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[Comments] (6) Get Me Rewrite: Like nearly everyone who cares, I was disappointed by the Battlestar Galactica finale. I had my own idea for how it should turn out, and although my prediction technically came true, it was in a really unsatisfying and sloppily-executed way.

But as Joel Hodgson once said, you don't have to take the ending they give you. You know I haven't been boring you by posting about BSG every week, and I wouldn't post about the finale if all I had to say was "I'm disappointed". But ever since the DS9 days I've considered Ron Moore a role model for SF storytelling with long dramatic arcs, and I need to write this alternate ending so I don't remember the BSG arc as fundamentally flawed.

Obviously this discussion is full of spoilers, so if you're Nandini or someone else who's waiting for the finale to show up on Hulu, don't read this yet.

It looks like the finale was as sloppy as it was because Ron Moore had a few major obsessions that drove the story to a place nobody but Ron Moore wanted it to go. A place the story itself didn't want to go, such that an entire pantheon of B-movie dei ex machina had to be deployed to push it there. I'm gonna take one of the obsessions as revealed in the final episode, and ditch the rest.

For me the wheels came off the story right after Galen killed Tory. That made sense by itself, but not much afterward made sense. I'm gonna back up the story to just before that, get rid of the memory-sharing tech that gave Galen his motive, and start from there.

The five uber-Cylons put their minds together and decrypt the secret to resurrection technology. An uneasy truce is formed between the humans and all models of Cylon. Galactica docks at the Cylon colony and the Five begin work on a new resurrection hub.

What I'm about to write doesn't really have any conflict in it, which is usually a problem, but it has more conflict (read: shouting) than the final hour of the actual finale. There wasn't any conflict in the second hour of "What You Leave Behind", and that was fine. And if you want more conflict you can just add back in Galen finding out about what Tory did.

During their work on the hub the Five make a discovery: there's no reason why resurrection technology can't work on humans. It may have been a human invention in the first place. The inability of Cylons to reproduce sexually is some kind of DRM that can be broken if you understand resurrection tech. There is no longer any fundamental difference between humans and Cylons.[0] The cycle is broken. The human race and the Cylon race merge. Laura Roslin's death is especially poignant because she'll be one of the last people ever to die.

The show ends with a flash-forward to twenty years in the future. Some people we knew as humans now exist in multiple copies. There are some new hybrid characters.

The occasion is the commissioning of a new ship, a colony ship the size of a base star, built with human and Cylon technology. The people who were born human have been living in space for far too long. They've built this ship and are leaving to continue their search for a habitable planet. Of course they call this new ship Galactica and there's bookending and all that good stuff.

That's my basic storyline. There are many possible variations: if you want the cycle to restart in the end, I think you can see a couple ways of doing that. There are problems you'd have to finesse but by and large the real show finessed the same problems. Watch this video of Edward James Olmos at the UN and tell me this ending isn't more in the spirit of BSG.

One last thing. Let's talk about Starbuck. Pretty much the only thing I liked about the final hour of BSG was the revelation of what Head Six, Head Baltar, and Starbuck were. I'd like to keep that, but Starbuck's arc needs some changing now that there's no "real" Earth for the humans to find.

So. Sometime in the final hour Starbuck disappears from human sight, as per the actual episode. But instead of Lee's "that's strange, the woman I love suddenly disappeared, oh well" shot, we go to her POV. She sees Head Six and Head Baltar. They tell her that she is a construct created by God for the fulfilment of the plot prophecy. Prophecy is a very tricky thing and when the instrument of prophecy dies at an inconvenient time, extreme measures must be taken. She was brought back to lead the fleet to Earth. Earth sucked so much that the humans became desperate enough to make an alliance with the Cylons, a move that has now led the human race to its end. Now the plot prophecy is over and it's time for Starbuck to come with them.

Needless to say Starbuck does not take kindly to this revelation. Here you get your shouting. You can resolve this in a number of different ways, most of which are more interesting than what happened in canon.

[0] That was my prediction that came true in a really unsatisfying way, ie. by killing off the humans and the Cylons and making us all descendants of the hybrid.

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Comments:

Posted by Brendan at Sun Mar 22 2009 22:49

I would have taken an entire second hour of Starbuck yelling at Head Six and Head Baltar (the three of them together were #2-4 on my list of favorite characters, edged out only by Helo). Like, the nukes hit, Starbuck punches in the song, they do the zoom-and-dolly effect that indicated jumping way back in the miniseries, and then when they zoom out from Starbuck's face she's not on Galactica anymore. Commence yelling! Ideally she and Heads Six, Baltar and Leoben would also have had another boxing match.

Also, I will never understand why none of the characters ever said anything like "um, how about we go to Kobol?" It's a perfectly habitable planet! They know where it is! The only reason they had any problems there before is because there were some Centurions running around on it for no clear reason. I get that they didn't want to start the cycle again, but come on, it's a better option than New Caprica.

Posted by Brendan at Sun Mar 22 2009 22:55

By "Leoben" above I meant Head Leoben, who deserved more than one episode.

I do have to admit some respect that RDM had the strength of will to use the black hole as a giant red herring: they went to the trouble of calling it a "naked singularity" six or seven times, just as nerd bait, then completely ignored it instead of using it to do Something Stupid With Time Travel.

Posted by Leonard at Sun Mar 22 2009 23:10

I liked that, and also the Daniel fake-out, which totally had me suckered. Unlike many BSG nerds, I'm perfectly fine with Kara MK II being an angelic construct created to fulfill prophecy, but *Kara MK II herself* would certainly not be.

Posted by Brendan at Mon Mar 23 2009 02:05

That is an excellent point. It would also imply that Anders and (I think) Lee actually slept with an angel, whereas Baltar just jerked off a lot, which is pretty funny.

Baltar's last little choke-up was the moment of the show that really got to me. In his mind, the entire story of the show has been about how he rises from being a crappy subsistence farmer's kid to become a world-famous playboy genius, then the president of all of humanity, then a scapegoat exile, then a messiah, then... a goddamn subsistence farmer. Which is also funny, but Callis's performance was enough to make me feel for him in the end.

Posted by Fred Blasdel at Mon Mar 23 2009 02:56

I was hoping for your "human resurrection" idea, but with a different underlying means — the humans discover that they are cylons too, just from a previous cycle.

Posted by Kristen at Sun Mar 29 2009 13:28

I just really wish they had picked a better final 5 than Ellen. Is there anyone that is interested or even likes her character?


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