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Monday, June 16, 2008

Battlescarred

So, I finally got around to seeing the halfway point finale for Battlestar Galactica Season 4 (thank you PVR *big smooch*).

Just a big ol' warning button here - Muchos spoilers of the large variety to follow so please watch the episode first if you haven't already.

Moving on...

I sat there dumbfounded as they stood together on that black soil, the geiger counter ricketting away - wreakage and ruin stretching as far as the eye could see. It was a harsh change from the feeling of hope that'd been present before - only moments ago - as they'd first jumped into orbit around the big blue marble we like to call "Earth".

As the credits rolled I found myself... bothered. I get the narrative, I get why they took it there but as the screen faded to black, I felt frustrated - and not in the good way.

I was reading through some blogs today and I hit upon Mr. McGrath's take on the mid-point finale. He makes a lot of sense but one of the things that really hit home with me was this:

"But for a show like BSG, where they do their best to throw curves, eventually wears to a point where you can sense that thing coming, as I did -- just because that's their thing. It's like going to an M. Night film. The guy always has a twist, so at a certain point, even if the twist doesn't suck, it's still not really going to do it for you because you get jaded. "Here it comes. Ooh. The twist." And it doesn't impress you even if it's good. Familiarity breeds -- well, if not contempt, then at least...complacency? I don't know."

I started to think about what it was that bugged me about the halfway point finale and I think I've figured it out: It seems to me that BSG ends its major revelations on a down beat.

Granted, I'm not sure how you could reveal the final 4 and it be a happy occaision, but I think - especially on this occaision - I feel somehow cheated.

I get the sense that the ending was too much - like they sullied a moment that they'd worked so hard to earn. Maybe they were too afraid to allow themselves to truly bask in the glory of their accomplishment or maybe they thought it wasn't a 'good enough' ending to have it end on a high note as they floated around Earth, a million questions lingering.

Anyone who watches the show knows it's not going to end well. This is not going to be a series that has a big ol' red happy bow on it - so I feel like they cheated themselves (and us) out of having that one true, pure moment. That apex where we as the viewer know it's all going to go downhill from there. I mean, come on! I know the shit's going to hit the fan - there's 10 episodes left - so let them have their moment and let it end there.

Yes, I know, it's not 'Galactica-style' to do that, but that's why it was needed. We know this season's going to break our hearts - hell, Mr. Olmos himself described Season 4 as "devastating".

Give them their moment in the sun.

Personally, if you had to have that touch of darkness, I would have preferred to have seen it end with the fleet together, celebrating as one - truly celebrating and then, maybe somewhere off to the side of CIC we see a sensor go off or a little warning pop or a biohazard sign beep. Just a little something to darken the horizon, to let us know that everything's not Kosher. But even that may have been too much. We already have a million questions and the one you answered in the very end would've served just as good a launching point for the last half of the season. Why'd you have to show it now?

I think, in a sense, that it bothers me so much because the ending forgets that the viewer has been on this journey too and doesn't reward anyone properly for taking the journey with them. Instead we get sour faces on a ruined planet and the feeling that everything we've invested into the show thus far has been for nothing.

Okay, sorry, that was pretty harsh. But, still...

We could've seen resolutions made and friendships rekindled (even if only for a moment), we could've seen a real reaction between the Humans and the Cylons or just basked in the moment together. We could've seen so much more, we could've enjoyed that moment in the sun (yes, even from orbit) if we were allowed to.

But we weren't.

Instead, I felt like the writers didn't trust the audience enough to enjoy the culmination of that moment with them. And that's a shame because it was something I would've enjoyed, something that would've made the experience fulfilling for the characters and the viewers - granting them the time to appreciate the fullness of the completion of their goal and then ending with that high point.

Unfortunately, that's not what happened. As I watched the pain on their faces, as I watched their hope scuttled after such struggle and pain, it felt cheap to me. And I know it's just my 2 cents an' all but a part of me is starting to wonder why the characters don't look directly at the camera and say "Why can't we catch a fucking break around here?!"

All-in-all, while the hum-drum ending wasn't a dealbreaker for me, it did make feel sad for the first time when watching my favourite show. And that sucks.

Cheers,
Brandon

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