Al and Lissa do Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5

So, about a year ago, during an interminable hiatus, Al and I brought you our Top Ten Moments of Battlestar Galactica, plus the bottom five.   But now, the hiatus has come to an end.  And so has the series.  And so has our own hiatus.

Battlestar Galactica is undoubtedly one of the best series to ever hit television.  Al and I both believe this devoutly.  It’s hailed as a show for geeks, and I suppose we can’t deny it.  Because only a geek would say, “Hey, Al!  Want to drive four hours each way to watch the finale with us?”  And only a fellow geek would say “Heck yeah!”  And in case you need further proof of geekdom, our three year old serenaded Al with a pitch perfect rendition of the Imperial Death March.  (I’m not joking about that.)

Anyway.  If you have not watched the finale of Battlestar Galactica, do not read the rest of this post.  And don’t think you can get away with reading up to the episode you’re on, because we’re giving away everything here, wherever we please.  Besides, your time would be much better spent watching the show anyway.

So, those of you who’ve watched it all, come with us into Season 4.5!

The Face of the Enemy Webisodes

Lissa: Let’s just get this out of the way right here, right now.  Gaeta is my favorite character, and anything that meant he had more time on screen was a good thing for me, okay?  Also, let’s establish another thing: unlike the Resistance webisodes from Season 3, these are essential viewing.  Not only do you get why Gaeta is so suddenly anti-Cylon, more importantly, you get why Gaeta (and Racetrack) are so suddenly anti-Adama.  Adama fails Gaeta hard in these webisodes, first by waiting two days to look for his Raptor, and then brushing the fact that a Cylon killed three humans under the rug.  (Plus, he puts his morpha-addicted, traumatized officer right back on duty.)   Not to mention, if you want to have ANY idea of Hoshi’s personality, this is the only place you’re going to get it.

However, the webisodes definitely had their downsides.  For one, there are a lot of things seen in the webisodes that never appear in the series at all, like Gaeta’s morpha addiction and the fact Gaeta and Hoshi were lovers.  Plus, after thirty seconds of the same exact preview for Rise of the Lycans and thirty seconds of recap, you weren’t treated to a whole lot of new footage.  Finally, Gaeta’s Eight was about as Bond villain-y as you can get, right down to the monologue.  But I’m still wishing this could have been a full episode (or the A plot of an episode, anyway), and we could be rid of Deadlocked.

Al: These were certainly a step up from The Resistance webisodes, no question.  I like that they allow us inside Gaeta’s head a bit more than before, especially considering how quickly his story ramps up from here.  I was also happy to see that they weren’t afraid to make a crazy Eight (heh) instead of just another Cylon-hating human who can’t get past their biases.

Sometimes a Great Notion

Al: There’s a joke in here about starting off with a bang, but I don’t think I have the heart to make it.

Sometimes a Great Notion is far and away the darkest place Battlestar Galactica ever goes and, for a show that’s built its reputation on unflinching darkness, that means this is downright brutal.  Major questions are answered and new questions are brought up, but this episode is less concerned about forward motion than it is with reaction.  In Ron Moore’s podcast, he says, “I wanted them to deal with what happens when it sucks,” and watching despair sweep the fleet is as painful as it is fascinating.  Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas in particular are so good it’s almost hard to watch, but everyone from Roslin and Adama on down just tears your guts out here.  It’s not feel-good television, but it is great television.

Lissa: Oh, DEE!!!!!!!!

This episode broke my heart.  I LOVE Dee.  Dee is smart and strong and an awesome female character, and was criminally underused in Season 4.0.  My personal opinion is Dee’s screen death began when she married Lee- the writers knew she had an interesting relationship with an Adama, but they got the wrong Adama.  Dee’s father-daughter relationship with Bill was neglected, which was a mistake, especially since she actually became his daughter-in-law.

Anyway, I agree with what Al said and would like to add how glad I am they revealed the Fifth here.  The truth is that I don’t think the Fifth was ever supposed to be as big a deal as the media and the fans made it out to be, and no matter who it ended up being, it was going to be anticlimactic thanks to the hiatus.  (I mean, there were only so many people it COULD be, and the internet had literally guessed them ALL.)  The reveal of Ellen as the Fifth was well done, and I just adored Saul in that moment as well.

