Endings for the characters

We’ve had lots of debate about the big stuff coming in the ending, such as whether they come to a new planet, and whether it’s real Earth in the future or in the past. While I’ve written plenty on that, and will write more later, today let’s consider the endings that must come for the characters. They don’t have a lot of time to do it all in.

The general ending was painted out by the first Hybrid like this:

At last, they’ve come for me. I feel their lives, their destinies spilling out before me. The denial of the one true path, played out on a world not their own, will end soon enough. Soon there will be four, glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of their true selves. The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her. Enemies brought together by impossible longing. Enemies now joined as one. The way forward at once unthinkable, yet inevitable. And the fifth, still in shadow, will claw toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering. I can see them all. The seven, now six, self-described machines who believe themselves without sin. But in time, it is sin that will consume them. They will know enmity, bitterness, the wrenching agony of the one splintering into many. And then, they will join at the promised land, gathered on the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning.

Baltar

The one I’m most concerned for is Baltar. Baltar was the star of the show in the first two seasons, certainly if combined with head six. But he’s really faded in season 4. There have been episodes where he has not even appeared, and where he has, it’s been as this insincere cult leader half unsure if his religious conversion is fake.

Baltar begins terrified of the others finding out he let Six into the network. But you can’t really blame him for that, who would suspect that she was a Cylon? His real sins come in the coverup and the way he lets head six manipulate him. As he falls down, it always seemed that at some point he would get a chance at redemption. Sure, Roslin forgave him for the thing that wasn’t truly his fault. So now, in the ending, he should find real redemption or alternately death. Death would not be that satisfying at this point. The guns he collected 2 weeks ago make it look like a violent confrontation is coming. But I still want a proper ending for Baltar, because of the older Season 1-2 Baltar.

Laura

She’s been dying for 2 seasons. No shortage of coverage for her fate. Instead it will be part of one of the remaining big reveals “the truth of the opera house.”

Sam and Galactica

I now think Sam’s fate is tied not to Kara or the Five, but to Galactica. Hera projected a scene of her playing with models in the CIC, crashing Galactica into a few base ships. But who will be at the helm? I suspect Sam, not Adama. Adama has said goodbye to the ship, is ready to give it a sendoff, using it as a weapon. All this Cylon organic goop plot has to end somewhere, and this is where, I suspect.

Bill

Bill’s the most admirable human on the show (in spite of his mutinies, insurrections and more) and while he might well survive, I think his story is pretty much already over when he leaves Galactica. Somebody else will lead the fleet by the end of the show, even if Bill’s still alive.

Lee

Frankly, I don’t care much about Lee now. He’s never made sense in this political role. Even before, he just wasn’t a character I cared about the fate of. Too pompous in his way.

Starbuck

So her finale is another of the big finales — the revelation of her destiny. The sides all come together joined on the wings of an angel. She’s the new leader, perhaps. But how does her personal story end? Her husband dies, if I am right. I am not thrilled if that means she ends up with Lee. I hope to see more to her story than just the story of her destiny. “I’ve had it up to here with destiny,” as Bill says. Making your own destiny is more interesting.

Head Six

Head Six is, in a way, one of the most interesting characters. Sexy, smart, manipulative, and extremely mysterious. You had me at those xylophone notes. Is she just a mouthpiece for the one true god, or does she have her own mind? Or will she be the personification of the one true god, if the OTG actually enters the story as a speaking character?

Caprica Six

She’s become a plot device of late, her baby created and killed at writer’s whims. She is in the Opera House, so she plays a role, but about her, I don’t care a lot.

Boomer & Athena

Boomer also used to be interesting. She’s also been a plot device, until she cried giving over Hera. So expect both redemption and death for her. As for Athena, I never saw her as more than a different way to get Grace Park on screen. Her journey took place in Season 1-2 and has been uninteresting for some time. As mother of Hera, expect a plot finale for her, if not a personal one.

