This is the last in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and ‘Islanded in a Stream of Stars’” here.
Battlestar Galactica’s finale is often criticized for incorporating divine destiny. Yet faith is as embedded in this series as the warning against playing God with technology. Their place in “Daybreak” seems natural. Moreover, the deus ex machina is as much about Baltar’s final acceptance of the divine as it is about predestination itself.
Baltar’s turn is only one of the significant character moments in “Daybreak.” An audience anxious for closure may have found the finale’s flashbacks distracting, but these looks into the characters’ histories inform how their journeys end.
We discover why Adama did not retire to a private sector job, which affected Tigh and Ellen’s marriage. We learn how a family tragedy led Roslin to Mayor Adar’s presidential campaign, how Starbuck’s first encounter with Apollo – while dating Zak Adama – defined their relationship. Lastly, we see the familial roots of Baltar’s insecurity and how Caprica Six’s generosity toward Baltar sparked a love which almost destroyed humanity, but ultimately saves it.
‘Daybreak’ Part 1
Galactica prepares for evacuation. Visiting the memorial wall, Adama decides to try to save Hera, who is being readied for Cavil’s experiments on the Colony. Starbuck reconnects Anders in the Hybrid tank to find the Colony.
Adama and Starbuck stretch a line of tape on the hangar floor (echoing the legend of the Alamo). Adama announces the likely suicidal mission, asking for volunteers to step to one side of the line.
Sides are chosen. A frail Roslin arrives from the sickbay to join. A conflicted Baltar remains with his followers.
Racetrack’s reconnaissance reveals the Colony is on the edge of a black hole, shrouded in asteroids. The only possible attack is from point-blank range. Adama tells his team to “get to work.”
‘Daybreak’ Parts 2 and 3
Apollo and Helo brief their pilots. Roslin receives an injection to energize her for another 48 hours at the expense of her health; she volunteers in the sickbay. Self-aware Centurions muster in the hangar, striped red for identification. Anders’ Hybrid tank is wired into the CIC balcony.
Baltar stays when his followers are evacuated. He takes up a gun position in a corridor, joined by Caprica Six.
Galactica jumps to the Colony; they blast each other broadside. Galactica takes serious damage. Anders is able to deactivate the Hybrids in the Colony, silencing its big guns.
Vipers launch to meet Cylon forces. Raptors sustain heavy losses in a flanking motion. Racetrack dies before firing her nukes; Athena, Helo and Starbuck infiltrate the Colony.
Galactica rams headfirst into the Colony. Apollo leads marines and Centurions through the breach in the Colony’s outer wall.
Undeterred, a Simon prepares to operate on Hera. Disgusted, Boomer kills Simon and takes Hera. She finds Starbuck’s boarding party and hands Hera to Athena. Boomer asks Athena to tell Adama she “owed him one.” Athena kills Boomer.
Bracing for a counter-attack, Six tells Baltar she is proud of him. They kiss, then see both their mental versions. A platoon of Centurions invades Galactica; Baltar and Six return fire.
Apollo meets Starbuck’s crew. They reboard Galactica, destroying the Centurions attacking Baltar and Six.
As the group makes its way through Galactica, a Doral shoots Helo from behind. Hera flees in panic. Helo tells Athena to get their child. Roslin senses Hera’s presence and begins searching for her. In a parallel of the Opera House, Baltar and Six find Hera first, taking her into the CIC where the Final Five are again in the balcony.
A firefight just ended in the CIC has Cavil under guard. But the shock from another Cylon attack frees Cavil to grab a pistol and Hera.
Baltar argues Hera is key to the survival of both races, that God or other divine force led everyone to this moment. Cavil asks how Baltar knows God is on his side, to which Baltar replies: “God is on no one’s side.”
Baltar asks Cavil to make a leap of faith. Tigh also proposes the Five give Cavil resurrection technology in return for Hera and lasting peace. Cavil orders his forces to stand down.
The Five immerse their hands in Anders’ tank to transfer resurrection data, but in the process share consciousness. Tyrol learns Tory murdered Cally. He breaks the connection and strangles Tory.
Cavil’s forces resume shooting; Cavil shoots himself. Meanwhile, an asteroid strikes Racetrack’s Raptor, causing her dead hand to nuke The Colony, which drags everyone toward the black hole.
Adama orders Starbuck to jump Galactica; the rendezvous coordinates were not programmed. Starbuck selects coordinates based on the melody of “All Along the Watchtower.” Galactica jumps, breaking its back in the effort. Roslin asks Starbuck where they are. They have jumped near the moon of a blue planet (on which Africa is recognizable).
Twelve hours later, the fleet has joined Galactica. Adama’s scout team discovers the planet is inhabited by primitive hunter-gatherers with compatible DNA.
In temporary camps, Apollo convinces the survivors to abandon technology and disperse across the globe. The self-aware Centurions leave in their Basestar. Anders pilots the fleet’s ships into the sun (like Cortés’s arrival in the New World).
Tyrol tells Tigh and Ellen he will live alone (in the future Scotland) before leaving them together.
Roslin and Adama observe a herd of gazelles as her breathing begins to fail. They bid farewell to Apollo and Starbuck so Adama can fly Roslin over the planet he calls Earth, their dream. Roslin dies during the flight. As foreseen, he places his wedding ring on her finger. Adama buries Roslin on a grassy hill, where he will build their cabin.
Apollo, gazing at the horizon, tells Starbuck he wants to explore the planet. When he turns to her, she has vanished.
Baltar and Six watch a wounded Helo rejoin Athena and Hera. Baltar points Six toward the valley where he will become a farmer again.
Skip ahead 150,000 years. Mental Baltar and Six are in Times Square, hearing news of the discovery of Eve (Hera), humanity’s common ancestor. They debate whether history is destined to repeat. Six suggests change is part of God’s plan. Baltar replies, “you know it doesn’t like that name.” A montage of robots – from toys to animatronics – is soundtracked by Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower.”