First, let me qualify my question: I absolutely LOVED the first 75 minutes of the series finale. The story, the action, my God -- the special effects we AWESOME. Kept me riveted!
But the last 45 minutes were more of a "What the hell?" Mainly because of all of the unanswered questions like:
STARBUCK JUST DISAPPEARS?!? and
Who the heck was the "Daniel" that Ellen Tigh mentioned a few episodes back (was it Starbuck?)?
Was the nuked planet they thought was Earth actually Earth? ----- or ------- Are we to believe that the African Continent was spared the nuclear holocaust?
It seems like the writers lifted some philosophies from Star Wars ("A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) and 2001 (providing intelligence and technology to a lesser developed people -- in this case, us still stuck in the Stone Age). Or maybe "Planet of the Apes".
And don't get me started on the preachy, final scene.
I dunno -- I think there was just TOO much to wrap up in the series and they should've given it at least one more episode concentrating SOLELY on their resettlement on "Earth".
I disagree. Ron Moore left it up to you to decide what Kara Thrace is, and I like that. I'm glad they didn't try to answer all the questions brought up in the final shows, leaving it up to the viewer to decide brings a personal aspect to the story. The final scene where Baltar and Six are walking around "present day Earth" was a little preachy though, but I loved the robotics and Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower!"
The nuked planet was Earth1, but at teh end of season 3 they tricked us and showed Earth2. (At the beginning of season 4, you'll note all the shots of Earth1 have no recognizable continents; we're just led to assume it's earth2 because they showed earth 2 in the cliffhanger...) Pretty tricky, but ah well.
The final scene was preachy? It had a message, but i though it was presented evenly enough, with some humor to mitigate the potential for whinyness.
Kara could just have easily been beamed up by Scotty or kidnapped by Doctor Who as anything else; unfortuantely, I had just watched the "Batman" episode of South Park ("The Coon") a day ago so seeing Kara disappear mostly reminded me of that >_<
SPOILERS!!!! . . . . . . Starbuck was an angel, as was the 2009 version of Baltar and Caprica 6..... The "actual" Baltar and Caprica 6 are supposed to be Adam and Eve (hence he starts a farm/garden...etc...), they are the ones who saw visions of themselves during the battle on Gallactica..... Hera, is the child that is the ancestral mother to all modern humans.
The actual Earth, was the one we saw in the end of the first 10 episodes of season 4. Earth was the 13th colony, of the original distribution of humans around the universe. Earth is also where the original cylons had a battle with the humans 3000 years before the humans dispersed and went to Caprica, Picon, Kobol, etc...
At the end of the series, they found an inhabitable planet, which happens to be our modern Earth. The colonists and other cylons that arrived on our planet are supposed to be our ancestors. And the final scene is Ron Moore telling us that we might have the same uprising of robots/cylons if we aren't careful... because it's happened before, and can happen again. So basically, modern humanity is the offspring of the remaining colonist and the few cylons which made it to our Earth 150,000 years ago... i.e. when Homo Homo Sapiens were supposed to emerge from the rest of the chain of human evolution. It's the same message which Carl Sagan wrote in the book "Contact."
Any other ideas people have would be greatly appreciated! I still have some unanswered questions as well... but I think that's what Caprica will help us understand, the reason cylons were created in the first place, and also lead us into the eventual BSG storyline.
Earth1 wasn't inhabited by humans, it was the 13th tribe of Kobol, who were all cylons, and of whom the Final Five were members. Earth1 (and the cylon race that the Final Five represent) was nuked by centurions, but explicitly not the same kind of centurions that the present day basestar cylons have. It's left in the air if they created those centurions and they rebelled, or if they came from elsewhere. Either way, the F5 received ethereal messengers (the Head/angelic figures) warning them of impending disaster after they had rediscovered resurrection tech, so they made sure they had a rezz station set up in orbit and shortly thereafter Earth1 and the originally-from-Kobol cylons were wiped out, with only the 5 surviving because they were the only ones that had resurrection prepared. The F5 go to warn their old friends, the 12 remaining tribes of Kobol, about the centurions, but they find the planet abandoned, and so begin the slow subluminal trip to the 12 Colonies, which takes them the 2,000 year interval before the first Cylon war, 40 years before the start of the miniseries.
