Our BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Series Finale Recap

Regardless of whether you thought last night’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series finale was “Frakkin’ Fantastic!” or the biggest letdown since THE SOPRANOS faded-to-black, I think there is one thing all fans (be them human or Cylon) can agree upon. Ronald D. Moore Frakked us again by giving us the most unexpected ending of all: A relatively happy one.

So before we get into our very own post-finale-data-stream-of-consciousness, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Moore for not only delivering a thrilling and emotional ending that will be debated both online and off for years to come. But for providing fans with four seasons of remarkable stories, characters that we will never forget, and best of all, a spin-off (CAPRICA) that’s coming to DVD in less than a month (Seriously, thank the Gods!)


Our story begins back on Caprica before the attack. Or as we like to call it, our least favorite aspect of the entire three-part series finale. Because as much as we applaud Ronald D. Moore for caring enough to ensure fans have enough material to keep the BSG fan-fiction machine going for a good decade or so (Starbuck, Lee and Zak Adama have a little too much to drink… it practically writes itself!), we’re not exactly sure as to what these flashbacks added to the overall story. Especially since we’re already more than a little aware that Kara Thrace was destined for something more and that Adama and Tigh are, with apologies to J.D. and Turk, television’s most memorable bromance.

So we’ll move on to the crew prepping for what would most likely would be their final mission. Which oddly enough, started out on a very uncharacteristic lighter note: With Roslin telling Doc Coddle as he struggles to hold back the tears (in a much deserved final scene for actor Donnelly Rhodes) “Don’t spoil your image, just light a cigarette and go and grumble.” Adama informing his crew that after they run out of bullets they should, “start throwing rocks.” Helo commending his pilot’s dedication, “That’s my Raptor wranglers, always looking for new and interesting ways to get killed.” And Tigh as only Tigh can, letting Adama know that it’s, “still not to late to flush ’em [‘Cylons!] out of the airlock.” Add to that, surprise promotions for President Lampkin and Admiral Hoshi (WTF!?) and we’re fairly certain that BSG just set a record for the number of laughs in a single episode.

Of course, the laughter came to a screeching halt when Adama took a moment to do what he does best: Rally the troops for the very last time, “This is the Admiral. Just so there will be no misunderstandings later. Galactica has seen a lot of history, gone through a lot of battles. This will be her last. She will not fail us… if we do not fail her. If we succeed in our mission, Galactica will bring us home. If we don’t, it doesn’t matter anyways.” Needless to say, we’re not ashamed to admit that we totally mumbled “So Say We All” under our breath. Did you?

Cue ridiculously epic space battle that doesn’t really translate well into words. Suffice to say, we now know where 95% of the season’s special effects budget went to: The Hera Rescue Mission. Not only do the rarely-seen Cylon models of ‘Simon’ and ‘Doral’ get to make an appearance. But we were treated to big budget explosions! Toasters versus Toasters! Never-before-scene cannon fire! Raiders! Raptors! Balter in military fatigues! Did we mention Explosions?! And the Galactica itself serving as a battering ram to quite literally rip into the heart of the Cylon home world in an effort to rescue Hera. Holy Frak, It was awesome.

That is until the ‘Opera House.’ Which we’re just going to say, is where the show loses us. Because in our mind, mythical visions are a lazy plot device that completely remove us from the reality of the show. Are we seriously to believe that two seasons ago, when the Opera House was first introduced, Ronald D. Moore and Co. knew that everything Roslin, Caprica Six, Baltar and Sharon saw was all tied into rescuing Hera from the Cylons? Because we’re sorry, we’re not buying it. Even if it worked out perfectly so that Caprica Six and Baltar saved Hera… just in time for Cavil to kidnap her again. D’oh!

Which brings us Baltar’s big speech. Was anyone else waiting for Cavil to be capped in the head as Baltar endlessly blathered on? No. Okay then, moving on to the world’s shortest truce (which is agreed upon when the Final Five agree to give Cavil the key to Resurrection in exchange for Hera) and our favorite sequence of the entire finale. Yes, you know where we’re going with this. The one where Tyrol loses completely loses his mind, eye-popping and all, after ‘seeing’ Tory’s “little secret.” End Truce.

