Monday, March 23, 2009

Why the Galactica ending made sense

Spoilers, etc., yadda yadda...

I've seen (and participated in) a number of discussions about the Galactica finale. Several people were bothered by the ending, in which the survivors decided on a pretty Luddite existence and chose to drive their ships into the sun, to disperse themselves across the Earth, and to forgo cities.

This anti-technology choice actually made sense to me on several levels. For one, the survivors kind of had no option. As we were reminded in the final episodes, the fleet was running out of basic supplies, including fuel, ammo, and toothpaste. They were triaging patients in sick bay. The Galactica was dead and the other ships were falling apart. The idea of building another Caprica was kind of far-fetched.

The decision was also strategically sound. I took it that the Cylon colony was fatally damaged and probably got sucked into the black hole. But Cavil and the others are still out there in one form or another. If they happened across the new Earth and found cities and an orbiting fleet, they might decide to attack. As the show ended, though, the Cylons would go right past the planet without batting an eye.

Finally, one can sympathize with the position of the survivors. They might have said, "We have all these wonderful inventions; how much good have they done us? Our inventions brought us from billions of people across 12 planets to 40,000 starving souls on a primitive rock." Going Walden and breeding with the natives probably sounded pretty good at that point.

I didn't take it that they were going completely Amish. They did talk about distributing provisions, presumably some things like antibiotics, blankets, etc. But still, I get their position.

So I liked the ending. They could have cut it off about 30 seconds earlier, though, before the dire warnings about Japanese robots. Styx drove that point home years ago.


Anonymous said...

I took it that the Cylon colony was fatally damaged and probably got sucked into the black hole.

I think Moore has said that this is the case, but the shots didn't make it in (or were cut before SFX).

Anonymous said...

Disagree heavily with the positive interpretation.

-Hunter/gatherer societies like the Fleet will be assimilating into are extremely, inherently brutal. Child mortality as high as 40%, short overall lifespan, material austerity, tribal division, violence, ignorance.
-The theme of Glactica was "You can't run away from the things you've done." That's exactly what the characters did at the end. No knowledge of their society, culture or experiences will survive long term, they've embraced nihilism, physical suffering and early deaths.
-The whole lemming-esque group conformity and unanimity was surreal, and went against core elements of Galactica's themes.
-On a more direct level, remember all those people shot and in critical condition from the last battle? Won't they be pleased to go onto the planet with "only the clothes on their back" and no long term medical support?
-Also, Hera was described as dying as a 'young women', yet having already given birth at least once (to be mitocondrial eve). Doesn't that make for wonderful implications?
-I disagree that this plan makes them safe from the Cylons. You think if Cavil finds a fully habitable planet with human life on it he'll just leave it alone? Remember that his faction now has no way to reproduce or resurrect, even if it didn't seem to be at all fleet variant of human, he'd probably still nuke them out of jealousy and spite.
-For the Fleet to fit into Earth history, they have to have lost all their tools and technologies. Farming was only invented 10,000 years ago, there was no Neolithic Revolution or major tool use change 150K in the past.

Seth Masket said...

We're arguing separate things. I was just saying that the show's ending made sense from the characters' perspective. You're arguing that it was a bad choice. It probably was.

Anonymous said...

[quote] We're arguing separate things. I was just saying that the show's ending made sense from the characters' perspective. You're arguing that it was a bad choice. It probably was.[/quote]

However the show seemed to present it as if it were a good choice, a happy ending. Lee's idealistic speech, the fact that everyone went along with the situation, all the smiles, showing Earth in cheerful sunlight, the montage of flashbacks and pairing off to make clear that Baltar, Caprica, Tigh and Ellen got a good ending. It wasn't shown as the nihilist self-destruction that the situation entails. Consequently, I see the very ending as an insult to the viewers' intelligence.

Anonymous said...

ok, yea, but did you like it?

Seth Masket said...

I doubt there will be too much evidence of any of our existences in 150,000 years. Who knows, maybe Baltar started a farming community that lasted 1,000 years. We still wouldn't have much evidence of it today -- any tools found might be interpreted as a carbon-dating error. Or maybe Baltar got eaten by a cheetah or stoned to death by an Australopithecus the day he planted his first crop. At any rate, I thought that the fact that both races survived to reproduce -- a pretty unlikely thing, all things considered -- and that their offspring are alive today was a nice little coda. Or maybe that's just me.

Seth Masket said...

A quick follow up: No, I realize there weren't any Australopithecus hanging around then. They probably only encountered Homo sapiens.

The Le said...

I'm pretty sure this blog is a complete joke.

Falkenherz said...

We are talking about making sense to you, not about whether you liked it. It made absolutely no sense to me.
- a highly realistic society with a lot of internal struggles is suddenly unanimous
- technology-spoiled humans are not capable to sustain harsh nature without technological aid
- splitting up even lessens the chance and pace of succesfully maintaining and raising population
- miracles remain unmotivated
- flashbacks had no plot relevance except to kindle sentimental memory
- Starbuck, Hera, the Opera-Vision were incoherent at best

Big disappointment.