Saul

I think Saul is everybody’s favourite character now. He’s the real marriage of human and Cylon. If he gets his memory back, I hope he stays the same, with memories of his Cylon days but fully devoted to humanity, much more so than Athena. But Saul also said that the five are responsible for the genocide, and have to pay. That doesn’t bode well. Though I think it bodes less well for…

Ellen

Aside from Sam, I suspect Ellen might be the other of the five to pay the price for how their efforts turned out. She hungers for redemption that will only come in the pain of terrible suffering, we’re told. But something else in me wonders if it isn’t death she’s due for. A lot of her millions of children will die in the battle that’s coming.

Galen

I expected Galen to be a leader of the reconciliation that’s coming between all Cylons and the humans. Yes, the Simons and Dorals at least will join with the Rebels, or so the first Hybrid predicted. Don’t know about the Cavils. While his strange willingness to leave the fleet still bothers me, he’s the member of the F5 that you can identify with. Boomer may betray Cavil for him before she dies.

Helo

Another character who I’ve ceased to care a lot about. His role will be father of Hera.

Tory

I don’t care. Probably death.

Other Cylons

Has Leoben just left the radar screen after deciding he was wrong about Starbuck? Cavil appears headed for death, but if they can pull a redemption for him it would be impressive. They now have no character more in need of it.

Characters

I have to say I don’t think the fourth season, as much as people say it’s been about character, has done well by the characters. I care about many of them much less than I did before. The new Baltar, the new Lee, bleh. The 5 who were revealed as Cylons became less interesting as characters when we learned their memories were all faked. Only Sam became more interesting because he has his real memories and has become a pathetic figure with his shooting.

But who knows, in 3 hours we might see some more to impress us. We have to get all these character stories, and resolve the big questions of the OTG, Starbuck, Galactica, Hera & the Opera House, the head characters and the fate of humanity at the promised land (possibly including real Earth.)

Other notes:

  • That jovian planet that Boomer passed mid-way looked a lot like Jupiter to many people, and in fact Orion is in the background (but it’s been everywhere.) For the true geek, however, the gas giant is bigger than Orion, filling 30 degrees of sky. Jupiter’s only that big when much closer to it than any of its spherical, cratered moons. I think the graphics dept. just wanted to paint a pretty picture.
  • In addition, the fleet also had Earth stars behind it, which means that several jumps later (Hera is undrugged and uncrated) they should not be present. And it’s 12 more jumps to the Colony from there. In reality, an interstellar course would have zero probability of getting close to a star system, let alone a planet. Space is really, really, really empty.
  • For some reason the Colony which is a movable ship, is on a frozen sea under a purple sky on some planet. Not sure why. There are two other Cylon base ship type structures behind the mountains too. This may be the Cylon homeworld.

Overshadowed moments

A big play was made of the Final Five being thrown this curveball that they were Cylons and their going through a process of resolving it but that scheme fired a blank. I can only remember Tigh making a gag about crowded airlocks, Galen looking like a rabbit in headlights, and Tory standing there like some soft porn model that didn't hear the director yell "Action!"

If I see Caprica 6 give that stoney face puzzled look again I'll scream.

Baltar's lost the worry frown. Good. That was bugging me. He still reminds me too much of some guy I used to know whose dad was a used car salesman from Wokingham. Plus, Baltar looks too much like me and I can do the pseud thing quite well without it being rammed down my throat on TV.

The lightbulb seems to have fallen off her perch more times than Adama has slid down walls sobbing, smoked more joints than Tigh has smashed bottles, and been more Cylon than the Cylons when it's that time of the month. Isn't she dead yet? I got the impression she would've expired a few episodes ago.

Sam melding with the Galactica may raise the texture of his personality from its default to the level of the blank piece of sheet steel the Galactica is made of. His blank character and vacant look when he's put on the spot is more annoying than the chubby guy in Heroes who squints.

Never cared much for Helo. Too emo and has a big assive anger thing going on.

Lee is too much of a Rupert straight out of Sandhurst.

I've always hated Starbuck. That sort of cocky sneer she keeps wearing gets thin after a while and I'm no big fan of the bloke on hormones look. The equal opportunities bitch in a dress looks like a Rowntree sweet wrapped in foil and dayglo plastic. She's someone who wants it both ways but fails at both.

Cottle was an engaging character but blew it in the last scene when he flipped off Ellen.

