Friday's new episode of Battlestar Galactica, "Sometimes a Great Notion," did little to allay my concerns regarding the coherence of these final episodes of the series. That's not to say there weren't great moments here to dazzle the masses--Starbuck finding her own corpse (which wasn't that unexpected) or Dee's abrupt and graphic suicide attempt (which was pretty much unexpected) really drove home the emotion of this episode.
But there are other things that leave me unsatisfied. If Earth (if indeed this is Earth--Starbuck's vision of Earth earlier in the series clearly showed the continents, yet this world was just a sort of generic world as seen from space, no identifying marks, so to speak. And I don't recall seeing the Moon or Jupiter...) was nuked 2,000 years ago, then the background levels of radiation should surely be in tolerable limits for human life--there's plant life enough to sustain an oxygen atmosphere, after all. Unless they used cobalt bombs, and this Earth had its very own On the Beach scenario. But the Cylons being the 13th Tribe? Smells like another something Moore bent over and pulled out his ass, not for logical reasons, but purely for "shock the audience" reasons. Because the entire population was supposedly Cylons (and just how big a sample did they take? From how many sites?) it doesn't was that this is Earth. We're not Cylons, no matter how much hand-waving Moore does, since evolution is a pretty clearly established refutation of that point. Unless (and this, admittedly, is a huge stretch) Earth was the mother world and subsequently abandoned (pollution? War?) and Kobol colonized. When they screwed up Kobol, that's when the 12 colonies were settled, making Kobol more of an intermediary home rather than the cradle. The 13th Cylon tribe, presumably being Cylon and more tolerant of radiation and other crap, decided to give Earth another go. Not sure how that works out in the series' timeline, since IIRC Kobol's climatological catastrophe happened about the same time or somewhat after the Cylons' Earthly Armageddon. But honestly, Moore's played so fast and loose with continuity that this may be as valid an explanation as anything else.
I'm not clear why the fleet is leaving the Cylon Earth. I'm assuming it's too radioactive to live on, but that wasn't strongly conveyed. On Caprica, the guerrillas at least had to take little anti-radiation tablets to survive. We're not seeing that here. And I'm not clear how wandering off among the stars will make them any better off, unless there's still the issue of other Cylons chasing them (which hasn't been referenced in a while) and the whole Cylon civil war (a nuked Cylon homeworld becomes a poignant irony when viewed in that light).
As for Ellen Tigh being the final skinjob Cylon, I'm somewhat ambivalent about it. Ellen was a great character, and her death on New Caprica was a high point of the series for me. Great writing there. Of course, that's about the point where the series lost its bearings, so maybe her death, and not the destruction of the Pegasus, marks the point where shark-jumping begins. Bringing her back feels like a cheat, although of all the sudden knee-jerk plot twists introduced to the series, this one at least has enough backstory elements to make it almost seem plausible. But that begs the question, if there are only one model of the Final Five operating, it stretched credulity that each of them not only survive the initial Cylon sneak attacks, but also happen to end up on the Galactica and survive time and again when facing certain death. Magical woo-woo stuff comes into play, which I suppose ties in with the religion and prophecy they've been spouting throughout the series' run, but for once I'd like to see hoary old prophecies be exposed as so much nonsensical fortune cookie babbling. And wouldn't Starbuck's pretty damn obvious resurrection imply pretty damn strongly that she's a Cylon? A 13th model, for the 13th Tribe? There's a certain symmetry there, but not a whole lot of narrative sense.
I did like Apollo changing the number on the dry erase board. That was a nice touch. The series needs more of those.
All in all, lots of powerful individual moments. Lots of "eyeball kicks" if I'm allowed to invoke the Turkey City Lexicon. But ultimately, it's a bunch of hand-waving, the sum equalling far less than the sum of its parts. But I confess at this point I have no idea what's going to happen next, so that's something, right?
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