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Season Finale Review: “Revelations”

June 16, 2008

by millari

MIND=OFFICIALLY BLOWN

(It’s a review, so yes, there are spoilers behind the cut…)
So um, yeah. They found Earth? Really? No fooling? It sure looked like it. Already, theories are popping up all over the web that it’s not really Earth, it’s RDM’s callback to Terra, a planet apparently (I have not seen the original show) from the old Battlestar Galactica series that the Galacticans found and eventually realized was not their ultimate destination. Others are saying it’s just something altogether new that RDM and Eick have cooked up, but that it’s not Earth. Others are saying it’s Earth, but a jump forward in time, not unlike the Lost folks have done, and that the Galacticans will need to go back into the past or something, to find the right timeline of Earth on which they need to land.

I for one, strangely hope that it is Earth, even though it makes for a very disappointing destination. It certainly looks like a future-Earth, devastated by nuclear war, given that crackling Geiger counter. And that certainly looked to me like the Manhattan skyline. My friend watching it with me immediately pegged the hacked-off bridge as the remnants of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m not as sure. But I do feel rather convinced it’s New York.

I’d tell you where I’d like them to be standing – Ellis Island. Imagine the ironic appropriateness of that. Talk about a punch to the gut. Because otherwise, why have the BSG folks land in New York at all? Why not somewhere non-U.S., even non-North American? I mean, the show has taken great pains to mix a variety of cultures into its look, its music, etc. And they film in Canada, for God’s sake. The only reasons I can think of that it makes sense to have them land in a future vision of New York is to cash in the symbolic irony of them landing at Ellis Island.

However, I also think that wherever they have landed does also seem to be deliberately echoing the image we see in the book of Pythia that Lee has opened at the beginning of the episode. Much of where they are walking seems to be the ruins of a building, one constructed of steel beams and stone arches. And we clearly see the severed top of a large dome which could be the dome we see on the drawing of the Temple of Aurora.

Also intriguing is the item that we see towards the very beginning of the long, panning final scene. There is something that looks like petrified stone or perhaps molten metal, in the shape of a large cross. So could we be looking at a Christian church? And if it is a church, would it have any connection to the clearly Christian church that D’Anna apparently always goes to when she projects? Since she was the one allowed to see the Final Five, perhaps whatever “higher power” is orchestrating this, has been inspiring D’Anna all along, showing her visions of Earth?

Anyway, really now, the big questions are:

  • What next? What are they going to do? They can’t set up shop there, with all the radiation, right? Even if they could keep taking anti-radiation meds to survive, they’d run out eventually, and besides, nothing would grow there anyway. So what do they do now? Could they go back to the 12 Colonies, now that the Cylons have apparently cleaned them all up and made them livable again? (Certainly, we saw in “Downloaded” that they seemed to have cleaned up Caprica City.) Or will they encounter some kind of supernatural intervention that tells them where to go or what to do next?
  • What happened? If indeed this is Earth, and indeed it was ravaged by a nuclear war, how did it get that way? And when? Did this happen in our lifetime? Did it happen sometime during the Cold War? Was this the result of nuclear escalation with a country with nuclear capability?
  • Is ALL Earth like this? Or is just New York (assuming that’s what we’re looking at)?

The Fifth
What game is D’Anna up to? She claims to know the identity of all the Final Five Cylons. Does she? She certainly seemed pretty certain when she said that only four were in the Fleet. It implies that she recognizes the Fifth as well. It also implies that we saw the Fifth die, or else he/she was on the basestar when she made that pronouncement. Of the Galactica people on the basestar, that leaves us with Helo, Hotdog, Baltar and Roslin as possibilities. RDM has reportedly said that the Fifth will be someone with “emotional significance” so that would seemingly eliminate Hotdog. Helo, Baltar and Roslin would all be potentially emotionally affecting.

Of the dead people, we’ve got possibilities with Billy, Kendra Shaw, Cally, Admiral Cain, Zak Adama. Frankly, I can’t even choose who would be a more likely candidate. Hell, what if it was Starbuck’s mom? She prepared Kara for her special destiny, right?

It’s Your Call, Mr. President
Lee Adama rocked this episode so hard. He has never been my favorite character. I find him often weak and indecisive. But every once in a while, you put him in command of something and he steps up to the challenge and surprises the hell out of me. This week was one of those times. The scenes where he’s battling wits with D’Anna showed a strong, confident Lee who was thinking fast on his feet. He was so believable in fooling D’Anna about just letting the Final Four go that I was fooled until we saw that conversation immediately afterwards in Adama’s quarters about organizing a rescue mission.

That, to me, seemed to be Lee channeling Roslin. But eventually, by the last quarter of the episode, another side of Lee emerged, a side that reminded me of the way he once dealt with Zarek in “Bastille Day” – tough but realistic, and wanting what’s best for both sides whenever possible. This last quality of Lee is one that Roslin and Adama haven’t had for a while. I don’t think that either of them could have made this fragile alliance with the Cylons happen. They’ve both become so entrenched in cynicism and distrust, and have lost their sense of the bigger picture, the bigger goal. (Hence Laura telling Bill, blow up the ship rather than give the Cylons the Four.) But Lee still believes that there’s a way out of an argument where everybody can win, and that really, the Colonials’ ultimate goal is to get to Earth, even if that means bringing the Cylons with them. Roslin was finally able to see this, but only after Lee made it happen. I don’t think she would have been able to come to that realization on her own, and certainly, Bill is no longer available as a check on her. He pretty much does everything Laura says now.

