to say 'no, not the slightest bit bovvered?' in Elvish?

This is where I'll make my original point again, the one which was rejected and rushed past:

You don't want it to be a religious explanation, so you don't find any of it satisfying.

It's there in the mitochondrial DNA of your argument: "All the unexplained storylines didn't annoy you at all?"

No, because that's just your framing. There were explanations. You just didn't like them.

"the convenience" you speak of wasn't... how the things tied together wasn't coincidental. They made up the whole.

"How Kira was used was such a cheat. For some reason, her father taught her how to play a piece of music that not only awakened the original cylons, it ended up being the coordinates to their eventual home. PLUS, she ended up being able to paint the star that would eventually lead them to earth. Oh, and the hybrids seemed to `prophesize' that she was the harbinger of death, but actually wasn't- that was just meant to tantalize the viewer, I guess. Plus, she `dies' only to be resurrected to be able to show the way to earth. Wow, is she the most convenient character in the history of television, or what? Too bad not one bit of it made any sense, whatsoever."

Uh, yeah. Except no.

From the moment she returned on that Viper, in the back of my mind I id'd her as the character who returned from the dead. That's a bit of a tip. She had visions, she never knew what they meant. Her father passed info to her. She never knew what it meant. She died. She rose. She walked the earth (or the Battlestar) for a while and took actions, and then, her work done, she went. Like, oh I don't know...that other guy did after he was crucified.

She wasn't a God because she didn't have all the answers, but she was somehow more than human because she had signs given to her..oh, and the whole returned from the dead thing.

13 years of catechism and study of biblical myth meant that the final revelation of Kara Thrace wasn't "convenient" and "made no sense." I got it. It felt fine. Kara thrace will lead the humans to their end. Fine. She did.

People were given dreams and prophecies. They were inexact. The opera house turned out not to be the opera house. Earth turned out not to be THE earth.

You guys are fixing on all these things -- "they wouldn't give up technology" -- why would this happen, why would that happen -- and you point to them as flaws because though you deny it you wanted there to be a rationalist explanation for it all.

Yet way back when Head Balter showed up for Caprica I thought, "oh ho ho." And immediately thought, okay, they're angels. I wasn't sure. I filed it away. But you have to admit that was a possibility from the beginning. All Head Six ever did was talk about God's will, after all...

There simply is no answer to any of these arguments. (Again, except for the anthropological stuff, for which there are TONS of relevant counter arguments, but the rationalist counter arguments there aren't the point either.)

Even now you want to cling to 150 000? Preposterous! And no one would possibly give over this or that, and why wouldn't farming be passed down etc etc. because you are angry that in the end, the explanations and revelations and actions were all about Faith.

That was always one of the possibilities. But you can't believe it's the one you chose.

I can't make you feel comfortable with it. But it was always going there.

The original show had elements of the Book of Mormon, for pity's sake. Moore signalled it was going here a long, long time ago. But maybe you just needed the BG to not be surprised.

I don't know if that's true or not. All I know is it's funny that everybody keeps wanting me to cop to all the inconsistencies and "loose ends" and "cop out's" like they're empirically undeniable.

They're not.

It was a great ending.

It was about faith.

The end.

Totally satisfied.

Killer isn't it?

By Blogger DMc, at 3:03 PM  

Stepping away from it all, the whole ending of the show is incredibly ironic. Religion began in order to explain things that people couldn't. How does the sun move across the sky? The Sun God moves it. How does lightening happen? The Lightening God creates it. As people started learning more about how things happened, people started to think more rationally. In the early times, God was a replacement for science, because science didn't exist.

Moore also used religion to explain everything that defied explanation on his show. The problem, though, is that Moore is the one who created everything, so he really should understand them. And I'm not talking about the prophesies or people that only certain characters could see. I'm talking about all those elements or storylines that has no logic to them, even within the logic of the show.

For example:

- If the Final Five created the 7 (or how many there are) models, and the Final Five were thousands of years old and came from a far away planet, what do they have to do with the cylons the humans created and ended up rebelling? Nothing. It's a completely illogical storyline. Unfortunately, the entire series is based on that fact.