Not willing to risk a moment, Tyrol takes a page from Homer Simpson and strangles Tory to death. More fighting ensues, with Cavil taking the cowards way out by offing himself, while a dead Raptor pilot inexplicably blows up the Cylon home world forcing Adama to yells to Kara, “there must be some kind of way out of here.” Okay, not exactly, but get us out of here Kara does. With the now iconic “All Along the Watchtower” theme informing her to piece together the exact co-ordinates to Earth2 . Which by the way, is the type of plot thread coming together that we love.

And with that, the crew finally arrives at a place called home. The audience (at our BSG Frakkin’ Finale Party) went nuts. As it really was the perfect place to end the show. Or so we thought….

Because as it turned out, there were still forty minutes remaining in the episode. Which means we’re about to get BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: The Big Goodbye.

Let the backlash begin. Or at the very least the half-lash. Because if you’re anything like us, Earth2 (not to be confused with the short-lived NBC science fiction series of the same name) was a mixed bag of loved it or loathed it moments.

But let’s start off with the love shall we. Because who on earth would begrudge Adama and Roslin’s beautiful swan song? Their final flight, particularly when Adama removed Roslin’s ring and put it on his finger was emotionally poignant and absolutely heartbreaking. Especially after it became apparent that Adama was not going to pull a Cavil by setting a collision course directly for the nearest mountain,

Ellen got her wish, which was to simply be with Saul (again, thank the Gods the flashback made that clear). While Tyrol after being betrayed by seemingly everyone he had ever loved choose to take the road less traveled (literally) by going off and living by himself. Not exactly what we would have chosen, but hey, our girlfriend didn’t turn out to be a Cylon and our dearly-departed wife didn’t cheat on us and lie about her Baby-Daddy.

As for Hera, Athena and Helo, well they got to live happily-ever-after. Which we’re not going to lie, is quite the shocker considering we completely expected Ronald D. Moore would take a page from the Joss Whedon playbook and have Helo sacrifice himself to save his family.

Of course here are where things get complicated. Did Balter really redeem himself after years and years of only acting in his own self-interest, not to mention being partially responsible for the annihilation of an entire civilization? Not in our books.

And since we have absolutely no explanation for what the deal with Kara “Starbuck” Thrace was, we thought we’d turn it over to Ronald D. Moore himself, who had this to say in a post-finale interview with the Star-Ledger’s Alan Spinwall. “Kara, I think, is whatever you want her to be. It’s easy to put that label on her: Angel, or Messenger of God, or whatever. Kara Thrace died and was resurrected and came back and took the people to their final end. That was her role, her destiny on the show… We debated back and forth in the writers’ room for a while on giving it more definition, and saying, definitively, “This is what she is,” and we decided that the more you try to outline it and give voice to it and put a name on it, the less interesting it became. We just decided this was the most interesting way to go out, with her disappearing without trying to name what she was. ”

Which just about wraps it up.

Except that we quickly jump 150,00 years into the future where Head Baltar and Head Six debate (alongside a cameo by Ronald D. Moore himself) as to whether humanity (that’s us!) will once again be the architects of our own demise. Then, in case we didn’t already get the connection that “all of this will happen before, and all of this will happen again,” the camera camera pans over to a television screen showing an MSNBC report about the prevalence of artificial intelligence in Japan…. just so you know, we know whom to blame when all of this that happened before, happens again.

THE END (For Real)

  • I have very mixed feelings about the episode and how it wrapped up the series, and I’ll probably have to watch one more time over the weekend before being able to comment further.

    But, for now, I’ll just say that I’m not satisfied with Ron Moore’s explanation of what Kara was. To me, it smells a little bit of the producers & writers making it up as they go along. Even *if* they always planned for Kara’s resurrection to be a spiritual or metaphysical thing, how do they explain her Viper? Was it also “resurrected” along with her?

    If Ron Moore is trying to imply that God is behind everything, then I (as a believer in God) can accept that God has the power to resurrect a space craft as much as he can resurrect a person, especially within the human/machine aspects of the show. But, does Ron Moore clearly explain that God is behind everything, or is it some other unspoken “higher power”? That’s what I’ll have to pay attention to when I watch again.

