Here we are at last, the end of a four-year journey. It's been a bumpy ride, with questions leading only to more questions, where the promise of peace between human and Cylon was spoiled by Earthlings' uncanny ability to destroy themselves. Tonight, "Battlestar Galactica" comes to an end.
[These spoilers are falling into place.]
We open with more flashbacks of the characters moving into place: Bill Adama, Saul and Ellen are in a strip club in Caprica City discussing Adama's choice on whether to leave Galactica for civilian life; Lee, Zack and Kara discussing Lee's devotion to public service and whether he should stay in the service; and Roslin, still on the fence on whether to join Mayor Adar's campaign, on a date with one of her former students.
Drunken Bill pukes on himself in an alley and then begins laughing, staring up at the stars where his beloved ship circles… and we go to present day, where Adama prepares said ship for one last battle. Chip Six tells Baltar he's guiding humanity to their end, which is disturbing even to him. Doc Cottle literally prepares Roslin for her end, giving her enough meds to survive another 48 hours. She cries and thanks him, and both Doc and I get misty. He kisses her hand because I can't.
Helo, Lee and the Old Man brief their respective crews on the plan of attack, as does Ellen for the Final Five. Turns out Anders may be able to control the Colony's hybrids, shutting down their defenses temporarily.
Adama names Hoshi admiral; he's to lead the basestar and fleet to a rendezvous point and wait for 12 hours. Lee names Romo Lampkin president, and wow do I want to watch a series where Romo and Hoshi team up for wacky misadventures. Humanity's leaders board the last Raptor off Galactica, as does Baltar… only Baltar changes his mind finally and turns the flock over to Paula. I knew the old stick had it in him! Lee tosses Baltar a gun.
Galactica jumps right alongside The Colony, and there's no hesitation before the Cylon homeworld opens fire. The old girl takes a beating before Anders is indeed able to take control of its hybrids. Once the guns stop, the Raptors and Vipers launch, the Raptors jumping from inside a pod (ruining it as Boomer did not so long ago). Full throttle ahead, and Galactica rams right into the heart of The Colony.
Lee's Assault Wing, composed of humans and red-striped Centurions, make their way from an airlock into the bowels of The Colony while the Raptors land essentially behind enemy lines and drop a small strike force. Time to rescue Hera! There's an intense battle where each team fights through shiny evil Centurions — and the original version! Wow, it was fun to see them again.
Speaking of Hera, Boomer snaps the neck of the Number Four prepping her for surgery. The pair escape. Cavill, with another Four and a Five, finds the body, and realized he miscaluculated Boomer's maternal instinct.
Back on the battlestar, Caprica and Baltar — assigned to the ship's defense — have a nice moment where she says she's proud of him, the one last emotion that stopped her from loving him. They kiss, and Chip Six says "The pieces are falling into place." Caprica and Baltar look up, shocked, to see their respective imaginary others standing above them. And yes, both can see both.
Boomer brings Hera to the Raptor strike force led by Starbuck, Helo and Boomer, saying she owed Adama a favor. (A flashback shows it's because he gave her an extra chance to become a Raptor pilot.) Athena doesn't care; once Hera's safe in Helo's arms, she blows away her morally ambiguous counterpart. Apollo's team finds them not long after, and they make their ways back to the battlestar. Too bad Cylon strike teams are already there.
Caprica and Baltar do their best, but the evil skinjobs and Centurions are relentless. Helo's shot from behind in the leg and Hera runs; her father, bleeding out fast, urges Athena to catch the girl. Roslin sees Hera in a vision and goes after her as well; the hunt is intercut perfectly with the scenes of Athena and Roslin trying to find Hera in the Opera House.
We all know, though, that it's Caprica and Baltar who find her. They do, and bring her to the "Opera House" — the bridge, where the Final Five have installed Anders on an upper deck and so appear as they did in the dream. Cavil is there, too, under guard but not for long: He breaks free and puts a gun to Hera's head.
