Posts Tagged ‘Season 4

03
Dec
09

Season 4 – BSG – Beyond Sucky Garbage

Here we are with season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (I might do a thing on the miniseries, razor, and the plan at some other time). To quote Ronald D. Moore at one of his panicked last minute writing sessions, “let’s wrap this sucker up!”

There are spoilers in this post that mated with caveman spoilers 150 000 years ago.

I’ll be honest, most of season 4 doesn’t really matter. The Demetrius ultimately leads nowhere. Baltar’s cult ultimately leads nowhere. Both of those points get several episodes worth of work and build up, but do nothing or almost nothing in the grand scheme of things. The scrolls of Pithea are false and mean nothing too. Starbuck’s missing ovary amounts to nothing. Simon’s supposed research on Cylon reproduction means nothing. Oh, and Tigh’s baby doesn’t materialize into anything and neither does Tyrol’s. I’m suspicious that all the sudden baby shuffling around season four is done to make Hera more important.

What does matter in season four is the dreaded FINAL FIVE. Oh noes, what are they going to do… not much actually. Turns out they don’t really know the way to Earth, but instead they hold within them the secret to resurrection. Bad retcon, but fair enough.

This is as good a time as any to point out that the cylons, that invincible force of machines that has had no less than ELEVEN SPIES in the human fleet has only been able to pull off one successful act of sabotage (two, if you count the explosion Baltar causes by giving a nuke away to them), one successful murder, and one suicide bombing. In four seasons… with eleven spies. Wow, these guys suck. Whatever sense of menace they used to hold is long gone at this point.

The only arc worth mentioning in this one is, of course, the mutiny arc, which is pretty solid precisely because it sticks to the human part of the story (although they do some creative editing by dropping Tyrol’s demand for cylon citizenship on their “previously on” segment and never mention it again). Still, it’s a pretty solid set of episodes, and certainly the best ones in the season.

It’s unfair to say that the religious aspect of the show comes out of nowhere in this last season, but it’s just as unfair to say that the level of religion isn’t heightened with Starbuck’s return. We go from God quietly influencing key characters with visions and whatnot to God building vipers and making copies of people. It’s a stretch, and it’s fair that some viewers had a hard time with it.

But now, we must reach the end of this series of posts, and the end of the show…. and oh what an end it is. I don’t even know where to begin. Oh yes, here:

Anyone who thinks that dovetailing the science fiction story of Battlestar Galactica into actual human history on this planet was a good idea is fucking insane.

I’m sure Ronald D. Moore thought he was really clever when he came up with it… but he didn’t come up with it, did he. He probably did it as a reference to Battlestar Galactica 1980, which was totally not silly and awful and the butt of countless science fiction jokes. Look, you don’t need to be an anthropologist or a historian to realize why ending this show’s history at our pre-history is absolutely stupid. Think about it for one second and any number of things should jump to mind. English has existed in its current form for more than 150 000 years? The cavemen in Africa needed white people from space to come down and sophisticate them? We’re half cylons now? So that’s why I can’t cure cancer with fetal blood.

The show also glosses over a reaaaaally hard to swallow premise: the idea that every human in the fleet is okay with giving up all the technology and shelter they own in favor of living in the dirt with cavemen. From a writing standpoint, they deal with this in a childishly simple way with a conversation between Romo and Adama. I’m going for memory, but it goes something like this:

Romo : Isn’t it absolutely stupid to expect people to give up all their creature comforts?

Adama: Yeah you’d think so, but they did.

Romo : Oh.

That isn’t good writing. We don’t get to see the perspective of any one of the people doing this, Moore just tells us it’s so and we’re expected to buy it.

Oh yeah, and all those visions that Roslin, Boomer, and Six have been having of Hera going through the opera house culminates in Six and Baltar picking her up just long enough to carry her fifteen fucking feet down a hallway. It’s not her “destiny” to go down a hallway and end up in the CIC as Cavil’s hostage. It’s her destiny to pass on her genetics to us (as stupid as that is), and Six and Baltar have nooothing to do with that. Nice payoff guys, nice.

But what really does it in is the final two minutes, where Ronald D. Moore leaves us with some of the most profound and original knowledge of science fiction : “We need to be careful with our technology, or else it could get out of hand”. WOW. The last little bit of this episode absolutely bludgeons the audience with this to the point where it truly insults BSG’s supposedly intelligent fanbase. I thought it was pretty clear, since this message was at the start of every episode in the whole “cylons created by man…” thing. We get to the end of this show and all Ron has to leave us with is “the robots are coming!! Watch out!!”

This is a show about tough decisions and hard hitting tragedy. It ends with them quite literally fucking our ancestors and telling us that the robots are coming.