Monday, 23 March 2009

Battlestar Galactica - Daybreak Part 2 Review

Massive, massive spoilers below - don't read unless you've seen the finale!

I've just watched the series finale, Daybreak Part 2 and wanted to jot down a review of sorts and what I thought of the episode. I have to say that I was a little disappointed by Islanded in Stream of Stars and the first part of Daybreak so like most fans, was really looking forward to the finale. I realised they must have been saving up budget for the no-holds barred finale but they were pretty obviously stories that were the deep breath before the storm. Saying that however, the interstellar shoot-out was just the appetizer in what would prove to be an emotional, surprising and absolutely memorable finale to one of the coolest hour-longs to ever grace the small screen.

Things I liked about the finale

1. The rescue mission on the Cylon colony. What a brilliant action sequence, dwarfing anything that the series has done before, including the previous high-point, the frenzied escape from New Caprica. From the initial jump entry, where the Galactica is taking a hell of a pounding, to the nukes, the dual assault teams, the Raptor asteroid navigating, the Cylon counter-offensive, the Raptor/Raider battles. All of it brilliant!

2. Centurion vs Centurion. It was brilliant to see the reimagined (second generation) centurions going toe to toe with their old skool brothers.

3. Boomer’s fate. Had to happen that way and Athena may not be the most sympathetic character after that cold-blooded execution, but it beat the alternative: kidnapping amnesty. The flashback about what she owed Adama was an unexpected touch, but did make me think about how violent and extreme she can be - remember the attack on Athena?

4. The “can’t we all just get along?” moment. Oh, it seemed too good to be true. The exchange of resurrection technology for Hera seemed to set up a mutually beneficial alliance until Tyrol lost his mind of Cally's murder. More shooting and then the colony was nuked. Crikey! A nasty little twist that I enjoyed greatly.

5. Adama and Roslin. The most emotionally fulfilling relationship was the real tear-jerker this episode. That final Raptor flight was has to be the most emotional scene from the whole series. And what a wonderful departing shot of the Admiral sitting on the hill next to her grave.

6. Baltar’s “farming” comment. It was simple, called back to a relatively new piece of character history, but it was emotionally resonant. Probably because he was one of the most complex characters in the series and this simple declaration and resulting outpouring of emotion was genuine.

7. Baltar’s “faith” speech. But this dialogue was the most important of the show. It gets to the core of the series, this transcendent ''Divine Will'' guiding humans and Cylons and helps to answer the supernatural questions of Starbuck’s resurrection, Head Six and Head Baltar (angels? demons? both?), the Opera House and even Bob Dylan.

And what I didn't really like

1. Hera as the missing link. I get the point of it: we’re children of humans and Cylons and so on and so forth and I see how the series led to that point (Hera had to be super-important for a reason), but something about this twist just struck me as too contrived.

2. “Go forth and populate the Earth!” Hey, instead of hanging around together with access to technology, let's take a rucksack and hunt gazelles. A good idea from a script writer but if you were one of the last members of humanity, wouldn't you want at least a few mod-cons? I thought that at least a couple of people might have said, hang on a minute, I would never said yes to that! What about all those people in sickbay?

3. Chief Tyrol. I quite liked him at the start of the series but over time he has thrown his toys out of his pram once too many times for my liking. The final attack on the colony has to be at least half his fault, considering he let Boomer slip through his fingers. He deserves to seclude himself in Scotland or wherever he’s off to.

4. Breaking the cycle. Here’s the reason for moving away from city planning on the new Earth: we need to break the cycle of violence. It’s is another driving theme in the series and I can understand it, but its overuse in the finale became cliche.

5. The ending. Which brings me to the final scenes. Part of me liked modern-day Times Square and Six and Baltar walking down the street and the montage of robots (actually I really liked that). Still, I think this was all inferred and showing it and having Six/Baltar run through the “cycle of violence” talking points again diluted the power of the parting shots. Put me in the “It would have been better to end it all with Bill gazing out to the horizon” camp.

6. Kara. So what was she, an angel? A figment of our imagination? Seemed that the harbinger of death was a bit of an overstatement - more like a lost wingeing teenager to me...
Still, overall a really nice ending to a great TV show. Funny what can happen in 150,000 years hey!

We'll I'm off to try and find a show to watch that's even half as good as this one.

Might take some time!