  • TMZ

    Overall, I am disappointed with the finale. Too many unanswered questions. I’m not even going to comment on Starbuck. Ron Moore has a history of killing off characters for the shock value of it. I think he killed Starbuck off for that purpose then realized that he needed her back and made up this ghost/resurrection stuff as he went along. In the end, it doesn’t hold water. Tyrol killing Tory was great. The way Laura’s death was handled was lovely. The battle scenes were also good. However, the ending along with this “God is behind everything” theory just left me cold.

  • EKI

    I think that there is a lot in there about this superior power that drives the universe and that sets Kara where and when she needs to be for the wheel to keep turning, resurrecting her, bringing her back with the viper, putiing that song practically inside her dna and all that. And that is the same power the two angel-like entities that are head-“Baltar and Six” refer to as god “although it doesn’t like this name”.

    The series finale seems to have less strength than many of the episodes we’ve seen, but no one ever said that all stories need tho have those intense climax, its just that we use to demand them to keep us interested. But it indeed seemed to let a little bit down the scienc fiction part of the show that we liked.

  • Chris R

    I loved this finale in almost every aspect. It’s exactly how I would have ended the show. I have no problem with the unlikely consensus that technology should be abandoned and leaving Starbuck’s true nature undefined. To me, these things made this show distinctive, it’s rank unpredictability. I credit the actors on this show for making the characters so real, I actually mourn their deaths as if they were real people.

    Good show, Ron. Thanks for the ride.

  • Kari

    While I am sure that I will eventually look back at this episode and find things I don’t like, I think it was a perfect send off. When we watched it here we watched all three hours of it at once, and it works much better that way. I also can’t wait to see the extended cut that will be on the DVD (according to that interview you linked to). I loved the way the deaths were handled, the storm of the colony, finding New Earth, Baltar gettingvsome redemption, Boomer getting her due. I actually LOVED the Opera House tie-ins. You may not have bought it, but it really tied the series together even more.

    The only thing I didn’t really like were the SFX. Except for the Colony itself, they all look rushed and cheap to me. The Cylons look like crap. So do all of the Raptor scenes, they all look like cheap toys.

  • Ned Flanders

    Terrible ending, stupid ridiculous, witless. Couldn’t have been worse. Knew they would blow it with all the religious cr## thats been spouted over season 4. I can’t understand anyone being remotely satisfied with this cop out ending. What a collosal waste!

  • TVFan

    WOW, Hands down the longest TV Addict post ever! Kudos. That aside, I loved the finale. Even the very end. Sure it was cheesy, but there was something so cool about knowing that Head Baltar and Head Six are watching over us.

  • I loved it. I loved that it stuck with me (in my dreams last night) and was on my mind when I woke up today. I do not buy that the 39K people remaining all agreed to give up technology and live in the bush, but I’ll deal with that because of the beautiful and poignant endings given to Roslin, Adama, Lee, Tigh, Caprica, Helo and fam., and Gaius. Not feeling Tyrol going off to die like that, but whatever.

    Oh, and Anders. That makes me cry just thinking about it.

    As usual, I posted a recap as well with my many, many, many thoughts. I’ve already watched the episode three times. I could watch the first hour’s battle all day.

  • typeractive

    Huh! Guess I “saw” things a bit differently. I thought the Opera House Scenes was Hera Projecting which she has the capability to do, being half cylon. She can’t deal with what is happening on the ship so she creates a safer projection to run around in. Everyone else can connect into the projections. Baltar goes in, because he has some spiritual or perhaps it’s just his genius mind being built differently and the drugs help Roslin move to this other plane of consciousness. If the Opera house is Hera’s projection, then it makes sense that they were seeing parts of it, because it’s simply Hera’s vision she plays over and over whenever she doesn’t feel safe. She probably doesn’t even consider it an ‘Opera House,” per se, just a pretty, safe place to run around in, etc.

    I thought having Starbuck be either an angel or perhaps her own consciousness simply refusing to die, refusing to be forgotten until she gets her loved ones to safety was cool. I watched in on youtube sadly and the last seven minutes of audio was killed, so I missed Baltar and Six Head discussion. So can’t comment on that. I’m glad Lee and Starbuck didn’t get together in the end. I thought it was better that way.