They arrive to find that the humans had already developed their OWN AI, which rebelled. They offered the rebelling centurions resurrection technology and skinjob tech in exchange for an armistice with the colonies, which was accepted. The F5 and the centurions leave beyond the red line. The F5 create Cavil as the first skinjob, and then subsequent ones, which Cavil becomes jealous of while simultaneously growing resentful about being limited by the human-esque form and senses the F5 gave the skinjobs. Daniel is there primarily as a Cain and Abel story illustrating Cavil's spite, in which he poisons the Daniel line's 'code', cuts them off from resurrection, and kills them. Daniel's only other purpose in the show is to help Kara remember her father's piano music. He's not her father or related to her in any special way - these two things are the sum of his role. Kara's father knew All Along the Watchtower for the same reason Anders did 2,000 years ago, for the same reason some miscellaneous artist in the Galactica-guarded fleet "made" it, and for the same reason that our 150,000 year later Dylan wrote it and Hendrix covered it - it's part of the cosmic will or god or whatever is behind the scenes in the show. Meanwhile, Cavil's pettiness leads him to killing the F5 and programming their resurrected copies with an amnesiac block and false memories to make them think they were humans, followed by inserting them into the 12 Colonies in the space between 40 years ago and the start of the miniseries (during which time Tigh and Ellen married, Tigh and Adama met, etc.). Cavil's cylons then attacked humanity, all in a vicious scheme to make the F5 suffer with the human survivors while they're pursued around the universe, and to ultimately convince them that humans suck and they should rebuild Cavil as a perfect machine.
Fast forwarding to the end, Hera was important not because of founding humanity - she couldn't, by herself, and as Mitochondrial Eve all it meant was that her descendants were successful enough that 150,000 years later, every human shares a little bit of her DNA (plus, 150k years ago was around the rise of modern man in evolutionary history; those tribal people were Homo sapiens themselves, otherwise the colonists wouldn't be able to procreate with them) - Hera was important in order to prompt the stand off between Baltar and Cavil and have them save the child, have Tory punished, and most importantly, prompt Kara to desperately enter in FTL coordinates and deliver the fate of humanity.
Lastly, Kara Thrace was a human of two human parents with a "destiny." She died when she flew her viper into the maelstrom and overcame her fear of the unknown death. Some of her last words were, "Lee...I'll see you on the other side." She was, I theorize, incarnated in a physical body (with no memory of her death or knowledge of her role) in a new viper by whatever the cosmic force was in order to finish her role (delivering humanity to our Earth). Once she accomplished this in the finale, she said goodbye to Sam (who said after she left: "See you on the other side.") and went down to our Earth as Sam flew the fleet into the sun. She's talking with Lee and feeling that she's completed whatever she had to do, and is at peace, and a moment later, vanishes when Lee's back is turned. She had died in the maelstrom, and was merely "on loan" until her role was complete. Afterwards, she went back where she was supposed to be as a dead person - heaven or purgatory or whatever unknown is in the show's universe. Lee tells the empty air where she stood that she'll never be forgotten (revealed in a flashback as her true fear). Kara's destiny was to deliver humanity to an end point, so the cycle can start again...or be broken, depending.
Which parts? The bit about Kara's nature is just my theory. Her father not being Daniel was explicitly confirmed by Ron Moore, who hadn't expected people to make that (pretty obvious) leap. The Final Five, the 13th Tribe on Earth1, F5's trip to the colonies, the armistice and creation of the skinjobs is largely from S4.5's No Exit, which was basically just one huge infodump with Anders babbling the plot. That it was a cylon and centurion war on Earth1 is from the first episode of S4.5, where they examine the nuked Earth1 and Baltar and one of the cylons say their tests confirmed that all the bones and skeletons they found belonged to cylons, and they found a centurion head partially buried, which a cylon noted was different than their own (classic or current versions). Hera's role is my interpretation, because once they're on our Earth, she can't be more important than anyone else who can (eventually) procreate, because they're relying on genetics and biology and the reference to Mitochondrial Eve is tying into evolutionary history.
