Battlestar, because you were brilliant and superb, and I shall miss you, though I hope that sci-fi as a genre will mutate into something wondrous under your influence.
Oh, where to start. I suppose… at the beginning. Of everything.
It sounds like such a terrible idea, when you think about it… humanity is almost completely wiped out, and yet so many people are willing to sacrifice themselves to save one child, saviour of the human and cylon races or not. And yet… it is so perfectly Battlestar. This is a series whose mission statement is, above all else, “it is simply enough to survive, or must we be worthy of it?” And they’ve addressed it again and again, for better or for worse, and now, at the end of things, one final time, because a humanity that is willing to risk so much for one single life is worth it. (Yes, indeed, I despise moralities that put the lives of several over the lives of few, reducing existence to a damn numbers game.) And so it needed to be their final mission.
I am so glad for his character that Baltar chose to join in on the suicide mission. So glad that despite everything, Lee respected him for it. It wasn’t absolution or anything close… wasn’t a complete character change, because in the very next scene he regretted it, and of course he would! But it was atonement all the same, and something the character really needed. And I suppose I’m okay with Caprica seemingly needing nothing more than that, because if pride was the only thing missing, then that was enough. And with angels in the background, drawing them together, I don’t think either would ever have the strength to refuse. Baltar coming full circle at the end – returning where he began, to the farm – was beautiful and horrifying, and I wonder how he’ll be able to cope with it, because that’s certainly not a happily ever after, even if he does truly love Six (and the way that makes his entire story tragic in a way that it wasn’t before, that he did everything for love instead of for greed… oh, Baltar.)
The opera house scene… magnificent. Hearing The Shape of Things to Come being played again, new and yet the same, was literally rapturous. I loved the distinction between the pristine beauty of the vision of what was to come and the absolute horror of the reality. I loved how absolutely infinitesimal this one act was… they weren’t taking Hera away or performing any function any of the others couldn’t have. And it’s not like the others didn’t come in afterwards anyway, so for the entire great plan of the angels to come down to this one simple moment, this one instant that seems hardly to be a turning point at all… that’s really kind of beautiful. It’s as if they were getting them to that single place, that one point at which all of the choices had to be made… and nothing more.
I loved Baltar’s speech. I loved that he – the worst of humanity and the unredeemed preacher of redemption – was the one to deliver it. At first I wasn’t sure about the lack of explanation concerning the angels, but now I think that it couldn’t have happened any other way. I’m so relieved that they went with a god who is beyond good and evil (oh, hey there, Nietzsche) rather than your typical omni-benevolent deity. There was no attempt at justifying all of the terrible things that these creatures have been doing… there’s no need, because they aren’t human, and thus can’t be understood. And yet… I don’t even think the show was necessarily trying to make a point about morality with this, because it’s still Baltar. It’s still the man for whom truth is that which paints him in the best light, and at this point, of course he needs a morality that is beyond good and evil.
Leap of Faith. Well, Leap to Faith, technically, if you want to get fully Kierkegaardian about it, but in the end, it’s the same thing. You either believe or you don’t, and there are no halfway points in between. Religion of this sort, in the end, has nothing to do with human (or cylon) ethics, because they are two different spheres entirely. I love that this speech was directed at Cavil, our resident atheist (practically nihilist, I suppose), and I am so glad that the compromise went sour, partly because it was intolerable that Tori could simply get off the hook completely with what she had done, and that needed to be addressed, and it would have been too easy a conclusion for a tragedy, for a story that has always hurt this badly.
I think that there’s something profound in Cavil’s suicide. I’m not sure what exactly, but I believe that it’s there. Or could be. Maybe it’s the absurdist atheist saying “enough” and choosing to end things on his own terms. I don’t know.
Kara finding a new earth was beautiful; I love how the song ties everything together and yet remains a mystery (and how it’s playing at the very end, yay for everything repeats itself). Now I want to watch Maelstrom again, because of head!Leoben’s “become what you are” comments. Actually, I kind of want to rewatch all of the Kara/Leoben scenes again, because now that we know everything we’re going to, the obsession and bizarre knowledge in the Leoben character strikes me even more. I wonder if her own guiding angel was the same thing that Baltar and Six’s were, and if perhaps she herself is as well. I liked the polyamory that was implied in the character… Kara/Sam is as canon as Kara/Lee, because she’s never been a one true love sort of person.
On earth itself… I had half been expecting them to never find a planet, but to finally reach one, one they hadn’t even been looking for at all, and to call it Earth even though it wasn’t… there’s something profound there, I think. Something beautiful, something sad, something that could be interpreted as a blessing or as the only way to respond to a horrific journey that has never made any sense. Perhaps it’s simply a way to say, “We make our own truth.” We needed Earth and so we’ll pretend we have it, and in the end, maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all there is.
And I liked the last 90 or so seconds, the affirmation that yes, everything does continue. Everything does return. You can break the cycle for an instant in time, but in the end, you are doomed to repeat, forever. And they’re still there, watching (and placing bets!), because maybe this is all there is for them as well.