[Caution: mild spoilers ahead]
So, the final 1o episodes of Battlestar Galactic premiered on Friday. All across the English-speaking world, geeks waited breathlessly: will we learn the identity of the final Cylon? Will all my questions be answered? Will it be awesome?
The answers are yes, probably, and lookin' good. There was angst, drunken confrontations, a suicide and a lot of meaningful looks across bleak landscapes. I won't go too much into the final Cylon thing, except to say that I respect the choice. It wasn't big or flashy, but it made sense within the story. If you ask yourself, "Who are the final five? How did they get here? What relationships are important to them?" then the big reveal made a lot of sense.
But what I found interesting is how the show has really lasered in on it's most interesting theme. BSG has been taken as a metaphor for a lot of things: the trauma of terrorism, the Iraqi war, religion. However, at its heart, BSG has really been about one thing: why people choose to continue living. For atheists like myself, this really is the question. In the absence of a divine purpose, what are here for? For most of its four year run, BSG has been exploring different answers to this question. Some choose religion, while others choose grand narratives (like "finding Earth"). Others continue through their committment to others or themselves. And a few give up entirely, failing to find a compelling reason to stick around.
I think this is what draws me to a lot of post-apocolyptic fiction. From Cormac McCarthy's The Road to a Romero Zombie flick, the question of "why bother?" is usually front and centre. When all of the comforts and niceties of life are stripped away - the kind of thing that tends to happen when the world ends - the question becomes all the more urgent, the implications all the more clear. This type of story acts as a little laboratory to examine the answers.
"Why bother?" was asked several times in Friday's premiere, from Dualla's death to Adama's metaphor about drowning foxes. I think it will also continue to frame the action of the final nine episodes. And I'm on board for all of them. I've had a sense that BSG was driving towards something, and now it looks like it's headed for towards the thing.