Battlestar Galactica's Last Half-Hour: An Epic Failure Of Storytelling
You have got to be kidding me. No way, not now, not never, not ever would a true story end in that way. Okay, so let’s recap – after years of flight and struggle and death and despair and pain and loss and grief, after a climactic battle where the Human survivors and the rebel Cylons go toe to toe with the Cylon’s Cavil faction and succeed, after they finally reach a beautiful, habitable planet….they all decide that technology is eeevilll and that they have to discard it, send all the ships off to destruction in the sun, then head off to live pre-technology lives in what turns out to be the distant past of our Earth.
Please, just frak off.
The idea that these 38000 survivors from a technological civlisation would simply abandon it all in favour of a primitive existence is, quite frankly, insultingly idiotic. What was going through Ron Moore’s head when he came up with this gargantuan, brain-dung of an ending? Think it through – how terrific is the hunter-gatherer lifestyle going to look when suddenly you fall and break your leg in a compound fracture? What about dental caries and other teeth problems? What if you need to get your appendix out? Or if a woman goes into labour and there are complications – without all that tech that got dumped how could you know what’s wrong, and how could she and/or the baby possibly survive? Don’t you think that among those 38000+ people there would a few who would stand up and say, “Are you out of your tiny frakkin mind, Lee Adama?” These are the people who rioted over food shortages, went on strike, and were just generally obstreporous – isn’t it plausible that a sizeable fraction of them would profoundly, strenuously disagree and go off and found their own city?
That’s what is known as genuine, authentic consequences, which is what Ron Moore would have written about if he hadn’t had such a catastrophic failure of nerve. And laid bare the fact that he didn’t really know how the story was going to end. We’ve been here before, of course, with the Matrix Trilogy, with that dumb as a bag of bolts ending where all the anguish and struggle and fighting and Trinity’s death lead to….a stalemate with the Machine. Which also proved that the Wachowskis did not know how to end the story in an honest, plausible manner (and when I say honest, I mean dramatically honest).
And as you might guess, my feelings on the whole Deus Ex Machina justification for all the visions and presences and pseudo-mystical blah – ie that God done it! – are scarcely printable. I had thought that the episodes Revelations, Sometimes A Great Notion, and A Disquiet Follows My Soul, were intended to kick the legs out from under the whole mystical foretellings of both the Cylon monotheism and the Lords of Kobol polytheism, kind of a bonfire of the prophecies. How wrong I was. The Six in Baltar’s head, with all that creepy monomaniacal God’s Plan freakery, was the actual, in-context underpinning for everything. Moore himself claims to be agnostic, but you’d never have guessed it from BSG. Personally, I could have just about accepted some kind of immanent spirit of humanity trying to move the pieces around, or even some kind of overmind, just about anything except god and angels. That combined with the irredeemably inane ending left me feeling cheated, robbed and FEROCIOUSLY PISSED OFF!
Of course, there is another word to describe this state of mind. Once, a mate of mine called John, seeing I was down in the dumps, asked how I felt. “Disillusioned,” was my reply. “Great!” he said. Taken aback, I asked what he meant, and he said, “Well, think about it – what is the opposite of being disillusioned, and which of those mind states would you rather be in!”
Which is exactly right – it is far better to see things as they really are, rather than cling to illusion. It is just sad and appalling that, in terms of the overall dramatic shape, the four seasons and the miniseries and the film were all undone by that final half-hour of ill-conceived story denouement. And the truth is that I can’t let it go, just cannot put it aside and move on to something else, not yet. I have to have something more, a better ending, a true ending. Even if I have to write it myself.
Another couple of subarguments came to mind since posting the above. Doc Cottle – what do you imagine his response would be to the suggestion that all his medical equipment and files and drugs and so forth are to be just sent off to burn in the sun? Most likely, not a polite one since he would still be treating the wounded from the battle they’d just gone through!
Also, there is one word which undermines the notion of it all taking place 150K years ago – anachronism, being the incidence of cultural markers appearing out of place. The 12 tribes and their worlds, named after houses of the Zodiac, the use of cultural artefacts from our past as scene props and dressing (pictures and statuettes etc), the episode ‘Sine Qua Non’ which, as you can see, is in Latin (meaning ‘indispensable condition’), a phrase which one of the characters quotes to another (Lambkin and Adama, I think). This is all convincing proof that our age is the past for the Humans of the 12 colonies. Yet Moore has the utter affrontery to claim that some kind of collective unconscious carries it all forward 150thousand years, so that Bob Dylan picks ‘All along the watchtower’ out of the ether, and later Jimi Hendrix covers it. Krap. How old do you think we are, Mr Moore – 8?
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