The season wraps up with Baltar’s trial, some startling revelations and the return of an old friend.
A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.
So here we are, at the end of my favorite season. It’s been a long dark road for our heroes, but they made it (most of them anyway).
We started this journey on New Caprica; all of our characters were trapped there (emotionally if not physically), and while they could not see a way out of their mess, they survived. They lost some dear friends along the way (Kat, Kara, Ellen), but they lived. Against the odds, they prevailed.
But as we’ve seen, they are not better for the journey (at least right now). In response to the fear and dread that has invaded their lives, our heroes are embracing the dark sides of themselves in order to get them through the next steps of the way to Earth.
They still believe it will be that easy. They can do all these horrible things to each other for the greater good (“Dirty Hands,” “Taking a Break from All Your Worries,” “A Measure of Salvation”), and once they reach paradise, they can shake it all off and be the people they are. What they won’t learn for another ten episodes (and one movie) is that until they become better people in the here and now, they will not deserve their paradise.
In our third act finale, Lee Adama is the only one who really sees the way ahead. He looks at what his people are doing to the loathsome Gaius Baltar, and he makes the choice to do right by a man who doesn’t deserve it. He signs on to Baltar’s defense team, and works with them to prove that Baltar should not be executed for surviving the horror of New Caprica.
The people in the fleet have struggled all season with their shame and guilt and rage over their actions (or inactions) on New Caprica because it’s their fault. They chose to settle on New Caprica; they let themselves be taken in by Baltar’s seductive promise of a new beginning, and when it failed, they want to blame him, not themselves. And if they can cast out their sacrificial lamb, they can all be free of their sins.
And Lee’s right (the bastard). Baltar picked his life over the lives of 200 people, but Roslin pardoned all of the fleet for their actions on New Caprica and by default, he should be forgiven too. He unknowingly aided the Cylons in the attacks on the Colonies, and he gave Gina that bomb that led the Cylons to New Caprica, but the prosecution cannot prove that, so he goes free. That’s the way the system works, and if they are going to consider themselves good (and better than their enemies), then it’s what they have to live with.
Lee outlines all of that in an impassioned speech (the highlight of the weaker second part) and shows how much he has changed in three episodes. He’s taking the best his ‘parents’ have to offer him (Adama’s compassion and empathy, Roslin’s pragmatism and decisiveness) and becoming the best version of himself. He’s lost a lot already (his wife, his job and a closeness with his ‘parents’), but he lived through the end of the world; what’s the point of staying the course when the opportunity for transformation presents itself.
Next season, everyone else has to struggle with deciding who they want to be, and well, he’s got it easy; he’s already decided.
I didn’t realize how Lee-centric these episodes were the first time through, and well, that’s my loss, but that’s not the only thing going on here.
Finales are a good chance for the audience to take stock of where our characters are, and while Lee’s positive transformation is all well and good, some others are in for quite the shock.
For starters, Anders, Tory, Tigh and Tyrol get quite a surprise when they discover they are all Cylons. A song keeps following them through the ship as they get closer to a nebula (another road sign on the way to Earth). Tory and Anders, recognizing their connection, begin a brief affair; Tigh begins drinking (more than normal anyway) and generally acting like a mad man; and Tyrol takes to going on midnight strolls through his ship, looking for the source of the haunting melody (psst, it’s Bob Dylan).
They won’t find it, but they find each other and a whole lot more questions about their existence. They, all of them, will have to reconsider who they are, and it’s going to be a rough fourth act for all of them.
See you then.
Kara Thrace lives! Not really though, but wow, that moment still works for me. That strange bogey on dradis is always her, but never has she been so welcome (or so needed).
Romo is one damn fine lawyer, finding the weaknesses in the witnesses, the judges and his own co-council Lee. He knows how to work an audience to his advantage, even employing a cheap trick of playing up his own injury. Well played there Lampkin. Sorry about the cat.
But Lee Adama can hold his own too; I still get chills watching him cross-examine Roslin; he knows he needs to discredit her, and he gives it all he’s got to do the right thing, but man, it hurts him too. It’s one of my favorite moments in the series; those two really work so well together on that mother/son level.
Speaking of Roslin, the Opera House visions begin! And her cancer returns. But already she’s changed; this time around, she opts for life, no matter the personal cost of chemo and hope. A brave choice for a woman who swore to never go down that route.
“I’ve never doubted it” – one of the best Adama lines ever. It was a rough season for Adama lovers, but he’s never better than when he’s sticking up for his BFF. Shame he comes off as such a tool during his brief tenure as a judge.
And there it is – Earth. Our Earth, waiting for the Fleet to find it.
Next up: “Razor”