Ok, I’ve pulled myself together.
I’ve dried my tears, I’ve taken a deep breath and I’m ready to talk “Daybreak Parts 2 and 3”. And since BSG’s final outing was a game of two halves, both literally and figuratively, this review will be too. The all-action Part 2 led us into the all-contemplation Part 3 and there are so many different things swirling in my head about each of them, that this may take me a while….
Part 2, first, then, because I’m predictable that way, even if BSG isn’t. I loved it. The Galactica crew headed to the Colony for one last search and rescue, and the ensuing space-battle, ground assault, and general BIG FIGHT was hugely exciting. Lee, Kara, the Admiral….all the usual suspects, and one or two unexpected ones, working together in a beautifully orchestrated, brilliantly shot and breathtakingly thrilling attack was something else. Action scenes can sometimes be empty, impersonal spectacle, but these were imbued with the rich imagery and history of the past 4 seasons; the Final Five at CIC with Cylon technology woven into the Galactica to help the fight, Apollo and Starbuck where they’re meant to be – in the thick of it, together – and the Opera House dream finally realised. There was more, much more, but too much to talk about here. Apart from Baltar’s slightly overcooked and unconvincing speech to Cavil, and the jarring and slightly comical appearance of the “angels”, I loved it.
But the question was always going to be “what happens when the fighting’s over?” Starting with the aforementioned Baltar and the angels, and moving into Part 3, the finale tried to answer that question but, for me, the answers were too full. Too pat. Part of the beauty of the show has always been that the religious and mystical elements have been woven seamlessly in to the story, rather than laid out A-B-C style for us. But the finale replaced nuance with definitive, clumsy answers to the show’s central mysteries. And I know it’s odd not to want answers, but sometimes the joy is actually in the questions themselves.
Sadly the answers were not confined to the mysteries. The characters were taken out of the universe we know them from, and each given a concrete ending. One after the other. The episode seemed to finish about 10 times, but what of the endings themselves? I’m not going to spoil them but what they did to Lee was just wrong. What they did to Kara was just wrong. And I really don’t want answers if they’re wrong.
I also don’t want answers if they take me out of the story. The place they jumped to, the link to our universe, the cameo from Ron Moore, the sequence at the end – it all took me out of the story completely, and everything being tied up with a big brash bow was small consolation for that.
Still, the last episode wasn’t all bad. This is BSG after all. The bittersweet air of melancholy contemplation, of farewell kept me emotional throughout, and a succession of beautiful touches like the soft wash of theme music from the original series as Sam took the fleet on its last flight and the central message that “Our science charges ahead. Our souls lag behind,” were just perfect. So the finale wasn’t its finest moment, but I’ll miss this show. At its best, it was incredible. And even at its worst, it was still pretty frakking good. So I’m sad it’s over. I’m sad for Lee and Kara, I’m sad that things didn’t end the way I would have wanted them to, and I’m sad that, no matter what prequels and spin-offs we get, I won’t see the characters I cared about again. Maybe I haven’t quite pulled myself together after all.