I was going to make this a dual post and also talk about the SERIES finale of Rome, but it wouldn't be fair to that fine show to make it an addendum, so I'll write about it later. This will be my "just watched it" post … it will largely avoid spoilers and will only mention a couple of things that I feel it is safe to talk about … if you are totally paranoid about spoilers and haven't seen the season finale, you should stop now, but I'm pretty careful in general and you should be OK (there will be another post in a day or two, and it will be clearly marked as Spoiler Central).
Battlestar Galactica is such a frakking gutsy show, which accounts for its more-than-occasional sloppiness … sometimes you think they'll try any damn thing. What's weird is that each season mixes in these amazing, complex (and messy) episodes related to the overall story arc with standalone episodes that scream FILLER, whether they are good ones or bad. The main difference in the end is that the filler episodes never reach the heights, because they're safe. (OK, "Black Market" was so awful it's hard to call it safe.)
And so tonight, we had some questions answered, but of course more questions were added than were answered, and we can't really trust that the answers we did get were correct, so basically we're just gonna have to sit on the edge of our seats until 2008, wondering what the frak will happen next.
The season finale did what all of the best BSG episodes do: combined all of the aspects of the show, political, religious, personal, they were all there. I just want to talk about one thing that made a big impression on me … this next section will be as close as I come to spoilers, if you're worried. It involves a song much beloved by many of us, and how for one episode, at least, Battlestar Galactica took me back to my more psychedelic moments in a way I haven't experienced since I read all of Philip K. Dick's books back in the day.
Now, there is more to say about the song than I'll mention here, because I'm trying to avoid major spoilers, but I'm just sticking to how it was used, in an artistic sense. Last week's episode (Part One of tonight's Part Two) included some odd scenes where a few people kept hearing a song that no one else could hear. It was cool and spooky, and I looked forward to seeing how it played out, if indeed it was going to play out. And play out it does, but that's for another post. But here's the thing …
Little by little during tonight's episode, while so much else is going on plotwise, those people keep hearing that song. And we in the audience find ourselves straining to hear what the actors are humming, because we're hooked on the mystery too: what IS that song? And then, one by one, they start singing the first line of the lyrics. The melody still doesn't ring a bell, but the words do … doesn't make much sense, so you figure it's just a wink-wink coincidence, but in any event, you're right there with the characters, trying to remember the song, and then as they strive to figure it out, it comes to you, that's like the beginning of a song you actually know, and it seems funny.
Well, to say much more would be spoilerish, so I'll stick to my own reaction. As the actual song becomes more clear, as the characters make interesting discoveries about the song, I was so caught up in the audacious nature of what I was seeing that I couldn't keep the world's biggest grin off of my face. Damn, I was thinking, these guys are so cool it's unbelievable! And as the true meaning of the song is revealed, to the characters and to us in the audience, something about the implications for future plot turns overwhelmed me … audacious doesn't get it, if this was Lost I'd say they've painted themselves into a corner, but I trust Ron Moore, he knows what he's doing, and the whole cosmic enormity of it (and I use the word "cosmic" advisedly, in the "there was a time when I took acid and thought cosmic ideas, and those days are gone, aren't they, hey, what are these feelings being dredged up" way) meant that that huge grin turned rapidly into tears pouring down my face. I haven't felt that much at one with the universe since I sat on the beach at Capitola back in 1971 while on acid and communed with the ocean waves.
And this was far from the biggest plot revelation of the night, but it had such an impact on me, I had to write about it now while it was still fresh. My apologies if I got too spoilerish.
Grade for season finale: A+
Grade for season: if Battlestar Galactica was one of my students, I'd look at their grades over the semester (A, B+, A-, B-, A+) and say to myself what the frak, they aren't consistent but it's pretty obvious they can produce work on an "A" level, and I'd give them a final grade of A. Which would be a slight case of grade inflation, but not the most egregious. This season of Battlestar Galactica has been even more erratic than the other ones, but the best episodes were so great, I'm gonna give the season as a whole an "A".
Oh, and Rome went out with class, as well. More on that later.