Also, the way I loved the Lee dealt with his dad. It was amazing and intense, and it made me want to hug both Adamas until they both STOPPED BEING SO EMO. After we heard Lee’s little speech at the beginning of the episode about how Papadama always has scared him more than anyone, you’d think that witnessing his dad experience a complete and utter meltdown would break him. But it didn’t. If anything, it made him stronger, more resolute. It was like Kara told him: The parent has to die for the child to reach his full potential.

D’Anna Biers: Mistress of Brinkmanship
I said last week that I’ve often seen D’Anna as the Cylons’ counterpart to Roslin. And this week, we saw how like Roslin, she’s not easily intimidated. However, she’s got another similarity to Roslin that I hadn’t noticed until this week: She’s shown the same kind of distrust and cynicism that Roslin has been showing since Season 3. While her coup d’etat did sort of make the other rebel Cylons look like they have spines made of creme brulee, I think that overall it was a good idea to have D’Anna take over things, because she is a natural leader among the Cylons, always has been. But also, she had the essential mix of hard cynicism and bursts of innocence that were completely necessary to pull this storyline off. Nobody but D’Anna (or Natalie, but she’s dead now) would have made sense as someone who could be a hard-assed leader for half an episode, but then give in to solid reason and benevolent self-interest once it’s pointed out to her. The whole, “We’ll airlock our people if you airlock our people had a few logic holes here and there, but Lucy Lawless carried the whole thing off with a totally plausible badassery, so I didn’t even find myself thinking about it too hard.

Also, I really am appreciating how the writers have remembered D’Anna’s attitudes all the way back to Season 3 and kept them consistent. Of all the Cylons who were truly interested in working with the humans on New Caprica, D’Anna was the most hard-bitten and the least trusting. Even back during the Occupation, she told Baltar that the humans would never forgive the Cylons for destroying the Twelve Worlds. It was great to see those attitudes revived here. It makes her one of the few consistent characters this season. Also along these lines, having Baltar convince D’Anna instead of Roslin was also really smart: D’Anna would be more likely to listen to him. She has had positive memories of him ever since the algae planet and their shared vision quests.

Gaeta is NOT Tiny Tim!
Btw, I mean the one from “A Christmas Carol” not the 60s folk singer.

Ok, so as much as I was glad to see my guy back on duty, and I give him major props for being back on the DRADIS like what, a WEEK after getting his leg cut off, I must ask: Do they not have prosthetics in the Fleet? And what up with Baltar having giant pieces of shrapnel in his gut and all he needs is a awkward, vaguely sexy bandaging from Roslin and he’s fine, while Gaeta’s relegated to crutches that are clearly pissing him off? And how condescending was it for Tigh to be asking in front of everyone, “Do you wish to be relieved?” Grr…

The only nice part of that scene was seeing Dee trying to be a friend, like the old days. Haven’t see Dee and Felix together since “Unfinished Business”. But, they better not be making Gaeta a Tiny Tim character for the rest of the damn series. They better not. He didn’t even get to be part of the landing crew to see Earth with his own eyes. Unless he was really buried in the background and I missed him, he was the only one who didn’t get to go down there and wander around. Even Dee got to be there. I don’t care if he had to crutch around. He was robbed.

Your Weekly Dylan Four Update
Oh, and it’s been a while, but finally, it’s that time again:

Tory: “OUTTA HERE, HUMANS! I’m leaving your sorry asses and gonna go find me Earth with my people. Where’s the goo?”
Anders
: In various stages of mooning after Kara, begging her to explain why Vipers speak to him, and saying adorably dumb things like “Maybe D’Anna won’t be able to recognize us.”
Tyrol
: Surprisingly crazy. When this whole big reveal started, he went from being the most grittily human of the Dylan Four in his reactions. Now, he’s recently become the most detached. Has anyone noticed that for the past two or three episodes, Tyrol has walked around with this “don’t care, don’t care, don’t care” attitude, and keeps SMILING at really inappropriate moments? Like when they arrested him for being a Cylon, he just grinned. Hell, when he was in the AIRLOCK, he was looking around with a barely-suppressed smile, like he was doped out of his mind, communing with the pretty lights.

Where’s Head!Six?
Appropos of nothing: I miss her.

But seriously, why would would we not see her, when she’s been so crucial a part of all this prophecy that has driven the Galacticans towards Earth all this time? I would have really liked to see her take on the Colonials and Cylons both landing together on a radioactive dirtpile. My fanwank reason for why Baltar looked so shell-shocked in that final scene is that he’s really having a seriously pissed “what for” conversation in his head with her.

No more until January, 2009: Can we possibly stand it?

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