It's not all bad. There's been moments when all the characters have been stuck in understandably stupid situations and generated moments of sympathy. But overall those moments are few and far between, and being overshadowed by the mess of the last series.

Is there anything you like

I'm confused. It sounds like you pretty much hate everyone. So why are you still watching the show, not to mention, commenting on a blog about it?

I would say they are making

I would say they are making it up to get a rise out of people here, or they are like a homophobe and feel the need to debase everything about it because they love it so much, but don't want to outwardly admit it.

POV

It's a point of view, and you may like to review the final paragraph. I'm not going to justify it, or hold my likes and dislikes up for auction. As Brad reminded people in the last topic, discuss the opinion not people.

Ok

Ok, your OPINION is asinine. How exactly does a person watch a show while they hate virtually all the characters that matter, and hate many of the storylines?

Oh wait, it's not all bad though, that scene where Adama demands the gun as he's on his way to try getting Saul to shoot him, the way that extra handed it over was just simply award winning stuff! The drama as he reached out his hand, and offered it to Adama sent chills down my spine. It was the best scene since the pilot... You know the scene, where that mother of the infant the Six killed was talking to that person, well that person was robbed of an Emmy.

It's not all bad... Just the major characters and the major story plots.

Great Chariot

Different people watch different things for different reasons. You take what works and filter the rest out. My comment is no different to what Brad said at the top even if it is a little more sharply put. Since the show went off the rails I've been enjoying Brad's analysis and the conversation more. I'm just riding it out to see what the end is. It's just a vehicle. There will be other shows. Life goes on.

I agree that many of the

I agree that many of the main characters have become less interesting over the course of the fourth season... Lee, Helo, Athena, Tory, Leoben, Caprica, Boomer, and a few others have just fizzled in terms of development and interest. Others like Gaeta, Zarek, and Dee became interesting again, but only by doing something wrong -- call it the Michael Phelps syndrome, i.e., he was extremely boring until he got busted for pot. And of course, they're dead now.

That some characters have fallen by the wayside is understandable in a large cast drama like this. There are only so many minutes of screen time, and we've seen a lot of folks like Bill Adama, Roslin, Tigh, and Starbuck, who, I might add, are among the stronger actors in the show. You could count Cavil, Ellen, Tyrol, and Baltar as still being somewhat interesting as well (and all strong actors save for Ellen).

In any event, I also agree that despite emphasizing a character-driven plot, there has been remarkably little movement over most of Season 4.5 after the initial episode, when Kara discovers her dead body and Roslin heads to a kind of sexually-active hospice on Galactica.

Personally, with just 10 episodes, I would have planned one or two revelations in each episode, given all the unanswered questions. For instance, it would have been interesting to see how the Final Five might have changed (and not changed) had they figured out a way to access all their memories. They still might, but it would have been interesting to see how they evolve as "complete" characters over several episodes. A Saul with all his memories that still chooses humanity is far more interesting than a Saul that does so with only a vague understanding of his origin, save for the fact that he's married to a very, very old woman. This also could have put some meat on the bone for Tory, Tyrol, and Anders in ways far more interesting than what we've seen -- i.e., nothing, stupidly conned, and coma, respectively.

I also would have liked some understanding as to why, if Cavil can find the fleet at any time, he lets them live. Particularly since they're sitting ducks right now. Maybe he'd rather they find him, since he has Hera, and fight on his home turf. Still, he is getting into Bond villain territory -- he could kill them all right now and be done with it, and we don't have any reason why he doesn't.

Finally, I would agree that Lee Adama's character is worthless, and it's amazing that this is the case, given the potential. I am struck by how, as a political leader, he is completely ineffective. Roslin showed how a master politician plays a hand. She chooses Lee to succeed her, and he displays absolutely none of the traits of an able political leader. He makes a point in a meeting and gets shouted down. Every time.

Now, it is true that the Quorum is extremely annoying -- I personally liked it when they were shot during the mutiny, as they seem unable to grasp even the most obvious reality and instead think that they can bicker their way to finding a home.

But it is amazing to me how Lee is completely unable to deal with them. They probably hate him.

And of course, every 3 episodes, there appears to be a rule that he has to flirt with Starbuck.

