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Battlestar Galactica season 4 ep 19: Flashback Flashdance

March 14, 2009

“Daybreak Pt. 1”

I don’t really know how to sum up the beginning of the BSG finale than with a comment in the latest BSG thread over at the AV Club. To paraphrase: it’s an info-dump with explosions!

The explosions, mostly from blaster fire but some probably from STARTLING REVELATIONS, will come next week in the two hour series ending final stand. This week we had a lot of spooling up of drives, consisting of flashbacks into key moments defining some of the show’s characters. We saw Roslin at the moment she decided to reenter politics, about to find new energy after the sudden death of her entire family. Lee Adama was growing restless as a military officer – lost – yearning for something new. Anders was a disinterested athlete in love with the physics of performing perfection. We’re supposed to grok a theme of wandering souls finding new purpose, finally, in the eye of the storm. Is it about faith or destiny or self-actualization? Who knows?

Or perhaps, at this point, who cares? It’s a little late to be filling in those blanks. We knew of Lee’s preference for the law, and it was only brought out in service of the conflict over Baltar’s fate. We didn’t know about Roslin’s or Anders’ past concerns, and it would have made them – especially Anders – more interesting had they bothered to think of it earlier.

At least this wasn’t one of those obvious money saving flashback episodes the old sitcoms used to do, so lovingly lampooned by Clerks Animated and many others. Or was it? Hmm.

This is the kind of thing that happens when writers don’t have a plan. But we’ve been over that, Moore has admitted it. Moving on.

Here’s all you need to know about the set up for next week that you don’t already. Adama, not quite ready to give up on Galactica or himself, feels the old bird has one more mission left, to rescue Hera. Perhaps if there is anything that could redeem the fleet leadership and their (rather bizarre, wouldn’t you say?) faith in prophecy and dreams, it’s to find out why the frak Cavil wanted Hera and what she really knows about their salvation.

To that end, the admiral called for volunteers for a suicide mission into the Cylon colony perched at the event horizon of a black hole.

The only conflict from this week, and possible wild cards for the finale, are Baltar’s character arc (can he do a completely selfless act?) and whether the Eights (Boomer/Athena) can really be trusted – by anyone.

Back to the lede about the finale being an info dump with explosions; we’re a week away from series end and there are still questions out there. I don’t know that Moore et.al have the stones to leave the fanbase without answers, after all, the questions were the bait to keep us watching. So, I’m expecting a mix of bloodletting and lengthy exposition in an effort to deliver an action packed, answer packed last episode. I don’t know how well this will play. The series has more in common with Stargate SG-1 than with Star Trek: DS9, so don’t look for two hours of ruminations at the end, especially given Adama’s Patton-like call to duty this week. Yet they’ve pitched the series as genre fiction for the pretentious intellectual in all of us, so perhaps this show will be like Shinji Ikari’s hallucination.

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