If you didn’t see Battlestar Galactica‘s mind-blowing season finale last night, stop reading right now, because this Q&A — heck, this introduction — is chock-full of spoilers. (If you really want to get caught up and can’t wait to catch it on the DVR, check out Marc Bernardin’s TV Watch and then come back here when you’re done.) Here’s your last chance — stop reading now or forever hold your firebomb emails to our editors complaining we ruined all the surprises.
Okay, so, President Laura Roslin’s cancer is back, former president and human outcast Gaius Baltar is not guilty of treason, and four of the final five Cylons are: Chief Galen Tyrol, former lover of known Cylon Sharon Valeri (whoa!); Samuel Anders, Starbuck’s widowed husband (double whoa!); Tory Foster, President Roslin’s right-hand woman and Anders’ recent lover (triple whoa!); and Colonel Saul Tigh, the hard-scrabble Galatica XO and the most rabid Cylon-hater this side of New Caprica (quadruple-scoop-fall-on-your-face whoa!). They all realized they were Cylons after each hearing a mysterious song no human could hear, a song Chief Tyrol likened to something from childhood; a song revealed to be, of all things, Bob Dylan’s ”All Along the Watchtower.”
Oh, and Starbuck is alive. Maybe. Or she could be a Cylon. Perhaps. But apparently she’s seen Earth. Or, at least, that’s what Starbuck told Apollo. Or what something that looks like her told Apollo.
What the frak is going on?!
Well, we went to Battlestar actors Mary McDonnell (President Roslin) and Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama), as well as the show’s executive producer Ronald Moore, for their thoughts on the finale, where their characters and the show itself are headed, and the skinny on the recently announced flashback two-hour movie about the long-lost battlestar Pegasus. Read on, dear humans!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you gasp when you read the finale script?
MARY MCDONNELL: Yes, I gasped. I remember my first response was that I sat very quietly for a minute and went, oh dear, because of the amount of physical and emotional energy that takes to go back into exploring a person who has such a painful disease. On the other hand, I felt like we abandoned the disease so rapidly without explanation and there are so many people suffering from cancer. So I took a big, exhaustive breath, and I was kind of glad that we weren’t leaving it in that foggy memory of, did that really happen? I was kind of happy to be able to embrace the journey again.
Both episodes in the finale deal with the connection that Roslin has to Hera, the half-human, half-Cylon child whose blood at first seemed to cure her cancer.
Yes, Hera’s her mother. One day I was laughing on the set, and I turned to Grace [Park] and Tahmoh [Penikett, who play Hera’s parents], and I said, ”You know, this is really interesting. You’re my grandparents!” Because Hera rebirthed Roslin, and they’re the parents of Hera. And they just kind of screamed and ran away. [Laughs] I think the idea of birthing and rebirthing and being connected through the DNA, through the blood of the Cylon and the shared DNA now, is really golden stuff. It’s like, what does this mean in terms of allowing Laura as a symbol — because I see every character as a symbol — to investigate a shared heredity of the enemy? This is, to me, kind of brave, because it’s where we need to move anyway in the world. We need to understand the sameness. Suddenly, in spite of herself, in a way, [Roslin] is being led that way.
It would seem the show is moving to a shared destiny, given who the new Cylons are and, you know, the fact that they apparently know from Dylan.
It is kind of crazy. It’s wonderfully haunting. The minute I read that [about the song], my mind just started going: When we find Earth, when will it be? What time period? What are we going to find? Are we picking up stuff already? What is going on here? Are we getting closer? Is [the show’s time period] now? Will [Earth] be a mess? Will it be a nightmare? Will it be a great place and will we have to suddenly be comrades in being aliens together, having ventured into the space of this planet? How will they greet us? We’ll see.
Was there any discussion of this on the set?
No, we just went with it. I mean, of course, there’s always talk, but from my point of view there’s no questioning it. [Ronald Moore] is always ten steps ahead of us anyway, so the resonance has a reason, and it will be revealed.
Did you ever think, I might be a Cylon?
I reflected on it a few times, but I really didn’t enjoy entertaining the idea, so I dismissed it rather rapidly. It isn’t something I’d want to be, therefore… [Laughs] Besides, you know, my journey is already —
— complicated as it is?
As it is, yes. It’s already going down that road in a very organic way, in a very surprising way. Because we all know that unbeknownst to me, my life was saved [by Hera]. It wasn’t even [Roslin’s] choice! She’s like, ”Okay, I’m on the way out! Do this, do this, do this. Bye. I’m outta here. I did my thing, I did it well, I love you all, goodbye!” [Pause] ”What? What?!” And of all people, it was Baltar [who figured out how to save me], who kept me alive. ”Damn you!” [Laughs]
Do you think Starbuck is the fifth Cylon?
I really don’t know. I think she just has an extraordinary destiny, and her struggle to come to terms with that is what I find interesting about the whole story. Not whether or not she is a Cylon, but her struggle. We have this stunningly beautiful, very macho hotshot pilot who actually has a phenomenal internal spirituality that she resists. I’d rather talk about her the whole time, because I think she’s just a really great character for young women to look [up to]. You do not divide yourselves, women, into male and female. Get it together. And men, as well! Stop living this divided, dual consciousness and bring your masculine and feminine [sides] together, because it can be extraordinary. That’s how I see her.
Speaking of masculine and feminine, the relationship between Roslin and Admiral Adama is very tender — they allow themselves to be fully human around each other. Would you ever like to see it consummated?
First of all, Eddie [Olmos] and I just had a natural chemistry, a recognition of camaraderie. We have very similar values when it comes to acting, and how to behave on a set. Sort of two old warriors together, do you know what I mean? So there was a great deal of instant camaraderie, even though [our characters] were instantly put into the position of really annoying each other [at the start of the series], really adversarial, very much into the gender power struggle right from the get-go. [But we] fuel that with a deep affection.
Because Laura is a very isolated woman, she has virtually no friends, family, loved ones. But [with] this man, they’ve shared so many very difficult decisions together, not unlike parents. They’re alone together a lot. He’s a very, very strong male energy. There’s sort of an unconscious femininity that’s allowed to come out around him. Plus, if they haven’t killed each other by now, there’s someone to somewhat be trusted there.
Does she entertain any ideas about consummating some kind of relationship with him? The idea is completely threatening to everything she’s trying to accomplish. She’s not the type of woman who gives up easily or gives into emotional issues, let alone how it will complicate things right now if they took it [any] further. I think she needs to be very clear-headed. Short answer to your question is no, she doesn’t entertain consummating that relationship, and anything that has happened is in spite of her own will.
NEXT PAGE: Edward James Olmos