TV Tuesday: Battlestar Galactica spoiler thread

Battlestar Galactica is done and dusted! This is a thread to discuss anything and everything about the full run of BSG, including the finale. Please, no spoilers for future spin-offs.

Categories: arts & entertainment

19 replies

  1. In general, I really liked the finale, with a couple of reservations.
    Firstly, the whole mystical-angel-Kara thing really didn’t work for me — I don’t see why she couldn’t have just been half-cylon (Daniel’s daughter), and continued to live on Earth. Now, an awful lot of viewers are just going to attibute her awesomeness to her angelic-deus-ex-machina status, rather than to the character herself. Plus, the shipper in me wanted her and Lee to go off together.
    Secondly, I found the attitude of the people from the twelve colonies towards the indigenous inhabitants of earth to be, well, colonial. Even after they all decided to live without technology, etc, there was no sense that they needed to actually attempt to communicate with the people already living there about their plans, their attitude was still very terra nullius, and that really did not sit well with me.

  2. I seem to remember them talking about integrating. Cottle and Baltar were certainly thinking of interbreeding. I’ve seen posts around the interwebs wondering if 39K people, deliberately broken up into small groups and spread over the globe, will have enough genetic diversity to establish a new population. So interbreeding is probably a must and so terra nullius would be undesirable. Logically, the Twelve Colonies have to interact with the natives; as equals since they left behind all the tech. Actually building that city Romo was laying out in his mind would have been colonialist.
    She couldn’t have been half cylon because the Number Sevens were killed by Cavil before they were even finished. Corrupted the amniotic fluid while the Number Sevens were still maturing; there was no live Daniel to father Starbuck. Furthermore, the story about the Daniel model is just Cain and Abel; Abel had no children so we shouldn’t expect Daniel to have either.

  3. Ditto everything Beppie said about Kara.

    I hated the second half of the finale. Hated it. It was preachy and racist. The only way they could have made it worse was by making it all a dream.

    Why give up modern techn0logy? Modern medical science? Education, forms of art, literature? Modern farming tools? Why do it in such a way that the lessons that billions of humans died to learn will be lost?

  4. On the factual side of things, I took the whole point of the latter part to be about how the Galacticans and local humans had interbred to produce our present-day human population, with Hera being ‘mitochondrial Eve’. However, they also said that the locals were prelingual; was that meant to be a mistaken initial impression, or were they genuinely supposed to have landed in prelingual times? I was left confused over that, but maybe I was supposed to be.
    Nice explosions.

  5. I’ve seen posts around the interwebs wondering if 39K people, deliberately broken up into small groups and spread over the globe, will have enough genetic diversity to establish a new population. So interbreeding is probably a must and so terra nullius would be undesirable. Logically, the Twelve Colonies have to interact with the natives; as equals since they left behind all the tech.
    Oh, I think you can establish a viable population with a lot fewer than 39K people. But the whole way that the indigenous peoples were referred to as “the natives”, and the way that they talked about brining them language as a great gift, it is still very colonialist, makes it quite clear that they don’t view the indigenous peoples as equals.

  6. Yep, and Lee, in with his *great idea* sounded like “we should go play with the natives.” It could have been handled better. Did you notice that the five observers of ‘the natives’ were all white men? They could have at least added a Six or an Eight.

  7. I agree that the Galacticans didn’t view the indigenous people as equals.
    On the other hand, I think the whole “moral of the story” was that, even with the advantages of education, technology, civilization and lessons learned about getting along with other races, people will still tend to be racist gits.
    This Earth didn’t turn out any better than Caprica, after all.

  8. Did you notice that the five observers of ‘the natives’ were all white men? They could have at least added a Six or an Eight.
    YES. I did notice this, and it gave me shivers of the not-good sort.

  9. But you agree, right, that building their modern civilisation anew on the planet, building buildings and roads, electing governments, assigning property rights amongst themselves, and presumably shunting the natives – they are, after all, the natives of Earth as opposed the the alien Fleeters – aside would be orders of magnitude more colonialist?

  10. I was surprised to see that the strip club the Tighs were at pre-Cylonpocalypse was full of women gyrating around stripper poles, and no men. Are we supposed to think that suddenly once on Galactica, gender dynamics changed? Or was it just a throwaway stereotypical signifier of a “dissolute” society?

  11. Sure, gilmae, it would be more colonialist, but that doesn’t change the fact that their attitude towards the indigenous people was wrong nonetheless. It’s not like they get a cookie because they could have been worse, but chose not to be.
    Lauredhel — I suspect it’s a case of the writers not getting that there’s a link between that sort of objectification and women being denied access to cultural and political power.

  12. Here’s a good review:
    One of the things I liked about Battlestar Galactica was the lack of random strip clubs injected randomly for no apparent reason. I can’t believe they broke that track record with the very last episode.

  13. I fundamentally disagree with you. I’m getting used to that though, I apparently disagree with everyone when it comes to the final hour. Given that they’ve spent four seasons going on about God’s plan, I found the last hour a lot *less* preachy than I was anticipating. And Simmon’s Hyperion series did all the same themes, so all this really has happened before.

  14. gilmae, which point do you fundamentally disagree with? As far as I can see, no one here (besides you) has yet brought up the whole “god’s plan” narrative — what does that have to do with the colonialist discourses present in the finale?
    (Of course, “god’s plan” has been used to justify colonialism, but they could have had that narrative strand and still been more respectful to the indigenous peoples of Earth.)