A Disquiet Follows My Soul

Lissa: This was Ron’s directorial debut and one of the episodes he wrote this season.  Disquiet was an odd episode for me, because I can recall certain scenes (Gaeta and Starbuck’s catfight being one of the biggies), but I can’t actually remember the plot.  I do remember getting a little ticked off.  Ron Moore and I do NOT agree on the character of Tom Zarek.  I think he’s a twisted idealist who is willing to use any (and I mean any) means to accomplish his vision.  Ron thinks he’s much more of a black hat villain after personal power.  It’s not that I don’t want Zarek to be a ruthless terrorist type- I totally do.  He’s just so much more interesting if he really is a visionary, even if I don’t agree with his vision.  But Ron seemed to want to argue with me here.

One question, though.  That last scene, before he shakes hands with Gaeta, Zarek was washing his hands.  Um, not to be coarse or anything, but how did the scene immediately prior to that go?  “Keep talking mutiny, I’m all ears.  But excuse me, I really have to pee while you talk.”  (And yes, I get the symbolism of washing his hands clean.  But come on- he was in a jail cell.  What else would he have been doing that necessitated washing his hands?)

Anyway, this episode is complete set up for the mutiny arc, but I thought it was well done, even if it didn’t flow together right for me.  The pieces were great, but this is one case where the whole was less than the sum of its parts.

Al: Yeah, Disquiet is one of the harder episodes to place this season; it seems more focused on moving the chains of the story than telling one of its own.  Like you said, I really wish there could’ve been one episode before this where Zarek got to be the rightheaded guy with a legitimate point of view.  Just one.  (Maybe erasing The Woman King could’ve opened up a spot?)  The budding alliance of Gaeta and Zarek was nevertheless great and I don’t think anyone expected otherwise.  Alessandro Juliani and Richard Hatch know these characters inside and out, and it shows in a big way.

On the flipside, however, is little Nicky Tyrol, who gets shafted by a plot resolution that is just embarrassing for a show of this caliber.  I have no qualms about removing Nicky from the equation and placing all the pressure back on Hera, but making Cally a posthumous hussy is an enormous copout.  Bad form, Galactica.

One last note: the final scene with Roslin and Adama freaked me out.  It’s nice to finally know they are together together, but it felt like I was walking in on mom and dad.  Gross.

The Oath

Al: The Oath is definitely my favorite Galactica action episode.  It doesn’t have the resonance of Blood on the Scales or the big-ticket effects of Exodus II, but I love the explosion of resentment and anger that have essentially been bubbling since New Caprica.  We’ve had conversations in the past about Ron Moore’s obstinate refusal to present Tom Zarek as a three-dimensional character (see above), and I think the episode suffers just a bit because of it, but this is a truly minor quibble.  The loud moments of The Oath—Starbuck gunslinging in the hangar, Bill and Saul’s last stand—are some of my absolute favorites of the entire series, and the quiet moments—Gaeta pulling everyone’s strings before the takeover, the mutineer crew not quite knowing how to work CIC, Lee and Kara’s spontaneous kiss—really cement it as one of the best BSG has ever offered.  Plus, it has Gaius Baltar spitting in my face by going back to his old, cowardly ways.  Have I ever loved to hate someone so much?

Lissa: I agree completely with Al.  I’d say I have nothing to add, but that’s bull, because I can’t resist making this rant whenever I have the opportunity.

The thing is, Tom Zarek was RIGHT.  Okay, Laura and Bill?  He is the frakking VICE PRESIDENT.  If the President does not want to perform her duties, then guess who’s next in line?  THE VICE PRESIDENT.  CHILDREN know that.  And why is Zarek (who LAURA ROSLIN made Vice President when she illegally took over the Presidency after New Caprica) not being allowed to serve as President when Laura is incapacitated?  Because Bill Adama is throwing a tantrum and doesn’t like Tom.  Aside from the Circle (which come on! Could we have addressed how Zarek ordered Gaeta’s death at one point?), Tom has done nothing naughty on screen in the position of the Vice President.  He has not blown anything up, he hasn’t killed anyone (outside of the Circle, which Adama never cited)… as far as we know- and as far as Adama knows, given that all his “evidence” was laundry reports- Zarek has done nothing illegal as Vice President since the Circle.  Adama’s being a bratty little SNOT.

