The mustache of broken dreams.

The finale for Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica aired last night. Like just about everyone else I’ve heard from, I was underwhelmed.

This season started in an amazingly strong fashion, with the remnants of humanity embroiled in a guerilla conflict in Ira- er… on New Caprica. Meanwhile, in space, Apollo got fat and Adama grew an awesome mustache. Then Galactica belly-flopped into the atmosphere and rescued the humans from the Cylon occupation, Adama shaved off his mustache and… well… it was kind of downhill from there.

Yes, the emotional high-point of the season came three weeks in with a dramatic shaving scene. What followed was a series of progressively less-engrossing episodes that slowly turned what had been the Best Thing on Television into a cut-rate version of JAG. Low points included:

  • The complete “reboot” of the previous season’s narrative progress.
  • The Cylon base ship apparently consisting of an series of bathtubs filled with tapioca pudding, a few strings of Christmas lights, a rotating bed from a Vegas honeymoon suite and a collection of decorative water sculptures stolen from a local Feng Shui boutique.
  • The arbitrary and terrible boxing episode.
  • The arbitrary and terrible Sagittaron episode.
  • The show turning into a soap opera, with “marriage is hard” becoming a dominant theme.
  • The show spiralling further into awfulness by turning from a soap opera into a mediocre (and EXTREMELY preachy) morality play/legal drama.
  • And many more!

Nevertheless, when last night’s episode started, I had high hopes that we’d at least get a decent cliff to hang from as we headed into the off-season. And I’ll admit, things STARTED strong as the show opened on a shot of Admiral Adama shaving. The lack of bagpipe music should’ve been warning enough, but I was feeling optimistic, so I ignored it.

What followed was a painful hour of astonishingly predictable “payoffs.” Literally, every major plotline progressed in exactly the most obvious and uninspired fashion possible. Every character that had been struggling “came around.” The least surprising explanation for every “mystery” was provided.

Now, I’m hoping that what’s happened is that we’ve been handed a big, stinky pile of red herring to gnaw on between now and Season Four (which will begin airing in JANUARY OF NEXT YEAR). We’re all so very clever with our guessing and our armchair scripting that they decided to just shovel a ton of misleading nonsense at us as punishment.

If that turns out to be the case, then I suppose there’s a good chance of things turning around and BSG returning to the good graces of geeks everywhere, but it’s a HUGE risk to be taking. After all, we’ll now have over NINE MONTHS to allow the bitter taste of Season Three to percolate, poisoning our minds and twisting us ever closer to the point where we just stop caring.

As penance, I think they should be forced to bring back Fat Apollo. And give him an awesome mustache.

Comments (1) to “The mustache of broken dreams.”

  1. I agree with your assessment of all the problems completely, but would add that the back end of Season 3 did have a few points of light:

    E13: The One Where Baltar Gets Tortured. (Lots of classic Baltar worming and sniveling for his life. Plus loads of ‘crazy eye’, which Baltar-Actor does very well.)

    E17: Adama make model ship. Adama sad…ADAMA SMASH!!!
    (I read somewhere that Olmos improvised the Hulking-out, and that the model was actually an antique worth 100K. ‘Method Actor…ANGRY! Chased by props department through desert! Throw Raptors at them! Jump many miles away.’ Repeat.)

    E18: Romo Lampkin, a non-cliche defense attorney character. ‘Cynical idealist’ doesn’t work in theory, but Badger-Actor pulled it off nicely, I thought.

    E20: Tigh and Tyrol’s reactions to being Cylons were both excellent. Tyrol, who thought about the possibility since Season 2, is resigned to his fate. Tigh’s reaction is the exact opposite: Frak that.

    But of course none of those things make up for so egregiously violating the suspension of disbelief by including that Dylan/Hendrix song.