Well. That was a turn up for the books, wasn't it? While these episodes were broadcast separately (well, 419 was at any rate), Ronald D. Moore penned the three instalments as one script, one movie if you will, so I feel it best to treat them as such in this review. And in so doing, it becomes very clear that there is an intentional concentric structure to the piece. The story essentially moves from chessboard manoeuvring in its first hour to action/emotional apex in its second and then to introspection and finally, rest in its third. There's a distinctly poignant beauty in this most novel-esque narratology, anchored in the one element common to all aspects: the pre-Fall flashbacks. These mire the action in the trope that has always been at the core of the 21st Century Battlestar Galactica: the human character and all its inherent quirks and faults. Moore is wise to incorporate these moments into the finale, despite the inevitable complaints that will arise from many corners that they take up time that could be 'better spent' giving us more coherent answers to whatever minutiae that have been left dangling over the years. And while I will concede that certain aspects of the flashbacks could perhaps have done with a little more treatment (Roslin's in particular lacks any particular oomph and falls a little flat), 'Daybreak' was never obliged to neatly tie up every question, no matter how irrelevant, that has arisen over the years. In fact, if it had, it would arguably have been a disappointment, feeling more like a laundry list than a believable, engaging and satisfying goodbye to the characters that we've come to know and love. The answers we DO get, and the action that they are tied up in, are generally excellent: they make up a significant proportion of the dramatically intense second hour which, unquestionably, is the best aspect of the entire finale. There's tension and suspense galore here, not to mention some stellar special effects, a whole hell of a lot of blood and some damn fine confrontational scenes, culminating in Baltar and Six's brilliant encounter at the 'Opera House'. There are kinks, unfortunately, and they begin to show in the third act as some highly illogical plot manoeuvring jeopardises the believability of the plot. So the Galacticans find what we know as Earth, a planet populated with primitives, and they... decide to abandon everything and start again? You're telling me that 37,000 people would blindly agree to fly all of their technology into the Sun and live, not just without creature comforts, but without basic things like medical science?! Oh yeah, we'll just get rid of all of our advances in childbirth and let what, like, 30% of women die before the sprog pops out? Great idea! Transportation, communication, INSULATION? Oh shucks, who needs 'em, eh? I have a really hard time buying any of this; it smells pungently of a quick fix, driven by a misguided need to tie the events of the Galactica world into our own. The somewhat conservative allegory - that our predilections for technological advancement will only lead to our downfall - functioned as metaphor up to this point, but now it's just blatant finger-pointing, especially when one takes the rather patronising closing scene into consideration. Moore, you really needn't have. Meaning arguably works better when it is not tied around a 70 tonne anvil, towering over your head. The last two or three minutes are a huge let-down as a result of this: they come across as preachy, gratuitous and unnecessary rather than thought-provoking and poignant. It's a shame really as there's a great deal to enjoy in the 'new Earth' scenes: yes, they're rather pedestrian at times but just check out the acting skills on display and the beautiful dialogue they're all given... Adama and Roslin, in particular, even if his decision to bugger off and build that cabin away from everyone is just plain ludicrous. And what exactly was Starbuck, anyway? An angel? Meh. I'd rather hoped Moore wouldn't take the obvious religious route out but alas, never mind. Still, when considered collectively, the three parts of 'Daybreak' make for a generally engaging and satisfying finale. They take that most important of facets as their dramatic core - character - and run with it, giving closure and finality to our favourite players while also delivering some of the finest, and most explosive, dramatic moments the show has ever seen. It's a pity that the 'comedown', if you will, contains a number of very prominent flaws that serve to distract the viewer's attention from the good and leave a slightly bitter after-taste. 'Daybreak' is not the perfect crescendo we had come to expect from this oh-so-wonderful of shows, but perhaps our expectations shouldn't have been so high. It's enjoyable nonetheless and at the end of the day, that'll do for me.
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