I am very glad that Lee acknowledged the other thing that Zarek is right about- the Cylons BLEW UP HUMANITY.  As an omniscient viewer, I agree with the alliance that’s being struck between the renegade Cylons and the Colonials.  But if I was in that Fleet, I’d be resisting it with everything I had, especially if my husband and boys had been back on our home planet.  I loved Lee Adama in that moment for recognizing that.  Yes, peace was necessary. But they also killed…

Well, see that’s the other thing here.  One of the things I feel like the show lost sight of was that this was not 9/11.  This was not like anything we know on Earth.  This was the eradication of twenty (or fifty, depending on which episode you’re watching) BILLION people.  Everyone.  Every. Last. Person.  That was the Cylons’ intention, and very nearly the fact.  And when RDM decided to try to make the Cylons sympathetic… I still couldn’t get over the fact that (until The Plan retconned it), every last one of these machines voted to annihilate humanity, less than four years ago.  And the way it was presented, if you couldn’t get over that, you were wrong and prejudiced.  Look, it’s one thing to make a point about racism in the real world, but in this case, the racists ARE RIGHT.  The Cylons DID blow up humanity. And they were all in on it.   It just frustrates me.

So in conclusion, The Oath was awesome, and GO TEAM MUTINY!

Blood on the Scales

Lissa: Best episode of the season.  Seriously.  This one had it all- action, shades of gray, morality issues, amazing acting… I was on the edge of my seat.  Okay, so I totally knew what side was going to win (was there ever any doubt?), but I honestly wasn’t sure if Gaeta and Zarek would manage to survive.  And yes, Ron Moore killed off my two favorite characters IN THE SAME SECOND, and I still loved it.  Now that’s good writing!

I don’t have anything negative to say about this episode, but I do want to point out that the dynamic between Gaeta and Zarek was very sad and interesting.  They knew each other on New Caprica, of course, but we’ve never, ever seen them on screen together.  Gaeta’s been being isolated for so long, it was interesting to see Zarek treat him with more compassion and respect than we’ve seen anyone on Galactica do, especially since he lost his leg (Hoshi notwithstanding).   And one of the things I desperately loved about this arc was that Gaeta was in no way Zarek’s puppet, and they both knew it.  In fact, Zarek was the first one we’ve really seen acknowledge Gaeta’s worth, when he calls Gaeta is partner in A Disquiet Follows My Soul.

Although it completely broke my heart.

Al: Well, geez.  Way to leave me nothing to say.  I think if you could take any scene in Blood on the Scales and implant it in another episode; it would instantly become the highlight of that episode.  It’s really that good.  My personal favorites are all Gaeta-centric, which isn’t surprising: first, the drumhead trial of Adama, where Gaeta is desperately trying to prove his rightness to himself and to anyone who will listen.  Next is Laura’s fantastic, hysterical speech from the Basestar to the mutineers when she thinks Adama’s been killed; and last is the sad, thoughtful chat Gaeta shares with Baltar before his execution.  Alessandro Juliani never fails to surprise me in this show; I really hope he goes far.

No Exit

Al: Can we just go ahead and call this one “Plot: The Episode?”  I mean, I appreciate the desire to get the backstory settled once and for all so the current plot can move forward, but, man, what an exposition dump.  I give all the credit in the world, though, to Michael Trucco, Dean Stockwell, and Kate Vernon for delivering these mouthfuls more gracefully than I ever would have thought possible.  Stockwell, wrapped up in his magnificent anger and self-loathing, is the easy pick for a standout performance, but I really want to mention Katee Sackhoff.  She’s easy to overlook, I think, since this is not a Starbuck episode, but she does a really tremendous job feeling conflicted and vulnerable and left out in the middle of all this mystical, important stuff.

Beyond that, I’m not sure that I have a ton more to say about No Exit.  It won’t win BSG any new fans, but it answers a lot of questions and introduces some fun, new wrinkles.  I guess that’s a good thing. (Wow, talk about damning with faint praise, huh?)

Lissa: Amen, amen.  No Exit was a meh episode for me, because it was such an info dump, but I didn’t hate the info.  And I totally agree about the acting.  (I can’t think of too many times my quibbles have been with the acting.  They’ve almost always been with the writing.  And whatever hairstylist butchered Hoshi’s hair.)  Yeah, not much to add here- it was really a very forgettable episode.  Mid season wasteland, you said?

