Too much confusion

'Scuse me, while I kiss this CylonThe season 3 finale of “Battlestar Galactica” aired tonight. According to the SciFi channel, season 4 doesn’t start until 2008. Word on the street is that there’ll be a two-hour movie “bridging” the season, not continuing from the finale, but introducing things that’ll be resolved in season 4.

In my whole history of watching things, I can’t remember when or if I’ve ever had such a hard time deciding if I liked something. My gut reaction throughout was “oh hell yeah.” But there was just as much “what the hell is going on here?” I really can’t say whether I thought it was unbelievably, unacceptably cheesy; or was one of the coolest things I’ve seen on a TV series. Which means, I guess, that it was the latter.

It goes without saying that big stuff follows, so don’t read the rest unless you want to have the finale (and maybe the whole season) ruined for you…

Now, I’m okay with the plot developments. In fact, I like it quite a bit.

Roslin and Athena having a shared vision with Six? Really creepy, really well done, and just all-around awesome. If they’d actually addressed it afterwards, it would’ve been even better, but I guess that’s where the next season comes in.

Apollo’s speech? Clumsy and overly drawn out, completely implausible in any kind of real trial, but still a good speech that somebody had to make. I wouldn’t have thought it were possible for Apollo & the Admiral to come to a resolution, but that was the best way to do it. (Apollo and Roslin probably won’t be pals anytime soon, if ever). For the past couple of hours, and in fact the whole series, they’ve been describing Apollo & the Admiral’s relationship in easily-digestible one-liners, so it was a really well-written scene to show what’s behind all that, and simultaneously sum up the whole series in the process. If it’d just sounded more natural and less like a monologue, it would’ve been a master scene. And corny as it is, the lawyer guy is still a good character, and he had a good send-off.

The verdict and Baltar’s fan club? There was never any real doubt that Baltar was going to get executed any time in the near future, so it was either aquittal or a sudden rescue. Having the court go into a near-riot was a nice touch, as was Baltar trying to weasel his way with his new best friends forever afterwards. And the Baltar-worship cult was a good way to take him off in a new direction. So I’m for it.

And that’s my thoughts on the show! See y’all next season!

Well, what do you say about the rest? I didn’t see the episodes where Boomer realized she was a “sleeper” Cylon, so I don’t know if this is similar at all — did she do the same thing? Do they just “know?” Because it seemed to me that they were leaving it wide open for the four not to be Cylons.

That would be a great twist on the whole series. Up until now, it’s been an undercurrent through the whole show, humans wondering if they’re really Cylons. Now, you’ve got a bunch of humans who are sure that they’re Cylons, and what do they do with that info? Tons of great material for season 4, and I really hope that they take it that direction, instead of just accepting their self-awareness.

Truth is, though, either direction would be cool, which is probably unprecedented in the world of season finale cliffhangers. If they’re not, you’ve got all the “four high-placed people with a shared secret” angst for plenty of season 4 episodes, along with all the reveals and half-reveals and all that. If they are, then Tyrol’s baby is another hybrid like Hera, and it all builds up to the idea of Cylons & humans one day living in harmony — I wonder if they could actually make it into a non-cheesy version of Women of the Prehistoric Planet, where the two babies form the master race of humans, and we all end up having Cylon blood inside of us, fighting with the Thetans.

The music? I don’t know, man. The reveal on the whole was kind of cool, but there were some really unfortunate decisions made there. Wouldn’t it have been enough just to have “There must be some way out of here” and “There’s too much confusion” and leave it at that? Why have each character deliver a line, pounding the song home like a piledriver? Why force these poor actors to deliver the lines “Said the joker to the thief” and “I can’t get no relief” and try to make them sound natural and dramatic? The only thing more awkward and cringe-inducing is when they’re all standing there and start humming it together.

As for the song itself, there are definitely worse songs they could’ve chosen. I can definitely see the lyrics’ fitting into future plot developments. And it raises all kinds of questions about how the colonies tie in with Earth. An interesting theory I read on a message board: they’re receiving transmissions, Contact-style, but they’re 40 years old, tying into the “Galactica 2009” theory we’re all looking forward to.

Which is all leading to me believe I probably liked it. The thing is, it’s really hard to shock an audience nowadays. Especially when you have a series that’s had so many big reveals ever since the miniseries, and keeps upping the ante. So including a song that’s so out of place was a great way to knock the audience out of their comfort zone, and add tension to everything else going on. It’s a little like breaking through the fourth wall and asking, “did we just totally like blow your mind, man?” And a lot like me answering, “Yes, yes you did.”