- The hybrid AND Sam tell Kara (I was misspelling her name, I guess) she is the harbinger of death. Those were their exact words. How was she the harbinger of death? She wasn't. It was just a trick the writers used in order to make the viewer think there was something ominous. Yes, she leads them to their end, but that was only part of it. Why was she the harbinger of death?

- Teigh and Adama knew each other during the first cylon war, but according to the newly rewritten history, that wasn't possible.

There are others, but those are the ones that jump out right now.

And the reason I talk about how everything was so convenient was because, if there is a god, or whatever, that could bring Kara back to life AND build an entirely new Viper, implant a song into her head when she was a child that would basically save mankind decades later, implant visions of a dying sun years before she would ever see it, wouldn't there have been a lot better ways to go about things? Well, no, because then we would have all this stuff happen for us to watch.

I will admit I'm an atheist, but I didn't have a problem with the religious overtones of the series. It was a television series and I enjoyed how it was used. I didn't question many of the otherworldly elements. I felt they were well placed and added to the story.

I would have bought the ending a whole lot more if Moore had set it up a lot better. THAT is my big problem. If he wants to go with the religious/god thing, fine, but he has to be consistent with it, which he wasn't. Not at all. He didn't follow his own logic that he had set up. That's the problem I have with the ending. And OF COURSE, it's convenient to end that way. It's the easiest way to `explain' everything without having to actually explain it. It's lazy.

And no, I'm not upset about the religious angle. I'm upset when things don't stick to their own logic. An example: I used to love WKRP when I was a kid, but one thing that bugged the crap out of me was an episode where it comes out that Venus was a deserter from the army. That whole storyline contradicted an earlier episode that told Venus and Andy's backstory and how they were friends before they came to WKRP. And there was nothing religious there. I just don't like being lied to. That's what Moore did. Chalking my disappointment up to my religious views is as convenient as, well, you get the picture. And a little insulting. Maybe, just maybe, I have a point to my argument. You liked it. Great. It doesn't mean that I'm wrong.

By Blogger Tim W., at 4:09 PM  

@Tim: to be fair, they never said OF WHOM Kara would be the harbinger of death.

And supposedly, Racetrack's nukes pushed the colony into the black hole. (Not that gravity works that way, but nevermind.)

And Earth kills off the rest of the Cylon race, leaving only Hera's genes and the Centurions.

So gotta give Moore that one.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:40 PM  

@Tim W.
1. The Final Five traveled, without FTL drives, to warn the humans of the 12 Colonies not to try building AI because it would rebel against them. The old metal toasters were already working on creating their own skinjobs unsuccessfully - those ended up as the hybrids - and the Final Five offered to help them and give them resurrection to stop the war with the 12 Colonies.

This was their second attempt at breaking the cycle, since they'd failed to stop genocide on Earth.

2. Kara was the harbinger of death for the Cylons. Destruction of resurrection = death. She was also the one who brought the humans to their end. There are no people alive on new Earth who are descended from any of the 12 Colonists except Helo-through-Hera.

3. Tigh and Adama met shortly after the first Cylon war as I recall.

As for why the difficult journey, in traditional religious texts we find that
a) God is mysterious
b) God rarely reveals Himself directly

The only way the survivors were going to give up all their technology was if they were forced to endure a nightmare of (forgive me) biblical proportions. The destruction of the 12 Colonies, years trapped in tin cans, the horrors of New Caprica, and endless war are comparable to the months the Ark drifted on the deluge before the first mountain peaks became visible. After all that privation, the decision to go back to the land makes some sense.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 6:52 PM  

I am one of the atheists who would have had no problem with the "God did it" ending if it had seemed more integrated with the series as a whole.

Hell, I wrote a pilot for a series that was constructed to take place today but with the explicit point of building toward Ragnarok, the final battle between the Aesir and the Giants. Completely about religion from the first episode to the last.

I have no problem using fictional characters like Odin or the Holy Trinity- and I have no problem when others use them in their fiction. I just want it to make sense and be consistent.

Actually, I do see Kara Thrace as the harbinger of death. She is the one who guided the Galactica to our earth and brought the pandemic genocide that wiped out the indigenous humans. I just don't see it as very pleasant or satisfying.

