Thursday, May 07, 2009
Fan-plosion Ahead. Beware.
So, ok. I’ve been debating whether or not I should post on the finale of Battlestar Galactica, given that I’ve loved it for so long. But it did break my heart, and it took me some time to stop crying at inopportune moments when reading about the show – and not in a good way. I am very sad that its gone, but more because the ending was just so dissatisfying, and so… wrong and unjust to the characters that I love so much. I admit that a lot of my disaffection has to do with the fact that I ship Kara and Lee, Starbuck and Apollo, really frakking hard, and their ending left a really bitter taste in my mouth. But that disappointment just opened my eyes to a lot of the criticism that was directed at the show in general and I agree with a lot of it now. Not all of it, but a lot. I should say here though, in no uncertain terms, that as vitriolic as I might get later in this post, I love this show. Still. A Lot. I only crib because I care so much and I have never been so involved with a fandom before, or felt so much for a certain set of characters.
Let me start with Kara and Lee mainly because I need to get that out of the way before I can focus on the rest of it. One of the main reasons I fell in love with BSG were those two. Their relationship seemed to me to be so honest and so real. Of course, it was passionate and angsty, and a lot of that angst had to do with this backstory of theirs that we knew little about, but it was also so intrinsic to who they were at the point of time that we meet them. Their issues were their own and not the plot’s or anyone else’s and I loved that about them. There was also the buddycop! factor and that they complemented each other so beautifully and how they were able to be friends no matter how mad one of them was with the other and how hard they tried to hurt each other. That certainly had the makings of an obsession, a fatal attraction – they were like moths to a flame when it came to each other.
I have to confess that I didn’t find their flashbacks out of character. I think they did a wonderful job of establishing the near-instant connection between Kara and Lee – she’s talking to him about what she’s most afraid of – and also a background to the weird tension between them and this guilt that neither can quite get past of an almost betrayal. They continued to be friends even after that incident on the table – the picture of Kara, Lee and Zak proves that – but how guilty must they have felt for their feelings for each other when Zak died? And it works too that they automatically sublimate their feelings for each other and only let the acceptable parts surface and it’s second nature for them by the time the attacks happen. So that they aren’t able to make the transition into letting themselves think about each other That way until it’s too late. And as for what they did on the table – well, they were totally drunk and so into each other that to me it seemed at that moment they forgot everything but each other. When Zak woke up, they realized what they were doing and stopped and hated themselves for it. I don’t think what they did was so unforgivable.
No, what I hated – even more than Kara telling Sam she loved him but not Lee – was the sheer indifference of their goodbye. It was such an awful scene. I could’ve made my peace with the ending – I wouldn’t have liked it, but I could’ve made peace with it – but that they didn’t even hug, or touch in any way at all, let alone kiss ruined it for me totally. The love of your life is about to disappear and you don’t even… hug? Shed a few tears? Anything?
And I hate the idea that, out of all the people on the show, these two didn’t deserve their happy ending because somehow they never got past that moment on the table. That’s bullshit to me. Season 4 works only if you accept that Lee and Kara love each other, truly, deeply and in a way unconditionally. They’ve matured and grown to the point that they accept the other person’s priorities while recognizing that it doesn’t mean that them doing their own thing doesn’t mean the other loves them any less. I thought Kara was able to accept that Lee loved her, finally felt herself worthy of it, which is what that scene in Islanded… was all about to me. Equally, Lee was able to just love her, finally, without demanding anything of him in return. To have all that basically poof away at the end of show was a giant cop out to me. Its far braver for a show like BSG to have your central couple end happily in a way that seems completely organic to their story than to, well, have the female half just disappear into thin air. It was just the lazy storytelling that backed the writers into a corner when they decided to kill Starbuck back in Maelstrom coming to fruition in that scene. I think we, the fans, deserved better and heck, even more, Kara and Lee deserved better. Rewatching the show now, it makes me unbearably sad that the two of them will never be rewarded for the journey they make (and the chemistry! Oh God, what a waste!). Ron Moore basically decided that he was bored of those two and shifted his focus to Adama/Roslin (which I also have massive problems with, and I’ll come to that later) and we all got fucked over because of that.
As for Adama and Roslin, their romance more than anything made me realize how reliant we are on the bird’s eye view that the show gives us of the fleet leadership. We know that the two of them will go toe to toe with each other even if they’re in love, but how can the fleet have that assurance? From what they can see, the military and the civilian government are literally in bed with each other and neither has proved to be transparent about why they take the decisions they do. So, for me, I think Gaeta and Zarek’s rebellion would find far more popular expression than it did, and the writers did the show a great disservice when they resolved that storyline never to speak of it again. They thought up the mutiny and that was brilliant, but that was the last time I felt BSG was truly its kickass self. The idea of the fleet tearing itself apart from within while still being hunted by a faction of the cylons, having no place to go and the Galactica disintegrating around them: Now that would’ve made for a hell of a finale, and probably one that was truer to the ethos of the show. Certainly, there’s more of a things-are-coming-to-a-head angle to that than the Admiral deciding to risk it ALL for one child. And while we’re on that, why the hell didn’t the fleet go back to Kobol after the disappointment of Earth? The Cylons knew where it was, but a lot of them are with the fleet and it would make sense to have the last stand against the ones that aren’t for something as tangible as a new home. If you’re out in space, running out of supplies and more importantly the will to keep going, do you still try to find somewhere entirely new to go to or do you actually go back to a planet you Know can support life? The complete non-mention of this as even a possibility is very hard to believe. It wouldv’e also been a far more elegant solution to the all of this has happened before thing, if you ended up on the birthplace of man and then went on to do the same things over again. Maybe you could even rename it Earth, just because the name is as much as symbol as anything else.
A/R was also problematic for me because of what happened to Roslin after getting with Adama. She just gave up and waited to die, she became an inconsequential figure in those last days and I think that was a cop-out for a character who was so central to why mankind made it as far as it did. She was such a strong woman, and to see her lose that identity slowly was quite painful.
Which brings me to Kara and her poof and being an angel and other mystical nonsense. What was that all about? I’ve heard Ron wax eloquent about how he is aggressively agnostic, whatever that means, but I’m sorry Ron, when you allude to angels and things and completely ignore free will and have things play out the way something supernatural wants it to play out, you’re not being agnostic, you’re being religious. You are saying, it doesn’t matter what you do or what you don’t, you have a destiny and you’re just a puppet in the hands of the whatever god or gods is running the damn show. Nothing you did would’ve changed the eventual outcome.
I’m not even get started on the asinine technology is the root of all evil message. Except that its really uncharacteristic that Lee was the one to come up with that stupid suggestion, when he’s never once given any indication that he doesn’t like technology or longs for a simple life. Quite the contrary, in fact – recall his disdain for Galactica’s lack of tech and how, in New Caprica, he preferred his warm bunk to the dusty camp on the ground. And that montage was just too cheesy for words.