  • Jeffrey S. Nelson

    I programmed the vcr for two hours and four frakkin’ minutes, and my recording still didn’t get the last minute or two. I’m so frakkin’ tired of the networks running their shows over the time announced. And then there’s no frakkin’ repeat airing scheduled over the coming week. What the frak?

  • EdBlack

    Love the fact thet galactica’s crew are the missing link to evolution
    Can someone explain Kara desapearing with a no god theme??

  • Chris R

    Starbuck’s “disappearance” was deliberately meant to have no rational explanation. I think she was an angel sent from God to fulfill her destiny after she foolishly killed herself before being able to. Perhaps she was a version of “head” Six that all could see, not just one person.

  • Paul S.

    I enjoyed the finale, but it sure seemed like there were a lot of holes. Why for the first time in the series were there 1000’s of the original cylon models and I think a 10 year old could have rendered them better. I guess the outside space scenes ate up the budget. Maybe they should have just used the guys in costumes from the first show.

    The Kara story wouldn’t have bothered me if they hadn’t spent so much time with the back story of her and Apollo. What was the point of that? I thought they were going to say something like she was always an angel, that’s why she didn’t fear death, etc. But instead all we learn is that she was ready to cheat on Zack with Apollo. What does that say? I mean we know her and Apollo did it later and they love each other, etc. He yelled “I love Kara Thrace”. So why did the writers even bother with that story. I loved the angels stuff, especially Baltar and Six in the end. The reference to it’s happened before was a little overt. I also found the coy statement about him hating being called by the name “God” confused me. Opera House seemed a little contrived and unnecessary to tie it in at this point. I’d say if anything they just tried to do too much in the last 3 hrs. They brought in so many new things while trying to wrap up loose ends. I mean did we need to know at this point that Roslin’s sisters and father were killed, did we need to know she dated a student. I would have rather teared up by seeing 10-15 more minutes of her dying slowly. They could have spread this out over about another half season or they should have just left it out in order not to rush the important closure items. My vote in the end, finding Earth 2 and it being our Earth and not Earth 1985 🙂 was an awesome way to close.

  • steve

    Can someone explain why Kara was repeatedly referred to as the person who will end the human race, yet she is actually the one that saves it? Did the writers originally plan a different ending in previous seasons?

  • Whinygeek99

    I don’t understand to what extent the final five or other cylons remember their past lives.

    And how were they integrated into Caprican society without childhoods or families?

    Kara Thrace the ghost seems like a lazy and rather out of place concept to force onto the story. Why not have vampires too? And aliens!

    A metaphysical resurrection would have been easier to digest if it had been forecast in the mythology.

    Why did the cylons do with her eggs anyway?

    Why was Adama not coming back in the finale? Just to make us think he might kill himself? Come on! He’ll miss his kid!

    Too many questions – and Baltar and 6 in the future – wha?

    I wish Starbuck would have kicked some ass in the viper – that’s where she was the most bad-ass.

    Sorry Ron, it’s the characters AND THE STORY – stupid.

  • Potty

    wow, after the final i realist that i completly ignort the whole “natur” of the series the whole time …. the whole thing with “god” i ignored it

    but i have to say that it was in most parts a realy nice ending for the series only the thing with earth was… lets say i withed another ending… something where i can imaging what could happen after the ending of the series (and does anybody believe that humans wouldn`t build a city and rape the whole planet?)

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  • HRF

    Maybe they were flash-forwards, not flash-backs.

  • SS

    So there are two identical earths, in two identical star systems, with identical star formations in their skies? And humanity spontaneously sprung up on two separate planets, and evolved in such a way that when they happened to meet they would be able to interbreed. Okay, this isn’t a lame attempt to get them out of the whole they wrote themselves into, it is just an old deus ex machina plot device. “That was a completely different Earth we found before! Fooled you didn’t we> Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.” Look, the show introduces all these ideas, plots, and story line, and the promise is that they will be solved in an entertaining and even creative way. Their solution: “bait and switch dude, there’s two identical Earths in the universe.”