Here's how I'd like to see it end for him: In the final battle, he's sitting on Colonial One after getting news of Roslin's death and is now the president. He turns to Baltar and says it's up to him now to lead them, and hops into a Viper and joins the fight. He saves the day, saving Starbuck in particular, and dies in battle, along with the Old Man and Galactica. (Maybe Starbuck is pregnant with his child, so the Adamas live on). But that's it for him, and he dies a hero, rather than becoming BSG's Michael Phelps.

Nice post.

I just wanted to say that this was a great post, and mirrors my feelings to a great degree, especially the first half with regards to the problems with season 4.5 and what you would have done differently. Thanks for putting it down more articulately than I could have.

Been a little while

It has been stretch since I was last here (I kinda lost this place and it took me a while to find it again, bookmarked now!). After getting somewhat caught up (sorry I couldn't read everything, just too much =P) I think I have the same assessment. As someone who never suffered through even a single season break I see everything very differently than the folks here. As I said last time, I started watching during the strike, I think it may have been 4-5 days between learning Saul, Sam, Tory and Tyrol were the Final Five and Ellen was the fifth. I didn't really think it was a big mystery while watching it. I mean it was an interesting story and maybe if Baltar had been the last one I would have been shocked, but I was pretty sure Ellen was a cylon when they introduced her in season 1 and once Saul became a cylon, I thought even more that she was. I felt the Opera House story was much more interesting and more important than the Final Five, mostly because it had been weaved into the story for so much longer.

I notice a few people don't understand where the characters have gone this season, but I think the last episode was so brilliant because it set all the main characters up for their end. They were all reborn into new people by the end of the episode. Every single major character has a moment where they were forced to take a look in the mirror, metaphorically, and every single one accepts a new role.

- Adama at the end after his breakdown has obviously regained his composure with drinking. If this were last episode this conversation would have occurred on the floor with drooling, but now that he has come to terms with the situation, he is ready.

- Starbuck does a nice job of shirking responsibility by using Baltar, but at least you have finally come to terms with the fact that you have a role to play and it is time to step up.

- Baltar with Caprica Six. For her, he does want to be a better man. Wonderful elegance in the writing by having Caprica reject him, the one time he is trying to actually do the right thing and the girl doesn't throw herself at him. Beautiful.

- Roslin preparing to die. I see a cabin in her future and certain Admiral going to meet her there when he is done what he has to do. It is really a touching thought.

- Helo and Athena, wow. This might be where the series truly deserves the most credit. I don't know how you could write their roles any better and the actors are just unbelievable. The look in Athena's eyes could have ripped mountains apart.

- Boomer after that moment with Hera finally realizes she might be wrong. It has been a long road for her, but I think she might understand what love truly is now.

- Finally the other "evil" cylons. There was something about Cavil from the start, or maybe it is something about Dean Stockwell (his eyes creep me out), but I didn't like him from the start. Simon had a very disturbing entrance and Doral just has that face that screams, I am bad baaaaaad man. What are they up to with Hera, my only guess is they like being machines, but if it comes down to it, they like immortality more and if she is the key to immortality for them, so be it.

I personally can't wait for the end. How did you people wait a week for so long, I would have just died. I think if you re-watch the series beginning to end without all the stops, it will play out a little different, but maybe it is too late for that. Either way, enjoy the end, and this time I will be able to find you again to see what you think. =)

Turning Point for Characters

...the last episode was so brilliant because it set all the main characters up for their end. They were all reborn into new people by the end of the episode. Every single major character has a moment where they were forced to take a look in the mirror, metaphorically, and every single one accepts a new role.

That's a great observation. I absolutely agree that the reveal of Ellen took on a much greater significance because of the writers strike delay.

cryptic hints

The big reveal of Cavil as the wounded child/big villain wasn't the only possible way for the writers to tie everything together, but it works surprisingly well when rewatching some of S3...Dean Stockwell's mocking tone during nearly every cylon conference now seems not only a character trait of the Cavil we knew then, but a cruel belittling of the democratic aspirations of numbers 2-8 (absent 7). In 'Rapture', I originally viewed his attempted assassination of D'anna as Cavil acting as a hit-man for all the cylons, who were simply disturbed by D'anna's bizarre behavior (the cylon DSM-IV no doubt includes entries on suicide addiction). Of course, now we know it was a simple case of keeping her quiet after discovering that the Final 5 were colonial humans that she had met. How much the writers knew (about the finale) way back during the occupation of New Caprica is debatable, but I think the eventual reveal of Cavil's role may be evidence that when tying all the loose threads together, it is the temperament of the characters, and even the archetype they represent (spurned child, generous yet foolish mother) that provide the majority of motivation for shaping the finale, while ingenious plot conclusions are a (relatively) minor concern.

