Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 3/23/09

“Earth is a dream.”
—Bill Adama

This was the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series finale I was dreaming about: a near-perfect payoff; my reward for carefully watching this intricate, challenging story for years. The Lords of Kobol gave us the perfect capstone; an ending that complements the beginning and middle of an often-surprising, consistently entertaining series. This will be remembered for 150,000 years. There was near-perfect symmetry in the series: The story began with the Cylons attacking the 12 Colonies and very nearly wiping out humanity; it ended with the humans attacking the Cylon Colony, and probably wiping out the humanoid models. The ancient battlestar, Galactica, was scheduled to be scrapped when the miniseries began; it was literally melted down in our sun (accompanied by the 1978 theme music) at the end. In the beginning, Cylons tried to destroy Galactica; in the end, the Five helped save it. The dream of the Opera House — first seen in the season one finale — was literally acted out in the corridors of Galactica in the series finale. Baltar and Six embraced the roles dictated by destiny — excuse me, God. Heck, everyone embraced their prophesied roles. Religion itself, which has been a driving force throughout the series, was finally validated with the reveal that Virtual Six and Virtual Baltar were, indeed, angels — or at least agents of God. (“You now it doesn’t like that name,” Angel Baltar chided. LOL) But what the hell was Starbuck? Most likely an angel as well. She fulfilled her destiny as the “harbinger of doom” by leading mankind to the dead husk of the original Earth, but resurrected and delivered humanity to the promised land at last. And “dying leader” Laura Roslin actually got to see it happen.

I know, I’m just gushing, but can you blame me? The double-size episode had just about everything: action, romance, friendship, betrayal, sacrifice, heroism, cowardice, life, death, love, hate and revelation. And the renewal of hope. There’s too much to talk about so, by your command, I’ll try to organize it all with bullet points.

•The character backstories were completed. We learned how Laura ended up in politics, why Lee enlisted and why Adama was being put out to pasture with his ship. Speaking of his ship, when the old man did took his final flight, he was flying his old personal Viper (callsign “Husker”) — the one Tyrol and the deckhands gave him as a retirement present in the very first episode. So he finally got to fly it.

•I liked Lee’s idea to abandon technology: “We break the cycle. Leave it all behind and start over.” However, it was a choice I could never make. I wonder if any of the other 39,000+ survivors resented going native?

•Since the Sixes and Eights stayed on Earth, the Ones, Fours and Fives were left with no female Cylons, so unless they were able to figure out the secret of resurrection from the bits that were transmitted to the Colony, all the Cavils, Simons and Dorals died out. I presume there might have been a handful of Sharons left scattered on a few surviving basestars, but the chances of conceiving children “naturally” were too remote to save the race. Did you notice that the Colony was guarded by old-school, 1978-vintage Centurions? But I heard nary a “By your command.” Let’s hope giving the modern Centurions the basestar convinced them not to try build humanoid models again. “All this has happened before,” Angel Six noted. “But does it all have to happen again,” Angel Baltar responded. Does it, indeed?

•Dr. Gaius Baltar, the man who betrayed the human race, got a happily-ever-after. He got live on a lush new world with his beloved Caprica Six because it turned out he wasn’t evil (or just weak) — he was just playing his role in God’s plan. Virtual Six assured him all along that he was playing a pivotal role in God’s grand scheme, and now we know she was serious. When Cavil held Hera at gunpoint, he demanded to know, “How do you know God’s on your side?” Baltar answered that God isn’t on anyone’s side. “God’s a force of nature, beyond good and evil.”

•The quiet way Laura slipped away while watching the animals and listening to Bill jabber was touching. I was so glad he got to say goodbye to the people who mattered to him. The final exchange of his signature greeting with Starbuck — “What do you hear, Starbuck?” “Nothing but the rain.” “Then grab your gun and bring in the cat.” — was the same thing they said when we first saw them in the very first episode of the miniseries.

•When Bill ordered Kara to jump the ship without the rendezvous coordinates, she moaned, “There must be some kind of way out of here.” I’ll bet that was the precise moment you thought of the mathematical formulae Kara made from Hera’s music. After delivering the ragtag fleet to paradise, Kara said goodbye to Lee and simply evaporated. “I’ve completed my journey,” she said. “It feels good.”

Just like watching this episode felt good. After such a long journey, it’s good to finally reach your destination and relax. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore, who shepherded this reimagining of the series to TV, rewarded himself by playing the man reading the National Geographic at the end of the episode. It’s good to be the boss. And even though the series is over, it’s a frakkin’ good time to be a fan of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. So say we all!

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