Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Final Cylon, Revisited. Again.

I know, I said I didn't care. But then that's been the arc of my entanglement (it is by now far too long since I could call it fannishness) with Battlestar Galactica since the middle of the second season--I'm annoyed and even disgusted with the show, but I can't seem to break away.

SyFy Portal is claiming to have a reliable source about the identity of the final Cylon. They're not revealing who it is, but they have posted a list of five contenders, one of which is, to their knowledge, the real one. I have to say, I hope their carefully worded caveat that this information "could be incorrect, changed, or even part of misinformation" is more to the point than the list itself, because if any of these people turn out to be the final Cylon, I am going to be so disappointed. The revelation that any of these characters are a Cylon would undo so much of the show's character work, not to mention hobble its underlying themes of morality in times of crisis and the role of law and order in the wake of catastrophe.

When Battlestar Galactica was just getting started, its writers made much of the fact that they wanted to emphasize conflicts between different human groups over conflicts between humans and killer robots. How did we get from that point to this one, where the Cylons are not only better-developed than the humans, but where nearly every character who represents a side in those inter-human struggles has either turned out to be, or is strongly suspected of being, inhuman? Is it really too much to hope for that the final Cylon not turn out to be a character we know? Surely that device was played out at the end of the third season. As I said at the time, learning that character X is a Cylon really doesn't tell us that much about either the Cylons or X. All it does is reduce, in some indefinable way, the sum of our understanding of human society, to which that character no longer truly belongs. The first half of Galactica's fourth season did a fair job of examining the existential crisis that followed when four main characters discovered that they were something they themselves didn't understand, but do we really want to go through that again?

I'm much more inclined to believe that this rumor is false (or, if the "Starbuck is dead" debacle is anything to go by, an outright lie). I don't have that much respect left for Battlestar Galactica's writers, but I'd like to believe they're still better than any of these disappointing, anticlimactic answers to the question they've let take over their show.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Looking at that list, I'd say...Gaeta.

At this point, they can't make "The Final Cylon" be any of the major characters. And some of them are obviously ruled out already (Laura, Lee). Ergo, it has to be someone pretty minor. Yeah, it could be someone dead, but...eh. It doesn't even really matter any more. I wish they'd just outed an entire Final Five rather than string it out at the end of the previous season.

Athena said...

None of the semi-final five made sense in the context of the story or in just basic plot logic 101. A monumental waste of promising material and solid acting.

Fred said...

And the reveal of the other four did make sense?

I enjoy moments of Battlestar, usually enjoy entire episodes, but when taken as a whole, I'm almost always disappointed.

Foxessa said...

Moore plans to make a prequel to this whole mess, which I quit watching after season 2.

Caprica will be 50 years before the opening events of this mess.



Love, C.

Alison said...

Hi, I just read your review of Dexter from more than a year ago. I think your analysis is really inciteful and I am wondering if you have seen any of the third season yet.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I've been watching Dexter's third season, but haven't had any essay-length thoughts about it yet. Maybe after tonight's finale. In the meantime, may I recommend this LJ? The running commentary on Dexter is very smart and thoughtful, and often quite prescient.

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