Plus, Starbuck’s still alive. Nobody really believed she was gone for good, right? (Although I thought I read that the exec producer of the series promised in a podcast that she was really, genuinely dead. Is he a damn dirty liar?) Good call on putting her name only in the ending credits.

So she’s been to Earth, and she says it’s awesome and Lee should totally check it out too. There are all kinds of ways they could handle that, with her being the Final Fifth or a Lord of Kobol or jumped into a wormhole or stowed away on a Basestar or whatever — there’s not a lot they could do there that would be unacceptably awful. I wonder if she and Apollo are the “two riders were approaching” from the end of the song, right before the wind begins to howl?

12 thoughts on “Too much confusion”

  1. They tried to cram a whole lot in the last 5 minutes, seemed kinda rushed. But I did enjoy how Lee’s testimony basically pointed out every single flaw and plothole the show ever had. FORGIVEN!

  2. I agree, you can totally tell they were jumping up and down to put a “let’s sum up the whole series in one speech” scene in there.

    Also, this interview with Ron Moore quickly resolves the question of whether they’re really Cylons. Am I the only one who thinks they could’ve gotten a lot more mileage out if it if they’d let the speculation continue for the next eight months? Or have I just been watching too much “Lost”?

  3. I think I would have preferred a little more “Are they or aren’t they” mystery into the next season, but I guess I will just have to transfer that to “Is Starbuck really dead or just in Lee’s mind of is she the fifith cyon or is she god?” etc.

  4. Also, while I was awed by the reveal, it still kind of feels like a rabbit out of a hat trick in that I don’t think if you go back and rewatch the first two seasons you’ll see any kind of allusions of clues that the four cylons were cylons all along, and that lack of the kind of continuity–which to me means they only recently came up with the idea of making those four characters cylons–well, it bugs me. I realize in the world of TV writing that it’s kind of the nature of the beast what with ratings and renewels, but still.

    Which is why I’d like there to be a tv show, perhaps based on a a huge book or a comic book with a set storyline that didn’t need to be made up as it went along. The series would have a finite end–say, three seasons–and there wouldn’t be a need to wing it. If the show’s a hit, cool. It will make it to the end of season three. If it’s not, oh well. Guess you’ll never get to see how it all turns out. My ideal scenario for something like that would be a series based on Stephen King’s “The Stand” (my fave King book). To do it right, stay faithful to the book, and have a definite timeframe where you tell the entire story. (I actually read rumors that “The Stand” might be turned into a series, so my hope is high.)

  5. I thought The Stand was already made into a mini-series.

    As for the continuity; I can’t remember if it was in an interview or a podcast, or I just made it up, but I thought Ron Moore came right out and said they decided to make the 4 Cylons early this season.

    But I don’t think that it’s a cop out that there are no clues leading up to it, in this case. Because they have had clues that there’s something funamentally different about the Final Five all along, or at least ever since they said there was a Final Five. So they can point out that these guys not only have a different physiology or whatever, but they also have an entire different reason for being.

    On this one, I’m not so impressed with the reveal as I am with all the potential they have for cool stories next season. I’d only be pissed at the lack of continuity if it looked like they pulled it out of their ass AND it was just done for shock value, without any clear direction in sight.

  6. The Stand was made into a miniseries. A really, really awful miniseries. My point is it’s a much bigger story than can be told in four nights of condensed storytelling. It’s tailormade for a TV series. I just wonder why more TV shows aren’t based on pre-existing material…

  7. Well, even if it doesn’t always pan out, the potential of episodic stories is still just too great. You hear the actors and producers/writers of BSG talking about it a lot; they’re surprised to see where the characters go, and they can’t wait to see what happens. I’d bet that being in the third year of a story where you already know everything that’s going to happen, would be kind of soul-crushing.

    I’d definitely like to see more stuff (maybe just miniseries, though) where the creators know exactly what the storyline is going to be from the start, and the network execs just get the hell out of the way and let them tell it. That’d be good to see, whether or not it’s a new story or based on something already out there.

  8. Didn’t Chief take and pass Baltar’s “I’m not a Cylon” test in season 1… or did I imagine that? He was freaking out about whether or not he was a Cylon for a while early on, but I can’t remember for sure if he laid it to rest by taking Baltar’s test.

    Not that anyone remembers that Baltar made that test procedure — let alone that it did actually work properly — at this point, so it’s moot even if I did remember correctly, but hey.

  9. That must be from one of the many episodes from early in the run that I missed. I’m planning on passing the time between now and 2008 getting caught up on the series on DVD.

    How early was that? Because in the miniseries, he came up with a “test,” but it was just to save his own ass because of the Cylon device left on the bridge. That one he completely made up, but just happened to end up catching the Kevin Spacey-looking Cylon by accident.

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