Battlestar Galactica #129: Apotheosis

"Are you alive? The simple answer might be you are alive because you can ask that question."

SO SAY WE ALL: It's a race to stop a terrorist attack, and the show ends on the shape of things to come.

REVIEW: This is it, the big season, and indeed, series finale, and somehow it works despite not being able to plan ahead for it. We'll discuss just what happened, but let's first get into the plot. Mainly, this is a race against the clock as we get closer and closer to Atlas Arena being bombed, bringing the faithful to Clarice's VR Heaven. The Graystones find the holoband, find out what's about to go down, but by then Director Singh has burned all his bridges (and theirs) and turned them into terrorists on the run. He doesn't make it easy. As the hour draws close, Clarice sends Olaf off to get killed, but she herself doesn't since Nestor was killed before he could make her avatar. She's so slimy, it hurts, and it now just dawns on me that she's become the Baltar of this show - the contemptible and hypocritical survivor.

The climax is tense and exciting, with the Graystones co-opting some Cylons to shoot the terrorists dead just before the game. Of course, it's not perfect. The CG is very video gamey and even silly at times, and it seems like they should all have shot at the same time, or nearer to one another. They probably did, but the editing just makes the STO look on dumbfounded, and only Olaf has the wherewithal to make a grab at his kill switch (the explosion is minor, and everyone had run off). On this side of the story, the show feels like "24", which is a bit of a departure, and because the show was cancelled abruptly, it does leave some rather big questions, like just what happened to Cyrus after he pulled a gun on the cops, and whether Singh ever got his comeuppance. Now, Clarice's followers do still die and accede to "Heaven", but Zoe takes an active role and uses her Matrix powers to confront Clarice and turn it into a "Hell" (looks like a Renaissance painting, but I can't quite place it), and apparently destroys the nascent avatars before they can come into their own power. "I AM God!" Yes, in that world, she is. And her purpose is to stop the advent of Clarice's era of immorality, her turning the world into what V-World has become and repulsed Original Zoe so much, a world without real consequence because automatic Heaven awaits.

Meanwhile, the Adamas mourn the death of Willie, an event that sends ripples through the family-minded Ha'la'tha who are really just looking for an excuse to depose the Guatrau at this point. Sam and Joseph no longer have to escape off-planet because much of the organization has their backs, and Fidelia, the Guatrau's daughter, may prove a better, fairer leader (though there's a second there where they make you think Sam's gonna keep the ring). A great use of the holoband as a trap, and the poison the Adamas were given as children makes its return. The Guatrau is not allowed to choose his own way of returning to the soil, which is perhaps the ultimate revenge. It's a good epilogue to this story thread.

As for the epilogue to the SERIES, a montage entitled "The shape of things to come", it's amazing to me that this was always in the episode. When I first saw it, I thought they'd done a quick bunch of scenes to effectively end the show after the cancellation order came down. Not the case. It was always meant to be a teaser for Season 2 and a bridge to what would be "5 years later". Seems the show would have jumped a ways every season to get us closer to an end point, perhaps the Cylon War that eventually made it into Blood & Chrome. Gutsy, but also fortuitous, because it gives us a sense of closure (it also helps that the ULTIMATE end has already aired as BSG's finale). See All This Has Happened... and Versions for the details, but it's all quite cool. Lacy's Season 1 finale was actually in the previous episode, so it's good to see her here too.

CAPRICANADA:
Coal Harbour Community Centre is where the Cylon heroes' statue will be built. It's also where the Graystones make contact with Drew. Clarice and Olaf argue in Harbour Green Park at the top of the episode.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN:
The epilogue is full of resonance. The Cylons go from heroes, to household appliances, to sentient creatures ready to fight for their independance. They got their monotheism (which they taught the skinjobs) from Clarice (whose physical and moral slipperiness makes her Caprica's answer to Gaius Baltar). Their drop ships have the same insignia their raiders will have in the future. Zoe's resurrection into the real world with a humanish body happens in a milky bath as per those of future Cylons. And Bill Adama will be born and be named after his brother. In the story itself, Zoe makes the point that with automatic resurrection, people will stop putting value on life and morality, which will also be said by Natalie when they destroy the Resurrection Ship in the future.

VERSIONS:
There never was a second season, but production members did make comments that revealed some of the fates reserved for characters had the show gone on. Duram leaves the GDD to join a group called the Caprica Legionnaires, dedicating to destroying Cylon insurrectionists (this tracks for a fervent polytheist like him). Zoe would also have joined, keeping her true nature secret. She would also have met one of the Final Five (Galen) in V-world, which would have helped her get that humanish body of hers. Flashbacks would have sometimes covered the 5-year gap. The previous Blessed Mother would have survived and been keen on getting back into power by deposing Lacy; Daniel would have allied with her against Clarice and Lacy's alliance of convenience. Bill Adama grows up angry at being named for his dead older brother. Joseph would have had an affair with the new Guatrau. Tamara becomes the basis for the Number Eight model and Zoe for the Number Six (but this last development was not set in stone, only vaguely discussed).

REWATCHABILITY: High - It's a bit off-model in terms of tone, but it's all been building up to this, and you won't want to miss the epilogue. While prequels are a dodgy proposition (hasn't everything been telegraphed already?) and Caprica failed to resonate with audiences beyond the BSG diehards, I still mourn its return to the soil. A few more seasons would have added a lot to the grand tapestry of this universe.

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