Given RDM's insight when penning the finale that "it's all about the characters", and his relating of several cast members breaking down in tears when reading the final script...that sound's to me like character driven plots. If the finale script was simply a brilliant, true to human evolution and hard SF traditions--and spiritual speculations--AND all previous show evidence along these streams--I think a cast member's reaction would be an admiring wow, rather than a gut punch (as described by one) and tears. So...I think we should expect a finale based around the characters that can elicit those emotions (i.e., not Tori) and some epic death and sacrifice scenes. Climactic battles? I don't think so. The Cylon colony is easily 1-2 orders of magnitude larger than a basestar. If sending the galactica out 'in style' means anything, I would guess that it is used to deliver essential characters to an important yet hard to reach place, rather than in combat. I guess that readers of this blog will find character driven conclusions a bit disappointing. Still, if we have more scenes coming that resonate like Starbuck pinning her photo to the 9/11 wall...I mean, not much on TV can deliver that. The show has always seemed important b/c the stakes are so high--nothing less than the survival of the last battered fragment of the human race. That has kept us on the edge of our seats for years. I think Starbuck's burial of her 'self' is likely a precursor to the larger drama of the finale. Despite the heroic survival of the last 4 seasons, the human race will realize that it is, for all intents and purposes, dead. The characters will now have to draw upon will, and release fear, because it is now full speed for the resurrection.

Well, I've said this before

Wanting the show to be consistent with reality (and its own reality) isn’t about not wanting a character story. It’s about wanting both. (And the fact that, for those who can’t help but see the logical and scientific errors, they distract from the story.)

I don’t doubt the grand finale will be about the journey and fates of the characters. Thus this thread. All the major characters deserve well thought out and meaningful fates. I fear some won’t get them, but that’s mostly based on the fact that some of the character arcs have gotten less interesting, and less consistent in season 4.

One of the big challenges, often failed at, of science fiction is to have characters do things that are much larger than life and still be real. Can Starbuck be the angel on whose wings the union of all the factions is gathered and still have a good personal story? I will be impressed if they pull that off.

It's as much morality play...

I thought Elaine Foster's comments were spot on. Like any long running dramatic series you have to make a choice to invest in the characters. Though I'm somewhat less involved with the characters this season than before, I think that's primarily due to time. How many of us have faced the same issue with significant others or spouses? I made the mistake of, after time, not focusing on the small and lost a love. Embrace people as they are.

For all the writing and character faults (and with BSG faults are measured against a very high standard), I am curious to the end. Though RM said a period (.) would mark the end of BSG's tale, that doesn't mean a lack of ambiguity. BSG is a morality play for our time: what it is to be human; secular humanism v. ideology/theology; the gift of life and death; the preservation of one's ideas at the cost of flesh; free will; and perhaps incorporeal life.

As to strict sci-fi, I regret the writers don't seem to have anticipated all the details to make the show scientifically (scienfictitionally?) correct and consistent (as if I could have done so). Perhaps if they'd hired Brad (and the rest of us) as consultant(s)? (...said with a good natured smile)

Thoughts on the end of it all

Love the show and I have invested a lot of time in watching it ( I watch very little tv as a rule ). That being said I have to say that although this is a morality play about a great deal of issues, they have all been done before. What makes BSG the show it is imo is writing, action and characters. Taking that morality play and placing it in a backdrop of BSG is what makes this unique in sci fi television. Of course the sci fi element makes it awesome for a geek like me.