  • I just saw the episode last night, and still haven’t decided whether I love it or otherwise… One thing’s for sure, Ron Moore’s done it again and totally surprised us with this ending! There were so many wonderful, moving moments you’ve already listed, so I won’t. But what I didn’t like at all was Apollo ending up all alone (no Dualla, no Starbuck, no Dad… what the frak?! he deserves better!!!). Felt bad for Boomer, did anyone ever give Adama her message? (“I owed him one”). I really did enjoy the flashbacks, a glimpse into their lives as part of the farewell… And while I did enjoy the tie-in with the Opera House vision, having the final five standing together just looking over the CIC felt contrived… why would they be up there? Tigh and Tyrol would have had better things to be doing with all hell blowing loose like it was…

    And not one to criticise what is a great recap (I’m too lazy to recap it on my blog so I’m just going to link to you if you don’t mind!), but you’ve got a couple of details wrong!
    1- Adama didn’t say the words from Watchtower, Starbuck did. He said “Starbuck get us out of here”, and after she says “The coordinates for the rdv aren’t in the nav computer” she goes on to add (with the Watchtower theme starting up) “There must be some kind of way out of here” before starting to punch in the numbers as if playing a piano.
    2- Adama didn’t take Laura’s ring, he took it off his own finger (it’s been there since the beginning) and placed it on hers. Very touching!!!

  • LizE

    Ok, first of all, I’d like to say to everyone that had problems with BSG’s religious explanations, WHAT SHOW HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING????? Caprica Six has been saying to Baltar from the very begining that she’s a messenger from GOD!!!! I don’t know how much clearer you wanted it to be. Anyways, I thought the entire series finale was brilliant. There’s just one loophole-How did the rest of the fleet get Kara’s coordinates? Other than that, I thought it was a perfect ending. I’m sad to see the show go.

  • the-good-shepherd

    The Rest of the fleet got the coordinates from a Raptor that jumped to the Rendevouz-Point and back.

    Kara Thrace was referred to as “The Harbringer of Death” but ultimately Racetrack played that Part by nuking the cylon colony even though she was dead by that time.

  • Perruco

    Deus ex machina, indeed! That´s what Battlestar Galactica is about. Good episode.

  • Richard Perez

    My only questionsis: How do Baltar and Six survive 150,000 years to walk the streets of New York City?

  • ANTWAUN

    GREAT EPISODE! I AGREE WITH MOST OF YOU THAT IT LEFT A LOT OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS! ELLEN WAS A GOOD FIT FOR THE 5TH CYLON BUT ADAMA WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER. ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY TIED IN PROCREATION.

    KARA COULD HAVE BEEN DEALT WITH BETTER. IF THEY WERE GOING TO LET HER GO OUT LIKE THAT SO THEY SHOULDN’T HAD HER FREAKING OUT ON EARTH WHEN SHE DISCOVERED HER BURNT BODY. IT WAS CHEESEY FOR HER TO SAY MY MISSION IS COMPLETE AND THEN DISAPPEARING.

    HERA’S CHARACTER SHOULD HAVE HAD A BIGGER ROLE. THEY HAD TO MUCH INVESTED IN HER TO LET IT GO.

    IT WAS SO MUCH MORE FOR THEM TO DO WITH THIS EPISODE. GAIDA COULD HAVE BEEN THE 5TH ALSO OR FOR THAT MATTER THE 7 THAT THEY BOXED AND MENTION BUT NEVER REVEALED.

    THEY NEVER MADE IT CLEAR IF THE CYLONS AGE AND DIE OR HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE? WE DO KNOW THAT THE FINAL 5 HAD BEEN BORN ON EARTH, THEREFORE WE ASSUME THAT THEY AGE. ALSO SINCE ADAMA TOLD TIGH THAT HE HAD HAIR AND HE AGED. WE DO KNOW THAT THE 1 MODEL BLOCKED THE FINAL 5’S MEMORIES AND PLACED THEM INSIDE THE COLONIES. WHICH BRINGS ME BACK TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION, HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE? THEY COULD HAVE SAID THAT ONCE THE START BEING RESSURECTED THEY LOOSE THEIR ABILITY TO REPRODUCE. WERE THEY ON CAPRICA DURING THE FIRST WAR. WERE THEY SLEEPING SO TO SPEAK FOR 2000 YEARS?