Battlestar Galactica – Season 4 Episodes 11 – 20 Review

BSG S4 P2

All things must come to an end, and while I still have “The Plan” to review, this is the end of the Battlestar Galactica series reviews (unless I get round to the prequel spin-offs one day, I guess), as the final season reaches its, sadly still disappointing, end. Before the finale comes a set of really solid episodes, and some properly great scenes. So, let’s have a look at this final batch of 10 (well, episode 20 is double length and called “Daybreak Parts 2 and 3”, but it still aired as a single episode, so I count it as just episode 20, your mileage may vary)

Synopsis:

Galactica has arrived on Earth, only for it to be revealed to have been populated by Cylons until a nuclear war, 2000 years in the past ended in extinction… Well, nearly extinction…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

BSG S4 P2 1

Here’s to the end of a long journey! Cheers!

Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) – Adama promised everyone Earth would be their freedom, and now he’s lost… What can he do to rescue morale?

Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber) – Lee is, by this point, completely wrapped up in politics, and that means dealing with the Vice President as Roslin’s health continues to decline…

Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) – Starbuck has fulfilled her destiny and lead everyone to Earth… Sadly, it’s not exactly what was promised, and it’s not going to get any easier for her…

President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) – President Roslin is continuing to struggle with her returned cancer, and the failure of the prophecy she preached hasn’t helped matters…

Gaius Baltar (James Callis) – Baltar continues to live surrounded by those who adore him, and continues to feel awkward about it… Still, could be worse, Earth could have turned out to be… ah, oh…

Number Six (Tricia Helfer) – The Number Six humanoid Cylon model is all over the place at the moment, from leading a rebellious Cylon faction to one being pregnant! That’s not even mentioning the one in Baltar’s head…

Number Eight / Sharon “Athena” Agathon (Grace Park) – The Eights are mostly in with the Sixes and Twos in the rebellion, with the exception of “Athena”, who is a full-fledged member of the Galactica crew, and “Boomer”, who sided with the Ones…

Number One / Cavil (Dean Stockwell) – The Ones are cold and calculating, and are the only model allowed to keep the knowledge of who the Final Five Cylons were. As such they have grown to resent their creators, and wish to switch the roles around…

Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) – Colonel Tigh is one of the “Final Five” Cylons and still a member of the Galactica crew. He feels oddly at home on the ruins of Earth…

Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) – The former Chief and “Final Five” Cylon is now without a wife, and without a top job, but it’s not all bad… there is something about the ruins of Earth that seem familiar to him…

Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco) – Sam is another “Final Five” Cylon who is starting to have odd memories while exploring the ruins of Earth…

Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma) – Tory is the “Final Five” member who has embraced the change in her life the most… Shame she won’t do much with it.

The Good:

BSG S4 P2 4

The original Apollo gets his death scene… as a different character, but still!

The standout story strand in this batch of episodes has to be the coup by scheming former radical terrorist Tom Zarek and disillusioned officer Felix Gaeta. It plays out across the first four episodes, with Episodes 13 and 14 being a two-parter where Zarek and Gaeta successfully take control of Galactica. It leads to some great scenes with Zarek (particularly a shocking scene where he meets with the “Quorum of Twelve”, minus Apollo, and walks out the room before casually instructing his men to gun them all down in cold blood.) and Adama, Tigh, Apollo and Starbuck all get some “bad-ass moments”, to put in bluntly. Once its resolved Zarek and Gaeta accept their executions with a smile and a nod to each other. Throw in a great scene just before that with Baltar and Felix chatting, with both knowing it will be the latter’s last meal, and it’s a great set of episodes.

During the many shoot-outs Sam Anders gets a bullet lodged in his brain and during Episode 15 he eventually remembers everything about the “Final Five”, and tells Tigh, Tory and Tyrol about it. It happens concurrently with some flashbacks to Ellen Tigh (revealed to be the fifth of the Final Five in the opening episode) resurrecting aboard a Cylon ship, which fills in more gaps. It’s a very lazy way of doing it, but I do still really like the idea of the “Final Five” actually being the final five Earthlings (who were Cylons created on Kobol, which is why the humans formed the 12 colonies and the Cylons went a different way) who were wiped out by their own Cylon robots, then left and met the Twelve Colonies Cylons and gave them technology and human-like forms to dissuade them from attacking humanity and repeating the cycle. It’s fun, it’s just a shame that this episode is the last that feels truly special…

I will say that the finale has a few good scenes, the raid on the Cylon Colony (which looks way too over-the-top evil to be taken seriously…) is good fun, and the scene where the Final Five all gain each other’s memories briefly leading to Tyrol seeing Tory’s killing of Cally and his just straight up killing her was great. I remember the first time I watched it, it hadn’t occurred to me that the plot thread was still dangling, so it was a great, shocking moment, and still fun to watch. Once again Adama and Roslin’s relationship is touching, and their final scenes are the only nice and fitting part of the finale.

The Bad:

BSG S4 P2 2

Ellen’s back… and not annoying! Hooray!

It really is like they were cancelled with five episodes notice, because the … *ahem*, final five episodes are full of quick retcons and poor writing. Suddenly Hera has to be the only hope for the Cylons, so Tigh and the Number Six lose their son via a miscarriage and Tyrol finds out his son Nicholas isn’t his son and Cally cheated on him (this is particularly stupid because new father “Hot Dog” is soon given the role of Dad and we only see Nicholas once more, briefly. I’m pretty sure the son would want to hang out with the Dad that’s been raising him for years not some random guy, but whatever…) We then get the really interesting Starbuck “will cause the death of mankind” and “how is she alive?” stuff, which was made more interesting by her finding her own burnt corpse on Earth, which is just straight up not explained. In the finale she vanishes and nothing is said of any of it. At all. Much like the fabled “Opera house dream” which was just a premonition of Hera running off and finding Baltar and Caprica Six in a scene during the finale, and she was soon reunited with her mother and nothing came of it.

The finale itself has some good in it, as mentioned above, but so much of it is either pointless flashbacks (unneeded backstory for characters we’re just about to never see again) and of course the reveal that the Number Six in Baltar’s head was an angel-like being, and along with the Baltar in Caprica’s head, they were guiding everyone to our Earth so they can start fresh on behalf of the “one true God”, which means that… yep, God did it, he did it all! They settled on our Earth some 150,000 years in our past and decided to send all technology away into the sun (which everyone agrees with, somehow…) and Hera is some sort of key player in our humanity. It’s just not very good. So much not explained, or explained away with some hand waving, and then everyone just lives happily ever after in caveman times. What a waste.

Overall Thoughts:

BSG S4 P2 3

The final assault! One of the few highlights of the finale.

In my opinion this batch of episodes can be neatly split in half, with a great half and an average one. Sadly the average one was supposed to be the big finale, and instead its unsatisfactory to say the least. Still, the ride is still fun, even if the final bit before you get off is a bit shit. I mean, it’s not so bad to watch, but as a pay off for four seasons of great teasing and plotting it deserves a low score…

Episodes 11 – 15:

5 Star Watch

Episodes 16 – 20:

2 Star Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s