As we all look back to 2003 (holy crap!) and take in the journey I can honestly say that if I was to see S4 only I would rate this a cheap space opera with a great cast. S1 and S2 are the pinnacle and then they lost their way. The too numerous to mention plot lines and subplots, minor characters, shipping bullshit, retconning etc have made the end a trainwreck. I really do see how the writers were fumbling to find a way to stretch S4 to March/09 once they found out they were given the stamp to finish it.

So, I love it and I just want it to end. I want to know what happens and care less about how that happens.

Fasion

Great FX and a stellar cast is definately 1970's disaster movie territory.

The phrase "It's so crazy it's gotta work" and Doug McClure are back in fashion.

Looking forward to Daybreak AKA Journey to the Centre of the Earthquake prone and Meteorite peppered Colony Unstoppable Lava Zone.

I agree w/John

I'm riding it out at this point. I'll settle for righteous and rightful ends to the characters' journeys--I've been desperately hoping for interesting, show-not-tell answers to the Big Questions, but I fear those will be rushed, slipshod, and unsatisfactory.
Hopes for the characters:

Roslin and Adama die ramming Galactica into something big and shiny.
Starbuck dies in some way that points the Fleet forward to some final destination.
Lee becomes President. I'm surprised to see such dismissal of that particular storyline--I've loved Lee's progression more than any other character's, and I'm glad at the end to find him as my second-favorite character (second to Tyrol, who's been the show's best ever since he crashed on Kobol.)
Baltar...I suppose takes on a role as liaison between the races, and Hera's guardianship, after--
Helo and Athena die getting their girl back.
So does Boomer, after a last scene perhaps with--
Tyrol, who survives and hopefully gets the happy life he deserves as much as anyone.
The Tighs--will die. Saul probably goes down with Galactica, Ellen trying to take down Cavil.
Anders: I'm with Brad, he'll die piloting Galactica to its glorious end.
Cavil: I hope the Centurions get him.
Caprica: God knows. It's pretty clear she won't end up with Baltar, so perhaps she dies inciting some Centurions.

Saturn Award Nominations

Battlestar Galactica has been nominated 4 times for the 35th Saturn Awards.

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Best Actor in Television: EDWARD JAMES OLMOS
Best Actress in Television: MARY MCDONNELL
Best Supporting Actress in Television: KATEE SACKHOFF

Golly. So has Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Best Network Television Series: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
Best Actress in Television: LENA HEADEY
Best Supporting Actor in Television: THOMAS DEKKER
Best Supporting Actress in Television: SUMMER GLAU

Personally, I'm enjoying Terminator more. It suffered equally from the writers strike, and its story is more coherent and the characters are more engaging. It's just my kneejerk view but I've found the acting has greater range than BSG's scream in your face on trick pony wall sliding.

The Colony

This comment has been moved here.

Cylon God

There is no Cylon God. It is Daniel. The reason the Cylons believe he is god is because he is now inside their tech, so he has sort or become a part of all Cylons. God is the only way to express what he is, even though he really isn't a God. Kara and Baltar will both end up being Cylons, or the first memory transfer humans. This is why they experience virtual people. The virtual people are actually Daniel communicating with Baltar and Kara and working to save the human race, because Daniel wants to please Ellen. Or at least that is the only way I can see they reconcile the Virtual people and god without actually having an omniscient presence.

That is just not possible.

That is just not possible. Much like Blake's 7 the politics involved are on much too high a scale to do this. “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.” In much the same way Ron Moore wrote the script and followed his Buddhist beliefs.

What?

Does that even mean anything?

Blake 7

What's with your obsession with Blake 7?

Boggled

I've mentioned Blake's 7 and Buddhism in here enough times myself but even I'm scratching my head over that comment. I'm sure it's saying something. I'm just not sure what.

The final 5 had messengers too

The final 5 saw head people 2,000 years ago. Those were not Daniel.

My understanding is that Daniel was just a way to explain the numbering gap, and does not show up again, but we’ll see.

Daniel

Supposedly he doesn't really come up again until Caprica.

Leoben

BSG didn't forget about Leoben's storyline - the actor who plays Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie) left for Los Angeles to do Californication, making himself unavailable for BSG. If what Sackoff told EW in an interview is true, she was disappointed at the lack of Kara/Leoben resolution. Leoben will be in 'The Plan' this fall though.

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