The Coroner’s Report on the Death of Battlestar Galactica

It's dead. Put this in its mouth and break its jaw.

I am very sorry to inform you that your friend/lover/colleague, Battlestar Galactica perished in the line of duty at 12:01am Eastern Standard Time on March the 27th, 2009.

For a full report on the incident, click below. Caution: this report is EYES ONLY for people who have witnessed the incident.


I agonized on an airplane between Toronto and Halifax during the hours of the original broadcast of “Daybreak,” the Battlestar Galactica . I knew only agony until it had been successfully downloaded, burned, and played on my DVD player. And I knew only agony afterward.

The first part, the battle, was awesome. It made me remember what I liked about the show in the first place – the desperate, last struggle in the face of an overwhelming enemy where there’s a very real possibility you’re going to lose some of the people you love. This battle reminded me of that, but it didn’t come close to measuring up. Rather it was a pale echo.

ramming speed
Cool as it is, this…

the original ramming speed
…it can never beat this.

First there were the parting scenes, where a painfully obvious line was drawn between main and secondary characters. I found myself replacing the dialogue in my head:

Baltar's big sacrifice
Baltar’s Minion: Gaius, come with us!
Baltar: I can’t, I’m a main character. I have to stay here

Then there was the ease with which the battle was won. With the exception of about a minute of Cylon gun batteries and some pretty cool space shots of Vipers and Raiders, Sam neutralized their defenses and they were in and out in a snap. They rammed the damn ship into the Cylon Colony and I still didn’t feel like anything was going to happen to them, and they didn’t so much as rescue Hera as show up when Boomer felt like handing her over.

La de da, we’ll talk on some phones…

…point some guns…

tin cans
…knock over some tin cans…

got her
…and we got her.

Everyone had their roles to play in the assault, but the roles felt all wrong. HOTDOG leading the Viper force? Lee and Kara with the marines? Roslin as a medic in sickbay? Lee and Kara belong in their cockpits. I want no part of a final battle that does not see them flying side-by-side. Would it have been that hard to think of a scenario that let the characters be themselves?

second stringers get their go-round
Sorry, Hotdog, but you are not my hero

I did like Baltar’s one altruistic act and his reconciliation with Caprica, even if it was a bit sudden and silly. He sees a her that’s not her, she sees a him that’s not him, they see themselves that aren’t themselves, and…

hey, here we are behind some boxes… did I mention that I love you?

After all that big battle, all that acting out of the vision that Baltar and Caprica and Roslin and Athena and Hera had been having, to find out what it all really meant fell flat.

big moment
Oh my God… it’s…. the CIC!

And the culmination of Hera’s role in all this was to get grabbed by Cavill? Seriously?

here we go again
what is this, like, the eighth time?

Baltar gives a rousing speech, but we all know whatever he brokers won’t work because there’s too much time left in the episode.

Baltar's earnest hero speech
I see angels… and you shouldn’t hurt little girls

Likewise we know the Final 5 giving resurrection back to Cavill’s group won’t work either, for the same reason, and we can guess why even before Tori starts speaking.

best death glare ever
You do not want to be on the receiving end of that

So to no one’s surprise, Tyrol kills Tori (no pity there, bitch deserved what she got) and the peace accord goes south. But instead of more battles or actual resolution we get the entire colony, all the Cavills, Simons, etc blown to hell by the flopping wrist of a dead Raptor pilot. CHEAP!

dead Racetrack
Though I guess it is kind of original to be SAVED by a zombie instead of killed by one

But it does finally FINALLY allow a real, jaw-dropping, culminating moment to occur: the whole kaboodle gets sucked down toward the black hole and Kara is nearest the jump computer.

think fast, Kara...
Mandalas… song… notes… calculus… got it!

Tap tap tap and her song translates to jump coordinates that lead them where we all knew they were going all along: our Earth.

looks familiar
Where else, really?

What happens on our Earth is supposed to wrap up the series. Everyone is safe, everyone gets a second chance, everything is new and good again.

cutest picture ever
and the boys get to lie in the grass

Except only people who actually get their happy endings are Tighe and Ellen, Baltar and Caprica, and the Agathon family, though even their happiness is dubious since they’re all going off alone, without their friends that they’ve been through so much with and would obviously end up missing whole lots and bunches. And of course Helo returns just as mysteriously as he disappeared during the battle. Like Sam after he got shot in the head.

the return of Helo
I call it “whoops, we forgot you were mortally wounded” syndrome

I guess Tyrol being alive is supposed to be a happy ending for him, but going off to live like a hermit in what would later become Britain to be alone with the memories of his wife being blown out an airlock, his son not being his son, choking a 2,000 year old former girlfriend to death, and being betrayed twice by the love of his life is not what I would call “happy.”

final three
Well, bye. I’m sure you’ll be dead or insane in a year.