Deadlock

Lissa: Oh.  Good.  God.  Where do I begin?

I liked Black Market better.

Okay, I’m not sure about that, but I liked The Woman King better, that’s for sure.  First of all, this Cylon belief of love makes babies HAS to go.  I hate it, and I find the implications of it offensive and would have been even more disturbed with this episode if I struggled with infertility or had a miscarriage.  I realize that the writers aren’t saying the Cylons are right, but… but.  I hated the Tigh-Caprica Six baby arc anyway, and the idea that he loved her and she loved him just strikes me as ridiculous, since he WAS using Ellen as his mental porn, and she was using Baltar.  Hate this.  Hate it hate it HATE IT.  Second, the only reason I understand why Tyrol was suddenly voting to go was that I read Aaron Douglas’s reasoning behind it.  The only reason I understand why Adama was willing to arm Baltar’s cult (good GOD) was because I read a recap of the podcast.  Ditto what the frak happened to the mutineers.   Let’s show some of this stuff on the screen, okay?

And then there’s the bromance between Tigh and Adama.  I mean, I love the bromance, don’t get me wrong.  It’s one of the best parts of the show.  But wow, these two need their own beer commercial or something, because it was really getting soppy.

Definitely the worst episode of 4.5.

Al: Yeah, this is one instance where my dislike actually kind of crept up on me. The should-we-stay-or-should-we-go plot doesn’t interest me much, but Deadlock had so many long-awaited reunions and showdowns that I missed a lot of its problems the first time through.  I dislike the Tigh/Caprica Six…thing, but I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when Ellen was thrown back into the mix and the ensuing catfight didn’t disappoint.  Seeing Boomer and Chief together again was disappointingly short here, but I really liked how Chief could immediately tell that it was not just a random Sharon.  Same goes for Baltar and his return to Galactica.  All in all, there are really great performances and great scenes around the horn in Deadlock.

Unfortunately, this is completely undermined by the writers giving any credence to the “you must be truly in love to have a baby” garbage.  If the characters choose to buy into to that idea, fine.  But granting it any legitimacy in the script is disgusting and offensive.  I think you covered it pretty well, Liss, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Al: I was rewatching this not so long ago and I suddenly realized that I didn’t really know if this was a Kara story with a Boomer b-side or a Boomer story with a Kara b-side.  The big climax with the song in the bar (sounds like musical episode, no?) is definitely Starbuck-based, but the best stuff in the episode belongs to the Cylons without question.  Athena getting beaten into submission and forced to watch Boomer have sex with her husband?  Ghost Dad can’t hold a candle to it.  And on the slightly less disturbing level, I’m really intrigued with the new dynamic between Sharon and Chief, now that everyone’s cards are on the table.  I wish we were given more time to explore that before the plot got in the way.

Lissa: This is one of those episodes I wish had taken place earlier.  Wouldn’t it have been awesome to have this instead of Black Market?  I loved the Kara stuff, and Katee Sackhoff did an amazing job.  (I also liked seeing Mike from Days of Our Lives again.  Hee.)  However, this close to the end, all the Kara backstory seemed… slow.  I wish they’d shown us this earlier.

The Boomer stuff, however, was FANTASTIC.  I loved the whole plot of Boomer kidnapping Hera (poor Hera).  And poor Athena.  And poor Helo.  You know, I know he was enthusiastic about it, but I think technically, Boomer raped Helo.  I mean, he really didn’t know who she was.  (Also?  If I was Athena, I would have gotten a tattoo or something.)  This stuff was classic BSG, and if the Starbuck stuff had had a better place, they could have investigated that Boomer-Chief dynamic that Al was talking about more.  I would have much rather seen more of this plot, and had Starbuck’s daddy in Season 3.  Although the piano moment when she played All Along the Watchtower gave me real chills.  (Also?  Bear McCreary, the score’s composer, demonstrates how to PROPERLY do a cameo- a lesson that Ron Moore should have followed.)

