A post over at Pajiba.com which touched on the finale got me thinking about it some more. I've narrowed my thoughts down a bit. One thing I'm certain of is that whatever you thought about the answers to some of the big questions, most of the character driven aspects of the episode were powerful and worked for me. I had noted that I wanted some kind of redemption for Baltar. He obviously did some horrible things. But if I'm given the choice of watching him suffer for doing those things or learn from them and try to make up for them, I'll choose the latter. And he finally tried to atone for his decisions.
Roslin came to be a symbol of strength and hope for humanity. She helped save a lot of people right after the bombing of Caprica and put those people on the path towards Earth. She always believed in humanity's salvation. So it was nice to see her get to see it through until the end. And it was nice to see Adama share the moment with her. Adama was part of what kept Roslin and the fleet strong. If Roslin was the spiritual leader, Adama was the physical leader. Those were the main characters. And while the details of what happened with all the other characters escape me at the moment, I think they all were given at least suitable endings.
But the one that is the most controversial is obviously Starbuck. I kind of liked how they ended her character while I was watching it. But the more I think about it the more I don't like it from a larger plot perspective. And part of the reason is because I don't believe in angels, gods, or a God; which is the big reveal about Starbuck and the #6 that Baltar had seen all along.
It's not that the revelation that a supreme being was guiding things all along. The question was there from the very beginning. But I wasn't really expecting a definitive answer like they gave. And while religion was discussed, there wasn't any indication that I can think of that suggested that angels were a thing anyone was aware was possible. I had always thought that the #6 Baltar was seeing was a manifestation of his subconscious related to the guilt he felt for his hand in the destruction of Caprica. And while we are told Starbuck is important early on, she isn't an angel in the sense that Baltar's #6 was. So we are kind of left with more questions than answers.
Though while I don't find the religious aspect of the finale very satisfying, I like how they don't leave it with a completely happy ending. Instead, we get Baltar and #6 in modern time showing how the world has changed and specifically how technology has evolved. Their message, or warning, is that technological development is dangerous. And even though they decided to leave their technology behind when they got to Earth, it was inevitable that humans would evolve to the point where they develop the type of technology that led to robots and eventually cylons. To me, this puts a big damper on the whole part about God or the gods guiding everyone along the whole time.
It turned out that everyone had a destiny. Everything throughout the entire show happened for a reason. And it all led to them finding Earth. But what does it say about God's/gods' plan that the same thing keeps happening with humans? On Caprica and the first Earth the fleet found humans built cylons and the cylons rebelled and destroyed everything. And we are led to believe by Baltar and #6 in our present time that it will happen again, and probably keep happening. This kind of mirrors what I would think about god if I did believe in it, that if there is a plan, it's a really confusing one that doesn't make much sense using my mere human brain.
Like I keep saying, I think I need more time and another rewatch to fully form my opinion on the finale. But I think this is a good start. And even if I end up hating the finale, which it seems many people did, I will still probably be of the opinion that the show is fantastic.
Update: Just thought of this in relation to God's/the gods' plan. This whole thing started with the killing of millions of people. Was that part of the plan or was that the hands off approach? That's basically the question you've probably heard in real world discussions of a divine plan, but in relation to the Holocaust. If everything is part of a divine plan, it means the deity(s) had a hand in the death of millions of innocent people. And that doesn't make any more sense on Caprica than it does on Earth. Perhaps the point the writers wanted to make is that some things are planned and others aren't. But if that's the case it's very unclear which actions fall into one category or the other. So I think people who didn't like the finale didn't like it because as I said, it answered questions, but in doing so raised more questions in relation to the answer. And I sympathize with finding that frustrating.