Adama and Roslin accomplish their goal of leading humanity to their new home, which has to be enough for them because Roslin dies (finally, after being classified as “dying” since the beginning of the miniseries) and Adama gets to live alone forever on a hilltop with the body of his dead lover.

just the two of us...
Apparently sons are unworthy companions compared to decomposing bodies covered in rocks

No one else is really that much better off, since they’ve been split up and scattered across the continents. The sky is blue, the grass is green, but what do they really have to look forward to? Breeding with monkey people?

ug, grug, and his brother doug
Dibs on the really hairy guy with the stick

My heart breaks for Sam, my favorite, who after all he’s been through and all he’s done is launched unceremoniously into the sun with the now empty ships of the fleet. His parting words to Kara “I’ll see you on the other side” are supposed to be some sort of comfort I guess, but since we never see the other side, all they are are words.

it's getting hot in here...
How convenient for you all that Sam was both navigationally inclined and legally brain dead

Words are all we get between Lee and Kara, too. Best friends for forever, undeniable attraction that leaks from their pores, and they don’t even hug before Kara vanishes back into the ether. We don’t even get even one of their adorable “I love you” handshakes, unless you count the one in the past (and I don’t!). They’re doomed forever to “almost was.” I almost went insane.

dum de dum dum...
Can you REALLY not think of anything better to do with your hands??… and faces…

Lee’s not even upset. All he says is “you won’t be forgotten.” Which is stupid, because the next thing that happens is that they skip forward 150,000 years…

New York is the most overused city in film
It’s like the mudball/New Caprica thing only worse because it’s totally obvious

… where everyone has forgotten all about Kara, Lee, Adama, spaceships, Cylons, and everything else. Their only legacy and apparently Hera’s mystical destiny is as bones curled up in a riverbed. Which is weird, because you’d think the archaeologists would be freaking out more over the RAPTORS.

Raptors are severely non-biodegradable
Yeah, last time I checked you hadn’t launched THOSE into the sun

All the skip forward is good for is a cheap shock of recognition: “Hey! That’s us! We’re half-Cylon! I guess we’d better be nice to robots!”

Robot gun show
Or I’ll beat your ass, foo

The skip negates anything hopeful about their settling on the planet, because what it all boils down to is EVERYONE DIES. If we left them standing in the grass we could imagine them growing up, having kids, making a fresh start. Instead we remember them as bones in a riverbed. It makes their entire struggle meaningless.

Hera's destiny
This lonely skeleton is all that’s left

Because no one even remembers it except for the angels Baltar and Caprica, who apparently orchestrated the entire thing to break the cycle of violence between man and machine. Which makes Galactica’s struggle extra meaningless because it means nothing they did was their own work, they were just pawns in a larger game.

angels and the devil
Oh, I do love a good genocide, don’t you, Ronald D. Moore?

Then, just to make it a little confusing on top of that, after Caprica says the whole thing was “God’s work,” Baltar says “He doesn’t like that name” then they cut to a homeless guy in a pink shirt. WTF? Is that supposed to be God? Or is God the radio?

God needs change... get it? CHANGE! LOL
God is HIV+ and Homeless, Please Help

So in its last gasp Battlestar Galactica returns to its old stomping grounds: i.e., it recommenced stomping on my heart, something which it had largely stopped doing around the time they landed on New Caprica. But this time it wasn’t a stomping tinged with the glow of having witnessed genius.

It was a stomping tinged with relief, like when you euthanize an ailing pet, because it hurts to let it go but at least you don’t have to watch it suffer anymore, dragging itself around in a sad parody of its former vitality. Because as far as I’m concerned, Battlestar Galactica the miniseries was perfect, and everything afterward was downhill, so I’m glad they ended it before it degraded any further. All TV shows eventually reach this point, which is why I prefer movies.

I hope that Battlestar Galactica will rest in peace… except it won’t, because they’re making a spinoff. A spinoff that I will be helpless in the face of. I will devour every second of Caprica airtime and thank them for providing it, despite all the disappointments that have been heaped upon me by its predecessor. It’s the curse of TV.

Buy the last season of Battlestar Galactica on DVD

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2 Responses to The Coroner’s Report on the Death of Battlestar Galactica

Did you recognize that spot that Angel!Gaius and Angel!Caprica walked past at the end? They went right past our campus. I was excited.

I have nothing to say about the end of BSG except “good riddance.” It went from cryptic and awesome to confusing and bad. And the part of me that is a woman (so, um, all of me?) is severely pissed off that our last few scenes are the strongest female characters dying. Laura’s death made me cry, but was okay. Starbuck’s “death”? Let’s just say I hope I never run into a BSG writer on the street, because fucker’s are gonna get shanked. Who takes the hellion woman-warrior, who smokes, drinks, fucks, and kicks guys asses, and then has her disappear into the ether once she’s served her “purpose” and saved all the men so they can sit around in Africa with gazelles and not do shit? Whatev. I hope Caprica has zombies or lesbians.

Also, God is Bob Dylan. Hence the music.

Also, at least they didn’t land in 1980. THANK YOU, GOD BOB DYLAN.

Apparently sons are unworthy companions compared to decomposing bodies covered in rocks



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