Islanded in a Stream of Stars

Lissa: This is another one of those episodes where I can’t remember the main plot of what happened, but I remember bits and pieces and individual scenes.  Especially the ones with Boomer and Hera, and Hera projecting the cupcake.  (Because come on, how cute was that?)  And the Tigh and Adama scene at the end.  This was the episode where I felt like crying, because I knew the Galactica was going to die.  And that was worse than any of the characters dying, because Galactica is as much a character as Serenity is in Firefly, or the Millenium Falcon is in Star Wars.  You just don’t mess with the ship.

Al: Liss, you don’t remember a plot ‘cuz it really didn’t have one.  Well, that’s not completely true, but the aired-for-TV version was definitely hacked into unrecognizability to fit the 42-minute network constraints.  Watching the extended cut on the DVD, though, it really snaps into focus as a deliberate, elegiac goodbye to the good ship Galactica and a reexamination of our cast as we stand one episode from The End.  It lays its cards out on the table for us to consider where everyone stands as individuals, as couples, and as brothers-in-arms.  Tahmoh Penikett and Grace Park do, I think, their best acting jobs to date and I love Tigh and Adama’s final toast to the home they’re about to abandon.  In fact, the only real qualm I have with Islanded is that it winds up undercut by the finale, where they don’t abandon the Galactica after all and instead go off on one last guns-blazing adventure.  Taken by itself, though, I really, really enjoyed this.

Daybreak

Al: Before I jump into talking about Daybreak, I want to take a moment and apologize because you’ve probably noticed that this article is late.  Like way, way late.  Galactica-ended-in-March-and-now-it’s- December-late.  And it’s totally my fault.

See, back in March, I took an epic, last-minute, four-hour drive in order to watch the Battlestar finale from the comfort of Lissa’s couch, and it was on that night that we decided to do this article.  Five days later, Lissa’s half was done.  Mine…wasn’t.  Soon March became April, April became May, and May became November.  Sorry, Liss.

Some of this sloth I can legitimately attribute to computer problems.  A lot of it was admittedly laziness.  A sizeable chunk of it, though, is fallout from watching the finale.  It’s not about me hating Daybreak (I didn’t), or loving it (I mostly did).  Daybreak, for me, was simply satisfying.  Satisfying in a way that I’m not sure television has ever done for me before.  See, I’m one of those saps who never wants anything bad to happen to his characters.  I hate to see anyone die, self-destruct, or get their heart broken.  I want everyone to live happily ever after and get lots of hugs from Mom.  And, in Daybreak, they do.  To me, Earth 2.0 wasn’t a cop-out.  It was a prize. Those who made it through four years of hardship, death, and despair: you win.  You get an all-expenses-paid trip to paradise.

Of course, I would like to have seen a few things done differently.  I know we both wanted a final acknowledgment of the people they lost along the way like Billy and Kat (maybe a burial of the photos from the memory wall?).  I wish Tigh and Adama got a goodbye scene.  I also would have liked some mention of how the constellations of Earth 2.0 miraculously also match the constellations of Earth 1.0 (one more miracle wouldn’t have made a difference, right?).

These are just tiny blemishes, though, on the face of an ending that I truly enjoyed and that contented me to such a degree that when it came time to look back and write about the hell everyone crawled through to get there, I simply didn’t want to.  I was just content to remember Baltar the farmer, Adama on the hill, and Kara at peace.  They made it.  They deserved it.  And I’m happy with that.

Oh, and Admiral Hoshi and President Lampkin?  Ha!

Lissa:

Ah, Daybreak.  Where to begin?

It’s interesting, and in a way I’m glad that Al took so long in getting this back to me.  When we watched Dabyreak, I felt very much the same way he did- completely satisfied.  But part of that was the adrenaline, and part of that was the fact that Al DID make his epic drive and we all watched it together, which just made the experience so much cooler.  But as the months have passed, my love of Daybreak has cooled and drifted away.

Part of it is the very ending.  The message was SO heavy handed, and I didn’t like how it came across.  Lee Adama’s “no cities” plan was dumb, and the idea of sending all of the ships into the sun instead of dismantling and finding better uses for the parts?  DUMB.  Look- I get what RDM was trying to say, that technology can rule us and that we need to be responsible in our usage.  But what they put on screen was a bunch of ragged settlers walking into the open with only what they could carry on their backs, and that’s what I took away from it- they got rid of EVERYTHING.  All the antibiotics left?  Gone.  All those tools on the hangar decks?  Gone.  All the guns which might be useful for hunting, all the pieces of metal that could be turned into hoes or plowshares, all the extra clothing, the beds, the blankets, the tables, the chairs, the luxuries that make life a little easier?  All gone, because of Lee Adama’s dumb idea.  (And really, no one fought this?)   Head, meet desk.

