Big spoilers for the final season of BSG.
“Revelations”, the mid-season finale for Galactica’s fourth season, remains one of my favourite twist endings.
The set-up is just perfect. After over three years of struggle, toil, betrayal and death, the Fleet finally makes it to Earth, getting there on a wing and a prayer. The crew of the Galactica erupts with joy, screaming celebrations in the CIC, Lee Adama jumping on the DRADIS console. The fleet descends into the atmosphere of Earth, the various ships almost racing to the surface, falling through the cloud cover.
I remember, knowing that ten more episodes were upcoming, that those ten episodes must be about Galactica defending humanity’s newfound home against Cavil and the “bad” Cylons and finding out who the last “skinjob” was.
And then, a white flash and Adama holding an irradiated piece of dirt, as the cast stumble slack-jawed and devastated through a nuclear wasteland. Credits.
What a cliffhanger. And what a brave move on the behalf of the writers, for more reasons then one. Because that could have been it.
Because of the writers strike going on at the time of production, Galactica came close to not completing the filming of the remaining ten episodes. If the strike had gone on, the show would have ended at that point.
Imagine that. Could there possibly be a more depressing ending for a show like Galactica, one where all of the characters, all of humanity’s hopes are dashed to pieces, all the faith in higher powers shown to be meaningless, the main drive and focus of the show turning out to be nothing more than an irradiated ball of uninhabitable earth. The remaining members of the fleet are left stranded in the stars, no home, no purpose, no destination and no hope.
Considering that they couldn’t have been sure if they would finish the show, it was a brave move.
I like to think that if it had come to it, if Galactica was unable to complete its fourth season, the production team would have chosen to omit that final heartbreaking scene and have the credits roll as those ships are descending towards the planet. Or maybe even just before that, as Adama and Apollo embrace in the CIC, the reconciliation of that family, so divided at the very beginning of the show, complete. Plot hooks would have been left unfinished, most notably the identity of the final Cylon, but such an ending would have far more in line with the actual, optimistic, ending of BSG, “Daybreak”.
Or, maybe they would have stuck to their guns and kept the depressing ending. “Daybreak” gets enough flak from fans for certain aspects. Imagine if they had just be left with ”Revelations”.