Personally, I thought there should have been some acknowledgment or parting words between Starbuck and Lee instead of abruptly vanishing in the middle of mundane conversation, especially after four seasons of their back and forth love (in various forms). That, and no scene of Tigh saying goodbye to Adama, are the only things that spoiled the otherwise great conclusion for me.
Wow... you've done a really great job wrapping up the most complex aspects of the show! I think I had about 80% of it figured out, but you cleared up the remaining 20% for me. Not to mention, your theories seem to make sense to me. As for Daniel - well, I'd simply written him off as a small bit part and left it at that - no need to introduce us further to an "artistic" cylon.
I do have one small part I'm confused about, which you sorta explained but I still can't wrap my head around. If the Final Five were the survivors of Earth1, the Lost 13th Tribe of Kobol, but we've learned they were actually a Cylon civilization... how does that make them the "lost tribe" of the original 12 colonies, since the original 12 colonies didn't come up with Cylon tech until thousands of years later? Humans in the 12 colonies considered the 13th colony to be humans, as well. What would be the backstory to that? Humans in the 13th colony created cylons, lost that war, cylons (and centurions) took over and destroyed themselves... all the while, the 12 colonies grew more slowly and were only finally playing out their human/cylon destinies when the Final Five finally made it back to the 12 colonies and began to teach those cylons resurrection/skinjob tech?
Daniel Graystone cannot possibly be the Cylon Daniel becuase he exists before the first Cylon War. When the Final Five showed up at the Twelve Colonies, Anders mentions that they arrived right in the middle of the human-centurion conflict and THEN cut the deal with the centurions to help them make human models.
I thought the person playing the piano was Starbuck's father, but then couldn't understand why she didn't recognize him from the beginning. Thanks for explaining him as being Daniel, that makes more sense to me and also gave them a purpose for mentioning him. Thanks!
In reading some interviews with RDM and other follow-ups, it seems like the piano player actually WAS supposed to be her father, and Daniel WAS only a bit story to illustrate Cavil's vitriol. So, I guess her father left her at a young enough age that all she could recall were impressions of him teaching her piano, and since deus ex is all over the plot, presumably the deity sent her father from the afterlife or some such to appear to her and stoke her memory. I prefer thinking of it as deep subconscious memory, but given the finale, it's probably the former. A bigger mystery may be how they found a piano and how they moved it there, and why since it seems no one else played it and Dreilide Thrace was only perceivable by Kara, but whatever - it's all pretty messy in the details.
As for Baltar, I think a more convenient deus ex machina would be just to have him not be around a nuke at the beginning of the series - which is to say, I don't think they'd go that far as to make him another heavenly resurrection, especially since he settles down at the end of the series and isn't pulled back. I read some credible-sounding analysis that estimated the distance of the blast in the background by the shockwave and noted that the detonation occurred behind the mountains, which would shield much of the blast, and that crouching with his head in human shield Caprica's pelvis would buffer him from most of the dangerous effects remaining (like the glass windows blowing out). Afterwards, he grabbed up a jacket and ran off, probably after freaking out about Caprica's corpse.
Spaceboy Jack: Honestly, I'm not too clear on all that, myself. The events of the distant past are the least explained (Kobol's exodus of the 12 only mentions disasters and angry gods), but I have a sketchy framework of it. Cylon is a pretty broad term in the show, referring to all of: raiders/centurions, who are different from the skinjobs, who are different from the F5 cylon 'race'. They're all in the same umbrella group, and they all have machine/digital elements - maybe they're four subspecies of the Homo cylonis (or whatever) species. At any rate, from what I can recall of the infodump episode, they had lost resurrection tech at -some- point and picked up procreation instead, so if that was when they were on Kobol the other 12 tribes probably considered them human because they had no knowledge of other cylons (or knowledge so ancient that it was their mythology) and the 13th tribe looked and acted like humans.
Hopefully I'll watch S1 again soon, since that's where they talked most about Kobol and the legends about the tribes. I almost bought S1 and S2.0/2.5 in pining to see the beginning (and best seasons) again, but news of a S2 bundle and a complete set have stayed my hand for the moment - I probably won't be able to resist very long, though.
You guys all seem to be much more into this than i am, so maybe one of you can answer my questions... How can Tighe possibly be a skinjob cylon? Somewhere in season 2 or 3, we see flashbacks to when Adama and Tighe were young officers. So if Tighe was a young man 30 years ago, why was he an old man thousands of years ago?