But there’s something else more insidious, and it began… I’m not sure when, but probably back in No Exit.  It’s Bill Adama.  At one time, Bill Adama loved the people on his ship.  They were his family.  He might not have known every single one of their names, but he would have risked his life for any of them.  He saved Starbuck when she was stranded on that moon.  (Well, he tried to.  Starbuck saved herself, darn it!)  He tried to save the first Raptor 718 in The Captain’s Hand.  (Note to self: NEVER GET ON A RAPTOR 718!)  He saved Laura.  He saved EVERYONE on New Caprica- well, all the ones that made it off, anyway.  Bill Adama loved his people, and that’s what made him different from Cain.

Then he executed Felix Gaeta.

It’s not that he executed Gaeta that bothered me.  Because when all is said and done, Gaeta committed mutiny, and I’m guessing there is no military structure where the punishment for that is not death.  What bothered me is that we never once saw Bill conflicted about that decision.  We never once saw him CARE.  Aside from being my pet, Gaeta worked with Adama for seven years, he plotted all the jumps (including in 33), he created and undid the firewall, he fed the Resistance vital information on New Caprica, and he served faithfully- even under people who tried to kill him- until he snapped.  Adama couldn’t be bothered to say a word to him after his best friend killed herself, and gods forbid he tried to find out how Gaeta lost his leg.  Gaeta deserved a moment of consideration from Adama- or at least from the show.  I’m not asking for much, but I would have liked to have seen someone put his picture on the wall or Adama actually care that he had to execute one of his “kids”.  And when Adama didn’t care, that was the beginning of the end of Adama for me.

And THEN he told Helo “You’ve lost a daughter, I’ve lost a son.”

Any remaining sympathy I had for Adama totally broke right then and there.  It’s not that I expect the characters to be perfect- one of the things I adore about BSG is that they aren’t.  It’s that there is absolutely no comparison to Helo’s three year old daughter being kidnapped and very likely still alive, and Adama’s fully grown son dying six years ago.  Adama took Helo’s exceedingly justified pain and made it all about him, and that just utterly repulsed me.  It was not the character I knew and loved.  And as a result, I just couldn’t care about Adama at the end.  I cared about the others, but not him.  And that bugs me, because Adama used to be one of my favorite characters EVER.

There were other things, too.  How about the fact that there were NO human female characters that were left alive by the end?  Or Tory’s violent death at her former lover’s hands?  (That bothered me in reflection, although I admit at the time I was delighted, because I am one of the few who adored Cally.)  Or making Chief so violent against women?  Or that silly naked singularity?  I mean, I really like that the show acknowledged Racetrack and Skull’s luck in their dialogue, but the idea of Racetrack being dead and blowing the Cylons into a black hole?  What happened to the themes of responsibility?  Come ON, people.

So, yeah.  The broad structure of the thing was great.  But in the end, the details really bogged me down and broke my heart in ways.  However, I still adore the series and it’s still my number one, even with its flaws.

Lissa’s Final Note

I have to admit, I’ve thought about how I would have changed things.  And because you’re a captive audience, guess what?  You get to hear one of my versions!

Okay.  Go back to Season 3, and let’s change one episode: rewrite the Woman King.  Instead of Helo being assigned to Dogsville, make it Gaeta, as punishment for stabbing Baltar.  Keep the same basic A-plot, but put Gaeta in the role of detective.  This serves a lot of purposes.  One, it makes Helo less self-righteous and annoying, which Helo deserves.  Two, it gives us a chance to see more of Gaeta’s mindset, and Gaeta and Dee’s friendship.  Three, it can establish the Gaeta-Hoshi romance, putting Hoshi into Athena’s role.  Let us actually get to know Hoshi, because that’s going to be important later.  Four, bring the Sagittaron Tom Zarek in.  Felix brings his suspicions to Tom Zarek, who believes him.  This establishes the Gaeta-Zarek relationship, and it lets Tom go up against Adama and Tigh and be right about something.  Since The Woman King is a story about discovery, use Kara’s past as the B-plot.  (Plus, Kara-Felix cat fights are AWESOME.)  Continue the rest of Season 3 mostly as is (although give Hoshi a few more lines), and we can even largely keep 4.0.  It’s just The Woman King.  Now watch what happens:

Sometimes A Great Notion.  It’s not Dee that commits suicide after Earth; it’s Hoshi.  Since we got to know him in The Woman King, it’s affecting.  Felix finds him, and has even more reason to go off the deep end.

