Over on filkertom's LJ, the_blue_fenix noted:
"Hey, let's abandon all our technology and settle down in _Equatorial Africa_!" I had been worrying about the next cancer patient to come along after Priestess Laura (it's a bitch when that stuff goes into the bone) or the first woman trying to deliver a breech birth the natural way. But I suspect the first malaria season will take their minds off all that.And I was thinking about all of that, too. I was thinking of the hell into which they were sending their descendants - nasty, brutish, and short, with tens of thousands of years of oppression, across races and in almost all cases of women; of the disease, the casual brutality, the slavery, the long climb back through feudal agricultural societies, and on, and on.
But I was also thinking about the decision in their terms. What've they seen in the last decade of their lives? 40 billion humans killed, with around 40,000 survivors, yielding a 0.001% survival rate. Somewhere on the order of 6 billion cylons, with several hundred survivors - a worse survival rate, even, than the humans. (I include Earth, where there were five survivors.)
The Colonials have discovered that two other iterations of their extended ancestral civilisation - Kobol and Earth - ended up the same way as their 12 worlds: nuclear wastelands devoid of most animal life.
14 planets. Dead. 46 billion or so people. Dead. 39,000-odd human survivors. 5 (well, in the end, 4) original cylon survivors. Several hundred modern biological cylon survivors. And I realised that if half the people die of malaria in the next 10 years, that's a huge improvement. That's a big step up.
This history is gonna make an impression. It might make the wrong impression, but it's gonna make an impression. World War I, which wasn't fractionally so bad as what they've been through, led to all kinds of these very bad ideas for the same reasons. C.f. the Khmer Rouge, which traced its philosophical roots right back to post-Great War Paris.
Never underestimate the power of catastrophe to trigger these sorts of decisions. It's also the kind of decision made by isolated island societies that face no corrective outside pressures. To my mind, they count. And in these societies certain ideas, certain technologies, become highly unfashionable, and because there's no external pressure to keep them, even if they are ultimately useful and beneficial.
I was also thinking of the arcs of civilisations and rebuilding; how the old civilisations in Europe, the old peaks, seemed to need to recede into semi-forgotten myth before the new civilisations could build themselves up again. Building new - inventing - seems to go better than trying to restore something previous and lost. This fits well with that.
And aside from everything else, Battlestar Galactica has always been a tragedy, even in its first form. It starts with the apocalypse. The fact that it ended with as much hope as it did is a kindness.
I had my own ideas about where they were going, and I might outline those later. I was right about some of them, but not about others, and the ones where I was wrong go further from the original show, in the end, than I think they wanted to wander. I respect that. And I love - love - how the character arcs resolved. President Roslyn's death, and Adama's last scene, both just had me crying. And Starbuck - I will miss you so much, my crazy, crazy TV girlfriend!
So there we are. We've all survived Battlestar Galactica. It's been a great, gruelling trip, but now, it's over. Breathe.
And be nice to the roombas, people. It's only a matter of time before they get nukes.