It is easy to look back on the history of Battlestar Galactica and appreciate what it did to break the conventions of the space opera and how well it played the role of NOT Star Trek. The series creator, Ron Moore, and his collection of writers made great strides in making something completely different. It was dark and gritty, and there was nothing but bleakness around every corner. The ship was falling apart along with most of the relationships the crew had. The show should not have ended well.
So why did it? Why did it end with an hour of optimism and the founding of a new race without the baggage of their own hate and technology? Why say that everything was shaped by God? The two “head” characters are angels, and one can make the supposition that Kara Thrace was an instrument of God in the long run. (Or, given how she disappeared, she’s Batman.)
It feels like the last hour of the show and its final revelations were out of place. The series is the great Battlestar Galactica, which challenged viewers around every turn. There aren’t too many shows that go out of their way to take five established characters and turn them on their heads – and manage to do so without being a complete deal breaker. I know that there are people who tuned out at that point, but it was still worthwhile. It still all worked.
Then comes the ending, which involves everything being far too easy. Baltar’s redemption, in the eyes of God, is found in carrying a child 10 feet into the opera house. Caprica Six’s redemption is found in accompanying them. The opera house was where they were always located! Cavil, the bleeding nihilist, was subdued by Baltar’s speech regarding theology and the promise of resurrection. The notes of Kara’s song are actually the coordinates of what seems to be our Earth 150,000 years ago. The cylon toasters are OK with just flying away in the end. And the people on Galactica are fine with basically forgetting their relationships and colonizing various different continents. Everything fell into place way too easily, and it’s all because God made it so. The worst part of that is that Gaius Baltar, who is supposed to be full of shit, was right about so very much. It felt cheap.
The entire ending was not cheap, though. The first two parts of the three-parter were fine. There were so many things about those episodes that seemed so right. It’s that last hour that bugs me. It disappointed me. It was not Battlestar Galactica. It was something completely different. Some might say the challenge in the end was in accepting something easy for a change. And I say that’s crap. I don’t know what was going through the heads of all those involved, but this wasn’t right.
And the montage of real-life robots in the end? All we needed was “THE END?” and to call it a night. So much for breaking the cycle. At least one show was cleared off of my Friday night/Saturday morning schedule.