Monday, March 26, 2007

Frak me!

If you haven’t seen the Season 3 finale for BSG yet (and plan to), don’t read this! Seriously, you need to see the show first; don’t read spoilers!

People attached to the show had promised that the season finale would blow our minds, and it delivered for me. Given one of the taglines for the season—One dies. One is a Cylon. One finds Earth.—I had an inkling of what was left. Starbuck died a few weeks ago, so that meant I could look forward to discovering one of the final five Cylons and some hint of Earth (though probably not much more than that).

The first half of this episode, while good, was pretty straightforward. A definite highlight for me has been Baltar’s trial. This has not been very popular with Trillian (who has been half watching the episodes); I think she would have been happy to see some character, any character, take it upon him or herself to rid us of his presence once and for all. And I’ll grant that there was a not small part of me that really wanted Roslin to throw him out of the airlock.*

But I have been entranced by the trial precisely because it engages a dichotomy I see in the capital punishment debate. At the gut level, I understand the desire simply to rid the world of scum. Then a combination of my intellect and heart take over. The death penalty is achingly final and there is no room for error. Better, and I believe this to the depths of my soul, to let 100 guilty men go than to wrongly convict 1 innocent man.

And so with Baltar, as despicable as he is. Here is a man who has gone beyond all that is decent to ensure his survival. I still don’t think he regrets his actions on Caprica, even though they led to the destruction of mankind. He certainly doesn’t regret his relationship with Caprica Six. But Lee was right—Roslin put out a blanket pardon for all actions on New Caprica. Everyone was given a clean slate, regardless of which side they were on and how many deaths they may have caused. Except Baltar. And as slimy and low as the former president is, who can say that he or she would have made any better choices in the same situation?

And then... Then they went and really frakked with my mind. We were not given one of the final five Cylons; we were given four. Tigh, Tyrol, Tory, and Anders find themselves face-to-face, having been drawn to an unused part of the ship by music that nobody else can hear. As they stand and stare at each other, they all come to the same realization. They are all skin jobs, Cylons hidden among humankind. All four were part of the insurgency on New Caprica; all four have been determined in their efforts to free mankind from the Cylons. Tigh remarks that he has been in the fleet for 40 years, fought in two wars. He has been the slowest to accept Athena and still makes plenty of snide remarks about toasters. Tyrol knows the most intimate details of the fleet’s maintenance. He built a Viper from scratch in order to give the fleet that much more fire power against the Cylons. He was head of the labor union on New Caprica and has been instrumental in fighting for the common man. Tory has been the president’s assistant since Billy’s death. She truly believes in Roslin’s leadership. Even on New Caprica, when Roslin returns to her role of schoolteacher, Tory sticks with her and tries to help her rescue baby Hera. Anders was stuck on Caprica during the original destruction. From the remnants of his pyramid team, he creates a small band of rebels who hamstring Cylon operations. He recently began the switch from civilian to Viper pilot.

Trillian had guessed that Tigh was one of the final five. Back in the Temple several episodes ago, D’Anna looked upon the final five and said to one, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know it was you.” As Trillian pointed out at the time (and again last night), Tigh suffered the most in physical terms on New Caprica, losing an eye to her torture.

With Anders, I am reminded of how utterly intrigued by Starbuck many of the Cylons have been. Back when Baltar slept with her, the Six in his head makes suggestive remarks. When she’s held at the Farm during her return to Caprica, all of the Cylons seem particularly interested in getting a hold of her DNA. So how ironic that she ends up in the arms of a Cylon (who doesn’t know he’s one).

Tory and Tyrol are not quite as earth-shattering to me, but it does mean we have another hybrid baby. Wonder how Cally will feel about that!

But it’s those last few minutes that finally did it for me (and has Trillian taking the show off of probation). Just after those four meet, Cylon Raiders appear on Dradis—they have finally caught up with the fleet. Lee immediately shucks his civvies and jumps into the nearest Viper, even though he is not officially back in the military yet. As he flies in search of some Raiders, he is buzzed by a ship. A little bit later, it comes alongside. And there is Kara Thrace, Starbuck in the flesh. She reassures him—she’s back and she has found Earth. Fade out. Frak!

Back to the tagline. “One dies. One is a Cylon. One finds Earth.” There has been some buzz in the discussions I’ve skimmed about the possibility that one person fulfills all of those. Now there is no denying that Starbuck is the one who died. And it appears that she has found Earth. So is she also a Cylon? Is she the fifth, the one who has not yet been revealed?

The answers will have to wait until January 2008. It’s going to be a long 9 months!

*Trillian now has a T-shirt that says “Re-elect Laura Roslin (or she’ll throw you out an airlock).” Mine is a little more simple and, I feel, eloquent: Frak Off.


bubandpie said...

I finally watched the finale last night, so now I can come and read your post!

I hadn't read that tagline before - what it suggests to me is that Starbuck is not only a Cylon, but in fact model One. (Is that possible? Do we know the numbers of all the models we've seen? I can only think of Three and Six, though I think the monkish guy is Five.)

Tigh's Cylon status raises some questions. Was a real human Tigh replaced at some point with a Cylon version? Were the five capable of time-travel? (i.e. I don't think that the skin-job technology has been available for sixty-odd years.) When we saw them that one time they looked like children, so I thought that might be what separated them from the other seven: instead of simply being implanted with false memories and sent to infiltrate human society, they were actually raised within human society.

Personally, I found the trial a bit mind-numbing, but the mysterious music and the finale totally redeemed the end of the season for me. Amazing.

alejna said...

I hadn't seen the tagline either--but I like bubandpie's interpretation of "One".

I love BSG, too. (Not sure if you've written about it much before, haven't really dug through your archives. Actually, I was looking for your Global Warming Wednesday posts, but got sidetracked. Which is totally like me. For example, right now my laptop is open so that I can do some work for school.) I was particularly enamoured with the episode about the strike on the fuel ship. I didn't know where they were going with it, but the ending was so beautifully subversive. Frakking beautiful.