For anyone who has followed the updated version of Battlestar Galactica for the last several years, tonight is the night. The show wraps up its five year run on the Sci-Fi channel. If you avoided watching the show simply because you hated the cheesy series that aired some 30 years ago, shame on you.
The updated version has been nothing if not dark and depressing with allegories to our post 9/11 society. Episodes have explored prisoner torture, terrorism, civil liberties, kangaroo courts, and the conflicts that can arise between a civilian government and its military leaders. One early episode dealt with a life and death decision over whether to destroy a civilian liner that may have been hijacked by Cylons and sent on a suicide run against the human fleet. Ultimately, the ship was attacked and blown up, with a lot of second guessing afterwards.
Another story arc had the humans settling on a planet only to be occupied by the Cylons. The human resistance grew even as other humans cooperated with their Cylon occupiers. Once freed, the resistance leaders took it upon themselves to exact justice against those they viewed as collaborators. In many ways, that storyline was ripped from the real world headlines about Iraq.
There was also a big shocker in last week's episode: One character is seen using a cordless phone (if you've been watching, you'd appreciate the joke).
And if you're thinking that tonight is the night they find Earth, boy, are you out of the loop. That ship sailed at the end of last year. Not only did they find Earth, they discovered it to be a lifeless cinder destroyed by nuclear war some 2000 years earlier.
This final batch of episodes (technically the second half of season four) has only become more intricate and confusing. Turns out that not only had the Earth been nuked, it happened during an earlier Cylon war. That raised the strong possibility that the existing human race were actually Cylons themselves. That issue remains unresolved at this point.
And in another major plot twist, fighter pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace finds her own remains on that scorched Earth. That little discovery completely freaked out even the normally unflappable Cylon that was with her at the time. Again, no real explanation has been offered so far.
So tonight's two hour finale has a lot of loose ends to tie up. The writers have clearly set themselves a high bar. Whether they can live up to expectations and wrap everything up in a satisfying manner remains to be seen.
Personally I'm bracing myself for a major disappointment. That way, if tonight's episode does turn out to be a dud, at least I won't feel let down. On the other hand, if it turns out to be the best two hours ever written for television, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Either way, I win.