Webisodes: Keep it the same, but Dee saves Felix.  He promises to protect her.

Disquiet Follows My Soul: Add a scene where Dee and Felix have a big argument.  Dee’s hatred of Zarek is already canon; capitalize on that.  They stop talking.  Also, Rather than making Cally into a posthumous hussy with a guy she never said two words to on screen, have Tyrol decide he needs help and enlist someone’s help.  The whole idea of a budding friendship between Tyrol and Hot Dog could play nicely into the human-Cylon conflict.

Mutiny: Keep it all the same, and Felix locks up Dee.  Mutiny happens exactly as it does.  But at some point in the aftermath, after she’s released, Dee puts a picture of Gaeta and Hoshi on the wall.  (Or Tigh does it.  Al and I just agreed Tigh should have done this.)

No Exit: Do a Cylon-centric story where we actually SEE flashbacks of the Final Five, rather than just Sam dumping it on them.

Deadlock: Caprica Six loses her baby because of the blow she suffered to her stomach- or even better, because Ishay slipped her something- and the show makes that clear.  Tyrol really gets into the whole “this was our fault that we made these Cylons.”  Personal responsibility and all that.  We find out that the reason that Cylons can now reproduce is because resurrection is gone and they have accepted mortality.

Someone To Watch Over Me: The Kara plot is trimmed down because we addressed it in The Woman King, which allows the Boomer plot to take center stage.  There’s more talk between Boomer and Tyrol about personal responsibility.  Make sure Dee has something to do, like visit Boomer or something.

Islanded in a Stream of Stars: Keep it largely similar, but bring our threads together a little more neatly.  Boomer still kidnaps Hera, although Tyrol finds a different way to bust Boomer out than by killing an Eight.

Daybreak: Kill the pigeon, to start, and Adama throwing up on himself.  Sorry- those are just extraneous.  Okay.  Here’s where it all comes together.  Adama decides to rescue Hera.  He has everyone step over the line.  The only differences are Dee’s standing in Hoshi’s spot.

Adama tells Dee she’s not going, and Dee becomes Admiral of the Fleet.  Which is really awesome when Lee gets to salute his ex wife.

Tyrol approaches Adama, and rather than naked singularities, Tyrol suggests that he take a nuke deep into the Colony, and blows it all up, ending the threat of Cavil.  Adama agrees.

Rescue proceeds much like the show, except Boomer escapes, and helps Tyrol blow up the Colony.  They die in each other’s arms as Boomer projects the house.

We find Earth 2.0, and rather than eradicating technology and Hera being Eve, the Colonials and rogue Cylons establish a city that they call Atlantis.  This all makes much more sense, and since Atlantis sank beneath the sea, we might even have the implication that it happened via war and this has all happened before, and this could all happen again….

So, see?  Change The Woman King, change the series.

All that said, I think we can all agree that, despite its flaws, Battlestar Galactica will go down as one of the best television shows ever.  It had its off episodes, but its high points are such highs and so consistently good that it deserves a lot better than the complete and utter lack of award attention that it has received.  This series has definitely raised the bar, and even its bad episodes are still better than a good portion of what airs on other channels.  So, one last time for the road…

So Say We All!  (Okay, we can all skip the chanting.  How about a shot of the REAL star of the show instead?

7 comments

  1. Now I’m even less sure about attempting to trudge my way through the Season Four DVDs. I was already intending to rent rather than buy and I’m thinking it may be a waste of valuable Netflix queue space.

    BTW Lee’s inane decision is what is known as a Wall Banger (and is in fact listed in the entry).