My other question involves the dialogue between Baltar and Caprica 6 at the very end of the finale. She makes reference to God's plan, and he says something about "it doesn't like that name." WTF is he talking about?
The final scene may have seemed preachy, but the message is important. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And we all have choices, so make good ones. The choice of "All Along the Watchtowers" in the closing shots was super.
In the end, instead of blaming themselves for their failed civilization, the Colonials chose to blame their technology. I suppose if you are predisposed to a Luddite point of view, you could accept this ending.
The hybrid child who was so important all through the series apparently only existed to pass Colonial & Cylon genes down to humanity on our Earth. Since we seem to be in danger of repeating all the same mistakes as the Colonials, you have to wonder just what was the point of the hybrid child.
This ending would have been much more acceptable if they had settled the Colonials on some planet other than Pleistocene Earth. They could have dismantled the ships for metals to use as plows, rakes, fishhooks, housing, etc. instead of launching them all into the Sun (to prevent having modern archaeologists discover the artifacts, of course). Much of what transpired seems to have been to make sure that the only surviving trace of the Fleet was in the genes of the hybrid child.
Trying to tie the events into past history on our Earth just made for a muddled mess.
What about the hybrids' message to Starbuck: 'You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end."? The harbinger makes sense if Starbuck is a Seraph, and even the second part - she leads them to Earth (twice). But why 'harbinger OF DEATH?'
Brian Ingram says: <<STARBUCK JUST DISAPPEARS?!? >> Starbuck was killed when she crash landed on Earth. When she came back we were supposed to think that she was an angel sent by "god" to help them find Earth II
<<Who the heck was the "Daniel" that Ellen Tigh mentioned a few episodes back (was it Starbuck?)?>> No, Daniel was just a skinjob that had problems so they boxed it. It's not any of the main characters.....a behind the scenes answer is that RDM gave Sharon the number 8 before he thought of the concept of the final five, so in order to make the final five work, there had to be 13 cylons, so he created the boxed Daniel to make up for his mistake earlier.
<<Was the nuked planet they thought was Earth actually Earth?>> The nuked planet was the Earth of their legends, it was the 13th tribe of humans. It was NOT the Earth that we're living on, it was a completely different planet
<<Are we to believe that the African Continent was spared the nuclear holocaust?>> No, that was a completely different planet. Remember they were traveling away from the nuked planet, made a few jumps away from it too. The planet they settled on was a random planet they came across, that they named Earth to honor their original Earth...they're two completely different planets.
tess00 says: <<Yeah I agree with most of what you're all saying, but what the frack was Boltar if he got nuked right at the beginning? Even the 6 had to be resurrected after the blast>> Baltar survived the blast, Six told him to get down, and used her body to shield him. As a cylon she was tougher and was able to save him. In the following scene he is beat up and bleeding so he didn't get away unharmed
Red Bird says: <<I thought the person playing the piano was Starbuck's father, but then couldn't understand why she didn't recognize him from the beginning. Thanks for explaining him as being Daniel, that makes more sense to me and also gave them a purpose for mentioning him. Thanks! >> The man playing the piano WAS her father. She didn't recognize him at first because she was a little girl when he left.
Marcella Russo says: <<What about the hybrids' message to Starbuck: 'You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end."? The harbinger makes sense if Starbuck is a Seraph, and even the second part - she leads them to Earth (twice). But why 'harbinger OF DEATH?>> I've been thinking about this one too...I think it was about her obsession with Earth when she came back. If they all went with her after her hunch they wouldn't have found Earth and they probably would have all died.
I also forgot to add, that I absolutely loved the last three episodes. We had recorded it on our DVR to watch it back without the commercials. I was on an adrenaline rush the whole time and had to stop it periodiclay to catch my breath. I was literaly on the edge of my seat at times. The opera house scenes were amazing, Kara plotting the jump coordinates was the best thing I've ever seen on tv. When Laura died. I had to stop the recording and just cry. It was frakking amazing!!!
When the Hybrid says to Kara, "You are the Harbinger of Death, Kara Thrace", she is stating that Kara's arrival on the Baseship heralds the beginning of the chain of events which will lead to the destruction of the Resurrection Hub. It is Cylon death, not human, the Hybrid is talking about.
