The final episode of Battlestar Galactica, Ron Moore’s epic reimaging of the 1970s science fiction TV show, began with a crescendo of violence and death and ended with a slow, quiet resolution that inspired awe and left some questions.
Some spoilers follow below.
The raid on the Cylon colony by the aging, doomed Battlestar Galactica featured some of the most edge of one’s seat, thrilling combat that has ever been on the small or large screen. Previous battles on Battlestar Galactica have been well produced for not looking like quaint video games, but real combat in which real people die, some quickly, some slowly and horribly. Admiral Adama, played with great, quiet passion to the end by Edward James Olmos, outdoes Captain Kirk at his most audacious by ramming the Cylon colony with the Battlestar Galactica in facilitate a boarding action to locate and rescue the half human/half Cylon child Hera.
There are some twists and turns throughout the first half of the episode, one featuring Hera wandering off in the middle of the battle on board both the Cylon colony and the Battlestar Galactica, the other with what may be a peace between the humans and the Cylons that goes horribly wrong.
Hera liberated and the Cylon colony smashed, Battlestar Galactica jumps into hyper space, as Starbuck suddenly realizes that the music Hera had been playing was actually jump coordinates. Battlestar Galactica reenters normal space in the vicinity of a very familiar looking Moon, a magnificent desolation. And beyond-
A shining planet known as Earth.
The decision by the Galacticans to not build a city, but instead scatter into smaller communities and, in effect, downsize their technological footprint had its advantages. The ability of the Galacticans to maintain a technological civilization for more than a few generations was a dubious prospect at best. But then Ron Moore throws in an argument that was tiresome during the nuclear age when it was first advanced, and is doubly tiresome now.
Has our spiritual development matched our scientific development? The answer is usually no for the people asking that question. It was a popular supposition in the age when people thought that, at any moment, the Earth would be obliterated in a nuclear war. Now that fear has largely passed, the argument is often advanced by environmentalists.
The response of this writer is, however, yes the spiritual has advanced along with the technological, at least in the West. We have gotten rid of a lot of old social ills, such as chattel slavery, and absolute monarchy. Of course, admittedly, we have developed new ills, such as socialism and the mainstream media.
Ironically some of us in the West have become somewhat insufficiently bloody minded to deal with some of less advanced parts of our planet, such as the Islamic world or Communist China, where respect for human dignity is still lacking. We may be just a little too spiritually advanced to deal with the barbarians “beyond the limes” as the old Romans would have said.
Regardless, it looks like the Galacticans scatter across the Neolithic world to form small, farming communities. That must not have lasted very long, since our civilization did not develop agriculture on a more permanent basis until about 7000 BC. That Ron Moore had the Galacticans showing up on the shining planet known as Earth about 150,000 years ago, around the time some theorize modern man first developed, is something this writer might not have done. Interesting that the little girl Hera becomes the mother of humanity and, for all we know, the model for the Mother Goddess. But about 10,000 BC or thereabout would be the right time for the Galacticans to teach the native humans agriculture and set them on the road to civilization and become the origin of our own gods.
Naturally other questions remain. What was, after all, the Starbuck who came back? Apparently some kind of higher being posing as a human, and thinking she was the human named Kara Thrace aka Starbuck. And who are the spiritual Baltar and Caprica Six that they should be wandering about the streets of modern New York, tut tutting at how the more things change, the more they stay the same. They are, evidently, servants of some being who does not like to be called God.
The all too cute montage at the end of modern robotics, with the implied question: Are we making our own Cylons, made this writer’s teeth grind.
Even so, Battlestar Galactica ended as well as it began, an intelligent, thought provoking SF TV series with enough action, sex, and intrigue to make the thought provoking entertaining.