Here's where Baltar makes us all proud. Finally finding something to truly believe, he delivers an impassioned speech about how God or the gods are real, and that angels (the Chip Twins looking on with pride) walk among them, and that Hera can save both races. Cavil's not so convinced, but Tigh offers him resurrection technology. Cavil relents and calls off the Cylon forces.
All the Five need to do is link hands in Anders' goo (ew), which will link their memories and recover the lost tech. Tory warns them that she's done some bad, bad things, but Chief doesn't realize how bad until he sees Tory kill Cally. He breaks the link and chokes Tory to death. The Colonials and Cylons open up on each other, but the Cylons are unprepared, and finally Cavil has no recourse but to kill himself.
Outside, a dead-in-space Raptor is smacked just right by an asteroid, which causes the pilot's hand to fall just right — after all, angels walk among us — to launch its nukes at the defenseless Colony, destroying it. Galactica is caught in the collapse, and Adama begs Starbuck, closest to the FTL console, to jump them. Where? Anywhere. Starbuck remembers her father's music and Hera's drawing, and punches in numbers corresponding to the notes: 1123-6536-5321. Galactica jumps.
The old girl's buckling; she won't take another jump. Wherever they are, they're there to stay. And where are they? Above a familiar moon circling a lush green Earth. All y'all who said the previous "Earth" was really just Terra and not our own planet, you may now collect your money from friends and neighbors.
Twelve hours later, the rest of the fleet arrives, having been escorted by a Raptor. Hoshi meets Tigh, Cottle, Adama, Lee and Baltar on the surface, where they're watching primitive humans in full hunter-gatherer mode. Nearby, Romo wants to build a city, but Lee comes over with a different plan: The surviving 38,000 humans will spurn technology and live off the land to break the cycle of destruction. Surprisingly, everyone agrees. The Centurion rebels are set free on the basestar. As for the Colonial ships, Anders will pilot them into the sun. After one last tender moment with Kara — when she leaves, he says "see you on the other side" — the original series' theme plays triumphantly while the ghost fleet heads into the sun.
Ellen and Saul say goodbye to Chief; he's headed to Scotland for some alone time. Roslin and Adama say goodbye as well, when she's almost completely unable to breathe. They load onto a Raptor, Adama bidding his son and unofficial daughter farewell one last time. After they take off, Starbuck says she's leaving as well, that her work is done, and Lee's surprise and sadness is evident. All he wanted was her, but he puts on a brave face and talks about exploring this new world. When he turns, Starbuck's disappeared. As if she were, you know… an angel. (Just like the original Starbuck's story ended.)
Roslin dies during the flight, and in yet one more in a string of moments that has me misty, Adama cries and puts his wedding ring on her finger. He finds a place to build their cabin and touches down.
The bulk of the survivors hike, Romo leading them, Saul and Ellen following. Helo — hey, he didn't die! — Hera and Athena talk about hunting. Caprica and Baltar watch, and are joined by the Chip Twins, who say their lives will be less eventful from now on. Baltar spies some land ahead that'd be good for farming, his father's legacy, and he and Six head to their future together.
Far away, Adama sits on a ridge and talks about his progress on the cabin. Nearby, Roslin's cairn listens.
Hera stares up at the sky… and we leap 150,000 years in the future, where series creator Ron Moore is reading a "National Geographic" about ancient bones found in Tunisia. (Near the Island's exit point?) Standing behind him are Chip Six and Chip Baltar in their red dress and zoot suit, respectively. They talk about the body being a young woman with a Cylon mother and human father, and I wonder whether Hera met an early end.
After a brief discussion about God (who doesn't like to be called that — yes, the visions are Aziraphale and Crowly, apparently), Chip Six thinks our version of the human race might break the cycle of destruction. Cut to a display nearby that montages a series of increasingly more evolved robots…
Wow. Rarely have I actually been satisfied with a series finale. Usually, I want more. More story, more of the characters we love. This time, I'm happy. I'm content. Galactica, the old girl, brought the last remnants of the Colonies to peace and prosperity. She brought them home.
So say we all.