  15. I disagree that there is any action they could have taken once they landed that couldn’t be construed as colonialist.
    I mentioned the “God’s plan” theme to discuss how I also disagree on criticisms with the degree of preachiness. I’d attempted to move on from the discussion on colonialism not just by trying to agree to disagree but also by wryly mentioning that I seem to generally disagree with almost every criticism I have seen on the episode and in particular the last hour of it.
    Except maybe #12 on the point about strip clubs. I’ll have to see if I can persuade myself that Ellen had been sitting over in the men stripping section before coming over to talk to Saul and Bill. Nope, not working. They should have just made it a bar.

  16. I…third, or whatever, the disappointment in Starbuck’s possible angel status. And I thought the robots at the end were inappropriately cheesy. It was really a pretty depressing ending, what with the “this has all happened before, and will again” business. Was anyone else saddened by the fact that the only surviving gay dude was too happy to relinquish his leadership role and become a part of the wall of white dudes appraising the fuckability of the natives?

  17. I agree on the colonialism front, Beppie. The really terrible thing about it is that it seems to reflect the Western, but particularly American, desire for the untouched land that will allow a longed-for but only ever imaginary innocence to reassert itself. That is, it seems to me, like I’ve said elsewhere, that American just cannot imagine futures for itself beyond reasserting the tired ‘pioneering spirit’, ‘benevolent’ colonialism (scare quotes to indicate that the whole fucking point is that colonialism rarely thinks of itself as bad, so Lee’s ‘give them the best’ line just relegitimised the same old damn approach to the whole goddamn thing) and god-given mandate, no less! Gah!
    The really awful thing about the colonialist line, I personally think, is that the whole series has been about the negotiation with difference: the difficult, ugly and occasionally inspirational ways that this has happened. This difference (and complication of difference) has happened mostly through interrogating and deconstructing the human/machine distinction. So for them all to turn around and say ‘let’s get rid of tech because *it*, and not our existing ways of negotiating with difference, which have been *shown throughout the show* to be pretty screwy, is the source of the bad’… well, wow. It’s like they just in one fell swoop undid such a huge proportion of what they spent all that time setting up: a monumental, self-aware critique of Western imperialism and the logic of the same gone down the drain because ‘tech is the source of the bad’. That makes me pretty sad. I get that part of it was to hand over responsibility to the viewer (done a damn sight more clumsily than the final ep of Buffy, which is saying something), via Caprica Six’s ‘complex system’ bit at the end, but in the end, part of the point about such fantasies is that we get to try out other ways of doing things so that they become imaginable, comprehensible, realisable. But nooooooo. *We* are the Chosen Ones who will upend this Complex System out of its deathly repetition.
    As much as I know the religiosity was there from the beginning, and as much as I appreciated the half-arsed Nietzschean move of ‘good and evil are just names we give things; God’s not so into that’ line, I just… well, to be honest, I was hoping that the mysticism would be more thoroughly bound up with the tech stuff (a bit more sincerely Nietzschean, then). It’s not that I want everything scientifically explicable, but ‘a wizard did it’? Truly? ‘All Along the Watchtower’: god did it. Dreams of opera houses: god did it. Starbuck came back: god did it. Starbuck brought them to their end: god did it. To give up the ‘ex machina’ of the ‘deus ex machina’, but to hang on to a ‘and then god intervened’ narrative gives up the possibility of way more interesting ways of thinking about divinity and immanence, and sticks us right back in the Mormon roots of the show, which it had left behind so gorgeously. Besides. It isn’t just my shipper tendencies with Starbuck speaking when I think she should have gotten it on with Lee: post-angel-ification she got a lot more… ‘good’ (less drunk, less sex, more virtuous guilt and hard work)… and to have that resolved with her going to the ‘other side’ to meet up with Sam. Bleargh. But I guess I was never that convinced by that relationship.
    I am, of course, mostly grumpy because I loved this show to pieces. The characters are great, vividly drawn, and the dialogue for the most part crisp and well-written, and the visuals a nice combination of hard-edged and purty. Its politics was fascinating (not least how it managed to fuck with right-wing attempts to appropriate it) and Starbuck hot enough over and again to keep me rivetted. The gender politics were great not least for their ability to avoid going ‘yoo hoo, rooly awesome gender politics over HERE!’ But I wish it had been braver at the end… at least brave enough to kill one character not already marked for death. Saving Helo to preserve the perfect nuclear family unit, carefully placed in a new Eden? [puke]

  18. Just listened to the podcast earlier today; the strip club thing was supposed to have male strippers as well, according what Moore says, he also said he was adamant about that but doesn’t even know if there were male strippers ever on set. I was disappointed that they were there at all, mind.
    For the most part I liked the finale, but that thing that Moore does with final episodes, dragging out the end until you’re almost bored of it? I can’t even remember what else happened at the end of DS9 now, just that it took forever and ever to actually end. And the clips of the robots just felt too forced and twee to me. Unnecessary.

  19. Oops, to clarify; I was disappointed that the scene was set in a strip club. A plain old bar, where everyone had all their clothes on and no-one at all was being objectified would have sat much better with the vision of equality that Morre professed to hold so dear.

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