  2. I love Battlestar Galactica but was disappointed with it,because it is better than any other science fiction in my view,but way to short,it should have lasted twice as long,if they can have boring soap operas lasting decades set in one street,I’m sure they could make an utterly fantastic show like this last 8 seasons with even a feature film attached at the end,but regarding the end of the series,

    First of all earth 1 and two are both the same,it’s just occupying different parts of the same planet unaffected by nuclear war,you can clearly see this on adama’s map when he’s talking about distributing his people to different parts of the planet,some area’s are green,while a lot are grey from the destruction of war.

    The ending while Romantic is totally unrealistic,giving up all the technology to live like pre historic man when most probably can’t hunt grow crops or light fires and who in their right mind would throw it all a way and start a fresh,it would be like fleeing a a war torn country in a luxury Yacht with all the mod cons and as soon as you reach a remote island sinking it and swimming a shore in nothing but what you are wearing and carrying a small bag,you wouldn’t do that by choice,it would only happen if you were ship wrecked and have no alternative,then they don’t explain what happened to Adama’s Viper he flew out of Galactica and the seven raptors seen on the planet’s surface near to the three structures,and what happened the the raptor that Launched it nukes at the cylon colony,you see the flight crew injured,but what about the assault team?

    I think they should have built small settlements in the various locations that people were taken to around the planet,then they could have learned the necessary skills to live on the land while still having the security of their camps to fall back on until they built up enough confident and know how to set out on their own or in family’s if they so wished, much like settlers have done in our history in say America,then we could have seen 10 minutes of small scenes set a year or two in the future with how key characters lives had turned out,that would have been a much better ending,after all why rush out a half hearted effort after all the work that had gone before,that to me made no sense to me what so ever.

  3. the 2 of you make a lot of good points. i’ll just pick a few to address.

    pregnancy through love. yeah, always hated the idea, for the same reason you cite: it’s very insulting to anyone who is suffering from infertility.

    comes way to close to the real-life ‘fighting cancer’ thing, which i dislike for the same reason (talking about the idea that simply ‘thinking positive’ can cure you. i have no beef with the idea that pessimistic people might be more likely to forget taking their medicines or forgo another treatment, and therefore have less change of survival). at the end of the line the idea that you can ‘fight’ a disease with ‘willpower’ and ‘strength of character’ means that anybody who doesn’t get better has only himself to blame: he was lazy or irresponsible.
    the fact that pointing this out to the ‘fighting cancer’ crowd typically leads to a lot of back-pedaling (no no, they did *not* say disease is your own fault, just that you can get better whenever you choose to) , does not negate how morally wrong the whole thing is IMO

    ‘Well, see that’s the other thing here. One of the things I feel like the show lost sight of was that this was not 9/11. This was not like anything we know on Earth. This was the eradication of twenty (or fifty, depending on which episode you’re watching) BILLION people.’

    agreed. the show was known for it’s parallels with 9/11, and it did have some nice stories with that. but in the last season it seemed they had gotten a bit to fond of those parallels, even using it in stories like this, were it has no place.
    *all* the cylons wanted to murder *all* the humans, yet the whole tone is that you’re a racist for hating them. that’s like telling a jewish camp-survivor in 1946 he’s being racist if he isn’t too fond of germans at the moment.

    the problem wasn’t even that adama was friendly with the cylons. they were desperate, this alliance gave them a slightly better chance of survival. all of which enough reason for adama to suppress his own cylon-hatred and feel attacked when someone questioned him on this alliance. (it’s the choices we are not so sure of that we will often defend the loudest. hoping to over-shout our own doubts).
    the problem was the way it was written. f.e. without really acknowledging zarek and his followers have a point. instead he murders the circle, instantly painting ‘bad guy’ on his forehead and removing any need for further reflections on his motivations.
    for shame for a show that was good at showing gray areas.

    oh and: poor felix *sniff* he was so cute

    as for: hurray, *another* planet that’s absolutely perfect for humans, let’s burn everything useful we still have on our ships and hope our descendants will never build an aibo.
    the less said about that, the better.

  4. To be clear, its not just the annihilation of the colonies, the Cylons chased them for god knows how long intent on finishing the job and were still debating the subject. The Cylon’s were nightmarishly bad folk and attempts to paint them as anything but monsters is wishy-washy nonsense.

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