I was watching the DVD, Season 4.0, Disc 3: "Faith" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" when I realized this.
I just finished the series a few months ago, so I hope some of you are still following this thread. I have no one to discuss the show with since none of my friends watched the show...
A lot of these answers are very helpful, so thank you (even though this is a few years later, haha).
May I just mention a few things I was disappointed about?
First of all, Ellen being the fifth, to me, was the biggest letdown of the entire show. I thought she was a cylon since her first episode midway through season 1. Baltar tests her blood when Adama brings her onto Galactica, and Baltar says to Caprica 6 that "everyone passes this test," implying that he just conducted a phony test because he didn't want to be conducting blood tests for 60 years (that's how long it would take to test everyone's blood in the fleet). So while he tells everyone that her results are "green," meaning "human," he says to Caprica 6 that "he'll never tell" what the results of her test actually were. To me, I thought we were supposed to fully expect and believe that Ellen was a cylon, so when it was revealed that she was not only a cylon but the FIFTH and final "surprise" member of the final 5, I was truly overwhelmed by disappointment. Is that just me?
Also, I agree with Red Bird..I expected Baltar to be a cylon or to be different in some way. Yes, we realize in the end that he is technically different, but it just seems so unrealistic that he could have survived that blast. Maybe not, since there were a few hundred people on Caprica who were running toward Helo/Boomer and who wanted to win a seat on their ship back to Galactica. But still...they showed that in the intro of the show for the entire series, so I kept thinking that that would mean SOMETHING, even if it didn't necessarily make Baltar a cylon. I still don't fully understand the meaning of Baltar and Caprica 6 at the end of the finale..I don't see how it explains their relationship during the series. But maybe it's just not supposed to be fully reasonable.
This may be a little far-fetched, but this is something I was expecting to be revealed for pretty much the entire series. I thought that Zak Adama (Lee's brother who past away before the cylon attack on civilzation) was going to be involved somehow. Originally, I thought he might not be dead and didn't know what his role would be. Then, when Lee Oben tells Roslin in season 1 that "Adama is a cylon," I thought that maybe Lee Adama was the cylon, but really I thought that Zak Adama was going to come back into the show as a cylon. Eventually, once the idea of the final 5 was introduced to us, I was convinced that Zak was going to be the fifth. So not only was I incredibly disappointed that Ellen (whom we already suspected could easily be a cylon) was the fifth, I was also a little disappointed that the Zak twist never came about. Yes, that might have been a little far-fetched, but to me, that would have been a great twist. It would have made for some incredible scenes with kara, with Lee, and with commander adama, and it would have been shocking enough to be worthy of filling the fifth position in the final 5. Anyone have any thoughts about that? Am I the only one who thought that? Mind you, I didn't pay attention to any viewer theories or reactions while the series was on because, like I said, I only watched it a few months ago in late 2011. But was that theory ever discussed? Would you have thought that would have been a good twist?
Also, I have to agree with Brian Ingram. I felt the end of the finale was preachy, unnecessary and cheap, to be honest. To me, it undermined the brilliance of the show. It didn't take away from the rest of the series, but I thought it was a cheap ending to a sophisticated, beyond-brilliant work-of-art of a show. I thought it was unnecessary to have Baltar and 6 in times square in present day, but the little robot thing at the end was just too much. It really left a sour taste in my mouth. I thought the beginning of the finale was some of the most intense, exciting television I've ever seen, and it just went downhill from there. If I could go back in time and warn myself, I would have turned off the tv halfway through the finale.
Another one of my first reactions after seeing the finale was that the most exciting revelation of the show was when they revealed the first 4 people of the final 5. I feel like the suspense dropped after that point and that while there were some exciting scenes/moments after that, the show's intensity never quite rose to that level again. I wish they had drawn out the revelation of each member of the final 5. That was really disappointing.
I hate to just write things I'm disappointed about. Obviously, I wouldn't be posting these things if the show didn't mean the world to me. I think it is one of the best shows I've ever seen and one of the best shows ever made. I'm just kind of desperate to discuss a few of these things with someone since I don't know anyone who watched the show.