"Daybreak, Part 2"
Air date: 3/20/2009
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Michael Rymer
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Shut your FRAKKIN' mouth!" — Colonel Tigh, "Sometimes a Great Notion"
After four seasons (or five, or six, depending on how you want to count a "season" for a show that airs on average 15 episodes a year), Battlestar Galactica comes to a stunning and unexpectedly serene climax with "Daybreak," a finale that proves, if nothing else, that there are more opinions on how to end a sci-fi series than there are people in the world. Well, maybe not. But it's a close call.
It goes without saying that "Daybreak" is an exceptionally well-produced television finale for a show that we've come to expect as top-notch in almost every regard, from acting to directing to visual effects and action and editing and music and everything in between. But the question seems to be, in these final two hours of Battlestar — could Ron Moore's script possibly deliver, possibly tie up all the loose ends, and possibly live up to everything that came before?
If BSG has done nothing else in its run (and it has done a great many other things), it's shown that it knows how to deliver a plot twist (usually in the season finales and/or premieres) and keep the viewers on their toes. The cliffhanger concept, which had long become tired before BSG, was given new life by this series' frequent, utter unpredictability.
"Daybreak" also has a twist, one that I'm not going to discuss, because, well you've seen "Daybreak" and you know what happened in the story. And I'm also not going to discuss it because ... well, there's no point in discussing it. I'll get to that in a moment.
I typically make it a point to stick to the episode and my own personal thoughts when it comes to writing a review, ignoring much the chatter that happens apart from that, because why make my review about everyone else's opinion? But a week and a half ago, I took an unprecedented (for this site) action by opening up comments before posting my review for "Daybreak, Part 2." As I write this, there are over 250 comments on the finale. I've read most of them (except the most recent). I had originally planned not to, but I found that I just could not stay away; I had to stay on top of the community and see what all you folks had to say. And what the comments have demonstrated are that you, the readers, are a smart and perceptive and opinionated ... and hopelessly conflicted group without any semblance of consensus. There are a lot of great points out there, both for and against the finale. It proves that "Daybreak" is a controversial ending to the series, to the say the least.
And what I've found, to my dismay, is that I can't form a basis for what the "right" review to BSG's ending is. This review couldn't possibly satisfy everyone. Half the audience is going to be incredibly pissed about my take.
So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to offer up a twist bigger than any of BSG's over its four seasons. I'm going to go straight out of here by employing the Sopranos route for the finale for Jammer's Reviews. I'm going to do what Kara Thrace did. I'm going to wink out of existence — cut to black — and let all of you make up your own damned minds.
Because that's ultimately what this finale is about. Making up your own mind. No amount of my synopsis or opinion or recapping or praising/criticizing makes a difference. It's a work of fictional art, and it's up to you, the viewer, to render your verdict in the court of public opinion.
Which you've already done via the comments on this page. I'd like to thank you for writing the review for me, and I mean that sincerely. The quality of comments in here is amazing. It's been a hell of a ride. My only regret is that I didn't open up comments on this site years before I did.
If you had told me before "Daybreak, Part 2" that my review would come in under 750 words and have no star rating, I'd have called you crazy. But there it is. Battlestar Galactica's finale is about everyone's ability to interpret what they see (or don't see) in it. It's not about what I can tell you about it. So my review for "Daybreak, Part 2" is also going to be about you, and not me. I think that's the most fitting way that I can end Jammer's Reviews: By turning it over to all of you.
I'll just leave you with some final words as I close the book on Battlestar, which you must read aloud in the voice of Michael Hogan's Colonel Tigh:
April Frakkin' Fools Day.
Note: The real review for "Daybreak, Part 2" can be read here.
Previous episode: Daybreak, Part 1