BSG: Daybreak

It was a sad moment when the credits rolled on the series finale of Battlestar Galactica: my favorite TV show had finally come to an end. I have mixed feelings about the finale. On the one hand, I fully approve the choice of a Peter Jackson Return of the King-esque pacing, with multiple landing points that serve to unwind the show by getting to the arrival point and letting the audience see the view before finally turning off the lights. It was poignant and beautiful.

What bothers me is the decision to leave Starbuck's character unresolved. We are given opaque hints that she is an "angel" like the Gaius and Caprica that remain at the end. For instance, it is hinted that she is the pigeon flying around Lee's apartment, she has died and come to life again, she is placed exactly where she needs to be to bring everyone to Earth by punching in coordinates that she knows from a song, and she completely disappears shortly after accomplishing this task. In the end I don't mind so much that her character is unresolved. A sense of mystery is fitting given the context of the other themes of show. I do mind that this ending doesn't fit with Kara being the "harbinger of death", as proclaimed by the hybrid aboard the base station.

The concept that Hera is vital to the future of men and cylons is also left undeveloped. Yes, we are told that she becomes a common ancestor of future generations. However, that puts her on equal footing with any of the other surviving humans from the fleet. So what?

And why was it so important for Laura, Athena, Gaius, and Caprica to keep having dreams about Hera if all they needed to do was escort her from one end of the ship to the other?

I suppose that all I am saying is that it would have been better if these elements which were thought to be so important throughout the story actually ended up being important.

Alas, what is done is done. And I liked it. It just could have been better.

Congrats to the writers of BSG

I'd like to say, "congrats" to the writers of BSG for actually using an explanation which is scientifically correct. In episode 15, Anders says that the Final 5 traveled to Kobol by "relativistic but sub-luminal speeds". Thereby allowing them to age much less than those in stationary frames around them. Yay special relativity!

BSG: No Exit

This last episode of BSG was a huge story dump. It didn't have the same action or tension as the last two episodes, but it answered a lot of questions about the origin of the final five and their role in the creation of the other cylons.

Something I found interesting was that Ellen says that she gave the skin jobs "free will". This is loaded with all kinds of philosophical issues about the meaning of "free will" and whether it is possible for machines to have it (since machines are deterministic). If you like thinking about this question, I would highly recommend Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate. Pinker has a chapter in which he describes a modern model of the brain. The image that cognitive scientists are putting together looks a lot like interdependent machines. Choice and free will fit into this framework through one center whose function is to adjust the relative weights of competing desires/interests (presumably the inputs to this machine include a person's memory as well as his ability to predict the outcome of various choices). In essence, this is a mechanistic model which function a lot like "free will".

So, maybe Ellen's statement is sensible after all.

BSG: Blood on the Scales

Before Friday rolls around and another episode appears without me having said anything...

With 3 solid episodes in a row, it seems like BSG has found its stride again. In fact, this last episode, in particular, was more than solid. It was spectacular. Tense situations, fast-paced action, emotional development... Resolving some issues while opening up new ones. I was getting a touch annoyed that the writers were destroying Gaeta's character. However, they were sufficiently careful with these episodes to ensure that it did not appear that Gaeta simply jumped off the deep end. His flaws simply rose all the way to the surface. The last two minutes of the episode were beautiful in their stark simplicity: the connection between Gaeta's conflicted state of mind and the itch of his missing leg, and then it was over.

Perhaps the viewer, in the end, was able to fulfill Gaeta's wish to be understood.


Today I turn 27 years old. Thank you all who have passed along your greetings and well-wishes!

I am developing a backlog of things I want to blog about, so before I forget to do them entirely, here's a list of things you should see here sometime soon-ish:

  • Another juggling video. I haven't stopped working on my 5-ball juggling. I still can't juggle 5 indefinitely, but I can fairly regularly do 30+ catches.
  • Display of the new speakers that Phyllis bought me for my b-day, and discussion of how I chose them.
  • Excitement/commentary on the last few episodes of BSG
  • Display/commentary on the culinary delights from our superbowl party
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