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 8:38 PM  

@RA: Hera being Mitochondrial Eve does not mean that there is no genetic legacy of the other 30,000 colonists. It means that Hera is the woman whose legacy we all share along purely maternal lines. We might have lots of colonist DNA along mixed maternal and paternal lines. But we wouldn't necessarily have mitochondrial DNA from them.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 8:55 PM  

Tim,
Trying to be gentle here, but a lot of your points are misremembered. R.A.'s and Alex's clarifications of your objections are actually closer to the text as presented in the show.

I do think your opinion is valid, and that you have a point. I've said that many times.

But the essence of your argument is that it wasn't set up.

It was. I gave you a few concrete examples of what MY reaction was where some of the things that YOU saw as "out of the blue" I completely found consistent and expected based on clues that were dropped. But in order to see those clues, it helped to have a bit of a grounding in the religious tropes. Not a degree in theology mind you -- I'm a lapsed lay Catholic, which makes me pretty low on the whole religion totem pole.

In the end, of course, this is EXACTLY the same thing as any fight about religion and faith. You're never going to see it the way I see it. I do claim trump (sorry about that) by saying I do understand your arguments. But I think I also understand why you're making them.

I'm sorry you think that's me belittling or dismissing you. I assure you that's not my intent in any way.

By Blogger DMc, at 9:16 PM  

DMc, no need to be gentle, I've lubed up, already. Oh, wait...

Anyway, you might be right, I may be misremembering some things, but not everything. I certainly don't remember the fact that the hybrids were unsuccessful attempts. Could be, though.

I think calling Kara the harbinger of death for the cylons is a very big reach. As far as I can recall, she didn't have anything more to do with the attack on the resurrection ship than anyone else.

You feel the ending was set up sufficiently. I don't. I understand your argument, I just don't agree that it's not incredibly convenient.

It does remind me a little of M. Night Shyamalan's movie, Signs, which I actually enjoyed. It was about faith and had many of the same elements as the series. In Signs, however, I bought the ending. As an atheist, I thought it was completely devoid of reality, but in the context of the movie, I bought it and appreciated it. The difference was that I thought it was set up well. The ending didn't seem convenient.

Perhaps I'm just a tougher critic than you when it comes to things like this. I've never worked on a series, so I'm, perhaps, not as forgiving about certain things.

Again, I may come off like I hated the ending, but I didn't. I obviously felt they could have handled it a lot better, but I've seen a hell of a lot worse season finales.

By Blogger Tim W., at 2:30 AM  

I'm quite amazed very few people have remembered that there is a prequel movie coming soon, so some of the "big" questions may yet still be answered. For example, the whole Starbuck thing...the more I think about it the less I believe that she is just an "angel" but somehow falls into this bigger Cylon "Plan" (although she currently isn't confirmed as starring in the prequel, so I may be wrong).
Think about Kara/Cylon moments in the series.
1) Kara's ovary being removed on Caprica, which coincided with her first meeting with Anders.
2) Leoben on New Caprica. Has the idea of birth/rebirth with Kara constantly killing Leoben. He also says they have produced a Cylon hybrid using her DNA. He also constantly mentions her special destiny in the future of the human race.
3) Anders connection to her I thought was crucial. "New" Kara appeared first when Anders was scanned by the Cylon ship at the end of series 3. On top of that, Kara vanishing at the end of the finale surely coincided with Anders crashing the Battlestar into the Sun?
Her appearance/dissappearance is too closely linked to him as far as I can confirmed!
On top of all this, all of the "spiritual" beings in the series have massive Cyclon connections, so I think/hope "The Plan" would address the idea of the Cylon God. That there is quite literally a "Deus Ex Machina" would certainly make me smile.

By OpenID robtamlyn, at 8:25 AM  

Ha! I never engaged with BSG(2) from the beginning - and now you're telling me they went for the Chariots of the Gods option? Am I glad I watched all that other stuff!

By Blogger blogward, at 6:38 PM  

Just to add - without snarking - that I would have wrapped it up by indicating that what those who stuck with it had witnessed had been replicated a billion times in a trillion places throughout the cosmos - in other words the huge epic that has just ended wasn't even a footnote on a back page in cosmic history. A bit of self-deprecation, instead of the overblown semi-symbolism that put me off in the first place.

By Blogger blogward, at 6:49 PM  

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