March 8, 2009: Storytelling

Now that Battlestar Galactica is down to its last three hours, I’m really starting to wonder how it’s going to end…and I’m starting to be certain it’s going to end badly. I don’t know how the writers — Ron Moore in particular, since he wrote the final, two-hour episode — can get the story from where it is now to a hopeful place. My fear is that everyone is going to die, and that they’re going to die for nothing. As it stands now, no one has anything good in his or her life — even the characters closest to happiness know exactly how fragile and provisional it is. It’s a haunted happiness.

If it ends gloomily, with everyone, everyone, dead, I will infuriated. I think I’d be able to bear it if all the characters I love — Bill and Saul and Laura, Lee and Kara, Helo and Athena — die so that the rest of humanity lives, and lives in a better place than slowly starving on ships in a shabby, deteriorating fleet. Their deaths will have meaning. But if everyone dies for nothing — if the ultimate point of the series is “Life sucks and then you die”, well, I will be angry for all the time and emotion I wasted on the series.

I’m already familiar with the idea that life is a pointless struggle that ends in death, more familiar with it than I want to be. I don’t want it reiterated or reinforced by the storytellers I turn to and trust. I don’t want them to tell me stories that reinforce a notion I think is pernicious. I think taking a story into black-darkness is as easy and false as taking it into soppy, sentimental uplift. I think the hard part is finding honest hope, even in the darkness, and until very recently, I’ve trusted that the writers and producers of BSG are smart enough to know that, and to write stories that achieve that.

The accelerating losses of the last few episodes are eroding my faith. I want to believe that this is the darkness before the dawn. Maybe it is; the last two episodes are “Daybreak Part 1 & 2”. If that’s what it is, and Moore et al bring this long saga to happy conclusion, then this will have been one of the most amazing storytelling experiences I’ve ever had, one that I will mine for my own writing.

But if they don’t…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mrpister
    Mar 10, 2009 @ 05:08:00

    I shed a few tears at the end of last week’s episode when Bill & Saul were sitting on the couch, talking about the ship. That was a beautiful scene. However this current incarnation of BSG ends, I’m looking forward to the final three episodes and to the excellent writing that will surely leave us all wanting more. BSG started with hope overcoming despair; perhaps it will end in a similar fashion. So say we all 🙂


  2. Trackback: March 26, 2009: The Black Moment « Katy Cooper

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