30. Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 (2009)

It’s Got: Earth, Mutinies, the Final Five being outed, the finale.

Battlestar Galactica opened with a small remnant of humanity escaping global annihilation, and only got bleaker from there. As time went on it became a show about kicking people who were already down. Every character was put through the ringer individually, in ways that almost felt customized to add their particular torment (it’s almost like someone writes this shit). By Season 4, most of the cast were dealing with existential crises beyond anything any human being could relate to. It became dangerous to be a BSG character who had less baggage than everyone else, because it meant you were going to get your frigging leg cut off or something.

The show definitely became less fun to watch in the first half of the fourth season. What made things more interesting for me? Why, taking the current situation and making it so much worse. The whole series, the fleet had hope. And that was yanked away. But there were still ten episodes left. We got to see just what happens to people who realize it was all for nothing, that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Desperation, suicides, mutinies, unthinkable alliances and compromises. And slowly, surely, the attempt to unite the fleet around a new common goal. These last ten hours were jam packed.

In fact there’s a mini-run of episodes that is the BEST I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how much I love the show overall, but that’s worth something. We kept getting the new greatest episode of BSG for five or six weeks in a row and it was a beautiful thing.

Battlestar Galactica has been criticized for drowning in its mythology as it came down to the end. There’s also been dissatisfaction with how some character arcs wrapped up. Luckily for me, I liked the characters and the story enough to go on this journey, but not so much that I was invested in any particular ending. Mainly, I was interested in the show from a sociological standpoint. What happens to people in a society when the roles that defined them no longer matter? The show asked that question over and over, and Season 4.5 was the greatest test of all. For that reason, I was fascinated to the bittersweet end.

If I Had to Nitpick…: The last Cylon. Just… really? Wasn’t there anyone else?

Notable Episodes: After “Revelations,” the finale of the first half of Season 4 soaked the show in unadulterated, mesmerizing despair, that continued through the hopelessness of “Sometimes a Great Notion,” the action packed mutiny of “The Oath” & “Blood on the Scales,” and the revelations of “No Exit.” And “Daybreak” was about as satisfying a series finale as I’ve ever seen.

#31 | THE LIST | #29

Leave a Reply