(urth) BSG Spoiler vs Wolfe

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 13:56:53 PDT 2009

Here there be spoilers.

> my big questions were answered, and most threads were resolved, even  if 
> pat TV answers weren't given. Maybe Wolfe has conditioned me to get  less 
> confirmation.

The thing about the unresolved questions in Wolfe's stories is that even 
though he does not always leave a decent trail of breadcrumbs that someone 
can answer all his riddles beyond any doubt, I still believe he knows what 
they are when he writes them.

I am not convinced (and very much doubt) that the writers of BSG had these 
particular resolutions to the visions in mind when they wrote them or any 
resolution at all.  I think they decided at the end to have a final showdown 
in the C&C room and so formed it to vaguely fit the visions. The question 
left open was "Why did this need a vision?" It didn't. If God could arrange 
a race on far-away planet have DNA compatible with the colonists, then He 
didn't need that song and dance to get Hera to the Bridge. It was a big 
build-up for very little pay-off.

The resolutions that worked--like arriving at Earth in the distant past (or 
distant future)-- were the ones that one might have guessed were inevitable 
(as you implied). No surprise there, really. The moralizing at the end from 
astral Baltar and Six made me wretch. I think they painted themselves into a 
serious corner with Baltar. Every possible clue suggested he was a Cylon 
being manipulated by some big Cylon-in-the-Sky but the writers seemed to say 
"That's too obvious, lets just say God is doing it." With Starbuck, I don't 
think they could decide *what* to do with her. They labeled her the 
"Harbinger of Doom" hoping to deliver on that promise later. They didn't. If 
anyone fits that shoe, it is Hera, who led to the Doom of the recalcitrant 

Wolfe has no problem with involving the Increate or Outsider in his stories, 
but in all cases He works his plans through rational events, and, when he 
acts directly (ala Outsider), Wolfe makes him a character in the story who 
can explain Himself and His motives. There's none of that in BSG, because, I 
presume, they find the idea of a rational, "actual" God to be a little 
quaint. So when they tell a story where such a Person exists, he ends up 
cartoony and quaint. For a believer in such a God (a God who is *actually* 
there), I think the presentation BSG God ("whether it is God or gods blah 
blah blah God is force of nature") is a rather contemptible thing, 
reflecting the condescension felt by the writers toward such a belief. If 
agnostics do stuff like this, they need to be as deft as Arthur C. Clark or 
else avoid it entirely. Ultimately, for the writers, God is just some 
mystical crap that lets them throw pixie dust in the audience's eyes to 
build intrigue and then, later, weasel out the corners into which they've 
painted themselves.  It's the worst sort of Deus ex Machina.

You liked the Caprica flashbacks. I didn't. So I won't pick at them for 
being put in there at all. But they did not move the current narrative 
forward or add anything to it. The first hour, moved the story forward 
barely at all. Whatever advancement occurred would have been part of the 
first 10 minutes of a good, tight, engaging episode which is what one 
expects from a finale. I felt truly offended by it, as though I'd paid a 
dollar to see a unicorn and only saw a goat with a baseball bat tied to his 
head. A good series will often have episodes like that as transitional 
points to provide exposition for an up-coming episode. Obviously, that 
wasn't the intent in this case.  Wolfe might go on for a couple pages about 
the symbolism of a coin, but it does mean something to his over-all theme. 
It is in itself a clue.

I will pick on one of the flashbacks, I guess. The scene with Apollo and 
Starbuck did not make either of them look very good. Obviously Apollo's 
brother made a mistake leaving his fiancé alone with liquor and a spare 
penis. Hmm...Roslin came off looking like a pretty cold cookie as well. She 
could have at least put $50 in the guy's pocket. Its not like Wolfe's 
protagonists always behave so admirably either, but when Sev takes advantage 
of the passed out Jolenta, no one imagines it to be a meaningful step in his 
personal development.

As for the issues of making peace, well, they *did* have their big (and 
quite expected) show-down battle with the Cylons where they totally wipe out 
their enemies so they can go forward with "a clean slate". That is a logical 
step to my thinking, but it is not exactly what seemed to be promised.


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